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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      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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As a first whack at the combat pathfinding heuristics, I built a heuristic function that assigns a cost of Distance for an open tile, Distance-1 for a resource node, Distance+10 for a tile with a different-faction destructible, and Distance+20 for a tile with a same-faction destructible. And it works pretty dang well. When presented with a choice of turnings, with either turning being the same cost distance-wise, if one turning has a resource node and the other does not then the resource node turning will be picked. Enemies don't exactly go out of their way to loot things, but they will loot if the lootable is convenient or in the way. They will favor looting a lootable over destroying a barricade, given a choice, but if the only choice is to destroy a barricade or a Tiny Bombard, then they'll do it. If the last resort is to find a path that is blocked by a same-faction ally, then they will follow that path for as far as they can. This ensures that even if GC is completely encircled by the foe, other foes will continue to path toward the fight and pile up around GC in a wonderfully overwhelming manner.

And it all works. However, it is a tad bit slow since I implemented the new AI pathfind in Lua. I might need to move it into C++ and do some optimizations to make it faster, since as of now there is a tiny but noticeable hitch right as an enemy unit starts its turn, while it paths and weighs its options. I have thought, too, about making the pathfinder incremental; letting it run for a few fractions of a second at a time then exiting. This would be simple enough to do if I restructured the pathfind slightly as a Lua coroutine, so that might be the first option I try. That way, the pathfinder would be running behind-the-scenes so to speak. It would be granted a few cycles every Update, and that would prevent any visible framerate hangs or hitches.

This current heuristic would be trivial for the player to game, given the right mix of skills and enemies. But with the test sets, it works wonderfully. And in the process, I even fixed a previously-unnoticed hang-bug I found in some movement queueing code, a bug that wasn't being triggered by the previous path assignment functionality.

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One fun side-effect of the way the lootables are weighted is that if you have a small, compact base and the Things breach your barricades, they will absolutely loot the [i]shit[/i] out of your workbenches when they raid unless you plan in advance.


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Near-perfect spawn location to build a base, and I still got owned. I think I liked these things better when all they did was wander around randomly.

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