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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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About socrates200X

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  1. Yup, www.liveplasma.com is it! Thanks!
  2. Soooo, I dig the Pandora Music Player (www.pandora.com), which, for the uninformed, chooses music similar to a band you enter based on crazy ninja music comparsion algorithms gathered by the Music Genome Project. Anywho, I distinctly remember a similar but different page on the Net somewhere, where you would enter a band and the page would display a graph of bands, with your seed band in the center, and all the similar bands branching off in different directions. The bands' names were within circles colored based on perceived genre and sized based on famousness / number of records sold(?). It was really cool, but I can't remember the URL. I didn't just dream this, did I? It wouldn't be the first time...
  3. Ah-ha!! A pox on Direct3D and their screwy transpose matrices, and on myself for not ferreting that out sooner. Thanks a bunch!
  4. This issue has been bugging me for some time now. The following is code from an application that performs simple transformation and lighting with an HLSL shader. First, the application source: /// Set effect constants D3DXMATRIX WorldViewProj, World, View, Proj; /// Matrices D3DXMatrixIdentity(&WorldViewProj); m_pD3DDevice->GetTransform(D3DTS_WORLD, &World); m_pD3DDevice->GetTransform(D3DTS_VIEW, &View); m_pD3DDevice->GetTransform(D3DTS_PROJECTION, &Proj); WorldViewProj = World * View * Proj; m_pEffect->SetMatrix("WorldViewProjMat", &WorldViewProj); And the shader source: /// Constants float4x4 WorldViewProjMat; /// Model space -> Projected space matrix /// Vertex shader. Transforms vertices from model space to projected /// space. VSOutput VS (float4 Position : POSITION) { VSOutput Out = (VSOutput)0; Out.Position = mul(Position, WorldViewProjMat); return Out; } This code produces the correct transformation for my scene. Now, my question is this: The mul() intrinsic used in the shader is defined such that if a vector is the first parameter and a matrix is the second, the vector is treated as a row vector. Assume p is my position vector in column form and W,V,P are my world, view, and projection matrices, respectively. This means that the two statements are equivalent: mul(Position, WorldViewProjMat) <=> pTWVP which leads to: pT(WVP) <=> (WVP)Tp <=> PTVTWTp But, this contradicts what I believe to be the correct matrix equation for 3D transformations, namely: PVWp which would, from right to left, apply first the world transform, then the view, then the projection to the position vector. For this to match what I calculate for the result of the mul() intrinsic, then each of the transforms has to be equal to its own transpose, i.e. they're symmetric. However, I don't necessarily think this is always the case. I'm stuck at this point mathematically, and the practical evidence of my working app shows that the shader code is correct. Can someone help sort me out?
  5. Yeah, I had a ball of a time sifting through the MSDN documentation trying to get GetOpenFileName() to work. Here's a code sample from one of my projects that uses it to open up a .txt file: /// Name: OpenFileProcess /// Description: Creates a Windows open file dialog box for loading the /// user-selected scene from file /// Params: NONE /// Return Value: NONE void OpenFileProcess() { OPENFILENAME OpenDialogInfo; const DWORD lMaxNameLen = 256; char strPathname[lMaxNameLen]; char strDialogTitle[20] = "Open File"; /// Init file dialog box info OpenDialogInfo.lStructSize = sizeof(OPENFILENAME); OpenDialogInfo.hwndOwner = g_Window.GetWindowHandle(); OpenDialogInfo.lpstrFile = strPathname; OpenDialogInfo.lpstrFilter = "Scene file (*.txt)\0*.TXT\0"; OpenDialogInfo.nMaxFile = lMaxNameLen; OpenDialogInfo.lpstrTitle = strDialogTitle; OpenDialogInfo.Flags = OFN_FILEMUSTEXIST | OFN_PATHMUSTEXIST; /// Create file dialog BOOL bFileChosen = GetOpenFileName(&OpenDialogInfo); /// If user presses Cancel button, skip remaining function if (!bFileChosen) { return; } /// Use filename to load scene g_pScreen->LoadScene(strPathname, g_hDC); }
  6. In case any of you find yourself my current proverbial pair of shoes of searching for a game job out here in the Wild East, take heed. After putting my resume up on various resume-put-up sites, I get a call from an HR staffer at Comsys, inquiring into my experience with C++ and DirectX. I replied enthusiatically, not having much luck as of late in the "getting interviews" department. We traded back and forth info on my credentials and set up a phone interview time for Friday, 1 PM. It's only after I hang up that I realize, in my haste, I forgot to inquire as to the job description. Friday comes and goes with nary a cute ringtone from my cell phone. At this point, I'm wary but still desperate, so I call Comsys back, inquiring into the lack of interviewing and knowing what the job is and all that. Call back comes a few days later. Oh, I'm sorry, we meant to reschedule you for Monday as it works out better for our interviewers. We'll also send you an e-mail concerning the job description. Does that work for me? Sure, my steady diet of Chipotle and Coke is draining my bank account slowly but surely. I'll tag along a little longer. The sun rises and sets on Monday; no interview, no e-mail. My crisp professional persona and witty but appropiately demure interview quips are collecting dust. I decide, out of morbid curiosity, to call back Comsys again to get some explanation. Oh, the interviewers totally forgot! We're so sorry! Is Wednesday, 1 PM OK with you? Sure, lady. At this point, I've written off the company as a joke. Even if I did get hired by them (eventually), the thought that future business matters like, I don't know, my paycheck would be treated with such obliviousness freaks me out. I guess the lesson here don't trust companies that call you out of the blue after trudging your CV out of the millions on a resume website. I'll keep you informed if this third proto-interview comes to pass... On a lighter note, I've taken that first tentative step into the realm of "I think I'm pretty sure I know what I'm doing...sort of" by authoring what I believe to be a Gamedev article. The article provides and discusses a windowing class that I use regularly which encapsulates much of the perenially reused Windows code into nice, neat methods. I would greatly appreciate any feedback from the journal reading community (since you're reading stuff anyway) on my nascent article and/or the corresponding code. Thanks a whole bunch!
  7. for(;;) is equivalent to while(true), that is it's an infinite loop. You can leave any of the three for fields blank if you don't need them (the second field defaults to true), e.g.: int g_iLoopCt = 0; for (; g_iLoopCt < 8; ++g_iLoopCt) { /// ...blah }
  8. Unity

    To reiterate what jwalsh brought up, the two big schools that game companies know and trust currently are Full Sail (Florida) and DigiPen (Washington), both because they've been around long enough and they've produced good developers. There are a lot of schools trying to get onto the "Game Design degree" bandwagon with varying success. Most of these curricula have had much less time to fully blossom, and some schools just want your money(!), so you have to be very critical of exactly what you're getting for your cash. First off, classes. The school should offer classes that move you towards your final job goal. If you want to program, they should offer a lot of programming classes, etc. Also, you want to maximize your class-to-portfolio ratio, i.e. you want walk out of each class with as much to add to your living body of work as possible. If you see "Advanced Animation Techniques", you think, "Ah, I'll get a good animation demo or three out of this." and so on. "Game Project" classes are golden as ideally you walk out of them with a full, hopefully impressive game. Plus, they give you the best feel for how working on a game development team will be. Secondly, auxillary resources. How hooked up is your school, resource-wise? Schools like UAT and DigiPen have access to SDKs, computer labs, books, people, etc. that smaller schools may not. Any good program can teach a student to program real-time graphics and game engines (note the adjective "good" [smile]), so resources can be the tipping point for whether or not you decide to drop $40K and 4 years on a school. All in all, the name of the game is scrutiny. Look up various programs' curricula and compare. See which has more comprehensive classes, more opportunities to develop your demo reel, more tools to help you develop more impressive content while you're there. Any classes / resources that a school is lacking you'll have to make up on your own in addition to the money/time you're paying the school. Make sure not to waste either.
  9. Unity

    I feel compelled to speak up in agreement with rileyriley, another UMD alum. [smile] I didn't know that I wanted to do game programming until my junior year of my Comp Sci degree. I don't think I had much of idea what to do at all until then. I dabbled in writing, physics, math, and philosophy until I settled on programming, something I wouldn't have been able to do had I gone to DigiPen at first. The specialization that DP specializes in is a two-edged sword; you'll be ahead of the game in the game industry, but not much in any other field. As cool as programming 3D model animations is, there's not much call for it outside game development. That being said, I amend my earlier advice. If you're absolutely sure you want to go into game development and nothing else, do a game school. If, like 90% of anyone else, you're just not sure what the hell you want yet, do a traditional school. The broadened perspectives are worth it, and are a far sight better than being stuck in one field for the rest of your career.
  10. Unity

    Quote:Original post by DragonGeo2 Quote: I was in a hiring position for nearly a year and I can tell you that there are primarily two schools which employers look at seriously for game development. Full Sail and DigiPen. Both have relatively solid programs and good repuations. I can, however, tell you from my past experience in grading programming tests, etc...that by and large DigiPen students faired better than Full Sail applicants. Very good! I was recently accepted to attend DigiPen for it's four-year bacchelor's degree program in "Real-Time Interactive Simulations". I had heard it was *quite* the hard course, however. Do you know how well students who have attended that course have faired? Congrats in getting into DigiPen! It's a tough nut to crack, depending on whom you ask. I'm a recent alumnus from the DP Masters class. The Bachelor's program is tough in the sense that they push a very full course load on you from the start (averaging around 20 creds a semester), expect you to acclimate quickly, and do much of the learning / team building *outside* of class. If you're not a self-pacer, it can be very easy to get left behind. Nevertheless, it's a reputable school for a reason and I found the seniors to be very knowledgable and able to create some fun stuff. (Gooo Rumble Box!) As for the "traditional vs. game college" point, I went traditional and I know a lot of friends that went straight into game school from high school. The main difference I found was fundamentals over specialization. My DigiPen colleagues could code realtime graphics backwards and forwards, leaving me in the dust, whereas basic data structures and algorithmic analysis tripped them up where I excelled. Because of this, DigiPen seniors hit the ground running as they're able to make games right out of school. But without a good grounding in the basics of software engineering, that'll only get you a few years before you burn out, or worse, become obsolete.(!) Since you can compensate for either education by doing a little overtime studying (which you should be doing anyway), I say go for game school. That way, learning about the industry and developing your portfolio will be a lot easier. Not to mention that being there puts you in touch with a lot of contacts, which are very useful in getting your foot in that door. While there, use that precious little free time to bone up on applying data structures and algorithmic analysis to your code so that 5 years down the line, you're in a better position knowledge-wise to outpace your peers for that senior developer position. Neither way's perfect, but game school gets you the industry knowledge you need, without leaving you with a bunch of "helpful" UNIX / Java projects on B+ trees as your "demo reel" for game companies. Not that I would know anything about that...[lol]
  11. Ah! Totally useful to know. Thanks!
  12. Correct my thinking on this if I'm wrong: /// For each bone, compute final matrix by computing first by bone offset, /// then by the bone's combined transformation matrix for (unsigned int uiBoneCt = 0; uiBoneCt < uiNumBones; ++uiBoneCt) { D3DXMatrixMultiply(&m_pBoneMatrices[uiBoneCt], &pMesh->pBoneOffsets[uiBoneCt], pMesh->m_ppFrameMatrices[uiBoneCt]); } /// Update mesh with new animation transforms void *SrcPtr, *DestPtr; pMesh->MeshData.pMesh->LockVertexBuffer(D3DLOCK_READONLY, (void**)&SrcPtr); pMesh->m_pSkinMesh->LockVertexBuffer(0, (void**)&DestPtr); pMesh->pSkinInfo->UpdateSkinnedMesh(m_pBoneMatrices, NULL, SrcPtr, DestPtr); pMesh->m_pSkinMesh->UnlockVertexBuffer(); pMesh->MeshData.pMesh->UnlockVertexBuffer(); This is part of an implementation of a skinned mesh animation project. As the theory goes, the bone offset matrix for a bone transforms vertices from the original "bind space" to bone space, then the combined transform takes the vertices from bone space to character space, rotating / translating based on any local animations. Now, this means that if B is the bone offset matrix and C is the combined local bone transform, then the correct matrix multiplication order would be CBv, since matricies multiply from right to left. But, as the code shows, the multiplication is BCv, which seems false. Changing the order messes up my model. Is there some weird way DirectX handles matricies?
  13. Yesterday, I attempted to rev myself up to restart the animation project I had messed up earlier on (see Feb 26), but the Motivation Gods weren't giving me the juice. I wasn't feeling...animate-y. So, to prevent myself from a complete loss of a workday, I spent the better part of my day toiling over MS Paint, crafting myself a business card logo out of nothingness. The laws of thermodynamics have nothing on my Paint skillz. In hindsight, it looks a lot like the Super Metroid logo, which wasn't my original intent, but I think I can play it off as an homage. As I'm not really any sort of artist, I was impressed with how not horrible this came out. Anywho, it's going on my business cards, so be on the lookout!
  14. Yeah, so, at DigiPen, we had a class in Advanced Animation Techniques, one of which was "hierarchial models and animations", which involved treating a model as composed of "joints", each with its own local translation/rotation matrix. Our first project involved implementing this, which I attempted to do with DirectX. Apparently, they had a very similar but differently named idea called "skinned meshes", where a model is composed of "bones", each with its own matrix. I spent a lot of time and code effort translating between my two interpretations of the concept. For some reason, it didn't hit me that the two were the same until just recently. How I make it out of bed each day, I'll never know...
  15. This is my first journal entry. As such, there's not much to report.