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Everything posted by ShawnCowles

  1. So, I just had an interesting idea. Completely unrelated to my current project but I thought I'd share it in case it was of benefit to someone else. The idea is a game where each player has their own section of the "world" that is theirs alone. They can add friends who can visit this area, or travel to random areas that may or may not have other players. I framed an implementation as Space Minecraft, which the player can build stuff in space as well as build their own spacecraft in the familiar minecraft way. Each player has their own "zone" of space which is filled with asteroids that they can disassemble and use for construction. They can make friends and travel to their zones for visiting or whatnot. An guild could even could set up a zone as a space port for their members. Griefing is prevented by only letting players travel to zones that they have been given permission to travel to. Players who need more raw materials could travel to a random zone for harvesting, which may or may not have other players in them. PvP would be a logical consequence of this. The server for each zone would be the computer belonging to the zone's owner (random zones would be served by the developer), which should drastically reduce maintenance costs. Furthermore, players could play offline without the ability to have friends visit or to visit friends. Likewise the random zones they traveled to would not have anyone else occupying them, and would probably have reduced resources as well. (to reward players for chancing PvP online). Might be tricky to implement, but I think it could pay off in lower costs for running the game. I supposed you could kind of view this as a peer-to-peer mmo.
  2. ShawnCowles

    making map briefing

    Check the forums on in the Technical area. Also try running your posts through a spell checker.
  3. ShawnCowles

    Amusing Apps

    Not sure how difficult this would be, but an app that lets the user play Risk (or something similar) using their surroundings as the board. You could use google maps to find nearby cities (use those as territories) and major roads (those link the territories)
  4. As Samoth and SimonForsman mentioned above, it's not really fun for the victims. Why should I play on a PVP minecraft server if I just want to build a castle? I could build the same castle on a PVE server and not have to worry about some "wolf" coming around and flooding it with magma or murdering me while I build a wall. There's no benefit for me to expose myself like that. I have a proposed solution: Assume a space trading / combat game. There are centers of NPC (or player) faction power with starbases, fleets, etc. These centers are separated by lawless space. The non-combatant players in this scenario would be traders, making profit by moving goods between starbases. There is a little profit in moving goods around secured space, but more profit for moving through lawless space. The "wolves" can freely move around lawless space, but due to killing merchants they are hostile to the NPC factions and cannot enter their space without risking attack. This is something of a combination of SimonForsman and Caldenfor's ideas, and could probably be adapted to other settings without too much trouble. I think it's as close as you could get to your idea while maintaining a fun environment for everyone involved.
  5. ShawnCowles

    c#: Game of the Generals

    vb and c# are two entirely different languages. Do you mean VB .Net?
  6. ShawnCowles

    Alternative minecraft

    The far version is a little rough on my machine, but I have a 5 year old video card. Looks good so far.
  7. ShawnCowles

    Alternative minecraft

    I think you're holding yourself back with that statement. A computer can handle much more than a mobile device. If you aim to have an identical experience across all platforms then the computer version won't stack up well against other computer offerings. I would recommend you take another look at C# though. Using c# gives you Windows and Xbox platforms right off the start, and Mono (open source implementation of c#) has been ported to iOS and Android.
  8. ShawnCowles

    Alternative minecraft

    This may be a bit far removed, but awhile back (during the Minecraft-is-really-popular phase) I had an idea for my own version of a voxel building game. Instead of traditional flat world the world would consist of chunks of rock floating in the air. The player would be able to jump or fly from chunk mining, etc. Eventually the player would gather enough materials to be able to build a "helm". Placing this on one of the rock chunks would give the player control of it, letting them fly it around as their own personal fortress. Further structures could be built to add walls automatic defenses, spotlights, etc. If you went down the world would get darker, with more frequent floating rocks and monsters. Going up the world would get lighter with fewer monsters. I liked the idea but eventually gave up. I didn't want to be seen as a minecraft clone.
  9. ShawnCowles

    User retention: 22%. Why is it so low?

    I just started playing it and a couple things came to mind: (I'm using Chrome in Win7) The movement could be more responsive. Feels like a half-second delay between me pressing the button and my little wizard moving. Sometimes it feels like the game misses my inputs entirely. (this is with using the arrow keys to move) Some sort of animation would be nice during battle, instead of just the characters moving back and forth. Since my character is a caster maybe a little fire bolt, or at least a swinging staff icon. The way the roc's flying attack works is good. I can really see that it flew over to claw the little rat's face off. The characters are a bit small on the navigation screen as well. I'm not entirely sure who is who. If I could mouseover them to see their names, that would be nice. After the tutorial duel I had to stumble upon the way out of the castle, better placement or indicating would help. The way I found was along the southwest side, near stairs seemingly heading up, but the entrance appears to be on the southeast side. A quest log would also be a nice addition. Climbing on top of people to talk to them is a bit awkward. What if, instead, you talked to people by trying to move into their square, and started conversation instead of moving. The compass is kind of hard to see, I didn't even notice it until my wizard mentioned that I had one to an NPC. The colors could be bolder for it. As a side note, when I left the map section outside of the castle and encountered that miner, it seemed like I just mugged him for his ore. He could have had kids to feed, you know. Maybe you could add some lines of dialog indicating that he's a bandit. Like "This ore belongs to the Brownhill Bandits, back off!" Nothing indicates that there's a menu hiding in the upper left. And the map being a window over the town, that I can just close seems a bit odd to me. Likewise that I can just click the city gates to put me back in he forest again. Also the menu pops out behind the map window. When I equip an item to my main hand, the main hand slot just gets highlighted. I'm not sure if this dagger is equipped or if the game hasn't gotten around to it. My stats don't change, so I think it's just not getting equipped. I like the idea of having a village, it's a nice touch that I haven't seen before. The actionable buildings in town aren't apparent until you go hunting with the mouse. Maybe an old-style signboard out front of them to show that they're special buildings, or names next to them, or subtle highlighting around them when not selected. Something to help them stand out. Word bubbles from conversation stick around a little too long, in my opinion. I can see that if you had 7+ people in a zone the screen could easily become cluttered with them. I did eventually notice that you can click on them to make them go away, auto hiding would be handy though. Also the zone map only takes up some of the available screen space, I'd estimate as much as 40% wasted screen area. A larger character/tile size combined with a scrolling map would fix that. The squares around the player showing where you can and can't move is nice. Toggling that for the entire map might be handy, but that's just a little thing to me. That's all that came to mind during my time playing this morning. I don't mean to be overly critical. I think the game has promise and am looking forward to seeing it progress.
  10. ShawnCowles

    Crafting System [ What is ideal ]

    I haven't seen this "in the wild" but an idea I thought up and developed a little bit uses a component model. For example, say you want to make a sword, you know it takes 1 handle, 1 leather wrappings, and one medium blade. Thats all the recipie specifies, you could use any leather, wood, or metal for the parts, and each material could give a different effect. Each component could also be made with an additive that would also add an effect. Continuing the sword example Handle Make the handle from Ironwood, to give the sword more durability, Wrappings Just normal cow hide, no special effect. Blade Forge the blade from Skysteel, which makes it lighter and attack more quickly. Quench the blade in Dragon's Oil, which will add fire damage to it's attacks. With a few dozen base materials and additives you could have thousands of unique weapons as a result. And the player's skill while making components (and assembling the finished product) would also contribute to the effectiveness of the weapon. A system like this would really add some depth to crafting, I think. You could also make crafting more fun by turning it into a skill based minigame. Take forging a blade, you could have X times to reheat the blade, and while the blade is cooling you have to quickly hammer out impurities. Sort of like whack-a-mole. The better you do, the higher quality the resulting blade is.
  11. That's how battles run in the Mount and Blade games. While you're in the battle the outside world is paused. I tried doing a simple space combat game where the outside world ran while the player was still in a battle. The result was pretty frustrating, enemy fleets that weren't even in the same star system when the battle started would show up and totally overwhelm you before you could finish off the fleet you attacked.
  12. ShawnCowles

    Shameless fan service

    I don't see why not. If done properly the male-centric fanservice will present a desirable image to both sexes. The men will find the character desirable, and the women will see the character as someone they can identify with and project into. Likewise for the reverse. Of course this would require more finesse than the standard "look she has boobies" method. Personally, I'm disgusted by the extents that some games to go sexualize their characters. I would much rather see properly proportioned characters with complex personalities who are clothed appropriately for the situation. EDIT: stray punctuation, clarified a point
  13. You could dramatically increase the time it takes to raise troops and build things, letting you run at a faster rate of time, so battles would only take days instead of months. In game-play terms you'd order your cities to build things and they would be done the next real-world day.
  14. ShawnCowles

    Statistics on successful game designs?

    You'll probably easily find the most popular genre. Besides that... What's the point? It's not like it'll help you design the next blockbuster title. [/quote] You could analyze the design of the most successful games to gain some of that insight, but you would also want to examine the marketing behind the games.
  15. ShawnCowles

    Feedback for a competitive TPS

    Sorry to say that a) I don't have much experience with it and b) I am exceedingly busy with work, school, and my own project. It's called Kismet though, and from what I've seen UDK has a great online community for help and tons of tutorials on youtube.
  16. ShawnCowles

    Feedback for a competitive TPS

    Have you thought about using something like the Unreal Development Kit? It can handle small scale multiplayer, has all of the 3D code already written for you, and includes a graphical scripting language. It's also free to use until you make something like $50k in sales.
  17. ShawnCowles

    Idea's on Realistic/Real Life Role Play.

    This sounds like Real Life: The Video Game [sup]tm[/sup]. People usually play video games for escapism, and I'm not seeing any of that here. IT looks like all the grind of a typical MMO without any otherworldly elements to differentiate it from reality. Perhaps I missed something? EDIT: As a suggestion, abstract away all the boring, dull stuff (jobs, driving around, gas prices). Perhaps look at the Game of Life from Hasbro as an example for making a fake "real life" entertaining.
  18. So basically you had a concept only of a game that sounds good but you don't know for sure since you don't have a complete GDD. That was the first mistake.. This is the same thing as creating a game without a game designer.. An idea is just an idea.. you have to make a GDD too. But lets pretend that you had a great GDD. Then you run into problems coding the game.. but it's not the game designers fault. It's the programmers fault.. And the game designer gets punished for it? The programmer should have made a code design and chosen the correct engine that can create the GDD. It sure sounds like you had a lot of trouble though in that project... you had to redo huge parts of the game several times and the game isn't anything what your idea was. Doesn't that ring a bell? Don't you see now how amazing it is having a game designer on your team? All that trouble wouldn't ever have appeared if there was a good designer with a good GDD from the start.. and ofcourse a good programmer as well. [/quote] What I was attempting to illustrate was that a good designer should realize that change is inevitable. For example the Newtonian combat seemed really fun on paper. It didn't turn out that way so it had to be changed. As for the veiled personal attack, I consider it a point of pride that the game could be changed so rapidly to suite the changing design. It is a sign of a well engineered system. EDIT: Decided to not feed the flame war by removing veiled personal attack of my own.
  19. I think you're too hung up on the importance of a GDD. If you'd studied software development you would know about agile development methods, a fairly new way of structuring development. An emphasis is made on evolving requirements and producing code that can be quickly modified as a result. Unit tests and good (software) design patterns are used to help ensure code quality and maintainability. Agile methods typically dispose of the monolithic design document, as they are often outdated by changes during development. The substitute used varies between specific methods, but typically a looser collection of requirements are used that can be easily rearranged and modified. I frankly don't care if a game designer can write a GDD. I care if they can effectively organize and communicate an idea using whatever medium is best suited to the task at hand. I can give a personal example of evolving design from my own project. (a 2D space trading game for context) When I started I wrote out 5 or so pages of design, not comprehensive but enough to communicate the idea. I then started work. A few weeks in I hit a roadblock. My design called for large systems where the player could fly freely around. This didn't work (the engine I was using couldn't handle the large images for planets, and they took too long to procedurally generate). So I changed the design, split off the navigation and battle into separate parts. This gave my an opportunity to try Newtonian physics in combat, since it wouldn't complicate the navigation. A few weeks later I had Newtonian combat. Turns out, it wasn't very fun, and I spent a lot of time writing helpers for the player (leading targets, missile tracking, etc) to make the game playable. So I redesigned it to a more stylized combat. Ships now flew about like it was the 18th century and broadsides were all the rage. This turned out to be quite fun, but a little limiting. The player only controlled one ship and sometimes you could get swarmed by enemies if your AI team-mates abandoned you. So I redesigned it. When I'm done with the current prototype the player will control his entire fleet directly. Essentially a 2D space RTS with ships pretending it's the 1700s. Hopefully it will be fun, if it isn't I'll redesign it again. I'm not claiming to be a great designer, just showing that unforeseen roadblocks (the technical issue, or combat not being fun) can force a redesign, and you shouldn't be afraid of it. Embrace it as a chance to experiment and learn. (sorry if that rambled a little off topic)
  20. Jbadams says the word troll and all the trolls come running to this thread making completely unconstructive replies on this threads subject. So mr shawn whats your reasoning for not agreeing with me? I have already given a logical reason why dictatorial game designers are best and no one has counter argued it yet. [/quote] Well I'm not trolling for starters, I'm offering blunt criticism. And my logical reason is simple, and already stated previously: Motivation I'm working on my own project because I have creative input in it. The project is my brainchild and I'm emotionally invested in seeing it succeed. Now lets say that I'm working for you on an independent project. You have total creative control and I'm just a code monkey. Why am I going to do any work for you? You could pay me, but then my motivation is entirely monetary. I don't care if the game soars or burns, as long as I get paid while it happens. You could try giving me outcome based incentives like a promotion or share of the profits if the game does well, but I'm going to weigh the potential benefits against the year+ of getting bossed around. A good indy team should be a team not a dictatorship.
  21. If I had to guess, glhf, the reason that game designers don't get respected in indy teams is because of people like you. Dictatorial game designers who think that everyone should follow their lead without questioning have no place in a team, be it indy or AAA.
  22. There's an idea that's been floating around my head, one that I really hope to be able to do one day (but it's far beyond my present experience and abilities). I short it's a Newtonian space trading game with large scale ships. If you imagine Star Trek Online's space combat and ship scale cross-bred with Freelancer's open gameplay you won't be too far off. I'm from a rather physics heavy background and as such I'm a big fan of Newtonian spaceflight. The problem, of course, is that most people don't have such a background. The learning curve for such a system of flight can be rather steep, making games that utilize it not very accessible to the layperson. The solution I came up with is to have the AI do the driving (with the player optionally taking direct control). That's fine if you're flying from place to place, but it doesn't work so well in combat. A thought just popped into my head to address that shortfall. Often in Star Trek the captain will order a particular evasive or attack pattern. ("Attack Pattern Delta Two" or such). Similarly a row of buttons could be added to the UI (next to the buttons to fire weapons and use abilities) that would trigger preset maneuvers. When these are activated the AI would take control of ship navigation and move it according to the pattern. Some Examples: Attack Pattern Omega - Keep the ship pointed at the enemy and keep close. Attack Pattern Alpha - Keep distance from the enemy and fly evasively. Evasive Pattern Alpha - Run directly away from the enemy. Evasive Pattern Beta - A zig-zag run from enemy. The player would have the option for direct control, of course. But the attack patterns would let the player focus on using abilities and targeting weapons.
  23. ShawnCowles

    Making Newtonian Spaceflight Accessable

    Missiles can typically devote more of their mass to propellant than a space ship however, and could potentially cross the entire system. If they do that they would have performance on the scale of a space ship (i.e. not that fast) and so could be considered (strategically) as just another space ship. A fast missile would have much shorter range (burning through it's propellant faster). I see it as either missiles are short ranged weapons or they are space ships in themselves. Space ships tend to be fragile things, as mass is very expensive (in terms of propellant) to accelerate. Even the most high performance rocket will tend to burn 2 (or more) kilograms of propellant for each kilogram of payload. Conversely, any weapon that can be effective over a thousand miles is going to be very powerful. Railgun shots will be flying a many kilometers per second, lasers will be measured in the megawatts, and there's no reason not to tip every missile with a nuclear warhead. (no environment to mess up). Put those two things together and (in my opinion) the first few shots will most likely disable the enemy, at least for their mission. Propellant tanks are good targets. They're very large proportionally to the rest of the ship and destroying one will rid the enemy of a significant portion of the propellant they need for their mission. As to your last point, I think that's exactly how it will go.
  24. ShawnCowles

    Making Newtonian Spaceflight Accessable

    I think you may have a point Acharis. For right now, however, this is more of a mental exercise for me. As I'll lack the experience and resources to make it for quite a while. As for maximum ranges, if you look at the numbers it makes sense for space weapons to have maximum ranges. More properly they would have maximum effective ranges. Lasers don't stay focused forever, they have a focal length determined by the focusing lens (or mirror), and beyond that the intensity rapidly dissipates. Kinetic weapons have an effective range too. Any kinetic weapon powerful enough to deal a lot of damage will be quite hot when it fires. It's very easy to see any sort of heat against the background 3 K of space, so the shot will be detected the moment it leaves the barrel. The target ship can then proceed to change it's acceleration to dodge. If the ship can move out of the way in the time that it takes the projectile to reach the ship, then that's past the effective range of the weapon. You could define the effective maximum range as: the range at which the shot will hit the target before the target has a chance to move out of the way. For 100% realism, I expect space combat to be similar to how Stormynature described galleons fighting, instead of days maneuvering though, years. Based on the following assumptions: a) There is no stealth in space. Anything of any power worth noticing puts out far more heat than any chunk of rock. b) Weapons have an effective maximum range (as argued above). c) Newtonian (or Einsteinian if you go fast enough) physics apply. d) Orbits around the sun take months - decades to complete. e) Weapons are powerful enough to be 1-hit kills to anything (even cities). It follows that I) Everyone can see everyone else (a) and will able to easily avoid confrontation by making a slight orbit change months in advance (d). II) Everyone's flight path is predictable (a, c, d) III) You have to get close (on an astronomical scale) to hit a target (b) but once you hit something it's dead (e). I would predict that space combat will be more in common with chess, with sides maneuvering ships (most likely unmanned ships) around the solar system trying to bring a strong force against an enemy's weak force, but not really accomplishing anything. I don't know about you, but that sounds really boring to me. Unless you turned it into some form of space chess... That might be fun.
  25. ShawnCowles

    Making Newtonian Spaceflight Accessable

    It seems like you're basing your argument on two rather major assumptions. A) that both ships have identically ranged weapons, and B) that the ships are 100% accurate. There's no need for a traditional dogfight, but there is still much to be gained from maneuver. Ships with dissimilar weapons would want to stay in range of their own weapons while staying out of the range of their opponent's weapons. Moving targets are also more difficult to hit, so a ship would want to keep moving relative to their opponent. Changing direction, flying evasively, etc Even a laser will miss if it's aimed in the wrong direction. A battle with multiple ships can benefit additionally. Ships would attempt to maneuver to isolate enemy ships from the rest of the enemy fleet and concentrate fire on the lone target while avoiding the concentrated fire of the enemy fleet. As I mentioned in my previous post I've played games with these types of physics before, and they benefit greatly from some uncertainty in weapon hits.
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