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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      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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  1. Last time, I had started working through Jamis Buck's Mazes for Programmers. I've made quite a lot of progress in the meantime, but haven't managed to keep up with posting about that progress. Today, we're going to work through the meat of Chapter 3, where we'll implement a simplified version of Dijkstra's Algorithm (really a breadth-first search), which we'll use to find paths through our mazes. We will also use this algorithm to help visualize the biases that exist in our two previous maze generation algorithms, by coloring the backgrounds of each cell according to its distance from a starting point. You can download the code for this post by downloading or cloning the Post_2 branch from my GitHub. Going forward, I'm going to try and tag the code for each post in a new branch - I'm still used to the old SVN model, but I'm trying to figure out how to take advantage of Git a little more. Below you can see an example of where we'll end up, drawing the longest path through a maze, and coloring each cell according to its distance along the path. Let's get started! Read more...
  2. Since you mentioned tile-based RPG games, I've been slowly working through https://howtomakeanrpg.com/ .  I'd recommend it, it's a pretty thorough, project-based approach. It's primarily in Lua, although if you want you can tear into the C++ engine that backs it up - it's open-sourced on GitHub and pretty approachable.
  3. A few weeks back, I picked up a copy of James Buck's Mazes for Programmers: Code Your Own Twisty Little Passages. (The title is, of course, an homage to one of the original text adventure games, Colossal Cave Adventure, or Adventure for short, which featured a maze puzzle where every room was described as "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike"). I read through most of it on my veranda in the mornings, looking out over Long Bay in Antigua while I was on vacation, wishing I had brought my laptop along with me (although my girlfriend is probably happy I did not...). Once I got back, I started diving into implementing some of the ideas from the book - it's been quite a joy, and a much needed break from debugging UCWA applications at the day job. The code in the book is implemented in Ruby, however, I'm not a Rubyist, so I decided that I'd work through the examples in my language of choice, C#. The code is pretty simple, so porting it over has been pretty straight-forward. I also figured it would be an interesting exercise for trying out some of the newer features in the more recent versions of C# - I've been stuck using C# 5.0 due to some tooling that we haven't had a chance to upgrade yet at work. Today, I'm going to mostly cover the examples from Chapter 2, which lays out the general plumbing of the framework that the rest of the book builds on, and implements two simple maze-building algorithms, the Binary Tree and Sidewinder algorithms. For the full code, you can check out my GitHub repository; things there may change slightly from the version presented here as I work through more of the book, but the general structure should remain similar. Video: http://richardssoftware.blob.core.windows.net/video/binaryTree.mp4 http://richardssoftware.blob.core.windows.net/video/sidewinder.mp4 Read more...
  4. It's probably not something you'll come up against very often, but you should be aware that the System.Security.Cryptography.RijndaelManaged implementation is not FIPS compliant.  FIPS compliance is something that even Microsoft doesn't really recommend be turned on in Windows any more, but you may come up against it in certain environments, and in those cases, instantiating a new RijndaelManaged() will throw an InvalidOperationException. If you do have to be FIPS compliant, you generally have to resort to the AesCryptoServiceProvider
  5. I do most of my work in C#, so I do use the triple-slash xmldoc comments from time to time.  Mostly I do this for my own purposes, because that stuff gets picked up by Visual Studio Intellisense, and can be helpful.  Note that this is essentially function-level comments.  I also use some ReSharper plugins that can parse these xmldoc comments to determine if a function could throw a particular type of exception, so I try to add those to help me out as well.   I have used Doxygen on our codebases before, but aside from the graphing capabilities, to get a sense of the structure of a projects, I haven't found it terribly useful.  I was originally hoping people might actually read the docs, but was sadly mistaken in the reality.
  6. D3D/GL are low level ways to send code for execution on the GPU. They don't have the concept of a model - it's your job as an engine programmer to define what a model is and tell the CPU how to load the data into RAM and tell the GPU exactly how to draw it. If you want to make a game instead of reinventing this low level stuff, then you should use an existing game engine like Unity or Unreal.   DirectX 9 used to have okay mesh support, but in DirectX 10 & 11, those parts of D3DX were deprecated.  So you either need to write your own mesh loading code for whatever model formats you intend to use, or use something like Assimp, which has support for loading most of the common formats you'll see in the wild, albeit into their own idiosyncratic data format.  In either case, you will then need to bind to vertex and index buffers and handle textures and animations yourself to actually draw the models.
  7. The cognitive dissonance is staggering.  Neither candidate is the spawn of Satan, much as their opposing trolls and partisans battle to paint it that way. The angle that I think is kind of interesting is that we've got a lush up against a teetotaler.
  8. C++ is probably the commonest, more because game engines tend to be written in C++ than any other reason, although since Lua has pretty simple C-bindings, there are a plethora of bindings for other languages (http://lua-users.org/wiki/BindingCodeToLua)
  9. I don't see the Archer - mostly medium health, medium-to-good ranged damage, mediocre but ok melee There's also often something like a Berserker, with lower armor and very high attack   There are also many shadings of combinations of these types.  For instance, a paladin is often a tank/warrior with some priestly abilities, or a ranger might be roguish and the ability to summon beasts, etc.
  10. How you would do this depends on how static the textures that you are applying are - do you want each side of the box to be different, but each box to be the same, aside from rotations?  If that is the case, then usually what is done is to create a texture similar to a 2D pattern that could be folded up into the 3D box shape, and UV-map the faces of the box to match the texture.   For instance:
  11. Frank Luna's DirectX 11 book has a chapter on using the tessellation hardware support (Hull and domain shaders) to do a dynamic LOD tessellation of a simple quad mesh based on a heightmap texture.  If you don't want to buy the book (which I would recommend, it's a pretty good resource for learning Direct3D 11), you can download the code samples from his site http://www.d3dcoder.net/d3d11.htm, Chapter 19.
  12. If I was going to implement a standard formatting style, I'd look into some kind of source-control commit hooks that could run new/modified files through a formatter, and enforce it that way.  Automate the tedious part, somewhat like what gofmt does.   But as to my own preferences: Opening braces aren't special, and they don't get their own lines.  Likewise, else, catch, finally, things like that, live on the same line with the closing brace of the previous block.  Otherwise it's just too much wasted vertical space. Everything that can have braces around it should.  No exceptions for one-line if's, and definitely no same-line ifs.  I even like to put braces around my switch-case blocks, especially in languages where braces create a new scope. Interfaces can get the I prefix.  Private member variables start with _.  Properties are capitalized, regardless of visibility.  Locals and function parameters start with lower-case. GUI controls get Hungarian-ish prefixes, since I started programming with Visual Basic, and it was always taught txtFoo, lblBar, etc.  I kind of like it anyway, even for things like HTML element ids that get used in Javascript. Don't bother fully-qualifying variable declarations if type inference can figure it out -> LongObnoxiousEnterpriseGangOfFourPatternAbstractFactoryFactory = new LongObnoxiousEnterpriseGangOfFourPatternAbstractFactoryFactory() blows.
  13. Sort of tangential to the topic of API design, but one thing to note is that you may be required by the license of your dependencies to advertise that they are used in your framework. This doesn't appear to be the case with SFML, but there are some common licenses you may encounter that have this requirement.
  14. I made the mistake of planting an entire package of zucchini seed in my 4'x8' raised bed.  I have gotten so sick of zucchini this summer :-)
  15.   I'm not sure I get the dig at Mount & Blade, but maybe that was before I got on board - I think they were at beta .751 or something around there when I bought it, and it's gotten incrementally better since then, but the core of the game, i.e. riding around and shanking people, was all there.