Archive for the ‘GameDev’ Category

Games Need Juice

I came across this very good video on adding juiciness to games:

Juice it or lose it – a talk by Martin Jonasson & Petri Purho

You can also:

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XNA SpriteFonts

While working on Iron Roads today, I tried to use the custom font Radius (a free font from Urban Fonts.)   I like how the letters look like curving tracks you might see on a draftsman’s drawing or surveying map.  It has potential for the Iron Roads logo.  Anyway, I ran into a tricky problem that stumped me for a long while.

Iron Roads with Radius Font

I followed the normal procedure as Microsoft describes in Drawing Text with a Sprite:

  1. Right-click your Content project in Solution Explorer, click Add, and then click New Item.
  2. In the Add New Item dialog box, click Sprite Font. You may find it convenient at this point to change the name of the new file from “SpriteFont1” to the friendly name of the font you intend to load (keeping the .spritefont file extension).  The friendly name identifies the font once it is installed on your computer, for example, “Courier New” or “Times New Roman.” When you reference the font in your code, you must use the friendly name you have assigned it. XNA Game Studio creates a new .spritefont file for your font and opens it.

At this point I had what I needed, but alas, it wouldn’t compile, complaining:

The font family “Radius” could not be found. Please ensure the requested font is installed, and is a TrueType or OpenType font.

Took me a long while to figure it out, but it’s actually quite simple. Install new fonts before starting up Visual Studio! So, all I had to do was shut VS2010 down and start her up again, an Voila! New beautiful font displaying in my game!!!

Iron Roads Title Screen Draft Peek

Please note, this is a concept piece, not art assets are my original and I don’t claim copyright to them.

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I didn’t finish. I just didn’t have my weekend clear.  You really need a clear weekend to finish Ludum Dare. The tech change in the middle didn’t help.

My main take away: Unity slowed me down. I’m too much of a programmer. When a game engine gets in the way, I can see all the different ways I would code myself out of the problem, but I can’t see any solutions in the engine’s context. Code is a powerful too, and I’m good at using it. Game engine’s are alien worlds with bizarre rules and un-explainable behavior.

So, I’m going to stop using game engines (or frameworks etc.) I’ll use non-game libraries and leave all the game programming to myself. Specifically, something like SDL, SFML or even XNA are good for me, but not stuff like Torque 2D or Unity. I think XNA is “library” enough not to be considered a game engine. It’s more like a toolbox. Oh, I think the caveat here is I want to make 2D games, not 3D.

I think there is a bigger principal at work here: KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid Game Engine’s are complicated systems built by lots of programmers.  They have multitudes of  audiences with different needs.  This all makes them hard to understand with lots of bells and whistles.  In order to accommodate all these different requirements, some feature are overly complex with lots of assumptions.  Those assumptions require rigidness to keep you out of the weeds that aren’t handle so well because of those assumptions.  So at the end of a Ludum Dare weekend, you look back and see all the time lost figuring the game engine’s nuances and gotrchas.  Then you pine for a chance to go back in time and just pounded out the code you needed.

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Random Post

The Peekskill Meteor of 1992 – http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap110123.html – This would make a very exciting, and mysterious way to start a game.  It implies a lot of interesting questions, like What is that?  What does it mean?  Is it safe?  What will change?

Torque 3D 1.1 Released – http://www.garagegames.com/community/blogs/view/21045

Garry of Garry’s Mod expirments with causal iPhone game, nice break down of revenue and graphs comparing paid and ad business models. – http://www.garry.tv/2011/06/02/the-story-of-snabbo/

Do not laugh at this: http://i.imgur.com/ldg0F.jpg

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Art Requires Influence

These are some thought provoking videos about the origin of art and creativity.  I recommend you watch them:

It is hard to argue against the point that in order to create you must understand what has already been done and then put your mark on it.  Maybe I should make some “copy” games in the same way that Hunter S. Thomas retyped the Great Gatsby.

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Updated 9/22/2012

Inspiration – Videos and Movies

Inspiration – Games

How Games Work

User Experience

Unity Tutorials

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