Game Development

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Blasphemer
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Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:58 am UTC

Are any of you guys interested in MAKING games or is this forum section strictly for discussions of playing them?

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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:50 am UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Blasphemer
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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:12 pm UTC

Wow, those were a lot of pages to go through... no wait, those were a LOOOooot of pages. :shock:
I have been through about a quarter or less in the past 6 hours. (Reading non-work related stuff doesn't sit well with my supervisor.) A thing that I noticed though...
The ones where actual development takes place are pretty short and doesn't usually get anywhere, and the ones where the ideas are just discussed and nothing else tend to have more details. (Which is good for me, I'll explain why some other time... if I get to stick around here longer.). :|


Anyway, as you may have probably (and correctly) assumed by now is that I am another video-game-developer-wannabe trying to make a futile attempt at making a name for myself in the video game industry. So there, if anyone out there is going to point that out, then let me tell you right now that you don't have to. I already know.
:mrgreen:

I'm also a student studying and working at... (I tried typing some information about me so that you would have a better idea why I think the way I do, but after the sixth paragraph, I figured you guys would've rather not read any of it... except probably that first part.) ...for probably the rest of my life.


About that video game idea (if you're still reading at this point), I've been thinking this game up for a long time now but I figured that the technology back then couldn't handle it because otherwise, somebody else would've already done it... but as a lot of games nowadays are getting closer and closer to it, I figured that now is the best time to start so that by the time I get to finish it, advancements in computing technology would already be able to handle and run it. :lol:

I could describe it with a lot more detail, but first I need to get your opinion on a certain matter first.



How would you like to be a King?



The obvious answer would be "hell yeah" but the goal of my game is to convince you otherwise... anyone interested?

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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:23 pm UTC

(I appolgize in advance for tersness and perhaps wrong words used. On a phone, and we know how fun phone spellcheckers are)

There are a few threads devoted to a particular game (search "dwarf fortress space" for one) but the main reason you're not seeing specific games start, grow and finish is....

Making a game is hard.
Adding features is harder.
Adding features you didn't plan on is harder still.
Taking features you planned and making them cohesive is even harder. Unplanned ones? Doubly so.

And while this isn't technically hard, having people who think they're helping you design a game rip apart your latest feature and not wait for the next feature that makes it logical is soul crushing.

And, of course....99% of everything started on the Internet crawls to a halt at roughly the 40% mark - right where it's taking shape, but also where the complications are starting to get really complicated.

Now to reread the rest of your post.


*edit*. How would I like to be a king? I... I don't understand the question. Not in the context of past tech not being good enough, as I am thinking of games like Civ, Majesty, Stronghold and Castles (and Castles II!) which seem to do the job well enough.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Lostdreams » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:42 pm UTC

Little King's Story! AKA King of the Pikmin.
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Sorry, we just learned science.

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Re: Game Development

Postby psion » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:45 pm UTC

If you're looking to build a game by yourself and are worried about whether or not current computing technology can handle it... Uh... We can't help you.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:15 pm UTC

I figured as much.

The furthest I personally got was making a dot jump around my screen. That was easy enough, but the harder part was thinking of what to do next. I mean, I just sat down in front of my computer and started coding away aimlessly with no actual goal in mind and before I knew it... this dot was blinking there, staring back at me, asking me "Now what?". I hit the left key, he moved left. I hit the right key, he moved right. "Now what?"

So I figured that the best course of action would be to make a world for my dot to move around in first. But what would this world look like? Will it be in space, a city or some fantasy world? Will there be other dots there with him or will he have to whole place for himself? What else can I do to make my little dot's life more fulfilling? How the hell can anyone be this emotionally attached to a pixel on a monitor? Will this be the last thing I'll have to think about? It was then that I realized that I wanted... nay, NEEDED to make a video game.

So I spent the last two years gathering material from the internet and some close friends of mine to the point that we have created a universe, albeit only in our heads, that we would want to play in. We wanted to and we tried to make it until we realized something... that we would need a lot of resources, and the only way to get those resources back is if we could get other people to play it with us. Now the question is... would anyone want to?


So here I am, in the only place I know where people are intelligent enough to give an unbiased and constructive criticisms.
Anyone wanna hear me out?

Edit: Grammar

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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

Stop what you're doing. Just stop. Whatever you have in your head is a nightmarish union of game types that will not all work together in anything close to a cohesive way. I say nightmarish because that's what it'll be I'd you try to make it.

Just stop.

Game design is a very real thing, and right now it sounds like you're completely ignoring it. Basically, you're going backwards. You don't make a playerdot THEN make the world for the dot to move in, you make the world first, then figure out how the dot can interact with it. Figure out what you want to do first, then build a game to do it. What you're doing is the opposite - building a game then trying to figure out what you want to do.

If you can't explain what you are doing with the game in a couple of sentences, it will only end in tears and an unplayable game.

In addition, you've been working for two years to gather information? That's nice. Set it to the side, and make a platforming game. Simple enemies, a protagonist that can shoot a gun ands jump, maybe make it a dinosaur with a rocket pack for shits and giggles, whatever. Make sure you can make a game, even as one as simple as a platformer shooter.
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Re: Game Development

Postby Lostdreams » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

Making a good game like writing a good book, everyone thinks they can do it and will criticize those that actually make a finished product.
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TrlstanC wrote:But, I'm still curious, did no one else ever learn about creationism in science class at some point, at least those who went to public school?

Sorry, we just learned science.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Adam H » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

I have been in a similar situation. I took some computer programming classes for my Mechanical Engineering degree, and decided to use what I learned to make an awesome 2D physics based game. The idea was perfect - exactly the game I would play for hours online. And the first few hours of writing code was amazing fun - the thrill of seeing two little circles move around like they were swimming in gelatinous goo was awesome. They would bounce off each other in exactly the way I had hoped. But then... I couldn't get this one little thing to work, and I just kind of set the code aside until I could think more about it. And then after a while it just wasn't worth it anymore... It's been a long time since I considered busting it out again.

Ideas are the easy and fun part. Implementation is the hard and frustrating part. Until you have proven yourself to be an implementer, no one will believe you that your future game will be fun, let alone playable.

I'm not sure what you're asking for. No one's going to give you money - I dunno what else "resources" could mean... If you want alpha testers then I might be up for it. If you just want to bounce some ideas around, feel free to PM me. As I said, ideas are the fun part, and I like thinking about stories and fictional worlds and whatnot. I forgot all my limited programming knowledge so I won't help in any substantial way...
-Adam

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Re: Game Development

Postby Dark567 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:50 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Game design is a very real thing, and right now it sounds like you're completely ignoring it. Basically, you're going backwards. You don't make a playerdot THEN make the world for the dot to move in, you make the world first, then figure out how the dot can interact with it. Figure out what you want to do first, then build a game to do it. What you're doing is the opposite - building a game then trying to figure out what you want to do.
I am unconvinced the bottom up approach doesn't actually work.

Generally when I talk about software design, I tell engineers to figure out about 3 features and implement them and don't worry about anything else. In games that's usually: a character(i.e. a dot), spaces or tiles, and the ability to move the character on those tiles. Once that's all working, then decide on another feature to add on to it. Almost anything else is an attempt to do to much at once usually ending up with a spaghetti of features that are broken. Generally I find that internet projects like this fail because they attempt too many feature from the beginning, not too little. To my knowledge most games implement a bunch of features they didn't originally have planned.
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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

Perhaps I explained poorly. Perhaps I'm wrong.

The point I was attempting to make was that I've seen games in which it's clear the programmers got the left-right movements on the 2D plane right, and they got the jumping to have the right amount of Float without being wonky, and the gun is sensible and so on.... but then there's the whip. An item you're supposed to be using to get around, supposed to use on certain puzzles and enemies, and frankly - it rarely comes up in the levels outside of a few times here and there, it doesn't look right, doesn't feel right, controls like shit, and feels like something that was tacked on midway through the production (and upon reading the design notes, you see that it was tacked on towards the end of the production cycle)

That's really what I was meaning. Feature Creep. Feature Creep is fucking terrible.

Now.. before anyone opens their mouth about it.. yes, Dwarf Fortress is basically nothing but Feature Creep. Sorta. That being said, Toady acknowledges that the way he's making his game is all wrong, outside observers say it's all wrong and yet it's working.

For one game.

Out of how many hundreds or thousands of games that die from Feature Creep making it too large, too unwieldy, too complicated and a nightmare in the coding? Exactly.

A couple of examples here and there of the trend being bucked are fine. They're a good reminder that yes, it's okay to go outside of The Establishment of Coding from time to time and see what you can do. Of course, it's also pretty damn arrogant to think that's where you can start. Toady's got a couple of games that pre-date DF. It's not a bad idea to make sure you can finish a game before you start on the one that's haunting your thoughts.


That being said, if you know starting out that you want the protagonist to be a customizable in clothing and appearance character (art, mostly) who can walk, sneak, run, jump, long jump, shoot a gun in more than just the left-right flat plane, and use a whip to swing around on things and as a puzzle solving tool... that's great.. but it'd be silly to try and code all of that in at once. Get walking down, then add in running, add jumping and the modified run-jump Long Jump, THEN add in the sneak ability (that basically keeps you from walking off the edge of platforms) before you work on whip mechanics and how that will move the player around... and finally end with getting the gun working so the character can fight enemies. Puzzle solving whip can be solved by a simple trigger-of-scripted-art-sequence-thingy, or whatever, and may not be that big of a deal to get in.

But yeah, adding all those features is several versions of the game.


I guess I'm saying - sit down, write down in clear terms what the player will be able to do in the world, and how they will interact with it and the reasons they need to be able to interact in that way, and move forward from there. Fill in with what the world will be like, and go back to the player to add in interactions you forgot about, and you'll be able to start programming with a clear understanding of what the player needs to be capable of doing and why they need to be able to do it. If nothing else, you'll be able to fake interactions you can't get working right.
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heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Shivahn » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:21 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:I have been in a similar situation. I took some computer programming classes for my Mechanical Engineering degree, and decided to use what I learned to make an awesome 2D physics based game. The idea was perfect - exactly the game I would play for hours online. And the first few hours of writing code was amazing fun - the thrill of seeing two little circles move around like they were swimming in gelatinous goo was awesome. They would bounce off each other in exactly the way I had hoped. But then... I couldn't get this one little thing to work, and I just kind of set the code aside until I could think more about it. And then after a while it just wasn't worth it anymore... It's been a long time since I considered busting it out again.


That is the worst. I was working on something and ended up getting extremely frustrated because I couldn't quite get the collision detection to work (to be fair, the collision detection was really hard to implement and I probably should have thought more conceptually about the math). Anyway, I ended up putting it down for months.

Of course when I came back I managed to solve it in a couple of hours, soooo there's that. But then I kind of forgot about the whole thing and went off to do other stuff. I should probably get back on it.

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Re: Game Development

Postby psion » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:30 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote: unbiased and constructive criticisms.

SecondTalon wrote:Stop what you're doing. Just stop.

Yeah, there you go. You're free to ignore this advice, but the possibility of you getting close to finishing even the most basic build of your idea is very close to 0. Assuming you do, sure we'd test it and provide feedback, but at this point you have nothing but an idea. An idea is not a game. The fact that you're asking for help so early on, before you even put your idea to paper, let alone to code, tells me that you're not very serious about this at all.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:58 pm UTC

The only thing I can think of is to start small. It sounds like you're interested in making some RPG/simulation/adventure hybrid. It's your first game. You're trying to win the Indy 500 a day after you got your license.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:58 pm UTC

Wow, no sarcasm... wow. I never expected anybody here to be concerned at all. At first, coming from one of the most intellectually elitist bunch, I thought you guys were nothing but snotty snobby sons of b**ches. But you guys cared, you actually gave a damn. :o

A small amount of effort from your end saves people, like me, a whole lot of blood sweat and tears. I assumed that you guys had the most no-nonsense attitude anywhere, and re-reading how I worded my last post, I would've expected nothing less from you. I am honored. Unfortunately, I am unable to "explain what we want to happen in a few sentences" as I don't think anyone will be able to make sense of it without knowing what caused it. Also, there is this other idea that we have that we wouldn't mind botching since its simply our testing ground of sorts anyway. However, since we can only work on the other one during every other weekend, I usually have more time daydreaming about this one during the weekdays.
:lol:

Actually, that other one was our original concept when me and my group met for the first time during our freshman year for a group presentation. Nothing big really, it was just a simple presentation of how arrays work. We finished a simple version of it and had fun that we decided to keep working on it. Feature Creep. It was only later that we found out that we had a similar fascination with the Medieval Fantasy genre. We then pitched in ideas that we would want in that kind of game, one thing led to another and before we knew it, we were having debates on who would have rightful claim to the throne of a dead king. His dead-brother's son or his under-aged great grandson?

We have no intention of doing actual coding on the second one until we graduate. So for now, we keep in touch (I had to transfer to another university thanks to the first game, and get back together, seriously this time, to get started on the second one later... much much later.

Besides, just like you guys said, the most fun part is IMAGINING these fantasy worlds and running around in them, right? Well, that's all I want to do here... that's the only thing I can do right now anyway.


Again, I can't thank you guys enough for not making me feel ignored and giving what you think are unbiased and important opinions. Thank you.

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Re: Game Development

Postby psion » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

Well, don't get the wrong idea...

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Re: Game Development

Postby Dark567 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:10 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Perhaps I explained poorly. Perhaps I'm wrong.

The point I was attempting to make was that I've seen games in which it's clear the programmers got the left-right movements on the 2D plane right, and they got the jumping to have the right amount of Float without being wonky, and the gun is sensible and so on.... but then there's the whip. An item you're supposed to be using to get around, supposed to use on certain puzzles and enemies, and frankly - it rarely comes up in the levels outside of a few times here and there, it doesn't look right, doesn't feel right, controls like shit, and feels like something that was tacked on midway through the production (and upon reading the design notes, you see that it was tacked on towards the end of the production cycle)

That's really what I was meaning. Feature Creep. Feature Creep is fucking terrible.
Often though you don't know what features to add or would fit with your prototype of game, until you have a working prototype. Often though that will involve modifying the existing game to work around the new feature... not just tacking it on. Often once you have a prototype you'll realize that cool idea you thought of, wouldn't be very fun in the world you created, but this other one would.

Basically what I am advocating is Agile development practices for games with small team. Particularly those with volunteers who may only have limited time and experience. Make a small working game, with a limited number of features, code it well and polish it. Once that's done. Release it. See what people like or don't like and what you think needs to be added for more fun. Pick a couple things and make the next iteration, code it well and polish. Repeat until satisfactory.

I haven't played Dwarf Fortress, but a game I like that seems to roughly follow this is Kerbel Space Program.
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Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:27 am UTC

Not that I'm ignoring anything you guys said, it's just that really I wanted to get your opinion on some parts that we, my friends and I, couldn't seem to agree on.

On the coding part though... like I said, that's not gonna happen anytime soon, because I admit, we don't have ALL the necessary skills, yet. And even if we did, our project is closer to an idea/concept than a game. And though we try to keep the features as close to basic programming as possible, but if the base premise isn't even complete yet, then what's the point?

So that's why I'm here, asking for your straight-forward, honest and unbiased opinions. I share the concept to all of you, then, if you wouldn't mind, you could tell me why is it such a bad idea. Is it because it will be impossibly difficult to code? Because the idea I'm talking about will conflict with something I said before? Will it be too complicated or too simple? Does the technology today not have the capability to handle such a task? Is it simply lame, or just plain pointless? If it's not anything that I mention above, maybe you could tell me what makes it a bad idea then... or maybe... just maybe, the idea just isn't bad all?

I wouldn't mind it if you guys have to bash me and our ideas to the ground on purpose (I'm not saying you did), but I'd, honestly, actually want that. I mean, how else would I find the loopholes and exploitable parts? And then, at the end of the day, if the concept was solid and unshakable enough, then I could confidently know that I have one feature that I'm sure I'll be putting in. Rinse. Repeat.

Right? :|

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Re: Game Development

Postby WarDaft » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:48 pm UTC

The tehcnology itself is definitely up to the task. The software, however, isn't. You can't really have a game asking what it's like to be king without very open ended and realistic human interaction. We don't really have that kind of AI yet, and doing it any other way would require a practically exponential amount scripting for the length of time you want to let people be a king.

There's also the fact that it's a simply tremendous amount of work unless you're making something the scale of a Flash game. Which by the way, you should probably use as a starting point, or some other similar medium like a game maker, or an editor packaged with an already built game (WarCraft 3 probably has the easiest editor to use, but you're more constrained in the type of games you can make). This lets you see how much work the whole thing is likely to be, and gives you a chance to see if the concept is even going to be fun.
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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:41 am UTC

Blasphemer wrote:Not that I'm ignoring anything you guys said, it's just that really I wanted to get your opinion on some parts that we, my friends and I, couldn't seem to agree on.

On the coding part though... like I said, that's not gonna happen anytime soon, because I admit, we don't have ALL the necessary skills, yet. And even if we did, our project is closer to an idea/concept than a game. And though we try to keep the features as close to basic programming as possible, but if the base premise isn't even complete yet, then what's the point?

So that's why I'm here, asking for your straight-forward, honest and unbiased opinions. I share the concept to all of you, then, if you wouldn't mind, you could tell me why is it such a bad idea. Is it because it will be impossibly difficult to code? Because the idea I'm talking about will conflict with something I said before? Will it be too complicated or too simple? Does the technology today not have the capability to handle such a task? Is it simply lame, or just plain pointless? If it's not anything that I mention above, maybe you could tell me what makes it a bad idea then... or maybe... just maybe, the idea just isn't bad all?

I wouldn't mind it if you guys have to bash me and our ideas to the ground on purpose (I'm not saying you did), but I'd, honestly, actually want that. I mean, how else would I find the loopholes and exploitable parts? And then, at the end of the day, if the concept was solid and unshakable enough, then I could confidently know that I have one feature that I'm sure I'll be putting in. Rinse. Repeat.

Right? :|
I don't think adding features is necessarily that cut and dry.

That being said.. ... are you asking IF you can ask us questions about your concept, or are you asking about a concept as nebulous as "A Game About Being A King"..?

Because that's.. really, really vague. First off, when you say King are you literally meaning the English definition which applies mostly to England, slightly less precise in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and gradually getting less and less exact as you move away from England as the exact duties and powers of a King in Romania aren't going to line up precisely with a King in England, but it's close enough that we can generalize... Or are you meaning "Head guy in charge" which would apply to Kings, Emperors, Supreme Rulers, Dictators and so on - pretty much anytime someone has - on paper at least - sole power? I mean, I'm assuming you're restricting it to a time period and geographical location, or maybe a Fantasyworld equivalent thereof, but even then... I suppose the next question is -

What is it that you think Kings do?

Now, while this is an invitation for you to post what you think a King does, it's not precisely an invitation for someone else to correct you with historical accuracy. For one, even an English King in 1050 had different powers and duties than an English King in 1450, or one in 550. Hence, the needing to narrow down the time period. Second, it's your game, so if you think a King should be concerning himself with collecting taxes from merchants, that's your business.
Spoiler:
(Pro-tip : The tax-collector in the employ of the town's Lord, who answers to the King is the one who would be concerning themselves with it. The King only cares that they got the proper amount from the Lord, and don't really give a shit how the Lord got it, generally speaking. Granted, if it turns out the Lord got it by stealing from another Lord under the King's protection, there's a serious problem there.. but you get the idea. The King asks the Lord, who asks the Tax Collector, who gets the cash and passes it back up the chain. More or less.)


So.. really, while I think a game about running a kingdom as it's ruler would be interesting, a game about a fantasy king running a fantastic kingdom of Elves and Orcs or Elven Dwarves or what the fuck ever with some of the more boring bits glossed over would be easier to program. Because you're not having to keep disposition tallies of the Lords running, with various Lords hating each other for slights, real or imagined, that happened decades ago yet they have all sworn to You, the King, and thus require your protection and assistance in solving Royal problems while trying to hide common problems from you, when the Common problems are things like a brewing rebellion or an impending invasion and so on, because your Lords think you're an idiot and are simply currying favor in the hopes of getting more cash, lands, titles and so on while at the same time trying to figure out ways to depose you and seize the throne for themselves.

Programming that shit'll be hard.


TL:DR - Are you asking a question? As is, it sounds like you're asking if you can ask and you've not actually provided any details we can critique.
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Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:57 pm UTC

A bit before I begin.

I've had experience in indie game development (platform of choice being Sphere), and I'll absolutely confirm one thing SecondTalon is saying: Feature creep is ugly.

And stuff like this:

Things will look simple at first. They'll even look simple in code - "well, you just store this location, then slowly move here in an arc!" It always starts that way. But then, you realize you have to find a proper interpolation algorithm to get it working. And a way to properly adjust the bounding box for collisions - wait, what do you do if you colide? Do you do a physics simulation and recalculate your trajectory? Or do you just lose all speed on a particular axis, and slip to a side? Wait, that depends on how you store your character's position; will it be with a location, orientation and velocity, or with a location and movement vector? Okay, maybe the first one. Hey, top-down games are so 1990 - at least make it isometric. Hang on, now how do we determine which y is the real y, or the "screen y"? Or the "map y"? Or, wait, is "positive y" in your game "screen up", or is it following the isometric pattern, due to the upper right or upper left? Then how do you do collision boxes? It's fine for inanimate stuff (relatively so), but what about NPCs - they have to pathfind their way around us. An A* algorithm, most likely? Are you then going to use your isometric cells for the pathfinding, or are you going to- wait, lets just position our character on the isometric grid, then calculate on every update to the screen. Yeah, yeah that works.

Right... so now who gets to draw the player sprite? Wait, what do you mean "how many frames"- We can probably use an ingame clock to time the animation, and use - um, I don't know, separate PNG files for each frame? We can all load them in... At launch, at map load or at character entering screen? Wait, why's that character overlapping that building? The sprites should be drawn based on their "screen position", then offset to the upper left of the screen according to the size of the sprite (left by half the width of the file, and up by the height). Does that cause the engine to lag from checking the height all the time? Yes? We should cache it - or, can we store "centerpoints" for each frame? As metadata on the PNG file? Someone pull me up the PNG file format specifications...

Blasphemer wrote:Not that I'm ignoring anything you guys said, it's just that really I wanted to get your opinion on some parts that we, my friends and I, couldn't seem to agree on.

On the coding part though... like I said, that's not gonna happen anytime soon, because I admit, we don't have ALL the necessary skills, yet. And even if we did, our project is closer to an idea/concept than a game. And though we try to keep the features as close to basic programming as possible, but if the base premise isn't even complete yet, then what's the point?



People here aren't trying to be hard on you - they need to be, to make sure you're not wasting time. Games are extremely competitive with each other, and most of them fail terribly. Most good games start from a concept, then work their way to the details. You say your project is closest from a concept, which is good. Here's one thing - don't try keeping it close to your programming limits, because 1) you'll guess wrong, and 2) your limits will expand anyway.

You should probably tell us which bit you think is impossible due to technology. Someone here will probably have your answer.
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Re: Game Development

Postby Jorpho » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:48 am UTC

Blasphemer wrote:On the coding part though... like I said, that's not gonna happen anytime soon, because I admit, we don't have ALL the necessary skills, yet. And even if we did, our project is closer to an idea/concept than a game. And though we try to keep the features as close to basic programming as possible, but if the base premise isn't even complete yet, then what's the point?

So that's why I'm here, asking for your straight-forward, honest and unbiased opinions. I share the concept to all of you, then, if you wouldn't mind, you could tell me why is it such a bad idea. Is it because it will be impossibly difficult to code? Because the idea I'm talking about will conflict with something I said before? Will it be too complicated or too simple? Does the technology today not have the capability to handle such a task? Is it simply lame, or just plain pointless? If it's not anything that I mention above, maybe you could tell me what makes it a bad idea then... or maybe... just maybe, the idea just isn't bad all?

I wouldn't mind it if you guys have to bash me and our ideas to the ground on purpose (I'm not saying you did), but I'd, honestly, actually want that. I mean, how else would I find the loopholes and exploitable parts? And then, at the end of the day, if the concept was solid and unshakable enough, then I could confidently know that I have one feature that I'm sure I'll be putting in. Rinse. Repeat.
I would like to stress what is being emphasized by the others already: you do not seem to appreciate the utter enormity of what you're trying to get into. "You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is," as Douglas Adams might say. That is why it is so very advisable to start with something smaller and simpler first. Of course for a first attempt the final product might not be particularly interesting to other people, or even to yourself, but it is considerably likely you might not even make it to a final product, or even consider trying something remotely like it ever again.

SecondTalon wrote:Not in the context of past tech not being good enough, as I am thinking of games like Civ, Majesty, Stronghold and Castles (and Castles II!) which seem to do the job well enough.
Bravo for mentioning Castles II, sir. What fun!

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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:01 am UTC

First of all, I would like to mention that I am absolutely enthralled by SecondTalon's impossibly accurate description of what I want to say even before I have given any description whatsoever. Secondly, like Steax said, people here are being hard on me on purpose because otherwise I'd just be rambling on-and-on with nonsense that will just probably end up in tears and broken bones... I couldn't ask for anything more.

Now, with regards to the details of the game like graphics, collision and others... isn't that going to be dependent on the platform you're going to be using?

Because I mean, right now, what I have is...

Waring: Boring wall of text.
Spoiler:
...a simple C++ array-table where when two entities with a length of 3 collide, one cancels the other out depending on which part the "collider" collides with the "collidee" (My apologies, English isn't my first language, so if you know the appropriate term, please let me know. Also, again, my apologies if I make grammatical errors here and there everywhere.). The goal is to simply "paint" most of the "table" with your "slug's" (length=3 entitiy) color before your opponent. The game end when the timer runs out or if the whole table is painted by one color or the other. If you run in a straight line and not try to deviate for 3 or more steps then your "slug" not only "paints" the cell it steps on, but also the ones adjacent to it. So that means if you don't try to steer so much, then you'll paint more cells faster than when you keep turning. However, this makes you more vulnerable a target to your opponent. Because when your opponent hits your "body" (center), it sends you back to your starting point which you most probably "painted" already thus, effectively wasting some of your time and vice-versa. A head on collision, "head" hits "head", gets the both of you sent back to your own respective starting points and is often avoided by both players unless one of the "slugs" has an obvious advantage and just wants to mess with the other "slug's" game. Simply running after your opponent isn't a smart idea either because when you follow too close and the other "slug" suddenly stops, then you might hit his "tail" and this will send YOU back to your starting point.

So far, when I ask other people to test it, I noticed that the most used tactic (whether they've played it before or not), is that the losing "slug" (SlugA) keeps following the the winning "slug" (SlugB) to convert SlugB's cells into SlugA's color thus rending SlugB's further efforts useless and slowly grant the advantage to SlugA. SlugB will notice this behavior and try to get SlugA off his trail by either, if SlugA is too close, suddenly stopping, catching SlugA off guard and hit SlugB's tail, or, if SlugA is far enough, turn around and "engage". SlugB tries to go around SlugA to hit his "body". SlugA then sees him and tries to evade. When he does this though, since both "slugs" move at the same speed, the situation then become reversed and SlugB will now be on SlugA's trail forcing SlugA to asses his situation and try to maneuver his way out of it, just like what SlugB did earlier. Should SlugA turn to face SlugB instead though, it would result in a "head-to-head" situation which would favor the "chase-e" more than the "chaser" as the positions will be reset with the "chaser's" advantage lost until he manages to get back on his opponent's trail. Often times, the players forget that the goal is to "paint" the "table" and not just to keep eliminating the other "slug" which they often end up doing instead. So I decided to add a visible "frag-death" counter with their respective kill-combo messages from DotA like "KiLLiNG SPREE~!!" and "m-m-MonsterKill~!!" without telling them... but when they found out... hilarity ensues.


...and this is in DOS. So I figured that things like "how fluid the movements are" and "angle of attack determined by a character's position relative his target divided by constant angle 90 multiplied by movement speed plus base damage repeated three times for the X, Y and Z-axis added all together then divided by three to get the average" should be considered only after a platform has been picked to be the right one for the job. I mean, isn't it pointless to have such a calculation mentioned above in a 2d environment where height or depth may not even be visible?

P.S. That... thing... in the spoiler tags isn't in any way related to the one I want to consult you guys with, I just got a bit carried away. Also I wanted to get your opinion on this Feature Creep method. Because what I'm getting from you guys is that the mathematical computability (Is there such a word?) should be thought of first before conceptualizing of practical applications will make Feature Creep easier as opposed to the other way around... or am I reading it wrong?

P.P.S. I've been thinking of ST's challenge of "summarizing the game concept in a few sentences" quite a bit and I realized that I CAN do it. Here goes:

"Persistent MMO-FPRP-RTS-G"

Improbable? Yeah. Impossible? No. Think Savage 2 only on a wider scale. Now I know this is the part where you go OMGWTFBBQ and tell me that it's madness for someone like me to start with considering that the game I mentioned was made by a WHOLE COMPANY while we are just but ONE TEAM, but hear me out. Give me a few hours, I gotta get back to work, and on my second break hour, I'll explain better. Please, no bashing until then.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:17 am UTC

Blasphemer wrote:"Persistent MMO-FPRP-RTS-G"

Improbable? Yeah. Impossible? No. Think Savage 2 only on a wider scale. Now I know this is the part where you go OMGWTFBBQ and tell me that it's madness for someone like me to start with considering that the game I mentioned was made by a WHOLE COMPANY while we are just but ONE TEAM, but hear me out. Give me a few hours, I gotta get back to work, and on my second break hour, I'll explain better. Please, no bashing until then.


I have absolutely no idea what that means. Massive Multiplayer Online FPRP Real Time Strategy... Game? It's best if you tell us in pseudo-marketing speak; such as Minecraft's explanation might be something like "A sandbox game where you explore/mine the world and build anything you desire".

I don't know Savage 2, but seeing the trailer, and with your talk of kings, I'd imagine you want something like an MMO Civilization game with low-level atomic control, down to individual units? This here is why people have been scoffing at your bit on "impossible due to technology" - this is the information we need. The good news: if it's an MMO, you can just toss whatever computing power you need to a server, since client computers only need to render graphics and send network packets. This basically makes computing power a non-problem; no matter how demanding it is, it has no actual effect on your players, as they'll just see it all transparently happening.

The bad news: Just to be clear here, you're going to be stepping into the realm of networking (as well as things like security, compression, and so forth) with MMOs, and I can tell you that it is not trivial. For your early games, I suggest avoiding MMOs. If need be, develop with a server-client infrastructure at first, so you can easily branch off the server when you're ready. But messing with things like network security from early on can very, very quickly sidetrack you.

Blasphemer wrote:Now, with regards to the details of the game like graphics, collision and others... isn't that going to be dependent on the platform you're going to be using?


So you're using a framework or platform? Or an existing engine? Some do provide them, some do not. Sometimes you need to make your own systems for your own personal needs. This just shifts the headache of making your own engine from scratch, to selecting and learning a platform (and the bugs included).
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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:45 pm UTC

I swear, if my boss forces us to render overtime again, that will be the final straw. Anyway... *reads previous post* ...ahh, networking.

Actually, one of us owns an Computer Rental business (Quite popular here compared to first world countries I would imagine.) and is more than willing to close shop for a day every now and then, if needed be, to test/modify the engine for networking complications... considering that he'll be the one setting it up anyway. :lol:

Sadly, I can't say the same for the engine. I have no knowledge of any engine that exist that will cater to our concept's needs, nor do I know where to start with making a new one. So far, most of my calculations are done and simulated through DOS-based C++, which I intend to modify depending on what programming language the rest of my team decides to use. We also know that MAKING an engine would be harder than making the game itself... so that's not viable just yet. Which brings me back to the reason why I'm here in the first place. Hopefully, after I explain to you guys what the concept is, then maybe you could, if it exists, give me a recommendation of which engine to use. If not, then I guess that's one other roadblock we're going to have to overcome. :)


Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Role-Playing Realtime Strategy Game.
Yeeeaah... I guess that IS too much to handle for one person alone. Okay. But remember, I won't be doing ALL the work by myself. All I'm in-charge is the RTS side of it. I have an idea of how the RPG will work but I can't really give an in-depth analysis of it all. Like for example: There will be six basic character classes with their own respective set of skills. Some classes specialize in dealing damage while others are responsible for reducing or avoiding it completely. I know not what those skills are but one of those classes has skills that will aid in the management of his territory instead. That's it. How the other classes are played, I do not know. It is only that of this one class that I do. We call him the Bourgeoisie.

I won't be handling the aiming system, the damage calculation, the jumping physics, the walking/running animations, the item nor equipment database. All I have to worry about are the territories and what kind of control the Bourgeoisie class will have over it. An RTS... only difference is, from an individual character's point of view. See Mount and Blade

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Re: Game Development

Postby WarDaft » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:00 pm UTC

It might sound silly, but the WarCraft III World Editor is probably one of the fastest ways to prototype a game possible, unless you have never used it and are already very familliar with a similar level of editor for a different engine (which it sounds like you aren't.) If you aren't concerned with having customized art assets for the prototype, that makes things a lot easier too. A first person RTS would not be that much different from a third person RTS, and you can simulate third person easily in the WC3WE. You have a player cap, so it's not MM, but you get the O totally for free. From there, you can see how hard or easy it is to build the game as you want it to. It will be anywhere from dozens to hundreds of times more difficult to make it with your own engine, if not even more. This will give you a little taste of how hard it will probably be to get to completion, and let you try to work out how the gameplay feels and what it needs to be like to be fun for a fraction of the effective cost of actually making the game.
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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:26 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote:P.P.S. I've been thinking of ST's challenge of "summarizing the game concept in a few sentences" quite a bit and I realized that I CAN do it. Here goes:

"Persistent MMO-FPRP-RTS-G"
That's.. not exactly a summary. That's a description of genre. Lemme give you some examples.
Spoiler:
Saint's Row 2 - "Take a washed-out overthrown gang back from obscurity to running the city. Fight with and take out rival gangs before facing off with a corporation that assisted them behind the scenes. Occasionally streak because it's funny. Give physics and logic the finger as you set yourself on fire so ninjas can't catch you, then drive a semi through a building because fuck that building, it was in the way."

Empire Earth - "Start in prehistory using rocks and sticks as weapons and slowly advance to the modern age and beyond, possibly in a single battle. Mostly standard RTS tropes, but unit upgrades are unique to the player - no two players will necessarily pick the same upgrades, and all stats are upgradeable"

Doom 3 - "Level based shooting making heavy use of darkness and teleportation of enemies to induce fear in the player. Make player choose between seeing the horrible thing coming at them clearly, and being able to actually kill it. Have this tension ruined by the duct-tape mod. Also, get player so accustomed to teleporting enemies on item pickups that players just avoid items" (Alright, so I got snarky with that one)

Serious Sam - "Shoot a massive number of enemies on open fields, allowing you to move and maneuver - the smallest rooms are the size of the largest rooms in other shooters. Attempt to re-create the early days of first person shooting, but make everything bigger and more ridiculous than what came before."

Fallout 3 - "Survive in the wasteland in and around Washington DC. Interact with the various groups that have settled the area and ultimately decide if Humanity in the Capital Wasteland is worth saving."



That said.. a Persistent RTS. .. hokay. Let's... let's start with the problems right there.

Is the territory defined, or is it ever expanding? If defined, are you setting up new servers constantly when one is full? If so, how are you avoiding the "I wanna play with my friend" problem? Most people want to play with their friends and thus need to be able to pick their server. How is your starting location determined? Is there a Newbie Zone or are you potentially going to end up between two giant empires? Are you putting protections in place so that you can only fight people close to your power? If so, how is the terrain in between two warring nations counted - is it ignored, or does it present a barrier unless some kind of treaty is signed with one side? What happens if you lose your last territory - do you keep any skills/items/macguffins you acquired, or do you restart fresh? What happens when you log out? Do your territories stay there, defended by AI or do they vanish into the void? If the latter, what happens when you log back in? How is that terrain treated? Can someone invade the now uncontested territory you were in when you logged out? Or does it physically vanish off the map, meaning your island/peninsula/whatever is appearing/disappearing and thus playing hell with mapmaking? How many battles can be fought in a "Day", and how long does a day last? How about research and new tech? Can those be traded or are they intangibles that only apply to your empire? You mention some other stuff along with the RTS bit, so.. how much of the game does the RTS portion take up? Keep in mind things like an RTS match taking an hour or so while a FPS match can take as little as 2 minutes. You may have an issue where people are getting stuck in RTS battles. How do those even work - when someone wants to RTS throwdown, are you sent a missive asking you to participate and giving you a couple of minutes to respond, or does it force you into combat immediately? How does the Role Playing (whatever precisely that means) interact with the RTS portion? Does your Avatar have an RTS unit, or are you not on the field of battle? If you are on the field, does your Role Playing equipment carry over? If so, that means all soldiers have equipment and items and gear and so on, so are the individual soldiers individuals, or do you give gear to a unit or..? I mean, we've already established that RTS units can have gear from the rest of the game, so what's stopping you from equipping your soldiers?

...now keep in mind that I'm not even scratching the surface of questions you will need to have an answer for. And... the hard part? There are no right answers. There's the answers you pick, nothing more, nothing less. Only once you've answered all of them and try to make something cohesive out of it do you see that some answers are wrong... but only in relation to the exact game you're making. They may not be wrong answers for a different game looking at it in a different way.


But yeah.. a game hitting those genres? Even if you make it (which.. frankly, you won't because it's too fucking hard for teams of professional programmers with several games under their belts), the odds that it's not going to be a disjointed mess are incredibly low.
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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

WarDaft wrote:It might sound silly, but the WarCraft III World Editor is probably one of the fastest ways to prototype a game possible.


Hmm... use War3 World Editor huh? Hmm... yeah. You do have a point there. *ponders some more* The thing is, in War3, the experience is delivered (most commonly) through combat. Whereas the idea that I have with me is more of a simulation more akin to Stronghold. But you do have a point about it being good practice though and I'll definitely look into it. That was really helpful. Thanks.

Edit: Removed bad words.
Last edited by Blasphemer on Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:16 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

I'm going to warn you early on, then: You cannot have team members not knowing what others are making. Trust me. "There will be classes" is barely what you need to know. I agree with the others - start with this:
  • Go back to the beginning, scrap most, if not everything, you've planned.
  • Until the end of this list, do not type any code, or even consider technical limitations.
  • Sit down and talk about what game you're making. Make it simple enough to describe in a few sentences that a 50-year old would understand. Your current plan seems like "A game where you control a person, who gives out orders to armies, and rule the world." That's a start, but it's also extremely vague.
  • Remember, most games have a theme. Without one, they lose uniqueness and there's no reason to play them. Themes can develop, like how many RTSes have different themes over game periods, but they're still coherent themes.
  • Do not break up tasks per person - instead, finish the concept together, and make sure every single person knows every single detail. You can write different pieces of code, but you can't individually develop them.
  • Set up a rough design document. I suggest a wiki. Throw in the results of your earlier brainstorm here.
  • Make your proof of concepts. Throw together some concept art, shop your idea around, see if it interests anyone. Make sure you have a solid idea of what you're making.
  • Now do the geeky bits - set up version control, set up a testing server, browse for frameworks. Then code.

I'll emphasize on the one on tasks: everyone should be able to write code for everything. They might not have to, but they should at least know the gist of it. You can make exceptions, like not everybody has to understand the framework's method of dealing with particle systems, but for the most part, you should cover all bases. This is especially important in small teams, when you have no design document (or just a simple one) to base your work off.

And even worse, do not let them develop systems on their own. You'll end up with something kludged together (or, in ST's words, "a disjointed mess"). This is one of the worst ideas you can have. Make sure you develop the game together.

You might notice that your posts are often talking about code and computers, while everyone else is talking about game mechanics and design. This is because technology will be your tool, not your canvas. You can't let technology limit or otherwise impair your design decisions. Learn about game design, make decisions there, and then find a way to port it into feasible technology.

And like I said earlier, since you want an MMO, even better. All the grunt work lies on your server.
Last edited by Steax on Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:27 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:31 pm UTC

Yeah, I'm not meaning to actually get answers from you, just make you think. Though honestly, a crapload of those are pretty much cribbed straight out of Extra Credits. You should watch that if you don't already.

But also that thing Steax just said.

...

As an aside...

how much I love you (no homo) right now
Don't do that. Just... just don't. I know you're new here and all, but go read this thread or something. And stop doing that. It..

Gah, it's ... I mean, on the one hand there's the notion that you're so afraid of your own sexuality and the sexuality of others that at the slightest hint of something that might be slightly on the homo side of sexuality you have to loudly proclaim that you're totes straight. On the other hand, you're also putting forward the suggestion that being homosexual is also a negative. Sure, you love me, but not in a dirty filthy homosexual way, the regular ordinary straight way.

And fuck that mindset. It pisses me off.
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Re: Game Development

Postby not baby Newt » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:24 pm UTC

Before the wide scope of MMO ideas, you mentioned this.
How would you like to be a King?

Playing a king in first person 3d might not have very many gameplay elements such as combat. Mostly talking to advisors and stuff. But there might be a story, choises and consequences etc. Being overly oppressive or not.

The quoted sentence above reminded me of a flash game I found somewhere, 'choice of the dragon'. No graphics, just text. A scenario is described, you get a few options to choose from. Also a few stats are listed, for example brutality goes up if you are, uh, brutal. This let's you succeed in straight forward combat solutions that otherwise would go badly.

This is a completely different track from the grand idea, but more likely to get something finished if writing a story is your thing.

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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

The world I've been trying to share with you guys has to be enormous. That's the reason why one of the first questions I had was "will modern computing technology be able to handle it", because, as far as I know, only one game has been able to achieve a world that big. EVE online. They must have a huge budget allocated for server maintenance, and that is something I don't have. If it's not possible for a single proprietor to own that much computing power privately, then I will have to wait until computer technology develops enough for me to be able to do so.

However... if it is possible though (if it's not then let's just say it is), it's just a matter of putting that humongous world to good use. I think it would be just appropriate for me to share the first of many ideas that was put together to make <insert title here> before anything else.

Gold Sink
If you already know this, then don't bother clicking.
Spoiler:
Basically, Gold Sink is the concept of making the poor guy to become richer and the rich guy to become... well... not so rich. A form of this can be found in World of Warcraft.

Let's say, a maxed level character, Mr.Smith, who was incredibly strong and was incredibly rich with incredibly uber-1337 gear was incredibly bored. What would he do? Go outside? Do something productive? Of course not! In comes one of the "Profession"'s purpose. Mr.Smith takes up... lets say, Leatherworking. He has to gather a multitude of low level items that will take hours and hours just to collect. Mr.Smith doesn't have the patience to hunt for these weak nuisances. He fights dragons for crying out loud! So what does he do instead? He does what he does best. He kills a dragon.

"Well, that was easy." He thinks to himself. He then proceeds to sell the loot, get more money, and then he buys these said low-level items needed for him to make better items. All done.

Fortunately, the story doesn't end there. There's another side of it that we didn't see happen but did. Somewhere, out there, is a poor schmuck with nothing but the shirt on his back. He could try adventuring but without the gear of his companions in his pack, then he's always going to be left behind. What else can he do? The only thing he can kill are critters that can't fight back (Okay, I don't think anyone gets to be THAT low, but just for argument's sake, let's say he does.). He picks up everything he can and tries to sell it to the nearest NPC. Then, just as he does this, and he thinks to himself that if he wants to get better gear, then he has to squeeze every penny.

So he walks up to the auctioneers and tries to put up his "garbage" for sale, just a little bit above their selling prices. Mr.Smith, from earlier, happens to need said "garbage" and buys it right away. Though it may not be much, the poor schmuck became that much richer than he would've been and Mr.Smith then became... well... he's still rich... but not so much now.

And with that, the Profession System has done part of it's job.

A little story... not really necessary, just wanted to share.
Spoiler:
We know that Gold Sinks are important. And what better a Gold Sink is there than the ability to build your own house? Right? I mean, it's useless, but what better way to show wealth than having a house in the game. It could serve as another location to access your bank, probably a bigger one, have another location where you can be "rested" with and exp multiplier of 3 instead. It doesn't even have to be useless! It could house NPCs that work for you, they could repair your gear, cook your food, help you keep track of auction house items... at a cost. NPCs could demand a salary. The house gets dirty overtime. You would need maid. You need to PAY your maid. More Gold Sinks~!!

So I couldn't help but wonder why, a game like World of Warcraft, doesn't implement such a thing?

As I thought about it, some problems then became obvious.

1-It would take too much space.
My solution: The house is an instance. Only the owner can see his/her own house.
2-Too hard to program.
My solution: Pre-defined designs. The players doesn't even need to be able to design the layout, just the decorations.
3- Etc.
My solution: Etc.

I never figured out why, so when my friends asked me if I wanted to make a game involving making houses, the ideas just started pouring in uncontrollably.



Right, let me start with that sentence:
<InsertTitleHere> - is a hypothetical MMO that exists in a world where the players has to band together with their peers (Clan) to secure a foothold on a piece of land (Kingdom) that will produce resources that they can use to defend or conquer other Kingdoms, eventually uniting all these bands together to form a single entity (Empire). The empire, once established, now has to hold its own against the other empires that may, through economic or military means, attempt to achieve the ultimately impossible goal. The World.



Oh, and... I apologize for how I worded that... thing... ST mentioned. I know now that behavior like that is uncalled for and swear to never do/say again. In my defense, I come from the rural part of a third-world country that believes in curses that comes from anthills and invisible ten-foot half-horse-half man monsters that lives inside tree trunks. I'm still not used to communities that are not making fun of that topic as it is customary to do so around here (Yes, I blame society for everything.). Please bear with me, and again, my sincerest apologies.

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Re: Game Development

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:34 pm UTC

Oh, and... I apologize for how I worded that... thing... ST mentioned.
S'cool. Matter closed.

Blasphemer wrote:The world I've been trying to share with you guys has to be enormous. That's the reason why one of the first questions I had was "will modern computing technology be able to handle it", because, as far as I know, only one game has been able to achieve a world that big. EVE online. They must have a huge budget allocated for server maintenance, and that is something I don't have. If it's not possible for a single proprietor to own that much computing power privately, then I will have to wait until computer technology develops enough for me to be able to do so.
Dwarf Fortress makes bigger worlds. Minecraft makes bigger worlds.

Part of it is remembering to not make a world Big for the sake of being Big, but for the sake of being Interesting. Dwarf Fortress is trying to replicate a world so that the particular region you're playing in has believable interactions with the greater world around it. Minecraft waits until you go there before it makes something because otherwise it's just creating for the sake of creation and will cripple a computer. Basically, look to procedural generation to get you gamespaces that are greater than what Eve Online has.

But more importantly - ask why you need a world that big. How much of the world is an individual player going to interact with? How much of the world immediately outside of that space will be important? Putting it in Minecraft terms - the chunk you're on is important as you need to see it to use it, but the surrounding chunks are important as you need something to look at, something to be the horizon. And you want it to be a relatively long distance away so that there's interesting stuff on the horizon, but not so far that the game crawls trying to generate and display it all quickly when called upon to do so.

So (just to make shit up) if you know that the average player is going to interact with a gamespace that's 10 units by 10 units, and you want borders of 10 units between players so they have a place to expand before hitting opposition, you're talking about either adding a 22x22 space to the game every time a new player joins, or you're talking about limiting your worldsize for a set number of players.

Generating a 1,000,000x1,000,000 gamespace when you only plan on having 10 players in it is... creating far more gamespace than you need. Yes, it's the Dwarf Fortress way, but.. frankly, I think you can use Dwarf Fortress as an example of what not to do, even though it appears to be working for DF.

Here. Watch this thing. It's the Extra Credits people talking about a hypothetical MMORTS. Keep in mind that currently, no MMORTS has become successful. Some have paid their bills and made it to the black, sure, but they still died. What EC is suggesting is not having a gamespace, basically. No RTS territories, no resource gathering, nothing like that. Basically, using an RTS like a tabletop miniature game - you fight battles based on a point total, your units cost a certain amount based on their abilities, and you enter the fight on more or less even terms regardless of player level. A Rank 1 newbie could fight a match against a Rank 100 master - granted, the Rank 100 master will likely have five units on the field to the Rank 1's thousand, but those five units are going to WTFDESTROY the Rank 1's units, but may fall simply due to being overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
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Re: Game Development

Postby WarDaft » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:56 pm UTC

The world of EVE isn't that big computationally speaking. Space is sparse data. IIRC, the planets aren't explorable. So that's really just either hash table entries or octree data for objects. The overhead on either is proportional to the amount of stuff you have, not how far spread apart things are. Keeping an entry for every item larger than 1km across in the real world asteroid belt would take on the order of mere megabytes of data, only the oort cloud would require more. A thousand systems with the same number of objects would be gigabytes. There's a solid chance the whole thing would fit in the RAM my laptop has. That's also enough celestial objects for every living person in north america to claim their own celestial body >= 1km in diameter, and still have close to half of them left over. (Claiming them and placing objects near them would start to take more space) Also, in the real asteroid belt, you probably can't even see one asteroid from the next, they're really very spread out.

Now, if you want to do stuff with the real estate on your planetesimals, then we're talking about enough usable surface for everyone to claim a rock with area roughly equal to or even greater than (for comparison) Elwynn Forest in WoW. Then you'll start to have to really worry about hardware, but modern servers can deal with a lot more than that. A while back (over a year I think, maybe more) I read about the development of a server with 1.5 TB of RAM. As in 1500 or so gigabytes. No, there is not a technological limit on your idea. It's only money and effort.
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Re: Game Development

Postby Okita » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:12 pm UTC

Actually I disagree with Extra Credits on MMORTS. I found Shattered Galaxy to be an okay MMORTS. It's not amazing but it is something that is still going on and something worth looking at as an example for future MMORTS development.

Otherwise, I generally agree with what SecondTalon says.
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Re: Game Development

Postby Steax » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:26 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote:So I couldn't help but wonder why, a game like World of Warcraft, doesn't implement such a thing?


Simple. It's too complex for your average player, and they leave. Minecraft (I use it as an example because it's popular, it's indie, and you can play the classic version for free with no downloads) allow you to do basically this, and it's relatively simple - at least, it's a matter of placing down world building blocks. It doesn't even have a complex GUI to manage workers or salaries or whatnot. Yet, players manage to get their houses extremely complex, elaborate and sophisticated, with others building automated machines and mechanisms powered by a very simple ingame version of electronics. There's fun in this because you're inventing. If I see a game where you can "build a house" with so many details, it sounds fun (and probably is to begin), but then becomes a chore, and it quickly decays. There's a limit to how mundane a game can be. Players have their own goals - and games like Minecraft already have it easy because most of its players already have a goal of... building and exploring, so they don't mind having to manage their homes. But in a game like WoW? Again, there's a limit.

Here's a thing to note: it's rare, in programming in general, for a feature not to be included because of code/space/power limits. Of course, it happens - but it's rare. What you'll usually see is the software simply requiring more space, more power, or more time (or more money to re-engineer). Most programming features don't make it because it's not needed by design. If users won't use it, there's no point building it. Plain and simple. This applies to games, too - if you need to shell out a lot of manpower/money for a feature that players might not be interested in, don't make it. In other words, you need to know if your players want a feature before developing it. You do this by creating a story, finding a niche, and making the system intuitive. I'd expect a game, for example, that lets me make a farm, to have my own cattle - but I'd find it counterintuitive to let me fly a plane at the same time. This is why I'm pushing you to redesign and pick a clear theme for your game.

It's one of the basic rules of application design in general: do not build from features, but build from a need. In games, figure out what your players want to do, and build from there. Don't just toss in a bunch of features.

As others have stated, don't worry about world sizes. In fact, if you're concerned about technology limits from the beginning, don't be; don't over-optimize and build walls around yourself for things that don't yet exist. When you have a player following and customers, then you can decide on things. For now, don't worry about it.
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Re: Game Development

Postby ConMan » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:21 pm UTC

Blasphemer wrote:P.S. That... thing... in the spoiler tags isn't in any way related to the one I want to consult you guys with, I just got a bit carried away. Also I wanted to get your opinion on this Feature Creep method. Because what I'm getting from you guys is that the mathematical computability (Is there such a word?) should be thought of first before conceptualizing of practical applications will make Feature Creep easier as opposed to the other way around... or am I reading it wrong?

Yes you are.

Feature Creep is bad. It's nearly inevitable, but it should be avoided as much as possible. Feature Creep has nothing to do with how capable the computers are or anything like that, it's what happens when you realise your original design failed to take something into account - or when someone comes along half-way through implementation with an allegedly brilliant idea that needs to be included in the game.

If you're thinking of the game in terms of the program first, mechanics second it's even more likely that you'll run into feature creep as you (or your playerbase) discover deficiencies or exploits.

When a new feature comes along, one of three things can happen:
(1) You decide it's not worth including, and discard it. As a general rule, if the feature is introduced with the phrase "Wouldn't it be cool if ..." it should fall into this category.
(2) You tack it on as a side module. This is pretty much guaranteed to break something else, either in the program itself or in the way players interact with the game. For example, suppose your game is originally PvP only but you decide to include some killable NPCs. Maybe some people start engaging in only NPC combat to get crazy stats and items, so that when they finally do go back into PvP they wipe the floor with everyone else; or maybe someone finds a bug that lets you re-spawn the NPC over and over again, and exploits it like crazy.
(3) You rework the entire game to fit it in. If you absolutely must include the feature, then you must do it this way rather than (2). And it doesn't just mean writing code to make it work, it means going back to your original design documents and working out all the ways this new feature could affect the game mechanics.

A good example of (3) is a browser-based game called Star Pirates. The admins there are constantly twerking the mechanics when they find something that breaks, but when they do make changes they have a test server where they and the moderators muck around to try to see what could happen when they make changes. They already have an NPC battle mode (called the Asteroid Belt), but even when they brought in a tougher version (the Deep Belt) they tested it like crazy - were the NPCs too tough? Were they not tough enough? Was the XP and money awarded for a win appropriate to the difficulty of the NPC? Was the XP going to make it easy for people to powerlevel without interacting with other players? Was the money going to be so much that it would unbalance the game economy?

For even bigger changes, like the Ascension side quest, the amount of testing would have been enormous, and the number of adjustments they made to both the quest itself and to the aspects of the game that would be affected by it, don't bear thinking about.

For a game like Star Pirates, introducing new features is necessary to keep the player base interested. But before they can do that, they need to make sure that the base game works as well as it possibly could, and that means having a thorough understanding of all the game mechanics. This is why people are telling you that you need to know how all the aspects of the game work.
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Re: Game Development

Postby ConMan » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:48 pm UTC

Let me show you some of what you should be thinking of, based on your own description. If you already have answers to all my questions, then great! See if you can come up with a few more along the same lines. I don't actually want to see all the answers in here (but you're welcome to do so if you want), but make sure that you have answers for them.

Blasphemer wrote:<InsertTitleHere> - is a hypothetical MMO that exists in a world where the players has to band together with their peers (Clan) to secure a foothold on a piece of land (Kingdom) that will produce resources that they can use to defend or conquer other Kingdoms, eventually uniting all these bands together to form a single entity (Empire). The empire, once established, now has to hold its own against the other empires that may, through economic or military means, attempt to achieve the ultimately impossible goal. The World.


First, by hypothetical I assume you mean you haven't created it yet. Leave that bit out, because we know it doesn't exist yet. Alternatively, are you saying that it's only hypothetically Massively Multiplayer Online? This is not really a rhetorical question - there are games out there that claim to be MMO, but when you look at actual gameplay you never really interact with more than a few other players, if any.

If people are trying to conquer the world, are you going to let them? Could a dedicated Clan eventually control the whole Kingdom, and if so, where does that leave the other Clans? If it's going to be impossible, why dangle that particular carrot under their nose?

What's going to be the deciding factor in battles? Will the advantage go to the Clan with the most members, or the most resources? Will one lead to the other?

How will you limit how strong a single Clan can get? In particular, how will you prevent a Clan's strength from escalating (stronger units can claim more territory which gives them more resources with which they can buy stronger units etc)? Will you make managing a larger terrain more expensive both in terms of resources and time?

Will your game mechanics favour specialisation or generalisation? Will it be better to buy a hundred of one type of unit, or ten of ten different types?

How much will your game reward online play? Will players only be able to harvest resources when they're online (either automatically or through a manual process)? Will you favour playing for a five hour block once a week or five one hour blocks? What things will Clans be able to do only when everyone's online? Will battles require both sides to be online to participate, and in which case what's to prevent one side attacking when the other is all offline?

Assuming there's some kind of ranking amongst Clans, particularly one that confers benefits (e.g. controlling the Kingdom), will you tend to have one Clan at the top for a long time (i.e. make it difficult to topple them), or will there be a new Clan in power every other day? If you have the first, how will you keep the game interesting for the people at the top, and how will you prevent people near the bottom thinking that they'll never have a chance to beat the top Clan? If the second, how will you make people care that they're at the top if they're not going to be in power long enough to enjoy it?

How will you regulate the game economy? If you're going to have in-game content buyable for real-life money, where's the balance point so that no-one can destabilise the game just by spending $1000 in one go?

This list took me about 5 minutes to think up, so it's only scratching the surface. And that's just based on your little pitch up there, not on any other aspects - ST has already asked many questions about the RTS portion, and there would be many more about the RPG aspect, and about how the two interact (for example, see my question above on specialisation vs generalisation - will a Clan of all one class tend to beat a Clan of mixed classes, or vice versa?).
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Re: Game Development

Postby Blasphemer » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

Hey guys, hope you enjoyed your long weekend. (I'm not sure if you even celebrate this but what the heck.)
Happy Halloween.

Onto the matter in discussion...

@ST
I'm not sure were using the same word "big" the same way. When I say it has to be "enormous", what I mean is that the amount content inside a specified location, while the surface area of the plane is irrelevant (Actually, there's this one thing that I want to ask about this, but that's something for some other time.). Also, you may have misunderstood me when I said MMORTS. Because based on your description, what you think I'm describing is something like Ikariam where more world space is created as more players join in, or perhaps Tribal Wars where there is a set world size and new players are given a space until they take up the whole map, right?

Well, your assumptions are correct, in a sense, but not entirely. What I'm trying to describe is actually an RPG, only with optional RTS elements. (Hmm... I guess it should be MMORP-optional-RTS... but... that sounds lame.)

Think of it this way.
Spoiler:
Think of any MMORPG. Suppose you can build a house in it. This house is an instance. Only you or people you allow to can go in it. This house, no matter how awesome you try to make it look, is useless. It's just there so you can show everyone how rich and powerful you are in the game.

Now suppose you can hire NPCs to allow you to access your storage bank from there, have your own inn, forge/smelter or maybe your own fishing spot. Now, the house is a little bit more worthwhile, but why stop there. Why not let EVERYONE be able to come in and out of your property? Would they mess it up? Well, that's what the NPCs are for. Make sure you have enough of those to take care of if no matter who comes along. However, you'd have to spend a lot of money for that. Why bother? You'd have to spend a lot of money just to HAVE a house, and now, even more to keep it safe.

Well, why don't we add another type of NPC. The type that MAKES you money by working a farm that you happen to also have built. Now the house becomes less of a luxury, but more of an *thinks of the right term for half an hour*... investment. Thinking intensively about it first becomes more important now as you'd not only have to consider if you have enough resources to build it, but also if you will have enough leftover to defend it. It then goes to follow that you'd also have to think about whether it'll be worth it. Will the revenue minus maintenance be enough to justify having one? If you've made it this far, why don't we, the game developers, spice it up a little bit more.

Why leave it as an instance? We'll make this house of yours accessible to all. You're already making enough money from it to defend it right? They why don't we, let anyone who wants to steal from you have a crack at it. Better yet, let them have the option to take the whole damned thing over from you. It's riskier now isn't it? That means, only the most audacious or the ones whole thoroughly thought it through (untwists tongue) will make anything out it and find this game mechanic useful.

One last twist. Why don't we give these NPC guards of your the ability to follow orders? It doesn't have to be micromanagement-to-the-atomic-level-complex. It can just be simple commands like: "Everyone, go here." or maybe "Archers, move back there. The rest of you, follow me." or perhaps somewhere along the lines of "Everyone with greater than 50 points in the melee, increase priority to engage ranged-weapon-wielding targets in close range combat.". Unfair for those who has no house? Well, since you already went through so much just to have this estate of yours, you should have the a benefit from it that nobody else has.


This is what I meant by "optional". You don't HAVE to get a house. You can play the RPG side of the game without it, but by doing so, you can play the same game in a completely different way. This is also the reason why my group prefers to keep our responsibilities separate. Sure we know what the other guys are thinking of, I mean, I know what character classes are there but not their specific skills. Though we can work better if we work together, we prefer to keep this connection to a minimum so that we can focus on our own thing. They make the RPG side interesting, so I make the RTS side of it just as much. It's practically two different games that we just happen to want to mash together.

@Steax
BUT, if you can keep their requirements and benefits separate from that of the average player, then you can have two games packed into one. If you can make two separate games combined into a single one, then why not simply make two separate games you may ask. Well, for one, a larger market base. Since it has the elements of two different genres, then you can draw fans from audiences of both. Secondly, love of the video game community. If you can mash two genres into one game, then you're practically making two kinds of people, that probably don't give a damn about each other before, realize that there are ways that they can, not only coexist, but also, work together.

The RPG with the RTS, the first-person-shooters with the MMOs, and hopefully, one day, the Casual-Gamer with the Hardcore.

@ConMan
Sorry about that, I was just trying to be as accurate as I could and apparently failed miserably at it. XD I just said "hypothetical" simply because I don't even think it's possible to create it as this point in time. As to those questions, I'd love to answer them all, as most of them, I'm actually quite proud of myself for figuring out on my own. With no concrete background for things like these, it's quite a rewarding feeling to be able to recognize problems that you mentioned even before you had asked them, much more to find a, coming from my own personal opinion, adequate solution. However, I would first want to clarify that, what I'm trying to discuss with everybody is the "RTS mechanics" of the game. Which ones are exploitable? Which ones needs improvement? Which one should be discarded completely?

Not the programming language that would be best to use. Not the network or database complications that might occur. Not the graphics nor the artistic presentation. Not even the RPG side of it... well, maybe some if it. The game is, after all, half RPG. I AM thankful for any advice though. I just don't think that I can explain/answer these things as much as I should. (I hope nobody misunderstands that.) >_<


Edit: Grammar... again. (Did I already mention that English isn't my first language?) X((


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