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MMO Risk vs Reward

I'd like to share something that I started to think about when I read an article about Risk vs Reward. And I might be stating the obvious but just give something to think about when we design games.

There is no risk to anything in a game. Until the day we can actually inflict pain or kill someone via a videogame there is no risk.

When you die ... the penalty is time. The time it takes to either 1. get your corpse back 2. get the items back 3. get whatever back. You haven't lost anything but time.

The only risk that exists now is loss of time. There is no such thing as money sinks either. There is only time sinks. Gathering money takes time. The game makers must put in 'money sinks' to off set the inflation effect. What they are doing is saving you time. Time of farming money because inflation has gotten out of control and now you have to kill Hill Giants for 10 hours just to get enough for your new shield because money isnt worth anything anymore.

Anyway...I can go on and on about this to but to the point.

I started to ponder how you would reward someone for taking risks. Lets take a Dungeon that has a preferred level attached to it. In other words the Dungeon was tuned for this level. A little more and its easier, a little less and its harder.

I think it would be cool to some how gauge how this person / group did. Taking into a number of factors things like, amount of time for total progress, number of times died, number of times where player health and npc health was within a %, how long it takes them to kill one npc, or how many times did they kill an npc with half the party dead?

All things to base 'risk' on. Granted there are ways to fool the system, but I think somehow gauging what the person / group did would be the next step. Take the amount of risk that they took, and reward them if they happen to complete it.

Another thing I would also consider is death when you are in a higher level area. Say it takes longer to get to your corpse, simply because you are taking a risk in this area. Since time is the only thing you can invest, it would make sense to reward those who take the risk of investing more time into an area then those who don't.

I don't think penalizing those who take less of a risk is needed. If you want to go into a dungeon that's 20 levels below you ... fine. You will draw from the started loot table because you had almost no risk.

Anyway...these are just some thoughts I had. Take them as you will.





So getting a little tired of doing my GUI library (which is still basically useable, just needs touchups) I decied to check out RenderMonkey and learn GLSL.

What a cool tool this is. I was able to create my first shader in no time. Took a little bit to learn exactly how data is passed from RenderMonkey to the shaders but it worked out. RenderMonkey provies quite a collection of variables that it will pass into your shaders.

for my first shader I wanted a simple plane (200 faces or so) to osolate up and down based on time.

Here is my shaders. fTime0_X is a RenderMonkey supplied variable that is the sine of value Time (float).


uniform float fTime0_X;

void main(void)
vec4 pos = gl_Vertex;
pos.z += fTime0_X * 3.0;
gl_Position = gl_ModelViewProjectionMatrix * pos;
//gl_Position = ftransform();


void main(void)
gl_FragColor = vec4( 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0 );




My first demo

I'm posting the first demo (about 1.5 years old) I've ever created using OpenGL. Not only is it my first demo but it took me a bout 2 months to code (and it shows).
While I'm not that impressed with it, I am proud of my accomplishment. Looking back on this code there are so many things I wish I had done. Oh well ... enjoy. You can download the program HERE. Source is included.

Its a small falling style game. Stuff falls, you try to get it in order, if you do you score
points. How original eh?

I had some help with the modeling of the landscape by Zack Weiler of
Blindman Imagery. We used Photoshop for the textures. We take 3D Studio ASE files and import them into a format that I could read easily.




OpenGL UI Development

I've spent some time some time developing a "Window Manager" for developing UI's in OpenGL. My goal was to make a flexible programmable UI with a familure object interface such as a Microsoft Windows developer would be familure with.

Within my window manager is a list of available controls that can be placed on a window. As of right now all I have

Radio Button (Option list)
Spin List

Controls that are 'on the list to create'

- Drop down menus
- Grids
- List boxes (with single and multi select)
- Slider bars
- Scrolling Text Boxes

Features on the list

- Modal Windows
- Predefined Window list (things like Message boxes / Yes - No Boxes / Input Boxes
- Window Stacking - When you place a window ontop of another they 'combine' and could be easily switched.
- Hotkeys

This will expand to more but for a demo I wanted at least these controls. Obviously I still need text boxes and such, but I wanted text handling to be its own monster thats inherited by a control.

This handler is contained is static library developed in C++. The only limitation in terms of rendering is the user may not change the faces (ie the shape) of the window. They can change the texture coords and define how they want to render the window. The library has predefined render functions but those do not have to be used. Windows can be 'skinned' and that image and the coords where to find each skin area can be defined by the user.

The hardest thing about developing this UI has been simply adding too much. I came up with this grand scheme on how I wanted everything to work. But I soon realized that those features simply are not needed. One being handling windows that were of various shapes. I had come up with something, but I really didn't like the uncertainty of this customization. At that point I said 'well if I want windows that are weird shapes I'll just write a library that handles only that. Personally I don't even like windows that are weird shapes.

Screen Shot

UI Texture



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