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Member Since 26 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:49 PM

#5165935 Need advice with RPG making

Posted by Ravyne on 09 July 2014 - 08:15 PM


Need advice with RPG making


You don't have the bandwidth, skill level, team size, money, or time to make an RPG. Those generally take teams of a hundred-plus professional game developers multiple years of full-time-plus work to make.

There's a reason you see so few indie RPGs and the few you do find are almost solely made by established RPG developmers.




Uh...  Markets are overflowing with indie RPGs...


I think you have to qualify both of these statements.  The first is very true if you try to compete with the AAA RPGs on content, although this is equally true in most game genres. The second of these statements is true if we're realistic about the scope of indie RPGs.


I would say, in general, that rather few 'indie' games provide more than about 10 hours of content unless they're either relying on procedural content, or are particularly well-funded and well-staffed for an "indie" studio. There are a few exceptions, but I'm hard-pressed to think of any who exceed the ~10 hour mark by double or more.


OP isn't going to compete with Bard's Tale on content or quality anytime soon -- not alone, or even in a small group; but a similarly styled game with with a more focused scope and reasonable expectations for content polish is doable alone or in a small group, if you have dedication and sufficient time.

#5165918 MIT License in PlayStation Vita Game

Posted by Ravyne on 09 July 2014 - 06:34 PM

And FYI, I'm reasonably certain your worries are unfounded. My own reading of the complete license, in my mind, leaves no question that 'the Software' refers to the source code covered by the license, and not your body of code that integrates it. MIT is widely regarded as one of the more permissive licenses, and also is not a viral license like GNU GPL (that is, *your* software is not required to adopt the same license), But again, IANAL and that does not constitute legal advice.


These links appear to back up my understanding of things.


Can I use MIT license plugins in my commercial website?

Meaning of MIT license -- StackOverflow

MIT License (Expat)

#5165915 MIT License in PlayStation Vita Game

Posted by Ravyne on 09 July 2014 - 06:23 PM

IANAL, but I too would have thought that the notice clause pertains only to the source code. In this case the truth of the matter appears to hinge on how the license defines "the Software" -- if 'the Software" is the MIT-licensed code, then it just means you can't remove the copyright notice and distribute the source; otherwise, if "the Software" means the completed software you produced that incorporates said MIT-licensed code, then things are as you believe. 


If this actually is cause for concern, then both options are good. Is it really the case that your game doesn't have a credits screen or "about" menu item somewhere that you couldn't put the notice without upsetting the client? Would it mean an extra round of certification? If the license demands public notice in the client software I don't think you're going to avoid it -- you either have to obtain a different license, add the notice, or remove the code, and only the first option will save you any churn.

#5165423 Need advice with RPG making

Posted by Ravyne on 07 July 2014 - 07:14 PM

For someone without programming skills, RPG Maker is probably up your alley. Its mostly point and click, and you only have to think of as much programming as you absolutely need to -- even then, it provides most of the programming plumbing that would be easy for a beginner to get wrong or that would just take too much time to do yourself.


I'd seriously look into that, and don't let anyone tell you its not real programming. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't -- but its beside the point. Your stated goal is to make the game, not to become a programmer, so it doesn't matter whether anyone thinks you're a real programmer or not. RPG maker is very capable of what you describe, and is the path of least resistance.

#5165345 How do you get ideas for new games?

Posted by Ravyne on 07 July 2014 - 02:12 PM

Its kind of ironic that limitations can be so freeing, but its really obvious once you see it. Having limitations lets you know where the practical boundaries are in clear terms, and keeps the set of things you need to reason about small and nearby so that it can be considered quickly, allowing you to move forward. When the boundaries are vague or too distant, your considerations are too numerous and far-flung to be made quickly or decisively. You end up becoming paralyzed by the unbounded possibilities, and even when you are able to make a decision, you will often be haunted by questioning whether you made the right call, which will sometimes sing you the Siren's Song of re-doing things, negating the forward progress you might have made.

#5165336 So I got another random idea

Posted by Ravyne on 07 July 2014 - 01:41 PM

To be clear, the project seems like a worthwhile pursuit to the ends of growing as a programmer (hey, go implement that recursive solver I mentioned, too!), I just don't think its particularly attractive as gameplay. There'd need to be more to it than just exploring, and I'd also get away from the idea that exploring the maze completely is "winning", you need dead-ends/false-paths/red-herrings to contrast the happy-path, otherwise there's no purpose to what the player is doing.


Adding gameplay elements, though, is fairly simple. Some traps, some loot, some dead-ends, some keys/doors, a little back-story, maybe some NPCs and dialog, and suddently you have something that looks a lot more like a game.

#5164482 How do you get ideas for new games?

Posted by Ravyne on 02 July 2014 - 10:11 PM

Yes I want to try making something new to improve my dev skill. Making clone game within the day might be fun but I don't think I want to spent some weeks or months making a clone game

But do you se how that desire can be a little schizophrenic?

What more do you expect to learn from thrashing in the dark at an original idea than you would from, say, making a really polished platformer or puzzle game?

Within genre limits there's still an incredible degree of latitude to reconstruct and innovate their tropes, and to express your design voice. But the benefit of working from that existing framework is that people understand the design language at play, and there are models that you can compare yourself to and look to for inspiration -- you can ask "How does my platformer compare to Super Mario World? How am I different? Better? Worse?" -- something your original idea, cut from whole cloth, does not. Its not that new ideas are impossible to analyze, but amateur designers usually lack the experience and perspective to do so.

#5164478 How do you get ideas for new games?

Posted by Ravyne on 02 July 2014 - 09:52 PM

Instead on relying on your ability to design, it let's your mind wander around about the possibilities of systems that you've already created

Said another way: Embrace limitations as a creative opportunity.

Many amateur designers think that a design that has more stuff or a design that eliminates limitations is necessarily better than those that don't. Limitations, practical or otherwise, are the enemy. But a design that attempts to sidestep all limitations is one which loses all focus. I daresay that if the goal was ever achieved, you couldn't even say it was 'designed' at all, impressive as the result may be.

Besides that, complete freedom to do anything is paralyzing. There's so much that you could do that its hard to be clear about what you should do. Having limits, technical or self-imposed, keeps things near, where they are easier to reason about together, and sometimes by that virtue allows for creative solutions to present themselves, without being passed over for fear of unforeseen circumstances.

Design abhors unnecessary complexity. Limitations naturally curtail it.

#5164427 How do you get ideas for new games?

Posted by Ravyne on 02 July 2014 - 05:05 PM

Lots to consider here.


I think the first thing to realize is that design of any kind is not a fire-and-forget process. It doesn't matter what you're designing, a straight line between inspiration and tangible, universally-loved product simply does not exist. The path is twisty, branching, has many dead ends, and often loops back on itself. Those who believe or seek to prove true that there is a straight line are fools. Not only are these 'time wasters' unavoidable, they are a necessary part of the process. Design is not simply having an idea and making it real, design is taking the seed of an idea, and then exhaustively exploring all the space around it to find what works and what doesn't. You develop ways and ideas that compliment each other, and prune away those that don't, even when they might stand perfectly well on their own. Design is the process of finding form, not dictating it.


The skill to design, then, is not in simply having good ideas, but in being able to recognize ideas that enhance and compliment each other by combining to be something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Megaman isn't fun because he's a robot who moves left to right shooting things and gathering new weapons from bosses -- Megaman is fun because of how he moves through a world filled with a variety of enemies that represent different challenges, and which through their behavior, placement, timing, and environment create a novel, compound challenge on nearly every screen, and how by defeating bosses in a different order allows you, the player, to change those challenge equations.


Finally, its perfectly OK to be derivative of or to refine other games or combinations of other game mechanics, as long as you aren't duplicating them or using IP that's not yours. Romeo and Juliette is a story based on a previous tale, and which has been retold a thousand times since. Its a pattern or Genre of story that speaks well to us, just as there are genres and patterns in movies and games. But these things have to be moving, interesting, or fun to be true to what they are -- take it away and they are no longer the thing they claim to be -- a soulless story is not one worth hearing, a dull movie is not one worth viewing, a boring game is not one worth playing. In the entire space of what could be done, there are infinitely more failures to be found than successes, so if you make those core tenants subservient to your design -- rather than the other way around -- its no wonder that you will find yourself in the weeds with your boring game.


This last notion is not unlike the set of all numbers that exist -- in that set of numbers there exists an infinite amount of irrational numbers, unexpressible and forever repeating, and yet we thing of them as uncommon and not normal. In truth, its the rational numbers, those that have an end and therefore we can express, that we cling to in all we do, despite their cosmically singular rarity. Finding a new design that works is tantamount to discovering a new rational number, and its only natural that it might bare some resemblance to others we already know, or from which we might have learned from to find it.

#5164125 Designing a [Minecraft] RPG system

Posted by Ravyne on 01 July 2014 - 03:15 PM

I highly suggest you take a look at the following free PDF:
It is called RPG Design Patterns and it does a fantastic job at spelling out various RPG systems and how to effectively use them.  I can't emphasize enough what a treasure-trove of information this PDF has been to my designs!


This looks like an excellent document. Props for sharing!

#5164123 Urgent! Interview re-sheduling dilemma

Posted by Ravyne on 01 July 2014 - 03:09 PM

And good luck!

#5164122 Urgent! Interview re-sheduling dilemma

Posted by Ravyne on 01 July 2014 - 03:07 PM

Definitely call and ask about the possibility of rescheduling. Be sure to tell them you've already made plans to attend Develop during that time -- In fact, say 'the Develop Brigthon game dev conference" because you may well be speaking to a receptionist or personal assistant-type, and you want to make sure its not lost in translation that this is something you're doing to grow professionally, and not just turning them down for a day at the beach.


In actuality, it might even be that they're sending staff to the conference themselves to present or scout talent. It's not at all uncommon that they might conduct interviews with individuals at the conference. You might even ask if they plan to do this, and if you could get an interview slot there. Keep in mind though, that those kinds of interviews are brief and are more of a 'lets get this guy off the show floor and see if he's someone we want to interview seriously' kind of thing, and if they're already bringing you in for a deeper interview you may only stand to lose out by 'interviewing' with them at the show, so consider your options carefully if they give you the choice to reschedule or to interview at the show.


If they do have staff at the show, *and* you ran reschedule your on-premises interview for after the convention, do make it a point to meet and introduce yourself to them. Just politely approach them and say "Hi I'm so-and-so, I'm glad to see you here, I'm interviewing with your company next week." and see where the conversation takes you. It never hurts to make your face known, and being at the show will probably even earn you a brownie-point or two -- it certainly won't hurt your case as long as you don't overstay your welcome with them.


If they absolutely can't reschedule and don't have staff at the conference you can interview with, then you might have to miss the conference or eat the cost of an adjusted train ticket, but its highly likely they'll be accommodating and you can cross that bridge when you get there.


Don't sweat any of it though. I see no downsides here.

#5163847 How does resolution work?

Posted by Ravyne on 30 June 2014 - 09:48 AM

The short version is that any game that supports multiple resolutions simply doesn't think in the screen resolution -- instead, all the game logic operates in its own coordinate system, and then after all the processing for a frame is complete, those coordinates are scaled ("projected") to the native resolution. This is similar to what you're already doing if your world or level is bigger than one screen, you just have to add scaling.


Today, with quite a wide variety of not just resolutions, but also aspect ratios (3/4, 2/3, 4/5, 16/9, 16/10, 21/9), you have to deal with that too -- this works the same way, combined with logic to implement appropriate safe-display regions and letter-boxing.

#5163304 What do you think of the agile method?

Posted by Ravyne on 27 June 2014 - 02:57 PM

Frob spoke at some length on the topic, but it bears repeating. The context from which Agile arose was one where Waterfall and similarly-heavy and cumbersome front-loading of project planning was the norm. Agile and other light-weight methods like Extreme Programming/pair programming were almost a rebellion against that. These methods also came into their own alongside the internet startup culture, and its pretty clear to see the influence they had on each other.


Process is one of those things where you have to find the right tools and balance on a case-by-case basis. Its a recipe, not a mandate, you have an idea whether you're more inclined to cake or cookies, but everyone's mom has their own particular take on the recipe that works for their family.


Bruce Lee said "Be like Water, my friend." by which he basically meant pick and choose what works -- and works together -- from all the sources available to you, and don't be tied down to particular disciplines or dogma. Good advice in any context.

#5162420 Backup Software for Small Teams

Posted by Ravyne on 23 June 2014 - 04:45 PM

Restoring data is easy, restoring applications is hard.  Data can be just a matter of copying a file back.  Restoring an application may involve having to totally rebuild a machine.  And if you have any moderately complex/non-trivial customizations, you may as well accept it - you'll never get it back the way it was.  So the solution is to back up everything.  The OS partition, application partitions, data, configurations, everything.


A recent and interesting development in this space, in a *nix environment, is Docker -- Its a system that uses Linux Kernel features to create portable, version'd, application packages complete with their own view of the filesystem and configurations. The idea is that you isolate the applications you rely on into a docker container and the entire configuration is isolated and can be easily transported between systems. You can put something as simple as a DNS server, something like a LAMP or development stack, or even an entire Linux desktop you can access remotely, inside. Configure and build it locally, then push it up to your cloud server if you want, transfer it to another machine, or just backup your containers and restore from catastrophic loss. When you need to reconfigure, you just boot into the container's shell, make your changes through a typical command-line interface, and then commit those changes and restart your container if necessary. Since the containers are versioned, you can also just back out to a working version while you repair any mistakes, or are running tests on your latest changes. You can also mount directories from the host, so you can isolate your app or stack from its storage if you want to back the storage up in more usual ways (say, for example, with a database or Git repository that you back up some other way.)