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wfrye2005

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Everything posted by wfrye2005

  1. Blender for making Games?

    I haven't done any serious work in Blender since 2.49b ("I've been busy" and other assorted excuses), but I just installed 2.70a after reading this topic, as you've all reminded me how much I miss this kind of thing (context info: got degree in architecture, no jobs, became software engineer instead).   My initial assessment of the interface changes are "well ****, now I have to learn it again from scratch" and "it's hard to read," the latter being the only remotely serious one. Not a big fan of black on grey, and the various section headers just don't stand out enough. Font size is a little too small on my 2560x1440 monitor as well. Upon closer inspection, this all appears to be highly customizable, but I still think they could use a better default theme.   That said, my favorite feature in Blender remains unchanged: it isn't part of the Autodesk pseudo-monopoly, and thus I don't have to sell my car (or my soul) for a copy.
  2. To be honest, I don't really like the first picture. The space background is pretty, but beyond that I really can't tell what's going on in the image--that background is eating everything in front of it.   I'd suggest using a simplistic, highly-stylized art style--and sticking to it. You want people to think "art style" rather than "wow, lazy MSPaint graphics," and deviating from such an art style with even a single asset has a tendency to tip people's perception toward the latter, IMO. For instance, I like the rectangular cows. Combined with the rounded edges on the anthropomorphic sneaker-wearing one, the ellipse UFO, and the relatively smoothly blended ground textures, however, it's not... cohesive. If they were all rectangular or all rounded, and either all textured or all flat, I think it'd look a lot better.
  3. NES console remade in HD

      My first thought upon seeing it was "that's really ugly, the real thing looked way better."   That said, I'd be really surprised if Nintendo didn't try to sue. They're a litigious bunch, and their entire business model these days seems to be coasting on ports and "HD remakes" of their old games. Giving people a way to play their old cartridges might dissuade them from re-buying their libraries with every new piece of Nintendo hardware, after all.
  4. What games will stand the test of time?

    What games from 1014 are you familiar with? According to wikipedia, Chess as we know it today only dates back to the 1400's, so even that hasn't lasted a thousand years just yet. The classic Super Mario Bros is roughly 30 years old and is almost completely unknown to the younger generations (despite Nintendo's numerous, overpriced ports).   In a thousand years, I'd hope that technology will have advanced to the point that we'll all be pseudo-immortal robots colonizing space, or at least able to spend our free time in Matrix-style virtual worlds. Either way, I think we'd see 2014's entertainment about the same way we see 1014's today--we either won't know about it, won't care, or we'll think it was all hilariously crude.
  5. If it's a several million line codebase with no documentation at all, being able to search for any on-screen text you see in the screenshot attached to the email from your boss's boss titled "fix this bug" (no message) is really the only way to figure out where to start.   So yeah, if you're already living in a nightmare, go ahead and hardcode those strings. Can't make things any worse, and the management certainly isn't going to let you take the time to make them any better. But if you're starting fresh, don't ****ing do it or I'll find you.
  6. I work full time and go to grad school classes a few nights a week, but I'm single and have little desire for time-consuming social activities. I manage to set aside a few hours a week for game projects when classes are in session, and a decent portion of my nights and weekends when they aren't. Despite my unsocial tendencies, it's still not enough, and it's been difficult coming to terms with the fact that no amount of time ever will be if I intend to accomplish anything "grand" on my own. Unless I take advantage of minimalistic graphics and 100% randomly generated content, of course, but does the market really need another Minecraft clone?   It seems to me that to accomplish anything at all, one must either focus on hacking together a barebones prototype with which to attract a team and go from there, or find an existing project with a similar goal to join--the latter being a terrifying concept to me, as it means I'd both have to give up full creative control and deal with people in my precious free time; I suspect this is a common sentiment and that the ratio of people looking for a team to people looking to join a team approaches 1:0. It's a difficult choice, so my gut instinct is to choose not to decide (though, allegedly, in doing so I'll still have made a choice) and continue as I have been, chugging away at a project I'll never finish, purely for my own selfish amusement.
  7. Building Communication Skills

      There's a book called Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) that covers this pretty well. If you ever need convincing that people are terrible--impossibly, unforgivably terrible--it's a good read. It covers things like confirmation bias (as I was reading it, I was thinking "holy ****, this is every internet argument ever"), how every politician justifies accepting bribes (err, I mean "lobbying") and passing corrupt laws, and why the "justice system" likes to pick an initial suspect and railroad them, becoming increasingly belligerent when confronted with absolute proof that their suspect is innocent. Numerous documented examples of each. It's scary stuff. Misanthropy inducing, even.   I've observed the whole spontaneous internet hate mob thing a few times, and been on the receiving end a few times. I'm always reminded of the end of Lord of the Flies when it happens. Sometimes all it takes is one particularly malicious individual to start things off, and then another joins in, and before you know what's happening even the formerly reasonable ones are foaming at the mouth and you've got a mob of what are essentially mindless, shrieking apes after you. All you can really do is walk away and try to take the experience as a cautionary tale about just how thin the veneer of civilized society is.
  8. Sacrifices to be a programmer?

    Certain sections of old, arcane code may require the occasional goat to continue working. Two chickens will do in a pinch. Other than that, no, I haven't had to make any sacrifices. If anything, my social activities have greatly increased.
  9. What hardware do you use?

    Home (primary): i7 4770K, 16GB RAM, Radeon HD7870, 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD, 1TB  HDD, Win8.1, 23" LG monitor (nice 27" Asus PB278Q on the way, but they're punishing me for choosing free shipping so it'll be another week or so).   Home (secondary): AMD Phenom II x4 "Deneb" (955 Black Edition? Something like that), 8GB RAM, Radeon HD5770, 1TB HDD, Win7, currently controlling my TV as I'm short on monitors and it's better than paying for several hundred trash cable channels.   Home (tertiary): Asus A53S laptop, i5@2.3Ghz, 6GB RAM, GT540M, Win7. CPU hits 87C trying to run Minecraft, which amuses me more than it should. Gets the job done when I can't be at one of my desktops instead.   Work: A refurbished Dell with two 24" HP monitors. Never really bothered to look into its specs much; compiles the business software I work on just as fast as some of the other guys' newer, significantly (stupidly) more expensive (overpriced) hardware, -and- I don't have to deal with Parallels and/or Bootcamp like they do, so I'm happy.  
  10. Stopping the "Too many projects" syndrome

      I'm actually planning on flipping a coin in two weeks and devoting the summer to the result. Not even joking.   I have two in-process projects and a third I'm considering, so it may not end up being an actual coin, but the point is that if I can't decide in a timely manner, I'll offload the responsibility to something that can. I work full time as a software engineer and I'm going to grad school at night, so I can't afford to waste an entire summer of free nights and weekends foolishly trying to make the decision myself (as clearly I find all three ideas equally interesting, else I'd have decided already).
  11. The Subscription Model needs to be adjusted.

      I'll never accept that as an ethical business practice. It's an awful concept that takes far too much power away from the individual. Worse, it keeps lawyers and MBA's employed. That thought alone should be enough to drive us all to open source alternatives.   Besides, I can't think of any software I'd use that's actually a service. Photoshop certainly isn't a service--they're not shopping my photos for me. It's a tool, one with which I may shop my own photos as I see fit. Let's see the hardware store try to get away with attaching EULAs and annual subscription fees to -every- hammer. That'd go over well, right? For a big, expensive, specialized tool you only need to use once? Sure, a brief rental's reasonable. But -every- tool? Tools you intend to use often, and for many years? No option to buy, and hence no ability to own property? We let that slide, we're on the road to serfdom. We don't want to go there.
  12. Is Win8 that bad?

    The only positive thing I have to say about it is that the boot time seems to have improved--about six seconds on the new 8.1 PC I built in January (but I put a pretty nice SSD in there; no idea how much of the improvement is really Win8.1's doing). Other than that, I find literally everything about the UI to be a huge step backward from 7. It's designed in such a way that it almost seems like it's trying to punish anyone without a touch interface, and I neither have nor want a touch interface on my desktop. Hell, anyone reaches out and smudges my screens, they won't be getting the hand back.   One little annoyance that seems to be a pretty good "in a nutshell" representation of my problems with 8/8.1's design: if I set my titlebar color to black, any text in it ceases to be readable--it's locked at a dark grey color. When I asked about this in the MS support forum, one of their "support engineers" responded with instructions for how to find the popup for changing the color... in Win7. It's mysteriously missing in 8/8.1. When confronted with a screenshot showing this, they ceased to respond for several weeks before eventually posting a link to instructions on how to change the color via a third party tool/registry hacks. They wouldn't admit that it's a bug; even if it was intentional, it's a terrible design decision and thus still a bug in my book. Relying on the community to clean up their mess--who do they think they are, Bethesda?
  13. Are you a gamer?

    Ignoring the off-topic debate, no, not in the corporate marketing sense. That's all I've ever associated the word "gamer" with--marketing nonsense. I cringe when people call me that. I dislike being categorized.   I enjoy games, though I have increasingly less time to play them and I'm gradually running out of developers I'm willing to give money to--they just keep doing terrible, sleazy things and/or ruining the franchises I used to like. My growing frustration is leading me to pursue simply making the sort of games I actually want to play on my own. Life is busy, however, and I'm only one person, so progress is slow. Moving backwards, even. But still entertaining.   Now, no longer ignoring the silly debate, feminists and misogynists are both equally filthy sexists. Why can't we all just agree to hate everyone? Life's easier when you come to terms with the fact that all people are just inherently terrible. Except me, of course.
  14. The Subscription Model needs to be adjusted.

    Personally, I see their move to subscription-only as a way for them to ensure that they no longer need to improve the software enough to convince people to buy upgrades--they just sit there and exploit their near-monopoly market position, raking in money without ever lifting a finger. Meanwhile, the technology stagnates--they no longer have any motivation to make advancements. I'd bet money that if anyone tries to come along and make those advancements in an attempt to compete, they'll be either bought or sued away. All in all, a bad situation for everyone but the very top of the corporate ladder.   Add to that the fact that the "you can't own property, only rent it from us" scheme is the oldest class warfare tactic in the book and you've got a seriously scary trend as more businesses move in this direction. We'll be serfs in no time if more people don't get upset about dirty business practices like this.
  15. Hard to track bugs...

    Took me several hours to track down what ended up being something like this: for(int i = 0; i < something; i++) { for(int j = 0; i < somethingElse; j++) { //do stuff Felt like a complete moron after that, both for writing it and for not finding it immediately.   And then there was the time I wrote the collision system for my 2D platformer while running a fever and very late at night. Led to quite a few cases of things that looked great and even almost worked, but that upon closer inspection turned out to be nonsense. Spent several nights cleaning that mess up.
  16. ...is the Duke Nukem Forever of game programming books. I've been waiting for this thing for well over a year at this point, with the "release date" hovering several months in the future the whole time. I would have bought the first edition last March if there hadn't been a second edition coming out "in May 2013." Can't buy it now, either--the new edition's due out in July. I'm sure that'll happen. /frustrated rant
  17. My biggest hurdle before starting a big project.

    Happens to me every time. When writing papers in college, I always spent about as much time staring at an empty document trying to write the first line as I spent writing the rest of the paper. Same with programming projects. The trick I eventually found for papers was that the first line doesn't have to be good. It can be a complete joke--it's entire purpose is to sit there and make the page look less empty and intimidating. Then you get started and hopefully remember to replace it before you turn the paper in. I've found it kind of works for code, too, though you'll want to replace the joke line/crappy tutorial copypasta/whatever ASAP.   Another problem is losing your momentum. I often make the mistake of searching online for an answer to a specific question and then becoming trapped for the rest of the weekend--or the next several weeks--reading every topic on the internet that even remotely relates to what I'm doing. I'm doing it right now, actually. It's really hard to stop...
  18. Structuring game engine code

      Really? I'm extremely skeptical of that one. Seems like the rudimentary collision logic for my tile-based 2D game was at least 500, all things considered. Granted, it was pretty bad and I wrote it while running a pretty high fever (it all made perfect sense at the time, and it even almost worked).   I'm in the early stages of working on a simple C++/DirectX engine as well, and found this topic while looking for discussions on the subject. Surprisingly difficult to find useful information; mostly just sloppy "here's how you render a single cube" tutorials and posts linking to said tutorials, or to that Game Engine Architecture book*. The biggest problem I'm having is figuring out in what order to work on things; I keep running into situations where I need a functioning x to test y, but I can't write x without a functioning y. And, of course, before I can think of a resolution, I get distracted by the realization that I have no idea how to handle z and spend the rest of the day reading z-related topics here and on stackexchange. I think a step-by-step list of generic steps/goals for incrementally putting together a game engine would be immensely helpful, but I've yet to find such a thing.   One useful tidbit I learned over the weekend: don't try source diving the various open source 3D engines in hopes of finding some best practice, or a common architectural thread that'll make everything clear--you won't find one. But you will find demotivation. And a headache.   *Off-topic, but seriously, they've delayed the 2nd edition by over a year at this point--Amazon had it listed as coming out early May 2013 when I first saw it, then October, then March, and now it's late May 2014. I'm not going to buy the first edition with a second imminent, nor will I preorder the second edition with it looking like it's going to pull a Duke Nukem Forever... Bad marketing strategy, tbqh. If they hadn't announced the second edition, I'd have bought the first a year ago.
  19. Blender is perfect for low-poly models; I've never found anything easier/faster for that kind of thing, with the exception of SketchUp, and that's really only for rough architectural visualization/mass modeling (it does not like working with organic shapes or provide tools for doing so efficiently--but boy, can it ever extrude rectangles). You know what else I like about Blender? You don't have to sell your car (nor your soul) to get a copy; it's free and completely unaffiliated with the Autodesk monopoly.     Those people at reddit are bad. I mean, I wouldn't go so far as to get degrees in both like I did (BS-Architecture, now working on MS-CS), but there's no harm and quite a lot of benefit in being able to both program and produce your own assets. You'll still need to recruit additional artists to finish a reasonably sizeable game, of course, but I assume they'd be easier to get on board if you could show them an impressive demo and/or concept art.
  20. Your thoughts on Adobe's new subscription-only model?

      Changing the price of the subscription model wouldn't solve anything; it would still be a scam that benefits only them. Selling (as in "not renting") the software at more reasonable prices would be better for the consumer, and would do more to combat piracy (as in the miniscule fraction of the pirates that actually use the software commercially--something tells me most are just kids that run the program once or twice for kicks and don't have any money anyway). Like I said before, though, that would also force them to actually improve the product a significant amount with each new release to convince people to buy again, which is something they'd really like to avoid; free money with little to no effort is far more appealing to the execs.
  21. Your thoughts on Adobe's new subscription-only model?

      Counterproductive. Piracy can't be stopped--all DRM can and will be broken. Any attempt at prevention inevitably alienates users and creates more pirates. As does price gouging, which was the root of their piracy problem in the first place. If they really wanted to minimize piracy, they'd have to lower their prices and be more ethical, i.e., by respecting their users' property rights (preferably by throwing the entire EULA concept out the window).   I doubt it's about piracy at all, though. Much like certain game companies, they want to be able to, at any time and for any reason, flip a switch and kill the product, forcing everyone to "upgrade" whether they want to or not. It's taking the old concept of planned obsolescence to an extreme--rather than simply building cheap products that will quickly break, they're going to break them themselves, and on a schedule. They want to ensure their continued profitability without having to worry about their new product ever actually being a worthwhile improvement over the previous one. Every corporate suit out there is drooling at the prospect. If the idiotic masses can't be educated as to why they should be furious about this, it's going to spread to every possible industry, and it won't be long until we'll all look around our rented apartments and realize we don't own anything in them.
  22. Your thoughts on Adobe's new subscription-only model?

    This is the kind of anti-consumer behavior that really pisses me off. Every company wants to do it, too--it's class warfare 101: don't let the peasants own anything, only rent it from you. The rich get richer while the poor--including their employees--get poorer (it's a statistical fact that average middle class income is dropping despite executive income increasing to record levels). They deserve whatever backlash they get, regardless of its legality.   I'll stick with open source. A little inconvenience isn't an issue when the alternative is giving money to corporate monsters dead-set on eroding individual property rights simply to expand their own ill-gotten fortunes.
  23. Game programming architecture

    I have a copy of Game Coding Complete (4th Ed.) and have read about half of it (it's huge, nearly 1000 pages). The organization the authors describe seems pretty logical to me, and most of their recommendations on how to do things seem to be backed up with horror stories about what happened to commercial game projects that did it another way.       GCC covers exactly this topic pretty early in the book. I actually gutted my own project and rebuilt it after reading it; they make a very convincing argument as to why inheriting everything from a base object class will lead to trouble.   Game Engine Architecture seems pretty good too. I've only skimmed through it, but it seems good enough to be worth a buy. Just a heads up: they have a new edition coming out in October. That's the only thing keeping me from ordering a copy today, tbqh.
  24. Becoming an Artist

      Kind of off topic, but I've been thinking about this for a week and can't resist: that new version looks terrible. They increased resolution without adding much (if any) detail to the sprites; they're imitating the conventions(?) of low-res spriting (the character poses, facial features, etc.) with all the technical limitations that originally required those conventions removed, and the result just isn't good IMO. If you want examples of good pixel art--communicating as much detail as possible in an extremely limited number of pixels--you'll have to go back a few generations, i.e., to the original releases of FFI-VI. Personally, I'm a big fan of the 2D Castlevania games as well, but that's a different style entirely.
  25.   A course or two may be helpful, but the best advice I can give from experience is this: don't get a degree in architecture. It's a hell of a lot of work, and in return, you get nearly guaranteed unemployment.   I doubt what I learned about portfolio design in architecture school translates 100% into game design, but maybe some of it does, so here goes. What you want is a few showcase pieces--your absolute best work--and a list of the tools you used (go out of your way to make sure these are widely used tools). Make sure they're not too similar; a portfolio of three wildly different projects is better than one filled with a dozen projects that all look alike. I was always told that the production value of the portfolio itself was almost as important as the content--one professor advocated having dozens of them professionally printed, potentially even hardcover, the idea being that the employer is more likely to look at it if they can't just hit "delete."
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