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BarrySkellern

Member Since 03 Nov 2006
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:00 PM

#5291376 Will Unity or Unreal Engine 4 suit better for me?

Posted by BarrySkellern on 13 May 2016 - 12:26 AM

Pragmatic answer: why not just try both and see? They're both free, after all. When I started Unity it took me maybe four hours to make a very basic shmup, which let me get a feel for the engine. Unreal took me a little longer, I found it had a steeper learning curve, but a couple of days isn't a waste if it lets you find the right tool set for your needs. It's still quicker than waiting for us to tell you what to do. ;-)

 

...and for completeness: I ended up choosing Unity for my current project, but I've prototyped a possible future project in Unreal, and I may switch, just for the giggles.




#5261749 Software Tool Selection Process - Improvements please

Posted by BarrySkellern on 12 November 2015 - 07:59 AM

Another benefit of taking an off-the-shelf solution is that you probably also get improvements for free.

 

e.g. you pay for Modo Indie every month instead of writing a 3D package. Even if your homebrew attempt could match Modo's features now, you're going to have to stop at some point and get on with making your game. Whereas your subscription to Modo is actually buying a slice of the whole team of Modo developers' time. Three months from now, that'll pay off when they deliver you a great new feature that you can use out of the box.




#5261480 Getting Y-Axis And Setting It In Unity?

Posted by BarrySkellern on 11 November 2015 - 01:15 AM

Every game object has a transform, which contains its position, which is a 3D vector. The y position can be read from that. Is that what you mean? So, in your Update function, something along the lines of: if (transform.position.y < -7) transform.position = new vector3(0, 2.7f, 0);




#5258489 Time Compression in a 4X Game

Posted by BarrySkellern on 22 October 2015 - 04:13 AM

There's a discussion with Soren Johnson in episode 14 of the Game Design Round Table podcast. They discuss time handling in Civ 4 a bit from around 20 mins in, may be interesting for readers of this thread.

 

http://thegamedesignroundtable.com/category/episodes/page/13/




#5257180 Time Compression in a 4X Game

Posted by BarrySkellern on 14 October 2015 - 02:09 AM

One of my favourite old games from the 16-bit era, Deuteros, had an interesting time mechanic. It was kind of a 4X game, not quite in the modern sense, but may be relevant to this.

 

It essentially simulated real-time, but allowed the player to skip ahead by an hour or a day at a time. Most events in the game occurred on a period of days or weeks - building a new ship would be a two week job, for example. If nothing else happened in the intervening period the player could happily skip all those days and the ship would be built almost 'instantly.' If something happened in the intervening period, especially something that required real-time attention like an unexpected attack, then the time skipping would stop and you would play through the relevant events in real-time. Assuming you survived the attack you could then go back to skipping days until the ship is finished. Usually you would have lots of things going on at once over multiple time scales, especially late in the game, so in practice you never skipped ahead by very much at the accelerated rate. But early in the game it was an elegant way to speed through things like "build my first mining ship and fly to the asteroids" which takes 22 days or whatever.

 

Of course, this wasn't just doing time acceleration and really simulating every second in between. As Krypt0n suggests, skipping a day would update the game by an aggregate effect over that period. In most cases like population growth, building a ship, or flying to a planet, the skipped time can either be solved in closed form or at least approximated over the skipped period well enough that the player would never know the difference.

 

TL:DR - I guess the point is that your game-time events could be to real-world scale as long as you can accelerate through the times where nothing happens.




#5257018 Techniques for "Smooth" camera scroll with mouse

Posted by BarrySkellern on 13 October 2015 - 05:40 AM

I don't know about the implementation in Javascript, but you could do something like have the mouse directly drive a target point and have the current point interpolate towards that target point over time. The rate at which you interpolate towards the target will govern the responsiveness, so a long delay (slow interpolation) will feel smooth but a bit laggy, while a short delay will be twitchier but more direct.




#5243124 Cheap Rendering Tricks Used in Game Industry?

Posted by BarrySkellern on 28 July 2015 - 01:46 AM

I've played a lot of racing games over the years and seen a lot of effects overdone. Don't implement god-rays and fireworks, this isn't Grid2. No offence meant, NightCreature83 ;-)

 

Here's a few things I think you'll need: motion blur; environmental reflections on cars; shadowing on the track and cars from nearby objects; shadowing on the track from cars; probably some kind of tessellation for curved road and scenery sections; smoke; dynamic lighting from headlights/brake lights; very nice shading models for the track and cars.

 

I can't stress the last point enough. If you're making a racing game you're expecting me to spend a lot of time looking at your simulation of some tarmac. I also probably drive a car myself in real life, and I instinctively know what a real road and real cars looks like. Your textures, shading models and illumination tricks need to hold up to that standard. Take into account new/old surfaces with different material properties, patches of grease or oil, tyre rubber impregnating the asphalt in the braking and traction zones on the racing line, wet surfaces and standing water etc. And some of these need to be dynamic, i.e. cars laying down rubber as the race progresses.

 

I know this is a lot, and I know that even the latest racing games don't get it right, but this stuff is the target. But start small, concentrate on maybe two or three of these effects that you think are most important. I'd say get the curved surface tessellation stuff going as best you can (polygon kerbs are awful) and then a nice material model for the track that just gets the fundamental light response right for night racing. Go for a drive, take some photos.

 

Don't worry about foliage simulation for now. If I'm close enough to see how your trees are rendered then I've already crashed. ;-)




#5240216 Some Maya normal issues

Posted by BarrySkellern on 14 July 2015 - 04:58 AM

Not sure I understand, are you multiplying the normals by the world matrix twice, once when you export the model and then again in the shader?

 

I'd expect the workflow to be something like: model the object at the origin in Maya (i.e. in its untransformed position) and export it. Then, in your vertex shader, multiply the vertex positions by the world matrix, and the normals by the inverse transpose of the world matrix.




#5240214 Some Maya normal issues

Posted by BarrySkellern on 14 July 2015 - 04:35 AM

I disagree - if your normals are in the same space as the model vertices then they *do* need to be multiplied by the inverse transpose of the world matrix to correctly transform them to world space. If you just use the world matrix itself then the resulting normals will not be correct if the world matrix contains non-uniform scale.

 

The positions of the vertices should be multiplied by the world matrix.

 

(Note that for a pure rotation the inverse and the transpose are the same, so the world inverse transpose matrix will be the same as the world matrix anyway.)




#5236136 Research mechanics in 4X games

Posted by BarrySkellern on 22 June 2015 - 05:12 AM

The thing that I've always questioned about the 'tech tree' approach is that you normally know in advance what the results of your research will be and when they're due. That's totally the opposite to how research works!

 

I pondered a system where you put funding into various fields of research, maybe funding PhDs and staff in your university's physics department. They will suggest research topics, the number of proposals depending on your staff count. You can then approve or deny funding for their projects, and some time later they complete their projects. Some projects don't give you anything - the project was a failure. Some give you some random perk - maybe they improved the efficiency of your power generators by 5%. And occasionally the research results in a breakthrough - some new weapon type is unlocked or something. The actual unlocks will be different each game (but with care in the probability weighting so that nothing on the critical path of the tree is omitted for too long.) The chance of getting the better results is dependent on your funding level both now and historically, but the one thing you can't do is dictate "ok guys, I want you to invent me this thing I already know about within ten turns."

 

No idea if that would be fun, or an improvement, but might be worth a go.




#5235465 How to connect UAV with Back buffer.

Posted by BarrySkellern on 18 June 2015 - 07:23 AM

I don't think UATs for sRGB targets are supported (maybe someone can correct me?) Have you tried creating the backbuffer in the equivalent non-SRGB format? You can always apply the gamma correction yourself in your shader at an appropriate point in your pipeline.




#5234401 C# becoming obsolete ?

Posted by BarrySkellern on 12 June 2015 - 12:28 AM

Languages and frameworks will always come and go. You could spend two years worrying about that, or you could spend two years becoming very proficient with any language of your choice.

 

As long as you don't go out of your way to learn something completely weird then your knowledge will set you in good stead for the future, so grab some good books and get down to it. And if in two years everyone stops using C# overnight and Perl somehow becomes the flavour of the month, then learn that too. Most programmers can use several languages, and a lot of very good programmers go out of their way to learn more all the time. Each one tends to get easier to learn, and each one will expand how you look at code in any language.




#5233765 Where to publish games?

Posted by BarrySkellern on 09 June 2015 - 05:45 AM

You could set up a page on itch.io which covers a lot of platforms and has pretty flexible payment systems. It may not be the most discoverable of places but it's quick and simple, and free.




#5232342 An Open World Idea

Posted by BarrySkellern on 02 June 2015 - 04:00 AM

It would probably be quicker, easier and cheaper to just go to Nevada and take over a small town using a crowbar.




#5229996 Unreal Engine 4 beginner advice

Posted by BarrySkellern on 20 May 2015 - 02:24 AM

You don't really need any C++ ability at all to get started, you can make an entire game using Blueprints. I'm a pretty experienced C++ programmer for my day job, but one of the things I enjoy most about using Unreal Engine for my hobby projects is that I hardly if ever have to write any code. You might be pleasantly surprised at just how far you can get with blueprints alone.

 

As far as learning goes, I found the curve to be a bit steep at first, but the most useful thing for me was checking out some of the example projects. Download the Flappy Bird blueprint project for example, and walk through the most important bits of its blueprints, stuff like input handling and so on. Try to distil that down to the things that you need in your game. I find the documentation is complete but is a bit hard to apply at first without seeing a working example. You could also get some blueprints from the marketplace and see how they work, for more inspiration.






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