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Member Since 16 Jan 2008
Offline Last Active Mar 01 2012 09:26 AM

Topics I've Started

Quadtrees for Tower Defense - Target Acquisition

14 February 2012 - 11:52 AM

I'm working on a 2D game on the same vein as Tower Defense games but with a large world, seemless world.

The player(s) will have to react to attacks from different areas of the world and sometimes defend multiple fronts at once.

The problem I have is the idea of hundreds (potentially thousands) of "towers" trying to acquire targets. Also to avoid unnecessary checks when there are no targets within the maximum range. Line-of-Sight is NOT an issue, only whether the target fits within it's range. (some shoot directly forward, some can aim in a cone, etc)

I have been told that Quadtrees might allow me to optimize this system of target acquisition.

Is this true? Are there any articles I should read? Any pitfalls or alternatives?

Additionally, to prevent unnecessary checks, I had the idea that when a hostile unit enters the world, it "activates" all the defenses within a certain radius. And when there are no enemy units around, the defenses shut-down and go into a kind of "sleep" mode. Any thoughts on this?

Hi! My name is...

13 February 2012 - 07:47 PM

Opening Message

Hello world! (how many of us have written that at some point?...)

It occurred to me that:
  • I don't engage in this community nearly enough.
  • I never properly introduced myself
So, first of all, I want to say that it's a great pleasure to be part of such a vibrant community of people who are utterly crazy. You'd have to mad to be involved in game development and I've yet to meet a sane person who is. Makes me feel almost normal by comparison.

Secondly, I hope that I'll be able to share my own wisdom and insight to give back as much as I hope to gain from this community.

Now all that 'formal' rubbish is out of the way, I can introduce myself properly.


Hi, my name is Leon and there is nothing I find more enjoyable than programming games or working on them in ANY way.

It all started with Basic programming on an old Amstrad. Boy that was fun! I always enjoyed programming and figuring things out more than the actual game that I created at the end. I find myself very rarely playing my own games!

Then I got into Visual Basic to teach myself a bit of "real" game programming... how wrong I was! But it gave me insight into all kinds of structures and logic and functions, etc.

So, all these years on. I've written my own versions of Tetris, Pacman, Breakout, Asteroids, Chess, a simple side-scrolling shooter and a simple platformer. I plan to share some of these soon. Most of these are cross-platform and the chess game is networked multiplayer. Really enjoyed playing chess against a friend who was on an iMac!

Also, I worked as a PR Manager for an RTS game called SunAge. As the project was delayed by unforeseen circumstances, it ended up rushed out. This was a major issue as we'd not had time to properly test the game and it went out in a terrible state. Capitalizing on the dire situation, I managed to get the position of Lead QA and quickly organised a team of volunteer testers (money was too tight for paid testers at the time). A month and a half on, we'd squashed such a vast amount of problems that several review sites REWROTE their reviews for the latest patch and gave us scores than were MASSIVELY improved. (If you'd like a copy, feel free to contact me as the game is no longer available in stores.)

Also, I wrote an awful lot of the english text for the SunAge manual and website, being the only native english speaker on the team at the time. My attempt at creative and informative writing! The game story was written before I joined, so you can't blame me for that!

I have two passions:
  • Create enjoyable games with a retro-feel. (I'm sick of shiny, bump-mapped, over-the-top 3d models.)
  • Write and share easy-to-read, well-commented cross-compatible code.
Both of these, I have yet to attain.

So now I've started work on the largest and more complex project I've ever undertaken. And I'm sure most of you will groan but my passion always lay in real-time strategy games, so that is my next project!

I'm here to get a few hints, tips and avoid a few pitfalls. But hopefully I'll find a few places I can help and share wisdom.

Probably uninteresting tidbits
  • I worked with C++ pointers for months without knowing what the heck a "seg fault" was. Kept hearing complaints from friends of mine and I had no idea what they were. Turns out that all of my code prepared for the occurrence and handled it. I'd heard of dangling pointers and null pointers but I didn't know they cause a "seg fault" error until I debugged code that belonged to a friend of mine.
  • I love cross-platform code. As such I've used SDL for most of my projects to wrap the cross-platform code and allow me to concentrate on the game itself. I required a bit more power and switched to using OpenGL as a renderer. So, I wrote an incredibly convoluted piece of code to convert SDL_Surfaces to GLTextures. I still regret that hacky piece of programming to this day.
  • On several occasions I have tried to create games well out of my depth. These include trying to create an RTS as my FIRST EVER PROJECT, attempting a 3d-racing game as my first darkbasic project, failing at an object orientated RPG before I even knew what inheritance was and I'm sure many others.

I hope you enjoyed reading introduction and lastly, Hi!

Technical Game planning advice needed

14 February 2011 - 04:04 AM

I'm working on a game project that I have put off for years, mainly due to the fact that I always assumed it would be "too hard".

But after speaking to a very talented programmer friend of mine about some of the concerns I had, I suddenly realised that not only are they within my grasp but that I'd overcome all those exact problems before.

Anyway, back-story aside... I'm terribad at the planning phase as I'm one of these "quick and fast prototypes" programmers that never stops for a breath. HOWEVER, I aim to change.

Can you recommend any resources for code structure, object planning, etc. Preferably something specific to games with clear examples as these will help me to relate to it more easily.

I've started my writing a list of Objects that will fulfil requirements, alongside which I described the entire responsibility of the object in one sentence. (any more than one sentence is bad design, in my opinion)

All of your help will be greatly appreciated! Feel free to tell me I'm stupid and need to read X, Y and Z before I can even think of calling myself a programmer. haha.


Degree or indie development?

20 January 2011 - 11:34 AM

Hi there,

I'm 23 and have studied almost every single aspect of Games Development over the last 11 years.

I spent a year interning for a company on an RTS title, originally as Community Manager and then as Lead QA, due to my proven in-depth knowledge of the genre.

I've studied and applied C++ and feel confident in using design patterns, STL and pretty much any API that I can get my hands on. I have an understanding of graphics and networking code, although my understanding of physics and lighting is a little underdeveloped.

I feel confident that I can continue to teach myself everything I need to know in C++ and create perfectly reasonable indie games.

My question is simply, should I still do a degree? Even if I land a programming role at a games company, will I forever regret not getting a degree?

I understand that not every single degree = every other degree. The one I was looking at was Computer Games Technology at The University of Abertay.


Games Developers Survey - Please fill in!

24 September 2009 - 04:45 AM

Hi there! I've written a survey to find out what is really needed and wanted by Games Developers, amateur or professional, in any field. At the moment, I'm just gathering as much data as possible but in future I intend to find a way to provide as much of what is needed and wanted as I can. This is really my way of giving back to the Games Industry, but first of all, I need to know what you guys need! Take the survey here: Games/Creative Development Survey [new tab] Feel free to send it to anyone else that you know who is interested in Games Development. [Edited by - TehOwn on September 24, 2009 1:29:53 PM]