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Robert Ortiz

Member Since 14 Aug 2009
Offline Last Active Sep 27 2013 05:15 AM

Topics I've Started

Making an Ability both a Curse & a Blessing?

24 August 2011 - 10:44 AM

I've been contemplating an ability mechanic I want to try out, but I can't really figure out how it would balance itself out.

Essentially it's a condition that provides the player with a 'progress/status' bar, indicating the severity of the condition. What I wanted to do, was to provide benefits at higher levels but balance them with negative effects. So while at the beginning, the effects are relatively benign and non damaging, the player can worsen/improve the condition to raise their level, and thus gain alternate powers and negative benefits. There is no combat in the game, and health isn't really a HUGE deal (think Amnesia: the Dark Descent). The condition at various stages would basically serve as an alternate means of solving some puzzles, allowing for a secondary solution that can be utilized or outright dismissed according to the player's playstyle.

I've got a few different benefits to try, but because health isn't an issue and there is no combat, what could some of the negative aspects be? Messing with their UI/GUI? At the highest stage of the condition, I've speculated that the player will actually be able to go through certain walls at the cost of health (I know I said health isn't a big issue, but it still exists) but I want there to be some other negative aspect to accompany it since if they are able to figure it out and mitigate the damage taken by going through walls with stock-piled health items, I don't want it to be something that can be abused -- although maybe there is still a way to go around this second negative aspect? The condition itself sort of serves as a puzzle in a way, which is why I don't want it to be picked up and then just abused -- it has to be carefully manipulated. And there is a way to lower the condition, and for it to be raised so they can manipulate the levels if they need to. I just haven't figured out how many stages/levels there should be.

Any thoughts/suggestions? Did I just say all of this and not make a lick of sense?

What Would You Need for a Solar System Simulation?

19 August 2011 - 05:20 PM

I am interested in creating something that is very similar to a solar system simulation -- the creation, movement and effects of what is present in the simulation is important.

Ex. If a Supernova occurred and there were surrounding planets and stars, the engine/graphics/etc would need to know how and what it is supposed to do.

Further, a part of this 'simulation' is the ability to create a system or galaxy, and the engine/graphics/physics/etc. would need to be able to allow for the logical processes, effects and other etcetera that occur (forming stars, making stars/suns go supernova, etc).

So with that said, this would be something to be used on the iPad and iPhone, using gestures similar to what a mousepad would offer + some (pinching, pulling, flicking, etc.).

- What engine(s) would be best for creating this program
- What languages would be best for creating this program
- What software would be best for generating the effects/graphics (lights, particles, gaseous forms)
And is there anything else I would need to know or consider in the pursuit of this program?

Because I am asking these questions, it's possible that what I've mentioned is not feasible for the console I mentioned; if that's the case, please let me know.


How do you write a GDD?

11 August 2011 - 09:36 AM

Question: "How do I, as a writer and game developer, create a thorough enough GDD without understanding the programming aspect of the game?"

I'd like to create story outlines and GDDs for the ideas I currently have, for use as either samples with my resume or for (ideally) potential projects down the line. The problem is that I do not program but would like to include game mechanics and other relevant etcetera in the document; it's my assumption that if I were able to gather the necessary team components to work on one of these games, that the information I have supplied will be sufficient to explain the general idea.

Now, my dilemma stems from the fact that I have no way of knowing whether or not a game mechanic is feasible for a programmer to accomplish, nor do I understand the difference between the different game engines and how these might affect the game in the grander scheme. It's not practical for me at this time to learn programming, or to learn the 'fundamentals' of these engines mostly due to time constraints and existing work I have. As a writer, however, I am capable of producing everything else outside of the programming aspects of the GDD. But is that enough?

So, why do I bring the programming aspects up? I've seen examples of GDDs and the majority of their content seemed to be technical -- and I want to know if a GDD without the technical specs is worth anything in the 'bigger picture'. I believe that, yes, it would, but I'd like to know more about composing these documents solo with what abilities I actually possess. I'm sure any foundation is useful in the creation of a game, especially one that is organized and laid out in easy-to-understand language. Yet again, I'm curious to know if I have the wrong impressions or if anyone else can shed any light on this topic.

Beginner Pixel Artist

09 January 2011 - 08:00 PM


I first want to say that I know there are probably a dozen helpful threads on this topic, which I will definitely get to, but I wanted to post this question to get a specific answer off the bat that I didn't have to search for or stumble upon.

I'm interested in getting into game artwork (mainly 2D pixel, with an interest in venturing into Isometric art, similar to games like Fallout 1,etc) but I'd like to know if that's possible to do, successfully, without any knowledge of programming knowledge. I've installed Gimp, Blender and Inkscape and Blender at least mentioned Python, which I think is a programming language (correct me if that's wrong) -- which is something I don't care to venture into. I've got a full time job, I enjoy writing first and foremost but learning to create interesting and useful art for games is something I'd like to add to me repertoire (and is something I would have the time and energy to do, unlike programming). So, here are my actual questions:

1) Is it possible to create isometric art and basic pixel art (characters, backgrounds, etc, etc) withOUT knowing ANY programming? I don't know if I would be required to actually create 3D characters for these purposes, but I'm just mentioning this because of the Python-deal with Blender. I know I can use MSPaint to create basic pixel art, so this is more towards the isometric artwork.

2) To go a step further from the above question --- is it possible to create usable art for a game without understanding how it will be implemented, program-wise? What I mean by this is, say I want to propose a game project; I produce a portfolio of art for everything needed -- I just need someone to do the programming. Would I normally be able to just provide them with the art and have them do what they need to? Or would I have to create the art more closely to the programmer/programming?

I don't think I've adequately phrased my questions, but hopefully someone understands them and can shed a little light on their answers.

And to summarize: I just want to be able to create art for games --- no complex PS3 type graphics, but mostly 2D/Pixel/Isometric art: Something that would require mostly drawing and no programming (although if it's really limited/basic/rudimentary programming, I may entertain it but only if I can't avoid it). And if that seems like an unreasonable/impossible request, please let me know and I'll reevaluate my goals on the matter.

Tabletop Wargame with only a -single- unit?

17 May 2010 - 12:18 PM

I've only recently read up on games like Warhammer and I began to wonder if a wargame would be possible but rather than a player have access to multiple units, they had only 1 customizable one? (Sort of like a real world pokemon, if you think about it). What would make it a game people would want to play if you could only have one unit? Would that one unit have to be very unique and customizable? Would it just be boring to control only one unit? Would it depend on the way combat was handled? With only a single unit, I can't imagine if you would still have terrain but then if positioning didn't matter, what would you be doing? Standing at a table holding a large figurine? Consider a sort of "mech" wargame in which each player can 'create and customize' their own mech unit and they pit their mech unit against other players' . People could even join together in tag-team or team matches. I'd like to hear from everyone, including people who currently or have in the past played tabletop wargames.