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      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.


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  1. Very nice eppo! Now, using the Developers Rule that 'nothing you ever show, no matter how impressive, is ever good enough'... would be awesome+ to see this demo with that silvered water surface animating :)
  2. Rather than copy/paste this time, I thought I'd knock up some more pre-amble... http://dominium.maksw.com/2016/10/15/the-great-journey-part-two/ It's quite interesting to see the impact of things that have been left by the wayside for some considerable time, as they aren't really 'important techwise'... such as the names of things. I remember a Designer friend telling me to generate names for stars and planets in the last Kickstarter campaign, but I was reluctant as it meant 'doing things right' and producing an algorithm of meaningful and consistent / pronounceable names. I didn't want to 'name that thing' so early, as chances are things will change, move around the cluster, and so on. The Cluster isn't final - at the moment it's a 10,000 star globular cluster, and the aim is to get to 200,000 stars for the final. Different civilisations name things differently, and so on. But, that said, the plan all along was to deterministically generate the cluster and then patch in 'known systems' on top. Book One of When Stars Fall (Insurmountable Odds) sets out quite a chunk of the Cluster with names and locations, and they need to be honoured in the game as well. Simply naming the (small) set of commodities has grounded that aspect of the game, trading has taken on 'form' now that I can buy 12t of Bio-tech, instead of 12t of 'Commodity-04' Looks like I'll be naming those 'known systems' sooner rather than later ;)
  3. Cheers Eck :) A very, very long way to go still - but the seeds are promising I hope...   Hmm - autopilot / docking... it's been a big area of development effort, and it's ongoing. It's by no means final, and a lot of it is 'this will have to do for now' code (TWHTDFN - not much of an acronym!), but as you're interested enough to ask... :)   The system (at present) is broken into three objects - the Autopilot, the Navigator, and the Course. You ask the Autopilot to 'fly to B from A' - it then asks the Navigator for a Course (in my case a series of courses), which it plots. This may be direct from A to B, or via a set of waypoints. If an object is between A & B, the navigator does raycasts for collisions/intersections along the course itself, and then figures out where to add intermediate points to go around the object with a suitably wide berth. This can get tricky in densely populated areas of the scene octree!   The Course itself is a simple bezier spline through the points the Navigator issues. There can be a chain of 'courses' to follow to get from A to B, depending on how many times the Navigator has to avoid an object.   The Navigator is then responsible for progress along the Course(s), and all the Autopilot does is keep things ticking and tracks your position along the course as you progress.   At the moment it is very 'on rails' - once the Autopilot is engaged, you can't fly your ship, you have to disengage it first. When I get to it, I'll allow the player to intervene and alter course, and the Autopilot can then step in afterwards to make any necessary corrections.   As for docking, this is driven by a 'Docking Module' which can be attached to anything - a base, station or vessel - instantly granting it the awesome power to have things dock with it. Markup drives the approach points, and docking points within the docking bay itself. Eventually it will have collision volumes / trigger volumes as well for the AI to utilise.   The player and NPC's all make docking requests - which are fed into a queue which is processed FIFO. If the docking bay is not busy (i.e. no one else is docking/undocking) the request is granted and it's all yours. This 'permission' will eventually expire, just in case the player decides to dawdle, or gets distracted.   The 'permission' also provides a set of waypoints through the approach to the dock, and that is then handed to the Autopilot for it to worry about. Up until recently, you could only dock/undock using the Autopilot, but I've just set things up so you can manually dock/undock at long last.   Balancing the splines is a bit of a trial... and sometimes they go a bit... OTT :) as you'll see in the next episode!
  4. In part due to my long term absence from these hallowed halls, and in part because hopefully starting this blog series will force me to keep up the development momentum :) I give you my first attempt to do some 'playing of the game' in Dominium at long last... warts and all... (Lifted directly from http://dominium.maksw.com/2016/10/06/the-great-journey-begins/ - feel free to sign up for the Dominium Observer newsletter!) (PS. Apologies for the crappy formatting... despite adding newlines / whitespace, this Journal posting wossname keeps stripping them back out again :( ) [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]Gameplay.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]Yes, you read right. Finally.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]I am turning my efforts to gameplay. This series of blog posts (and hopefully video blog posts!) probably won't particularly read gameplay-ish, but trust me it is.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]I have chosen a task to complete within Dominium itself, the game universe. An epic task, a monumental chore of gargantuan proportion.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]I must trade my way around several systems, and turn 1,200 SIS (Sulranian Imperial Sovereign) into 100,000 or more.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]Ok, not so big - I grant you :) But, given the state Dom is in - purdy darned huge :D[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]No combat, though there are NPC's, and I can 'kill' them with a single shot atm - but they don't fight back. The aim of this epic quest is simple, to iron out kinks with the initial UI, trading, cargo/inventory, flight mechanics, navigation, autopilot, map and control systems.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]In other words, pretty much the entire game core.[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]The raw materials are all in place, and now I have to 'test drive' them to see if they stay together for an epic win, or fall apart in an epic fail! I know there will be catastrophic 'blockers' en route, so this is a 'warts-et-al' blog :) Don't be disheartened if the video suddenly disappears, it was probably just a crash :)[/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial]My journey begins at Star-7786, Planetoid-53095, GStation-1, with my purchasing 1,183 SIS worth of 'Commodity-05' - yes, exciting names![/font][/color] [color=rgb(58,58,58)][font=Arial][/font][/color]
  5. If you're looking for resolution independent, you're best off looking to generate noise in the shader - which can be done easily by the way. In fact, you can repurpose the code you have already and lift it in. Using the shader as the workhorse eliminates most of the concerns with texture seams, especially when using 3D noise.    I've yet to get around to completing my article on Dominium's planetary terrain system, but here is a link to Acko's superb resource I used as a reference; http://acko.net/blog/making-worlds-introduction/
  6. Nice, well formed article. Having recently 'gone PBR' in my own engine, it's great to have yet more good references for the inevitable 'When Things Go Wrong!' dramas!
  7. Hmm, could have sworn I'd already published this one... But, here it is anyway for those interested. Lessons of Lorecraft My trials and tribulations creating Insurmountable Odds, and also touching on the origins for the entire backstory behind the game universe. Enjoy! Source
  8. Screenshots now in the gallery ;)  [sharedmedia=gallery:albums:557]
  9. From the album Dominium

    Getting probably a bit too close to a star to be comfortable, without shields at least!

    © Mak Studios Limited

  10. From the album Dominium

    A sample of the primary five vessels of the Sulranian Imperial Navy.

    © Mak Studios Limited

  11. From the album Dominium

    Every object can self-shadow, if the effect is applied. Scene wide shadow mapping is also supported to allow objects to cast shadows against other objects.

    © Mak Studios Limited

  12. From the album Dominium

    Using procedural noise, the system can produce unique engine effects and combine several to provide even more variety. The system will be extended to weapon effects as well.

    © Mak Studios Limited

  13. From the album Dominium

    Supporting up to 8 dynamic lights per material, per model, the system supports point and beam lights at present, each light has configurable and individually controllable parameters.

    © Mak Studios Limited

  14. From the album Dominium

    Planets cast shadows onto their ring systems, and their ring systems cast shadows onto their planets...

    © Mak Studios Limited