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Member Since 27 Jan 2010
Offline Last Active Jul 19 2016 10:00 AM

#5116600 Alchemy System, what would make alchemy fun?

Posted by on 12 December 2013 - 06:41 PM

For me, the most important thing is that the products be useful enough to justify the trouble of collecting the ingredients and spending the time needed to make them. After that, I always like to see a broad range of possible effects (by broad I mean more than just "Potion of fire damage" vs. "Potion of frost damage").


After that, I like lots of different mechanisms involved in the process that behave in different ways and possibly affect ingredients differently, just like real chemistry. It's fun to need distillation apparatus of a certain quality, or with certain intermediate components or conditions needed to extract some compound from an ingredient. So a big part of the alchemy piece of the game becomes building, stocking, and maintaining a lab so that you can make the things you want.


Finally, I always like crafting processes to be part of a larger aspect of the game. This becomes more important to me the more grinding is required. Something like a store where NPCs can come to commission things for you to make, or buy from a selection of wares you've already produced sounds like fun to me. If there's some kind of reputation system in which you can become better known by making better products and then charge higher prices or get access to better NPC customers that would be even more fun for me.

#5114234 Any Game Makers Here?

Posted by on 04 December 2013 - 12:11 AM

All of the technical stuff is just busy work to bring a game into fruition. I would rather bypass all the programming and modeling and stuff and just have my game pop out of a microwave oven so that I can play it ASAP. 
In fact, I would rather the whole technical process be skipped (wouldn't we all)? 
Talk Game Theory and Game Mechanics, and then you are talking game design


I don't see many posters here who are interested in just discussing game mechanics or other design features. I do see a large number of people who want to make their specific dream game, right now, no matter how much thought they've given to the actual design of it. There's nothing wrong with that on a public forum, but until they start developing the skills needed to produce the game it's all just fluff and no amount of design discussion will get them even a single step closer to what they want. Maybe your approach is different from what I'm interpreting it to be, but I personally think it would be kind of cruel to prod people into developing their designs into the greatest concepts ever just to know that, at the end of all that, they still won't be able to even begin to make it.


I do see lots of suggestions that people with nothing beyond a fleshed-out game design try prototyping with board games or pen-and-paper games, which sounds like it would fit pretty well with what you're advocating. But the vast majority of the "I want to make a game!!!" posters here seem extremely resistant to that. Whatever their individual reasons, they want a video game, generally at a level that might as well be a AAA title given how much they can actually do to produce it. If it's not a step that moves them an inch closer to a playable video game, they won't even pretend to consider it.


Maybe you'll have better luck. But I personally see all too many people come here already with "game ideas" who don't care about, or intend to develop, programming skills or other practical game-making skills at all. Unfortunately, discussion of game design and mechanics doesn't seem to interest them much either. It's just not what most beginners seem to come here for.

#5109627 Thoughts on Elevating "A Link to the Past" gameplay to F2P Model?

Posted by on 15 November 2013 - 08:46 PM



That's all well and good, but the thing is that it doesn't help Orymus3 pay the bills. Ultimately, a free-to-play game hopes to make the dev some money, and if that's the case the goal is to somehow entice players to buy something. Once you've gone down that path, your design -- which ought to include 'monetization design' pretty-much necessarily *shouldn't* reward players just for being good or persistent -- all that really does is say "I give my game away to people who are good or have more time than you. You're terrible or have better things to do, so you have to pay." If your goal is to make money, there's no reason to preferentially incentive good/persistent players in this way over any other type of player; if your goal is to have a large, happy user base, you ought to just make the thing free, period.


... [other good points and information] ...


Now, from the sound of it, what Orymus3 has is a single-player, non-social, (probably) largely non-persistent adventure game, and to be frank that seems to be kind of a perfect storm for the free-to-play model -- "successful" games in this vein might be popular but make very low return-per-player (the big boys call it ARPU, Average Revenue Per User) so they subsist on the shear size of their user base. If you cannot achieve such a large user base, low ARPU won't be paying your bills. With a lower user base, you need to maximize ARPU if money is a goal, and that means creating monetization potential in the game -- integrating social aspects, multi-player, persistence, and designing to encourage steady purchase of consumables (which includes, of course, pricing them fairly).



I fail to see how my suggestion about speed-repairing items is materially different from yours regarding "Easy mode" amulets and spare ammo. If a player is interested in speeding things up, they can pay real money. If not, they can grind doing something else while their equipment is repaired or they can just wait. If they're grubbing through monster corpses for stray arrows because arrows are necessary to the game but you have the binary choice of "grind for ages and hope" vs. "spend $3" the same good-players-play-cheaper is still in force: good players will need fewer arrows and therefore not have to grind as much. Good players will be able to avoid fire traps in dungeons and therefore not need to pay for an amulet as much. Or they'll have less need for extra inventory slots. Or they'll need to buy fewer healing potions. Or whatever else. Purchases that make the game easier inherently favor the less skilled or less patient players, and have less appeal for the best players.


And there are exactly zero elements in my suggestion that would conflict with any other mode of real money content purchases. If the approach is similar (in practical terms) to other difficulty-reducing sales schemes, the ARPU value of the feature and game overall should be the same in either case.


Would you be willing to elaborate a bit more on the differences between the approaches we've outlined? It may be just because I'm not too plugged into the business end of things or paying much for F2P games, but I'm not seeing the divergence.

#5109597 Thoughts on Elevating "A Link to the Past" gameplay to F2P Model?

Posted by on 15 November 2013 - 06:35 PM

I have two ideas:


1. Items or abilities that the player can get which can be preserved through skillful play, but which can be damaged and rendered unusable or much less effective through less skillful play. These can be repaired by some in-game mechanic for free (in real money) but take time to do so. Players can pay real money for an instant fix. They can play the game either way, but may not be able to access certain areas or will just have a harder time without the items or abilities.


For this I'm inspired by the Master Sword from Link to the Past, where if you keep your life meter full it shoots beams. But if you make a mistake and take a hit, the sword is still good but suddenly less effective than you know it can be. I like mechanics like this because you can have everything without spending any money but in exchange you have to become good at the game. I get double satisfaction-- I'm good at the game, and my skill lets me enjoy "deluxe" features for free!


2. Minions! I always love having commandable minions in a single player game. A minion might be able to do dull tasks for the player (like rounding up arrows or other disposable items, with some exposure to danger while getting them) or maybe accompany the player in dungeons. Minions can be developed by grinding, just like the player character, but the player might also be able to just buy a better minion right from the start.


I never like the idea of having features locked away because I haven't paid, such as dungeons and equipment, even in a F2P game where that sort of attitude doesn't make sense. I feel a greater sense of investment from my time than from a few dollars, and if I've played every part of a game that's available for free it always rankles a bit to have to go through the formality of spending a couple bucks for what feels like such a small expansion of the experiences I've already had. If I get almost the whole game for free, it's odd to pay $2 just for a grappling hook.

#5109348 Being Relevant in a MMO

Posted by on 14 November 2013 - 09:02 PM

This totally breaks the model of the MMO though. It is by and large an "endless repetition" genre of game, and "completing" the game by finishing everything in a given server destroys that. And you lose a lot of scope to do things like be a merchant, show off rare equipment, etc. Plus, what happens when Player A doesn't log on for a week and returns to find that the server has been cleared? What content remains for him or her then? If the total server population is only 100 players, wouldn't the world seem desolate and empty unless every single player was online then too?


From what you've written I think you might be coming at this from the wrong angle. You don't want a pared-down MMO, you want an MO (multiplayer online), which is really just single-player++ deluxe. If Skyrim had a co-op mode it sounds like that would be most of what you want.

#5109334 SFML

Posted by on 14 November 2013 - 08:00 PM

Have you used SFML, would you please provide your honest feedback on using it?


I really like SFML. It's a well designed API, it's well documented, and I find it very easy to use.




What if I spend a ton of time using it, then they don't support it anymore am I basically screwed? I guess I'm basically concerned about the future of it.


This isn't very important. Even if support for it stops, the libraries will keep working, they just won't be updated. If you're looking for an API that will be continuously supported until you die, then programming isn't for you because there's no reason to believe that there will be an eternal anything. Plus, the skills you learn will be broadly transferrable to other APIs, and learning a new one won't be so tough that you should trade SFML for it now (plus, you have no guarantee of never-ending support for that alternative either).




I don't see how they make revenue from SFML as it appears free? What's keeping it from collapsing or not being maintained


It's not a revenue-focused effort. Laurent (the developer) likes coding and maintains the code base largely on his own for his own purposes. It isn't his career.




Will games programmed in SFML work with on Windows RT?


No idea. A question this specific is probably best investigated at the SFML site's forum. If it isn't covered there already, Laurent will get back to you on it in no time.




SFML vs. GDI+? Seems like GDI+ is harder, but I already know GDI well, and seems like GDI+ has a solid future, would it make more sense for me to stick with GDI+?


It makes sense to stick with what you know unless you either want to learn something new or need a feature that what you already know doesn't have. If you know and are skilled with GDI+, what are your reasons for looking for something else? Answering this will help you figure out what to do now, but I'll mention that it never hurts to be able to use multiple resources.


You can't tell the future of GDI+ any better than SFML, so don't worry about how solid you imagine the future of either to be.




Not SFML question but I’ll ask here anyways, I know Poser already, what other program(s) are generally used to make nice smooth looking graphics like  in Angry Birds or Cut the Rope or is this really just the artist being great and using any program?


I know that Photoshop, Illustrator, and GIMP are all popular. But I think that you're right in that it's more about the artist being skilled and knowing how to use a given program than any program being "better" than others.




Does SFML support touch screen? Can it be encorporated?


Another good question to ask Laurent, if it's not already on the forums.

#5107317 refractoring some code

Posted by on 05 November 2013 - 06:53 PM

I'll ask you a couple of questions that might help:


Which method or methods in your code renders things to the screen?




In the code segments you've posted, where is it that you think the player ship should be rendered to the screen? I don't mean which method or code block do you think should handle that, I mean which method calls do you think would cause the player ship to be rendered as the program runs?




Which method, when called, would render the player ship?




What are you intending to do/doing when loading content into Player?




There are some other issues, not necessarily related to the problem you're asking about. For example, why does Player inherit from Game? Doing something like this would cause all kinds of issues when trying to draw game components, but all of that is secondary to the fact that in no way is Player a descendant of Game.


It seems like you're maybe punching a bit above your weight on this one. I strongly suggest working on a much smaller and simpler project than this 3D spaceship bit, and ideally do it without a tutorial. From what I see here, I don't think that you have a strong enough command of programming to tackle something this big and complicated just yet.

#5107038 I'm stuck, haven't gotten any better at programming in months

Posted by on 04 November 2013 - 07:01 PM

First off:


Since quitting I have been much worse, possibly due to PAWS


You are not qualified to diagnose yourself with anything, and your proximity to the issue makes you an even less reliable judge of your own condition. Congratulations on managing to abstain on your own, it's something most people can't do at all. That alone says a lot about your willpower and ability to overcome your own issues. But see a doctor or rehab specialist as soon as is feasible. NOTHING is as important as your sobriety. There is no reason not to utilize every tool and aid available to you right from the start.


Most normal people reading this probably won't quite know what I mean, and it's hard to explain. The best way I can explain it is that I consciously know what I want and need to do, and understand that it's going to take effort and I'll have to spend time doing things I don't want to do, I totally comprehend that and definitely think the reward is worth the effort I know I'll have to put in, but when it comes time to actually put in the effort I freeze. I struggle against myself in my own head and almost always lose. It wouldn't be inaccurate to say it feels as if there is another me in my head that I fight against for control of my actions, and the other me always forces me to submit.


I'll preface this by saying that I won't claim I know exactly what you're describing. If you can break a chemical addiction, you can handle this. But by defining the problem as one that you inherently lose, it's one that you'll never beat. I don't doubt that there are strategies you can deploy that will help you overcome this sort of thing, but I can't give much more specific advice because the only detail about the problem that I have is your assertion that it's unbeatable. Well, if you're right, then the problem is insurmountable and by definition you will never be able to deal with it. However, I think that you're wrong and that you can deal with it. Even so, you won't be able to do so until you can at least stop defining it as insurmountable.


With that out of the way, I'm sure that you don't need me to point out that this sounds exactly like the depressive stage of bipolar disorder. Exactly like it. It's unfortunate (though not uncommon) that you had a bad experience with the previous medication. But there is more than just that one out there, and a doctor can help you find one that has minimal (or at least manageable) side effects. If you choose to go without medication, then you'll have to try to ride out the depressive phase and hope that you can handle a manic phase, if and when one occurs. I'm a little confused when you say that you are "most likely bipolar", as a doctor gave you medication before strongly suggests that he or she formally diagnosed you, but no matter what the situation it sounds like this is something to bring to a doctor again.


And I don't have time to wait for it to be over to start doing anything.


From what you're describing, there's no passive piece to your current situation. Don't just wait and assume that stuff will get better on its own, especially with the specifics that you've mentioned.



Now, finally, I'll say that lack of motivation to do programming on your own as a hobby isn't at all unusual. I know that I get it from time to time, because there are far more relaxing ways to spend what little free time I have these days than engaging in a complicated and very cerebral activity. I know other people on this site go through similar phases as well. If that's all it is for you, then it's nothing much to worry about. Based on the stuff you described above, I wouldn't just assume that it's standard lack of motivation.

#5106154 Dividing by zero, on purpose

Posted by on 31 October 2013 - 09:59 PM

I usually just put in a breakpoint and watch to see if it's hit or not. If I have something more complex, I debug in the console and have each block print a message each time it's executed, which lets me home in on what I'm looking for pretty quickly. The latter is also nice for hunting down more specific issues inside of a block, rather than just seeing if it's executing or not.


I've never thrown in a line meant to give my compiler a conniption, but I guess that would work as well as anything else.

#5105524 Your Average Beginner Game Maker

Posted by on 29 October 2013 - 05:29 PM

I have used gamemaker before and i have also made some flash games. 


any good tutorials i could look at for visual studio to make a game engine?


This may sound harsh, but I'm going to recommend against everything in the second line quoted above. Here's my rationale, piece-by-piece:


1. Tutorials. These are fine, particularly for beginners and for very specific subject matter. However, I've noticed that beginners  tend to over-rely on the tutorial format. Tutorials have plenty to recommend them, but they tend to prevent learners from really thinking about what they're doing. This is the opposite of what is needed to be a good programmer. Far, far better is to focus on learning the basics of your chosen language and making small things (ideally with minimal use of tutorials) and decide for yourself how your software should be structured based on your knowledge and experience. There are a ton of tutorials on the internet. There are far fewer that are worth your time, and you are unlikely to be able to tell the difference at this point.


2. Visual Studio is a minor piece of the puzzle. There are plenty of "get to know Visual Studio" types of videos and articles out there, so have a look at them to become familiar with the IDE. However, the particulars of the Visual Studio environment have very little to do with producing a game, or any other sort of software. If you limit your research to demonstrations in Visual Studio, as opposed to information in your chosen language generally, you will have a harder time finding stuff that you're trying to do. Code written in Visual Studio will look the same as code scribbled out in Notepad.


3. You'll hear this expression often: "Make games, not engines." When beginners say "game engine", they mean "the stuff I need to make a game". When others hear "game engine", they hear "a piece of software with defined functionality that can be used to create games within the constraints of the engine's design", or something like that. As a beginner, you aren't equipped to make a game engine in the sense of a flexible piece of software that can be applied generally to different game projects. Your focus, instead, should be on creating the individual pieces needed to create your game, one at a time, as needed to add each additional feature.


The project you've got in mind is far bigger, more complicated, and more difficult than you are probably imagining. I say that not because I know anything about you, but because that's just about always the case for people just starting out. Have a look around here, there's a good amount of information that you can use to get started.

#5104462 Strictly Dominant Strategies and the Tech Tree

Posted by on 25 October 2013 - 03:27 PM


...it's about advancing to the next tech level OR expanding to a new city OR building up a fleet OR increasing your espionage abilities or any number of other things.


...Because everything can be boiled down to money, you have a real tradeoff - you have lots of other things to use money for. Buying more expensive rifes for your troops, or better missiles for your battleships, means you have less money to use everywhere else...[But] Games generally do a mediocre-to-poor job of representing this opportunity cost.
These two observations about opportunity cost make a convincing argument against the use of Research Points or any other separate and exclusive technology currency.
Games like Civilization V and Space Empires IV use Beakers/Research Points, which removes the opportunity cost. Normal resources that are spent on expanding a city, building a fleet, increasing espianoge, etc. cannot be used to purchase tech research. But in games like Starcraft and Command & Conquer the player spends currency that is used to build units and buildings in order to develop new technology.



I haven't played either of the games you mention, but in most 4x games isn't there a direct relationship between research points and income? I remember in Civ IV you allocated some portion of your income to research, meaning you couldn't spend it on anything else. Also, you can invest your cash in research-producing buildings, but that investment then can't be spent on anything else, plus you have to pay maintenance on the building. So the opportunity cost is still there, it's just not a "point of sale" kind of investment, like in the RTS games you mentioned.

#5104225 Strictly Dominant Strategies and the Tech Tree

Posted by on 24 October 2013 - 07:00 PM

To me, a dominant strategy (in the sense of a specific technology being a must-have in order to avoid losing) is a symptom of poor design. Fortunately, it's also pretty rare in my experience.


I think that your interpretation of dominance is overly narrow. If we're talking about lasers always being better than projectiles, then lasers dominate projectiles because there's never a reason to choose the inferior technology. But the strategy space in a game is far larger than choosing Tech A or Tech B. In Galactic Civilizations II, Death Rays are vastly dominant over all other weapon technology in terms of performance, and by the time you can get them cost is mostly irrelevant. But games rarely get to the point that you could research Death Rays without either losing to another player or explicitly passing on other opportunities to win in other ways.


It's generally not about Tech A vs. Tech B (though that choice exists as well), it's about advancing to the next tech level OR expanding to a new city OR building up a fleet OR increasing your espionage abilities or any number of other things. Tech-turtling may well lock you into Tech A vs. Tech B scenarios, but few games lock the player into a tech-turtle play style in the first place.

#5103549 How do I go about starting my idea?

Posted by on 22 October 2013 - 05:38 PM

So first, I only know one language and i'm still learning via an AS Computing course and that is .NET, Do you reckon it's feasible to make a game in this? I've looked at it and seen potential but I feel like there may be some complications.


Yes, it's feasible and common enough. I'm going to go out on a limb, since I don't have a very precise idea of your programming abilities, but based on what you shared I think that the complications of a given language in the context of programming games (or mini-games, game demos, whatever) are way beyond anything you might realistically produce at this point. For all intents and purposes, whatever .NET language you're using will be extremely similar to any other language you might choose.


Secondly, How do I keep myself motivated? I've attempted this in the past and got somewhere then given up because I feel like if it saw the light of day everyone would think my idea/game is crap! What are your tips? How can I keep flowing and positive about what i'm doing?


Choose small projects that you can complete in a reasonable amount of time. For example, make a functional copy of the initial screen of the Clicking Bad game you linked to. So, the player can cook or sell, with a counter tracking cash on hand. Once that's working you can add other features if you want, or move on to a different project.


Nothing is as motivating to a beginner (at least in my own case) as a successfully implemented feature, and nothing as de-motivating as a lot of work with nothing to demonstrate yet. A small, crappy game that is nevertheless complete and functional is far better than a bigger game that is only 1/4 done. A common theme here among newcomers (and this describes me as well) is that they choose a project which is too large and complicated for their skill level, toil away at it, and give up.


A big thing to remember is that you can reuse game features, ideas, and code from your projects as often as you want. So even if you're not totally happy with your first game, you can extract the pieces you like for another project, and you'll be that much closer to finished right from the start. You can (and will) also remove pieces of games you make because they are too complicated, don't work as you intended, aren't fun, and any number of other reasons.


In the same way that your handwriting might have been bad when you first learned to do it, your first game will probably not be stellar. But you won't improve your programming or game design skills unless you apply them, make mistakes, and learn from what you've done.


If you have more or more specific questions, always feel free to post back here. This is a friendly and accommodating community, and lots of people here would be happy to help with any issues, no matter how general or specific.

#5084814 What's your opinion on Game Makers?

Posted by on 10 August 2013 - 06:23 PM


I think the more salient question is: why do you care what other people are doing on their own time? Personally I don't like sour cream, but I don't get angry if a stranger orders a burrito with it.


Because it makes me feel useless when I code. It makes programming seem pointless. It makes me feel as if I've wasted the last 3 years of my life learning to program.



Based on your previous posts in this thread, how can you possibly think that? You've already thrown out the arbitrary distinction that Unity and UDK are acceptable because they are used to make high-quality games. By extension, the only reason you would not like other game making software, tools, libraries, etc., is because you think the games they produce are not high-quality, or else they would be "allowed" as well. If this assertion holds (I don't think it does, but again, you have stated that you hold it) then the difference between a game made with "acceptable" help and "unacceptable" is quality. Which means that you haven't wasted your time programming because programming is required to make a high-quality game as you have defined that category of game.


If that assertion doesn't hold, and a game can be of any quality no matter how it is produced, then your position is pretty weak. Your stated reason for your preferences doesn't match your criteria, and from the tone of your posts it seems like the only other reasons you have are that: people aren't toiling enough while making games with software to help, people don't enjoy programming as an activity as much as you do, and you happen not to enjoy using game-making software. I don't connect any of these with an inherent wrongness to game-making software, so I remain unconvinced.


Finally, the only concrete reason you've given that people ought to program games without assistance that you feel should be allowed is that you personally enjoy coding as an activity. That is the only reason you've given for why you program in a compiler rather than using game-making software yourself (excepting, of course, the few game-making tools you have generously allowed the world to use). How can engaging in an activity that you enjoy in itself be a waste? Especially if you feel, with evidence in support or without, that your approach produces better games than any other approach can?

#5083446 Turn-Based Tactical Game Turn Structure

Posted by on 05 August 2013 - 10:49 PM

Either is fine, but I feel that the phase approach is easier to understand and exploit. It's still fun, but I end up plotting complicated strategies on paper or in Excel rather than in-game. At the same time, an action point system might be harder to balance-- if you under- or overestimate how many points an action should cost, the action becomes overpowered or impractical, respectively.


Another possibility is Time Units (as in X-COM). It's very similar to action points, but allows a bit more flexibility for the player and is more intuitive than the less-precise action point approach.