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Everything posted by coderx75

  1. I prefer to keep game development as a hobby and engineer enterprise applications/web services by day.  I rarely work late which affords me some time to work on a game.  This gets tricky though.  I spend nights with the wife and kids so I'm usually up anywhere from about 3:30am to 5:30am.  I'm at work by 7.  I bring my laptop so I can work on the game during lunch.  Sometimes, I get some time in at night on the weekdays and I usually knock out a good 8-10 hour day on the weekend.  It's tough but I get the best of both worlds: professionally engineered solutions vs. crazy-fun game stuffs.   My two cents on keeping game dev sane: - Learn to refactor and keep doing so until you have a solid, comfortable-to-work-within(TM) game framework  - Make time for the non-gamey stuff: tools, menu systems, etc. - Make time for the cool stuff: I used to put all my time into the big tasks but have started maintaining a list of really cool, easy(-ish) to implement features and tackle those whenever things get stale.  A lot of great gameplay and unexpected features have come out of this.
  2. coderx75

    Tech Arena Returns!

    Not so much of a "return" as it's been in development. Things had slowed down during the whole family-building process but have been in full swing for the past few months (as in spare-time full swing). Tech arena allows players to build vehicles (and pretty much anything they want to) from components and compete against friends, enemies and AI in an arena. These components and their functionality are each defined by scripts. On the front end, the player may create new components from existing types but these types are really templates of Lua scripts. If one so chooses, however, they can use the in-game code editor to write their own components from these templates or from scratch. I've posted a new video testing out the new rocket launcher component and the physical effects of explosions in general. Fun stuff!
  3. To start a game, no.  You can have some code lying around, slap it together into a prototype and play with some ideas.  If you're a beginner, no again.  Take something simple that already exists so you can gain some practice in game development.  It really depends on what you mean by making a game.   If you're starting a serious project then you should have a firm grasp of your concept before any development begins.  A serious project, even a smaller indie project, can be pretty vast in scope.  So, you don't need a concept if you don't mind spending 6 months to a year of your life trudging aimlessly for 12 hours per day to produce something incoherent (if you're extremely lucky). ;-)
  4. coderx75

    Violent vs Non Violent Protests

    I would recommend reading Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky.  If your government is corrupt, there are ways to impede it without violence.  Doing so will force them to negotiate and bring about change sooner.  Non-violent protest can be a powerful thing.  Unfortunately, most people think that standing around with signs is an effective way to protest.  It's not.
  5. The OP brings up a great point about modern gaming that I think the video game industry is deaf to.  It seems that there are many more people giving up on video games for board games than is noticed simply because those people are NOT playing video games and, obviously, NOT complaining.  Granted, there are a lot of new video gamers coming up in this new era that see the current state of things as "normal".  Much money is being made off of them and they are not yet jaded.  However, the rise in popularity of board games has been huge in recent years.  Many of these people were video gamers to begin with but prefer to be face-to-face rather than deal with the endless stream of obscenities from the prepubescent masses.   I don't like playing online.  I never have.  Lately, however, it seems that major titles must have a strong multi-player element.  As a result, I don't buy video games anymore aside from the occasional mobile game.  My gaming budget isn't small either.  My expenditures in video games for the past year have been almost zip.  On the other hand, my wife and I have spent about $3000 in that same time frame on board games and expansions.  This isn't an unusual amount for a board game hobbyist either.  There's more money being lost here than AAA publishers realize.   As for "online single-player", I'm not going to "whine".  Much like "video game violence" and "games as art", I'm ignoring it completely. ;-)
  6. Detailed generation of "infinite" worlds is a bitch.  I've put myself through it and learned much but, currently am not applying everything I've learned because I'd have to bring my entire project back to the drawing board.  It's a good thing you're asking because you really want to get this right early on.   First off, a noise function will not cut it.  Sampling a point at (x, y) from a noise function to get a height value will produce very boring results.  Having an infinite world is pretty pointless if it's all homogeneous.  You will need to implement different methods of creation.  Noise (spectral synthesis) is always useful.  Displacement (also known as distortion or perturbation) really helps to produce natural results.  The use of convex hull diagrams, such as Voronoi Diagrams, are very important.  The ability to use modifiers on output, from basic mathematical operations to more complex diagram conversion algorithms, will open you up to more flexibility.  All of this is hell on seems though.  Ex: displacement can really put the edges of a terrain patch far out of whack with it's neighbors.   Second, how you generate terrain, handle collision detection of terrain and render terrain should probably not be the same.  It's efficient to generate large patches of terrain but more efficient to render in smaller patches, especially for dynamic detailing.  Collision detection depends on the library you are using but I try to get everything in place as it's generated.  I say it's efficient to generate larger patches because you want to leave yourself plenty of resources for dealing with seems.  The smaller the patch, the more seems that have to be managed.   I would suggest basing the generation of the terrain on both elevation and vertex normals.  Generating patches separately will always leave you with visible seems, even if the elevations match.  For example, the resulting edge of one patch may be horizontal while the edge of it's neighbor rises sharply, creating a highly visible "L" shape along the seem.  So, rather than using something like midpoint averages, include the vertex normal in your calculations to keep a more consistent surface (ex: a surface of an elevation can "lean" away from the midpoint, resulting in a higher midpoint and smoother surface).  If a surface at one edge is horizontal (or anything else), the vertex normal insures that it's neighbor is the same.   Another solution would be to generate "areas" or "continents" before generating actual terrain.  The area can be defined by varying dimensions, by a particular method(s) of generation and produce a terrain with a central high point and lower-lying edges.  This could be overlapped by other areas, only the higher values of the two areas being used and everything else discarded.   There's a lot to this and I've taken tons of notes (much of it in exasperation).  Dealing with texture generation, shadowing, collision detection and, likely, multi-threading, can be a real nightmare.  Once I'm done with work, I'll try to go over my notes and get back to this thread.
  7. That's a good question.  Say you have a great idea for a game but, in the prototype, you find that the player gets stuck in monotonous situations (ex: just about any RPG).  The idea could still be great but it wouldn't hurt to make the more monotonous play become more interesting.  How do you do that?   I played Curiosity when it first came out and I wasn't too impressed.  There was a bit of satisfaction in clearing screens, running up bonuses and seeing other cubes removed by other players.  The sound effects give the whole experience a bubble wrap feel as well.  However, after a couple of plays, I put it down, bored.   By itself, there isn't enough here to keep me interested.  In a larger game, on the other hand, I can see where the OP has a point.  In many games where monotonous play rears it's ugly head, the designers just leave it as-is, relying on the overall game experience.  However, some simple Curiosity-like additions could change the whole experience.  In an RPG where player's are inevitably going to be grinding, why not add bonuses for combo "streaks" to the combat mechanics, getting them to their goals faster?  In an MMO, how about introducing XP grinding that enhances the general play experience on the server and award the player for it.  Or...   ...if the player is grinding... let 'em fight bubble wrap. =b   Hey, it's better than telling your players that only the first player to beat the game gets to see the ending. =D
  8. coderx75

    How do I gauge How much i'm worth?

    "Give a man a 10 million dollar salary and, in two weeks, he'll think he deserves it." I don't remember where I heard this quote but I think it's a good reminder not to base your judgement on how much (OR little) you think you deserve. Consider what kind of work you want to be doing, what level of experience and proficiency you possess and what the average going rate is. Take that, add about $5,000 to $10,000 for some negotiating room and you have your answer. Keep in mind that you WILL have a few interviewers actually laugh in your face. That's okay as you probably don't want to work for their company. If you want to be paid well for your services, you'll need to have a thick skin. If they are interested in you, they will want to negotiate but try to stand firm on your original rate (prior to the 5 to 10 G's you added). If it looks like a stellar opportunity, you may want to be more flexible. However, many positions are sold to the interviewee as a "stellar opportunity". Ask a lot of questions! Remember, the more you're asking for, the more interviews you will have to go on to get hired. This is not a bad thing. You'll be getting plenty of practice in interviewing and, best of all, confidence. Also (and a little OT), if a company you work for is hiring developers, try to join in on the interviewing process. It's a great learning experience and you'll get a very good idea of how you compare to other people. Some potential candidates may even inspire you to improve in areas you didn't realize you were weak in.
  9. coderx75

    Slightly ambitious?

    I've had some experience working with large-scale maps in my own projects. What I've learned is that in-game real estate is a serious consideration. As scale increases, the complexity of the required code increases exponentially. More importantly, the purpose for the extra playing area becomes questionable. Essentially, you're investing development time to increase player enjoyment. Being in charge of a project, one must constantly consider the return on investment for time spent by the team. As the world size increases, the return on investment quickly decreases. From the player's perspective, how much are they getting from the larger world? At some point, the answer eventually reaches zero and the justification for the larger world (time vs. return) dwindles long before that. I'm pretty skeptical of to-scale planetary surfaces in games (we're still a long way from pulling it off AND making it interesting to players) and 184,000 times the surface area of the Earth is just not happening for under a half-million dollars. This would be a fantastic project to attempt on your own but it's a risky game to play with other people's money. I'd suggest building a small-scale planet surface with content, collision detection, etc. to get an idea of how difficult it can be to have all the components of a game working together effectively at that scale.
  10. Agreed! So that I can do a lot of prototyping and be free to try out new ideas, I make everything scriptable. I have a core executable that fires up the Lua VM in a thread and registers some built in systems in Lua and it's own system of extensions, such as memory management, event handling, streaming, logging, etc. It then pulls in DLLs from an extensions directory, passes it's own API pointer to an entry function in each so that the DLLs can register their own functions as extensions in the core executable. At this point, DLLs can request the APIs of other DLLs and all functions can be called from Lua. Most of these functions are for setup with a low-level "update" function handling the bulk. So, there's not much loss in performance. With the Lua VM fired up, a kernel script is loaded that manages other scripts as "applications". This allows control over what each script has access to (see function environments) so that player scripts don't have access to low-level functionality. I also have a debug feature that uses Lua's built in line-by-line debug feature to "wrap" a script without affecting other scripts (would be insanely slow otherwise). I've been working with this for awhile and it's saved me incredible amounts of time. Have fun! =D
  11. I came to a point in a project I'm working on where compiling was beginning to slow me down. I had rebuilt everything into an extensible framework that would pass a pointer to DLLs, allowing them to register themselves with the main app (low-level function pointers and Lua functions). This took some time to put together but made development much easier and compile times much faster. I have about 60,000+ lines of code for the entire project but never take more than a second or two to compile a code change. An API change, on the other hand, can take a few minutes.
  12. coderx75


    The irony of your forum title just hit me. HAHAHAHA!!!
  13. coderx75


    Congrats! And you'll sleep again... if you shed any notion of staying up past 9.
  14. coderx75

    Best Fast Food

    Good point. Chain restaurants in general are pretty bad. My wife and I usually eat at locally run restaurants for two reasons. First, the food is prepared normal and without MSG, etc. Second, it keeps our money in the local economy (this goes for restaurants and anything else, so no Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) It's more expensive but we live by the motto "pay now or pay later". You're not really saving money by wrecking your health and your local economy. There are hidden costs. QFT! The time argument just confounds me. When I was single and living alone, there wasn't a single meal that I would prepare at home that took more than 20 minutes of my time... and I could do other things while I was cooking. Going to the "drive thru", waiting for a half-dozen shmucks to decide what they want, wasting gas and listening to awful radio commercials for something unhealthy and worse tasting than what I could make at home would take over a half-hour. Stopping on the way home from work might save some of that time but you're still just sitting in your car doing nothing else.
  15. coderx75

    Deleting Objects from an Array

    If you are going to be deleting/moving data often, arrays and vectors are a bad choice. A vector will get the job done but will perform poorly when deleting arbitrary elements. If performance is a consideration, use list instead: http://www.cplusplus.com/reference/stl/list/.
  16. coderx75

    Best Fast Food

    Man, let's just say that I won't eat anything of which that question would even need to be asked.
  17. coderx75

    Finding a suitable dedicated girlfriend

    GAH! Why'd you come out and say it was a joke?! I was so looking forward to the comments from people that didn't get it. =( Totally shoulda run with it. Great setup though.
  18. coderx75

    Best Fast Food

    Knowing what information about McDonald's (and many other fast food restaurants) is available, it astounds me that anyone eats it at all. It doesn't even taste or smell like food... mainly because it isn't. Natural processes don't even break it down when left out. If you are accustomed to healthy and hearty foods, most fast foods taste peculiar. The taste is empty and strangely sweet. Of course, when you have options, as in... QFT! I've left Texas a couple of times and food is a major factor in what keeps bringing me back. Sorry if I'm getting on my high-horse about fast food but I've really gotten spoiled down here. Ten bucks will have two people walking out with food babies. Usually helps if you know some Spanish.
  19. coderx75

    Help me pick a logo!

    jjd makes a good point that the silhouette does not scale well. The overlay of the blocks only makes the shape harder to discern when reduced. On the other hand, the silhouette just screams "game company!" I really like the idea that it seems to be jumping off of the logo as if in a platformer. I'd lose the blocks though. Remember: a design is good not when you can not add any more to it, but when you can not take any more away. Try Servant's original idea without the blocks and just the blue color rather than red. Perhaps a different or modified silhouette might make is scale better as well. Maybe not. That silhouette's growing on me.
  20. coderx75

    The Making of Epoch, Part 1 - Why?

    This is pretty ambitious. I saw your last post and thought, "Five years to write a compiler?" Now, I see. This made me think of an idea I had a while back for a compiler or VM (or both) that relied completely on metaprogramming. I don't know if it would be of any use here but I thought it might be worth sharing. The idea was inspired by metatables in Lua and I thought "why stop there?" What if the behaviors [i]and[/i] features of the language could be externally implemented and defined through metaprogramming? I never really fleshed out the idea but, if it could be done, it would make the development of a complex language more manageable. So, the syntax would be designed around metafeatures and the features would be defined through it's metaprogramming, even going so far as to allow code in separate modules of the same application to use separate memory management schemes or even compilers (bytecode or binary). Sounds cool though I'm not sure if this would lead to more bad than good... and the performance... eesh. =/
  21. coderx75

    Gadget Idea - password storage and retrieval keychain

    I never save passwords and I certainly wouldn't write them down. Every site and server I have access to has a different strong password and I use a system that makes them all easy to remember. These are periodically changed as well. I take no chances with security. Most of the work I do is remote from home so I won't even allow anyone else besides myself to use my desktop. Working from an employer's office, there's just no way in hell I'd use anything not specified in their security policy. Now, if you're involved in a ton of online forums and you don't want to use the same password for each AND you want to be able to access them from anywhere, I could see it being of some use to some people. Personally, I'd prefer my own system of memorization but, as you can see, I'm pretty strict. I would put something in the warranty about storing bank passwords. ;-)
  22. coderx75

    Gadget Idea - password storage and retrieval keychain

    There are two types of users that should be kept in mind here. First, there's your typical end user that happily downloads malware and storing their passwords in their browsers. They won't want to complicate the process any further by using your product. Then, there's the professional user (not just paid but also knows what they're doing) that tends to be more careful since their mortgages are riding on their security. These are the people that handle their passwords the only correct way: memorize. There is a demographic in between that may see this and think it's secure (or they watched too many 007 movies as kids and just think it's cool that their top-secret information is in transport... in their pocket... on their key chain next to the scanny thingy from the grocery store). If you're okay with taking advantage of the naivete of others, then have at it (there's much money to be made here =b). Otherwise, I don't see how keeping passwords on a key fob capable of transmitting the passwords unencrypted (as keystrokes) is better than keeping them encrypted on the harddrive.
  23. That gave me a visual of a spaceman sitting next to an IKEA box, reading instructions and scratching his head (read: helmet) while figuring out how to insert ion engine A into crater B.
  24. coderx75

    Staying up all night.. how often? healthy?

    I did this a lot in my younger days and, although I wouldn't say there were any long term health issues, I would say that it was pretty f*%king stupid. You're just not going to be as productive and you'll only be wasting precious time. You won't realize it while you're doing it (you'll actually be amazed at your productivity while sleep-deprived) but you'll be producing very little. Look, any teenager can stay up all night. If you are really dedicated to being productive and catching up on work, get to bed early (8 pm), wake up early (say 3 or 4 am), make yourself a cup or two of coffee and get some work done without distraction while you're still fresh. Take breaks when you need to as well. You can get a solid 12 to 14 hours in a day, be done by about 5 or 6 pm and still have 3 hours to chill out before getting to bed. This has been my crunch time schedule for the past few years and it's worked wonders for me. Being up all day and staying up all night, you'll only be spinning your wheels. I'm an atypical sleeper, requiring very little sleep and, even for me, this is completely impractical. At various times, dealing with really bad management at a job and especially the birth of my son, I've had to go very long stretches without sleep, around a week to two weeks. I was able to keep going, function fairly well and never experienced hallucinations (bummer). I'm the guy that probably requires the least sleep and I'm telling you this just isn't the way to go. You will always do better with a good nights rest, period.
  25. coderx75

    Rate your own intelligence from 1 to 10.

    Out of 43 people, I'm the only one with the balls to say I'm over 9000 on a scale from 1 to 10? Sheee-he-he-heeyiiiiiit! ;D
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