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Scouting Ninja

Member Since 04 Mar 2013
Offline Last Active Today, 07:19 PM

Topics I've Started

Unreal material conundrum.

19 July 2015 - 11:51 AM

I was modeling a 3D asset for a client and entered the uv unfolding stage, when I realized I could be wasting my own time.

 

Every 3D artist knows the importance of measuring your 3D model, so that it's constant with other assets in the scene and so that the texture doesn't stretch or blur. This is also the first step in texture tiling that allows the artist to reuse parts of the texture to better cover large 3D models.

 

why do I think this could be a waste of time?

Uwelkal.png

 

If you look at the image you will see that I measured Tower A against the background, for Tower B I just unwrapped and left it as it was.

Now this quickly made model didn't need to be tiled, yet I could easily tile Tower A if it needs to be longer, Tower B corrected for stretching and the bottom half can no longer be tiled.

 

2n3qlFq.png

 

Now if you look at the towers side by side in Unreal 4 you will see that both have the correct pixel density.

Tower A uses a single material with 4096*2048 normal map and color map, Tower B uses two starter content materials with two normal maps 2048*2048. I know the textures are overkill, I was doing performance tests.

 

The Tower at the back is Tower B before I fixed the materials.

 

 

What is the conundrum?

For a long time Tower A was the best practice when making models, measuring textures and uv tiling gave better performance. Tower B use small textures and then tiles them inside of the material and has a lot of downsides.

 

Material tiling was very ineffective and mostly used for simple objects like walls, however Unreal can now address all of the problems. It has deferred decals for details and hiding the uv seam, edge detect for scratches and most importantly layered materials.

 

By my calculations a complex object like a gun could be realistic rendered, using as little as three to five materials. This is two or four more materials than using the normal way, however by moving the uv map you can allow each gun to have unique parts.

Performance can be regained by using material instancing and by sharing materials and decals with other objects. The wooden gun stock can also be a wooden chair, table, floor or door.

 

 

Theoretically when making a large game material tiling and sharing, will be better for performance than having a material for each object. Personally I think that allowing 3D artist to spend less time doing busy work, like measuring pixels and more time doing fun work with materials will be worth it.

 

What is your opinion on texture tiling?


Mobile game theme.

14 July 2015 - 07:25 PM

I am developing a mobile game, however the original theme I had in mind isn't going to work.

After doing research on what themes would work I find that I can't makeup my mind, arranged in popularity: Zombies, Post apocalyptic and Fantasy.

 

The game involves the player taking control off a survivor who has to fend for himself, the player slowly builds his new home gaining more survivors to work with. The player can take control of anyone of his characters.

The game is more of a god game than a RTS, with the player sometimes needing to make choices about the fate of his survivors.

Scavenging, salvaging, resource management and base building will be a large part of this game.

 

Players will be able to attack each others basses, there will also be battles when players scavenge.

Battles will be small with players controlling a handful of characters, each character having unique abilities. Tick based combat, each tick around four to eight seconds long.

 

It will be my first mobile game, will be a wait or pay game, I want to keep it small and will be my first MMO.(not my first attempt at a MMO)

Social interaction will be limited and expanded as I get things working.

 

 

I am leaning towards zombies, it was the one with the highest rating during research and it will be the simplest. Fantasy allows for the most creativity and I expect it to be the hardest to make. Post apocalyptic is a good middle ground.


Loading Screens?

05 June 2015 - 09:06 AM

So I have made several games but never had the need to use a loading screen, mostly I used a splash screen.

 

I have a colleague who insists on having a loading screen with a loading bar, so how does it work? We are using the Unreal 4 if any one knows the specifics for it.

 

I believe it works like this: Level -> LoadingScreen -> New level. 

Where the loading screen is a small mostly empty level used to dump things from the memory and load in new things.

 

However I have no idea how it would work in practice or if I am even correct.

How would the loading bar work then?


Free to wait games, how can the wait or pay mechanic be used.

18 May 2015 - 08:00 PM

Recently I had a lot of work to do, so playing games like Dragon age inquisition that demanded a lot of investment was off the table. I turned to mobile games in my time of need and found the usual amount of shovelware, to my surprise there was a lot of Free to wait games and even a few good ones.

 

"Time is money." Benjamin Franklin.

 

Is the wait or pay mechanic a bad or good thing?

Well we can say that it depends on the developer.

If the developers uses it in a destructive or greedy way the mechanic can ruin lives by addiction and bankruptcy. Then if the developer is careful, thy can make a game that allows payers to pay any range thy feel the game is worth.

 

Yet it doesn't completely ring true.

We can say that guns are only as dangerous as the person who uses it, but then why do improperly handled guns kill if the person holding it had no intent on killing. The simple answer is that guns where made to kill and as such, always have the potential to kill no matter how thy are used.

If we consider the same for the Wait or pay mechanic, then it will always have the potential of consuming the money of the player, even more so if the player or developers isn't properly aware of how it works.

 

Really want to hear your opinions on this.

 

Are there current games that use the wait or pay mechanic to the games benefit?

It's sad to say that most games that use the wait to pay mechanic does so to the developers benefit not the games benefit. Not that there aren't any games that benefit from the mechanic. 

Clash of clans is one of the most popular mobile games and owes a lot of it's success, as both a app and a game to the wait or pay mechanic. If you replaced the waiting time with that of the waiting time in Age of empires, clash of clans would be a poor game that couldn't entertain it's players for as long as it does.

A lot of the players power balance and resource management decision are made in Clash of clans based on how long it would take, even when there is no real time limit to the game.(Except dying of old age maybe.dry.png )

 

How does it work?

First part is value.

The player measures the value of their time against, the value of there money, against the game resources and the entertainment thy get from the game. 

 

The second part is obligation.

In all of these games there is some kind of hook a base/character/deck or some thing that you invest in each time you play. The more you spend on it the more your responsibility to what you made grows and the more you value it. So now it takes days for anything to happen but if you stop all of the time, money and effort you used is wasted. The obligation only rises if you convinced your friends to join or made a clan.

 

So now the values reach the point where Obligation > Time > Money and it is this what gives wait or pay games there bad reputation.

 

How can we as developers use Wait or pay for our games?

There have been a lot of games that use the first part of the mechanic for there game. As measuring the value of some thing is a key part of resource management it's no surprise that RTS games use this mechanic almost automatically.

 

The second part is a bit more tricky, as people don't want unnecessary responsibility.

There are games that could benefit from obligation, like god games.

 

Just think about it, if you where the god of a small village and raised the people on it from the moment of birth, feeding them, sheltering them even teaching them. If every thing you did for them took real time or money, could you sacrifice them for power?

 

 

 

There is a lot to the Wait or pay mechanic, so please share any ideas or opinions you have.


Alternative for levels and other time based resources.

06 January 2015 - 01:58 PM

I know that the idea of getting rid of levels in MMO has been disputed over for years, probably as long as MMOs have been around, yet no one ever found a clear answer.

The thing is that levels and other game resources work, thy just weren't made with MMOs in mind.

 

The question is how do we adjust them to fit MMOs better.

I am hoping that we can use this tread to scrape together our ideas and create some kind of Frankenstein's monster like ideas for testing.

 

 

So what are the problems MMOs face today?

 

When a player reaches the level cap thy no longer need xp, the MMO loses one of it's key gameplay features usually combat or grinding.

Breading and Tactics MMOs allow for a endless cycle of Levels, there is Legacy from ToR that attempt to do the same.

Some games change xp for items, one of my first rpg's used this, it doesn't work it's the same thing.

MMOs are games intended on keeping players for as long as thy can, this means you can't normally have a level cap.

 

Leveling up usually has no real effect in the game other than forcing players to move on to other places where thy can gain xp again.

We often forget what Leveling up first meant in games, it means we have reached a new point where we had access to new contend and harder challenges. Think of how old games leveled up like pacman.

If a level system for MMOs increases the challenge or difficulty it will have to be capped, or it will reach a point where no player can pass.

 

MMOs who don't add challenge or difficulty at each level needs to fill the void with contend, this means that developers are forced to add more and more to the game if there is no cap. This is the system that works best at this moment, however as the game gains new players it needs more artist and devs to fill the void, more content means players stay a new ones join this causes a black-hole like effect.

 

League of Legends is one of the best example of this, yet thy have successfully retarded the black-hole growth by appealing less to long time players and more to new players. Still have you seen the new champions?

 

XP, Stats, Gold and most other resources are gained by playing, this means that players who play more almost always wins in PvP.

When it's PvP we need balance.

Games reward you for playing this means you play more, unfortunately in MMO's no two players have the same amount of time to play, and most of the time it is your paying customers who have the least amount of time to play as thy have to work.

This means that your player-base changes to younger players who have more time and parents to pay for them, this works if your game appeals to that age.

A solution that works is is the 2Xp items that can be bought, although many players abuses this or get addicted and burns through the game fast.

 

I have studied many energy systems in hope of finding a answer, the one that always fails is the "limited play time" one.

Either the game is poor and players notes because thy have energy and noting to do, or the game is good and players feel forced to buy time so thy don't get left behind.

 

This is just a few of my concerns, post your own concerns, answers, doubts, rants, ideas and arguments.

I am over thinking this and I would like more to think about.

 

 

 


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