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TANSTAAFL

Re: Forum FAQ

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TANSTAAFL    1160
I suppose I should have done this a long time ago, but I''m just now getting to it. I am putting together then Isometric Land FAQ. Now, I fully realize that after about 40 replies to this message, things will be rather silly, and I''ll have to close down the thread, but I figured its *YOUR* community, so if you have suggestions for what should be added to the FAQ (be sure to actually LOOK at the FAQ before making your suggestion so that you don''t look silly--I''ve already got a link to the Iso articles and to my book in the FAQ) then by all means let your suggestion be known.

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Dino    172
How about:

Question: What is Isometric?
Answer: (You can handle this one T)

Question: Should I use C/C++ or VB or Delphi or .NET or blah blah blah?
Answer: It''s your choice. Go to the Game Programming or General Programming for a better answer

Question: Should I use OpenGL or Direct3D if I do Iso3D?
Answer: It''s your choice. Goto the Graphics Programming Forum if you need a better response

Question: Where can I find source code for the ???? engine?
Answer: If you know the engine name, you can probably find the author''s name. E-mail them.

Question: Where can I read up on Isometric Games?
Answer: Look in Articles & Resource section.

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Dak Lozar    122
I’m really not sure that it’s worth having a FAQ if every answer is going to state “Isometric and Tile-based Games” section with a provided link. Maybe, if every question is answered in the provided documentation in the Isometric and Tile-base Games section, it would be best to just write a paragraph explaining this fact and provide a link.


(Please forgive my rant, but I just can not let this one go)

quote:
Original post by TANSTAAFL
Now, I fully realize that after about 40 replies to this message, things will be rather silly, and I''ll have to close down the thread, but I figured its *YOUR* community, so if you have suggestions for what should be added to the FAQ (be sure to actually LOOK at the FAQ before making your suggestion so that you don''t look silly--I''ve already got a link to the Iso articles and to my book in the FAQ) then by all means let your suggestion be known.


I just love the negativity that Staff and Moderators alike have been giving in recent months. Do you feel unappreciated? Have you been tainted?

At GDC I sat in a roundtable with a certain industry MMO guru discussing customer service for an MMO… Now, I had met this person the year before and thought that he was an ass, I think anyone that knows this individual would say that he is an ass – hell he even knows that he is an ass and that’s what make him so likeable. In fact, I think people that do hang around him do so because they know he is an ass and they are ok with it. Anyway, during this round table he ranted an raved about how customers where idiots and that they were whimpering blobs of shit and on and on and on.

I realized that there was probably some truth to his words and I know that customer service does have to deal with the 80% of the population that cannot flush a toilet – but what is your guys excuse?

Yea, I know that there are some folks here that post without researching and do not know that Googleing is a verb , there are also some folks that just like to make trouble and would prefer to answer a post with a smart-ass response than to provide an milliliter of help. Even with all that I find it very difficult to understand how someone on the Staff can get away with writing something like the above.

I apologize for posting this response to the board but if you can be as negative as you desire on the public boards then you should accept the fact that some people might take offense and be incensed by your words.

Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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Bad Maniac    252
quote:
Question: Should I use OpenGL or Direct3D if I do Iso3D?


Direct Draw is good enough to do iso IMO. Anyways, T I wonder why there is an isometric forum, but no 2D graphic forum... Why not make it an Isometric and 2D tile Faq? Just my little wish.

The more I think, the more confussed I get.

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Dak Lozar    122
OK, I don''t really know what was going on in TANSTAAFL''s head when he posted... and I may have read between the lines... as some have suggested... My message about tollerance seems to have been intollerant itself...

TANSTAAFL, I apologize if I read too much into your comment.

Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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TANSTAAFL    1160
if you want to know what was going on in my mind while writing the post, let me put you into my shoes for a second.

i came to the forum, as i do most days, to see if there were any questions that had been left unanswered that should be answered (i.e. non "how do i make a game" type questions).

i then noticed the "arena" thread announcement, so i figured i''d give that a look-see, saw what kevin was planning on doing, felt it was kind of neat, just not my thing (sounds a lot like making a bot to play rock, scissors, paper to me, but kev has his interests and i have mine and sometimes they differ blah blah blah).

then...

i saw the nine pages of replies to that thread, protesting every nit-picking detail about the contest, mostly consisting of "no, you should do it *MY* way because *I* know better than you how *YOU* should run *YOUR* contest."

at that point, thoroughly disgusted with most of the posters on that thread and hence people who post on message boards in general, i looked at the isometric land faq to find that there was no faq, and realized that i(or at least somebody) should probably write one. since somebody seems to be unavailable, i decided to at least put the obvious stuff in there, like what articles to look at and what book to get.

in my opinion, a FAQ should consist of more than two Q&As. a faq, when done correctly, just *FEELS* complete.

so, i left a post in the forum for suggestions, but with the arena thread freshly in mind, i fully anticipated junk posts, for which you have supplied us two, Dak, and with this reply, I have also supplied one(a comment on a junk reply is just as equally a junk reply). There is no need to reply to this junk reply, as they will just add up that way(and the LAST thing you want to do at this point is prove me right)

now, in fairness to the visitors of isometric land, the folks who post here are in general much better behaved and typically more on-topic than any other forum, for what reason i''ve never been able to guess, but i''m thankful for it.

for the record (just to set everyone''s mind at ease): it is never my purpose to go about offending people, but on message boards it happens with irregular frequency, generally because someone misinterprets what i say, but occasionally because i am an insensitive prick who doesn''t care.

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Dak Lozar    122
Putting on my constructive hat... here''s what I have come up with so far...

I. The Isometric Land FAQ
1) What Is This Forum For?
2) What Can I Post Here?
3) What Should I Not Post Here?

II. What is Isometric?
1) What games use Isometric?
2) What is the math involved?

III. More stuff here...
IV. Even more stuff...
.
.
.
??. More information and external resources
1) Various link
2) Various link



Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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Raloth    379
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Question: Should I use OpenGL or Direct3D if I do Iso3D?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Direct Draw is good enough to do iso IMO.


No offense or anything, but since when did DirectDraw do 3D?

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Bad Maniac    252
Since when is isometric 3D?
Sorry for crap posting but...

A few ideas for questions for the faq, to make this post not a complete waste of space.

Why choose Isometric?

How to create tiles and artwork that are Isometric?

How to calculate what tile the mouse is in, in Isometric view?

That could be slightly longer answers, but I''ve seen them a few times on the forum. Unfortunately I''ve never done ios, so I can''t help much with the replies, just telling you what I''d find helpful in the faq. I''m here because this is the onlöy 2D forum, and most people in graphics P & T doesn''t even know what DirectDraw is anymore, and think a software renderer is D3D HEL...

Oh by the way Raloth, DirectDraw can do just as much 3D as D3D, just look at the latest André LaMothe book You could make Quake or Quake2 in DirectDraw, so there.

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Alimonster    185
There always seems to be questions about doing different tile elevations (Populous style). I can''t recall hearing a good answer for that question -- is there an article about that anywhere to be linked into the faq, or a snappy answer?

A few links wouldn''t go amiss. I can only think of the following off-hand: Isometrix.org, So you want to be a pixel artist (maybe not relevant to this forum, maybe it is), and JEDI-IsoAxEE (a free, open-source iso engine for Delphi) - there must be other similar ones for other languages too, though.

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Dino    172
Can I make a suggestion? I would be willing to put together the FAQs Tanstaafl if you let me. Then anyone with suggestions could simply e-mail me. I would place it on the web at a different location until there has been a good concensus that it''s close to completion at which I''ll hand it over to you to place on the forum.

It would be my pleasure to do so for Isometric Land. Let me know your thoughts.

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TANSTAAFL    1160
while i appreciate your enthusiasm, dino, i also know how much of a perfectionist you can be, and i imagine you would have a tendency to make the FAQ rather "all inclusive", answering just about every single question even remotely related to isometric views. at that point, it becomes an article or body of knowledge, and ceases to be a FAQ.

also, it is ill advised to have a FAQ designed by committee or consensus. eventually such efforts almost always resort to quibbling over comma placement, and become rather frustrating to the person "in charge."

if you want to write just such a body of knowledge, then by all means do so. i feel that such a work would be useful, but for such a work, you would want to bring together a handful of people expert in the field rather than leaving everything up to the masses (remember all of the game projects that start up and let anyone be a member of the team?)

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samsmithnz    122
I the FAQ should have some questions like,

What programming language should I use?
A: reference to article/thread

I''ve started designing a Diablo/ Civ/ C&C/ Everquest/ RTS/ RPG/ MMORPG, but I don''t know where to start (I just started learning programming on Saturday)!
A: Learn to program and come back in 6 months.

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MatrixCubed    199
Some questions:

1) Are you targetting (A) newbie computer game programmers, (B) newbie isometric game programmers, or (C) another audience? I think this should be identified before you start asking/answering other questions.

2) Personally I think the FAQ should cater specifically to (B), which allows you to avoid such questions as "What API should I use?", which may not be as helpful as asking specifics of isometric programming (i.e. mouse hit testing, storing items in linked-lists/vectors/arrays/whatever, map scrolling, object heights, portals/teleporters, etc).

3) Perhaps delegating groups of questions to community volunteers and requiring a limited answer (i.e. no more than 500 words per each) would cut down the work of the individual. Likewise, you could post a question, its answer, and a request to "add your own 2 cents" for the answer. It gives the community veterans a chance to contribute, yet controls the flow of the overall FAQ.

These are my all-time favorite tutorials for iso game development:
http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article727.asp
http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article728.asp

Cheers,


MatrixCubed
http://MatrixCubed.cjb.net


[edited by - MatrixCubed on July 22, 2003 5:54:34 AM]

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usser    116
Seems like a great idea. Alot of people are interested in iso-games and it is a good entry point to creating your first game so I'm sure a great deal of people would find such a faq helpful.

A couple of voices have been raised in this thread to answer the utter newbie questions in this faq and I belive that these type of questions have already answered at GameDev's "For Beginners" section, a great entry point imho. We should take care not to confuse beginners more than necessary by mixing up learning to program and learning to program an isometric game.

http://www.gamedev.net/reference/start_here/

The type of questions that should be answered in the faq imho, are the ones that help people from reinventing the wheel. I.e. list of projects that have working iso-engines and ofcourse information and links to those who want to make everything themselves but still learn from what others have done before.

And also, answers to many of the buzzwords and definitions of common used terms . What is ISO2D and ISO3D (as already answered in the FAQ)? What do we mean by an iscometric game?

Since this forum is labelled "Isometric Land" I assume that it also encompasses questions about art and design of Isometric games. Resources on free (as in beer) art would be a nice complement for those that are just experimenting.

I'm not really sure if this was the kind of response that you were looking for TANSTAAFL? But I believe that such a faq would at least have helped me (and still would!).



[edited by - usser on July 22, 2003 7:49:33 AM]

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Red Ghost    368
I would suggest a few other recurrent questions in the ISO FAQ:
- What kind of tiles should I use (Iso, square or hex) ?
. the related question is
. >what is the advantage of an iso map versus a square map ...
- How do I handle terrain transition ?
. (you can rely on some of the answers of Dragun (dp?) in previous posts: he answered for
. square and hex tiles)
- How to put a character on map ?
. the related questions are
. >how to make a character correctly walk an iso/square/hex map
. >how to make a character detect terrain elevation
. >should my character move one tile at a time or have pixel based movement
. >how to implement tile/pixel based movement on an (iso/square/hex map)
- How to scroll a map ?
. the related questions are:
. >Should I buffer the map ?
. >How do I make a small map view ?

The more I think about this, the more I see the FAQ is centered around basic functionnalities. As an alternative, wouldn't it possible to reuse already written tile FAQs ?
There are three basic articles that can be reused (besides all the quality articles written by some of the forum members):
- Greg Taylor's Tile-Based games FAQ version 1.2
- Jason McIntosh's Tile Graphics Techniques 1.0
- Michael Dowling's Special effects for a Tile engine (examples in QBasic but can be easily derived to another language)

I also wonder about the answers to the FAQ: should we answer for all kinds of tiles and all kinds of sprites ?
I mean should the FAQ only give basic knowledge for writing a simple square tile 2D game with sprites of size inferior to or equal to the tile size ?
What do you think about it ?
Ghostly yours,
Red.



[edited by - Red Ghost on July 23, 2003 4:47:29 AM]

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