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Munchkin9

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  1. For the levels themselves one option would be to create a class Level. And make different instances of that class for each level. This class could then keep track of all the information you want. So in a circumstances that you were to leave and then return to an area the information would still have been saved. As to how you organize keeping track of the different Level Instances that is up to you and the game you are making. If the areas represent sections of a map, a 2d array would allow you to access each Instance by its position on the grid. If the areas represent separate levels entirely than a simple array would do. If you know before hand how many areas there are then creating and naming each one on initializing the game might be preferable. I guess we just need more information about your game to give you more advice. But yes I agree with the above, definitely keep menu states and levels separate. You will avoid a lot of headache if you do, trust me. Hope this helped.
  2. Thank you, that is a bit more complicated than I would have liked but I'm not really surprised about that.
  3. In python: Is there a way to check for an instance (any instance) of a specific class in a list? Thank you, Munchkin9
  4. Wow, all great responses thank you. Let me quickly explain how I usually get about designing and making a game for comparison's sake: -Where the original idea comes from can vary massively but usually it comes from *wanting* to play a certain game, where you do a certain something and not finding that satisfied in any existing game. -Sometimes it also comes from seeing a few different features in unrelated games and thinking that these features would be really cool working together in the same game. -At this point I grab my notebook (I prefer writing when I'm just sketching ideas as opposed to typing) and start considering the facets of the game I want to make. I consider what the beginning reason is for making it, what might make it fun, challenging and unique. I start sketching out possible features though usually at this point I'm just writing out what I want to be in the game not how to do it. -Once I have a decent idea of how the game would look, feel, function etc, I go on google docs and start typing out a more in depth design document. I look at the literal goal of the game, what the player is told to try and achieve, I look at each major feature and plan out how these function and how they relate to one another. -Then I let it sit there for about a week. On purpose. -One week later, about, I come back to it and reread it, revise it and polish it (and add to it, usually) -After that it usually goes to programming, if I've found the motivation. -I work on the project for sometimes a week, sometimes a few months. Hitting snags along the way and gradually overcoming them (which is probably the part I like the best actually). -Then at some point I look at what I've done. Show it to a friend or a family member. I find that: for all the time I spent on it there is hardly anything to show because its mostly "under the hood stuff" or they just don't understand what I'm trying to make and so don't like it. That's usually the point where my productivity starts to tapper off. Now the problems that occur, I mostly know why they're there and how to get around them. It comes from a combination of classes, or jobs getting in the way. And showing an unfinished product before it should be shown. I also know I have a really hard time making people understand what I am trying to make, something I REALLY need to deal with before I properly head into the industry. I've also found that one thing that usually makes me lose interest/heart is that after a few weeks of programming the project doesn't LOOK any good. Filled with glitchy graphics and poor art (my own), usually no music or sound effects and no actual gameplay as I was too busy setting up the fundementals and game mechanics to worry about turning them into a game. Recently I made a small "visual poem" which approached designing from the other side, I started with the art, sounds and music, made the product look good before I started working on the gameplay. I am actually fairly happy with the result, the game is pretty, sounds nice, and didn't take long (about 3 days). Having said that, its not a game, there isn't anything to do in it. And everyone I showed it to has told me that they don't see the point. My hopeless whinning that "there IS no point" doesn't seem to make things any better. Tsk can't they see the greatness of the vision of the artist . Anyway, long story short I thought that making 'quick' games would help me: streamline my design process, get it done before stuff gets in the way, help me work on getting a project presentable quickly. Not to mention that it would give me more stuff to put in a portfolio or on a website (that I am planing to put up eventually). That's the part where I realized that I couldn't come up with a single 'small' idea. Where was I heading with this? I do like the snags in projects. In fact its the part I enjoy the most and as soon as it turns into 'making the game world' or anything which I consider repetatitive then I lose interest. I do have a sort of deadline: I want to put up a website with some games before I head off to college next year. I was supposed to go this year but we missed the deadline . On the point about having a challenge set for you as in the cooking competition, that is what I'm hoping gamejams will provide, some 'theme' to work with and a very limited time. But as I have to wait around until one starts up I'd prefer do something until then. As for coming up with my own 'themes' and challenges that doesn't seem to work for me. It doesn't work if I came up with it. And I hate remaking game someone else has made. I don't know, its a psychological thing. I feel like I'm wasting my time even more than if I was just sitting on my hands, so to speak. I do plenty of research on other designers' work by strudying games I play (hard to convince people you are really working and not playing but whatever). Remaking them though, sorry can't do that. And @Acharis: I'm not sure I agree with you. It is entirely possible to design I game that takes you all of 2 days to make. Just look at free online flash games and things like that. I'm not worried about how long the design takes me, that, I never lose interest in (if the idea works). I'm talking about the programming part. Which is why I was asking if people had 'tricks' to coming up with a way to design small... In hind sight I'm realizing that the question is ridiculously vague. But hey! I'm getting plenty of great tips anyhow.
  5. Hmm...I see your point. Thanks for the advice. I have been noticing that the more I program the easier it becomes and the more resources I can draw on, so that I can copy paste large portions of code with very little tweaking to get it working. Not sure if it answers my problem about designing a small game though. I very much appreciate the advice about the programing side of it, any tips on the design side?
  6. I've looked into gamejams. The Ludum Dare and its MiniLDs sound particularly nice but I'm not sure it would actually help me design the game to be small. Rather I'd probably just wouldn't be able to finish.
  7. Hey there, Programming/game designing as a hobby is proving rather tricky. All too often things in my life get in the way of my time to program, this results in me often not finishing projects simply because I've lost my strand of thought, found some new interest and in general just can't seem to get motivated in the project again. While I've been able to reduce this a bit by properly commenting my code so that I know how everything works and what I was doing it really isn't enough. At the same time I find that the bigger the project the harder it will be to make and the more my own limited capabilities will get in the way. This all results in my getting almost nothing truly finished. Though I know this is normal to a limit, I think I've reached that limit. The obviouse solution, for me, seems to be to design and program really small games. Things that would take me one, or at most two, days to complete and would be fun and addictive but not truly mind blowing. Five minute games basically. Problem is, try as I might, I can not seem to come up with any. I know the general idea of what a small game should be like, but whenever I try to sit down and design one the game either ends up being uninteresting or too 'big'. Very quickly I notice I'm adding extra 'small', fun features left and right. These 'small' features quickly accumulate though, the project gets too big, then somewhere along the line I realize that the original idea, while probably a good one, is in itself too big and I scrap the entire thing. Its like feature creep at the design process, on crack. So I'm seeking some tips from you guys. How do you design a small, quick game and get about making it without it turning into a major project?
  8. I'm not entirely sure how you understood that I was saying [quote]a team would spend years of hard labor to create an open world game with very little to no story arc for players to free roam in[/quote] when I distinctly said "Now obviously impossibly immense, complex, branching story trees in which every single one of the player's action changes something important is impossible" and I later talk about how this wouldn't change the ending or even major plot points. Did you read the entire thing? If you don't want to I understand, its a long wall of text, but then don't respond please.
  9. It bothers me that most game designers, consumers and those that know nothing about games all seem to think a game's story should be like the ones in books and movies. Now obviously if every one is happy why change it? Because, in my opinion, this is not reaching the potential games have. Computer games add one thing that neither books nor movies can do: interaction. The ability to influence the events in the game. In most games currently the interaction of the players is limited to on the moment conflicts in the game, with maybe a few pre-made 'choices' here and there that 9 times out of 10 do not have an effect on the long term, example Dues Ex: Human Revolution. How books and movies are successful in their stories is that they make the user care for the characters and the world, and therefore the characters' goals. And this obviously still applies to games, except that there doesn't need to be a true 'main character'. This role is aptly filled by the player themselves. Now obviously impossibly immense, complex, branching story trees in which every single one of the player's action changes something important is impossible. But what is possible is having the player choose their own goal. Not by menu screen or anything rigid but by playing the game, observing the events in the story, and forming their own opinion. Whether this goal gets fulfilled or not could have varying effects on the players' feelings. This is, functionally, very similar to your standard book and movie plot except that the player is presented with a few, [u]non-ambiguous[/u], choices through out the story. These choices should have obvious and strong results that the player must be entirely aware of: killing a character, or letting him live; and what would follow from that action. The story would only need a few branching choices such as this, and nearer to the end. The point of these is not to 'see the multiple possible endings' but to let the player tell the game what there goal and opinion is. The player would choose these choices always keeping in mind what they hope to achieve for their character (themselves in this situation) and the world. This doesn't have to even change much regarding the ending. The results would instead be more 'message' based. To show the player what their choice of goals would bring about, how they were mistaken in an assumption they made about another character, or just to show them why they chose this goal (could be an interesting self-reflection moment). Lets take an example from a game in which this sort of potential was missed, warning spoilers ahead for the game Assassin's Creed: Revelations. At one point in the story Ezio encounters an apparently traitor Janissary captain, Tarik Barleti. Tarik shows every indication of being a traitor so Ezio eventually decides to kill him (its a little more complex then that I know). At this point Ezio has chosen a goal, and while the players might agree with this and are controlling Ezio, they are really just along for the ride. Upon hunting down Tarik, Ezio kills him. Here would have been a perfect point to have a quick 'choice' moment. The player could have been asked whether they would prefer to leave Tarik alive, or kill him as they had originally planned. Now having followed the story most players would, I think, have opted to off him. Only then to realize that they had made a mistake as Tarik was in fact not a traitor at all, just a little unconventional in his techniques. Having [u]made[/u] the choice to kill him, players might have found this moment of discovery and truth more touching, realizing how their own assumptions where enough to cost this man's life. Instead Tarik dies no matter what, Ezio discovers the truth, and the players wash their hands of all this saying "I didn't choose to kill him". The moment for a strong message is lost. If the player had chosen not to kill Tarik, Tarik could have informed Ezio (and the players) of his real intentions and gone into hiding as his cover was now blown, vanishing from the rest of the story just as he would if he was dead. The above example could be further improved by having a few points in the story line where their could be doubt that Tarik was a traitor which would probably only be noticed (with influence) on a second play through. Being a "Oh how could I have been so stupid, if he had been a traitor he wouldn't have done or said that" moment. And this would further increase the impact on the player. As I said, these choices do not need to influence how things turn out, if the player refrains from doing something, it might be done anyway by a different character but the choice had been given to the player and that is what matters. The only real issue with this is a lack of much re-playability but I think in some situations that is an acceptable sacrifice. I am not saying that every single game should do this, we still need are twitch based action games. One more thing, about the choice of goal and the end result only being to show the player what their goal was and why. This might sound pointless and redundant; and I admit I do not have an example for this, but it seems to me that games can brilliantly serve as a 'mirror' for the player, reflecting not their faces but their personality. It is my belief that we do many things without truly realizing why, psychologically, we did them. In a sense we do not truly know our selves as well as we would like to think, including in how we would react to certain situations. And games offer us that opportunity to see ourselves act in these situations and reflect upon it, whether we react well or not. And I am not talking about twitch based reactions but moral or just intelligent reactions. Having chosen our goals based on what we see happen in the story, the game could end with us realizing why we chose as we did, unrelated to the whether any of the choices where good or bad or choices that were neither good nor bad. As I said I can not provide a worthwhile example and can only say that it seems like something that games should, every so often, try to accomplish. Thank you for reading, hope something in their was mentally stimulating to someone. -Munchkin9
  10. I really need advice here. I am seeking to 'break into the gaming industry' at some later date. Next year I will be going to UAT in Arizona for a Game Programming Bachelors Degree (of science). Though supposedly an internship of some kind is included in the curriculum some work to show is always a plus. So here is the question: I have a well fleshed out game idea (don't we all) that not only I know I can accomplish but I have started programming and making good progress on (some 20% done). I have recently realized with some minor alterations to the mechanics to make the game more user friendly that this game would work extremely well as a modification for the game Minecraft. Virtually everything in the game can be 'relatively' easily transferred into the context of Minecraft, in other words nothing is lost by making the game a modification. So am I better off creating the stand alone game? Or creating the 'mod'? Can I get the same amount of attention with a modification for an already existing game as for a complete stand alone game? Is it worth trading the time it would take for me to learn how to create modifications for Minecraft for an engine and graphics that I probably couldn't do on my own (my ability to program and draw good graphics is extremely limited)? Would it be feasible to create the mod first (being easier for one person alone) and then, with a group of talented people, make the game at a later date resulting in it hopefully being a more complete and impressive product? Thank you for any and all advice, Munchkin9
  11. Unity

    I would like to thank everyone here. I have solved the problem. It was actually more complex than I initially thought: I had not altered all my angles the same way so they weren't matching up in the same range causing some strange issues. As well as other problems on top of that. All to say, I have now solved it thanks to the help I received here, thank you. -Munchkin9
  12. Unity

    [quote name='apatriarca' timestamp='1317640977' post='4868535'] Why are you using angles for this? These problems do not exists when working with vectors. In this case, you can for example use[url="http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PerpDotProduct.html"] this operation[/url] to know if the direction of the ship is at the right or left of the current ship querying the sign of the result. The only special case you may want to consider is when the two ships have opposite directions. [/quote] I'll admit I mainly don't use vectors because I don't know too much about them. My math education barely, and I mean barely, covered vectors, it was more of a passing mention. As far as I understand though I'm not sure vectors would help me too much here. I have a lot of things relying on the angle of the ships compared to each other, their "aimer's" (they can not shoot in a cone behind them), and their speeds (heading towards or away from the planet). However, it might be that I simply programed it so that all these things rely on angles when they could have relied on vector. No matter the case, being this far into the program I would prefer to just stick to angles. I'm going to try and use the suggested code and see if that works.
  13. Unity

    [quote name='Skywola' timestamp='1317492771' post='4868033'] One of the things I do when I run into a problem like this is hard-code the numbers to numbers that I know will fail, then follow the debugger through the process . . . and soon you will discover the problem. You can also use and assert statement in the code to stop the debugger at a certain point. [/quote] The problem with this is that I know the problem already just not how to fix it (which is rare). @dawoodoz: what does modulo 360 do? because apart from that it is what I am doing.
  14. I have a fully working game using Missile Command like features in a spaceship duel system. Recently though I have decided to add AI to the game, mainly so that I don't need someone else to test new features and to make it more accessible (the game already requires xbox360 controllers). To start off I want to make the AI ships do a basic following task of the closest other ship around them (can be awfully pretty when two ships start oscillating around each other). Currently the ships both player and AI are instances of the same class, player ships acquiring inputs from the controllers, while the AI ships get their inputs from a AI class that has an instance for every AI. So simply put: the AI ships receive the same type of controls as player ships do (this might be important). Now the current issue is that the AI ships follow just fine except in certain situations. I wish I had some pictures but I will try to explain: The AIs have to decide to turn left or right depending on their current direction (I have this) and the direction the target ship is (I have this as well). All this is calculated in radians on a 0 to 2(pi) range. Simply telling the ships to compare current directions and turning left if the target angle is greater than current angle and right if its less works fine if the ships are on the same side of (pi) (0 to pi and pi to 2(pi)). But if the angles are something like (in degrees for simplicity) 10 degrees for the current angle and 350 for desired angle the fastest way to turn is right, past the zero mark, but a computer does not realize this and instead sees that the desired angle is greater than the current angle is so it turns left. This is glaringly obvious in game as illogical movement. I have tried a number of ways trying to get around this such as making exceptions and changing how the ranges are split (instead of 0 to 2pi I tried 0 to pi and -pi to 0) but nothing seems to fix this or at most makes a new angle where the AI acts weird. So I'm stumped. I am asking the community to help me out, please. -Munchkin9
  15. I would like to mention right now that this I am working on this project alone for now. And that I am using Panda3d, a completely free and, so far, acceptable engine. I therefor expect no costs in making the game, part of the reason why I will not sell this game. I expect to finish it in time for my college project which is still a good four years off but I know that writing down my ideas for a game is my weak point so I am getting started on that early. As for releasing the design document publicly: I wont go out of my way to make it available to anyone, but anyone who asks I will be willing to give it to them. I have also realized that the above posts might be misleading. The entire design document is not finished. All the notes for it are written down across two notebooks and a few documents on my computer and Google Docs. All I need to do is combine them into one location and clear out any contradictions. I did say that I am a bit inefficient at writing down my ideas. If you do want the design document I will be more than happy to provide you with it. Or better yet if you have a Google Docs account I can simply share it with you and you can check on updates as I make them. And while I am hear I am running across another issue I am ashamed to say I had not thought of; funny how the little things skip your mind. The game will of course feature plenty of sounds for the effects and actors of the world. However I had not considered what I would do for the sound of voices. See the issue is that the players can type anything they want, and many of these words (some real, some not) will have an effect up on the world so by rights they should have sounds. But there will be a lot of commands and even more possibilities for the word those commands will use. So making a sound file for each word is an overly daunting task. Any ideas for a short cut around this issue? I've been thinking of using a (appropriately dramatized) gibberish like in the Sim games. This would allow me to reuse sound files for words as they wouldn't match the words anyway. However I am hoping there is a better solution.