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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. That's 100% it!! Oh man, I clicked the wrong manual. >_<   Thanks for pointing that out. I'm in your debt. :)   Using a sample config from the correct docs works as one would expect.
  2. TY hannesp. I tried both of your recommendations: unfortunately, no dice. The behavior is precisely the same.   It's as if it's ignoring the file's contents, but content that the file's there. I must be doing something wrong but I'm at a loss as to what. :\
  3. Hi everybody. I'm an old C/C++ guy trying to get into Java. It's a weird new world. Here I've got a HelloWorldOfLogging code chunk that's not cooperating yet.   The code builds and it logs to the console but only to ERROR. Nothing I do to the log4j.properties file has any effect on this: no change in format, no change in log level, nada.   Previously it complained that it couldn't find the properties file, giving me this output (top line is log4j, bottom four are mine): ERROR StatusLogger No log4j2 configuration file found. Using default configuration: logging only errors to the console. 22:57:48.398 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - error test 22:57:48.399 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - Debug isn't enabled. :( 22:57:48.399 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - Info isn't enabled. :( 22:57:48.399 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - Warn isn't enabled. :( This much more common issue was an easy fix: adding a single argument to the JVM itself (via the IntelliJ project configuration): -Dlog4j.configurationFile=(FULLY SPECIFIED PATH HERE) Which removed the log4j error message but otherwise gave me the same log output: 22:57:48.398 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - error test 22:57:48.399 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - Debug isn't enabled. :( 22:57:48.399 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - Info isn't enabled. :( 22:57:48.399 [main] ERROR HelloWorld - Warn isn't enabled. :( So, the output's totally unchanged otherwise, suggesting that it's finding the properties file but not using it.   The log4j.properties file I'm using is ripped right from the doc: # Set root logger level to DEBUG and its only appender to A1. log4j.rootLogger=DEBUG, A1 # A1 is set to be a ConsoleAppender. log4j.appender.A1=org.apache.log4j.ConsoleAppender # A1 uses PatternLayout. log4j.appender.A1.layout=org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout log4j.appender.A1.layout.ConversionPattern=%-4r [%t] %-5p %c %x - %m%n  And here's my very simple code: import org.apache.log4j.Logger; public class HelloWorld { public static void main(String[] args) { Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(HelloWorld.class); logger.info("Hello World of logging!"); logger.info("Working Dir: " + System.getProperty("user.dir")); logger.debug("debug test"); logger.info("info test"); logger.warn("warn test"); logger.error("error test"); if (!logger.isDebugEnabled()) logger.error("Debug isn't enabled. :("); if (!logger.isInfoEnabled()) logger.error("Info isn't enabled. :("); if (!logger.isWarnEnabled()) logger.error("Warn isn't enabled. :("); } } I've also tried using the BasicConfigurator from earlier examples to no avail. :\   If anybody's ever seen this or otherwise has any idea what I might do to get to the bottom of this, I'd very much appreciate it. I'm at a complete loss at this point.   Thanks so much in advance.
  4. If a drop is ultimately reducible to "gold" (in-game currency) then making it drop as something else is only valuable insofar as it contributes to immersion.   Consider grey drops in World of Warcraft or the Alien Food in XCOM:EU...in both cases, the combat event gives you in-game currency...but also something that's reducible to in-game currency. Certainly it's there to contribute to "realism" and immersion. In XCOM:EU, many of the "drops" - especially when you're tackling an alien asset, like a UFO or their base - are not monetary...but are easily transformable into currency at a button press...whereas in WoW you need to find a vendor to sell your stuff or you need to junk it. There's a lot going on here...also consider that, in WoW, carrying space (bag space) is a resource you need to manage, where in XCOM:EU storage space isn't a consideration at all; it's effectively infinite. "Do I carry these Withered Gizzards back to the vendor to sell? Or do I dump them in favor of these High Quality Withered Gizzards I just found?"   Note that I've omitted the otherwise useful drops in both cases; i.e. drops with functions beyond selling for currency, like crafting assets. UFO Flight Computers sell for big bank but also can be turned into Firestorms (the upgraded Interceptor model). These particular drops didn't seem to be on the table, but I can't really disregard them; they contribute to immersion in both a purely thematic sense ("Look, I found a fancy alien computer instead of a box of dollars") as well as a functional sense ("I can use this fancy alien computer to make cool stuff OR I can sell it for boxes of dollars").
  5. Kind of reminds me of Ultros from Final Fantasy VI...ridiculous tentacles adversary you fight like three times...then later he's running a gladiator arena and just hanging out.
  6. haha, quick eyes. I did redact that; I felt it was too confrontational and not constructive; too easy to misconstrue as adversarial.   Seems we have an accord. :)
  7. I think you agree that self-expression is intrinsically enjoyable. That includes game-making, cooking, and long conversations with friends where you really open up to them. If that's true, we can work with that.   Boredom is a choice; it is not an inescapable consequence of external factors, but a fully escapable consequence of internal ones. I get that a lot of people really like to proactively dismiss the idea that each of us are responsible for our feelings, but that doesn't challenge the fact that we are. As Louie C.K. says, the world is vast and each of us has explored basically zero percent of it; our minds are functionally infinite. While we can't always (maybe never) choose what comes to mind or what happens to us, we do get to choose how we react. These are foundational truths to humanity and I think dressing us up like we're helpless is nothing more than an actively harmful appeal to pathos.   Whether you agree with my definition of boredom or not, if your assertion is that, purely, we should remove "boredom" as a possible status effect in our "redesign", I'm down with that. But it's maybe unnecessary if we can just present the "users" with a lot to do and not a lot of busy work to get to the fun stuff.   If all basic needs were guaranteed to be met for all people (something that I think most of us here have put on the table for our "redesign") that doesn't necessarily result in a "world of lazy gluttons." Indeed, we have (I emphasize *few*) lazy gluttons now who 1. are NOT a majority and 2. do not necessarily have all of their needs easily met. In reality, most people have to work (very hard) to meet even a portion of their needs, most people have esoteric hobbies they enjoy, and virtually all people who partake in some form of free self-expression (art) report that it makes them happy.   If we take away the need to work, I assert that we won't negate the desire to work; certainly we won't negate the need for self-expression, or the desire for esoteric hobbies. Why? Because, right now, whether somebody works to sustain survival, or because they feel the work is a calling of some kind, or they find true joy in their career climb (the three ways people approach work, according to research), people will still follow the other avenues to enjoyment. In many of the proposed "redesigns" here, people can still work careers if they want to, but nobody has to work three fast-food less-than-minimum wage jobs in order to survive. (Unless they really enjoy that.)   Imagine a world where you were guaranteed shelter and healthy food and reliable healthcare even if you did NOTHING, then you could go about doing whatever you wanted: meeting people, exploring, studying and leaning about what others before you had discovered; more time to spend with family and friends, more time to spend on entertainment, art, sports, whatever. If we can design life to facilitate this, why wouldn't we?
  8. The point in doing things is not only because it improves our lot in life. The point of doing things is often that doing the thing is intrinsically fun, valuable, or improves the lot in somebody else's life. Pediatricians, teachers, hospice workers, artists, and others work jobs that pay crap, demands 80+ hours of work per week, and they're not doing it for any reason other than their love for the field and/or love for the people they help.   (Before anybody says "Doctors make bank!" do some legwork on that thought. <3 Doctors make lots of money due to in-office procedures, which pediatricians do very, very few of compared to all other fields. They are some of the worst paid doctors. Really you can expand it [or change if you prefer] to nurses, orderlies, any other hospital support staff you choose.)   Meanwhile, imagine World of Warcraft or Dark Souls or any other multiplayer game, co-op or otherwise, where some people spawned in at level 40 and others at lv1; and maybe the people that start at lv1 can never surpass lv30. Because "life isn't fair" the designers say. The level constraints aren't random, either: they're based on what region on Earth you live in, maybe some non-P.C. demographics, and how much money you elect to pay per month.   How well do you think that would sell? :)
  9. My understanding is that std::thread is windowthreads in Windows and pthreads in most other places...so you should be alright using it. :) If you were explicitly using one or the other, you'd certainly run into trouble.
  10. There's certainly value behind designing a game for a niche market! That's the entire platform behind Chris Avellone and Brian Fargo going indie; Avellone himself has said that, even with the Kickstarter/crowd-sourced funding they've gathered, they still wouldn't be able to convince a large publisher to pick them up; it's just not *enough* money to interest them. BUT the fact that they did crowd-source funding that fast means there's interest out there, and now those people will get to play the game that they really want to play. Also, whether a game sells well isn't the most meaningful metric to gauge it's enjoyment factor by. Some games sell VERY well and turn into flops (consider the Aliens: Colonial Marines debacle) while other games sell poorly and are more or less legendary for good game design (Planescape:Torment, Psychonauts).   And, sure, it would be kind of a waste of resources to specifically explore the question "Are Capcom games objectively enjoyed more than Squaresoft games?" but expanding that question to "Are video games more enjoyable than other modes of entertainment?" could be objectively quantified in a well-constructed experiment. I bet it'd involve sticking EEG trodes up to test subject's heads (or using some other biometric measuring wearable) while they engage in various tasks. We actually have seen research very much like this; there was that study at Boston Children's Hospital using pulse rate to shut the controller off when kids got angry, teaching them to keep their anger in check while gaming, for instance; at PAX East this year there was a game called Throw Trucks With Your Mind where you wore a tiny EEG trode and used your brain to do things in-game; Sam Harris (philosopher, neuroscientist) conjectures that we can quantify a lot of mental states (emotions) using brain-scanning techniques, and that we should do so because we learn a lot about ourselves as we do. So, it is explorable; and it's happening. Not a waste of inquiry efforts, in any case. :)   Anyway, I fear I've veered us far afield...but frob has already hit the nail on the head, I think, and addressed my concerns to boot. We could potentially make a limited Utopia-style sandbox game world in which there were still risks to take, still items to collect, still things to explore and do; a game that's strictly PVE with solid rewards for constructive teamwork and solidarity. I'm looking forward to the alpha version. In fact, I'll draft up my resume to work on that project now.
  11. There are kind of a lot of low rez (but high fidelity) games on there...but not a lot of hi rez (high fidelity) games of this kind.   The only one I've seen recently (which I think I rather like) is Darkest Dungeon which is kind of Eye of the Beholder meets XCOM in a comic book. I recommend checking it out. :) Also, if you have the choice, I'd go for pretty 2D highly stylized art instead of going with "the 8-bit look" which I think would be harder to really make your own.
  12. ...in addition, a vacation abroad doesn't provide only a single month of relief. A year later and I still reflect on my time in that country fondly; still look at the pictures and marvel at how they really don't do justice to the scenery there; still remember that moment I looked at basalt columns and learned that they were (and understood why) they were the inspiration for the Dwarves and Moria in Tolkien's work. (He did much of his PhD work in Iceland.) Travel cannot be underestimated; it's a valuable investment, one that's worth the risk and the hard times spent working menial jobs. I actually listed a number of games that explore this very theme (i.e. finding value in living when much of your efforts are focused on survival) Cart Life and I Get This Call Everyday in particular.   ++ EDIT: Clarification t++
  13. Boorish was a typo; sorry for that. Grindy means what it sounds like it means: gameplay that is repetitive and lengthy simply to make the game last longer, e.g. early JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, most Themepark MMOs these days, etc.   You are  misusing the relativist fallacy. That fallacy comes up when somebody says "I don't believe the in quantum mechanics, so it's not true for me but it may be true for you." Facts like quantum mechanics are facts because they are discovered and ratified by well-controlled experiments for which the data and methods are made available for peer review and THEN they're peer-reviewed. This model does NOT fit your assertions. Not at all. Capcom games aren't uniformly better than Squaresoft games for all people: the proof lies in the large and fanatical fanbase that the FF series has enjoyed for a very, very long time.   The things that people enjoy are patently subjective. Some people prefer hiking to biking; some people prefer biking to hiking. Both are good for cario; both produce senses of peace and accomplishment in their practitioners; neither accomplishes any intrinsic goals outside of those set by and for the practitioner. You can't make a statement that one is objectively better than the other. Well you can, but you'd only be right *for you* because it's not something that's proven statistically significant in a well-controlled experiment. You're just making it up. <3   Insofar as "Travel is expensive", you should Google that phrase and see just how 1. the only expensive part is the flight and 2. travel's not actually expensive. I actually brought the max allotment of homemade granola (3 KG of dry goods is allowed for personal food usage when entering Iceland, which will vary wherever you go) and it's well worth the price of admission. This is another fallacy that you're misusing. First off, my conjecture there isn't a false dilemma: you posed the question "Were life a game, how would you better design it?" and so far you've only pitched ZERO game design ideas. Second, you're just rehashing what you said before i.e. that "most video games are better than urban life" for which 1. you're assuming is a priori (it's not) and 2. has been dismissed by me.
  14. By "relativistic" I assume you mean "relative" and not "near the speed of light"? :)   Whether you subscribe to the idea or not, it's a thing; it's real. In general, trying to assert that "Metal Gear Solid is objectively better than FFVII" or any similar claim is 1. purely subjective and 2. apples to oranges. MGS is a not-so-subtle social and political commentary masquerading as a stealth game while FFVII is a grindy sci-fantasy epic...and both games have fan clubs who vehemently make that very claim - X is better than Y - with their game in the X slot.   Admiration (or the opposite) for any entertainment medium is strictly subjective. Some people really, really enjoy clipping coupons, doing lawn work, re-arranging their apartments, re-alphabetizing their record collections, or a great many other menial chores that 1. aren't video games and 2. kind of share some similarities some some beloved video games in that they're maybe repetitive but serve as a bed for socializing and chilling out. I accept that YOU may find Capcom games to be unparalleled. I personally find them trite, borish, and cartoony. I feel that the prototype games that Sid Meier or Chris Avellone spew out over the course of a weekend when they're bored are far and away superior to anything Capcom has financial control over.   In either case, you don't seem to be talking about how to "design the game of life" but more trying to make the case that "video games are better than life." If that's true, I humbly recommend buying a plane ticket and crossing an ocean to see that that's not the case. <3 I recommend Iceland. It's kind of insane how cool that place looks. That's strictly subjective, of course, but...well, Google some pics, you'll see. A real glacier is way better than a 3D rendering. I remember very well the hike up to the glacier's face, wiping away the muck and peering into its icy depths. Video games just don't compare to that. Not at all.
  15. This certainly isn't a priori. I submit as plain evidence: all people who do NOT enjoy video games and/or prefer other modes of entertainment. If you like, we can constrain my (massive) set of data here to "people who prefer outdoor activities to video games". Each and every one of us can name people in our lives who enjoy going on walks, hiking, biking, or for a run all more than they enjoy video games. By framing "everyday real life" as if it's reducible only to the mundanity of chores and simple resource management is only building a straw man argument, disregarding the very real, very fun experiences of many, many people that don't involve Mario Galaxy.   Perhaps it bears mention that there are video games that present game play based on that very mundanity, or on very, very serious troubles that people experience under the weight of that mundanity. Cart Life, Papers Please, I Get This Call Every Day, Depression Quest, and Actual Sunlight to name a few.