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cjmarsh last won the day on November 29

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About cjmarsh

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  1. Looking for a game engine.

    You don't need to download plugins for Unity to make basic games, and frankly I'm not at all sure how you got that impression as it hasn't worked that way any time in the recent past. Unreal is certainly a viable alternative but it has a steeper learning curve and the learning resources for it aren't as good as they are for Unity. Not to mention that really understanding Unreal development requires at least a basic understanding of C++ and that is far from the best object-oriented language to learn first. "C++ makes the easy things difficult and the really difficult things possible."
  2. Spawning

    You may want to ask questions like these on the Unity Answers site or their forums. Also, I'd recommend quoting the text directly in your posts as it is generally considered unwise to open program files you don't know the contents of on your computer and people will be less likely to read them and assist with your issue.
  3. In addition to markypooch's good advice, I would recommend looking at what is fun about your game rather than how it is similar to others. To do that just look at what makes a game fun in the first place: meaningful progress. In Sonic this was accomplished by collecting rings and learning mechanics that improved your ability to move forward and the speed at which you did so. How will your game convey meaningful progress?
  4. What's the incentive for the player not to spam unlimited sacrificial soldiers with no weapons, shields, or armor? Maybe consider adding another basic resource like food as a requirement for each soldier.
  5. Critique of RTS gui design

    I like it. You might also consider unifying or getting rid of the colors entirely in the icons. In addition, consider changing the size of each icon to be better balanced against each other. For example, the pause button and the tic marks on the clock look off, while the red button on the upper bar looks out of place. Optionally, you could also add an orb effect, or its inverse, to the individual buttons and/or a drop shadow around the frames.
  6. Presentation Techniques

    Are you intending to sell the concept of a game to an existing development studio? Or are you trying to start your own development studio and pitching to a publisher or investor? Are you attempting to sell an idea, technical demo, gameplay demo, or a functioning prototype? Do you have a game design document or business plan of some kind?
  7. What Software do you use?

    Though I would never call myself a sound engineer, I picked up FL Studio years ago for my indie project. The nice thing about it is that I've gotten every update for free since then. It's also fairly easy to pick up the basics though I'd strongly recommend getting some free trials of sound engineering software first and looking at a few tutorials on each so you know what it is you want to shop for when the time comes.
  8. What do people look for in a music "pack"?

    I've bought music for games before and there are several things I look for when browsing music loops or packs in asset stores. Not only do I consider the technical quality of the pieces but also their overall value and if the theme matches my design. When making a music pack of your own I'd suggest considering who your target audience is carefully. While professional studios can have long lists of music tracks tailored to their game, the indie developers who buy audio packs in asset stores are going to be more focused on getting the mileage out of their money. So, looped audio tracks are much more useful than just a traditional piece with a beginning, middle, and end. Also consider having the beginning and end of the tracks match for all main pieces in the pack. In addition, while music and audio are often neglected in indie development, it's often because developers are on a tight budget and/or timeline and that's where they can get away with spending less money and effort. To increase the value of your pack you might also add sound effects for UI, combat, environment, ambient, and misc applications. Also, consider what type of game it would be for and tailor it to fit a unified theme. Soft piano in a background melody might be good for some strategy or turn-based designs but not really for games all about or featuring intense action scenes. Basically, create themed packs with as much extra utility as possible.
  9. Critique of RTS gui design

    In that case I would recommend solid borders or boxes, at least for the top and bottom menus, even more. Especially the bottom where the numbers on the units tends to blend in with the background. While I appreciate the minimalist art style, it also needs to be legible to the user.
  10. Disagree. Most successful indie developers make games with a relatively small scope where procedural generation isn't the most efficient way to produce content. The only reason to use it in such a case is if it's an integral part of the gameplay mechanics.
  11. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    It seems as though you don't like AAA developers charging for both the retail price of the game and also charging for items in a cash shop. What I don't understand is, why? If those items in the cash shop don't change the competitive advantage of players in any way and only provide cosmetic content, what is the issue if people want to buy them?
  12. Debate: Proper Time For Microtransactions?

    Micro-transactions are likely the future of monetizing games, especially ones with online communities. The F2P model allows for a larger player-base while still providing revenue for the developer. One way to look at it is this: providing those that can afford to support the game financially with a way to do so and those that can't with a way to contribute to the community. Just because a player doesn't pay to play the game doesn't mean they aren't contributing to the health of the community, either with valuable feedback, telling their friends about the game, providing community resources, or creating, leading, and joining in-game organizations. The biggest problem with the F2P model and micro-transactions in general is when companies lose sight of what their primary focus should be: making an engaging experience. As said before, when a company starts focusing more on the bottom line and their financials rather than on creating a good game, it usually ends badly for them. It's not because game companies shouldn't be looking to make a profit, far from it, it's because the way they make that profit is practically a side effect from making a good game and establishing a good community around it. To illustrate my point, look at EA with lootboxes in Battlefront 2 or Bethesda with their mod marketplace or Trion with gameplay advantages sold in ArcheAge's cash shop. These were incredibly unpopular moves and severely damaged the reputation of the companies involved, despite intentions that could easily be interpreted as benevolent. On the other hand, look at CD Projekt Red with their move to release either completely free DLCs or expansions with enormous amounts of content for The Witcher 3. Or, Blizzard's Overwatch with loot boxes done right. I'm sure their fans appreciate that kind of move and I'm equally sure that both companies will make a significant profit on their next title, no matter what it is. EA and DICE, on the other hand, cannot say the same of their next title. Basically, good business practices isn't just about making as much money as possible in the short term, it also includes things like customer retention, brand loyalty, community management, and public relations.
  13. Critique of RTS gui design

    I'd suggest giving the menu bar, general controls, and unit roster a dark background of some kind to anchor them and give them a bit more contrast. In addition, some borders for the minimap and unit controls for similar reasons. Perhaps simple borders or boxes matching the selected unit's window style? Overall, I like the design I just think it needs a bit of contrast to give it a little more readability. I'd also suggest using something other than a white background to test it on and a color or combination closer to the terrain you're planning on displaying.
  14. 1. While procedural generation is powerful, and I am personally a huge fan, it often leads to feature creep in a bad way. The less that is understood about the implementation in detail, the more likely you are to encounter unforeseen problems which increases development time. The problem with implementing effective procedural generation at run-time is that in order for a realistic result you have to approximate the infinite possibilities of reality. In other words, repetition and predictability are often the pitfalls of procedural generation (with some exceptions, i.e random seeds) and counter-acting them sometimes requires more processing power than is available. Basically, procedural generation is a double-edged sword for indie devs. By leveraging a small amount of static assets and creating a lot of content, it can help developers create things not otherwise possible as a small or solo team. The added complexity of the implementation, however, presents certain risks all by itself and tends to lead to undefined scopes for the project. 2. In my experience the most useful procedural generation concept for anything remotely complex is Perlin Noise or its more modern variations like Simplex Noise and Wavelet Noise. Essentially Perlin Noise works on the principle of creating random gradients instead of purely random values. So, in the case of 2D noise, when creating a random sample you get the smooth transitions between extremes instead of a result that looks like static. This is commonly used in terrain generation for heightmaps that produce rolling hills. Since it's so smooth though, layers of Perlin Noise are used on top of one another to create small bumps and ridges in the overall landscape to reduce repetition (a process sometimes called fractal noise). In the case of terrain this often still looks unnatural and is best supplemented with something like the Diamond-Square algorithm, a variation on midpoint displacement where points are randomly raised and lowered by a reduced range while increasing resolution. Terrain isn't the only thing that can be made with noise of course, pretty much anything that has an unnatural-looking gradient can be supplemented with random noise to break up the change. Although procedural generation with a semi-random number generator of some kind is common, it doesn't necessarily have to use one. Procedural mesh generation can be used to create 3d geometry on the fly according to a particular algorithm. For example, creating a firing arc to display the path a projectile will take or a simple ring used for a selection circle. 3. Depends on what kind of procedural generation you mean. Like JTippets pointed out so well, content generation uses quite a bit of procedural generation. Whether indie devs realize they're using it or not, almost all of them are probably using it at some point in the creation process. Photoshop now has so many algorithms to apply filters and transformations it's amazing, Substance Designer and Filter Forge are pretty much designed around procedural generation for textures, and 3D modeling apps use complex algorithms to do a variety of things like boolean operations, decimation, and beveling just to name a few. If you mean run-time procedural generation, I'd refer you to my assertion that it is a double-edged sword and while they may be missing out on some of the pros they're also avoiding the cons. Also, not every project is ideal for procedural generation, sometimes it hurts more than it helps. 4. This is a tough one since there are a lot of games that use procedural generation but I think the biggest impact on me personally has been the Civilization games. I have lost track of the amount of time I've spent playing the beginning of a game and exploring the new terrain. Even after I got bored with actually making a civilization, the fact that the terrain was new and interesting every time made me keep coming back. That idea, the ability to have an infinite amount of content to explore, is both the greatest promise and biggest pitfall of procedural generation. While I think that it is unquestionably the way of the future, I don't think it's there yet, not by a long shot. While a lot of the dreams people have for random generation are unreachable now, that isn't to say they won't be as hardware and software improvements continue to stream in. 5. Most of the work and research I've done on procedural generation has been for small prototypes that I never published. I did make a procedural island generator for this game but I ended up just using static geometry for a set amount of islands instead. Although in that game I did use procedural generation for the firing arc and the docking ring.
  15. Lead Moving Target with Moving Shooter

    I didn't mean to imply that it was hard, only that it was excessively complicated. KISS is an effective rule for game development and should be adhered to whenever possible, in my opinion. In addition, the problem with creating deterministic solutions is that you need a lot of information about the environment available in order for objects to solve the problem. The issue with this approach is that it makes objects tightly linked rather than the more ideal version of them being flexible, encapsulated logic as loosely linked as possible. Basically, I mean to say that just because you can solve the problem with an equation doesn't mean that you should.