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About benfinkel

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  1. Which comes first, character or story?

    I read a great story once about Stephen King. The rumor is he has a drawer full of interesting characters that he's thought up at one time or another. Whenever he was writing a story and he needed a character, he'd just reach in his drawer and pull out whomever he needed. I think your question is a question best left up to the writer. Do you feel more comfortable creating a character and then developing a story around them, or creating that story and then finding specific interesting characters within it to focus on? There is no right way, but if I were you I'd try it out both ways, and see which you like more and what produces a narrative you're happier with.
  2. Very New - Learning the Basics

    include is used for two reasons: Readability and Re-usability. Readability - By putting header and initialization code into the .h file you remove it from the .cpp file making the .cpp file cleaner, shorter, and generally easier to understand. Re-usability - Code in a .h file can be included in multiple .cpp files without having to be re-written. This way, you can make an update to the .h file once and that change will cascade to all of the places it was included.
  3. NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)

    It sounds like you can afford to pay a lawyer a few hundred dollars to draft an NDA for you. You should have one if, like you said, you have confidential business information of your own and of your clients. Having people sign an NDA is the bare minimum of due diligence you owe to your customer's data in your possession, and depending upon the nature of the information it may be legally required (i.e. HIPAA protected information). Lawyers are not cheap, but this is a fairly straight forward document you should be able to get put together for $200-$300.
  4. In that case just take any 2-year program at your local Community College. The following is true across all of the US, regardless of who you are or what you plan on doing: They're all the same and no one actually cares what you take. As long as you get good grades and leave with an Associate's Degree and a nice high GPA you'll have your pick of 4-year schools to finish up in. It IS important to not have any smudge marks on that transcript though. Getting a D in Accounting 101 at JC doesn't speak well of your ability to survive a university program.
  5. There are a lot of specialized video game degree programs these days at traditional schools and universities. Many of them are very successful with post-graduation job placement. Will Wright mentioned The Entertainment Technology program at CMU specifically as being one that he recruited from often.
  6. Dream Build Play [Warn-Up Announced]

    I too have been eagerly refreshing that page. Can't wait for an update!! The potential for awesomeness to come of this is HUGE Jerry. -Ben
  7. XNA beginner questions

    Willybood, First of all, I'd like to say that I think XNA is an exceptional way to introduce yourself to coding and game-coding structure in general. 1. Not very similar at all. XNA is much more a set of code libraries that you use inside of a plain old C# program. The first thing you should do is take an online tutorial in C# to get familiar with that. 2. XNA does not offer any 3d modeling design programs. It does offer code that makes it VERY easy to display and manipulate 3D models in your game. The format is, *I believe* FBX by Autodesk? This is a very common 3D model format? 3. Working with a bitmap in XNA (which is calls a texture2d) is easy but there are limited functions you can do with it. Stretching, clipping, masking, etc... 4. C# is very very object oriented. It's based on the .NET framework, which is roughly comparable to Java in that sense. 5. DirectX is tough. It's incredibly powerful, but with power always comes complexity. I would think you'd be better off with XNA to start, since it uses DX but simply takes care of a lot of redundant code that you'd otherwise have to write yourself. Further down the line you can tinker with DX, but until you're comfortable writing your own matrix calculation algorithms, XNA is plenty good.
  8. Tools for the Game Designer?

    Yea, RPGMaker is pretty hot. Also, look into the old ZZT dev engine. Dated graphics but pretty powerful level design and scripting.
  9. Any Tycoon style games?

    lol. Funny. I alwasy wanted to make SimBar. Hire bouncers, play music, mix drinks and make the best nightclub you can!
  10. Well, yes I can agree that a business can be both unethical and legitimate at the same time. But I still think it's a very difficult line to define. The whole point of a service-based business is to balance cost with quality of service. You say that "You can get players to play low quality products, despite it being rather unscrupulous to do so." But I still don't think there is much to back up that argument. Six million people don't play, and continue playing, a low quality product just because. There is still a reason they're playing. Intentional "flaws" are certainly intentional, but not necessarily flaws. What you consider to be "flawed" gameplay seems to be slighty less flawed than you believe (if six million people can be trusted anyways). Just like my experience with GW versus Ezbez's, our perception of what is flawed and what is fun varies drastically by person. What it boils down to for me is that I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist. It makes more sense (ask Occam) that game developers are simply trying their best to provide a gameplay experience that they KNOW works, that people want to play, and that accomodates somewhat for the complications involved with an MMO game. It doesn't sit well with me that there is some grand MMORPG developer conspiracy to create an unfun psychologically addictive game. They'd need to have psychologists and research and know something that the medical community at large doesn't even know for sure yet. It would be dangerous, secretive information shared by all MMO developers and no one else. Maybe the instructions come with your secret MMO developer decoder ring?.
  11. Yes! Hooray for Guild Wars. Broke the mold they did. Unfortunatley it wound up being not much fun to play after 30 or so hours. I haven't been back yet since then, so I'm sure much has changed, but still. So to Nytehauq: If you're NCSoft, why bother updating the gameplay? Why bother making it anymore fun? There is ZERO incentive to keep making content additions and gameplay updates. Now they DID and DO make minor balancing tweaks, but it's mostly to keep people saying good things about their game in order to make additional sales. As NCSoft, you could not financially justify paying developers to make all kinds of new content and gameplay changes when there is no ROI. Compare that to a more traditional model, where Blizzard (or whomever) at least has a financial incentive to make bigger and better changes to the game.
  12. Curling. Yes, No, Get outta here, eh?

    Quote:Original post by Moe Its been done several times. I can't remember the specific names of the titles, but it has been done. If you can remember any over the weekend I'd love to hear about 'em/look them up.
  13. Just throwing it out there for ya'll to feed on. Curling. As a video game. Yea? Nay? Heresay? Let's throw it against the wall and see what sticks. -Ben
  14. PopCap Games Framework?

    Well, I'm a total n00b and I JUST downloaded the framework this morning, but I'm really very impressed. Then again, I'm easily impressed. It's really nothing more than uncompiled objects that you can reference that ease the use of DirectX. For us beginners that are not interested in enumerating device capabilities and the like, I think it's an awesome place to start. The best part is all of the source is there, so when you're ready to dig deeper and customize it, you can go right ahead! And the reason it's known as the SexyApp Framework is because that's what the PopCap devs named it! That's kinda cool all on it's own :) -Ben
  15. Who says games have to be fun?

    Quote:Original post by Morpheoz I can think of plenty of movies/etc that aren't even meant to be fun and exciting. Who walks out of movies like Schindler's List saying "Wow that was really fun!"? No one. I think you're wrong there. That movie, and others like it, are Fun just in their own way. I walked out of that movie thinking It wsa really fun. I learned something, I was engaged with the characters, I felt emotional tugs and pulls... Everything about it was a highly enjoyable experience for me. Much fun was had. It wasn't cheerful, but still fun.