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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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NathanRidley

Beginner: not performing CPU-wise calculations on objects outside of camera space

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I'm learning graphics programming by iterating on a cubes demo I've been working on. The demo currently has 10000 cubes being rendered, but only a fraction of those are on screen at any given time in most cases. I know the GPU hardware typically takes care of only rendering what it needs to, and clipping out the rest, but before rendering, I still have to calculate animation positions and so forth. This only actually needs to be done if a given cube is going to be on-screen though, which leaves me wondering if there's an easy way to only perform CPU-wise calculations on cubes that are going to be visible in camera space. Is this effectively a collision detection problem, i.e. working out if each cube overlaps the camera area? What's the usual approach?

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This is called frustum culling, and is usually performed in batches as the GPU already does it at some point in the pipeline for individual triangles (so doing it on each cube on the CPU is mostly a waste of time). So usually you group your cubes according to some spatial data structure, the simplest being fixed grid buckets, where you test each bucket for intersection and ignore all cubes in the bucket if it doesn't intersect the camera's frustum, that way you can save a lot of work for the GPU down the line with comparatively little work done by the CPU. Then for whatever cubes are (potentially) visible, you can run other stuff that doesn't need to be done if the cube isn't on screen.

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You can also represent your individual objects with a bounding object to simplify the calculations.  Bounding spheres are really simple to test against a frustum, but since they don't fit exactly to the enclosed object then it gives you a conservative list of what is inside the frustum (and hence should be drawn).  You can then build your spatial data structure using the bounding volumes as well.

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