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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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Floating combat text (again)

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I'm having all sorts of dejavu while working on the new Goblinson Crusoe visuals. Spent this afternoon/evening working on the floating combat text components and getting the UI figured out. I've taken the opportunity to change things with the UI. I was all set to grit my teeth and port over my layered frame system that currently works with Irrlicht's renderer. It wouldn't have been too difficult, just kind of tedious. I wasn't looking forward to it at all.

So, since I really was dragging my heels I thought I'd take a little detour. Instead of writing the UI as a layered frame system with an orthographic projection, manually manipulating vertex buffers to layer the elements, why not just do the UI as a 3D scene? I set up a second scene+camera+viewport, and configured the render path to clear only the depth buffer. This second scene is drawn after the main scene. UI elements are added to this scene as models and meshes. Text stuff is built as a custom geometry, character portraits can be the character model in idle animation, etc... UI activation and deactivation can send elements swooping in from off-screen then swooping right back out again. I think it could be kind of cool and fun, so I'm going to tinker with it the next couple of days. Hell, if it gets me out of having to mess with the UI layer code anymore, that alone would make it worthwhile.

Anyway, here is a current work in progress shot. I only have some test UI text, a test alert sent out to all entities to test the floating combat text, and a character portrait of GC standing in T pose (not animated, since I don't actually have the idle animation exported to Urho format yet.) If I'm not too busy at work tomorrow, I'll whip up some placeholder UI assets and start connecting those things up to the various control bits and see how I like it.


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