• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      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.


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

2017 Excellent

About Wavinator

  • Rank

Personal Information

  • Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
  1. Why is it that games tend to rarely vary their form? You start with a set of activities-- running, jumping, shooting-- and while they may deepen and expand, they almost never change significantly through the entirety of the experience. By (very flawed) contrast, consider how much more malleable as a medium books and movies can be: They can switch genres, alter perspective and even change subject matter entirely. A movie like Good Morning, Vietnam, for example, starts out as a comedy but ranges into romance, drama, suspenseful action and even tragedy (Hancock, From Dusk Til Dawn, Vanilla Sky, District 9 and Click are movies that could also fit this example). What is it about games that so limit their form? Is it the maturity of the medium? The strict genre expectations of the audience? Or is it possible that one of the medium's greatest strengths-- interactivity and the process of engaging with it, which is basically learning-- is simultaneously a weakness of sorts? I lean toward this. Maybe the process of learning and mastering mechanics sets a kind of upper limit to what a game can depict and the sum of what experiences it can convey. Card games and board games seem to share this limit-- chess does not morph into poker, for instance, and it would be hard to see it do so (I wouldn't count playing both at the same time). Or maybe the whole question is flawed and the comparison to books and movies essentially apples to oranges. You might argue the bulk of movies & books fall into well defined genre categories, for instance, varying similar plotlines maybe much like a shooter or platform jumper or racing game varies levels. But I can't shake the idea of how most games can't really even switch genres let alone their overall form. When you start most, you know you'll be doing basically at the end what you started at the beginning, just maybe with different permutations and contexts. Imagine the howls of going from a shooter to a match-3 game, or from an RTS to a racing game, even if it was a smooth transition. Games that have attempted this, like Spore (or the little known Gordon Alliance decades before it), often run afoul of the problem of sacrificing depth for breadth or suffering from mechanics that just don't cohere well together. What do you think?
  2. Would an action point system work? I'm imagining something where fighters start off with a fixed number of action points but moves cost different number of points depending on the fighter (so you still have certain strategies like kicks are easier to use with one fighter but punches easier to use with another).    Combos might be unique in a turn-based game in that they temporarily award more action points to a combatant. This might give you the same dynamic as when a skilled player gets the upper hand and is able to capitalize on and press their advantage, but it only lasts for a round or two.   I'd probably use initiative just as in many turn-based RPGs to determine who gets to attack first. You could add in & make visible variables like Stun, Fatigue and Balance, all of which rise/fall based on attacker and defender actions, and add that to your initiative calculation.   There's a lot of cool things you can do with this idea!
  3.   We all have morbid curiosity when idiots speak. I didn't read the articles, but I will make an argument based on the titles alone since that seems to have been the original championing point you made.  Kinda what spiro said, news sources that touch on extreme subjects, or radical viewpoints will always garner a lot of attention. A bit of a stretch but in the late 1930's it was almost impossible to turn on a radio in the US, and not hear Hitler ranting, and raving. People however, weren't tuning in for their daily fill of ideology, however, were tuning in for a morbid curiosity of a violent man who had enslaved most of Europe (And just a general fear that war would inevitably reach them). You will always have fringe groups. And as "Rational, and Intellectual" people we will always gravitate to paying attention to, and pointing at fringe groups, not because we support them in any way, shape, or form. But because we are genuinely intrigued how these group's came to the conclusions that they did.   I take your point but doesn't your example undermine it a bit? The heart of the issue is this: Do these articles reflect a small, fringe sentiment which has no traction, published solely to shock & profiteer, and which can safely be dismissed? Or do they represent some wider phenomenon, maybe even an emerging ideology whose sentiments are becoming normalized, just as the Tea Party and its sentiments (particularly conspiracy theory) became normalized on the Right? In your 30s example, if I understand you correctly, news outlets were a conduit. But a conduit for what? Couldn't we say they reflected the phenomenon of a rising ideology emerging from Europe?  
  4. It is true that news outlets are not in the habit of chronicling quotidian events. As they say in the business, we publish when man bites dog, not necessarily when dog bites man. But that in no way means that these articles are published because they were "outlandish" or "controversial." They could be newsworthy because they represent a growing world view. Or they may be published to challenge the readership.  Or the editorial staff could agree with the point of view.   Well, at least on this we can agree. (I have encountered a number of people claiming to want to reform society who would not).   Agree again, given the lack of interrogation and acceptance of dissent in certain academic circles. It is, effectively, brainwashing.   I know of nothing that would support this statement and am highly skeptical given how damaging confronting this would be.   When they don't agree you tend to hear of it. cf. New York Times hiring climate change 'skeptic' Bret Stephens and angry reader response https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/public-editor/bret-stephens-climate-change-liz-spayd-public-editor.html   Or, alternately, it is a poorly addressed rot within the Left that drives true believers to apoplexy when pointed out, just as it does on the Right. Note, by the way, that you are the third poster to read this as a broad condemnation of the Left, despite my initial statement about Left and Right sometimes being right. I find this curious. Why not adopt the position, "a subset on the Left believes this, but I disagree with them?" Why the elaborate lengths to deflect and minimize any criticism whatsoever?   Sure, but our level of basal rationality is up for debate and likely waning, as exhibited by gridlock and political dysfunction. We appear to be less given to compromise, evolving separate realities (#alternatefacts) and increasingly polarized. It is foolish to stick our heads in the sand and ignore this, and the only way back is self-criticism.  
  5. The hell? No, that's not what that means. None of us are responsible for the actions of our predecessors, but we are responsible for how we respond to the society they created - whether we perpetuate the systems they left us with or change them to be more inclusive. One should not ignore history when making decisions of how to treat people. It would be nice if that were possible, and we should work towards a future where it is, but the wounds are still too fresh.   You are still not acknowledging how we should treat those who disagree.   It isn't merely a shadow, there are still echoes of the bad shit in today's society. THAT is what all this talk about institutionalized racism is about. So, what do you suggest as a "centrist solution" to address the problem of intergenerational trauma? An example of that on the Canadian side of the border would be the residential schools and the fallout therefrom.   Truth and reconciliation is a powerful strategy for grappling with the evils of the past. It addresses the psychological component. But it is meaningless without specific, measurable results-- none of which this nebulous delving into "checking privilege" addresses. Metrics mean we count and drive reforms not based on identity but on our foundational principals. If a person can't afford school, we should care little for whether they are born in Appalachia or Atlanta. If police are using the courts to soak a population, we need the numbers to make comparative judgements and demand reform. If one population is dying at a greater rate than another, our arguments in Congress should be blind to their demographics and assail the idea that we are failing to treat our citizens equally. Tribalism is a powerful drug and I'm under no illusion that shifting our mentality will be easy, but I'm quite certain that getting us to fight each other will end in disaster.
  6. Just because they're "popular", doesn't mean they always report things properly.   Sure, but this certainly seems to demolish the idea that this is some fringe ideology that enjoys no support on the Left.   Granted and maybe news outlets should receive greater condemnation for failure to get to the core elements in the same way they deserve criticism for distortions in scientific reporting.   I would apply the same rules for everybody here. Don't excuse, don't justify.   As I said, "almost all" sources rank top 1000.   Note the Lander quote I cited, that was the point of including that article-- to counter Hodgman's flippant assertion of "oh this is just a fringe opinion nobody has." It is a growing, pervasive opinion (one which I'm convinced has given us a backlash resulting in the unmitigated disaster that is the Donald Trump presidency).   "White people are all institutionally racist even if they're not personally bigoted" doesn't fare much better, I'm afraid.   LOL! Your assiduous omission of the Salon articles is telling. What do you think? Should we demolish Mount Rushmore? Is Fortgang a white racist?
  7. 'Isn't actually a meaningful representation of any position' seems to me to be a fig leaf when academic opinion is being translated to justifications for bigotry.   I do not see how this translates to anything other than pointless navel gazing among true believers and hardened resistance among the unrepentant. Neither moves the needle toward equality of opportunity and the philosophy seems to mire us in tribalist infighting.   So doesn't this mean that if you refuse to accept the tenets of this ideology, you are responsible for some of the worst crimes in human history? What room for debate does this existential reasoning allow? And what is to be done with those who disagree?     The resentment is the spiritual shadow that's not being confronted here. It needs to be confronted a different way. I would prefer us to say that we should not forget the past so that we never repeat it, but that we hold ideals of a far greater, far more inclusive future.
  8. It seems two realities are possible here: Either multiple outlets with a track record of YEARS of such postings are floating fringe opinions not shared by their readership, or you-- in partisan fashion-- are refusing to accept criticism of an ideology which you support. According to Alexa, most of the sources I've cited are within the top 1000 most popular websites in the US. Buzzfeed ranks 50th. The Washington Post ranks 40th. Occam's Razor: Which is more likely, that these outlets profit from writing things their readership supports and agrees with or that they publish unpopular, fringe opinions few agree with yet still somehow remain both popular and profitable? If you look at this soberly, you will be forced to acknowledge that the "ignore it, it's just clickbait" excuse for article after article, website after webiste is rather silly.   #NotAll you mean?   Another possibility: I do understand the arguments and reject their core premises in favor of a far more inclusive and foundational world view (and have nothing but scorn for the pretzel logic of justifications on the Left and Right which excuses not treating ALL people equally, regardless of race/creed/color/faith/etc)   The dustbin of history is filled with elaborately reasoned, nuanced ideologies which did not stand the test of time (despite their proponents being convinced they were on 'the right side of history.') I'm sure Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx would be incredibly offended by the criticism and ridicule heaped on communism, for instance. We should be more interested in what is true and what reflects the way we wish to live than who is offended when a social theory is criticized.   You assume that I am not aware, that I care about whether or not ideologues regard me as intelligent and that I give one whit about their feelings. This is not the case. I am interested in core principles which foster equality. The philosophy you are defending ostensibly claims to do this yet suffers from an ideological and moral rot which its proponents refuse to confront.   Fascinating how this mirrors the "high and mighty liberal elites" argument the Right deflects criticism with. I'm sure that they want to honestly improve the state of the world as well. Both will fail because both are tribal, both invite abuse and neither inspire the vast majority of us to the angels of our better nature.   You cannot create a fairminded, egalitarian society which upholds equality of opportunity among its highest values by promoting bigotry of any kind. You cannot create good by doing evil. It just doesn't work. You inspire backlash, you polarize and mire the society and you abandon any core principles in the never ending pursuit of transitory political victory. The US is already experiencing this and the result is ideological silos, divergent realities and ever deepening conflict and rising approval of political violence. There is no more greater moral clarion call to equality which inspires human beings than one which applies universally. The return of elaborately reasoned segregation, tacit approval of discrimination in employment based on race and gender and groupthink which silences dissent by forever claiming to be offended are all the rising result of these so-called 'sane' arguments. Thanks but no thanks!   Yep. As I said in my original post: "The Right is sometimes right. The Left is sometimes right. But when both abandon principles in favor of tribalism and preach "my side right no matter what" they are both wrong."
  9. What about a kind of "parkour with a spaceship?" Racing, Crazy Taxi, stealth would all fit the overall situation and the ship control itself would be a mix of magnetic attachment to certain surfaces and Newtonian physics, maybe with very limited fuel. If the environment is an ancient, alien arcology then you could make scientific discovery the overall rubric and create an environment filled with traps and hazards that act as barriers (say to accessing data nodes). Pushed farther, the environment could be highly randomized with procedural development.   A totally different angle within your framework could be a pure survival game, but using a more high-minded angle. Maybe you're the sole working ship of a space station charged with gathering supplies to keep your people alive. Your ship navigates ruins and shattered asteroids, with debris a real hazard (ala Gravity). The ship could take almost inevitable damage, but for spice maybe there are competing factions on the base with the know-how to repair key components, without which certain gameplay is more challenging, but who don't like each other and who want you to do different, competing tasks.
  10. Those kinds of straw-man extremist caricatures only out yourself as another kind of extremist, not a "moderate centrist" :P   I'm confused Hodgman. Are these all caricatures?    ‘To be white is to be racist, period,’ a high school teacher told his class https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2016/10/19/to-be-white-is-to-be-racist-period-a-high-school-teacher-told-his-class/   Donald Trump’s victory yesterday is an attempt by disgruntled white Americans to slow down the American social progress ushered in by Barack Obama’s presidency. Trump’s triumph is a victory for white supremacy. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8262379/donald-trump-white-supremacy/   "White people are a plague to the planet" https://www.buzzfeed.com/hattiesoykan/powerpoint-presentations-that-give-zero-fucks?bftw&utm_term=.pePRRbk8O#.gxmBBrzXN   Outgoing ASM chair condemns university’s attitude toward students of color [Goséy ... stated that “all white people are racist.”] http://www.dailycardinal.com/article/2017/05/outgoing-asm-chair-condemns-universitys-attitude-toward-students-of-color   White men must be stopped: The very future of mankind depends on it http://www.salon.com/2015/12/22/white_men_must_be_stopped_the_very_future_of_the_planet_depends_on_it_partner/   Teen Vogue Writer: 'All White People Are Evil' https://pjmedia.com/parenting/2017/03/24/teen-vogue-writer-all-white-people-are-evil/   "The scientific way to train white people to stop being racist" https://qz.com/656159/the-scientific-way-to-train-white-people-to-stop-being-racist/   “I’ll never apologize for my white privilege” guy is basically most of white America http://www.salon.com/2014/05/04/ill_never_apologize_for_my_white_privilege_guy_is_basically_most_of_white_america/   The End of White America? [“I get it: as a straight white male, I’m the worst thing on Earth,” Christian Lander says...“Like, I’m aware of all the horrible crimes that my demographic has done in the world,” Lander says. “And there’s a bunch of white people who are desperate—desperate—to say, ‘You know what? My skin’s white, but I’m not one of the white people who’s destroying the world.’” https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/01/the-end-of-white-america/307208/     Do you want the equivalent rhetoric from the Right?
  11. Reciprocation. "How would you like it if it were done to you?" The Golden Rule. One of the most fundamental values of Western society. Fair minded. Inspiring.   And a concept both Left and Right appear to be hellbent on throwing away in favor of "collective guilt." The Left wants to tell us how one gender and one demographic is the fount of all that is wrong with society. The Right wants to tell us how a faith whose members are a tiny minority will succeed in overthrowing the entire West when the nuclear-armed Soviet Union, with all their infiltrators, spies, propaganda and armed forces failed to do so.   This is the value of being a centrist. Don't buy either side's BS. The Right is sometimes right. The Left is sometimes right. But when both abandon principles in favor of tribalism and preach "my side right no matter what" they are both wrong.   Collective guilt is always wrong. If you champion it against the groups you don't like, you destroy all moral credibility when arguing for it not to be used against groups you DO like. A person is responsible for their deeds and their deeds alone, not for the deeds of their race, their creed, their nation, their gender etc. etc. We punish those who do wrong. We do not (without undermining our own laws) punish those who MIGHT do wrong.   Each and every one of us MIGHT do wrong.   If you attempt to argue against condemning all Muslims but simultaneously condemn all white men or if you argue for banning, expelling and surveilling some populations but not your own you are merely advocating tribalism, abandoning the principles which you claim to defend and condemning yourself to a future of ideological stalemate depending on who wins the vote. (Or do you imagine that your ideological opponents will just go away and die? Why would they, when you will not? If you make it a fight to the death, why would they not respond in kind?)   What are some answers to terrorism sans collective guilt?   Terrorism has two significant axes: Military/policing realities and ideological buy-in. The latter deals with neutrals in the population who are not (yet) a threat nor inclined to aid those who are. The former addresses those who cannot be reasoned with.   To the former, increased spending and greater intelligence sharing among Western allies is mandatory. You will have to kill those who cannot be contained or stopped. We will need more dollars for infiltration and disruption.  It may be time to consider an Interpol of counter-terrorism. We will have to talk freely about civil liberties and technology (especially encryption and the communication it facilitates) and what we plan to do to safeguard liberties while addressing the threat.   Terrorism is a policing problem. The FBI has already succeeded here. They have a track record of disrupting the most violent, pervasive terrorist organization in US history-- the KKK, which bombed, murdered and brutalized its way throughout America and enjoyed broad political and popular support-- by infiltrating and honey-potting would be terrorists once funding and the political will was there.    As to the latter issue, buy-in, the US won the war of hearts and minds against the Soviet Union in part by arguing a better way of life. Piping Jazz over the Iron Curtain. Inspiring defectors. Arguing human rights. Nixon and Kruschev in the kitchen. Perfect? No. Undermined by greed and lies at times? Yes. But an argument which inspired in a way which idiots promoting meme wars and green frogs seem incapable of understanding.   ISIS promises glory in the great beyond. The West needs to uphold its own ideas of prosperity and equality under the law for ALL citizens to provide a superior vision attainable right here and now. Terrorism experts have opined that the US does a better job of this than Europe, but work remains. The GOP's open assault on the right to vote, demagoguery, winking and nodding at bigotry and failure to condemn outright lying and bullying by the President of the United States (see targeting of London's mayor as the latest of countless examples) destroys this advantage.   The Left has a chance to show the way here, but must transcend its own poisonous, identity-based ideology. Integrated communities adopt the host civilization, changing it and being in turn changed by it. Their members believes in the justice system, help law enforcement, defend their adopted nation (even enlisting to serve it) and even turn in their own lawbreaking family members. All of this is undermined by a Left which believes in ideas of cultural theft, which frames dissent as existential violence and which nods and winks at political violence so long as it is aimed at undesirables (aka punch_a_nazi.jpg).   TL;DR: Collective guilt sucks. If you promote it, you have no answers. And if you go right wing, drive the bigots out or they will overtake you.    
  12. It's a tall order. But while this may seem daunting if not impossible now, if there are going to be computer games in 2027 and 2037 etc. etc. we shouldn't scoff at the idea just because it might appear very difficult to pull off now. I'm an old school gamer myself and if I could have peered from my pc with 384k memory in the 80s playing line art games to what we have now, my mind would have been blown.   What you're talking about is potentially doable with a heavy thrust into procedural development and variation. Even now the land we inhabit in games can be wildly varied and tools are getting stronger and more detailed in order to make landscapes unique. Games like Borderland boast literally millions of guns made from combinations of pre-modelled pieces. Games like Spore (and to a lesser extent No Man's Sky) have shown that variation of form is wildly possible using rules that manipulate the 3d geometry and textures of the model.   What we don't yet have right now are really tried and true ways of making all that variation high quality. It's very easy to generate a lot of bland, uninspired content and not so easy to capture the spark of creativity that makes content unique. I suspect simulation and pattern matching AI may play a strong role here: For instance, a weapon that drops just for you that's really good at dealing with poison and very bad at fending off fire, created as a table-top game master might because the game knows in advance that the bulk of your quests will lead you into the Toxic Swamp where there's so many venomous monsters but lots of water to douse fire. It can possibly feel as if the item was not just made for you, but that there's somebody out there looking out for you... quite a compelling feeling when you're alone against a world of enemies. The game that manages to deeply embed this experience into the narrative of the game world itself (bestowed to you by a patron god, maybe) will not only make players feel special but possibly bind to the world at a deeply emotional level (which makes for transformational game experiences).   Setting aside the big challenge of quality assurance (maybe players QA, maybe some fitness testing is possible to weed bad stuff out) I think there may be challenging currents of basic psychology that could cause problems: It may be true that, psychologically, if everything is effectively unique, everything *MAY* effectively be the same. For this to make sense, we have to consider how we evaluate things as having the quality of good or bad (value-wise). If a sword is good, say, WHY is it good? We can only know based on comparison. If it's so good that it kills every enemy with one hit, how do we know that's not the function of the game (this game is too easy) versus you're holding awesomeness in your hands?   I think it's somewhat inescapable that without bad there can be no real measure of good. A rusty crap dagger that works on rats but almost gets you slaughtered by man-eating orcs makes pulling Excalibur out of the lake and lopping off orc heads with one hit a fantastically satisfying hero's arc. If you start out with Excalibur, even if it's unique and the only one... not so much.    I also think balance is important. In a social game, keeping up with the Jones can be a powerful motivator. If everybody rides around on more or less samey horses and suddenly you see someone fly by on a dragon, you'll likely say "how do I get that???" That psychological driver may act to force a need for more uniform, specific achievements/geometry/models/rewards etc, if for no other reason than to make the truly unique stand out.
  13.   When considering trade items I think the criteria should be the same as any other choice, namely what the extra choices bring beyond flavor. Just as we'd have to ask in a fighting game that had punches, kicks and jabs, the question would be what's the point if they all function the same way.   Does food spoil and thus require the fastest route possible? Do certain ports have to be avoided because of their problems with rats infesting some cargoes but not others? Are some ports experiencing heavy settlement and thus a potential spike in lumber demand? Is the rumor that lords and ladies are flocking to one port so that luxuries might trade better there? Are pirates on the prowl near one port, making trade in silver more likely to attract attack than trade in lower value iron?   If none of that is possible, you could easily get away with having 3 items and focus the gameplay elsewhere (the Xbox indie game Ancient Trader does this to nice effect, with trade being secondary to battling sea monsters).
  14.     I can't help but wonder if the core problem here isn't the number of trade items but a poor user interface that expects you to remember what trades for what at these points. If mapping and writing down dialog clues is out of fashion in modern games, why should the player be expected to memorize trading good locations and differentials across an entire map?    I'm actually surprised at the number of trading games that do this as it creates a somewhat negative experience of having to know the game environment before you play. At the very least the UI should highlight what you've traded where as ports are visited, and for a less hardcore / micromanagement game I don't see a problem of just showing differentials everywhere (Endless Sky, a sci-fi trading game, does once you've visited or bought maps and it makes trade a fun diversion even if it does oversimplify the gameplay bit).
  15. I might be alone on this but nothing takes me out of a trading game's world like goofy trade goods. My fav is space trading games and the idea of carting around beanie babies and rubber duckies across the heavens kills it. I just skipped a game on Steam that had this but was a perfect minimalist trading game in every other way.   By comparison, this is like playing a hardcore shooter like Rainbow Six armed with whoopee cushions and rubber chickens, nothing else changed. Sure it could work, but I'd think it would lose something.