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About Slyxsith

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  1. Clinical studies on overlooking stupid bugs

    I am not a skilled programmer but to answer the OPs question, coders don't always do this because they are being lazy. Also I think we should be clear that syntax mistyping is very different from a bug in the coding world. These are just my definitions your mileage may vary :) :   Bug: A programming error that causes an outright failure of code or a failure of code to produce the expected results.   Syntax Errors: Mistyping code so that it does not function or compile.   Again just my 2 cents your mileage may vary :)   Anyways from my amateur programming perspective I have seen coders trying to hammer through an idea of concept they have and they are typing 100 miles an hour and end up with typos or syntax sloppiness that then takes from minutes to hours to resolve. My experience has been this, work in a powerful IDE. Something that highlights the obvious. The second thing to consider with these "bugs" is the alternative to hammering out great ideas in a hurry which is NOT getting things done. In software development piling bugs upon bugs upon bugs seems like madness but... infact there is a word for this kind of strategy in the development lifecycle and that is call "Agile". Agile is a project style that involves quick execution of small pieces of work and being willing to accept a certain amount of broken. The broken parts are flagged for fixing but potentially by someone more junior or a cheaper $/hr resource that allows the primary coders to stay focussed on the hard bits.   I think I am just rambling now but I wanted to respond to this because it used to drive me nuts until I took some courses in the Agile methodology for project management and realized that if you apply the right methods of handling the bugs and keep delivering slow but steady advances in your project you can cut down the time of delivery for a piece of software by massive amounts.   Anyways my .02$ good luck!
  2. Good luck Raand. It looks like you have chosen a path so give it a whirl and see how it turns out. I just wanted to add in my thoughts to echo what someone else said above. It sounds to me that you are looking for something simple and easy to deliver small games potentially to a mobility audience. If that is the case I urge you to look at Unity. Amazing engine, simple scripting and great and powerful UI. It's cross platform with it's own compiler and allows you to do C++ right in the engine.   Just a thought. Take a look at it but either way good luck to you.
  3.   Haha well thank you for the vote of confidence in thinking I make games ;) I spend a tremendous amount of time developing and designing games but my paying job right now takes up 80% of my free time. I do go through the game development lifecycle fairly regularly I've got it fairly well documented now:   1) Great idea 2) High level design logic and architecture 3) Plan for monetization of end product 4) (And here is where it all goes South) Business case and RoI analysis on monetization vs level of effort and investment required to achieve release 5) Develop game   That being said I do recommend if you love game development always have something on the go. Work on someone else's project or simply set a goal for your self to grab a new tool and make it do things.   In my actual job I do multi-million dollar IT project work so managing deliverables and architecting game design solutions are actually becoming easier and I enjoy the hell out of it. I guess it's kind of like a sickness but like I said before if it's what you love then follow your dreams and keep working at it.   I had the privilege to speak to John De Margheriti a few years back about Aakrana when I was actively developing it. John has been the CEO of several major gaming companies and most recently known for his companies development and release of the Big World engine. (Before he sold the company.) John is a very inspirational speaker and we spoke on the phone for almost an hour at one point. One thing he said that really rang true for me. If you love doing something make the time for it. Learn about it. Develop your skills in an area that you can apply yourself to. The financial rewards will come but most importantly your happiness in what you are doing will pay off in it's own way. John is a great guy. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak at a conference do it. Amazing personality and talented leader.   Good luck Otaku.
  4. UE4 is an amazing engine. The fact that it is free makes it easy to start learning. The answers you are getting here though are very true. Developing a game takes a tremendous amount of skills. The days of a coder and a graphix guy hammer out an amazing RPG or 3D game are long behind us. That being said.. It truely depends on your goals. Now if you want to start learning game development my strong recommendation is to grab a mobility development API. Something like Unity, also free, and tons of tutorials with a massive community. In Unity make a simple project (Myself I took one of the tutorials and just kept adding to it as I learned new things) and use that to develop your scripting skills and novice C++ skills.    It's great to see you not disheartened by the feedback. People are just being honest. Starting with a massive game engine like UE4 as a blossoming new game dev talent could lead you down a path of discouragement and disappointment. I have been doing game dev work since... well pre-2000. I have worked on pretty much every major engine out there and my work inside the indie game dev community has been so rewarding. I had the opportunity to work (unpaid just to be clear) with some triple A MMO devs as they were working through their games and it has been so rewarding.  That is 16 years of amateur game development in a nutshell for me :) I have not released any commercial games. I have a few projects on the go at any given time. I have a corporation (registered with financials and everything omg!) and haven't seen a penny from game development. That being said, the journey you go on is up to you to find the rewards in.   You are doing the right thing. Ask questions, read but most importantly, do something. I have offered this advice to hundreds of people and I leave it with you as my closing remark...   "The difference between indie game developers who make it work and those who don't is 99% effort". Don't wait for someone to hand you a free MMO that you can release :) Any game is going to take hard work, money, and a whole lot of learning and compromise.   Good luck my friend!
  5. I work pretty hard in my 9-5 job. (Yeah right. I wish it was 9-5, more like 7AM to 6PM *bleah) But don't we all these days... Last summer, out of the blue I get a call from a marketting director at Big World Games. "Hey Mark, how's it going? This is so-and-so from BigWorld Technologies in Australia. I was wondernig if you have some time to talk about Aakrana..." Well needless to say that was like a bolt of lightning from out of no where. We chatted for a good 30 minutes about Aakrana, indie development, Big World's new moves into the indie market etc.. I walked away with the opportunity to look at the BigWorld engine (Which was cool but just not modular enough for an indie in my opinion) and sort of chalked up the encounter as very cool but now let's get back to my real work.. Fast forward 6 months and I get an email from IF Studios about HeroEngines new indie offerings.. "Hey Mark, how's it going? Cooper here, lets talk..." I have to admit the opportunity to work within the HeroCloud technology is pretty intresting. Anyways after a bit of back and forth and a clear understanding that I am in no way ready to step into a full development re-launch or engine migration, Cooper hooks me up and I am now developing in the HeroEngine. I've spent the last week or so kicking myself to make sure this all wasn't some wierd twilight zone thing but nope it's real The site I havent touched in 2 years.. The code I dabled with a bit last year but really it's got layers of dust on it at this point.. Am I really ready now, some 9 years after I set off on this great adventure to make the next great indie MMO, to embark on a full relaunch of development?? Really?! Uh ... no I was honest with myself and honest with Cooper from IF Studios. I know what kind of work is involved. I know the odds of success based on the lack of dedicated indie developers. I know the lack of dedicated developers is compound by the utter plethora of star struck dreamers who can't figure out even where to start in game development never mind what kind of chaos ensues when you add the acronym MMO infront of it. Aside from all of those challenges though I also happen to know what a person is capable of if they set their mind to it.. One small step at a time. Aakrana was a fantasy based MMO. I had some great features built into the game (Dynamically controlled AI to create a non static MMO world.) but in the end it was simply YAFMMO. (Yet Another Fantasy MMO) Fantasy MMOs still have a following, but the market is saturated. Social Gaming is the next BIG thing. Hell even that is already blosommed pretty hard. Truth is though, simple social apps (Facebook, twitter,etc) integrated into a simple but fun and kitchie interface are all the rage. 100 million people all paying you $1 a month is a hell of a lot of dollar bills.. Although I love fnatasy MMOs and the stories and worlds that drive them, social gaming is what pays and if you want to be in game development you better the heck know what is going to bring in the paychecks. Getting the last swift kick in the pants from IF Studios may have been just what I needed to get off my lazy backside and see what the heck kind of crazi awesomeness I can create in The next 3 months. Think I can't do it? Dare me Mark
  6. Aakrana

    Screenshots and Sketches from my work on Aakrana
  7. Free Resource Thread (updated 5/27/06)

    The MP3 file format is protected unfortunately. You can use Ogg without restriction and Wave as well I believe. Alot of people use WAV but they are huge files.. An Ogg file can produce the same quality as a wave at 10% of the file size. I havent read up on the MP3 license recently but to use in a commercial project requires massive licensing fees last time I checked.
  8. my first game-publishing contract

    Lot of wierdness here guys.. First off.. Are you of legal age to enter into a business contract? If you arent there is no contract. You need a parent or legal guardian to sign for you. (I only ask because you said you couldnt afford a lawyer) Secondly, publishing contracts do NOT contain spelling errors or gramatical errors. Many IP battles have been won or lost over poorly worded contracts and this would indicate to me you are dealing with an amatuer. Thirdly, and most importantly, A contract is not valid unless witnessed. Your signature is worth nothing if someone didnt see you sign it and put their affirmation to that effect on the contract. How contracts are handled varies greatly from company to company but the fact remains that some basic premise must exist for a contract to be valid. In your case it doesnt sound like any premise exists for a contract. Just to clarify, are you sure you are signing a contract? Are you sure it isnt just an agreement, in principle? to do X or Y for z? Big difference. An agreemetn is an act of good faith stating in black and white "I Will do X, Y, Z" where as a contract is a legally binding document that generally involves the exchange or express goods and services to entities or individuals. Whithout seeing what you are running into it sounds to me like you and someone else entered into an agreement but certainly not a contract. Best of luck. EDIT: Adding stuff to clarify for you.. In regards to having to get a lawyer in California.. Umm no. Your lawyer works for you. Not the person you are entering into an agreement with. The whole reason for a contract is so that if either party renigs on any or all of their comitments there can be legal reprocussions taken. (Please note this si serious stuff here. I doubt this whole .txt file thing you've got has any kind of contractual obligation to it base don what Im reading but... if you do enter into a contract there CAN be reprocussion to you if you dont follow through. SERIOUS reprocussions and that si why it is absolutely IMPERATIVE you have a lawyer read the contract for YOUR best intrests.) In the event of a contract dispute or breech, you would file litigation locally against the person involved. If a judge deemed the dispute has merit he could then issue a subpeona to the offending party. The issue here is that alot of states have alot of umbrella laws sheltering bad business practices.. Again.. these are things an atorney will tell you about.
  9. I think it's all in how you read the document.. If you want to look at it as someone gloating over you telling you it wont get done thats your point of view.. A person who really wants to make a game should appreciate a project that takes the reality of MMO game development and shows people how it's done. Over 90% of the people making "the next thing in MMOs" have never even installed a database server never mind actually know anything about optimizing one and setting up optimized querries for minimal process cycle activity per client. Sure a person could come off heavy handed and say DONT make an MMO. I don't believe that at all. I was as green as they come when I started my project. I learned everything that had to be learned one step at a time. I have poured years of effort into my game and I'm prepared to put years more into it. The truth of the matter is this. Very (Very very) soon a whole new wave of "build your own MMO" kits are going to flood the internet. Prairie Games is on the verge of releasing what is probably the most complete "point and click" build your own MMO kit ever. There are already a ton of groups in on the beta for their MMO Workshop and people can actually get an MMO world up and running, fully populated with NPCs, MOBs, items and quests in less than 24 hours. On a single PC.. If I just wanted to build an MMO world I'd jump on that bandwagon right now and show everyone how cool I am. What I really want though is to learn about game development. Why build your game this way or thatway. What is the most optimization I can do to the datastream. How many clients can I get into my single zone before it bogs. Why does it bog... This is a hot topic for sure, but the fact remains that very soon the MMO development world will be changing. I suspect the prairie games workshop will make an explosion of MMOs available to the indie community. The prairie games stuff needs a little tweaking before it could be concidered truly triple A but not much. Just a little work on the python performance and they are set. Anyways I hope anyone planning to work on an MMO does so. I hope they are prepared to spend the next 5 years workign on it and learning some great things about the development cycle. I know I did.
  10. How many units do Indies sell?

    This is reality guys. I think it's good that people get to see the facts behind game development. A couple of points I think should be elaborated on though.. First off, a lot of indie developers are very guilty of laziness. How many times have you downloaded somebody's "demo" only to have the graphics look like pong, the file crash over and over on your PC and half the time they have a virus in the DL. Sure there are some great indie people out there workign on projects but usually the ones that make the most noise are just like a spoiled 3 year old vying for attention. They yell and scream and jump up and down saying "Try me! Try me!" and in the end the product is just riddled with broken graphics, broken code and a very unexciting overall appearance and feel. Take single plater games.. I funno, like Fable. It's not my ball of wax but it's a recent title. The cost of Fable in stores is 39.95. Now how many indie games have you played even come close to the polish of Fable? Im not saying the game is perfect, hell I didnt really like the game but it was polished. It felt retail and it was worth the $39.95. Now take your average "indie" or "shareware" game at $29.95.. I wouldnt play most of them if they were free. They simply arent up to the calibre of the retail market.. Every once in a while an indie will launch an exceptional piece of software. Those are the success stories you seldom hear about.. Minions of Mirth, an indie MMO developed by 2-3 people over a period of 12 months. Wildly succesful, many awards under its belt and sold over 40k copies. EVE-Online.. another indie development group who hit an MMO home run. So what sets these guys apart? Play the games (EVE online and Minions of Mirth both have free trials/free versions) and it's obvious within minutes that the people developing those products were dead serious about playing in the big leagues. If an indie developer wants to play with the big boys and is serious about their work they can be just as successful as any big studio. But dont kid yourself. Software development as a business takes market studies, business plans, massive and focussed marketting campaigns at various phases of pre-release/release. If an indie truely knows their target market and knows the buying capacity of that market and what percentage of their target market they have a liklihood of making a consumer out of you should have a good idea well before you get started what your financial return is going to be. Example: If I make a pacman clone and put up a website and try to sell it.. am I going to be wildly successful? Most likely not. Most likely I'll sell 10-100 copies a year depending on how well I do meta tags on my website to entice search bots to find my site.. Now what if I take my legal pac-man clone, pitch it to Microsoft and have it packaged with every new X-box going out the door? Pretty clear difference isnt it. The biggest difference is that maybe the pacman I would sell on my shareware website wasnt quite polished enough for the X-Box. But that said then why would I try to pass it off as a retail game. If you want to play big, you have to have the skills to GO big. Indies stand just as much chance of making money on their software as if they were working for a company. If you have the skills as an indie and can produce the professional quality goods you WILL make money. That said, if you are doing indie game development for the money.... Why are you an indie? Most indies dont have the skills to cut it in the professional game dev world so they work on their own projects to hone their arts. Thats the way it is with me. No way in hell I could develop a triple A MMO in a professional enviro when I Started my game development some 5+ years ago. Today I have a fully scaleably MMO engine under my belt and an "almost" commercial quality game. Sure I could try and sell copies of my game but why? To embarass myself and toss 5 years of hard work into the bargain bin? Hell no. I'll stick it out for as long as it takes untill I can stand up infront of my booth at E3 and announce to the world THIS is Aakrana, developed by indies to showcase their talents, a game every bit as good as all of the other MMO titles on the market today. There are indie gaming success stories. I think there are exponentially more failures though simply because alot of indies just dont have the skills and arent intrested in developing their skills. If you put in the time and effort you will get the rewards. For me, my reward has been teh massive ammount of learning about game development. Will I get rich on Aakrana ever? Remains to be seen and it's certainly not my motivation for completing the project (Less than 1% of my motivation is money :) Dont let the numbers discourage you, but more specifically, if they do.. maybe you need to reaccess why you are learning about game development.
  11. Here is my latest blog on MMO backends. I'm by no means an MM Oauthority I have simply put in literally thousands of hours on my MMO engine and this latest blog was a real brief overview of the database hnadling imparticular. Something that so many people never realize when they start throwing around the term MMO is that they really are simply making a massive cycle of database calls. Massive in scale compared ot any other type of software production. The only thing that can rival an MMOs database activity is possibly some of the enterprise database server controls for some of your bigger financial instutions head offices. It is LITERAALY that massive. Your project is a great start. Thats the way to do it. I've done my project slowly and patiently visiting the school of hard knocks on a regular and painful basis. Still though I've come farther in an indie MMO than 99.8% of all other developers. Because I'm smarter? cooler? better? Nope :) Because I dont know when to quit heh. I love what I do and I do it for the learning experience, not to make a million dollars. (This venture has cost me well over $30k to date. and no I am NOT rich I am barely getting by today.) My project is my dream and someday it'll come true. Mark
  12. Looking for GI seminar topic ideas

    Completely understandable. Having the events live and interactive may narrow down your audience slightly but I bet it provides a more direct target audience. You know filling those seminars and making them available for viewing later for a fee isnt a half bad idea really. Keep up the good work. Mark
  13. Looking for GI seminar topic ideas

    Question Drew. Why are the events live? Seems to me the benefit would be much larger if it was a canned schpiel that people could watch on demand. Even if it wasn't permenant.. Like say: July 20-23 catch Slyxsith as he talks about "Foo: How it relates to you". Keep the seminars on file so they can be re-run. The benefit is more people can catch the event than if it is live due to personal comitments and time constraints. Just an idea anyways :) Next idea is a topic: "The reality of game development" I can't count the number of people I've met in the indie development industry (and a couple professionals) who think that game development is all fun and play. I think a good dose of reality, not necessarily in a negative light, just some facts about game development would be awesome. Some thing that covered the subtle differences in "mediocre" skillsets and "professional". It's a huge gap that so many people just dont clue in to. Indie's are probably the worst offenders, but it's prevelant in all aspects of the gaming industry. Some peopel just don't know that "Meh, it's good enough" ISN'T actually good enough. The end result is painfully obvious and some good clear examples of that would go a long ways to help set up and comers on the right track. The under-achievement of a lot of budding developers is prevelant through all fields of game development. Sloppy code, poorly documented code, poorly formated code... Then there are the way over poly count models, sloppy vertices, bad/nonexistant LoD... Design docs (God there is a whole nother topic right there mate.) Anyways chew on that :) Good luck with the events. I'll keep my eyes peeled. Cheers Mark
  14. At a quick glance over the alternatives suggested above I am leaning towards Xoop.. Only for the fact that it seems less processor intensive. The others all have inherantly high processor usage. Joomla, although it looks very nice, is a self proclaimed CPU hog and recomends a dedicated server hosting package. Shared server hosting will start causing problems with approx 5 requests per second. My issue is that we are approaching alpha/beta stages and can easily have 50-100 people online. If the server drops or something happens we can get hammered by a couple hundred people trying to find out whats what. So processor cycles are important to me. I'll keep digging. Fact is maybe PhP on a static HTML page is really my only proper solution. There are enough cgi and PHP scripts around to handle the galleries and uploading etc.. It's just old tech. Oh well =)
  15. Thanks for the feedback Sander. That's the kind of info I was looking for. I know nuke is years old but because I shied away from it I was never really aware of its current status. I'll check out those suggestions you made. Thanks Mark
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