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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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Multi-texturing + Yoshi's Island

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Modo's 'shader tree':


It's a peculiar thing at first: instead of creating explicit materials, you add shading components (textures etc.) to a single hierarchy. Polygons are then assigned tags which correspond to masking-groups (a sort of polygon-'gateway') located in the tree. During shading a polygon walks the tree and grabs all elements its tags allow it access to. These are added to a flat list which is then evaluated bottom to top to construct a material specific to that polygon. It's great in that it allows you to create different material routes for polygons to follow, but ones that can still have traits in common.

When processing the tree: at the bottom you usually find these 'Material' items, which are just collections of a series of constants (like base diffuse and specular values). These fill out a material's properties' initial values. The remaining items in the tree are used to modulate these base values.

Modo has a whole bunch of different 'layers' you can use for this purpose. These layers are set to a specific 'effect', which is whatever it is you want them modulate (again: diffuse, specular etc.). For example, the image-map layer type reads its output from a texture while a gradient layer samples it from a curve. Any layer type can also be set to act as a mask for other layers, weighting their influence. All the various layer types share common settings like blend modes, a global opacity value, an invert toggle and levelling settings. Very Photoshop-ish. After traversing the tree the final values are used as input for lighting.

Point is: this layered approach seemed very well suitable as something to replicate in-shader, so I wrote an importer. smile.png


It's basically a Modo-to-D3D converter. It looks for unique poly-tag -> material sets and turns them into various state objects, input layouts, vertex streams, block-compressed textures, samplers and shaders.

For anyone familiar with the application: it can also tessellate the newer Pixar-type SubD surfaces, create compositable animations based off Actor-Action sets, and bake those replicator thingies.

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