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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.


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About TexasJack

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  1. Hi all, Firstly, from the look of the other posts in this part of the forum - most of you are operating on a way higher level of expertise than me when it comes to AI. I know none of the terminology and am new to it, so treat me as a layman! I have recently started learning about GameMaker at a very basic level, (making coloured blobs move around on screen when cursors are pressed). I have gradually worked up to a basic isometric game where a player moves his blob around a simple single screen maze - avoiding other 'enemy' blobs that are on a pre described linear up-down style path. Simple stuff. I have even experimented a little with blobs that chase you when you get close and them - but then abandon the chase when you get far enough away again (I know, right). Gradually, I am getting to grips with the GML code side of things, so I got thinking about planning a much more sophisticated AI. The code instructions I have used so far are pretty simple, and only govern crude NPC chasing behaviour - but could be applied to a more complex actions. This got me onto a new train of thought, what If I put together a flow diagram (for lack of a better word) of 'if-x-is-y-then-do-this-action' style commands that is based on a core set of variables that I guess you could call the 'character'. The variables (for the sake of this post, lets say each variable is a value of 1-100) in question would basically be anything, from physical attributes (video game staples like 'strength - 50' etc...) to things that are more abstract (one idea that I had would be a variables that govern what motivates the character - for example: 'desire to find food - 20' 'desire to make a shelter - 70').   The idea would be that the flow diagram that would govern the decisions that the AI makes would constantly refer back to the character attribute figures in order to influence its behaviour. For example: - Enemy attacks (If aggression stat is less than 15, go to the stage in the flow diagram/algorithm that governs behaviour while fleeing). (If aggression stat is between 15 and 75, fight back until enemy is subdued) (If aggression stat is more than 75, fight back until enemy is killed).   Basically, the idea is that once the behaviour flow diagram is assembled - NPC's core identity could be either carefully tailored by adjusting the 'character' figures. These could even be randomised (within certain parameters) to add variety to the NPC's in a game. I also though that it would make sense that certain actions/results of decisions made by the NPC's could work in reverse and have an impact on their 'character'. For example, if an aggressive NPC constantly retaliates with heavy violence but is overpowered x amount of times - this could gradually lower the aggression stat so that they become more wary. I'm basically just thinking aloud - I assume that to most of you, this is just a very vague description of how things are already done. Sorry if this is the case. Am I on the right lines with my thinking? My end goal is a behaviour system that has an initial 'stat input' system for each NPC. This will allow me to then just turn them loose in an RPG and see how they interact with each other - this could even form the basic premise for a very simple eco-system sim? I'll elabourate on this after sleep and coffee. TJ    
  2. Are there any examples of simple games that rely on real time action (as opposed being to turn based), Metal Slug for example, that are massively multiplayer? What are the technical restrictions of something like this?
  3. Hi all, Does anyone know of any simple free video editing software? For what it's needed for, Windows Movie Maker would be perfect, save for the fact that you can't layer graphics over your footage(?). I know someone who has a load of hand drawn titles that they want to drop over a clipshow. Any ideas?
  4.   Thanks for all of your advice, I feel much more confident now that I know it is a recognised glitch. Now all I need to do is fix it, since I imagine you folks are comprised of programmers etc... I should warn you that I'm not too au-fait on this type of thing. My query is more accurately worded as: How me make computer good? The suggestion that Glass Knife made seems to be pretty good, is anyone able to provide a link to a guide for that process? I'd gladly google it myself, but I'm a little wary of finding a guide for the wrong process and potentially worsening things?   Cheers for all your help so far - second to none!  
  5. Firstly, thanks for all the advice - it's much appreciated. Dragonsoulj - your suggestion worked. All of my original files are present in the Users folder that you described. Could a virus cause the corruption or is it just a systemic glitch?
  6. Hi all, I recently switched my Dell Studio laptop on to find that all documents were missing from the machine. The computer appears to be blank, as if it were new. I googled the issue and it suggested that I try a system restore, which I did. This did not work. Now all I can restore to is yesterday (20.8.14)? Old programs seem to still be installed (Blender, AVG etc...) but none of my files or folders exist. I can still access "My Documents" ect, but they are empty and contain no files or folders that I have created. The laptop has always run with an watermark in the corner of the screen saying "This copy of windows is not genuine" - It is genuine, but I've never gotten round to registering it, the previous owner still has the number required for this. Any ideas on what this might be. My first assumption is some kind of virus - but I'm not too tech savvy with this sort of thing? Thanks.
  7. Hi all, I've been musing over this for a few days, Google Earth is, to me, a remarkably underrated technological achievement. It is simply the worlds most accessible piece of complex global cartography, and an incredible logistical undertaking to assemble, program and compile. I have always thought this. Recently I saw an XKCD cartoon that summed up some of its potential:     This is dorky, I know, but it is also genuinely fun. Google Earth, by now, has just about covered the entire globe (miles of baron, empty land included) with reasonably high definition birdseye imagery - not to mention the ever expanding street view function. Here's the challenge I want to set, here in this thread: Expand on the ideas mentioned in this cartoon, primarily, wilderness wandering/discovery: There are plenty of programs and plugins that allow flight sims and driving games etc... in Google Earth, but for the sake of this discussion - lets just ramble about what little games we can come up with, within the remit of your internet browser. No need to bother with scripting or additional programming.   Beyond that, any ideas are welcome, even if it's as simple as "Pick a random coordinate and see how long it takes to get to civilisation or some kind of building". Things to consider: - What kind of rules/restrictions/time limits can you set yourself? - How could these games be implemented with social media, facebook feeds for instance, to give them a semblance of being multiplayer? - What are the objectives of your game? Approach this like a kid in a playground would, no props, coding or flashy graphics tell you how to play tag - it's just an ad-hoc game where the rules can be changed to fit the circumstance. Playground games are entirely the product of your imagination and your environment (in this case, substitute the playground for Google Earth). Any ideas?  
  8. The action in the game is going to be tick-based and text-based, but there will be a graphical representation of the sector of map that you are in showing the basic positions of you, other entities, items etc...   I want the game to look like you are in a control room, looking at a radar representation of what is going on.   I want the items to be attribute based, so for example, you might have a collection of sticks that you have pulled off a tree. One might have a sharpness of 87% another might have a sharpness of only 4%. You wouldn't be able to use sticks with a sharpness of less than, say, 30% as tent pegs, but you would need sticks of a sharpness of at least 70% to use them as eating utensils.   This way, the crafting will hopefully have a lot of depth. Using a rock to bang a stake in the ground might reduce the weight or strength attribute of the rock etc...   It would be interesting to see how players would use this from an emergent gameplay point of view. One famous example is Minecraft, YouTube is choc-full of videos showing how to make different player-designed mob traps - so hopefully, by giving the players some sandbox elements, and a robust crafting system, the game items will design and evolve themselves in some way. To this end, short of basic elements like trees and leaves, I want to keep the number of non-player-made items to a minimum. The whole architecture of the game is up to the gamers, if this happened, the players might even form an online civil society (they won't).   Good suggestions everyone.
  9. I'm putting together an idea for a survival game.   Essentially, the game revolves around you being dumped in a world that consists of a variety of different environments (jungle, dessert, arctic). The world will be inhabited by: A) Non-player animals, a varied ecosystem ranging from tiny ants to big dangerous things. B) Other players who have also been dumped in a wilderness, motivated by survival, probably friendly, probably after your gear. Who knows.   Your entire goal is to survive, decide whether to set up a camp/shelter or just to go nomad. If you bite the dust, I think the game will give you a simple permadeath end message along the lines of "You survived for 4 Months - 2 Days - 10:12:32".   The question is, what should the players start with? I want the game to be extremely harsh, so survival carries a sense of satisfaction, but also risk. I am thinking that the players should just have the set of overalls on their back and their wits.   What do you think, would it be fairer to go down the DayZ route and give them a pistol and a tin of beans? Maybe a knife or even a survival kit?   I don't want to doom the players (I secretly do), nor do I want an over abundance of pistols with empty magazines kicking around on the jungle floor.   Your thoughts.
  10. Hi all,   I'm interested in the idea of text based MMOs, and their constituent cousins (MUDs etc...).   I've never really played any (with the exception of things like Kingdom of Loathing), but am intrigued by the prospect of imagination being used as a device to evoke huge game worlds without worrying about too much in the way of technical logistics or flashy graphics. I'm just brainstorming really - what are peoples experiences.   One thing I'm keen on developing is an interface that allows for a full on sensory experience communicated through text (maybe one field to describe each of the senses? etc... - The art of playing the game could be to keep track of each). How are these games physically laid out? Which are the best in your opinions? How does the player convincingly navigate large areas like a desert which would, in reality take days to cross, without it sounding like "1:30pm - You enter the Sahara from the south... ...1:32pm - You exit the Sahara from the north"?   Like I said - just a brainstorm, I want to blow text based MMOs open for discussion.   Your thoughts?  
  11. Hi all, I am looking to scout for a few like-minds that I can bat around ideas for games with (generally simple 2D side scrollers ect - not Call of Duty or anything like that). I myself am an artist, comfortable with handling the spriting, graphic design etc... What other talent is needed to create a game like, for example; a Super Mario clone?   I know that there are several instances of individuals building highly popular games on their own out there - but I lack the technical knowledge, and so would be looking to form a small team (3-4 people? Admitedly, an arbitrary estimation).   The focus would be to build (probably free) games casually - not expensive super hi-def 3D MMOs with the intention of making a world dominating profit. What kind of skills do I need on top of my own art input to make this happen?
  12. Hi all, I'm developing an idea for a game where you are basically given a top down display of your character's location, represented by a very basic symbol. The graphical elements in the game are going to be minimal. Other characters will be represented by identical symbols, all mobs will be represented by a "mob" symbols, all items by a universal "item" symbol and so on... The only real reason for the top down display is to provide the player with an idea of where everything is - as if the game were being played from inside a submarine, your only idea of space and relative distance comes from an abstract radar reading. When a player hovers the cursor over other players or mobs etc... the game will bring up the attributes of whatever they are examining. Here's the beauty of it; the attributes list will be thorough enough to provide the player with an idea of what they are examining without actually needing to see it. Examples might be: Height, Weight, Colour, Build... Alongside the attributes that the player is able to inspect, there will be a range of behind the scenes attributes that govern how the mob or item acts, or what a player is capable of doing. The point in this is that if someone wanted to come along and customise a server, they could do so easily by filling out a description of the mobs and items they wanted. If you wanted a "Dawn of the Dead" game you could fill the map with mobs that had the attributes of "slow moving, non aggressive to other mobs, only aggressive at short range" etc... for the zombies and all the items could be "ranged weapon, accurate at short range, heavy to carry" for the shotguns. I wanted to come up with a list of attributes for Mobs, Characters and Items. Each could be edited, and ultimately govern the characteristics of each thing. Ideally, the attributes would be numeric or number based (Eg; "Weight (lbs): 100"). Any suggestions for attributes?
  13. Hi all, I am currently building a website in Dreamweaver MX 2004, and because I am a print-designer, not a web-designer, I am having a lot of difficulty getting my head around some of it. Given that alot of the people on this site are scripters/coders/wizards, I thought I'd try my luck and post what I've got so far up here to see if anyone can help me out. I am attempting to use a [url="http://lokeshdhakar.com/projects/lightbox2/"]lightbox2[/url] image gallery on my website, but am having difficulty coding it in to what I already have. Basically, my website, when completed will consist of four buttons; "Graphics", "Illustration", "Photography" and "About Me/Contact". The last button ("About Me/Contact") will simply link to another page with the relevant info on it - but the former three buttons will be connected to lightbox galleries. Clicking "Graphics" will bring up images from my graphic design portfolio in a lightbox window so that they can be flipped through. Clicking "Illustration" will display images from my illustration portfolio and so on... If you look at the example below, you can see the clump of text within the[i] table [/i]HTML tags, those are the images that constitute the buttons, the first one "Graphics" already brings up a lightbox view of "Graphics/Workexample1.jpg" but I can only figure out how to get one image to show up within that link, instead of a collection that you can flip through. I would also like to achieve the same with the other image links ("Illustration" and "Photography"). If you look just above the closing [i]head[/i] tag - you can see four or so lines of [i]script[/i] tags that I copied and pasted directly from the lightbox website (see the link above). From my basic understanding of all of this - those bits of HTML are what make the files that come with the lightbox download (which you include in your website's root folder) do their magic. Can anyone help with this, I'd be extremely grateful as I have been staring blankly at this for hours? Also, my sincerest apologies if this is posted in the wrong place, I didn't want to post in any programming or coding specific forums as this is not strictly game-design related. Many thanks, Texas Jack. (P.S. - The images that act as the buttons which link to my lightbox galleries are themselves roll-over images. Just to make the HTML a little more crowded for you!) [CODE] <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd"> <html> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> <title>Untitled Document</title> &lt;script language="JavaScript" type="text/JavaScript"> <!-- function MM_swapImgRestore() { //v3.0 var i,x,a=document.MM_sr; for(i=0;a&amp;amp;&amp;amp;i<a.length&amp;amp;&amp;amp;(x=a[i])&amp;amp;&amp;amp;x.oSrc;i++) x.src=x.oSrc; } function MM_preloadImages() { //v3.0 var d=document; if(d.images){ if(!d.MM_p) d.MM_p=new Array(); var i,j=d.MM_p.length,a=MM_preloadImages.arguments; for(i=0; i<a.length; i++) if (a[i].indexOf("#")!=0){ d.MM_p[j]=new Image; d.MM_p[j++].src=a[i];}} } function MM_findObj(n, d) { //v4.01 var p,i,x; if(!d) d=document; if((p=n.indexOf("?"))>0&amp;amp;&amp;amp;parent.frames.length) { d=parent.frames[n.substring(p+1)].document; n=n.substring(0,p);} if(!(x=d[n])&amp;amp;&amp;amp;d.all) x=d.all[n]; for (i=0;!x&amp;amp;&amp;amp;i<d.forms.length;i++) x=d.forms[i][n]; for(i=0;!x&amp;amp;&amp;amp;d.layers&amp;amp;&amp;amp;i<d.layers.length;i++) x=MM_findObj(n,d.layers[i].document); if(!x &amp;amp;&amp;amp; d.getElementById) x=d.getElementById(n); return x; } function MM_swapImage() { //v3.0 var i,j=0,x,a=MM_swapImage.arguments; document.MM_sr=new Array; for(i=0;i<(a.length-2);i+=3) if ((x=MM_findObj(a[i]))!=null){document.MM_sr[j++]=x; if(!x.oSrc) x.oSrc=x.src; x.src=a[i+2];} } //--> </script> <link href="css/lightbox.css" rel="stylesheet" /> &lt;script src="js/jquery-1.7.2.min.js"></script> &lt;script src="js/lightbox.js"></script> </head> <body onLoad="MM_preloadImages('Layout/Graphics_Down.jpg','Layout/Illustration_Down.jpg','Layout/Photography_Down.jpg','Layout/About_Contact_Down.jpg')"> <table width="428" height="175" border="0" align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td height="27" colspan="7"><img src="Layout/Title.jpg" width="428" height="27"></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="73"><a href="Graphics/Workexample1.jpg" rel="lightbox"onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('Graphics','','Layout/Graphics_Down.jpg',1)"><img src="Layout/Graphics.jpg" alt="Graphics" name="Graphics" width="73" height="148" border="0"></a></td> <td width="7"><img src="Layout/Semicolon_Left.jpg" width="7" height="148"></td> <td width="105"><a href="#" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('Illustration','','Layout/Illustration_Down.jpg',1)"><img src="Layout/Illustration.jpg" alt="Illustration" name="Illustration" width="105" height="148" border="0"></a></td> <td width="7"><img src="Layout/Semicolon_Middle.jpg" width="7" height="148"></td> <td width="109"><a href="#" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('Photography','','Layout/Photography_Down.jpg',1)"><img src="Layout/Photography.jpg" alt="Photography" name="Photography" width="109" height="148" border="0"></a></td> <td width="6"><img src="Layout/Semicolon_Right.jpg" width="6" height="148"></td> <td width="121"><a href="#" onMouseOut="MM_swapImgRestore()" onMouseOver="MM_swapImage('About','','Layout/About_Contact_Down.jpg',1)"><img src="Layout/About_Contact.jpg" alt="About &amp; Contact" name="About" width="121" height="148" border="0"></a></td> </tr> </table> </body> </html> [/CODE]
  14. I had thought of that, but I'm not sure it's enough. [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/--_qjaFoX_8Y/UCK2gPOhS6I/AAAAAAAAABM/qNXWJWLGNBM/s320/Depth%2BExample%2B2.png[/img] It works to a certain extent, but I'm not sure it would work for larger depths or larger surface areas. As a visual device, artificial blur tends to work better for faking lens focus, but the distant objects being blurred are usually smaller anyway, which is what combines with the blur to give the illusion. On its own, the blur ends up just looking a bit smudgey. I'm tempted to just try voids and chasms as big black spaces? On the surface of the world, I want players to be able to build multi-storey buildings - but representing this is tricky. Would standing in the top room of a tall tower just render everything outside the perimeter of the room in the field below as black nothingness? This is one option and a device used in many graphical rogue-like games, but it would be nice if sitting in a tower would give you some kind of view, instead of just colouring the outside air at the same altitude as the player as a black void. In case anyone's confused; here's a quick google images example of what I mean by the outside of a room being neglected as blackness: [img]http://i39.tinypic.com/kbuk4.jpg[/img]
  15. Hi all, I'm developing this idea for an online multiplayer sandbox game. The player's interface is essentially a top-down grid, players move from square to square by selecting their destination. The game will be tick based, so their movements are input before the tick rolls over to the next one, and when it refreshes, all player moves are calculated and played out. For example: Tick one begins, you select the tile/square you wish to move to, when the next tick begins - you move to your desired square. The grid will effectively be a top-down, 2D representation of a Minecraft/Infiniminer-esque block based world. Here is a mock-up I have been using to try and figure out how this will work: [img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-d2jIdngficg/UCKdvKQI2RI/AAAAAAAAAA4/WTE9ujIRS9w/s1600/Depth%2BExample.png[/img] As you can see, representing pits and riased areas on the grid is fairly simple. These shadows sort of immediately spell it out to the players eye which bits are higher or lower. However, this game world will not simply be limited to the depth shown in this image (3 layers of blocks). I intend for the depth to be potentially infinite. The difficulty I am finding now, is how to this would be shown in this game? How would a sheer 20-layer-high cliff edge drop be shown for instance, without it looking identical to the edge of the 1-block-deep pit shown here? Also, how can players navigate to areas above and below themselves? The long term goal behind this game is that it is a sandbox, where players are spawned in the world and are ultimately at their own liberty to roam around. If they want to PK, be sociable, grief, build cities, destroy cities, farm, explore... ...whatever - they can. I'm keen on letting the player find their own balance, and maybe even police themselves. The game intends to provide the gamers with a sort of wild west that they are free to colonise. Let them build the game world, so you don't have to. I estimate that building (or at least inhabiting a burrowed out hole) will play a fairly significant role in all of this, which is why I'm keen on getting this representation of the game world blocks right. The blocks will provide the elements for most of this world-crafting. The game will be tick based, so this whole world of player action can be managed at a fairly easy pace. I'm keen to hear any thoughts, inputs and criticism anyone has on this?