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About richardjdare

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  1. Antigen - The retro shooter from the future

    I forgot to post some screenshots! These are new:     The particle system is all my own work, simple but effective. It uses sprites and GL lines. They bounce off the edge of the ellipse. I learned a lot about the mathematics of ellipses making this game!     The green cells in this screenshot were procedurally generated in Processing. They are spline circles distorted by Perlin noise. Let me know if you have any questions!
  2. Hi folks, I'd like to introduce Antigen. It's my first game for the iPhone and iPod Touch and has been in development for *way* too long. Antigen is a fast-paced retro shootemup with some light physics puzzle elements. It was inspired by a number of long-forgotten 8 and 16bit games.   I did everything myself, code, art, music.   The game was written in C++, with a few Objective C elements. It uses my own OpenGL graphics engine, TREngine, along with Chipmunk Physics and the CocosDension sound library. I also used SBJSON to load the levels which are json files created in my custom level editor.   I used a lot of unusual techniques to create the graphics. Many of the sprites and animations were procedurally generated using Processing, and Photoshop scripting was used extensively to create animated image processing effects.   The sound effects were created from scratch using Novation's V-Station synth. This is the first time I've done sound design, and I really enjoyed it.   Anyways, it's available now on the app store! If you've got any questions please let me know.  
  3. how does a dodge&burn brush work?

    Hi rouncer,   Here's a page with code for all of Photoshop's blend modes. It's written using C macros so it looks a bit weird, but the maths you want is all there, including dodge and burn. I used this info a while ago when I wanted to create a procedural animation using the overlay blend mode.   If you search for Photoshop blend modes, you'll find a lot more info out there.   (EDIT) Heres another good page on the blend modes:
  4. List of Video Game Design Exercises?

    Challenges for Game Designers by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber is a great book on game design, with some interesting exercises.  I *think* it's based on a course run by the authors. There's a preview on amazon, so you can see if its the kind of thing you're looking for.  
  5. Anyone here a self-taught graphics programmer?

    Warning: Life story coming up: I am completely self taught. I come from a British working class background where university wasn't even mentioned to me when I was at school. I had a bad time at school thanks to bullying and undiagnosed dyspraxia, which makes me clumsy and gives me poor handwriting. Most of the time at school my teachers fixated on my writing and awkwardness rather than the contents of my work. I was pretty depressed during all this, and developed a kind of prison mentality towards school, where my only goal was to get through the day without trouble. Learning became something I did for myself at home, according to my interests. So I developed the self-taught attitude early on. After I left in 1993 ( I am 36), I ended up in horrible, soul destroying menial work while I struggled to teach myself to code. I always knew I was a creative, intelligent person despite everyone around me who seemed to think that working my way up at mcDonalds was my best hope. I struggled massively with confidence issues surrounding maths in particular, but the hardest thing was getting hold of programming information and keeping my computer up to date. In the 90's most of my knowledge came from programming articles in magazines. I still think that if I had better access to tools and books I could have got a game development job in the Amiga era, instead of struggling to learn how the blitter worked by reverse engineering the Blitz basic compiler using a demo version of a disassembler off a coverdisk! Maths was always a problem for me. I have no native ability at all, but by just grinding away and finding the right books I have made enough progress to convince people around me that I am good at it! I work in business web app development at the moment coding in Java on Linux servers. Before that I was a director and lead developer of an early mobile gaming company I started with two friends. We were ahead of our time really. Our games were good, but we didn't make any money. In my spare time I am working on an iPhone game, and I am planning a 3d PC/Mac game after. I also have a lot of writing on game design that I am working on. My goals are either to make it as an indy or for my work to get me a job making games. I want to work for a smaller studio ideally. My background isn't really compatible with the machinations of corporate HR. So , some advice from a loser If you can go to university, do it. I hugely regret that I was unable to do so. I really feel that I missed out by not being able to come of age in a university. Honestly, sometimes I feel like my whole youth was just worthless struggle. Its not just about knowledge which you can pick up anywhere. The opportunities are here too. You are unlikely to hook up with people with relevant interests or tech venture capital on a f*cking housing estate. Try and find mentors, people who are better than you who are willing to teach you and help you out. This was something I really craved when I was younger. Cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit regarding getting things done, learning etc. always keep what you want to do in mind and don't get sidetracked by bullshit beliefs regarding what kind of person is supposed to do a thing. Your desire is your permission! If you can't do the above two things, then this is essential! Study the lives of cool people from different eras. I find its easier to relate to Leonardo or Plato than modern success stories since their backgrounds are so alien they never become an issue. I studied a lot of philosophy over the years, western and eastern, and I practice meditation in a secular context. This has helped me by enabling me to really get to the root of confidence issues and all manner of harmful beliefs surrounding intelligence, social background etc. If you are studying maths, get many books on the same subject. Maths books are often really really bad and make all kinds of poor assumptions about what you should already know. If you get stuck, be analytical about it. Dont tell yourself "I am stupid, this is a sign I'm not meant to be doing this" etc. etc. Thats all crap and it will derail you. Slow down, break things up and try and pinpoint the moment difficulty and unknowingness appears in the train of thought.
  6. I'm currently using [url=""]bitbucket[/url] to host my code (using git) as they offer free private repositories for up to 5 users. Most of my very old stuff is sitting in harddrives stacked under my desk. When I got rid of my most ancient computers, I took the hard drives out and put them in some cheap IDE enclosures. I still have some Amiga floppy disks in a bag somewhere with code on them. I keep everything, I am a real code hoarder[img][/img] My current project contains some bits of code which I wrote over ten years ago for a completely different platform.
  7. I've just released version 0.7 of [url=""]AtlasMaker[/url], a Photoshop script for generating texture atlases and tile grids. I've been using previous versions of this in my own projects for a couple of years now. Features:[list] [*]Cross platform – tested in Photoshop CS3,CS4,CS5 on Windows and Mac OSX. [*]Open Source [*]Create texture atlases or tile grids for 2d games. [*]Several image sorting algorithms. Find the most efficient one for your textures. [*]Add a margin to each image. [*]Custom data file export. [*]Extendable – It’s easy to add your own rectangle packing algorithms and sorting methods. [/list] [img][/img] Let me know if you want any new features or find any bugs!
  8. I imagine that many developers choose to create a first person game first, then later decide that it will have melee combat. I prefer third person myself. It gives you a better awareness of your position relative to your opponent; you can be much more analytical about how you play, and you get to watch yourself perform cool moves while you do them. There is a visual performance aspect to it. First person melee combat feels much more clumsy and desperate in comparison. (Of course, this may be what the designer wants). You can only see in front of you, and invariably the worst control method is used (pushing down on the analog stick is difficult when you are trying to move at the same time) In older shooters it was always a weapon of last resort, to use when you were out of ammo or suddenly ambushed at close range. I do think things are improving. Combat in Dishonored was good though I was always more inclined towards stealth.
  9. Am I slow at developing?

    When I was younger I was a pretty slow programmer. I used to obsess over the smallest details, reading all the docs even for little things like opening a window or doing a file requester. I used to love dwelling on the *feeling* of programming, if that doesn't sound too strange. It was just time and experience that made me speed up. Working in web app development certainly helped me; the turnaround time for a site is so fast. Also, before I was in work, I found that doing little projects for other people helped, as I felt obliged to them to get the job done quickly. Also, a lot of very fast people are doing things that are variants of what they've done before. In game coding in particular there's a lot of experimentation going on, a lot of groping in the dark. But that experimentation leads to new techniques, which you can then apply quickly. In my current project, it took me absolutely ages to figure out how to do the graphics. Now I have a technique down that lets me produce new stuff in the same style in no time at all. Like Cromulent, I find boring stuff slows me down. My boss once complained to me about some dull project taking ages. He said he couldn't understand it as it was so easy. I told him, "If it was difficult I would have done it in an afternoon". I'm sure you'll get quicker with time and practice, just keep coding!
  10. Failure notification causes frustration?

    I think that unless you're going for a system where passing skill checks is a kind of bonus rather than a core game mechanic, its best to show the notification. I do think its pretty bad not to show you the score required to win, assuming the skill score is something you can work to change in the game. There is another interesting thing here: The game is a life simulator; it contains a system that allows you to create unique characters. That uniqueness is dependent on the player not having all the attributes that the system provides, yet as a player you are still compelled to gain all those attributes, rather than "live" in the game as that person. You feel compelled to restart to get a perfect score, yet that contradicts the purpose of the system, which is to allow unique lives to exist within it. Somehow, the game works in such a way that you end up focussing on the system rather than on the character. I wonder if it is possible to create game systems that avoid this tendency. Can we create game mechanics that are still playable, yet elude full concrete intelligibility? Our real lives are surrounded by an unknowingness and sense of possibility quite different from the skill trees and other game mechanics we use to represent ourselves in games. Can we make the player focus on character by mystifying the game mechanics that make the character possible? Maybe I'm missing the point, and that lack of unknowingness is what makes games what they are?? Interesting questions.
  11. Retro Art Design or Laziness?

    I always found pixel art *much* harder than 3d modelling. Back in the Amiga days I struggled and struggled in DPaint to create decent art for my projects. Although I loved the Amiga scene, in creative terms it was a relief to move to the pc and start using 3ds max. To me, pre-rendering sprites is the laziest method in graphics. You can be pretty sloppy with your modelling and still get good results. Once I made a top-down space game with pre-rendered graphics for an old WindowsCE based smartphone. We didn't bother modelling the bottom of many of the ships since you'd never see them!
  12. Thoughts on making a 'living' world

    Long ago I wanted to create a game like this. I was a big fan of Frontier: Elite 2 and I wanted a similar procedural open world with a fantasy theme. My plan was to make a map editing tool where I would create a kind of outline of the physical and social/economic geography of the game world. What I wanted to do was create a web of large scale structures describing the world that would feed into the more detailed procedural content generators that would make the "adventure environment" surrounding the player. The map editor would handle the macrocosm, while the procedural generators created the microcosm. Stuff that was in the player's immediate locale would handled in detail while world events out of sight would be handled by cruder, large scale algorithms, like Telcontar suggests. These large scale algorithms would affect many related, unrelated and conflicting "surface level" systems, like tectonic plates moving beneath several countries. I also wanted to be able to "drop in" to parts of the world in my editor and manually create stuff on top of the procedural content as well. A problem with procedural games is that they become predictable when you've seen everything the algorithm has to offer; Frontier was absolutely vast, but most of the star systems contained very little novelty. There wasn't much of a pay-off from exploring its further reaches. I hoped to remedy this by weaving hand-made content throughout the procedural world. Of course, I never did anything with these ideas! I do think procedural content generation will become much more important in the near future, even in ordinary games.
  13. Immersion

    I think its worth distinguishing between immersion, which as you said is the sense of suspension of disbelief, identification with the characters and goals etc. and absorption which I would describe as the state where your mind is totally taken up with the logical form of the game. I know I am often absorbed completely in some puzzle games. It would be worth investigating these two related states. I also think that the player brings a lot to the table. When I was a kid I would often make up stories around games that had none. I even acted out continuations of the game with toys. I'm sure a lot of people did the same thing, if you could ever get them to admit it:) Is immersion something that depends on the desire of the player to be immersed? I found Mass Effect 2 extremely immersive, even though when you break it down it is just a series of sub games taking place in quite restrictive environments. I think the main thing was that the characters were so attractive and well realized that the whole point of the game became to get to know them. The shooting and stuff faded into the background, but I *needed* to know more about Samara! Depth is immersive; the feeling that the world you are in is not just a series of blank surfaces and useless props, but something you can interact with. Imagine walking through the streets in LA Noire. Now pretend that all the people you see have their own stories, that the buildings all have something real going on in them. This "background potential", this sense of unrealised possibility is what gives things their depth and mystery. It is a space where players can project their imagination. It doesn't just exist in environments; characters have immense "background potential" thanks to the complexity of language and what they can express about themselves, what they allude to as you get to know them (Mass Effect again..). Of course, this is difficult to do, but even little things help; The ability to hunt in Red Dead Redemption went a long way in making the landscape feel like a living place worth exploring, a place with "immersive presence" if you get my meaning. I think weaving little interrelated networks of minor game mechanics into the fabric of the game world is something more developers should look into. Sound is often overlooked. Good tunes and sound effects always draw me into a game.