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Technology/ Code /

Custom Vector Allocation

(First posted to upcoder.com, number 6 in a series of posts about Vectors and Vector based containers.) A few posts back I talked about the idea of 'rolling your own' STL-style vector class, based my experiences with this at PathEngine. In that original post and these two follow-ups I talked about the general approach and […]

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Advocacy / Game Design / Technology/ Code / Visual Arts /

So they made you a lead; now what? (Part 2)

The first part of this article took a closer look at why people with outstanding art, design or programming skills sometimes struggle or even fail as team leads. In addition to that part one also identified the core values of leadership as trust, direction and support. The goal of this part is to provide newly […]

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Technology/ Code /

Zero Initialisation for Classes

(First posted to upcoder.com, number 5 in a series of posts about Vectors and Vector based containers, this version has been rewritten and updated fairly significantly since first posted.) This is essentially a response to comments on my previous roll your own vector blog post. In roll your own vector I talked about a change we […]

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Advocacy / Game Design / Technology/ Code / Visual Arts /

So they made you a lead; now what? (Part 1)

What to do after you get promoted into a leadership position should be a trivial question to answer, but in my experience the opposite is true. In fact sometimes it seems to me that leadership is some kind of taboo topic in the games industry. Making games is supposed to be creative and fun and […]

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Technology/ Code /

Data flow in a property centric game engine

Introduction I stopped taking on contracts about a year ago to focus on building my own indie game. I decided to build my own engine, and I know, I know, indies shouldn't build their own engine, but let's ignore reason for now and instead focus on something else. I wanted to build a property centric […]

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Technology/ Code / Visual Arts /

Crafting Madness #1: Volufaketric Fog in Asylum

If you've been following Asylum's development, you already know that the game's graphics are based on pre-rendered textures projected on top of a cube with inverted normals. Since gouraud shading is avoided in these faces, you have the illusion of a panoramic view. Using this technique instead of 3D rendering allows the game to have […]

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Game Design /

The Indie Content Problem

Now that we’re wrapping up work on Battle Group 2 we’ve begun planning out our next major project. I’ve briefly spoken about this previously and today I’m going to share some further discussions that have come out of our planning. The main theme revolves around creating enough content for a game with a small development […]

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Technology/ Code /

What Is In a Name?

Today I'd like to revisit one of the most basic questions when designing a resource system for a game engine: How should resources refer to other resources? It seems like a simple, almost trivial question. Yet, as we shall see, no matter what solution we choose, there are hidden pitfalls along the way. To give […]

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Production /

Analyzing free-to-play games development: the Game / Team Clock

Motivation There’s currently a lot of information out there about how to approach the free-to-play business model and its implications in the Game Development Process. It becomes increasingly complicated to make sense of all this information, however: how does it apply particularly to successful games; how does knowing and doing all this prevent a game from […]

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Advocacy / Game Design /

A Midnight Catharsis

I can't sleep. In three hours I have to wake up, catch a 4 am bus to an airport to make a 5:30 am flight to Brussels to continue my extended European vacation, but I know that I'm only going to be able to sleep tonight after writing this. The cause of my insomnia is […]

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Production / Technology/ Code /

Prototyping and Code Quality

Prototyping is a popular method for getting a feel for the core features of a given application. It is often used as the first step when your company is looking into a new prospect with a lot of uncertainty. The method relies on short iterations to quickly verify whether a set of new functionality is […]

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Audio / Production /

Musical Dimensions: What Music Reveals About Your Game

Read about the effect music has in games and the various dimensions it defines.

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Business /

ESports Experts Weigh In On Growing Opportunities

Also posted on: http://www.gameskinny.com/gg0yo/esports-experts-weigh-in-on-growing-opportunities Some top eSports executives convened at Game Connection Europe in Paris, December 2013, to discuss the opportunities in the growing space. The advent of Twitch, Azubu and livestreaming over the past three years has helped fuel the explosive growth of eSports, or electronic sports. With companies like Valve (Dota 2), Riot […]

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Advocacy / Business / Marketing /

Need A Spot?

"The way this day typically goes is that if one of us sets a personal record (PR), the other one has to set a PR to keep pace." I wrote that in a training log a few months back, and it got me to thinking. This kind of training applies not just to setting PRs, […]

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Game Design /

Game Designers are all on Steroids

Video Presentation: Game Designers around the world are addicted to performance enhancing drugs and many of them don't know it. They are addicted to progression and escalation. As game designers we are often playing with human psychology and tapping into the various triggers and ticks of human behaviour; our reasons are varied. Some of us […]

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Game Design /

"Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta" game development analysis

SPOILER ALERT!! This game development review has many spoilers on the game, if you didn't play the game yet and you're intending to play it soon, then you may want to skip reading this until you play it. Prologue: "Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta" is a game that has been developed in the Middle East, […]

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Advocacy / Game Design / Marketing /

How to Build an Indie Arcade Cabinet

(This post was written by my Studio Mercato colleague Jon Stokes, and seemed like a great fit for something different!) Back in July of last year, Studio Mercato was offered an opportunity to exhibit our game Crystal Brawl on an actual freaking arcade machine in a charming, tatted-up dive of a music venue in Brooklyn […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

Reading The Papers: Ludus Ex Machina

I haven't discussed my own research in this column yet, but you may know that I'm interested in automating the process of game design in its entirety. At the highest level, game designers produce mechanics that connect to our understanding of reality - gravity makes you fall, projectiles hurt things they hit, touching food heals […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

Reading The Papers: Exhausting

When programming systems it makes sense to keep complexity and scale in mind. Don't try and render 400,000 sprites all at once. Don't try and send the entire world state to every player on the server. What about our design tools, though? Are we being too cautious when it comes to coding, and what riches […]

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Technology/ Code /

Avoid Resize()?

(Also posted to upcoder.com, number 4 in a series of posts about Vectors and Vector based containers.) This post is essentially a response to feedback to this previous post. In that post I talked about a change we made to the initialisation semantics for PathEngine's custom vector class, and described a specific use case where […]

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Technology/ Code /

Roll-Your-Own Vector

(Also posted to upcoder.com, third in a series of posts about Vectors and Vector based containers.) STL vectors offer a great combination of dynamically resizing convenience and low level contiguous buffer accessing performance, but std::vector is not the only option, and custom implementations of this container can sometimes be a better fit for your specific […]

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Technology/ Code /

Efficient Vectors of Vectors

(Also posted to upcoder.com, second in a series of posts about Vectors and Vector based containers.) STL style vectors are convenient because they hide the details of internal buffer management, and present a simplified interface, but sometimes convenience can be a trap! In my previous post I touched briefly on STL vectors with non-simple element […]

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Technology/ Code /

Havok Physics: 4 tips you won’t find in the docs

Hey fellow coders, I've used Havok Physics at several game studios over the years and I thought I’d share some little-known but hopefully useful tips about this middleware. For a rigid body, find all rigid bodies touching it A recent game project involved a house interior scene, and I needed to know what objects were […]

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Game Design / Technology/ Code /

Reading The Papers: Guaranteed Candy

For some developers, all this talk of procedural content generation is bittersweet. If you're generating a world map, for instance, you probably don't have too many requirements of it. A bit of land, not too many mountains - other than that, the randomness is part of the appeal. But what if you have very specific […]

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Technology/ Code /

Using STL Vectors

(Also posted to upcoder.com, first in a series of posts about Vectors and Vector based containers.) Using STL Vectors STL style vectors are a pretty useful construct. I remember coming to C++ (and the STL) from a background in lower level programming, and finding STL vectors a bit surprising, with the idea of amortized constant […]

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Game Design /

PRACTICE Makes Better: Self-Improvement Through Game Design

A slide from Robert Yang's PRACTICE 2013 talk, "Well-Made: Back to Black Mesa." “How do you let people betray each other?” “How do you handle gay marriage?” “How do you get people to want to play?” No, the above aren't results from a Google auto-complete gone wrong. These were just a few of the questions […]

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Advocacy / Business /

From Rags To Game Dev

Hello! My name is Josh Hughes. I’m a 30 year old in Great Falls, Montana crazy enough to think my crew and I can make it in the game industry. In one form or another, I’ve been trying since my Junior year in High School. My 10 year high school reunion was Spring 2012, and […]

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Advocacy / Business /

The indie roadmap

Last week I had lunch with some friends who enjoy their new-indie game developer status. We discussed game ideas, concepts, some mechanics... And right after the first beer, they told me: "We don't have anything playable yet but I'm working on the decal system." This brought me back to my own troubles working on .the […]

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Advocacy / Business / Production /

Always Multiply Your Estimates by π

Project estimation is a black art, nowhere more so than in game development. I once heard of a mysterious cabal of numerologists that multiplied their time estimates by π. The practice allegedly gave them sufficient buffer for new requirements, testing, iteration, and other arcane changes in scope. This struck me as curious and arbitrary, but […]

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#AltDevUpdates / Advocacy / Business / Game Design / Technology/ Code /

4 Beginner Projects for Launching into Game Programming

Photo credit: minipixel Lots of students and beginner developers ask me, "What's the fastest way to become a game programmer?" Once you’re an amazing programmer, the world is open to you. You can make your own indie projects. Other developers and artists will want to work with you. You can get a job at a […]

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