Embassy of Time

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About Embassy of Time

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  1. Just thought I'd throw in a very positive post to (hopefully) brighten the day of the good folks running the site. It seems someone recognized me on another site as the guy who does science rants on my blog in here, and that encounter resulted in an opportunity for me to present my work to a group of personal investors ("business angels")! There are no guarantees and I could end up just getting a few smiles and nothing more, but at least someone is listening, and a big part of why is this website. So thank you for running a great community that opens a few doors for crazy people like me! If I strike it rich, you will not be forgotten
  2. So I seem to have landed a chance to make a brief presentation of my work to some private investor people. I have presented things to technical and creative people before, but never to a bunch of "suits". They already seem a bit interested (or I would never have gotten the chance to present it), but I would love to hear from anyone with experience or just some ideas on how best to do it. What do I focus on? What should I avoid? Flash or statistics? Technology or return on investment? Any advice is gratefully accepted!!
  3. Really micromanaged audio programming (C++)

    (sorry about the late reply, things have happened, some of them very interesting) I have been dabbling with the Waveform and similar APIs before, but I keep feeling like they are to rigid. This might just be me, since audio is not a field I ever did much programming in. If there are good tutorials on things like those I have described, I am very interested in knowing!! As for DirectSound / XAudio, it's a part of DirectX as I understand it, and that always bugs me. Is it possible to use it completely detached from DirectX, preferably without even importing any of the graphical libraries (I use OpenGL, for the platform portability)?
  4. Thank you, GameDev.net!!!

    Little over a month ago, some guy noticed me by my nickname on another website (I use Embassy of Time several places), and asked if I was the one who also posted on GameDev. I said yes. Apparently, he was amongst those reading my scientific ramblings (like this or this) on the site. And he also happened to be a small-time member of a network of personal investors, so-called "business angels". Now, I've run a company before (web TV and 3D animation, not game development), so I know that a lot of people make big claims, and even if those claims are true, you don't win the lottery from just being noticed. But it was an interesting talk. Then, about a week ago, he contacted me again. A couple of his colleagues (I have no idea what investors call each other) wanted to see a project suggestion on some of the things we talked about. Part of why they wanted to see this was that they had a look at my blog in here and wanted to know more. So now, I am working on a presentation of some of the things I have worked with on a serious science-based game. I am pretty nervous, and very open to ideas from people in here on how to dazzle these folks! It's not a big blog entry this time, I know, but I felt like letting people here know, and giving a big thanks to GameDev.net for being a community where some lunatic with a science fetish (me) has a chance to get noticed! If this works out well, I definitely won't forget you
  5. Beginner in need of guidance

    Thank you very much I tried a handful of other IDEs, but none of them provided anything useful. Granted, this was a while back, things may have changed since. Is there a tutorial that you could link to that shows another IDE doing it for OpenGL? I'm not fresh on going through all of them again to test them out, but if there is one that shows that it can do it, I'm all eyes!
  6. Time for a new way of developing games?

    Yes, I watched that a while back, too! It was one of the sources that made me dig into the topic. I think he has some fine basic ideas, but he is still too "deep" into coding, making it seem like mostly just a new coding language and/or a lib of game relevant functions. But the idea itself is interesting! This would be the superior model. However, my experience with projects of the type tells me that it simply would not work. People need something more central to attach their work to, or it ends up with hundreds of branches and conflicting versions. My thoughts on the organizational issue would be more along the line of Blender 3D, i.e. a central piece of software that has an open community around it. It might lean on semantics, but in the eyes of the average user/participant/contributor, I think those semantics would be a big make or break deal...
  7. Just kitten!

    Quick status update for anyone who may be actually following my rants: I still do the kitten orphanage thing and recently took in a homeless and very pregnant one, who gave birth 2 days ago (four tiny kittens, all still alive). Expect.... lowered volume from me these coming days
  8. Time for a new way of developing games?

    I knew of GODOT, but I have heard mixed receptions. I did check it out, of course, and probably should again, t least for some ideas on code. I never heard of C4, but just googled it, and both it and a few others came up that look interesting. I never knew you could see the source of Unreal! What may still be lacking is a more rookie-friendly way into the code. As stated, I am an early "disciple" of NeHe code, and would really love something similar for bigger stuff. Whether it makes more sense to do it on something existing or something I make and therefore know is still hard for me to decide on. Suggestions are, as always, very welcome!
  9. Time for a new way of developing games?

    Your two 'againsts' actually cancel each other out, at least a little bit. More developers would mean both more good and bad ones, meaning it would be harder for the bad ones to get noticed, because more good ones would take the field. That is a VERY oversimplified way of stating it, but I do feel that a lot of the "Steamcrap" and pointless mods for any game get noticed because there is a lack of really compelling new stuff out there. Even all the AAA titles are more or less starting to mix together. A tool to create in new ways would, in my mind, allow people with better ideas but fewer resources to upend some of that drudgery. The cost, yes, is that there will be even more Steamcrap and the like, but that feels inevitable. An elitist developer scene never benefitted anyone (other than elitist developers, but that seems to be a dying breed), and the more chaos that can be created, the more creative chaos there should be room for, no? I am not sure of anything here, just spitballing... Yes and no. The problem with a game engine is that it is typically a finished piece of work and a closed black box. Sure, I can learn how to use Unity, but I cannot learn how to create something on my own from it, because I cannot gain full access to how it works. What if I realize that it has crappy collision detection and want to fix it? What if the way it does multiplayer doesn't fit with my plans? Most of the time, the answer will be either "tough cookie" or "rewrite everything in a way that means you might as well have done it yourself in the first place". By providing full code and documentation, anyone can actually dig as deep into it as desired, and change things while learning about them. Engines (in my experience) do not do nearly that. Which might be partly why their games easily end up looking the same, as you noted.
  10. Introduction and First Game Idea

    Look, if you can handle not hitting exactly what you want, having big ideas is NOT a bad thing. The parts of your game idea I understand (your description is a bit jumbled, probably because of excitement) seem cool. As for how to get from "I know nothing" to a clumsy-but-playable game (always the first objective), there are plenty of tools out there. I am considering doing some tutorials on getting into 3D game programming really quick (like, crash course, emphasis on CRASH), if that's something for you, let me know on the rambling blogpost I made on the matter. Shot for the Moon. With luck, you'll miss and land among the stars.
  11. Anyone here a self-taught graphics programmer?

    Yup, self-taught. I am a veteran of the Neon Helium tutorials, which are (now?) a part of this site, it seems! Where can you find a mentor online? Not sure people are willing to teach someone their knowledge to some stranger I've been considering using my ill-gotten experiences to do something like this. I put up an initial blogpost on the matter a moment ago, let me know (there, not here, to avoid threadjacking) if it has any interest. Seriously, even though they are old and a bit obsolete now, go to the Neon Helium tutorials, they're really good. As mentioned, I am considering doing something similar, if I have the skills for it....
  12. Beginner in need of guidance

    Just an update, I did a blogpost inspired by this. Anyone wanting to start programming games might be interested.
  13. Time for a new way of developing games?

    A while back (years, because I'm ooooold), I came across some articles about a "game development language". It was apparently a hotly debated topic at the time. The idea was that there should be a programming language, just like Python, C++, Java, or many others, which was directly designed for making game development in it easy. I never really got the deeper points about structure and features that they made, but the notion stuck with me, mainly because it smelled a lot like the stuff done by modding communities, i.e. creating tools for modding various games. I know modding mostly from Minecraft, and things like Forge (if I remember the name correctly) provided a basis (language) for more easily modding the game. As a, back then, fairly newbie hobby game programmer, I liked the idea of not having to deal with memory structures and screen formats to 'just' create a game. Fast forward to now. I have set routines for programming most game projects, and like most low-level devs I know or know of, I have libraries of standard methods for getting things done. If I need to do something, there is a 50/50 chance I already have most of it done somewhere, ready for transfer into my project. But once upon a time, I, too, was starting from scratch. Yesterday, someone in the forums asked about how to start programming games, and there were some suggestions of GameMaker and such. I added OpenGL/C++. Why did I add something that seemingly advanced for what was clearly a question about taking the first babysteps? Because I have built a routine that makes it pretty easy to get moving in OpenGL/C++. It takes a minute to explain, and then the newbie can start putting some things together. And instantly, I started to think back to the whole 'game language' and modding thing. And an old thought struck me. I think it might be time we made a new way of getting into game development. It's an old thought, as mentioned, which I have been kicking around again lately, trying to update it to where I am now in game development. So please, bear with me, not everything is 100% thought through. But the main point is. I am a fan of open source. Not that everything open source is amazing, but the concept is, to me, the entry to a whole new worldview. Like many others, I learned OpenGL/C++ from the ancient Neon Helium tutorials (they are now called 'Legacy Articles', I believe). They are basically a set of open code, which does stuff in 3D, and they're great, especially considering their age (many parts are obsolete now, but the main points are still strong). Imagine being a newbie game dev, wanting to get your feet wet, and finding something similar, but with a fully functional game. Good documentation, functions set up for easy use by newcomers, and tutorials for integrating new ideas. All the rough and hyper-technical parts just done. For a quick example of this idea, I can say that I use wxDev-C++ for programming my games. Not because it's new or snazzy or anything. In fact, it's behind on many, many things. And it's ugly, and a bit buggy. But it has one feature that makes me love it above all others: At the beginning of a project, I can simply select "OpenGL", and it creates the full screen setup for me. And by that I mean it provides the complete code for a very basic OpenGL program (a window with a triangle spinning in it). I can focus on thinking about my game math, and not setting up pixel parsers or llama blasters or soil rotation schedules or whatever. It's like having someone doing your taxes for you. For free. Every time. Imagine a full game like that, one with a full 3D landscape (2D available at request) provided, with basic asset import and generation, model movement and so forth. One where you have commands like "CreateCreature()" or "AddItemToInventory()", allowing you to define the game content variables, instead of recreating everything that everyone has done a gazillion times before. Essentially, a game designed for modding. Sure, you may say that this would just be a noob magnet, like the Unity engine has started to become, a tool that lets people with no idea what they're doing make some trash instead of taking the time to make something solid. And that would definitely happen. Paint is cheap, so any idiot can splash some colors on a canvas and proclaim themselves to be an artist. But if paint was still as expensive as a few centuries ago, I bet many new artists would never have risen to put their mark on the craft. Code is the paint of game developers, so the amount of code available for cheap or free defines the field as a whole. By taking the first steps for others, giving them a place to continue from, game development could open up to many more people. But more than that, the starter-kit game described could open up to others. I started my 3D experience long ago (again, I am old) with 3D Studio Max, and it always had cool features. But Blender 3D caught my eye early on, because it had a batshit insane community creating things for it, and it made use of that. Imagine if Mojang had incorporated Minecraft mods at a similar rate, how would the game look now? If a starter-kit game had, say, all the code for someone to generate a world to walk around in and pick things up, maybe some crafting and basic enemies, someone trying their skills at dabbling with that code might end up adding a physics engine, and future dabblers could dabble on with that. This is, to me, the source of organic, perhaps even chaotic, growth. And future generations of game developers could start from there, just like many today start out making mods for existing games. But this game could grow from every 'mod', adding features and thereby new game concepts to be learned from it. I'm rambling. This is not one of my most developed ideas, mainly because it seems so bizarre, even to me. But we always preach learning by doing, so why does every new game have to start with the dev-to-be coding up the same screen controllers and input handlers? Hand them the damned things to study and learn from, and let them build on the works of others. We know how the wheel works, if people have to reinvent it, at least let them reinvent it in new and better ways, from looking at the old stuff. If people like this idea, I will consider doing my game project this way. I will provide full code and documentation for new (or experienced!) devs to get into the game making stuff quicker. And people can rant and rave about how this and that is bad about my work, because that lets me know more about how to make it better. In fact, the more people get in a twist about what should be improved, the happier I would likely be. Especially when people go "look, let me show you what I mean", because then I learn, too! Is this insane? Has this already been done, perhaps crashing and burning and making the kids cry or worse? Would you want to dabble with it, or is it useless to you? I really have no idea where to go with this from hereon, exactly, so I am just improvising. Any reaction might be the one thing to put me on a more productive track....
  14. In essence, ditch the 0/1 approach and use floating point values, like in metaballs, except values are calculated according to some worl generation algorithm (you will need one of those algorithms no matter what, even if it's just a fixed set of values). I've done that for ages, although the actual algorithm still hasn't hit the spot for me. I found an ooooold set of images of me trying something like it, here. Don't mind the text, it's Danish, just see the pretty pictures for the essence of what the method can do. I've done weirder stuff, too, but the images seem to be hiding from me at the moment....
  15. Beginner in need of guidance

    I think GIMP2 is multi platform, and although it's more complex, it should be able to do the job. Other than that, I know nothing about Macs (including Big ones), sorry.... Hm.... Maybe I should do a "DareDev's guide to OpenGL", for people with more ambition than common sense (like myself) But in short: 1: Get wxDev-C++. 2: Start a Project. Use the Multimedia tab and OpenGL. You should get a complete program with setup 'main' file. If you run it, you get a small window with a spinning triangle. 3: Find the spot where it has a lot of "glVertex" commands. That's the spot that draws the triangle. 4: Tamper with the numbers, to get a feel for what does what. glTranslate moves the camera, glRotate spins the triangle. 5: Google the little commands you see around the drawing code. Most commands are straight forward. My own project is meant to become open source, and to be used to teach others how to do (3D or 2D) OpenGL -very- quickly, like a crash-boom-bang course kinda thingy. But it is not quite there yet. If people get all mad supportive on the matter, I might take it open source before it was intended, but only if there is a real need. There are lots of tutorials out there, I have nooo idea if my stuff can add anything of value at this point....