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About meh

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  1. Quote:Original post by Mithrandir Quote:Original post by meh BTW the system of government you probably would like is a Meritocracy. Who decides what is considered meritorious? Example; in most software companies I've worked, non-CS management has always had a strong preference for "code monkeys", people who have no true understanding of what they are doing, but simply pound on a bit of code until it looks like it works right, then they disappear to pound on another project, repeat ad nauseum. These people seem to be extremely deserving of merit, often because they can produce immediate results. Problem lies in their methodology though. Usually with code monkey droppings, the slightest requirements change will break the entire pile of crap and cause it to collapse. By that time the monkeys have already moved on and have pounded feces into 3-4 other projects already. Quality developers take time to analyze problems and create a proper solution that is robust enough to handle potential requirements changes. This takes skill and most importantly, time. From a management perspective these developers appear less meritorious because they cannot get initial results as fast as the monkeys. Instead their work only pays off over time when requirements inevitably change. So you've got two criteria here. Immediate short term results that will be woefully shoddy in the long term vs long term quality results. Which is more meritorious? Turns out you need people to figure that out. But who decides who comes up with the criteria then? Ah, back to democracy. I do realise that, I was making a suggestion to the original poster. ;) There's also the issue of the Peter Principle in that long term success in previous positions is no guarantee of success in a new one.
  2. Quote:Original post by Winegums My conclusion is a conjecture of the fact that they had no valid points to run on. They couldn't have been picked because they had good ideas, because none of their running points extended beyond making night life in the student bar better (an issue they have no authority on whatsoever). Therefore I can only asume they were voted in on one of the following: i) Their friends voted them in ii) They were deemed the lesser of two evils iii) Everyoen voted randomly So you say they have no valid points then go on to suggest a valid point. Not to disparage the students of Abertay too much but a better freshers week and improvements to the night life probably sell better than reducing carbon emissions and improving student poverty. The electorate may not know that they had no authority to alter the running of the student bar or freshers week so that campaign promise still sounded pretty good? They may have even known that they had no authority but decided that the other guys sounded more fun or appealed more in other ways. Electoral choices by voters are not always decided rationally with a good think beforehand. You won't know as you cannot tell (and can only estimate with exit polls) how and why people voted. In another vein getting people to know who you are and trust you (and therefore implicitly trusting your platform) is an important part of politics. The way you describe it your friends went in with a good platform but failed because they expected that and a good showing at the hustings to guarantee them success. I went to Abertay hence the interest. :) BTW the system of government you probably would like is a Meritocracy.
  3. Quote:Original post by Winegums Abertay. I don't think their campaign failed, as much as the student body was apathetic towards the whole thing. In a small university knowing the right cliques can tip the balance. Unless somehow you got the inside scoop on who voted, for whom and why I'm not sure you can really make that comment. You might suspect that popularity had something to do with it but it doesn't make it a dead cert. Phrases like, "I don't see how a person abstracted from both parties could have voted for the other guys," are the sort of thing your friends should be asking themselves. Why if they had such a killer platform did they not succeed? Blaming the popularity of opponents and an apathetic electorate just smacks of avoiding asking hard questions. Did your friends do any sort of exit polling at all? How many people voted in total and what was the spread of votes?
  4. As far as I can tell this isn't a failing of democracy just that you don't like the result. Your guys might be better qualified but at the end of the day the electorate chooses who they want and that doesn't always mean the better qualified people automatically win. Losing and blaming the system seems like a cheap way of avoiding looking at the failures of the campaign. Abertay or Dundee?
  5. meh

    Why your gaming degree may be a waste of time!

    Quote:Original post by ukdeveloper I'm vaguely considering the Abertay course as a post-graduate option as I've heard nothing but good things about it. I'm too busy to look it up but IIRC the Abertay course is a one-year MSc so there isn't any scope to take it as an undergraduate option even if one wanted to, and this is a good thing in itself as it sends out the message that a dedicated undergraduate game development degree isn't always going to lead to a pot of gold. I'd always be wary about doing an undergraduate degree in something so specialised. I've an undergraduate degree in Computer Games Technology from Abertay it does exist alongside another two (last time I checked) games related undergrad degrees. ;) I can count five grads of various gaming degrees in my immediately line-of-sight at work. Also once you've started work you'll find your degree has less and less significance in comparison to work experience when trying to get another job.
  6. meh

    Space Combat Within Games, and Eve Online

    Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s that they are just plain broken. Eve Online, for example, masks the fact that they can’t actually make it work by taking the control of maneuver away from you. Then it is easy to make it work, because 80% of it doesn’t exist anymore. Empire at War just parks ships nose-to-nose to shoot until one of them blows up. They can do flight sims, but the computer game industry honestly has never been able to do combat between big ships. You know… when I originally said that I wasn’t actually expecting much argument. I really wasn’t. I had actually thought everyone realized that. The only “reality” I have injected into Eve was in basing the method of control that Eve Online already hinted at on how real world naval combat works. And I’ve really said that incorrectly. I didn’t do that, that’s just how it works and there isn’t anything that anyone can do about it. I’m not fighting it, I’m going with it… because there is nothing I can do about it. Having the knowledge simply allows me to do this, where others who don’t have the knowledge attempt this find themselves fighting intractable truths that they can’t even decipher. Again, I didn’t invent this stuff, I merely possess the knowledge. Just because something isn't based in reality doesn't make it broken. Whether this makes for compelling combat between two big ships or not is a completely different question. Someone above echoed my comment that you ideas for altering Eve may be technically impossible with a sensible budget or timescale. Frankly I don't think you are saying anything new or have reached an amazing understanding that people in the games industry don't get. Applying pre-existing ideas (such as naval combat) to define game mechanics is hardly revolutionary thinking. Using scientific models is also part of that. Is it the only way to go about making a game? Obviously not. There are plenty of people in the games industry that understand and apply scientific models and use real world examples to create game mechanics on a daily basis. Unless you can provide more than anecdotal evidence to the contrary we'll have to agree to disagree. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord On the other hand, there is another kind of design document that goes much farther. That essentially takes the game to “alpha on paper” before anyone else has lifted a finger or spent a dime towards actually making it. When done correctly, this type of design document is much more than an idea and is actually a theoretically playable game. This is how most games designers work. Perhaps not in company you worked for but certainly in my experience. You aren't saying anything new here that I can see. The only difference really is that most will iteratively update the game design based on feedback and won't specify concrete values to items (e.g. as laser costs 250 credits and deals 40 damage) as these tend to change rapidly. Are you trying to say something along the lines that you can come up with a rulebook similar to the more complex boardgames (like SFB)? Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord You don’t have to go searching the thread, there is a link to that thread on the first page of this thread. That was about the last discussion in that thread so it is on the last 2 pages. The best I can do to lead you too that information is there. These were books I checked out of the library in our neighborhood to read in a free period in high school over 20 years ago. Back then you found them by searching a library computer for “game and simulation design” and they were the only ones you’d find. I have no idea how to tell you how to find them in 2008. What little information I have on that is towards the end of my previous thread. In one of those books, by the way, you’ll find an exercise on city zoning ordinances that almost certainly was the inspiration for Sim City. I spent a couple of minutes trawling through that thread and couldn't find anything. However putting "game and simulation design" into Google was illuminating. It doesn't really support your point though as what you say the industry doesn't do is in my opinion prolific. The Google results somewhat justify my view. [Edited by - meh on April 23, 2008 5:27:12 AM]
  7. meh

    Space Combat Within Games, and Eve Online

    Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord It is not based on one game. As I have mentioned before, and as another poster also pointed out, this is all really based on real world naval tactics. In other words, it is basing big space ships on big navy ships. That's all this is. I am using SFB terminolgy because that is where I learned most of this, but I am also familiar with the naval tactics... just not as well. What SFB players call "Ballet" they call "Crossing the T" in the real world navy. SFB really is very much cold war era naval ships disguised as Star Trek. I'm not basing it on one game, I really am basing it on reality. The reality of real world naval combat. Where the knowledge of the SFB community comes in is in applying that real world knowledge within a game. There really are certain things that will be true in any similar type of game, and the computer game industry really has been oblvious too all this which has prevented them from doing space combat between big ships well. Now we get down to it. You don't like most "space combat games" because they are too loosely based in reality. That's cool and a valid opinion. I personally think there is a lot of scope between 'reality' based games and 'arcade' games to fill with all sorts of ideas. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord Yes, I understand all of this. I never said anything different from it. Of course, the further you take the design document the more of the issues you can identify in advance. But you can't do them all in the design document and hence a design document can never be a complete video game. Just an idea for one and how is should work. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord That was vague, I appoligize. I was trying to make a point, and I think I made that point. I did not mean to say that only people who started out reading the same books I happened to start with qualify. I was trying to make the point that there are people who have made a very serious study of this subject, and are ignored by your industry because that type of knowledge is not considered valid. It's not recognized as being relevant. That was the point I had been making, and I think what I said helped make it, but it was vague and easily open to misinterpretation. Links to books, courses and leading figures in the subject would be much appreciated. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord And yet once it is released I would imagine that I could find some for you. Oh well, I didn't expect anything from that anyway. Without a doubt anyone can find issues in a game once it is released. Particularly in something as gigantic as an MMO. If you really have got a methodology to creating defect free design and defect free software you could make a real killing. Everyone in almost every engineering discipline would like to drink from that Holy Grail. [Edited by - meh on April 21, 2008 10:07:51 AM]
  8. meh

    Space Combat Within Games, and Eve Online

    Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord And I do understand that people liking and playing the game is the whole point. Given the chance, I’d have plenty of people liking and playing my space combat games. I think some of your suggested changes to Eve are good. You are clearly basing what constitutes "good space combat" on one board game. Which is absolutely fine and would probably adapt to a good space combat game. You just don't seem to realise that you can have other good space combat games that don't follow the same rules. The ruleset is a matter of preference not actual law. That you see maneuver as an obvious element is unsurprising. That you think it should be implemented in a certain rigorously orthodox fashion is amazing. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord I certainly understand what you are saying here. If you see any such issues in Eve II, please point them out. I can easily alter the game as needed in order to address such issues. I am not really designing a game here, I am just talking about a game. Nothing about Eve II is set in stone, anything can be altered if needed. If you have any specific issues please bring them up, and I will correct the problem. The Eve discussion is akin to sitting around a table with a group of people talking about the game before I start trying to write a design document… so this would be that very process that you are mentioning. Now would be the time to discuss such issues. I really do understand… I’ve been doing this for a very long time. The issue is not with the game design. The issue is with problems that may arise from trying to implement the game design. I also agree with you that now is the time to discuss such issues! Before you make the game is a great place to try and sort as many issues out as possible! However that doesn't stop you coming up against issues further into development. These issues need to be resolved either technically or by amending or adjusting the design. As you recognise that these issues need to be talked about and resolved before you put pen to paper it's not much of a leap to see you having to resolve further issues that were not thought of after you have put pen to paper. This is at the heart of iterative development and should ultimately be lead by the design team. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord The reason you believe it is not true is your that your definition of “game designer” is essentially “anyone our industry has decided to call a game designer”. My definition, on the other hand, is “anyone who is expert in the field of game and simulation design”. They are very different definitions. I believe mine too be more accurate. Thanks for telling me what my definition is! I don't agree with your definition or the one that you paint me with. My definition is "anyone who designs games and studies the art of game design". I recognise that to include many different backgrounds, with many different working techniques that produce some awesome and average results. Can you point me to anywhere I can study up on “anyone who is expert in the field of game and simulation design” besides yourself and Will Wright? As in courses you've studied or perhaps even taught? Quote:BTW, I don’t supposed that you are encountering any particularly difficult game design challenges in your project right now, are you? I’d be happy to offer an opinion if you are willing to describe an issue too me. I’d be especially interested in any issues that your team sees as particularly challenging ones… No we have a talented group of Game Designers from a variety of backgrounds with many successful shipped titles already working for us. Thanks for the offer though.
  9. meh

    Space Combat Within Games, and Eve Online

    Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord The reason you write a complete game document is to eliminate the aspects of the "Glorious Vision" that are not going to actually work. That really is a primary reason for writing a complete design document. You know that you have a real game, and not just a "Glorious Vision". Sorry that was a bit of grandstanding rather than a serious point. I won't discuss it further to avoid getting you into trouble with the mods again. :) Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord There are right and wrong ways to approach it, and it is a real thing within games. The best example is, not surprisingly, the most important aspect of open space combat within games. Speed. If you want to make a game under the assumption that speed is not the most important aspect of space combat you can... but you are going to wind up with a game that doesn't work in the end. Because, in this hypothetical example, no matter how convinced you may be that "speed doesn't matter" you remain simply wrong. And in the end your game isn't going to work very well because of it. This is just the most obvious example, there are countless other issues that if you fight against, instead of working with, you won't wind up with good space combat in the end. You are absolutely correct in your observation about this all being based somewhat on real-world naval tactics. It very much is. There are also influences from ACM (Air Combat Maneuvering) within this knowledge. You are exactly correct in that assumption. I'll reiterate: The only thing you don't seem to grasp is that the only measure of whether "space combat" in a game is good or not is down to the number of people willing to play it. You could take "space combat" and resolve it by a pure chance based mechanism, by a dance off or by any other esoteric mechanism you wanted. It may or may not be fun. Obviously you prefer a less abstracted approach. So what you term "space combat" in games is actually a genre and your expectations of that genre are based on SFB? Are there axioms to games of this genre? Yes. Is speed one of them? Probably yes. Do all games of this genre need to follow SFBs lead and have several shields and orbital ballet? Demonstrably no. So you are right there are right and wrong ways to approach "space combat" as a genre. Within the genre there is no right and wrong. Merely different games, set in different fictional universes that operate different sets of physical and game rules. Some may not appeal to you and others appeal more. That's fine as it's a personal choice and no doubt has been shaped by your love and mastery of SFB. But I think you are being too rigid in your definition of "space combat" as a genre if you think there has never been a video game that does it 'right'. Could you just give a list of things that you think constitute the genre of "space combat". From the little I've looked at SFB it does appear you think that all "space combat" should involve their game mechanics. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord ...or you can write a complete design document:-) I don't really see Eve II using significantly more bandwidth than Eve Online. The only aspects of Eve II, so far, that I see even affecting this are the Tactical Display and Threat Display. The Tactical Display is essentially just a radar, and Tie Fighter could handle having radar over a decade ago. The Threat Display get's all of its information from Eve Online's exisisting sensor system, so re-thinking that I don't the Threat Display uses any additional bandwidth at all. I don't really see that as being an issue so far, but I do agree that it is a limiting factor in any online game. Part of the point of writing a complete design document is to know that it is commercially viable and technically possible to create. Another part of it is knowing that you have a good game, a fun game. Those really are some of the main reasons for writing a complete design doucment to begin with. You fundamentally don't understand the issue of bandwidth, how it relates to the game mechanics and how that affects a game as a commercial entity. That's okay I wouldn't expect you to as you've never been involved with making a networked game let alone a MMO before. My distilled point isn't actually about bandwidth (it was merely an example) but that technical limitations and business limitations have to feed back into the design. They aren't something a designer can work out by themselves beforehand. Which is why games companies will prototype games in small teams to shake out the expected limitations and allow the game designer to resolve them early on. Note the emphasis on the response to the technical limitations being led by the designer, this is not design by committee. Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord But they don't hire game designers. They "promote" programmers and artists to the position. Game designers are ignored by the computer game industry. The industry does not consider game and simulation design experience from outside of their industry to be valid. I really shouldn't be discussing these subjects in this thread, but I wanted to address your sincere points. I do appreciate your thoughful reply. This is fundamentally not true in my experience. BTW I'm currently working as a Software Engineer writing combat systems for a commercial action oriented MMO. Apologies for taking the thread a little off topic. [Edited by - meh on April 17, 2008 4:33:22 AM]
  10. meh

    Space Combat Within Games, and Eve Online

    Also Pirate_Lord you realise that Star Fleet Battles has made it to the PC before? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Starfleet_Command The latest incarnation Starfleet Command 3 has been abandoned but has a thriving online community who now run servers for people to play it online. It's also been modded to hell and back.
  11. meh

    Space Combat Within Games, and Eve Online

    I think it is obvious that Pirate_Lord has a "Glorious Vision" about "space combat". His way is the only correct way and as yet no game has been made using the methods he would like to see. Thus the "Industry Method" must be wrong because they haven't seen sense and implemented his "entirely obvious if you know what you are doing" ideas yet. Pirate_Lord - The only thing you don't seem to grasp is that the only measure of whether "space combat" in a game is good or not is down to the number of people willing to play it. There is no right or wrong way to approach it as it doesn't actually exist as a real thing for humans. Some of your ideas for UI interfaces and alterations to the combat model for Eve actually sound good. Your idea to me sounds very analogous to sea combat in the 17th century which is very much to do with achieving and maintaining a superior position (e.g. one where you are most protected but can bring your guns to bear in the most destructive fashion). I'm willing to bet there are technical restrictions that made the developers pick a more resource management approach for combat in Eve. I would go so far as to say that much of what you call 'masking' is in place not only because that's the way the game designers want the game to work (which isn't a bad thing!) but is also due to technical limitations. For example a big cost for an MMO is bandwidth the less data sent the better and this is very often achieved by client side simulation. As such clients have a view of the game that is often slightly different (more or less depending on the level of synchronisation) to that of the server. This for example can mean the difference between hitting someone or not if you had to aim your guns manually. By switching to an RPG style dice rolling model this removes the problem but also removes a lot of the player skill. Hence you often see a resource balancing combat model. This is a business constraint (we need to make money so we can't spend more in bandwidth than we recoup in player fees) which transfers to a technical constraint (we must not use more than x megs per second) that depending on what the engineering team can achieve may become a design constraint. There are many more such business and technical constraints about what can be reasonably achieved to fulfill a game design. Many aren't known upfront hence the need to prototype and adjust the game design depending on the constraints. Now I agree you can design a game fully upfront. That does not make it commercially viable or technical possible to create. More importantly it will only ever be fun for you in your own head. I also agree that design by committee is bad. Hence most companies employee designers and the constraints are passed down to them to solve in their specific areas. This will involve discussion with technical and business oriented members of the team to allow the designers to make sure their ideas are viable. The game design however is still completely owned by the designer.
  12. meh

    GRWRwrwr! Why don't they listen?!

    I think that argument has some merit. The IDE and general programming environment for C# is totally awesome! Mind you the rest aren't that far behind and many of us managed to learn to program in much, much more austere development environments. I don't think the difference between C# and the others languages mentioned here is quite as giant as you make out. You are however totally right that C# is very nice to use.
  13. meh

    GRWRwrwr! Why don't they listen?!

    Quote:Original post by d000hg I don't think it's come up yet, but why when newbies ask you about what to use in a MMO, do you not tell them it's a crazy idea? This. Quote:Original post by visage Please, someone tell me: why are we having a discussion about language when clearly the issue is dedication? This. Quote:Original post by px You may know what's best for you, but you DON'T know what's best for everybody else, and to act like you do is, quite frankly, shockingly arrogant. Get over yourself. Most definitely this. Thevenin you come across as a slightly less bonkers Pirate_Lord! My recommendation to a bunch of High School students wanting to make an MMO would be along the lines of: "That's an awfully big project why not start on something smaller?"
  14. meh

    The Industry Method

    Quote:Original post by Pirate_Lord Quote:Original post by capn_midnight Things that should probably be included in a design document: objects that will be represented in the game (physical objects, not OOP objects), attributes that those objects in the game can possess, what effect changes in those attributes will have, how objects interact with each other, how the player interacts with objects. Here, interaction can be boiled down to "affecting the attributes of another object". The objects and attributes of the objects are the playing field, and the interactions between the objects are the gameplay. This is the kernel, anything else is just artistic direction. This is where they get themselves into trouble. "We'll work it all out later, after millions of dollars are being spent". Real proffesionals can work that out ahead of time, before any money is spent. I generally write a full design document in about 6 months of full-time (40-50 hour weeks) work. And from that, you get a starting point that is roughly equivilant to what the industry calls "Alpha"... that's where you start, before any real money has been spent. From that point forward, starting at roughly "alpha" on the game mechanics and the overall game itself, now you begin the very same process you are already accustomed too. I can't be the only person who sees the advantages in this... It's blindingly obvious someone has to make a first pass at the game design. I don't mean to sound offensive Pirate_Lord but you obviously have absolutely no experience of making a video game in the last ten years. What you are talking about here is generally the initial pass on a large scale game which will probably be done by a very small team (3-6) over that sort of timescale. It will also consider art and technical aspects as well as the game design itself. During this time if required you'd also be pitching to publishers and working on prototypes of various features to demonstrate that they would work. It lets you get the core ideas sorted cheaply and efficiently. After this phase you would either can the project or move on to pre-production. This is when you begin to get really into the nitty gritty of the design. On a complex project you will never be able to design completely up-front and elements will alter as areas are completed and evaluated in the context of playing the game. Just as an example I've seen projects that last everywhere from one month total (from idea to shipping) to multiple years. The short projects were simple and had very basic design (1-10 pages average), the long projects have humongous design from a whole team of designers and writers. They also have had masses of technical software design, sound design and process documents written amongst others. To say there is "design by committee", no 'real' design and no ownership of design is entirely bogus for the most part in my experience. Edit: Bleh started reading on page 7 and having read his latest diatribe this guy is clearly very bitter and totally mad.
  15. meh

    Edinburgh Game Dev Studios?

    Quote:Original post by ukdeveloper There are plenty of highly regarded studios elsewhere, especially where I am (I walked past Realtime Worlds in Dundee by accident the other day without knowing it was there, and there's more studios around here too). That's probably because the whopping girt sign only went up on the building not so long ago. The only real downside to the smaller cities is that lack of extensive nightlife and the more social things to do you get in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Still Dundee is alright whilst the students are about and it has got massively better since I first came here eight years ago!
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