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Bluefirehawk's: "Path to World Domination"

Keen on making mistakes

Posted by , in Info, Coding, Rambling 26 October 2012 - - - - - - · 812 views

Sooo... this weeks post will be less structured, it is again more of a "writing thoughts to words" entry than something new to the game... anyways.

I gave more thoughts on the engine design, also how you design as efficient as possible, how do you implement a Entity based design correctly... and it went on and on.
Suddenly it jumped my mind, I wasn't going anywhere with it, even though having experience with business application, being one of the better programmers in my college, I want to have a state of the art AAA engine design on my first try.

It won't happen.

I am young, I have a long way to go, much to learn and much to conquer.
College is a weird thing, you learn so much in a single year, that you are shocked at the stuff you have written a year ago and when you are good in your college, it can happen to you what has happened to me: It gets over your head. You think too highly of yourself.

So you do something very few people ever do on the internet. Put your ego down. You are not the best there is.

Game developing is hard, noone can tell you how hard it is, until you tried designing even a simple Iso game in more detail. The learning curve is steep, very steep and you will produce much much shit. That is how you learn, not by endlessly browsing for the best solution.

I don't say that you shouldn't try educating yourself (for me, this would be the Entity Design), you also don't have to reinvent the wheel, if you can learn from the mistakes of others, GREAT!

But if your learning process keeps you away from the actual task, programming, you should rather go ahead and make bad design choices.
Nothing should take away you actually programming something.
It kinda did for me, so I stop worrying so much about making mistakes and just do them. I will find them soon enough, then I know why the design choices were mistakes in the first place.

So to any other new game programmer: you will do badly, that is why it is called "programming experience". Don't try to learn something from a mistake you didn't do yet.


I can die happy now! For realsies...

Posted by , in Info, Coding, Rambling, C++ Endeavor 19 October 2012 - - - - - - · 1,017 views

...yes, I really am that happy.

"Why" do you ask? Simply put:
IT WORKS!! HAHAAAAAAA!!!! SUCK ON THAT SEVENTH CIRCLE OF DEV. HELL!! Screw you guys, I'm going home.

(If you haven't noticed already, this entry has the Rambling tag)

It works, I still cannot really believe it, I feel a bit lightheaded from that, or maybe it's the hangover, or the chocolate flash, I don't KNOW and I don't CARE, It WORKS.
I've found my light, my saviour, my knight in shining armour. Alright that sounded a bit gay, but moving on. Hail the almighty QTCREATOR. I finally have everything besides the coding. Everything I that was so nervewracking, i can really start to do what I came here to do: Program a game and chewing bubble gum. And I am all out of gum! DUN DUN DUUUUN!
And to beat ass, never forget to beat ass...

"So why is it so good?" QTCreator WORKS! YES! It is easy to install on all platforms I currently want to develop on (windows+debian), a QMake script is fairly easy to understand and yet the easiest Makefile generator script I've found. It as a powerful testing framework and I think the most intuitive switching between "editing, debug..." views. The editor itself is pretty much what you'd expect in an IDE these days.
It's not without it's faults, the "add library" dialogue only allows for .lib files, whick is pretty anoying for your .dlls. Sometimes the design tries to be too posh, too much "Look at me, I am a hip, cool IDE! Not your nerdy Visual Studio, nobody laughs at you when you use me!" I don't need a good looking IDE. It has to work and be productive, I don't care how it looks.

The next weeks post is a bit more structured and maybe a bit depressive, because it is not the day that you think it is. I write these entries sometimes weeks earlier. My entry two weeks ago "Watching people play games..." was written back in August. But the Context never seemed right to post it, so I always pushed this entry further back. I started writing this entry back in october, but you see this in the middle of october, I am actually writing to you from the past!!
That means, sometimes you have an outdated project update and sometimes posts that follow are older than the current post, like in this case. I actually have the next 2-3 entries almost completely written. Next weeks post is older and maybe a bit depressing, hopefully you still find some value in it.


I'm already rambling, I feel like writing some more: WTF, my post was featured? I don't know what the requirements are to get your post featured, I don't know if a human or an algorithm selects the featured entries. If it was a human, I have no idea why he or she thought the entry "Watching people play games..." was so good. I've written most of it in an hour, didn't put much thought in it and even I thought it wasn't terribly interesting. Maybe mildly entertaining, but that's it.
I don't want to bitch around, I like being featured, it makes me feel important. I just don't understand why this entry, and not one of those I actually put hard work in it.


Why it is called Game Design...

Posted by , in Lore/Story, Info, Game Design 12 October 2012 - - - - - - · 977 views

Soooo... this weeks post originally was more on the gameplay, but first to something completely different:

As I started to think more about the engine design, I couldn't get my head around how I should switch correctly between the "overworld view" and "fight view". As it turned out, the actual problem was lying somewhere else, I don't really know what I want to achieve with the "overworld view". Before I write an addendum to the "Why is my game fun" series, I should think about what you do with what you do. And to know this, I need to be more clear about the story and the first 10 minutes of the mission...

I start to see, game design combines everything: Programming, gameplay design, story, level design, sound/music, you even care about what the gamer should feel at a specific point in the game.
The term "Game Design" makes sense, it is hard to fathom the extend of your design work you have to do. I Also learned that you shouldn't lose the overview of the whole game, and that you cannot finish programming when you don't really know what kind of gameplay you want to have... everything depends on each other.

There are two fields I didn't think much about, that also influence the overworld view: Story/Lore, which should help define the overall mood and style the game has, the music, because nothing is more teeth grinding than music that does not fit the game, and the enemies you fight. In the end, the overworld revolves around the monster activities.

What I ought to do is make a bit of a mix of what I didn't do so far, concentrate on everything else than coding and design. I think i schould look for a "game soundtrack". Nothing official and I probably won't put it in the game because of copyright. But nothing helps setting the mood like the music.


Watching people play games...

Posted by , in Info, Rambling 05 October 2012 - - - - - - · 1,234 views

... doesn't sound creepy at all does it?

I had to write in ruby, didn't have a lot of sleep and just ate a piece of chocolate, hellllooo rambling time!

Soooo in this weeks post I talk about... what did you guess? About watching people play games.

For quite some time I've been into watching people play video games on youtube. I especially like SSoHPKC and the Creature stuff they do, but that is an other story, maybe for an other rambling post.
To those who don't know them, they essentially record themselfes playing video games and talking about random stuff.
The weird thing is, I think it does more than just entertain me, I think it helps me looking at game design from a more neutral standpoint.
"You are weird" you say? I have to tell you: I am watching people play games, what do you think I should be?!

But in all seriousness, it really does. More often than not, the commentary breaks the atmosphere of the game. "Why should that be a good thing" you say? Well, sometimes it seems games brush over bad design or bad story elements by providing an atmosphere that draws the players attention away.
Breaking away the atmosphere with the commentator shouting "SHOTGUN RAAAIIIIN" lets you notice all the dips and bumps.
The best example: try watching Call of Duty: Black ops, or COD: MW3 for that matter.
The singleplayer SUCKS! The story gets increasingly embarassing, the gameplay has stayed the same since Modern Warfare 1, the only thing that makes the singleplayer acceptable is the atmosphere. The distributed "I am so awesome" events like breaching and a few total badassery moments at the end of the game to make you forget about it.
COD: Black Ops at least TRIED to have an interesting story, they put effort in a plottwist that you maybe could not have seen coming.
But the latest MW3... seriously?! Have you ever had a knive in your heart, didn't care about bleeding, survived a World War 2 emergency medical procedure and walked around shooting stuff few days later? Was he faith healed by Peter Popoff? They didn't even try...
I couldn't watch SSoH play MW3, it just was too boring. Same shit, different day. On the other hand, watching him play Batman: Arkham Asylum was just awesome. Not only becaue he failed hilariously, but even by watching the game, I was drawn into the world of this game.

But back to watching people... play games...
Usability engineers have a technique called "talking out loud", they try to encourage a test person to talk out loud what he/she thinks while using the gui. This isn't just for shits&giggles, it helps evaluating the design, finding design errors. In other words, there are people on youtube doing exactly that for video games! For free! Day and Night!


Next week is business as usual, better structure and fleshed out thoughts. For today, I just wanted to ramble around a bit. See you soon!





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