Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

We need your help!

We need 7 developers from Canada and 18 more from Australia to help us complete a research survey.

Support our site by taking a quick sponsored survey and win a chance at a $50 Amazon gift card. Click here to get started!

Dan Violet Sagmiller

Member Since 27 Dec 2012
Offline Last Active Jul 14 2015 06:59 AM

Topics I've Started

Ideas for games to teach programming with

26 March 2014 - 09:37 AM

I teach game development classes, and have two sets of games I commonly teach to help students learn to program.


the first is a simple MUD/RPG style forms app.  Player, stats, inventory, oop principals, etc..

the second is a simple 2D space shooter.  physics, AI, Descriptor Engine, etc...


I'm looking for other simple game ideas that are primative enough that they could be taught as part of a programming 101.  Small topics, Tiny games, quickly getting to game play.




(Also, I teach multiple languages and engines.  the technology needed is not my concern here, just games that are small, quick to program and get to playability Thanks)


(Additional note:  I feel this belongs in the programming section, not design, because I wanted people with experience making games to chime in on not just small games, but small to program games)

Why is Candy Crush so Successful?

18 March 2014 - 05:13 AM

I've been studying Candy Crush lately, looking for reasons why it is successful beyond so many other Swap games (Is there a better description for the genre?) it is similar to.  After a while, I started realising that they put pressure making the parts that are proven fun as good as any other, and added features to really keep you pulled back in.


Here are some of the things I've come up with, but I'm hoping to increase the perspectives on this, and also what you hate about it (try to keep the positive and negative specific please :).

1.  The basic swapping of adjacent tiles to connect a pattern of 3 is a pattern that the human mind is incredibly capable of doing.  

 - It is a satisfying experience, the player can see what they can do, and constantly prove it out.

 - The training level is minimal, the simplistic nature of the game allows you start fast, and apply easily.


2.  Unlike many other Swap Games, Candy Crush, provides a variety of challenges.

 - Some pieces can't move, and must either have patterns made next to it, or have it be part of a pattern to be destroyed.

 - The jelly forces combinations in particular areas of the map, assigning more value to completing the puzzle in that area.

 - Some required destruction areas are inaccessible to patterns of three.  I.e. you must make power pieces that have larger effects on the board.


3.  Lasting Power Pieces give more abilities. (Wipe out a line, blow up an area, etc.)

 - In other similar games I've played, the powerups were uncommon, but these pieces give added power by their use in normal puzzles.

 - They also offer more power if you can combine power pieces, including only in pairs.

 - - They missed Bomb + donut.  I'm betting that seemed too powerful to convert every similar color into a bomb.  Any other thoughts on why that was skipped?


4.  Slow but fast menus.

 - I've payed games where is takes more than 10 seconds to navigate menus, even though its just one menu.  I.e. level loading time took a while, menus where just unresponsive.  

 - their menus are fast, and it seems like it helps force a cool down on the mind.  Despite the menus being fast, there are still many of them.  


5.  Limited Lives

 - this makes sense from a monetary stand point, but increasing the lives cost 99 cents.  5 lives..  They have really pushed the envelope with prices, but it worked.  Personally, I haven't spent a dime.  but I can see the constant reasons that pressure us into wanting to to pay.  More lives, more turns, more time, power up pieces, 1 click fixes  I.e. we are so close, I only need to spend 99 cents and I could complete this level.  As the lives dwindle down, they become more precious.

 - It seems like on your last round they could have milked more out of their customers by pointing out you are on your last life when you start the round.



I have a lot of other ideas on this, but I have to go to my day job.  Please let me know your ideas on this.  What works and why?  (preferably avoid the rants, but it is candy crush, so I understand that might not be avoidable.  :)

Developing a Game Dev Video Training site, Any suggestions?

17 December 2013 - 12:40 PM

I've been working on a Video Forum based training site, and I have some interesting concepts I'm building into it. 


The site will focus on Game Development but also spread out into general programming, AI, physics, web site development and even some non-technical skills.



Before I finish with my primary goals for the site, I wanted to ask other peoples opinions on what types of features it should have or issues it shouldn't.  

  • What works well for you on current training sites?
  • What is bothersome about current training sites?
  • Any ideas you would like to see that you haven't seen before?
  • Anything to consider on it. 

I'm all ears.  Thanks for any insight. smile.png

I've released my game dev book for free

20 October 2013 - 10:31 AM



Last December, I finished my game development book for XNA and was beginning reviews and conversations with publishers.  In February, Microsoft announced that it had no plans to expand XNA any further and that Support for it would be dying out.  Exit publishers.


But it turns out that the open source version, Mono Game, has been taking off.  Coursera/University of Colorado has released an XNA game programming course (about half way done right now) on XNA, and over 22,000 people signed up wanting to learn it.  Given the free nature of this, and the fact I had this book decaying in backups, yet still current in technology, I decided to release it for free.  


You follow a small indie team as they take an initial concept, design it out, learn to work together as a team, learn to program, learn AI & physics, produce the game, and then even learn how to approach testing, investors and releases.


I'm hoping this will be a valuable resource for many, but I'm also looking for advice to improve it.  I don't want this to become a stagnant training material.  I'm actually working with some top notch artists, musicians and market agents on addressing new versions of this.  I want your feed back.  Tell me the good, the bad and the ugly. 


The next releases of the book will be split out more, and focusing on the different areas more.  The specialists I'm working with will help re-author and add content to improve it.  I hope you enjoy the book as is, but don't hesitate to suggest changes, tell me how terrible the current art is, or even express that the comic training in it is terrible.  


I use this book in my classes, and I don't want it to be from my head alone, not when I have a whole community of awesome game developers and those starting out, who may be able to help make it better!  



I need feedback on my game programming book.

20 October 2013 - 10:21 AM



I've just released my game programming/XNA book for free.  And now I'm working with a marketing agent and some other specialists on a rewrite of it, particularly into a series of smaller books.  All will remain free.  


What I'm hoping for, is some feed back on this book, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  I want your real opinions on this.  If you think something would be better done differently I want to know.  If you think the art sucks, let me know.  (By the way, I think the art sucks.  I'm not an artist.  I'm planning on hiring a real artist to redo this graphics, cover and comics.  But I want to get your ideas on that as well)


Negative feedback is exactly what I need now.  How do I improve this.