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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      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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  1. I already said the equation "a += lerp(0, b, mask);" was a mistake as I had briefly forgotten a basic math identity. Then someone replied before I could remove the thread. So while I appreciate the breakdown, it's for an erroneous equation that I don't plan to use.
  2. Doh! Well that's embarrassing. Apparently experience doesn't stop you from forgetting basic math from time to time. >_<   As for Question 2, I guess it won't really matter either way. Thanks for the help.
  3. The problem you will run into is that LPP renderers don't have access to the material's f0/specular color during the lighting phase. Quality PBR generally requires this information be available in order to perform per-light fresnel calculations. Now you could go the cheap route by treating the f0 like a color tint and then multiplying it with the final accumulated specular lighting, but it won't look as good.   That's my two cents.    EDIT: As an example, Satellite Reign used such a system, and only had true fresnel on their ambient specular. 
  4. Background I'm trying to smoothly blend away an emission effect from my shader's total emission output by using the lerp() intrinsic.   Questions Is it cheaper or equal cost to do "a += lerp(0, b, mask);" or "a = lerp(a, a + b, mask);"? Is the answer the same when replacing "+" with "*", "+=" with "*=", and "0" with "1"? Will either optimize down to fewer instructions if the mask is set to a constant of 1?
  5. Okay. Thank you for your assistance. ;)
  6. Background So here's the scenario. I have a baseUV that I reuse to sample several base maps (eg. base color, material, normal map, height map, etc). When I apply Parallax Occlusion Mapping, I have to calculate ddx(baseUV) and ddy(baseUV) to use before sampling the height map in a while loop.   Questions Is it more efficient for me to reuse that ddx(baseUV) and ddy(baseUV) with tex2Dgrad() to sample all my base maps? Is it better to just use tex2D() at this point, especially after applying offsets from POM?   Thanks.
  7. Background So I'm trying to implement a material compositing system using Texture2DArrays and vector arrays indexed by a sample from a mask texture.    Questions 1.) Is it even possible to use a texture sample as an index into a uniform array? 2.) If it is, is there a huge performance hit?   Thanks.
  8. I've seen the term being thrown around a lot lately when I read up on engines with their new PBR pipelines. Quite a few of them are saying that they now specify their light intensities in Lumens. I know that that is a term referring to output from real-world light source, but that's the extent of my knowledge.    My questions are: 1.) How do they pertain to lights in shaders? 2.) Is there a specific formula for calculating the light intensity from them? 3.) Am I just over-thinking this, and Lumens is just another name for the light intensity scale value?   Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you.
  9. That's odd. I haven't needed to scale up the parallax factor in mine. I basically just do the following: float2 baseUV = uv0 * baseTiling + baseOffset; float2 parallaxOffset = pom(height, heightmap, baseUV, viewDirTangent); baseUV += parallaxOffset; parallaxOffset /= baseTiling; float2 detailUV = (uv0 + parallaxOffset) * detailTiling + detailOffset; Am I missing something?   EDIT:  For clarification, I am using the following POM implementation: A Closer Look at Parallax Occlusion Mapping
  10. Additionally, I've found out you need to divide the offset by the tiling of the base map to avoid swimming on detail maps when you tile the base map. Just keeps getting more complicated. :(
  11. That seems to have done the trick. I originally shied away from that option since I am doing this in Unity, and they hide texture transforms inside a macro. I'll just need to write my own.   Thanks for the help. 
  12. So basically when I do heavily tiled detail mapping on a surface that is using Offset Bump Mapping or Parallax Occlusion Mapping, as I orbit around the surface the detail maps appear to swim across the surface.   Conditions Both the base and detail maps use UV0. The base maps are tiled 1x with no offset. The detail maps are tiled 10x with no offset. The parallax offset is generated from a heightmap tied to the base maps texture coordinates. I apply the parallax offset like so: (UV0 * Tile + Offset) + parallaxOffset.   Questions Is there any way to counteract this problem? Do I need to modify the parallaxOffset somehow before I apply it to the transformed detail texture coordinates? Are Detail mapping and Parallax just inherently incompatible? Thanks. 
  13. Okay, I've sort of solved it myself. Basically, I found a way to apply Beckmann roughness to Blinn Phong. This modifies the normalization term to be the way the Epic described in their paper for GGX, so I suspect the same trick they used should now apply. For anyone who is interested, here is where I found my answer: http://graphicrants.blogspot.com/2013/08/specular-brdf-reference.html
  14. Background Okay, so I have seen Epic's paper that covers, among other things, how they did area lights in UE4 by the "representative point" method: http://blog.selfshadow.com/publications/s2013-shading-course/karis/s2013_pbs_epic_notes_v2.pdf   Problem They specifically talk about how they needed to come up with a modification to the normalization factor for their BRDF to make the intensity looks close to correct. However, the one they list is for GGX, and I am using Normalized Blinn Phong. Sadly, I don't understand the math behind normalization.   Question Is there a nice simple way for me to find the normalization factor to use Normalized Blinn Phong with this area light trick?   Thanks. 
  15. Background I am working on a physically based shading system in Unity. Among the many components needed by this system is way to compensate for specular aliasing. Our chosen method involves calculating Toksvig AA from our normal maps, pre-correcting our specular powers, and storing the result for use at runtime.   Problem We are dealing with ARGB32 precision normal maps as inputs, and are encountering the problem that some of our artists tools don't quite output unit length normals in this precision. Unfortunately, this has dramatic consequences when applied to our pre-correction of specular powers, even for "flat" normals. So materials that are supposed to be smooth end up getting dramatically more rough.   Questions 1.) Is there a way to deal with this besides just using higher precision storage for our normal maps?  2.) One of our tactics to try to deal with this problem is offering the artist a bias factor that adjusts the calculated variance down slightly to compensate. Is this a valid solution, or will it break horribly down the line? 3.) Is there some other trick I could try that I have overlooked?   Thanks for any help you can provide.