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How video game level architecture fundamentally differs from reality


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#21 the incredible smoker   Members   -  Reputation: 446

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 08:57 AM

You forget the world is round.

( this also limits the rendering by the way, maybe if make smaller worlds, or have more CPU )


Edited by the incredible smoker, 02 August 2014 - 08:59 AM.

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Visual Pro 2005 C++ DX9 Cubase VST 3.70  Working on : LevelContainer class & LevelEditor


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#22 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 964

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:01 AM

So you want the players to create assets for the game. How could that work?

Let;s look at the process for say a single character. 

Start with a good 3D editor. We are talking 3ds Max or Maya for most of the industry. We create the mesh, attach a skeleton, attach cloth meshes, create collision meshes, create animations, create hair meshes. etc.

Then we attach the relevant parts of the mesh to the various physics systems, and we have a useable character.

Then we tell the game about it, put it into the correct place in the file system, link it to more physics systems, link it to audio systems, etc etc. and we have it in the game.

How could we do that outside the development environment?

Well we cannot assume anyone outside the industry will have a copy of max or maya, they are just too expensive for the common man to use. So we would have to support other 3d editors , That is nightmare number 1

Then we have to expose interfaces to all the physics components to the whole world, not something I would like to do as it opens the system up to abuse. Nightmare number 2

Then we have to get it into the file system. This is not a trivial task. How do you get a user created asset onto an Xbox, or a Ps4?  Nightmare number 3

Then finally we have got a user created asset into the game, and the game crashes. Who takes the blame for the crash? Obviously it's very probably the player that created the asset, but I bet you a years salary you would get technical support calls along the line of "I've done this and it's perfect, so you have broken the game and what are you going to do about it" Nightmare number 4

Allowing players to mod PC games is perfectly reasonable, and often actively supported but doing the same for modern AAA games on games platforms is probably never going to happen.

You can do in game editors for simple stuff, Little Big Planet is a good example, but they are the exception and will stay that way.

 

Read my posting again.

 

Sufficient Tools would be provided  (thats why I said it would ITSELF probably take the effort of 3 AAA games ) 

 

You would get, as a player, access to all the tools you need  (well beyond whats needed for your limited example)

 

You are thinking in TOO LIMITED a way of what I am talking about.

 

The vetting process for assets is one of the more complicated components as besides players making their own custom avatar mods (as you describe), it would be all assets (terrain, props, AI, game mechanics, missions, figure animations, sounds, music, voice acting, TOOLS, documentation) distributed to X thousands of other players in one or more MMORPG and Solo/MP games,  and also existing/running on the Servers.  These would have to be thoroughly tested and the production model calls for the Players themselves to do most of the real test work  (its a matter of saving so much money on asset production (around 70%) to greatly lower the costs which can be put to a better use of  having more flavors of games available).   The Creation community and its processes would be extensive.

 

Guess who also does your  "support calls" ?

 

Actually "led by the nose through the abattoir" type TUTORIALS on everything (and better ones written BY players) is another component (as well as well-spelt-out policies of what is accepted and what standards the vetted Assets are subject to).   One of the key aspects is NOT TO WASTE OTHER PEOPLES TIME AND EFFORT, so those "support" people will have a mandate to tell people GO LOOK IT UP IN THE TUTORIALS and submitted assets would be rejected immediately on non-compliance..  (Details include online pre-submission for people to critique and pretest or even long before that to comment on plausibility of ideas and collaborate in many ways).

 

Many players may take part in the Creation (all different levels from texture mods to scene/mission composition, to behavior scripting, to game mechanics programming).  Some will be good enough and others wont or will lose interest.  But what one person creates successfully, 100000+ other players will make use of (There ARE alot of gifted players out there and THATS what needs to be tapped into).    Heavy templatization to allow Mod'ing what has already been produced will also lower the production effort for many people who DONT want to reinvent the wheel themselves to make their one contribution.  Think of a MMORPG game with 100000 players and 20000 play with the tools, 5000 produce something useful for it, and 500 produce  exceptional things for it.  (and those things are SHARED in subsequent/parallel  games which use quite similar assets)

 

So think a little BIGGER on this.   THIS  is a major paradigm shift in game creation, and of course game companies will be afraid to change from their current expensive (but proven) process of turning out the same limited games that largely havent changed for 10-20 years.

 

.


Edited by wodinoneeye, 02 August 2014 - 10:12 AM.

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#23 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2512

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:24 AM


Maybe the most accessible is the one from Arthur C. Clarke's novelization of "2001 - A Space Odyssey". Unlike Kubrick's masterpiece of a scifi mystery movie, Clarke's novelization puts a lot of effort into almost over-explaining various aspects of the movie. As interpreted by Clarke, the story ends with the surviving astronaut Dr. Bowman flying into an alien portal and landing in a hotel room.

 

If i'm not mistaken, the book was written first, then the movie was made, based on the book.  that's why you really have to read the book to understand the end of the movie.


Norm Barrows

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"Building PC games since 1989"

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#24 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2512

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:37 AM


Indeed the more you know about game development, design and business the harder it is to relax and sink in to a game world while you are distracted by various things that peak your professional interest.

 

precisely

 

i can no longer simply sit down and watch a movie.  i spend all my time analyzing the special effects, camera angles, lighting etc.  i must watch it a second time to simply enjoy it.   of course, by then, i've already seen it once, and therefore don't enjoy it as much.    


Norm Barrows

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rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

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#25 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2512

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 01:41 PM


At the moment the following design stereotypes come to mind:

 

 

 

some of these are the result of using a level based game design paradigm.  

 

level based is not the only way to build a game or simulation, it just happens to be the way ID software started building them, and a whole lot of people simply copied them.  it was adequate for their needs.

 

some of these are influenced by the use of level based design ( IE Non-homotopic level of detail ), but can occur in non-level based design.

 

some, such a level linearity, are simply common practices in level based design, but can occur in non-level based design.

 

lack of interactivity is really lack of simulation depth, or the difference between actual game objects, and "chrome".   at the one end, you have games with many graphics objects and detailed environments, but little interactivity. at the other end you have "if its there, you can use it".  no game can take this to its extreme conclusion in any type of complex environment - its tantamount to holodeck programming with no libraires to work with.  generalized physics and damage modeling would be the way to go. it would let you try to chop down anything with anything.


Edited by Norman Barrows, 02 August 2014 - 02:03 PM.

Norm Barrows

Rockland Software Productions

"Building PC games since 1989"

rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

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#26 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2512

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 02:05 PM


"If this wouldn't be a game, I actually could do this".

 

for me, its:

 

"if this were a more in-depth (IE better) simulation, i could do x,y,z,or w."


Norm Barrows

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"Building PC games since 1989"

rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

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#27 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2512

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 02:46 PM


I want instead to take the chance and discuss these design decisions in the context of immersion. Eventually this might help us creating more immersive themes and levels for video games.

 

for me, level boundaries and level linearity give me a "rat in a maze feeling" which breaks immersion. almost all shooters seem to have this feel to them.

 

performance oriented level architecture is only an issue when the resulting level design seems "out of place" in the context of the game.   IE the level design limitations required for high performance have a noticeable effect on gameplay, look and feel, and/or believability.  A number of studios have successfully designed a game around a given performance oriented level design methodology - IE they start with the performance method and then figure out what type of game it can be used for with a high degree of believe-ability.   "out of place" levels most likely occur when the engine is attempting to render some environment other than that for which it is designed - or must render some less believe-able scene in lieu of what ought to be shown, due to engine performance related level design limitations.

 

"within walking distance".     oblivion and skyrim both suffer from this to some extent. very full worlds, but not very large. not too much of an immersion breaker. your "where's the windmill" example is a definite immersion breaker.   i've had to deal with this issue in Caveman 3.0 as well: is the frequency distribution of everything (resources, encounters, etc) correct?  in some cases i can extrapolate from real world data (location and frequency of caves and rockshelters). In other cases i must "guess-timate".

 

a related issue that's somewhat of an immersion breaker for me is "towns" with a population of about half a dozen NPCs, or "cities" with <100 population. IE unrealistically low numbers of npc's for the supposed size of a settlement. its is usually caused by limitations of the graphics engine (cant draw too many NPCs onscreen at once) or lack of content (it would take us too long to create the content for a skyrim city with 1000 NPC's, so we'll just do 50 or so).

 

this trend can also be seen in things like two dozen trees in close proximity representing a forest. by contrast, in Caveman 3.0, the minimum size forest is 5 miles across and contains 1,415,700 tree models.  needless to say, outdoor scenes in Caveman 3.0 are not level based.


Norm Barrows

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"Building PC games since 1989"

rocklandsoftware.net

 

PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

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#28 Norman Barrows   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2512

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 03:11 PM

i don't see user created content as the solution to the content creation bottleneck.

 

whats required is a turn key integrated solution that encompasses integrated graphics (including animation), audio, physics, damage, and behavior modeling. such a system would include libraries of stock graphics, animations, and audio, and would support multiple physics, damage, and behavior models. content could be customized and shared. the system would also be customizable and extensible to add custom behaviors, etc.

 

then we could get away from building objects and get on with building worlds.  or at least spend less time on objects and more on worlds.


Norm Barrows

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"Building PC games since 1989"

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PLAY CAVEMAN NOW!

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#29 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 964

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 07:57 PM

i don't see user created content as the solution to the content creation bottleneck.

 

whats required is a turn key integrated solution that encompasses integrated graphics (including animation), audio, physics, damage, and behavior modeling. such a system would include libraries of stock graphics, animations, and audio, and would support multiple physics, damage, and behavior models. content could be customized and shared. the system would also be customizable and extensible to add custom behaviors, etc.

 

then we could get away from building objects and get on with building worlds.  or at least spend less time on objects and more on worlds.

 

 

You name a number of things that would have to be achieved anyway WITH Player Created Content,  so why not add the ability to tap into players creativity/effort as well ?   Idiot-proofing of tools would be good, but isnt required (just fewer people would be able to effectively use them)

 

If you are going to get the game industry to cooperate in that way, then why not go all the way?  (Players who will do alot and not for moneys sake)

 

You also missed what I said.   Its not just 'objects', its EVERYTHING that makes up a game ('worlds'). that would be accessible to create.  The Game Engine Components likewise would have to be built up to support this entire system.

 

"Missions" are too few in most games ? 

 - Decide what you want (and how it fits in to 'the game').  Specifications may come from a larger 'game project'.

 - Build a scene up (templated styles of terrain for the particular game genre/setting) out of available building blocks (customize a few critical ones and integrate them)

 - Place lots of available (largely useable) props to customize that space further (an Important Tool is the search system to just find/review the ones you want)

 - Include 'stock' NPCs who have generic behaviors ( flavor THEM by adjusting their templated attributes, setting their goals/activities)

 - Select and craft 'special' plot objects -- key-objects, key-NPCs, effects   (mod alot of existing stuff)

 - Create Plot - triggers/goals/special dialogs with contingencies/action sequences/exit-conditions/etc..  (flowcharty stuff)

 - Cutscenes choreographed by Tool that is directed like a Theater Play Script (action behavior scripts preexisting...)

 - Test it (actually run it on local simulator).

 - Fix things, adjust things, tweak things. Repeat.

 - Submit it to the game's community for critique (they run/ 'test it'), commentary, rejection/acceptance

 - Adjust (if needed) and resubmit

 - Publish to players.

 

Omitted above is opportunities to collaborate bewteen multiple 'developers' (a whole slew of posting/request/checklist tools/process) to allow people to do piecewise the elements they do best/easiest and pass it on.

 

---

 

The 'value-added' thing that game companies would then  be selling will be their ability to skillfully/effectively Tell the Story / Stage the Action / Build their Vision --- less alot of the mundane grunt work that limits them so much now.

 

 

Unfortunately game companies are invested in the way they do business now, and wont want to share ANYTHING they produced.  SO it may take an independant effort to get this all started and once it is better proven, then the companies will come begging and THEN they should only be allowed to make use of this new system IF they throw in ALL their assets they previously have built as seed data into the common community.

 

.


Edited by wodinoneeye, 02 August 2014 - 08:06 PM.

--------------------------------------------Ratings are Opinion, not Fact

#30 Stainless   Members   -  Reputation: 1159

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 03:27 AM

We have everything you want already.

 

It's called VISUAL STUDIO.

 

What you are asking for is not a game, it's not even a game engine. To do what you want FOR EACH GAME, boot up visual studio and start from scratch.

 

 

I would like to start up an application, set a few flags, hit run and go home.

 

Next morning I would into the office and have a fully functioning game.

 

Technically it's possible, using procedural generation and genetic algorithms, but I'm not holding my breath. Writing a visual system for evaluating a generated generic 3d mesh is probably measured in man lifetimes rather than man days.

 

Have you ever written a game? 



#31 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 964

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 05:58 AM

We have everything you want already.

It's called VISUAL STUDIO.

What you are asking for is not a game, it's not even a game engine. To do what you want FOR EACH GAME, boot up visual studio and start from scratch.

I would like to start up an application, set a few flags, hit run and go home.

Next morning I would into the office and have a fully functioning game.

Technically it's possible, using procedural generation and genetic algorithms, but I'm not holding my breath. Writing a visual system for evaluating a generated generic 3d mesh is probably measured in man lifetimes rather than man days.

Have you ever written a game? 

 

 

Wrong thread or forum ?


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