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Tim Ingham-Dempster

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  1. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    I need a good show to waste my time

    I'm going to agree with a couple of people and recommend Babylon 5. You mentioned that you found it hard to get into and thats not surprising, the first season was a bit hit and miss but if you skip it or watch it out of order you miss tons of important stuff. Seasons 2, 3 and 4 are amazing and season 5 had some great parts as well as some not so great, blame the network for that. I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned Arrested Development yet. Its a US comedy that ran for 3 seasons. Its very off beat but if it clicks with you its hilarious.
  2. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Real-Time Adventure game

    As others have said, denying people content based on the time of day they play will just be annoying. I do think that making the missions vary based on the time of day could be quite cool, as could adding real world timed elements that are activated by the player and then involve a real world time span. This could be a good way to get people coming back to your game regularly if it was a browser or mobile/handheld game like classeye suggested. I believe Farmville does something similar by having the player plant crops and then harvest them after some real world time has elapsed. The real trick to this would be making sure that there are enough options with different time spans to suit the player's schedule. You'd want some missions where you have to wait a week or so after accepting it for the enemy general to arrive. Some that would take a few days for the next supply train to get in. Maybe one where you have to rob the bank for the secret documents but they are being moved tomorrow and are too well guarded today so that you have to wait until tonight. A group of missions that you can go off and do right now. The point is they would all need to be available at once and the player would have to be able to pick the one(s) that they want to activate for when they think they will have time to play it. Whether or not you feel comfortable manipulating the player like this is another question, personally I have no problem with it, but I think some people do.
  3. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    XNA moving individual bones

    No worries. Its been a while since I used it, and I don't have it here anymore, but if I remember rightly the one thats called a tutorial has both the code and some step by step instructions on how to modify the first to manipulate the bones directly. The end result was that the dude's head looked to the side when the user presses a certain key. Its a bit tricky to get the animation sample itself to work in your own projects but its not too much hassle.
  4. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    XNA moving individual bones

    There is a great example of how to do this on what is now the Microsoft App Hub. Its based on this sample: Skinned mesh sample and the part about manipulating bones is in this tutorial: Skinned mesh extensions tutorial Hope that helps.
  5. Hi, As the subject says, I'm having trouble running the MiniTri11 sample from the June2010 SlimDX SDK. I can build it fine, but it breaks when running at line 52: Device.CreateWithSwapChain(DriverType.Reference, DeviceCreationFlags.Debug, desc, out device, out swapChain); with the error message: "Managed Debugging Assistant 'LoaderLock' has detected a problem in 'C:\Users\Tim\SlimDX Samples (June 2010)\Direct3D11\MiniTri11\bin\Debug\MiniTri11.vshost.exe'. Additional Information: Attempting managed execution inside OS Loader lock. Do not attempt to run managed code inside a DllMain or image initialization function since doing so can cause the application to hang." I thought this might be due to my using a dx10 graphics card, so I created a FeatureLevel[] with FeatureLevel10_0 and used the appropriate overload of Device.CreateWithSwapChain but got the same error message. I'm using VS2008 on vista. I'd appreciate it if anyone could help with this. Thanks.
  6. If you do decide to use UDK, there are some great tutorials here: In particular the ones under the heading "3D Buzz Video Tutorials - Using UDK". Edited to make the link a link - TID
  7. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Thought Exercise: Audience Switch

    Sounds interesting, here is my attempt- Robin Hood, the myth rather than the specific story (because I don't remember it well enough). I believe it is public domain, apologies if not. Story: At the start Robin is a brave individual, but not over-endowed with intellect. He sees everything in black and white terms of right and wrong. He wants to join the crusades, but his father won't let him. Analysis: I want to give Robin space to grow through the story. I think adults will find it more interesting for him to experience internal change rather than just becoming the hero. Story: Robin's father dies of natural causes. Robin attends his funeral and goes through all the normal rituals of the time for a bereavement. Then he joins the crusades. Whilst he is away the Sheriff of Nottingham is trying to raise money for important development work (an irrigation system or some such) improve the productivity of the district. The peasants are angry about this as they believe that they cannot afford the higher taxes necessary for his plan. There is civil unrest and the Sheriff attempts to maintain law and order but in some cases over reacts. This makes the situation worse. Analysis: I want to make the Sheriff more real than the boo-hiss villain of the original. I'm trying to get to a position where there isn't really a good guy or a bad guy, just conflicting opinions. Story: Sir Guy is trying to mediate between the two sides when Robin returns. Sir Guy has taken a neutral position and as such is disliked by both sides. He believes that both sides have merit and wants to find a compromise. Analysis: Again trying to move the bad guys away from the pantomime villains of the original. In this case Sir Guy is going to end up being attacked from all sides which will leave him looking like a very strong character if he comes through it. I hadn't intended this when I started writing, but I like the way it went. Story: Robin is severely shaken by the crusades and is re-evaluating his views on morality. When he hears about the events that have happened while he is away, he is relieved to find a cause he can believe in that appears, to him, to be a clear fight between right and wrong. His old, absolutist, personality reasserts itself as he joins the peasants and becomes an outlaw to try and thwart the Sheriff. Analysis: I want Robin to have the opportunity to grow here and fail. It sets up the rest of his journey to learning about moral grey areas. Story: Marion is torn between the two sides. She moves between them, first working for one and then the other. She is repulsed by Sir Guy, seeing her own indecisiveness reflected in his neutrality. She is drawn to Robin because of his absolute certainty. Analysis: This is the bit I was least sure about when writing. I don't want it to appear that Marion is indecisive because she is female On the other hand I do want a character that flip flops between the two sides and Marion seems best suited to the role. I think it will be fine as long as the things she does for each side show her as a very strong character. Also, she is right to be indecisive. The certainty in their own causes are flaws in Robin and the Sheriff. The only flaw with Marion being indecisive is her belief that she should pick a side. Story: That's more or less the set-up, the rest of the story would be playing out that conflict. I don't know where it would go from here, there is a lot of possibility. It's starting to feel like it should end in tragedy of some kind. Thoughts on the exercise - Depends on what you mean by "appeal to adults". I tend to agree with Wai almost exactly when talking about what would appeal to an ideal adult audience However, what actually seems to appeal to the majority of adults is basically a kids story with more swearing. In some cases kids stories themselves are extremely popular with adults, Harry Potter being a case in point. That being said there is an audience for intelligent, complex stories, just not as large as it should be. Hmm, was expecting to have more to say in this section, guess I should have called it "Thought on the exercise". Oh well.
  8. Actually clip doesn't stop execution, at least on my graphics card, I'm not sure if that applies to all cards, or just some. The rest of Foofles reply is correct though.
  9. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Ball never stops bouncing

    I could be wrong, but this sounds a lot like something I experienced when making some physics code a while back. To explain the problem consider the case of a ball falling onto the floor and experiencing a perfectly elastic collision. In the real world the ball would bounce back to the exact height that it started from. Now consider this in the context of a simulation. The collision will be detected at some point after the ball hits the floor, and the ball will be moved up so that it rests on the floor before its velocity is reflected. The upward bounce would take it back to where it was if it bounced from the point where the collision was detected. With the correction to place the ball on the floor it will now bounce slightly higher than it was when it started to fall. This will repeat at every collision, causing the ball to bounce higher and higher. Lastly, make the colision inelastic. Now the ball will bounce back to a position slightly lower than when it began to fall. When the velocity at the point of collision is high, the amount of bounce lost due to inelasticity will far outweigh the amount added to correct for the innacuracy in collision detection. When the velocity at the point of collision becomes small enough, the amount of height lost through inelasticity will balance the amount gained through collision innacuracy, leading the simulation to continue forever. As I say, this is what was happening in my code and may not be related to your issue. Hope it helps anyway.
  10. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Synopsis Workshop

    sunandshadow, Wai: Thanks for the effort put into this. I don't have anything to add to it but wanted to make my appreciation known. Good start so far.
  11. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Interest in a workshop on synopses?

    Sounds interesting, any ideas what form it would take?
  12. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Flipping between God and Mortal

    Quote:Original post by Wavinator Makes sense. For a long time now I've been halfheartedly kicking around the idea of making the player a member of a secret society, sort of a descendant of ancient alien tech gods. I've never been totally happy with it because I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own goals and I'm thus leery of hanging a huge weight around your neck. But using it would be a nice way of framing this, with the caveat that although you might be an ancient you're still trapped in a mortal body. I was playing around with something similar in a concept design a while back but never got it to work. Also I think it would skew the mortal part of the game too much towards waiting for the next bout of godhood. Quote: Okay, what if changing things as a god depleted you and the only way to get your power back was to live as a mortal? Mortals generate life energy, for instance, and gods use life energy to do their works. Again though, this makes the mortal part of the game feel like a chore to earn apotheosis. Quote: Life energy could come in several flavors, too. Maybe not just the light/dark dichotomy, but more morally varied deeds as a mortal could generate different types of energy-- say clear acts of altruism, savagery or selfishness. Given how much trouble it would be to detect the morality of player actions I'd have to award it like experience points and tie it to set situations, though. I don't know if that would work with the more freeform sandbox gameplay I have in mind, unless you played through the sandbox stuff just to get yourself in a good position to take on "once in a lifetime" challenges which would reward you with the life energy depending on how you resolve it. I have no idea how this would work in code, but if you can think of a way to do it without becoming too reliant on scripting it could be quite cool. Quote: Another idea: I've been bothered by the potential pointlessness of generating events on the map which erase species. If all I wanted was history there's technically no reason not to randomly generate it all at once rather than simulate it in time. What if, however (in keeping with the super advanced race idea) you had some sort of physical device, like an emitter, which could be built up as a mortal to improve its range and abilities. As a god these emitters would circumscribe your range of power. With this there would be more of a point to generating things like solar flares, supernovas and other events that could wipe out species because you could determine first if the event falls within the range of your power and second if you want to expend your limited powers saving a species. What would really be interesting is if you'd have chances to decide if you want to try to do it as a mortal or as a god. As a mortal, maybe you try to rally the resources of your people. As a god you wave your hand but use up valuable energy. My first thought here was that this would be a problem. The player would spend all their time building up the device and not playing through the adventures as a mortal, or at least not paying attention. My second thought was that this is kind of like the influence system in Black and White. That led me to think about how you gain worship in B&W, by performing miracles in front of villagers. I think the exact opposite system might work well here. The player can only generate influence for their god-self by promoting the religion that worships them as a mortal. They promote it as a mortal, it doesn't worship them as a mortal, that may have been unclear. Whilst being a priest in that religion might seem the only way to accomplish this, it isnt. In fact it isn't even a particularly good one. The effective ways to promote the religion I can think of are: 1) Become a famous pirate/admiral/rock star/architect and tell people in the inevitable interviews/award speeches/pirate conventions that its all down to your faith in the god{god-self here}. 2) Become a powerful politician and use your power to promote the religion that worships your god-self. 3) Become rich and donate huge amounts of money to the religion that worships your god-self and its support organisations. Any mortal life would probably encompass all three to a greater or lesser degree. These would all push the player into doing interesting things in the sandbox, which is one of the big challenges of a sandbox game, but they wouldn't force the player down any one path. I think it would be quite cool (not to mention ego-soothing) to visit your own temples from time to time. I'd also love to hear NPCs talking about and worshiping my god-self. I really hope there are no psychologists on GameDev. I also had the thought that you could send worship to other gods instead of yourself, although why you would want to escapes me at the moment. This gave me an interesting half-thought. What if the god-race had developed massively destructive weapons/powers and decided that any major fallings-out would do too much damage on a galactic scale. They therefore settle all of their differences as mortals. They may also have found that relationships are meaningless as gods and so take mortal form to persue them. Like I say this is only a half-thought and I haven't a clue how it would actually work, but it feels like it could have potential. This kind of ties-in with your faction idea as well. Quote: Another possibility is to give them a few powers as a god but make them run out, then let them switch to being a mortal. A strategic player would learn that they want to frame the universe a certain way-- say make sure that they have a fertile, stable environment as a god so that as a mortal they are free from bad events, like invasions or supernovas. Interesting, at first this sounds like just another example of the same problem that has recurred repeatedly with this idea, that the mortal mode is just a way to earn "god points". On second thoughts though, using your god powers to make sure that your life is not interupted by such events pulls in the opposite direction: it makes the god mode serve the mortal mode, which is good. I think. Quote: Playing the sim forward, btw, might also be a god power or maybe free with a limited range that can be increased. This way your omniscience becomes prescience. You can mark the date, look at coming events, then jump back to the date, go mortal, and either prevent or capitalize on events. I think it should be somewhat fuzzy, though. Maybe you don't get knowledge of the specific event-- such as an assassination-- but rather the notion of potential / magnitude, that "something momentous" has happened to alter the flow of events. I really like this idea, lets see what the Capella system stock market will be at next year... Quote: Sacrifice and loss are two big themes that I see having potential. For instance, to use an well worn science fiction trope, let's say you uncover a virulent, corrupting force while exploring. There's no real point in doing anything other than reloading if you're fixed to a mortal frame of reference. If, however, there's "life after death" you have reason to keep going. Moreover, taking the energy building idea, what if you could recruit and somehow build up even more power as a faction? This would mean that you might want to sacrifice your character rather than bring the corruption home. Further it might be best to say that if your race dies the game ends. So ramming an invading enemy ship actually becomes not just a noble thing to do, but something that the player can logically relate to. I'm not sure about ending the game if the player's mortal version civilisation ends, it feels like a god would be a bit beyond that. That being said I do agree that some attachment to at least one of the mortal races is a good idea. Following the worship idea above, possibly if your entire religion is wiped out the game ends? It would give the player a chance to start over and work back up from nearly nothing in most cases, but the loss of a civilisation would still be a major weakening and so something that it would be worth sacrificing a mortal life for. Quote: Haha, sorry I answered back with so many more but I think you grok the meta of this idea. Thanks a million for the feedback! No worries, I enjoy thinking about this stuff. Not so much typing it all...
  13. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    Flipping between God and Mortal

    I wouldn't allow rapid switching between mortal and god. I do like the idea though. I would have the player be a member of a god race or a race with god level tech. they would be able to inhabit a mortal body, but that would remove their god powers. You would only be able to inhabit a body once, be it for a short period or an entire lifetime, otherwise the player could go into god mode to tweak things that they didn't like. Quite why the player would choose to give up the powers is an interesting question. I think I would do it for the experience, but I'm not sure if the general player would. Presumably the god-mode would be quite detached and impersonal, even if they can intervene it would most likely only be on the level of worlds or civilisations. I would actively prevent the god-mode player from interacting at a smaller scale than this even if they want to. This would give them a reason to play as a mortal. You would certainly need to force every player to do so once for a decent amount of time so that they can see the possibilities open to them as a mortal that aren't as a god. This could quite easily be framed as a right of passage enforced by the other members of your race. The next question becomes why do you want the player to be able to play as a mortal as well as a god? Without the artificial restrictions discussed above a god could do anything a mortal could and no "flipping" would be needed. I imagine that the player being a permanant god would be very different to the game that you wanted to make, and that alone is reason enough to avoid it. Having the player be a mortal opens possibilities to explore areas like mortality (that was somewhat circular reasoning there) and human relationships in ways that a god couldn't. The problem here is that in general games have thus far been absolutely lousy at this. That being said I did think your idea about letting the player jump into an older character had potential in this direction. Just a few thoughts.
  14. I think what you are looking for is a way to remove an optimal strategy, whilst adding a minimum of complexity. So first thing is that more possible moves are needed. So lets start with one additional move: In his turn the player can chose to take 5hp off the character or add 3 back on. So now the outcome isn't determined in advance, although there will probably be an optimum strategy, but its hard to tell what it is. It seems to be a balance between brining the hp down as fast as possible, and interceding to stop the other player getting the winning turn.
  15. Tim Ingham-Dempster

    2 button challenge

    I'm working on a game on and off (mostly off) in my spare time which only uses one button. It's called JUMP. It is a platformer wherw the only thing the player can do is jump. The player character always moves forward. When colliding with a wall the pc turns around. The player can double jump, power dive and jump off walls. The idea is that the complexity will come from the environment, with different surfaces and enemies reacting differently to the way you collide with them.
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