ptietz

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About ptietz

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    Game Designer
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  1. Thanks for your reply! I'm excited to hear more opinions ^^
  2. Hi everyone, since I wasn't able to find a topic that's specifically related to level design, and since I will add a few more questions to my main issue, I'm afraid, this will have to serve as a catch-all topic for now. Sorry for that So, when it comes to villages, townships, cities and resting places, I'm often baffled. I got two paradigmas in my head that just don't want to go together. First would be the "straight forward principle". Keeping distances short, placing only buildings that have distinct purposes, putting the spot on gameplay. Second would be the "immersion principle", making sure every NPC has its home, creating roads in a much more realistic way (rather than just reflecting the shortest distance between two points), maybe adding some spooky empty houses and so on. Do you want an efficient town that allows you as a player to manage your stuff as quickly as possible so that you can get right back into the action as soon as the player decides to? Or do you want a town that invites players to stay and literally feel the rest, their characters experience? Of course it depends on the type of game you want to create but how would you find the right balance between the two? Adding to the topic, it would be great to read some general thoughts on this as well. Such as "savegame spots vs. saving from the menu", "exposition dump frequency in such places, narrative phrases" or "player homes" (like those you find in Skyrim for example). Thank you guys very much in advance. Have a good one
  3. I see, you updated your post. It's become a huge one now but the thing has become much more interesting. I still don't quite get, what you're actually looking for, though. Anyway, I see some story potential in the government fleeing, the foreign world, the ghost towns and so on. Sounds a bit too large for a one-man-show but if you can tell me what exactly you need in a bit more detail, I might be interested in helping you out with that. Or it it really just "characters" you need? I can image, you will also require GUI labels, some more story, etc.?
  4. So you're looking for a story, characters and a bit more detailed setting based on your initial idea. Is that correct? You said, it's a farming simulator. So what about, building or item descriptions? What about GUI elements? Are you planning to publish the thing one day? Will it be free-to-play or what's gonna be your model?
  5. I need inspiration from my fellow writers

    What I often do is setting up a MediaWiki on my local computer (using XAMPP). This comes with a few psycho tricks: 1.) It forces you to go over your work in a very passive manner without requiring of you to create anything new at that point. 2.) Through its cool cross referencing mechanic, it may reveal connections that you might not even have thought about before. 3.) It's a very cool way to organize and categorize your stuff in the way you want and find most suitable. You may use in-story categories like "places", "space ships", you name it (was that a pun?) as well as productive categories like "important" or "side information". 4.) Sometimes (especially after a longer break), it's simply fun to browse through your work and watch the whole thing grow. There are plugins to count the number of articles and so on to keep motivation up. While doing so, I occasionally run into questions, find missing links. These are the things that make me think again. "What could be the connection between the two?", "Why did this happen the way it did?" or "What would be the logical consequence of that event?" This might be more helpful for world building than for story writing but as your story takes place in that world, it does help nonetheless.
  6. @frob is right. As you are talking about browsers, AJAX may be the keyword, you're looking for
  7. You might not want to hear that, but the first thing is planning. Make a list of features, you want to incorporate into your game. Make sure, you thought everything through at least once. Of course, things may change over the course of this living process and new features may be added during that. But the more you are prepared the better. The trap of "oh no, I forgot that one feature, now I got to rebuild the whole thing again" is lurking everywhere.
  8. Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you by any means. It's just that everybody does the Inception theme these days And yes, I'll give you that one. Sometimes, trying out a few things that you really find cool can help getting a grasp of the technique that's been used. I did it myself and I think every aspiring artist did it quite a bunch of times. Again, please don't be mad at me. I'm glad, I was able to help
  9. Material Design in Games?

    Thank you guys for answering and sorry for the late response. The flu knocked me out -.- @frob this video describes pretty well what I mean with game feel: GUI design is obviously only just a small part of it. That data will cost was already what I thought. But you know, hope's the last to die ^^ @TheChubu Thank you so very much for actually approaching my question! The Skyrim example was kinda like an eye-opener for me. It's not material design at all, obviously, but I think, I got what you mean. I think, I will try a few things out in that manner. Maybe I'll report back if the thing leaves raw concept draft state.
  10. Why do they all keep doing that Hans Zimmer Inception thing? Does anyone believe he would ever copy himself? Anyways, let's get to the piece itself. People usually prefer honest feedback, so I got a few "pro's und con's" for you: I find the bass a bit too stereo. But if you do want/have to have that in your piece, don't put it on the left side, please. Imagine any rock band or and orchestra or basically anything human that produces music. From an audience perspective, the bass is always at your right hand. At 1:17 percussions sound very strange (the sample that's fully panned to the right). Also, generally, give your percussions a bit more reverb. This gives'em a bit more rumble and thunk, making them appear even bigger. Just be sure to not use too much pre-delay on your reverb here as you want to keep your drums sharp and incisive. The nicest sound in the whole piece is imho the solo cello at about 0:20. It does however disappear with a pretty unrealistic volume fade-out. And even if that's such a strong carrier, it doesn't re-appear anywhere in the peace, which is kinda sad. I know, the horns and stuff, but still... The string section is best from 0:58 to about 1:17 when they play polyphonically and together with the horns. Very good use of the section here, providing a bit of a spread. I also like the 8th-note-staccato-percussive-guitar-synth-thingy that has its crescendo at about 0:40, really sets the tone (mood). And I do love 1:37-1:47 as well. I like how those dissonant voices break the established harmony and how that sawtooth emphasizes and supports the mood that comes with it. Nicely done, here A good thing (when thinking about actual use in a trailer or as soundtrack) is that you established a clear climax while at the same time the piece doesn't change a thing. You leave it as you've entered it. In short, it keeps the "current" mood, tone and setting and leaves'em untouched. That's what you usually want to do in games rather than sending the player on a trip that might end somewhere completly else than what the game actually tries to tell. Having that said, I think, you still achieved your goal, building up tension! Last but not least, you might have to work on your balance (think of the bass sounds). Check out this post: It's written for visual arts but totally applies to the orchestra as well. Final words: Keep doing what you do, you're doing a pretty good job already!
  11. Composition 101: Balance

    This is a great article and what @gdarchive writes is really important. I would like to complement the article because the stated is also true for orchestral music composition. Of course it's always up the to artist to decide how they want their piece to feel like. Imbalance is not by all means a bad thing, although it's usually what you would try to avoid. It's important, however, that the artist is aware of what techniques exist and what set of emotional experience they lead to for the listener. So, let's image, you got that really strong cello line which starts in the lower registers and then climbs all the way up to where the strings are almost screaming. Now your cellos are located in the front right of your orchestra. As said, we keep the tone but vary the color in our example here. So there're three things we would try to balance here: Texture, tone and direction. I will try to explain what each of them will do. And I will try to show why full balance is best in most cases but is not always what you want. So let's start with direction, or simply speaking "stereo". Of course, to balance a sound that comes from the right, we need to add one coming from the left. Be sure to not pick an instrument that isn't too much in the rear because this would lead to even more imbalance. A good choice would be a clarinet, maybe a bass clarinet or even the whole section of them. To keep our balance, we would have them play in their lower registers as well. Now we only have those low notes but maybe want to balance up to the higher octaves. Be sure, though, to keep them very silent as the high cello notes, that will come later, need to remain the strongest voice. As we are going for balance and don't what to set any counter voice right now, we need to carefully pick a matching color, something similar. Horns go very well with clarinets and would also get us some output from the rearer part of the orchestra. But maybe we want to swap the supporting colors to - again - gain more balance. Maybe the middle registers of the trombones would do when played piano in a very soft and fine tone. To accomplish the same sort of balance for the cellos we could use the bassoons but as we decided to swap the supporting parts, we might be going better with the lower registers of the violins. Remember, you can almost always intermix instruments of the same section together. We should now already have quite some balance in our piece. At least when it comes to color and direction. So let's go over to the texture. As of now, we only have a melody. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Do we want to support, complement or enforce the melody? Enforcing would mean that all the other instruments we have so far would either play pretty much the same the cellos do, or express a counter melody. This would give us a very powerful melody that is well defined and strong in its expression, no matter what the articulation tells. Complementing would mean that we try to fill all the pauses and silent notes the cellos play in their main melody. This would take away some rest but still establish some sort of balance in such a way that they would be alternating and taking turns, if you wish. Supporting the cellos would mean to let the other instruments almost play straight chords, either allowing the cellos to break out of them every now and then, or to re-harmonize everything the cellos do (which is harder to do but creates a softer and more fitting overall experience). I won't go too much into percussions here but remember that they also consist of very different colors and tonal heights. Use them as such! That is: Having very fast bass drums under very quick double basses will lead to nothing more but audio porridge while placing a few cymbals or triangle hits over the double basses will create interesting rhythmic patterns.
  12. Material Design in Games?

    Hi @Tom Sloper, thanks for your response and sorry for the confusion. I am talking very specificially about Google's design language "Material Design", which is about a whole catalog more than just WIMP Find it here or there. And of course, I know that you CAN do a game with this as you probably can with virtually anything. My actual question is in two parts: Is there any experience in doing so? Can you have material design while still maintaining a "gamey" feel? Are there any traps or bottlenecks to consider, that people already ran into? Is there any analysed data (i.e. usage statistics) available? How well or poorly is it accepted by players of games compared to users of application software? How well does Material Design perform in games? Is it just as intuitive as it is in apps? Thanks again
  13. Material Design in Games?

    Hi everyone, first of all a little sorry, this is not about "visual arts" but more a GUI topic. I didn't know where else to put it, though. So, I just wondered if anyone of you has any experience or even real data on Google's material design in games? What are the pros and cons? Would players accept it? And can you make material design feel more "gamey"? Thanks in advance, BG
  14. My very first post..

    I'm not an artist but I like the second one best: "Huh?" Strong line of action there
  15. The problems of space sim design

    In the X series, they give you other things to do while flying with your auto-pilot on, mostly menu-based stuff like managing your fleet, adjusting prices for your goods factories, giving commands to your other ships, checking your stats, etc. In addition to that, they give you the "Singularity Engine Time Accelerator" later in the game, that basically speeds up the game's time tick so that you don't have to wait for too long while still maintaining all the stuff happening around you in "in-game realtime". If your dogfights aren't exciting enough, you definitely got something wrong in the design. That's why play testing is so important even in the early stages of development. It's way easier to change things early in development than later on.