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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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I've been working on a cave map for the past few days and I thought it was time to post a journal update. The cave will be composed of many connecting passages and smaller rooms. I thought it would be interesting to see one of the cave's building blocks come to existence.

1. This first image is quite important as it must conform to my 3d tile size. This particular rock has a dimension of 4x2x4. In other words it is half as long as it is wide/high. This mounts to an image size of 192x224 pixels (a tile with a width/height/depth of 1x1x1 is 64x64 pixels). Other than that this image is just a clump of grey.

2. Here the first smaller stones are outlined. I try to imagine how big I want the rocks to be in the final image and I draw from that.

3. In this image I try to flesh out the shape of the rocks. I only use 2-3 colors as it is easiest to work with at this early stage. Intricate shapes are somewhat simplified.

4. More detailing work, still only using few colors. One rather dull grey and another a little bit darker.

5. Here I fill in the areas that I want highlighted with a brighter color. Trying to accentuate ridges and creases in the rock.

6. Up until now I have only used a rather big brush. Now I begin detailing with a smaller brush. This allow for finer details. Ridges and creases get a more rough look. I also deform parts of the original shape to make it stand out more.

7. I give the rock more contrast by filling in the shadows with a dark color.

8. I thought the rock was a little too bright so I brought down the overall intensity.

9. Here I have filled in the creases between each rock with a 1px size brush and a dark colour.

10. Adding moss and earth between and on top of some rocks.

11. Final adjustment to the rock and moss. I highlighted the rock edge against the moss, making the moss stand out more.

An animated GIF created from the different steps above. It took me around 45 minutes to paint the rock from scratch.

Here is how the rock looks like inside the cave.

Thanks for reading!

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Thanks for the comments!


I've tried to implement these shadows beneath objects with ambient occlusion but sadly I could not get it to work quite right. I might give it another try in the future.


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no problem smile.png That was my first idea, using blending. However I rely on the hardware to do the sorting of my game objects and the z-buffer does not play nice with blended textures. The engine do support blended objects but using it for an entire level would break the overall consistency with the rest of the world. I also imagine it would eventually leading to objects being sorted in the wrong way (painters algorithm problem).


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@O-san   Ahh! indeed I am very familiar with the painters algorithim problem.

As I'm sure you remember I did a fairly large Isometric game, and Isometric can be a pain in the ass because of this smile.png

Normally it is broken by using split-up graphics in the case of 'L-shaped' or otherwise weird sizes;  in your case you're using the zbuffer with some information of 'real geometry' to produce localized splitting automatically.

Thats a neat approach, but indeed it fails for partially blended objects, and now it all comes full circle; you really have no good ability up front for doing edge-blended graphics (across the whole level) which normally gets rid of the hard edge effects.


--it would probably also kill batch performance that I'm sure you're taking advantage of.

At the resolution you're using, a fringe could probably be baked in using full opaque and full transparent pixels, but it likely wouldn't look /that/ great.

Assuming you render your ground and surface objects seperately, it is possible a solution could be to render a fringe or shadow at that point, without worying about overdraw and using full capacity of blending.


These days I'm back at using a traditional 2D API via HTML5 Canvas, which is nice; if you can stand the loss in oomph that we all have grown accustomed to with accellerated implementations on 3D hardware.

That being said; you've been at this kind of thing as long as I have hehe biggrin.png


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@EDI: Tried blended walls inside the cave instead of alpha tested.. looks pretty good so I think I'll keep it =)


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