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Member Since 23 Feb 2001
Offline Last Active Today, 02:30 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Aspiring Game Developer straight outta College

05 February 2016 - 04:13 PM

#1 tip: Start SUPER simple. Make an asteroids game. Make Pong. Or Breakout. If you get more advanced, make Pacman. Look at a lot of the old atari games and create them, but add your own art and design one or two variations to the rule set. At the best, this is what you should expect to be able to make straight out of school, and its a lot harder than it sounds.


#2 tip: Never quit, never give up. You'll get frustrated. You'll feel like you suck and you'll never be able to do it. Acknowledge that feeling, but keep working at it. When I first started programming C++ in high school, I got a low C in my course. I felt disappointed and as if I could never get it. I kept trying my best though, and eventually got better. I also needed to take lots of math. Math was never my strength in school. I performed poorly in pre calc 2 and took it about 4 times. I must be a slow learner. A lot of people would give up, but I didn't. As a consequence, I got four times as much practice as anyone else at pre-calc. Today, if I have to do math, I jump right in with excitement. I love it and I'm thirsty for more techniques and appreciate the beauty which hides beneath it. Perserverance is one of the secrets to success you must have. If you want to be a game developer, you have to make a life long commitment to do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes.

#3: you'll get lots of rejection early in your career. Deal with it. We all get it at first. Don't give up. Keep working.

#4: Bring something valuable to the table, in terms of a skill which directly contributes to the production of a game. Do you do programming? 3D modelling? Animation and rigging? textures? website design and marketing? finance? project management? game design? How do you help push the game out the door? Do NOT be an "idea guy". Fuck that guy, he's utterly worthless.


#5: Manage expectations and manage scope creep.


#6: Keep the morale of your team high, because morale is the steam which pushes the production forward. To keep morale high, make lots of visible progress as fast as possible. Every day, something new should be visible. New people need that fast feedback loop (including yourself) between work done and reward received.

In Topic: Are you getting the oculus rift?

13 January 2016 - 06:37 PM

Shameless plug: Everyone should get an Oculus Rift so that you can play my game! I recorded this high res video this afternoon. (11:23)

In Topic: Are you getting the oculus rift?

12 January 2016 - 09:32 PM

The developer version is $3000.

Whelp, I know what platform I'm not going to be developing on and for any time soon. Microsoft is going to have to get content on their hardware platform to make it an attractive purchase for end consumers, and the end consumers are going to be looking at ways to get functional use out of the hardware, and that means they'll buy the hardware based on available content. If the content just isn't there... the billions MS is investing into hololens will be wasted. It might just be a prudent business move to hand out a couple thousand hardware devices to vetted developers to spur the growth of the content ecosystem instead of trying to get back $3m in hardware production costs.

In Topic: Are you getting the oculus rift?

06 January 2016 - 02:37 PM

In fact, something else just occurred to me which is so simple I'm surprised it didn't pop up before - taking a drink.

I tend to keep a pint glass of water on my desk, long gaming sessions requiring fluids and all that - right now if I want a drink its a relatively simple matter of grabbing the glass.. with a headset on this suddenly becomes yet another chore :|

I've got some experience with this and the DK2 smile.png My game lets you use the leap motion input device, so you can do stuff in game by wildly waving your arms out in front of you. This has some safety issues with regards to hot beverages and monitors (particularly with throwing motions and punching things). If I need to drink my coffee, I generally just lift up my head and look down the bridge of my nose. There's a very small gap in the DK2 which lets me see where my hands are on the keyboard or in proximity to a coffee cup.

I haven't experienced the Rift or similar headsets but it does seem like it'd be pretty cool. Slaymin's screenshot got my imagination going of what it might feel like being so close to the end boss in his game. Being immersed in a game this way is something that I would love to experience however I can't quite shake the sense that there's limitations with user interactions that would become frustrating. Either the body tracking or limited real world available space to move would probably break the experience of standing next to a massive monster that's ready to rip my head off. I'm pretty sure that this stuff would be worked out by 2nd gen though and by then I'd absolutely want it to play whatever incarnation Fallout might be on.

Yay! Honorable mention! I've worked hard to make that boss monster as scary and intimidating as possible. He's really big! When you look at him in VR, he's about 20 feet tall and about as wide. I didn't want his appearance to be the only part of him which is daunting, he needs to *sound* scary as well. Each time he takes a footstep, he sounds like a massive dinosaur stomping the ground. He runs a bit like an ape, so his fists bump the ground and make a slightly more subtle fist bumping sound. He also roars a lot. When it comes to sound, it's pretty convincing that he's real. The final thing to sell his scariness is his behaviors. He will grab nearby zombies and bite their heads off and throw aside their corpses as if they were rag dolls. If he's surrounded by zombies, he smashes the ground and one-hit kills everyone nearby. As a player observing him from a distance, he looks like someone you really don't want to mess with. If he sees you, he will stop everything he is doing and charge at you. If you're walking, you can't outrun him. If you sprint, you go slightly faster than he does, but you run out of breath in 3 seconds. It is actually kind of terrifying to have a really scary looking dude charging toward you, crashing through everything because he wants to grab you and eat you, and knowing you just might not quite get away alive. Like, "whoa shit!!! RUN!!!" type of scary. Even I get a little thrilled when he chases me in debug mode.

The other aspect of VR people may miss is this idea of 'personal space' we tend to take for granted. In real life, we all have a bubble centered around us, where if something enters into it, we feel like it's invading our space. The radius of this personal space differs by culture. You can see this privacy bubble in action if you stand up really close to a stranger, or a stranger does it to you. Someone will get uncomfortable and step back a bit. This doesn't happen in traditional FPS games because you're looking at the game world through a window. But in VR, you step into the game world and game characters can come right up to you and invade that personal space. In my game, zombies will charge at you and get right up in your face and try to swing their arms at you or eat you. They invade your personal space / bubble and it feels kind of intense, particularly when you're surrounded on all sides. Through play testing, I've found that players tend to press the "back" button a lot when zombies are chasing them. In response, I've slowed down the speed of backward movement by 50% so the zombie is always right there - and you're constantly just barely out of his reach.

I don't need jump scares to thrill people in VR ;)

In Topic: Are you getting the oculus rift?

04 January 2016 - 10:03 PM

I have the DK2 right now and it is sufficient for developing my VR game on it for the time being. I am in no rush to purchase another VR headset at the moment, though that may change in the future when we know more about the Oculus Touch controllers and their capabilities.

I'm pretty interested in seeing what this upcoming HTC Vive announcement is going to be about. It's a bit of a wild card, so it's prudent to wait and see rather than rush into any early commitments.


I've been working on a VR game for almost a year now. I think the developer who knocks it out of the park will be the one who doesn't think of VR as just fancy goggles. VR is more than just a headset which gives you stereoscopic 3D. It's a bit of a UX design paradigm shift, where the focus moves towards creating highly interactive and immersive environments. Immersion is more than just what you can see with your eyes, it's about involving as many senses as possible to convince people into believing that everything they see, hear and touch is real. Some of the tricks you can get away with in traditional games no longer works in VR (large quads, large point sprites, lots of UI, etc). VR also introduces some new tools a designer can work with that no other medium can do:
-Give players a true sense of scale for the size of an object
-Everyone has a range of 'private' space which surrounds them. If someone else invades it, it's either a threat or something intimate (which can also be creepy).
-Your ability to look at things becomes another form of input (ie, gaze selection)

-Touch input controllers can create some really new ways to interact with the game / environment



There are some hardware issues with the existing VR hardware which get resolved with hardware updates.


-The resolution sucks
-It makes me dizzy (or it was the crappy laptop)



-The resolution has been improved, but still kinda sucks. You can't see small distant objects very well.
-The LCD causes smearing and ghosting when you have a high contrasting color change (black->white)
-It's kinda heavy and hurts the bridge of my nose

Dev Kit Vive:
-The resolution is almost perfect
-It's very light weight and comfortable in comparison to DK2
-The hand controllers are very responsive and there is minimal occlusion issues.
-it's kinda big and bulky on your face. You only notice this if you move your hands very close to your head (such as to pull back an arrow on a bow and aim it).



I think the biggest problem with VR right now is the lack of high quality content. With proper investment from the hardware companies and success of early adopters, that won't be a problem forever. From what I've seen, most of the VR content at the moment is simplistic. That may be because it's very new for a lot of developers and all the good stuff probably hasn't been announced yet. Once the VR content ecosystem gets a lot more fleshed out with VR games, movies, and apps, it will be the must-have hardware platform. Right now, everyone is learning about how to use this new medium effectively. To put it into film industry terms, the VR industry is currently doing silent black and white film with charlie chaplin.

I'm most excited about pushing the bounds on the narrative story telling capabilities VR offers. I think there's a lot of unturned ground waiting to be found in terms of narrative techniques and immersion.