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Member Since 31 Oct 2012
Offline Last Active Aug 11 2014 07:18 PM

#5130032 How to overcome biggest hurdle - Motivation?

Posted by NoAdmiral on 09 February 2014 - 01:38 AM

Motivation is something that we need to figure out for ourselves. For those of us who are hobby game-developers, this has to be an intrinsic motivation: we need to want to create for the sake of creating what we want to create.


I understand that this can be difficult, especially when time is limited. As someone with several hobbies, I'm lucky to have temporal separation of activity-availability. My neighbors don't want me playing music after about 8:00pm, so when that time rolls around, I know that it's time to stop drumming and do something else. Sometimes that's coding, sometimes it's hanging out with friends or playing a game or writing or knitting or whatever. 


When it comes to choosing which hobby to practice, it's usually a moment-to-moment decision. If I'm playing a game and I get struck with an idea for my game, I'll drop everything and start coding. If I really just want to relax and watch TV or something, I'll stop coding and knit while I watch something. Whatever it is, I know that I have to take advantage of motivation when it comes, because my time is tight and I've a lot of hobbies that want my attention.


Finally, when coding, I find that once the groundwork has been laid I can spend less time coding to see a tangible result. Tonight, for example, I spent about 10 minutes coding a new, albeit small, feature, maybe 10 more minutes cleaning up code to make it fit a bit nicer and remove duplicate code, and it's something that I was able to test, tweak, and get working well within a half-hour. That felt nice. Being able to see and use the changes that you make, the features you implement, makes motivating yourself to continue easier. That's one of the problems with going through a big reference book: you often don't see the results right away, and it's easy to feel like you're spending all of this energy spinning your wheels but you're not getting anywhere.


To fix that, whenever I'm going through a book or tutorial or what-have-you, trying to implement something new or some new way of doing something, I always implement and iterate. If I can't see what I'm doing, what the code is doing, then I'm just copying. I need to understand. Sometimes, in doing this, I come up with better ideas (or ideas that work better for my needs) and hey, I've actually learned something. Sometimes, I end up using a piece of tutorial code as a sort of library (like this little piece of functionality that I recently adopted), but in implementing it, I've expanded on what, before, was a much simpler or less-functional piece of code, and hopefully I've picked up on programming practices, techniques, or something-else that I can use in future projects.


This is just what works for me, and what keeps me typing away when I could probably be doing other things (or doing other things, I suppose, when I could be typing).

#5129239 Interesting 2D Level Design

Posted by NoAdmiral on 06 February 2014 - 12:41 AM

So, I've been watching the Wolfire game-developmentvideos for Overgrowth, and I really like their level-design and art-style. Between their level-design and their basic gameplay mechanics, it seems to really support the feeling of adventuring, and I'm trying to incorporate something like that into my own game.


The main difference is that I'm making a 2D platforming-style game. A lot of their ideas seem to depend on the third dimension, but I really don't want to make a 3D game (this is a solo project, and while I'm a pretty decent artist, 3D modeling is something I've never really gotten into). 


A lot of 2D platforming games rely on a combination of uni-directional platforms (you can stand on them, but jump through them) and flat, ladder-like platforming areas. These aren't necessarily the direction I want my game to go.


I just finished the roughest version of my rigidbody-physics engine (there are things to add, but I'm ready to start prototyping with it while I add more), and I'm starting to think about general level-design and what I might need to account for with respect to physics. 


Without getting too bogged down in the physical details or code (which is why I'm posing in the Game Design forum), I'm wondering if anyone has ideas about how to get a similar feeling of adventure and discovery that the Wolfire development team seems to get. There are no wrong answers, I'm just curious if anyone has thought of anything that I haven't (I'm withholding my ideas for the time-being just to see what people suggest without my biasing input).



#5124826 Grid Based Collision System Problems

Posted by NoAdmiral on 19 January 2014 - 07:24 AM

Since Link's sprite is the same height as that bush, all four of those screenshots show that it's not working how you intend (it looks like he's still half overlapping with the bush). 


Part of the problem, I think, is that you're representing your character by only one point (the center), and so, if you look at your screenshots, it's working correctly--the center point isn't going int the non-walkable tiles. I don't know how the original Zelda game handled this situation, but this is pretty easily handled by basic aabb collision-checks.

#5123170 Programming experiments/surveys (games)?

Posted by NoAdmiral on 12 January 2014 - 06:36 PM

This is something I have done. I used C#. 


Using C#, it's really easy to set up standard windows forms that are both intuitive and familiar to many participants. Also, I just had the results output to text file which allowed me to monitor variables that I might not be able to if the task was given to participants using pen-and-paper.


Most (if not all) languages can do these things, but C# (like minibutmany said) has an intuitive and versatile form-design component in Visual Studio. Oh, and there's an excel wrapper for C# that would suit data-collection well (I haven't used it extensively, but it only took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to use it to read/write an excel file).

#5121536 learning material

Posted by NoAdmiral on 05 January 2014 - 08:37 PM

It's hard to know what to recommend unless you give us some idea of where you are and where you want to go. Without knowing that, I'm just going to suggest that you start making something. Use the articles and forums on this website and tutsplus and stack overflow to fill in the gaps in your abilities.


Don't copy code--that's not learning.


if you've made pong, then you already have a few skills: rendering, handling input, win/loss conditions, maybe even scorekeeping. Maybe expand your current projects: try to add enemies to your platforming level, or power-ups; try changing the shape of your pong-paddle to a circle and have the collision react accordingly. 


Stay focused. You don't need to know everything right now, just everything to complete your project. Try to stick with something until it's done and start with a clear goal.

#5121329 learning material

Posted by NoAdmiral on 05 January 2014 - 01:19 AM

I have a lot of resources in a bookmarks folder titled "To Implement" because there's just so much out there. Websites like tutsplus introduced me to ideas that I didn't even know I wanted to do!


I'd love to give you more information, but it would help if you could express your needs/wants more explicitly.

#5121328 Best way to get started

Posted by NoAdmiral on 05 January 2014 - 01:13 AM

A lot of people use Unity (uses C#, but has a really nice UI), and the Unreal Development Kit (UDK). 


Personally, I suggest getting used to the game-dev environment. Even if you're an experienced programmer, it's a good idea to get used to working in "real-time" using a gameloop, just because it's different than the event-driven design of many windows-style applications (not necessarily harder, just different).


I'd also like to suggest a book, if you're interested. Dan Schuller's C# Game Programming for Serious Game Creation introduced the gameloop and some very simple 2d gaming ideas to me. Prior to reading this I had only worked with event-driven applications, and this book very easily introduced me to real-time game design (I still use a heavily modified version of the engine that the book helps you make).

#5120504 Design for a Dialogue System in a RPG

Posted by NoAdmiral on 01 January 2014 - 11:03 AM

I think each npc should have that information that is specific to that entity (the text, color, image, what have you), probably stored (or referenced, or what have you) in a HasDialogue component of some sort. I assume you have some manner of interacting with npcs (press a button or collide with), so why not have an OnInteract method that sends the specifics of the dialogue to the DialogueSystem, which handles all of the displaying and whatnot for you.


Something along the lines of:


Process(DialogueInfo dialogue)

#5120477 Complete Beginner Programmer... where to start

Posted by NoAdmiral on 01 January 2014 - 08:04 AM

Since a lot of people are suggesting books and tutorials, I just want to add that reading these and following the examples alone isn't going to make you a good programmer. Becoming a good programmer takes a lot of practice, and at some point, you're going to have to program something you've never programmed before. It's a good idea to get familiar with using what you know on your own, without a guide.


I'd also like to suggest that graphics are pretty, but not always necessary. When you're learning something new (and want to try to utilize it in a new way), it can often be beneficial to make the simplest program possible that allows you to test what you're working on. Text-based applications/games can allow you to test a lot of logical or systematic strategies without requiring that your graphics and physics be working, and that simpler environment can let you focus on the one or two areas you're really working on.

#5119728 Game Engine - Requirements

Posted by NoAdmiral on 28 December 2013 - 04:18 PM

So, I'm not sure what you've already tried, but I would recommend looking at RPGMaker: it's easy to use and the newer iterations can be expanded quite a bit with a relatively simple scripting language. I think someone's even working on a multi-player version.


You could also look into using something like Construct 2, but I've never used that so I'm not sure how easy it is to use or how flexible it can be.


What you're looking for is going to be relatively hard to find in a free engine. I also think that you're looking for something that is much more of a game-making-utility than an actual game engine (which is a term that is thrown around to mean a lot of different things).


If the community is all that is preventing you from using Unity, maybe you should give it some time, work with the tool, and ask when you need help. People tend to be much more accommodating of more exact questions than the vague alternatives. I also know that there are a ton of guides and tutorials for Unity, so you don't have to interact with the community too much.

#5119655 Getting Started - Building a Portfolio

Posted by NoAdmiral on 28 December 2013 - 07:44 AM

I don't know if it's doable in 40-60 hours, but you could prototype a small RPG of some sort--that seems like it would fit your strengths particularly well. 


There are a lot of ways for a programmer to get around not being an artist. Two that come immediately to mind are: 1) use free resources from the internet, and 2) collaborate with an artist. I'm pretty sure there are resources here on GameDev.net for both of these options.

#5118861 This is why Modern Tomb Raider Games aren't good...

Posted by NoAdmiral on 23 December 2013 - 10:50 AM


Really?  Personally, I don't want to have to figure out how to jump


I can think back to a bunch of games from the 90s when your character just appeared on the screen idling. You tap a button to see what it does and then you know what the button does. Of course, if a game is more complex then I would expect a little help. But when I am halfway through the game and you are still giving me clues on how to hang on a ledge....

Games back then had much simpler controls. Super Mario Bros. had essentially a d-pad and two buttons, and it was pretty obvious what the d-pad was going to be used for. Compare that with modern console-games, and you're looking at much more complex control-systems. Not only are modern games more-often in 3d, but new controllers can have a d-pad, joysticks, and way more buttons than the NES ever had.


People are more about flash rather than substance and value by far


I mean, what substance does UNO really have?


UNO is actually a pretty great game. It's accessible to the point that almost anyone can play it, even without really thinking about strategy, but it's entirely possible to set-up strategies and execute them, and it has a reasonably robust set of rules. More importantly, the rules are extremely refined. There aren't any "patched" in rules like you see in a lot of other games because some tactic was unexpectedly OP and the developers wanted to remove that strategy quickly and inelegantly. 


I think substance needs to be defined.


It is the same with all media though and not just games.  For example the films that win at the oscars such as The Kings Speech are not the same films that are being watched by wider audiences such as Expendables2 or Pacific Rim.


I really enjoyed Pacific Rim, and not just because it was about giant robots and monsters. I think that it was often considered just-another-blockbuster by the majority of people, which made it widely accessible. Really though, I found myself analyzing the themes of the movie for hours after I saw it and had some amazing discussions about it with friends in the following days. The design was likewise amazing, as Guillermo del Torro tends to put a lot of thought into the aesthetic of his movies. It also harks back to a lot of del Torro's influences, and proudly references movies from his childhood (That line about the monsters having two hearts, just like dinosaurs is a reference to the original Godzilla movies).



Game development has improved greatly in the 17 years since the release of the original Tomb Raider.


Games should be challenging. 


Games shouldn't be anything. Different games satisfy different needs and wants. There is no thing that all games should be or strive for. I think a lot of this the-game-industry-is-dumbing-down is a response to this. Games on the NES didn't really have a choice, because they were so limited in capability, so in order to have any sort of complexity required a steeper challenge. Sometimes this was controls, sometimes this was based on mechanics.


The games industry isn't trying to simplify for simplicity's sake, it's doing so for money. I don't mean this in the all-corporations-are-evil way, but games like the new Tomb Raider cost a lot of money to make, and how can a company make that back? Sell more copies. That means it needs to be approachable for the non-hardcore gamers. If games weren't as expensive, they could take more risks, and maybe we'd all see more games that cater to our individual wants. The best place to get that, for some of us, is indie games, where developers generally have less money going into a game, and therefor don't need to sell 10-million copies or whatever the norm is nowadays.


Anyway, just my two cents.

#5118598 Data oriented design in games

Posted by NoAdmiral on 21 December 2013 - 11:57 AM

Is there a reason you wouldn't just have the damage component send a message to the health component telling it to subtract some amount? Or could you just get around the back-and-forth by updating the damage components first, and then the health components?


I've never worked with a component-entity system (always just used standard OOP), but it's something that I'm curious about and starting to think about incorporating.

#5118445 Setting up short animations (swinging sword, etc)...how? Timers?

Posted by NoAdmiral on 20 December 2013 - 04:14 PM

I would do this like a state-stack. Only the animation-state at the top of the stack is updated/rendered, and when it's done, it pops off the top and whatever was under it is automatically the new top-state. Repeating animations don't end, so they shouldn't leave the stack. 


Here's a general overview of this idea, as well as a lot of other concepts that might be useful for a new game-programmer: http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/articles/how-to-build-a-jrpg-a-primer-for-game-developers--gamedev-6676

#5027206 I dont know were to start AT ALL

Posted by NoAdmiral on 30 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

Unfortunately for you, there are no clear-cut answers to your questions, as everyone has different preferences as to which language to use or which engine to make a game in.

Fortunately, someone has made this helpful guide to answer many of your questions.


If you still have questions after reading through that, I'm sure the community here would be glad to point you in the right direction, but you'll find that most of what people here will say is echoed in that guide.