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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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And Now For Something Completely Different

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Dancin_Fool

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This is a repost from my external blog http://codingintransit.blogspot.ca

I have something totally different for you this week. To give you some background, my other hobby is costuming, and on top of that it's mostly armor based costuming. I build things like, transformers, Iron man, that sort of thing. The piece of software I use to do this is called Pepakura Designer. It allows a user to "unfold" a 3d model into 2 dimensions so that it can be printed out on cardstock and re-assembled. The problem is that it's been designed with building little papercraft model's not costuming. This results in a lot of little things I don't like about the software. Now rather than just accept those things I started planning out a better piece of software more designed for costuming in mind.

The problem with this though is that even if I built out this piece of software noone is going to use it because all of the existing content is built for pepakura. So I decided the number one thing I needed was in importer that could load pdo( the pepakura file format ) files into my software. The problem with doing this though is that pdo files are a closed format and besides one hacked together python script I found that could import parts of the 3d data there wasn't really any information about the format out there in the wild.

So I set about reverse engineering the format and started building up a spec of how it was layed out in memory. I've never done anything like this before and so it was a slippery slope trying to figure out where to begin. I've done lots of work with binary files though so I have a pretty solid grounding in how a lot of different formats are layed out so it gave me a bit of a base to start from. So I started with a simple box model and just started poking and prodding in a hex editor. Change a vertex, re-export see what changed. Change a color, re-export see what changed. Slowly but surely a picture started to emerge. Within a few days I had a clear picture of what the 3d data looked like in memory. One thing that really held me up was that I expected all of the floating point data to be stored as floats, but they decided to store them as doubles, I can't imagine why they would think they would really need that level of precision, were they thinking someone would be trying to unfold an earth sized object? Another thing that held me up a bit was that the strings are encoded. I saw patterns that looked like null terminated strings, a string length, a set of characters ending with a 0. When I looked at the data though the strings were jibberish. With a bit of fiddling around though I figured out that if I subtracted a constant from each element of the string I could decode it into the original string value. Turned out though that this constant changes from file to file. The good thing though was after a quick search of the header I found out one of the blocks of data I was unsure about stored the decoder value.

So that was about as far as I got a few months ago I got distracted by other things and there it lied dormant. A couple weeks ago though I got the itch again. So for the last couple weeks I've been poking and prodding at the data structures and finally have an almost complete picture of how everything is stored. I've also set up a pdo viewer option in my project for viewing pdo files. Now the next big question for me is do I go back to my voxel earth project or do I put some love into my costume designer project I planned out so many months ago.

Anyways, I've compiled how things are layed out in memory, it can be found on my external blog here

http://codingintrans...completely.html.

Everything that's important for rendering a pdo is there, there's a few odd and end flags that haven't been decoded yet. If anyone has any questions or feedback on what some of those unknown fields do, please leave a comment.

Allspark1341587837.png
Model almost decoded.

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There we go model decoded

Allspark1341623185.png
Hmm those unfolds don`t quite look right

Allspark1341848080.png
Hmm the bounding boxes are looking right

Allspark1341933840.png
Hey there we go, unfolds rendering correctly

Allspark1341969007.png
Found the normals for them model!

Allspark1342023067.png
FIgured out which edges were the internal edges.

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