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Servant of the Lord

Member Since 24 Sep 2005
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:30 PM

#5208525 Blocky art style?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 03 February 2015 - 08:17 PM

What are some other easy low poly styles I can use? The standard for realistic art is very high and producing those models will end up taking more time to make than the game itself.

If your choice is "realistic" vs "blocky", I can understand your problem.
Let's take a look at some other non-realistic art styles. I'm not going to do your research for you, but I will get you started. Some common elements here is minimalism, bright colors, either no outlines or bold outlines, abstract or exaggeration, and stylistic. In short, the exact same focuses used to create 8bit and 16bit 2D game art when hardware (instead of budget) was the limiting factor. Infact, alot of this are some of the same key elements of comic book art styles.
Not all of these are "easy", some require more skill than others. But by using other styles as inspiration, perhaps you can find a style or come up with your own art style that is non-blocky, non-realistic, low-poly, and easier than full-realism. It might not be "easy", and will still require some work, but hey, game development is work. You can't toss something together and watch it sell. Well, okay, some developers do make money that way, but that's the abnormality, not the normal. You can't count on winning the lottery.
Jet Grind Radio
Tenchu Stealth Assassin
tenchustealthassassins-2.jpg tenchu2.jpg
Rune Factory
Final Fantasy remakes
Guardian's Crusade
This game has terrible graphics. So terrible, it was blocky before it was cool. So it's blocky, low-poly, but does it's best (and fails) at trying to hide its blockiness.
Dungeon Defenders


This one screenshot doesn't do it justice. Dungeon defenders is so beautiful, and the level design so good, that I've sat around with my artist friend for several minutes during coop games, just walking around admiring the art style and discussing it on more than one occasion. It helps if you're in-game looking around the levels. This screenshot does not do it full justice. Maybe try watching some youtube videos - but the game is so chaotic, it'd be hard to find one where you can admire the art properly.
World of Warcraft
Knights of the Old Republic
Tales of Abyss
Quest 64
005_quest64_screenshot.jpg gfs_27994_2_5.jpg
Spyro the Dragon
More modern (better quality + harder) Spyro graphics
Mario 64
Zelda OoT
Banjo Khazooie
Threads of Fate
Kingdom Hearts
Chrono Cross
maxresdefault.jpg(This is in-combat. Outside of combat it uses 3D characters on pre-rendered backgrounds)
The Witness
(The witness isn't really low poly, but it's art style could be made more low-poly and still retain its style if desired)

Thirty Flights of Loving

There's just such a huge wealth of resources out there, and it's so easy to research. Not all of these you'll be able to replicate easily. For me specifically, character/enemy models are hard. Nevertheless, you don't need to aim for the lowest, cheapest, easiest, most-common art style available. Be innovative. Be creative. Be more original. And, hopefully, customers will reward you for not making Blocky_Game_#741 (or have we reached four digits now?). But yes, it is work. But achievable. Some of the above are far less work than others.

#5208443 "Miniatures" games on pc (space combat)

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 03 February 2015 - 01:04 PM


But as a designer, it's worth picking up for research if that style of gameplay interests you.

Has I been looking for 3D, I would totally agree, it does look interesting if only from a purely theoretical approach (I've watched a few videos).

I liked that it was not as 'noisy' as games such as gratuitous space battles can get (where you can't really tell why you've won or loss an encounter).


Any similar game in 2d perhaps? Can be very dated, I really don't mind.


Not that I know of, but my first (and only sad.png) finished hobbyist project is a TBS space game focusing on ship-to-ship combat back in... 2009, I think.


Being my first game, it's rather unbalanced and unpolished and it's very slow moving, has hotseat only, no AI, no LAN or online play, so you'll have to control both sides to get a feel for it (just use a small map, two players, and jack up your resource-gain-each-turn so you can upgrade rapidly). If you have someone to try it out with, it'll be more enjoyable. And it is feature-complete - it implemented all I was wanting to implement (except fullscreen tongue.png).


I wouldn't hold my game up as some great bastion of design - but if you're just looking for ideas, my intention was to have ships of differing stages of tech research fighting each other. There are ten different levels of tech, and when you are at, say, level 3, creating a ship when you are at level 3 produces a level 3 ship, and when you upgrade further, it (intentionally) doesn't upgrade your old ships. Each ship can also purchase and install equipment (better thrusters, different forms of shields and beam weapons, warp drives, and so on), as well as redirect power to boost or weaken the different pieces of equipment (primary weapon, secondary weapon, thruster, shield, accessory) further attempting to increase the diversity of the ships fighting each other. Also, when ships get wounded, it has a chance of damaging their weapons or disabling their shields or thrusters.


It's not very fun because it takes so long to play a match (a three-player match took over an hour and a half, if I recall correctly), and because more powerful ships simply crush weaker ships (each step of power was too great a leap), but if you're just doing general research, maybe you'll think of an idea or two while glancing over it.

#5208310 "Miniatures" games on pc (space combat)

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 02 February 2015 - 06:38 PM

Yes, Flotilla was fun. It's very unpolished and unfinished, but was released anyway. Basically it was a tech-demo.

The dev also made the really fun Atom Zombie Smasher game, and is supposedly working on "Flotilla 2" to make the game as it really should've originally been.


Flotilla features 3D simultaneous turn-based combat (i.e. you and the AI choose your moves, and then both are executed simultaneously), ship-to-ship, where you can control multiple ships (~3-ish). You can even sorta-kinda-ish play it hotseat coop.

Basically, certain parts of your ship is heavily armored, but other parts are unarmed, so you have to plan the pitch-yaw-roll of your ship moving through space while firing, to make sure your armored sides are facing where you think the enemy will be moving to.


It's a very good concept that should be explored further. As a gamer, it ain't worth the $10 that's asked for it. Barely worth $5 (because it's unfinished and very clearly so). But as a designer, it's worth picking up for research if that style of gameplay interests you.

#5208285 Blocky art style?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 02 February 2015 - 04:51 PM

If you mean the Minecraft/Voxel art style, it does seem to be overused at the moment.


You run the risk of potential customers saying, "Oh, another Minecraft-wanabee" regardless of your game's actual mechanics. That's something you definitely need to take into account. You want your game to be judged on its own merits when players actually play your game.


Large voxel blocks aren't the only easy-ish 3D art style, and some of the others have less stigma associated with them.


You have to seperate "it seems to be popular" amongst players vs "it seems to be popular" amongst developers going through the same thought process as you. How can your game stand out against all the other developers with zero art budget?

Does blocky terrain even lend itself well to your first-person-shooter gameplay mechanics? Sure, it may "work", but is it ideal? Are there better options within your capabilities? What, within your resources, are your options? Necessity is the mother of invention.

#5208115 Platform game map like yoshi's island

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 01 February 2015 - 06:50 PM

Do you know any software to do "2d polygons maps"


GLEED2D is one. There are others that I don't remember the names of.

#5208112 Roguelikes and "dice"-based combat

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 01 February 2015 - 06:49 PM

For what it's worth, I do employ at least some of those tactics that you describe (bottlenecking in particular)--but even so, a single low-level rat can still kill my character if the dice say so, simply by giving me a string of bad rolls and it a string of good ones.

One way to alleviate that is to not use "pure random", but to use a more controlled form of fake randomness.


Imagine a player has 70% accuracy. Instead of rolling "if(random() < 0.7)" for every attack, which yes, could make the player miss two hundred times in a row, an alternative method is to generate the player's next N hits, and then shuffle them.


For example, with 70% accuracy, you might populate a stack of the next 100 attacks, fill it with 70 "hits" and 30 "misses", and then shuffle the stack. For each attack, you pop off the top of the stack, and when the stack reaches empty, you regenerate it.

This guarantees that the player will never happen to get completely crappy roles (and it also guarantees that the player will miss some of the time).

You can apply additional rules to it: Such as making the misses evenly distributed instead of clustered together. You can also mix in additional effects besides just missing and hitting, like criticals, enemy ripostes, and so on.

And you can still add in some randomness. If the player's accuracy is 70%, then generate a stack of 100 attacks where 70% plus or minus 5% is a hit. Tweak it to your satisfaction. But control it, as a designer.


The same applies to all forms of randomization. You don't want every chest to randomly be trash, and you don't want every chest to randomly be 'epic gear of unbalanced power'. You don't want every door to be trapped, and you don't want zero doors to be trapped.

#5207730 LGPL ugliness and LZMA

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 30 January 2015 - 01:13 PM

What's wrong with LGPL?


GPL can't be used in closed-source projects, but LGPL can if you dynamically link to the library. Only changes to the LGPL library itself need to be shared.


Dynamically linking is difficult on smartphones, but works fine for Win, Mac, Linux.


If you must have another license, contact the owners and ask. If they are never informed that their license is unusable to some developers, how can they change it? They might not change it instantly, but maybe it'll lead them to change it down the road for other developers.

#5207344 Efficient way to erase an element from std::vector

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 28 January 2015 - 10:25 PM

Normally you use move-semantics to avoid the copies (for non-trivial types). std::swap() handles that for you, though a single std::move() would work.


Here's my general function for swap-and-popping vectors:

//Swap-and-pop a specific element of a container, swapping the element with the element at the back of the container and then popping it off the stack.
//This does not preserve the order of the elements.
template<typename ContainerType>
void SwapAndPopAtIndex(ContainerType &container, size_t index)
	//Don't swap the back element with itself, and also don't swap out of range.
		The (index+1) is to prevent the back element from swapping with itself.

		This could be more clearly written as:	if(index >= (container.size()-1))
		...but since 'container.size()' is unsigned,
		the -1 would accidentally loop it around if size() returns 0, which is a likely occurance.
	if((index+1) >= container.size())

	//Swap the element with the back element.
	std::swap(container[index], container.back());

	//Pop the back of the container, deleting our old element.

It does not preserve the order of elements.

#5206965 Use gimp instead of Photoshop

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 27 January 2015 - 12:33 PM

I'm not a professional artist, but I make almost all the art for my own game (2D objects), and I use MSPaint and PaintShopPro (costs, but less than PhotoShop).


Certainly you can use Gimp. You can also try out Paint.Net which is also free. You don't have to start out with high-end tools when your skills are still low level; you can start with the tools you do have available, and purchase better tools when you outgrow your existing ones.

#5206792 Why is this taboo?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 26 January 2015 - 06:00 PM

Players complain alot. Anything they don't like, or think they won't like, or once heard someone else say that they might not like, they'll complain about.


Good game designs sometimes include things that players won't like. "If I touch a goomba, I die? That's LAME!"

But hey, Mario is very fun. And successful.


Also, it could just be a vocal minority. One game designer gave the analogy of standing in an empty room, with all the players on the other side of a wall. The game designer hears complaints about this and that, but whenever he looks into the other room, what he actually sees is some players complaining, and everyone else silently and happily playing. If you listen to the complaints from the 10% of your players complaining, you need to also make sure you listen to the lack of complaints from the 90% who don't have a problem with it.


I'd say, use your intelligence as a designer to think it through. "Do I think it'll actually benefit the game?", then implement it, test it, tweak it, have someone else test it, polish it and release it. If the community complains, let them! Wait two weeks. See how it has actually affected the community and actually changed the gameplay.


Don't let the community dictate your designs, or you'll get design-by-committee, which ain't good. Your game needs a cohesive design, not a piecemeal design catering to a hundred different people's personal whims and wishlists. If new players come to the game with the feature already inplace, and they hate it, then give a bit more weight to the complaints.


Another designer once said, "Ask players what they want, and they'll give you a laundry list of last year's popular features.". As a designer, you need to know where you are taking your game, and be willing to make decisions that might not be popular, to create a game that is cohesive, polished, and meets your design goals.

#5206791 SDL_SetRelativeMouseMode problem

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 26 January 2015 - 05:47 PM

Have you checked to make sure SDL_SetRelativeMouseMode() isn't returning -1?

#5206750 Interesting implementation employees?

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 26 January 2015 - 02:47 PM

You could consider it "hiring employees" when you choose members to form team in RPGs (some RPGs have you create your own team entirely from scratch at the beginning of the game). Each team-member has different capabilities, different growth opportunities, and etc... based on their class and how you choose to level that class.


If your employees have different abilities, and when "leveling up" allows you to grow them differently by putting points into your choices of abilities, and if they have different names and personalities, it could be interesting.


In "Faster Than Light", a 2D indie StarTrek-like starship sim game, you have to manage your crew (3-6 members).  They don't vary all that much, but different alien species have different bonuses, and as you make a crewmember work in one area vs another, they become more proficient at it (e.g. repairing the engine vs flying the ship vs manning the turrets vs hand-to-hand combat fighting off boarders). When a crewmember dies from fires, explosions, attacks, or merely because you left the airlock open again (ohmy.png) it's a significant loss.

#5206644 Trying to create a spash screen (with minimal art skills).

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 25 January 2015 - 10:23 PM

You have two O's in the name, you might try some loops with those... but you don't want it to look like an infinite sign either.

I don't get what that palm tree is doing there.


Your font is rather bland - you might consider a more loopy font, and maybe even be making the player-controlled cursor thing be making the loops that spell the name.


The clouds are all the same size, I'd vary them slightly, but I'd keep the same number. Three is a good number. They steal too much attention though - they ought to be more subdued.


And add some color - maybe in the font name.

#5206634 alpha question

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 25 January 2015 - 06:55 PM

I have tried sending a -= delta_time for that from the main application, but it seems that no matter how large a value i give it it always decreased too quickly, like a -= delta_time * 0.00001f. a is 1.0f.

You'll need to adjust your equations from your main application.
When you want the effect to start, set 'a' to 1.0f.

a = 1.0f;

Every tick, you do:

a -= (deltaTime / DurationOfEffectInSeconds); //'DurationOfEffectInSeconds' is a constant-like variable.
if(a < 0.0f) a = 0.0f;

This uses math to get the exact result you want.
If you want it to last five seconds, set 'DurationOfEffectInSeconds' to 5.0f. If you want it to last half a second, set it to '0.5f'.
Another way to do it is by having a timer and subtracting time from it. You then calculate the alpha by how much time is remaining.
When the effect begins, you do:

fadeTimeRemaining = DurationOfEffectInSeconds;

Every tick, you do:

fadeTimeRemaining -= deltaTime;
if(fadeTimeRemaining < 0.0f) fadeTimeRemaining = 0.0f;

To calculate the alpha you do:

float alpha = (fadeTimeRemaining / DurationOfEffectInSeconds);

And then you pass that to your shader.

#5206631 pathfinding on a 2d map

Posted by Servant of the Lord on 25 January 2015 - 06:20 PM

A* star works very well with or without uniform grids, and there is a huge amount of tutorials available online for it.

It's pronounced, and sometimes written, A-star, which can also be googled for.


Pathfinding in general is slow, so you'll still want to save the path and only recalculate it when necessary. It's faster than flood-filling though - and kinda similar. It flood-fills but intelligently, hypothesizing what directions are best, saving work.