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Brandon Hawkinson

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About Brandon Hawkinson

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  1. Brandon Hawkinson

    How Do You Go About Your Game Design?

    How about telling us how you answer those? (To get the ball rolling faster.)     Much better idea  :)   Disclaimer: I'm a 21 year old Computer Science major with a minor in physics at a university in southern California. The extent of my game development experience is limited to 2 games that I designed and made in C# - a text adventure and a block breaker style game. This was about 9 months ago before i had to focus on C++ application - i did not stop designing however.   My process is day in and day out - whether i'm at work, school or at home my mind is always running on what I can do and how can I do it better this time. I have a notebook i use exclusively for all of my game concepts - story ideas - game mechanics. I'm not much of a drawer so I leave that until its time to hit the computer. I will typically watch movies or listen to a type of music that aligns with the general mood and idea that i'm after. For example, i'm working on a concept for a sci-fi rpg - i'll listen to the martian soundtrack, or eve-online -etc. When i think about game design i always have one thought in mind: go big or go home (i know, i need to work out of this). It leads to a lot of crazy ideas that are always out of reach for me in all reality. I'm not very good myself at going about improving a game mechanic from the design standpoint - I don't feel very innovative. I'm hoping some of your answers will be able to help me with that. But typically i go about it via a tree, i have the mechanic in the middle and I try to break down every aspect of that mechanic, then put subsequent ideas about improving the aspects of the mechanic versus the mechanic itself. I like to go to the core of whats going on and look there. I've definitely worked on something for 12 hours and scrapped it all because i didn't like the direction it was taking. I think this is a big aspect of my design process that holds me back a bit, but also allows me to improve upon the design. Although, if you're always scraping and improving and never finishing a final product, whats the point, right?  :cool:
  2. I've noticed there is a lot of discussion about designer's end results and how it effects their current game-play. It's great, however I feel we are missing out on some very important discussions about game design as a whole. The process of how you get there is just as important as your final decisions on design. I myself have my own style of going about things, but It leads to roughly the same outcomes. Sometimes even a change in the way you go about designing and the thought processes behind it can lead to things you never knew you could come up with. So, what is your design process like?   Here are some questions to help get the ball rolling:   What setting do you try and put yourself in? (listen to Music? Watch Movies? TV? etc?) What do you physically do while you're designing? (Are you in front of the computer typing? Draw something? Write?) How do you go about thinking when designing a game? (Game mechanics can be different than your storyline) When you have a solid game mechanic or design aspect in mind, whats your steps to improving upon them? How often do you go back to the drawing board after laying our a certain tree of mechanics and design aspects? Game design is dynamic and every individual has their own style of getting from point A to point B. So don't limit yourself to the questions(you could even ignore them), include anything you deem is important to YOUR process. I'll be awaiting your answers :)  
  3. I've observed a fairly large amount of methods to inject money into your player. You will never really get around "the grind" unless you add passive elements to your system. Active: -Bounties(similar to monster coin idea) -Missions -generic loot -special monsters who drop very special and expensive loot -monsters dropping actually money -through npcs(via gifts/random quests/jobs) -Trading (buy low in one town, sell higher in the next) Passive: -Owning specific items and "renting" them out. -Bank accumulating interest -Giving loans to npcs -Owning stores that accumulate the money npcs spend at them -Owning a crystal mine or any other form of raw materials producer to make money. There are a lot of different options, and it really all depends on how in depth you want a character to be within your game world.
  4. Brandon Hawkinson

    My head hurts........Need ideas

    It sounds like you need to start developing the flow of your "Interactive Drama". Starting a flow chart for your storyline would probably be the best option to keep you organized and on track.   You can develop your story by adding different actions in certain situations that would take the drama in a whole new direction, possibly giving everyone a completely different experience that theoretically no other person could end up with unless they chose every single option the previous interactee had. The idea of this is an amazing concept, however it takes a lot of time and dedication to come up with, and then produce every single possible option to 100s of different situations.
  5. Brandon Hawkinson

    Looking for feedback on UI components (Video)

        Yes, though I did not have yellow in mind . Here's an example: gaugetry.jpg       My thought was that there'd be at least two categories of weapons, one that fires rapidly(think pew pew lasers) and one that takes a significant time to charge/reload(seems like your rockets belong to this category). The rapid fire category wouldn't be that interesting to display the charge bar for.   Alternatively you could use circular gauges for each weapon, you could colorize these by weapon type as well without getting a rainbow bar effect.     Honestly, I'd scrap the recharge bar unless you've actively selected the ship. It seems to add a ton of clutter to the screen that is unnecessary. I'd display the health bar and maybe add a separate UI element on the bottom or the top of the screen to view the details(like your charge bar) for the actively selected ship.
  6. Brandon Hawkinson

    non combat ships

    If you want people to use the civilian ships you need to make it the foundation of your in-game economy. Players are not going to use something that isn't deemed necessarily useful to a large extent. For example in Sins of a Solar Empire the trade depots are used widely, because they are your second form of credit generation after planetary taxes.   You want to make these civilian ships ESSENTIAL to running your space empire. You need to make their addition to your economy significant enough to a point where it isn't worth it to change a space liner into a nuclear barge. War costs money, you will have to give up your economic growth to have a massive military fleet. To go further you want to make them worthwhile to attack and protect as well, forcing conflict and players to have warships during times of peace. You want to balance the game in that direction. 
  7. Brandon Hawkinson

    Intimidated, not sure where to start.

    Right now im flying under the character NFain in the drone region coalition X) Im working towards wormhole sustainabilty (The only fun part left in eve). In more simple games, you usually need not even worry about the GPU, but focus more on the graphics API built into the class structure of many languages. When displaying something on screen, you can render it in real time by drawing simple shapes based on perhaps a calculation that you made earlier, or you can draw pre-drawn images to the screen. The first option involves more code, the latter involves better drawing/3D modeling skills. Many times you will have a healty mix of both methods. As many have said before, it is most important to get the basics down for one language starting with console apps, then windows and finally games. (I personally spent way too much time making twext based console games but found that without haveing to worry about graphics I learned quite a bit about programming in general) [/quote] Console im guessing is the basic computer console, I never knew apps could be developed in there #noob. What type of code does it use, also would running a virtual linux box be a better approach to learning programming?
  8. Brandon Hawkinson

    Intimidated, not sure where to start.

    This is much easier to understand than what I had expected. I guess i just need to dabble into both to see which one I like better. If someone could answer my 4th question, i'll be on my way. Thank you again for all of your help Cornstalks, I hope I can pass on the information when the time is right.
  9. Brandon Hawkinson

    Intimidated, not sure where to start.

    Python seems like a decent choice to start with. Honestly, people will come in and say "Learn language X first!" and "No, learn language Y first!" Honestly, it's not that big of a deal. Programmers learn more than one language over their lifetime. Starting with X doesn't mean you can't learn Y. Some will say X is harder than Y because it's easier to shoot yourself in the foot, and they might be correct, but honestly, if you sit here and debate between language X and Y, you're just losing valuable time that would be better spent learning either one of them. Okay, now that I have that out of the way, all I can really suggest is two things: 1) Google like crazy (you'll find tons of resources on the Internet), and 2) Experiment like crazy. There's lots of tutorials you can follow, and after going through a tutorial, I'd recommend tinkering with things and trying things out, seeing what you can make with the knew knowledge you gained. Experiment all the time. Your first (many) programs will be simple, but as you progress they'll become more and more useful, until you're able to actually make a decent (yet simple) game. And then you just keep on learning. So yeah, google and experiment. [/quote] Again thank you very much for your responses. I will do that and get started on that. I would also like to learn more about the visual side of things, and how they are incorperated with programming. How does one work with the other? And how are massive worlds created? Can you create these worlds without code? What are the limitations to development without using a programming language? Im trying to gauge what side of the process I want to specialize in and be on.
  10. Brandon Hawkinson

    Intimidated, not sure where to start.

    There's actually multiple parts when it comes to programming. There's A) the syntax, which is the actual symbols/letters you use to write the code and how that's structured, and then B) there's the standard support libraries, and then C) there are algorithms and data structures. For A: Python and C++ have pretty different syntax. Other languages, like C, C++, C#, and Java all have somewhat similar syntax, because they all took some of their syntactical rules from C. Learning the syntax isn't the hard part, though. You can usually pick up on it pretty quickly (when going from one language to another, even if their syntaxes are quite different). For B: Each language comes with its own standard library. These standard libraries can allow you to do things like reading/writing files, networking, threading, getting input/output from the user, etc. Some languages have support for more things in their standard library, and other languages have less support. C++ offers pretty little in its standard library when compared to Java, C#, and Python. However, if a standard library doesn't support or have something you want, you can always write it yourself in the language you're using. But the more your language's standard library supports, the less time you have to spend reinventing the wheel. For C: Algorithms and data structures are things that you can transfer from one language to another pretty easily. For example, let's say you have a list of numbers you want to sort. There are lots of algorithms you can use to sort these numbers, some of them being faster or requiring less memory than others. However, the sorting algorithm itself doesn't depend on the language you're using. So once you learn a good sorting algorithm, and you write it in language X, you can transfer that same knowledge to language Y should you ever be working in language Y. [/quote] The intimidation has been broken into multiple little peices, thank you for explaining that to me, and for your other response as well. I'm looking forward into at least breaking the ice into a few of these languages before I choose a major. Just the idea of programming seems like a bugged giant from skyrim, one hit and im suddenly on the moon, or a dragon that consistantly circles mindlessly in the sky. What would you suggest to break the ice to programming? Python seems to be the language of choice for a beginner like me, any more friendly nudges in the right direction? How someone should go about learning a language, what to expect?
  11. Brandon Hawkinson

    Intimidated, not sure where to start.

    How closely related are the languages? For example say Python was english, would C++ be chinese? Or are the two more closely related?
  12. After hours upon hours of searching throughout the internet for information on game design and development, I've finally come down to a last resort of asking other people for help. After searching other websites, GameDev.net seemed like the forum of choice, after purchasing a membership, i'm now here with my story and questions. I am very intrigued by video games, they havnt always just been mindless products that major game companies produced. I quickly fell in love with RPG's, most notably mass effect, i quickly saw it as art. I currently play EVE online as well, you can probably see my prefered genre, sci-fi, sandboxed styled games. The openess of these games empowers me to create in a way i've never been compelled before, and I'd like to channel that into developing my own video games. However I am absolutely clueless on where to begin, i'm intimidated by the process, hesitant to start. My friend described it as having to cross a raging river, without knowing how to swim. I have absolutely little to no knowledge of programming languages. However, I know some basics about the industry, that knowledge only extends to the fact that the industry tends to use C++/Java. Although, no one answers the question, why? I am a type of person who needs to understand something before I can do it, as simply doing it feels empty and unsatisfactory. So why do developers use C++/Java over HTML, or even visual basic? Is there an easier way to learn these languages instead of mindlessly jumping into them? What is the visual process? What exactly is a sprite sheet, and how does it meld with 3d or even 2d design? This is the part of the industry that I love, but have no idea how to go about it. I currently own a membership to the student version of adobe creative cloud service, I have extensive skills in illustrator and photoshop. I've been using those to make websites with muse (staying away from that intimidating code! ). The drawing ability is there, and the ability to put it on the computer is there also. However I am not familiar with 3d design, map design, sprites and animating. What are the steps to creating the visual bits and pieces? And if applicable, why is it that way (aside from common sense)? And now the game engines, I understand that they are used to put everything together, but where do they start to come into play? I'm very confused about the process with the engine. What can be done inside the engine, and what needs to be done outside of the engine? It all comes down to the question "Why?" with the game engine. Most importantly, I think I may just need a nudge in the right direction. I've been slowly and steadily understand the adobe products and the workflow, how they can interact together. And this is what I want to learn with game developement. As I said before I am very intimidated by programming, and the production workflow of video game design, I'm clueless, every tutorial i've found just says "Program, deisgn, game engine". Its not simply that easy, or else everyone would be doing it. Thanks for reading, I hope I can learn a lot by being part of the community, and hopefully giving back the hospitality and the vision the folks here will bring me. Coming from the EVE-Online community, this is considered a wall of text, so here's the TL;DR(Too long didn't read summary) of my questions: 1) Why do developers use C++/Java over HTML, or even visual basic? 2) Is there an easier way to learn programming languages instead of mindlessly jumping into them? 3) What exactly is a sprite sheet, and how does it meld with 3d or even 2d design? 4) What are the steps to creating the visual bits and pieces? And if applicable, why is it that way (aside from common sense)? 5) When does the Game Engine start to come into play? 6) What can be done inside the engine, and what needs to be done outside of the engine?
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