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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. I'm interested in finding out about game developers' preferences with regard to animation pipelines. More specifically:[list] [*]Do you prefer to make / work with animations that are "in place" (running on the spot) or that are moving in world space? [/list][list] [*]And do you prefer to make games such that the character movement in the game world is driven by the animation (root motion) or driven purely by gameplay logic / physics? [/list] Please help me by taking this short and simple survey: [url="https://docs.google.com/a/unity3d.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGZiWTZQTGNlc1Y0c2ZlYXlmcGtnQmc6MQ#gid=0"][b][b]3D Animation [/b]Usage Questionnaire[/b][/url] Thank you! Rune Skovbo Johansen
  2. Quote:Original post by spookycat Brilliant. Very inspiring indeed. Will there be a cost to non unity users?Thanks! The implemented system is designed for the Unity engine so you can't use it without. The theory behind the system is generally applicable though, so once I've finished writing my Master's Thesis about it, people should be able to read it and implement it for other game engines if they want. It will require some work of course. Rune
  3. For more than half a year I've been working on an automated Locomotion System to make animated humans and animals walk correctly on any uneven terrain including arbitrary steps and slopes. My blog has interactive demos of and video demonstrations of its capabilities, including the new features that enables it to be used with 4-legged animals: I'm happy to say that the Locomotion System has now been officially released last Friday concurrent with my presentation of it at Unite 2008. It is available for download at the Unity website: Go To Locomotion System From the website: Quote:About Take a look at how semi-procedural animation can dramatically improve the realism of animated humans and animals. Full Control of style Animators are experts in creating motions with specific styles and personalities. The Locomotion System uses keyframed or motion-captured animations as input and only adjusts them minimally to move the feet correctly in a dynamic and detailed environment. Full Control of Behavior Move your character around by any means you desire, be it a CharacterController, a RigidBody, or your own custom movement logic. The Locomotion System simply observes the position, alignment, velocity and rotational velocity of your character and deduces everything from that, along with some raycasts onto the ground. Details The Locomotion System automatically blends your keyframed or motion-captured walk and run cycles and then adjusts the movements of the bones in the legs to ensure that the feet step correctly on the ground. The system can adjust animations made for a specific speed and direction on a plain surface to any speed, direction, and curvature, on any surface, including arbitrary steps and slopes.The presentation of the Locomotion System at Unite 2008 was received very well, and this Gamasutra article refers to the presentation as a "crowd favorite". I am also currently finishing writing my Master Thesis about the techniques behind the Locomotion System so that the theory behind it can be spread and implemented in other engines too. Rune [Edited by - runevision on November 3, 2008 9:33:18 AM]
  4. Quote:Original post by Sneftel Hm... I noticed [a few weird ankle twists] when walking around (with many turns) on the blocks and ramps example, not in the video. Looking over the vid now, I can't find any examples.Okay, thanks. I'll look out for it. :) Rune
  5. Quote:Original post by Sneftel Looks good. A few weird ankle twists-- you might consider overriding the foot plant when the angle between the lower leg and the foot gets above a certain threshold.Thanks for spotting, and it's a good suggestion. At which times mm:ss in the video can these ankle twists be seen? (I may have gotten a bit blind towards spotting such things after having worked on this system for so long...) Quote:BTW, is it just me, or are the arms on that model way out of proportion to his legs?I've never noticed it (nor have anyone else mentioned it), but you may be right! I can't do much about it though; I didn't create it myself. Rune
  6. Quote:Original post by jkleinecke They have a real-time version called 'euphoria' that's been used in the latest GTA and Star Wars games.Yep, that's true. However, Euphoria is only used in certain moment, for example when characters are hit, fly through a window, are grabbed by "the force" etc. Basically it's "active ragdolls" but not turned on during normal activities such as walking around. (The exception is the "drunken walk" mini-game in GTA but that's not exactly "normal" walking.) Anyway, the point is that a comparison is a bit out of place since the system shown here is for locomotion (walking and running) while Euphoria is typically turned off during locomotion, so they're used for different things. Mainstream hype have done a lot to spread misconceptions about what Euphoria actually does though, so many people think it's used for all the animation in the games where it's used. Rune
  7. Quote:Original post by JPulham This is awesome! It looks like Lucas arts endorphin. That features procedural animation (muscle based though). I will watch this with interest :DThanks! As far as I've understood, NaturalMotion's Endorphin is not for real-time animation in games but rather a tool to assist animators while creating animations, so it's a bit difficult to compare. The system I'm developing is all about real-time animation, and about making the tech *easy* to use set up and require only few animations, so that even indie developers can use it. Rune
  8. Hi! In this thread I will post info and updates on my master thesis project "Semi-Procedural Animation for Character Locomotion" Demo-videos and interactive demos are available at http://runevision.com/blog/ Overview Here's a quick overview of what the system does: The Locomotion System automatically blends your keyframed or motion-captured walk and run cycles and then adjusts the movements of the bones in the legs to ensure that the feet step correctly on the ground. The system can adjust animations made for a specific speed and direction on a plain surface to any speed, direction, and curvature, on any surface, including arbitrary steps and slopes. The Locomotion System does not enforce any high level control scheme but rather lets you move your character around by any means you desire. The Locomotion System silently observes the position, alignment, velocity and rotational velocity of your character and deduces everything from that, along with some raycasts onto the ground. Thesis I am currently writing the master thesis. So far, I have more or less finished a chapter on motion interpolation.Chapter: Motion Analysis - Not written yet Chapter: Motion Interpolation - thesis_draft_interpolation.pdf Chapter: Motion Blending - Not written yet Chapter: Semi-Procedural Animation - Not written yet I'd appreciate any feedback on it you might have. (By the way, I'm not sure which forum this is most relevant in. Generally procedural animation links graphics and AI so could be placed both here, in the AI forum, or in the general game programming forum...) Rune [Edited by - runevision on September 26, 2008 7:46:46 AM]
  9. In many games, characters have nice walk cycles when walking on plain flat surfaces, but when walking up or down steps or stairs, the feet don't land on the steps but rather, the character sort of just floats over the steps. I am currently developing a system for avoiding that and making the feet of a character correctly land on the ground, including on slopes, steps and stairs, without the need for additional animations. However, I'm in doubt in how many of today's games the floating problem is still present. Since I can't afford to buy all of today's popular games and see for myself, I'd appreciate if you would post some screenshots of the worst and/or best examples of characters walking on stairs in various games. I.e. screenshots that show a game doing it the right way (if any?), and screenshots showing the odd floating behavior. Videos showing it would be even better, but I expect it'd be a hazzle, so screenshots will do. I'd appreciate it a lot if you would help me with this! Rune
  10. Quote:Original post by zer0wolf Your portfolio is far more impressive than 99% of the crap you find all over the internet.Thank you! That sounds like a good start at least. :P Quote:The real problem I see with it is that it doesn't really direct viewers (future employers) towards what you'll be providing them with. What exactly, besides being a "game developer" do you want to do when you graduate? That should be the emphasis of an online portfolio being used to find jobs with. Right now it is more of a showcase gallery.That is an interesting observation, and one I'd like to discuss a bit. Of course, I want to work as a game programmer, but I understand that this is kind of broad. What I want to show is that I am a programmer with insight in all aspects of multimedia from graphics, animation, and a bit of sound to interaction, user interfaces, and presentation. I care not only about technical aspects but want to bring the user/player a unique experience by integrating all the other elements though programming. This also makes me really good at communicating with everyone on the team and bridging gaps between programmers and non-programmers. I don't know how to clearly communicate this though? I don't want to work primarily on low level libraries and optimization (talented computer scientists can do that better than me), but rather on finding unique solutions to complex problems, that requires a combination of the logical thinking of a programmer with the creative thinking of a designer. I like simulations such as procedural animation, procedural content generation, flocking systems, AI, and generally features that have a direct visible impact on the user's experience. Any suggestions how to best convey this message are highly appreciated. Rune
  11. I am studying game programming at University of Aarhus and am about to write my Master Thesis this spring. I am also going to the GDC in a few weeks. I've worked on making my website into an online portfolio of my work, and I'd really like to improve it as much as possible before going to the GDC. http://runevision.com I'd like your opinion if it actually works well as an online portfolio or not, and of course what I can do to improve it. - For the game "Flipside" I have added a lot of details about what I contributed with in the production. Does this work well? - I haven't included any actual code, since I can't think of any impressive code from the game that is less than 50+ lines and I'm afraid it would clutter the page. Should I include some code samples on the page anyway? Or should I make some classes available for download? In many cases, including the whole source code for download would be misleading, since several people worked on it, and I only had main responsibility over some of the classes. - The design contains a prominently placed "drawn" portrait of me and I have a matching business card design in mind. This is heavily inspired by the advice of Darius Kazemi. Do you think the web design and business card design works well at "making an impression" or how could I improve it? These are just a few specific questions, but I'd appreciate any feedback you might have. Rune
  12. What is the status of animation and AI middleware in the game industry? AI middleware providers have rosen such as Kynapse and AI.Implant; specialised ones have taken up niche markets such as PathEngine for path-finding and Virtual Contender for AI NPC's learning to mimic how humans play. As for animation, NaturalMotion have some strong offers with endorphin, euphoria and morpheme to bring realistic animation to new heights. But how widely used are these solutions? Are the AI and animation middleware markets saturated? Which other middleware products are there, which are widely used in the industry, besides the ones I listed? I am writing a report on the AI and animation middleware market in the game industry, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Rune
  13. Oh, I just found that table: http://turbo.gamedev.net/wrappers.asp I'm feeling silly now that I didn't see it before... But the table is very nice and have all the information I wanted! :) I'll have a look at Project Omega now... ( http://www.delphisanctuary.com/ ) Rune
  14. I'm having a hard time getting an overview of what would be the best approach for me to create a 2d platform game with Delphi. I want to use DirectX, but as seems to be an ever returning subject in this forum, there are several different wrappers. For example: - Asphyre/PowerDraw (turbo.gamedev.net/asphyre.asp) - XCESS GDK (www.xsdevkit.com) - Omega (URL?) - Gamevision (URL?) - Others? Which is the best choice? What I want is not so much cutting edge features, but rather a solution that has proven its worth and has been used by many and in many finished projects. Tutorials using the engine is a definite plus too. (There is also DelphiX, but it doesn't work very well with the alpha channel and with rotation of sprites I've heard, and that sort of rules it out for me, which is why I didn't include it in the list above.) I've tried to find information on my own, but a lot of the information I found is outdated. I found this thread which should give an overview over the different wrappers: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=154107 ...but the link in the thread is broken now, so I couldn't see the nice chart...! :( Also, the FAQ for this forum is non-existant... So please bear over with me for coming here and requesting information about the different wrappers all over again... I have downloaded XCESS GDK and all the demos work for me now. However, I miss a more complete example than the simple demos provided. I have also downloaded Asphyre and it has the very nice Hasteroids example game, but when I try to compile it I get errors. I also get errors with some of the provided demos: AsciiDemo: [Fatal Error] Windowed4Base.pas(56): File not found: 'rgb-windowed.inc' VScreenDemo: [Error] MainFm.pas(164): There is no overloaded version of 'AlignedOut' that can be called with these arguments Hasteroids: [Fatal Error] MainFm.pas(42): File not found: 'dynamic_bass.dcu' Oh and one more thing - are there other relevant fora which I should know of? Anyway, all info is appreciated. Thanks in advance, Rune