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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.


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  1. My game has reached a point where I need voice or text objectives to tell the player what to do next. The HUD provides visual pointers for the next objective, but a verbal or text representation is badly needed and it would give the ability to layer in a storyline and add some depth. I think my favored approach is speaking avatars in the HUD, like in StarCraft, but I'm not sure how to achieve this. I'm open to buying lip-synced 2D sprites if there is such a thing, but it may be difficult to match my visual style with sprites. Another idea that I've considered is trying to record video sequences of actual people (either wholesale or splicing frames/clips). Anybody try to do either of these? Advice? Is it as hard as it seems? Doing a voice-over without avatars has struck me as a more practical alternative, in conjunction with a text representation of objectives (overlay when objectives change or when the game is paused). I fear this approach would be less immersive, but is it good enough for a single-player indie game? Are there examples of this that you think worked well?   Here's a video of the gameplay to give you some context: https://youtu.be/DthlMCTiZng
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  4. Sorry for the slow response, just got back from my honeymoon!     I switched to ESM and I was able to reduce some artifacts. Even still, the terrain artifact is still there to a lesser degree. Prebaking the terrain is probably a solution, although it introduces a lot of complexity to solve a relatively minor artifact.     Already cleared to max depth. The artifact I'm referring to is caused by blurring between max depth and occluders with much lower depth value. A blur with a very large depth difference produces shadows with sharp edges and reduces the ability of the blur kernel to eliminate discretization artifacts. This produces an artifact where shadows that project onto the far plane are sharp and discrete, but the blur antialiasing works well when the shadow is projected onto a non-terrain surface and the shadow edges there are soft.     Not sure I follow what you're describing, if you could cite a whitepaper perhaps?   Another possibility I was looking at was ESSM, looks like it selects the blur kernel sizes variably, perhaps a solution might lie in a soft-shadowing algorithm like that.
  5.   Not at the moment, although i've considered precalculating areas where the player gets close for other reasons.
  6. Looking for some advice on shadow mapping algorithms. Currently working on this game, shadowing is a very important visual effect for the planet-based levels. I recently implemented variance shadow mapping with cascaded shadow maps. To my dismay I'm struggling with some awful visual artifacts: I believe the primary cause of this is that I'm not rendering the terrain into the shadow map. While I've found some ways to mask these effects, I have not found a silver bullet and the shadows are often detracting from the visual fidelity of the planet.   The terrain is generated from a ridiculous fractal noise equation, thus actually drawing the terrain into the shadow maps is impractically expensive. I suspect due to these issues VSM is ill-suited for my game. Are there similar soft shadow mapping approaches that do not require drawing the terrain into the shadow map that might be better choices?
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    Tweaked lighting in low-light situations, this is at dawn which will be the setting for the second level
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    Working on redoing my terrain for a more realistic and detailed look. Fighting with some aliasing problems...
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    Back from a nice long vacation! Tweaked the shadows some, scripting up the second campaign level
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    Still needs a lot of work (better textures, interactive in-cockpit HUD), but a cockpit view is coming soon!
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    Here's the new player ship. Will soon support a cockpit view as well
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    The player fights a large armada before warping to the planet