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Member Since 03 Nov 2009
Offline Last Active Oct 04 2016 06:47 AM

#5297567 Dynamic sound effects

Posted by on 22 June 2016 - 06:00 AM

Hi all,

I'm part of a team that recently released a game on Steam. Personally I wasn't quite happy with the variety of the sound effects. Watching Let's Plays of our game it became painfully obvious how often the same sound effects repeated, e.g. creature sounds and weapons despite having a few variations of each and using simple pitch shifting.

Has anyone used techniques or assets to increase variation? For example I could imagine breaking a gunshot into different phases (e.g. click, shot, shell ejection, decay) and vary the individual samples/pitches/timing. Creature sounds seems more complex though because I can't see obvious segments, although I have heard that in movies they often compose creature sound effects from a variety of sources layered and transformed separately.


Personally I work in Unity, but I'm open to hearing about general techniques that you've used with other systems.

Any advice appreciated,

#5223070 Air/wind mechanic

Posted by on 13 April 2015 - 08:32 PM

I'd also suggest if you're using animated particles with your particle effect varying the speed the animation is played at, either randomly or as a function of smoothed particle speed.

#5223028 Eve online elements in a medieval setting

Posted by on 13 April 2015 - 04:13 PM

I totally agree with Servant. Mountains and oceans and rivers are natural chokepoints. And you don't need a strict chokepoint always, just one way which is significantly easier so people tend to use it. Let people travel downriver in boats quickly.


Also if it's more fantasy than medieval, keep magic in mind. Portals between the capitals of ancient forgotten cities would be both useful and add some mystery/adventure. Tell people they exist but not where. Have lore books that suggest how the ancients laid out their cities. Someone may find a portal and keep it secret, undercut the market by travelling faster than everybody else. People may realise and tail them. Cue murder, espionage, secrets spilled, regular trade routes, bandits, etc.

#5222833 Ideas about re-designing a game

Posted by on 12 April 2015 - 06:36 PM

Firstly I would ask what has changed? You said it was working well, and then suddenly it's not? Maybe some other change or overly hard content tipped the balance?


Secondly, a few ideas, some of which loosen the permadeathness, so your call on whether it fits or not:

  • Upon death you have the opportunity to embark on an afterlife quest to recover your character. I'm thinking that you start with your character (but significantly nerfed) and you can optionally quest for some of the weapons or abilities that your full character had. If you complete the quest you re-emerge in the main game with whatever you recovered. If you fail, same as your game is now.
  • Same as above, but a special event, e.g. once a month or on Halloween or something you can try to rescue your last/greatest dead character. If you fail you die and both characters are in the pool for the next try.
  • You can quest for (or buy for an obscene amount) a soul trap which traps some of your essence when you die and you can apply the XP from that to your new character.
  • Offer a way to recover something from your old character if you find the corpse.
  • You generate XP faster after death, up to X% of your old character's XP.
  • Lower the chance of death, e.g. some situations that would normally kill you instead destroy a valuable item or temporarily cripple you.
  • Can buy death insurance from a mage, they teleport you out moments before death, but costs an obscene amount.

#5222816 How do you deal with a level that's too hard in your game?

Posted by on 12 April 2015 - 03:28 PM

Hmm, maybe take a leaf from Portal's book. Have two variants of the same level, a nerfed easier one and the crazy hard version. Stick the hard one at the end, make an achievement for it. For any existing players who've already finished it give them the achievement too.

#5221987 Magic vs Melee Mayhem

Posted by on 07 April 2015 - 09:11 PM

It's pretty much covered here, but side-effects and additional requirements are what make it more than a simple numbers game. There are some good suggestions above, here are a few more for wizards:

  • Environmental factors, e.g. fire spells stronger near fire, electricity spells spreading further in water.
  • Recharge type, e.g. power regenerates with time, proximity to artefacts, rest, etc.
  • Geometry aspects, e.g. AOE, chain lightning, homing, etc.
  • Spell success, e.g. failure/side-effects/extra strength based upon performance factors.
  • Preparation requirements, e.g. making scrolls, potions, etc.
  • Limitations, e.g. some classes may only be able to kill (or have weakness against) good/evil opponents.

#5221737 Multi-agent game suggestions

Posted by on 06 April 2015 - 06:36 PM

I can't quite remember the article right now, but there was one that I read about approaches to interactive narrative. They suggested that to allow the player to have a real effect but avoid black and white situations you'd have x parties that have conflicting goals and the player has to resolve it as best they can. Each agent would have multiple pathways to success (or failure) with various preconditions. The actions available may be different for each agent, for example a lawless agent may have the options of kill, steal, kidnap, etc while a lawful agent may have fight, pay ransom, etc. The agents could run some sort of planner, and the player's actions would affect which options were available to the agents and the weights on those options.

#5220832 Unloved colonization

Posted by on 01 April 2015 - 06:07 PM

I would perhaps consider some real world factors, e.g. infrastructure and native population.


Say you capture some land. What do you want to use it for? If you want farming land and it's already farming land, great. If it's farming land and you want to build a military base (or vice versa) a lot of work needs to be done before it will be productive. Therefore it may be strategically worthwhile to capture planets from humanoids who occupy a similar niche to yourself because you can just use their infrastructure, as opposed to a hive intelligence or flying jellyfish. At first it may be worthwhile for the enemy to recapture the planet, but after you have sufficiently destroyed their infrastructure and created your own, it becomes less valuable to them.


Similarly for native population, can you use them for your purposes, and will they sabotage your efforts? Maybe you'll need to kill them all, but then you need to start from scratch.

#5220394 [RTS] How to encourage base-building without the game taking too long?

Posted by on 30 March 2015 - 09:06 PM

Similarly to what Thaumaturge said, I'd suggest non-traditional base-building. For example there are set points where bases can be built and there's a strong drive to discover those locations and build there as soon as possible rather than turtling. After that, you can destroy/take over other's bases. Perhaps the bases are powered by natural resources, e.g. a geothermal vent.

#5219183 Incorporating programming into gameplay

Posted by on 25 March 2015 - 05:18 PM

I think something like behaviour trees in-game could be fun. One essential for me is not allowing the player to break the game, e.g. write scripts that infinite loop etc. Definitely not Turing complete. If your game was based on robots you could actually capture enemy units and harvest new decision/action modules from them to expand your scripts.

#5213716 Stat-stick Syndrome : How to avoid ?

Posted by on 01 March 2015 - 02:30 PM

I can't speak for every game, or for games that I haven't played, but some/many games offer a variety of paths. Going back to an oldie but goody, Fallout 3. You often have a multitude of ways of achieving the same goal:

  • Speech test (stat check)
  • Direct combat (stats + aiming or stats + intelligent use of auto-aim, using chemicals + gear to offer an edge)
  • Tactical combat (kiting, sniping, setting mines, environmental damage, etc)
  • Sneaking to avoid (stat check + positioning and timing)
  • Lockpicking to bypass challenges (stat check + mini-game)

#5207581 Research system idea

Posted by on 29 January 2015 - 07:03 PM

Consider real-world science. Putting 100% effort into one field may simply be ineffective, e.g. a discovery in one field removes a road-block in a related field. You could have some dependencies, e.g. you can't get past 72% in field A unless you have at least 50% in field B or 63% in field C. Another possibility is considering the universities that underpin science. If all your research is into energy weapons, nobody will take biology classes, so when you switch to biology you're handicapped for some time. This would give the option of keeping a baseline level in various fields, writing off whole fields, or strategically capturing a planet which is good at biology to aid your new science goal.

#5207308 Opinion Modifiers: Characters and Populations

Posted by on 28 January 2015 - 06:09 PM

If you want to have interesting dynamics I think it would be nice to store the reasons why. That means that in certain circumstances opinion could turn on a dime, e.g. the political scandal if it turns out that you're an elf using a spell to masquerade as a dwarf, or that you have terrible ulterior motives for what you've done, or that the one big act that got you enough popularity to become king was actually you taking credit for someone else's work. That also means that opinion can change as circumstances change, e.g. you are beloved as a warrior king but you're not at war any more... some affection may remain for your good previous reign, but your support may erode as it's based on war.


It would be a pain with data storage and recalculation though... some optimisation would likely be required.

#5193046 Taking A Group of AI Followers Indoors

Posted by on 15 November 2014 - 07:25 PM

This is perhaps a bit over the top, but there's a nice talk on how Naughty Dog made Ellie as non-annoying as possible in The Last of Us:



Dealing with large numbers of followers... it's a tough problem unless you disable collisions or make the collision volumes tiny. Perhaps in confined spaces have a minimum follow distance. If the player goes too far inside the minimum follow distance, the whole column of followers back up. I think not breaking stealth is quite important, maybe they try to stay in cover if you're sneaking, and the enemies ignore them unless they do anything too blatant.

#5193014 SSAO very dark

Posted by on 15 November 2014 - 02:23 PM

I would say that the SSAO is working somewhat correctly given the reconstructed normal map you showed us. The jagged lines on the cloth perfectly match the jagged lines in the normal map. If you're reconstructing the normals from the depth map I guess you'd get discontinuities at the edges of the polys. Have you got any alternative ways of getting normals?