WorldPlanter

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  1. A tile system... for a sphere?

    If you don't care about non-uniform tile sizes/morphology you can always try a quad sphere.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-X1eevWU9s
  2.   I've never had any interest in the Sims, so I guess I've deprived myself of a fairly powerful in-game content building system. I just watched some examples of user created houses for The Sims 3 on YouTube. I'm impressed with the granularity of the game's system though this approach would be too time-consuming for building customized cities. For my project I'm approaching a similar level of granularity, though it's compartmentalized. Essentially players could create content modules at a micro granularity level (similar to Sims 3) that could then be plugged into customized buildings, superstructures, or archologies.
  3. I'd be curious about any other examples as well. I've been developing a proof of concept for a planetary exploration and colonization game that contains infrastructure and city development at its core. I actually already have a prototype for an in-game content creation system (focussed on terrain and structures) but would be interested in seeing other approaches.   My city building process is a hybrid combination of simulation and customized world crafting on part of the player.   In the title you mention modification of existing buildings. So is the city building aspect purely simulation then with the player customizing each building after it's generated?
  4. Multiplayer level design flow test

    They're typically called heatmaps. Halo is pretty well known for doing these.
  5. Krohm, I guess it's the periodic "resetting" of the coordinate system that I'd be interested in learning more about. Are there currently any engines or good examples where this technique is employed? I could imagine that there may be camera and geometry jittering or jumping at the point where the coordinates are reset if the precision of the translation isn't exact. Or equally problematic I suspect there might be a performance hit depending on the frequency that this "reset" occurs and the number and complexity of elements that have to be "resetted." Also, does anyone know of the official terminology that should be used when referring to a localized coordinate system such as the concept described above? I never get the results I would expect when looking for localized coordinates systems in search engines, even within the context of games.
  6. Hey guys, this is my first time posting in any of the programming forums as I'm an environment artist by profession. However, I'm extremely interested in tools development, content creation systems/methodologies, and making environment/level creation more effecient, which is why I hope to start my own project with the intent of utilizing a novel modular approach for creating high level of detail content on a large scale. The biggest issue I know I'll need to address first is one of scale and handling floating point precision issues with having playable areas of the map at extreme distances from the origin. I imagine this issue is faced all the time with flight simulators so I thought anyone who has insight regarding how flight sims or other massive open-world games approach this problem would be worth seeking advice from. My project isn't a flight sim, though flight from point to point is a feature I'd like to support. The problem is that I want the scale of what you would expect in a flight sim (say 40x40 miles) while still maintaining reasonable tolerances for character level collision, physics, lighting, etc. I fully expect having to subdivide the map into sections that can be pre-cached and streamed while maintaining surrounding sections as macro LOD's or meta imposters, but I'd like to load sections without having to break line of sight. Basically I don't want to have to force the player through a dog-leg, L-bend, or other contrived transition intended to break LOS for loading purposes. Additionally, even if I only have a small section of the level loaded where the player is currently active while the remaining sections are LOD'd if this section is 18 miles from the origin I still believe I'm going to have problems. So it seems what I need is a way of localizing the coordinate system to the currently loaded or active section of the level. Does anyone know of any methods in general terms for accomplishing this or for dealing with extremely large open-world environments? For my project I was hoping to mod Cry Engine or Unreal either myself or with the aid of a project partner more versed in programming but I'm not sure if either of these engines would even provide the flexibility I need to accomplish this. Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  7. City Size in RPGs

    Exploring towns in Zelda, FF, and other classic RPG's was always one of my favorite activities. I too never had the impression of being immersed in a large town or city though in classic SNES RPG's and adventure games. I took them as iconic representations of towns rather than actual towns. Though if you think about it, almost everything in a classic RPG is an iconic representation anyway rather than the genuine article. The towns and castles on over-world maps were literally icons. I've always favored bigger towns with more realistic scales and populations but I know this can be a deterrent to individuals who get lost easily. I'm the sort of person that can be dropped in the middle of the woods and still know which way is North. After visiting a location once I can picture the surrounding topology/geography in my mind as if I had a Satellite view of the region. Since I rarely ever get lost or confused about direction or location in games or real life I've always favored a little more complexity since complexity typically brings with it more variation and visual interest. However, I can understand how unneeded complexity is an undesirable feature if it leads to confusion. I think it comes down to communicating to the player the important features and regions of your town or city so that they can easily understand what they do and don’t need to pay attention to. If each building or location in your city possesses implied importance then having a large city can be a bad thing as players will feel overwhelmed. It's important to establish a visual language in your town that communicates to players, which buildings are significant and which buildings and structures are unimportant. Hopefully, in this situation the unimportant buildings, locations, and features of the town simply become background flavor. Centralizing and condensing the important buildings (shops, banks, inns, etc.) so that travelling between them is reduced is also important. My main motivation for exploring the rest of the town should not come from a necessity to find the shop I need, but rather as you have mentioned to engage in some secondary activity such as inciting a rebellion, rubbing shoulders with affluent members of the community, and so on. Having navigation markers to help guide players to important locations or individuals in the city may also be something to consider. When playing Assassin’s Creed even if I wasn’t completely familiar with a city’s layout when I first arrived it didn’t matter because I had navigation points and markers to help guide me to those parts of the city that were important. Obviously this is a different genre and the game was handing me objectives to move me along but there are still some concepts that can be gleaned from this example.
  8. The Fate of Modern FPS Campaign Length

    Quote:Original post by Telastyn People actually play FPSes single player? What's the point? (With the exception of Serious Sam) They all tend to devolve into cheating the AI or a glorified version of Duck Hunt (though Serious Sam was an awesome glorification). Personally, I wish more companies went the Quake 3/Team Fortress 2 route. Quit wasting time on the campaign and provide excellent balance and support/content for the multiplayer side, which is played a hell of a lot more over the course of the game's lifetime. I too love multiplayer and find that depending on the franchise much or most of the value rests with its multiplayer offerings. I'm a big fan of the Battlefield series which has no campaign at all. That being said, when an FPS does boast a single or co-op campaign I expect to get a different but equally enjoyable experience out of it.
  9. Basketball game engine

    Hmm... It is an interesting point that there is not a lot of development in the Indie Scene for sports themed games. It may be that it's hard to sway gamers from the big guys (EA, 2K Sports) or simply that no one has really tried yet. I think it would definitely have to be a niche game though. Perhaps approach the game with a very unique art-direction (cartoon-style) or add some other hook such as a meta game. I can't really think of anything that is already out there engine-wise.
  10. Posting the feedback I gave on your voting site: My Vote: Macro It appears to have the potential for the most depth in terms of mechanics. While there would probably be some interesting puzzles for Mass Project it seems it would feel gimmicky after about 3-4 levels and might lose the attention of its audience. I'm not saying that it couldn't maintain a gamer's attention, simply that it would be much more difficult to do so. Zix also sounds interesting but there are already a lot of FF:tactics clones out there. I'm sure you could do something unique with it but Macro seems like it's unique from the ground up based on what you've described and the small sampling of art direction.
  11. Things to steal/trade in modern pirate game?

    I think you're off to a good start. If you plan on having cities that can be raided I might consider dividing them into zones such as commercial, residential, industrial, and maybe agricultural. This would allow you to have cities of varying ratios of commodities depending on their constituent zones. A city that is 60% industrial, 20% commercial, and 20% residential might have a lot of raw materials like metals, fuel, and rare materials but not too much food or processed goods such as electronics or medicine. This would also allow players to develop strategies pertaining to the ships they might want to attack and raid. If a ship appears to be on a course for City A and it is known as being a highly residential and agricultural city/port then it can be assumed that the ship is likely carrying processed goods for import but probably not raw materials or large quantities of food. If you are desperately in need of food to feed your crew, but seem to have sufficient supplies of processed goods (medicine, tools, electronics, etc.) then it may not be worth the risk of engaging that particular ship. Players could pick and choose the types of cities and ships they want to raid to fit their needs/goals. You mentioned that you were going for something a little more arcade-like so this may be too much complexity but hopefully it'll help you think of ways of compartmentalizing the types of items you would like players to pirate.
  12. The Fate of Modern FPS Campaign Length

    Quote:Original post by Iron Chef Carnage ANd of course, you can always spend your dev time making a great game with a short campaign, then add DLC for more money and duration if it's a hit. I can't tell if this is a semi-sarcastic statement or if you're being serious. I personally don't have a problem with DLC (having worked on some myself and having thought of the idea back in the days when I used to play F-Zero and hope for more vehicles and tracks) but fear that it can be exploited and used as an excuse to ship a less than full-fledged game.
  13. The Fate of Modern FPS Campaign Length

    Quote:Original post by MSW Quote: D- Developers should consider longer development cycles so that they can maintain a high level of content quality and increase campaign length and the amount of content/features available. I'm willing to wait another six months to a year for the game's release if it means I get a large and long campaign in addition to having excellent visual, audio, AI, and gameplay standards. But are gamers willing to subsidize such increased production costs? Waiting is one thing, but time is money, and publishers have production costs to account for. Either they will pass this increase directly to the customer of the game...Or they will distribute it amongst some/all of thier releases inorder to net profit. Obviously, this development strategy will cost more than a typical production cycle. If improving the quality and scope/scale of content in the game results in the game going from receiving an average rating of 7 or 8 to a 10 on a 1-10 scale then this may have the ability to sway consumers who are on the fence about the purchase to actually buy it. Depending on the numbers of the converted this may justify the higher production costs if the developer/publisher is able to move more units at the same price. In all likelyhood the first title developed using this approach would probably not meet its full potential in terms of profitability as a result of straying from the current business model. However, this strategy would seeemingly have a long-term payoff of increasing costumer loyalty.
  14. The Fate of Modern FPS Campaign Length

    Quote:Original post by Hodgman Good luck going to a publisher with that. Dev: We'd like an extra year to increase the length of our campaign. Pub: That pushes our release back to 2012, what will we bring out in 2011 now? Dev: But, the game will be much better! Pub: We can spend that $5,000,000 on marketing and get more sales than your "extended campaign" will give us. Dev: Can we pleeeaaaase have $5M and an extra 12 months? Pub: No. Actually I think we'll move your deadline 6 months earlier so we've got some good hype material for marketing. Also, that should mean we don't have to pay you as much because it's a shorter deadline. Have fun crunching you shmucks. This is probably closer to the truth than most would admit. Well established developers do have a bit of push-back with their publishers though. In the end it's the publisher's call but dev's can definitely influence their decision. Quote:Original post by RaydenUni Two words: The Library. Yes, this is a good example of unnecessary filler, which is not what should be expected when extending campaign length. Quote:Original post by jbadams G - There isn't a problem. (Similar to your option A, except that I wouldn't say the balance is necessarily ideal, and would also suggest that there is a large portion of gamers willing to accept a lesser quality (as long as it is still good rather than bad) gaming experience if the price is right and the experience is fun.) I know you're probably more looking for ways to increase length for those players who do want a longer campaign, but I'd just like to briefly weigh in with the alternative view that 10-20 hours of gameplay (preferably broken down into smaller, easily consumable chunks that can be finished in 30-60 minute sessions) is enough. I work. I have a couple of casual jobs, and I'm working towards creating my own games to sell. I also do some freelance coding and web development. I socialise -- karaoke night once most weeks, and usually another night or two out for dinner, a movie, visit the pool-hall, go to the beach or whatever. I volunteer some of my time to this site. I have other hobbies - I play several instruments, write my own music, and have a weekly (roleplaying) gaming night. Amongst all that I like to play videogames as well, but I simply don't have a lot of time to do so, and when I do it's usually in small chunks rather than for extended periods. I like games like Halo that provide a campaign I can finish without having to dedicate a lot of time to. I think what I just said also represents a large and growing portion of the gaming market. Shorter campaigns -- hopefully with additional optional content in the form of secrets, achievements, multiplayer modes, etc. -- tend to really appeal to this market, and so in many cases it probably just isn't cost effective for game companies to invest in solving the "problem" you've identified. I'm sure however that others will share your point of view and may be interested in ways to achieve increased campaign length. You're statements are actually very much aligned with my opinion on the matter. I too work many hours, have a wife, dabble in writing on the side, go hiking, and have other responsibilities that make it difficult to make a big committment to a game. That's why I believe 30-60 minute chunks or levels is an ideal duration of play for most gamers. This is also why I enjoy multiplayer sessions. My ideal campaign length would probably be 10-12 hours if it was engaging enough to have a high replayability factor. What concerns me is FPS's trying to squeeze by with less than a six hours of campaign. When I get a new game I typically play 1.5-2 hours each night and then 30-60 minute sessions as its "newness" dwindles. If I complete a game in 3-4 days I feel let down a bit. Quote:Original post by Iron Chef Carnage F, but close to A. I think that the long single player campaigns of yesteryear represented a lack of content, in terms of AI, physics and map design. Dozens of hours of gradually escalating grunt hordes, backtracking key/door gameplay and spartan, repetitive environments made for a few noteworthy FPS titles (The Marathon franchise really did well in my mind) and loads and loads of less excellent games. Nowadays the actual gameplay experience can be profoundly rewarding in shorter bites. I read an interview with some Bungie dudes who were talking about Halo, and they explained that the Halo experience is pretty simple, you go into a place with enemies, maybe score a few stealth kills, stick a grenade on the first guy who sees you, then go through the shoot/melee/reload/grenade/shoot cycle a few times, using the environment and some strategic hopping to stay alive, then wait for your shields to come back and do it all over again. That core experience lasts about thirty seconds at a time, but they worked hard to polish it and make it feel intense and rewarding. Adding in long walks and more and more fights fluffs up the game but doesn't necessarily enrich the experience (The Library is a good example of where they did it wrong). I too agree that filler shouldn't be added simply to extend the game's length, however if you can continue to use captivating experiences that continue to build upon the mechanics of game play without exhausting the types of situations where a player can challenge their skills I think it's something worth pursuing. Too often I'll play a game and be introduced to a new mechanic, vehicle, weapon, piece of equipment, or tactic and only get a brief taste of it before moving onto something different. I wouldn't mind playing through a level that introduces me to a new vehicle and allows me to learn how to utilize it then having the opportunity to play it again later (not necessarily the next level) with the chance to really have fun with it because I've already been familiarized with it previously. When everything is a one-off experience it begins to feel gimmicky and as if I'm being cheated of opportunities to really exploit and master the experience, whatever it may be.
  15. The Fate of Modern FPS Campaign Length As the expectations for improved graphics, audio, effects, AI, physics, etc. for FPS games continues to rise with each generation it becomes increasingly more difficult for developers to produce games at the scale and scope that we've seen in years past when pertaining to single player mode. If developers want to acquire positive marks from reviewers and players alike this often requires dedicating most of their resources on a smaller chunk of content compared to previous generations in order to reach the desired quality bar. Some would say that the emphasis is on quality over quantity. However, as an environment artist and a gamer who loves exploring, part of having a quality experience for me is having a large quantity of content to explore over a fairly large but manageable duration of time. It's difficult to think of a blockbuster FPS such as KillZone, Halo, or CoD that has had anything near a 20 hour campaign in the last 5 years. Half-Life 2, which came out just a little over 5 years ago was the last big FPS game to have a single player mode any where near this figure. There have been FPS games such as Dead Space with slightly longer campaigns but this is accomplished primarily through limiting the variety of the environments and content, and overly repeating gameplay elements. I'm not opposed to re-use of assets (see below) but I think it can be taken too far. ________________ WHAT ACTION, IF ANY, SHOULD DEVELOPERS TAKE TO IMPROVE THE DIMINISHING LENGTH AND SCALE OF SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGNS FOR FPS GAMES? A- Developers don't need to change their strategy. Modern FPS games have achieved an ideal balance between campaign length and overall quality. B- Developers should be willing to sacrifice a little bit on the graphics, sound, physics, and AI front in favor of more content and longer campaigns. I want a longer and larger campaign experience even if it means less focus on fine tuning content to the cutting edge. C- Developers need to focus on pushing the envelope for graphics, sound, physics, and AI even if it means even shorter campaigns and less overall content. I want the most engaging and realistic experience no matter how short and small it is. D- Developers should consider longer development cycles so that they can maintain a high level of content quality and increase campaign length and the amount of content/features available. I'm willing to wait another six months to a year for the game's release if it means I get a large and long campaign in addition to having excellent visual, audio, AI, and gameplay standards. E- Developers should adopt new development strategies such as relying more on asset re-use and modular systems. This allows developers to increase quality, quantity, and campaign length without over extending the development cycle, but at the cost of reducing the number of unique environments and assets. I don't mind playing through two or more levels that share similar visual styles and content if it adds more length and scale to my campaign experience. F- Other. I have another solution I'd like to suggest (please reply with explanation if voting for this). I couldn't seem to find a poll ability in the forums so if every visitor could please reply with their vote (A,B,C,D,E,or F) and perhaps a little justification I'll try to update the tally as often as possible. ____________________ I tend to lean toward solutions D and E. I believe developers need to be willing to accept the fact that games of this generation and next are going to take longer to develop if they desire to push the quality bar in visuals, audio, AI, physics, and gameplay while still maintaining the scale and amount of content delivered in previous generations. I also think that there are strategies for creating content, and environments specifically that can increase the amount of content and length experienced in an FPS campaign without drastically lengthening the development cycle. Rather than creating a custom palatte of shaders, bitmaps, effects, objects, architectural, and landscaping concepts to make each level completely unique it seems that establishing a few unique "environment schemes" or themes that can be used on multiple levels would be an effective approach. This strategy has been used in the past and it seems negligent that so many FSP developers have completely abandoned it. I think FPS games could adopt this strategy as exemplified in games from other genres such as adventure games, action games, and platformers. Take SMB3 for example. It has eight worlds, each themed (an environment scheme) so that the levels within each world are unified by similar elements though feel unique as a result of their custom compositions and gameplay challenges. I could imagine in an FPS game that you could establish 4-6 different environment schemes or themes that could be used 2-4 times each giving a range of 8-24 different levels. If each level is about an hour this seems like an ideal range in terms of campaign length. Having 16 levels based on 5 different themes would seemingly be easier from an art production standpoint than 10 levels, each having there own unique environment scheme. Thoughts?