Actual Game Developing

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Jeroen 101 Feb 27, 2003 at 13:45

Hi there,

Since this is a new forum (and looking very nice!), I was wondering how many visitors of this forum are actually in the process of creating a game? And if you are creating a game, are you doing so on your own or are you working in a team? And what kind of game are you making? Etc etc? Tell me/us, I think it’s nice to know what people are working on (what’s popular, what’s not, etc). :)

Of course, I’ll start: I’m creating an easy-to-use level editor with my team. When it is finished (if it ever will be), we might consider creating a fullblown RPG game using this editor. Take a look at:

Delgine Website

for more info! ;)

Bye,
Jeroen

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donBerto 101 Feb 27, 2003 at 22:58

I, too, am working solo [as of right now] on a ‘space’ engine. it will be geared towards encapsulating space as a void and space as in terrain. at the very moment, I’m working on my own modeling/skeleton system that will be used by the engine. I spend pretty much all of my free time on it.

why I work solo:
I like the control I have over it’s development - I get to say what gets included and what doesn’t. granted, it’s only me. I mentioned above that I’m doing this solo as of right now. one of my best friends is interested in helping me but he’s trying to accomplish his own little project before he offers me any help. we share the same interests and have a similar thought-process so it would be cool to have him on the ‘team’. it would be nice to have some help too.

what will I make of it:
the way the engine is designed, it’s open for all types of games or simulation-type applications. as of this moment, the type of game I’ll probably use my engine for is between FPS or RTS. I have ideas of making hybrids of both as well as other types of games.

I’m a full-time undergrad student so needless to say this isn’t going to be completed anytime soon. I started the engine in february of 2002 which included mainly design. I’m constantly looking over code to see if I can simplify or clean it as best as I can.

good thread :yes:

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void 101 Feb 28, 2003 at 02:07

Can i just make 1 comment: there are so many people developing “Game Engines”, sometimes they actually finish as well (rarely). The very disappointing thing is that VERY VERY few people actually go on to make a decent polished game with their engine. And this doesnt mean just a character being able to run through a level and maybe shoot a gun at a wall. A game as in a proper game. It is far far harder to actually make a game than it is to make an engine.

BTW, im currently working on things like a model loader, an advanced particle system, a terrain engine, they arent really part of a single game engine, but some time in the future i might put together a game engine using these parts and actually try to make a game.

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CyraX 101 Mar 15, 2003 at 07:31

IMHO independent game development *MIGHT* not be sustainable for a long time. It might be just a hobby project - but I seriously feel sad that many of the PPL (read: Geniuses) are just working to ultimately bring out nothing much of use.
Just imagine what might happen if ID Soft were to go to the LinuX community and say - OK we release GPL based Quake III (alreayd Quake II is GPLed) and now on all the engines would be OSS. I can only imagine a great day going on.
However I still maintain that it would be great if GD Forum starts off development of @least ONE game - it must be written in OGL/DirectX whichever the group is ready to work on.
That way we as a forum would have contributed to the GD.
I see that don berto, apex are already working on something similar. However they are working away. I do respect your comments of FREEDOM to develop your game/system etc; dont you think it would be a great team if the two of you get together to create THE SPACE sim?
Who knows - you might make a descent decent…
Hope you take this positiely B)

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baldurk 101 Mar 15, 2003 at 08:22

well, whenever I see communities trying to create games, most of the time it doesn’t work. It would be worth a try, but I think a lot of people here are used to working on their own.

I’d be interested though, if it was possible.

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donBerto 101 Mar 15, 2003 at 16:15

in response to baldurk’s post:
for the most part, I’m a very optimisitic kind of person - I’ll give whatever it is I’m doing my best even when the majority has given up. however, because of this I can come off as a bit naive. take OpenCombat.org, a promising community that failed miserably. myself and this person from canada by the handle of zyklon were to only active developers out of 50+. our leader guy [the person who organized] wasn’t very good at communication - and for good reason. He came to a point in his life where he couldn’t afford to spend much time on ‘hobbies’. the leader slowly dropped out of the picture and the project unofficially became mine and zyklons. however, he, too, fell out of the picture and then it was just me - the only one doing any real work. I then ‘withdrew’, and have been working by myself. I’m sort of discouraged working with people over distances now. in short, you’re right and it’s sad.

in response to cyrax’s post:
that would be a great. I humored the idea of working with apex too. 2 heads are better than one. however, I think distance plays a big part. there might be ideas or what have you that is easier shared in person. I know teleconferencing can handle that now. which leads me to ask this: how many of us in this community have worked or is working with distant partners?

thanks.

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davepermen 101 Mar 15, 2003 at 17:28

what would be useful is to share components, means what ever gets developed gets combined together. so everyone could do its own game, but with combined resources.

and that way we could stay full platform independent, too. no mather wich api.

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baldurk 101 Mar 16, 2003 at 19:17

from what I can see, normally you need someone to co-ordinate it. The components have to be easily fitted together, and it’s that co-ordination that I see failing and that’s what brings down community projects. That and lack of time.

Sorry to be pessimistic, and I’m quite happy to join a group effort, but perhaps we should learn from others mistakes?

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dk 158 Mar 16, 2003 at 21:04

Thanks donBerto : yes certainly working with a team is a good idea. Has some advantages and disdvantages though.
One major advantage is that each team member can focus on a specific aspect of the game which definitely reduces down development time.

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donBerto 101 Mar 17, 2003 at 06:01

apex: you’re absolutely right and is the heart of all partnerships - to reduce dev time.

working with a team, though, you lose control. be it design or approach. there will be things that are generally wise to do and that everybody should do and that’s fine. it’s things like wanting a certain feature done a certain way and a fellow team member may have their own way of designing or implementing that feature which may not go well.

but that’s why working with people you know* is key. if you know the person, you can kind of tell how they’re going to develop it. better yet, you can let that person know how you want it done. all leading to what baldurk and davepermen are saying. communication and sharing of resources. divide and conquer BUT act as one entity.

:yes:

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DarkLight 101 Mar 25, 2003 at 15:41

Currently I’m writting a game. It will be Open-source - I whink games should be kept open-source for many reasons. Game is using OpenGL for graphics and have level-editor included. I’m working in a team - I’m writting the game and the main code of the level editor, another person is making textures and writting parts of level editor :)

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vinmar 101 Apr 05, 2003 at 09:28

I’m writing a SpaceSim game at the moment too. Seems to be quite a fashionable thing to be doing?!?

I think a group project would be fun, even if it didn’t work out, you know?

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fringe 101 Apr 07, 2003 at 10:40

I am still learning bits of openGL but am lacking devotion at the moment. I got a bit sidetracked by Jedi Knight.
I would love to get involved in a project, I don’t mind doing grunt work as long as there are long time limits. It would give me lots of incentive to so more learning etc.
Anyway if a new project starts I would like to be involved

fringe

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baldurk 101 Apr 07, 2003 at 17:22

just a thought to get some brain-cells firing, I’d be interested in doing a game that is like a space-sim, but with a different slant. I’m thinking of a game where you control a ship, either 3rd or 1st person, but not in space, on a planets surface, perhaps even inside somewhere (like descent).

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fringe 101 Apr 08, 2003 at 09:38

Ideas are hard :confused:

I like the idea of a ship based game (ships are easy to draw). I am a bit tired of just shotting things though maybe we could makeit resource collecting or trade orientated. For instance you own a minning ship you start bvy collecting resources and taking them toi the local “market” through enimies or tricky tunnels or something. You can upgrade yourminning efforts with automated robots and you can seek out new minning areas but you have to protect yourold areas from theives with robot dronesorusing your guns on your own ship. Don’t know really sort of an elite clone-ish Iguess,

fringe

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vinmar 101 Apr 08, 2003 at 09:58

I think what everyone loved about elite was the ability to land on planets. But I suppose this is too much to take on in a 1st group project?

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anubis 101 Apr 08, 2003 at 15:30

i’d be interested in joining a group project, too.
allthough i have to admit that i have no real idea for a game. fringes idea sounds nice though.
i just finished school last week so i should have plenty of time in the near future to contribute to such a project.

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baldurk 101 Apr 08, 2003 at 17:09

the two things I would like to see in, just because I like them:

* The ability to dip in and out without learning much more than the controls. This means an action oriented game unfortunately, but that’s just my preference.
* A large world. Not necessarily comples, but e.g instead of 2 or 3 different worlds, have 30 or 40 worlds that are similar.

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fringe 101 Apr 08, 2003 at 22:23

Yeah a big game would be cool. I was thinking action is cool but I want to be doing it for a reason, not just lets blast some stuff and buy the way there is some plot too.
Maybe you should start with an inherited ship that can go not very far. You could use the ship for a couple of things cargo firstly you could buy a mining thing so you could mine minerals and sell them. You could buy a better gun and rent yourself out as a protector of local cargo shipments. You could become a trtader going between markets. Then as you progress you can specialise and get better equipment or become an alrounder.
So in the end you could run a protection buisness that protects trade routes or mines.
You could become a mining buisness which has to hire protection and traders to take stuff to market.
You could become a trader who takes stuff from market to market making money.
Or you could generalise yourself.

I would also like a way in which you could be corrupt, stelling money from others stelling the stuff you are trying to protect, killing mining places. Of course there are consequences (word get round, etc.). This would make the game play quite deep, I think (not sure though).

And as you get better you get access to better ships that first allow you to travel outside your vicinity then off world to the local solar system then to other solar systems.

You could win when you become of of the top 5% of people in the universe in monetry propety.

Sounds like it is a bit ambitious esp. because Tertris is the best thing I have programmed to this point and I didn’t finish that. I guess this could be done in stages though. It is always fun to dream. Hmm, maybe we should have a think and cobble together some stuff we might need,

fringe

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donBerto 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 04:11

played earth and beyond? sounds similar

…i like! I’m VERY interested in this development. keep the ideas flowing.

:yes:

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dk 158 Apr 09, 2003 at 06:51

very nice ideas. sounds fun and interesting too.
We’ll have to start, as you mentioned, in small parts. The whole thing needs planning:

Gotta start with a scope: How much does one want to do?
Package evaluation: Use an existing engine? Write one from scratch? (very important to decide) Hybrid? What gets us a game that we WANT to play in the shortest amount of time? What kind of user supported dev do we want? IS everything in code? Are the levels done in Max? Do we want to write our own editor? Do we want to go with an existing model format? How fast do we want it? How fast do we think we could do it? You get the picture, half of the work is figuring out what the right questions are.

Then you move into some kind of design phase: Now you know what you want to do, and possibly what tools, possibly the timeframe. Now you do technical design and game design. That encompasses alot. Need to figure out what the game is about, what kind of game play. That “functional design” needs to be mirrored in the technical design. Are we going to use OpenGL or DirectX? If you have a new model format, what are it’s specs? What kind of information does another programmer need to know about it to write an exporter? The level editor, what kind of files does it save, etc? The scripting (if any) support, does that engine need to be developed from scratch? What C++ functions do we want to expose to scripting? How much control do we want to allow the script engine? Netplay? TCP? UDP? Session state of the clients tracked at the client, on the server? Both? Do we have coding guidelines, will comments be handled in the same way throughout. Will someone review the code before comitting it ot a build? Source control? HOW will builds get done? Are there Acceptance criteria for modules? Basically, you take any lists you determined in a scoping excercise and you describe in detail those elements, every element you can think of, writing psuedo code to describe the process if needed. Do flow charts. Mockup GUI in photoshop, POC models in 3ds or whatever, probably concept art for future models

Then, and only then, do we start real coding. Sure, during scope and design, one probably write test harnesses and POC’s, psuedo code, mockup or even partially functional screens. Now you are in the Development phase. One does all the REALLY hard parts in Design, now one implements it. Code the engine (or modify it). Build the models and levels for testing, and placeholder while the artists go out and do real models, build the guis in layered photoshop so the programmer just has to cut and paste elements, follow the flowcharts. Implementing is the easy part if you’ve done the homework. You’ll probably revisit the design several times. Count on it. Count on it changing some too. Somethings that look great on paper just end up taking 5 times as long as they need to and either need yanked, or redesigned.

Then, testing. Both ongoing unit testing by individual programmers of there individual modules while coding them, and system testing, where you start stringing modules together. Bug reporting, priority. Fixing. Some of this can be going on while other parts are still being coded. Say you finish the SP experience you can test that, the model importing and the map making while still working on the net stuff. Eventually, you’ll have something you can public alpha, then beta, then….

Finally, release, and expect to need to patch as a whole NEW group of people encounter your code.

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davepermen 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 07:49

i’ll suggest we’ll all use d, because d is much nicer to code. has automatic “unit testing” facilities, and similar stuff. bugless coding is much much easier:D

go for d!!! :D

sorry to walk a bit offtopic, hehe.

greatest thing. d can use c libraries. i just successfully got d working with opengl and sdl.. and, i think apex likes to hear that, i just loaded my first extension: GL_ARB_point_parameters (a short one and easy to test that it works:D)

just having now some problems passing array parameters.. grmbl.. well, i’ll get that working, too:D

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vinmar 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 08:31

@davepermen

i’ll suggest we’ll all use d

D looks good, but how efficiently does it run? I thought an issue with garbage collection was that programs didn’t run as quickly?

Also, you’ll be taking my nice .NET IDE away from me :(

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fringe 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 09:01

This lookslike alot of work but I am in if it gets off the ground. However I have no idea about any of the stuff mentioned by Apex but it all sorta looks like a good idea. I think I would like to make our own engine just because I would like to know how to do it and the best way to do learn something is to do it. However I can see the wwisdom of using a premade engine. Is there one anywhere on the net which is sorta half done that we could pince and upgrade this would be like a half way house.
Is there room here to plan and stuff if we wanted to develope it as a comunity project?
Anyway just ideas in the wind at the moment,

fringe

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davepermen 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 09:33

@vinmar

@davepermen

i’ll suggest we’ll all use d

D looks good, but how efficiently does it run? I thought an issue with garbage collection was that programs didn’t run as quickly?

Also, you’ll be taking my nice .NET IDE away from me :(

gc is not a problem. main reason it got into discussion is because java and c# have it. they are at the same time both runtime compiled languages. different to d.
that runtime compilation takes quite some overhead. negitible often, too. but existing.

i suggest to try d. it has a big chance to grow and replace much tasks of c++. its quite a bit easier. espencially for small apps, i don’t see any reason to not use it anymore.

except my current ****ing problem.. :(

garbage collection is not an issue.

first: you can disable it if you explicitely want. you can use malloc and free if you explicitly want.
second: gc are quite advanced and quick today. you can read up about it on the page
third: most code does not need 100% efficiency. 99% is enough. all code needs 100% savety. d makes this easy..

anyways, still having those ****ing pointer-to-array problems…

d is definitely not yet as sweet usable as vs.net, but actually TextPad gives you a nice platform to code in. and for the rest?
\dmd\bin\dmd simple.d someclass.d dada.d otherfile.d whatever.d sdl.lib opengl32.lib whateverother.lib

and DONE :D

i always write such batchfiles:

@echo off
\dmd\bin\dmd simple.d someclass.d dada.d otherfile.d whatever.d sdl.lib opengl32.lib whateverother.lib
simple.exe

doubleclick, and it starts running..

sure, it cannot beat an intel c++ or microsoft visual studio.net 2003 compiler with inline sse, sse2, and everything, and huge optimizers and all the bunch. but it is definitely much a simpler language to compile, resulting in fast executables and fast compilations right from the start.

and the strings are most the time more efficient than the c strings..

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anubis 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 10:47

apex : i have solid knowledge of c/c++ and have been coding hobby games and small engine projects for quite some time now. so i would like to give it a shot at doing a full scale game. i have no group programming experience though. but that is just another point why i would really like to get involved ( learning by doing ).

i would like to write an “in-house” engine, too, but given the game ideas that showed up until now i’m not sure if we can do that in reasonable time. i think chances are that the project would drift away in the “we wrote the engine but never finished the game” direction. after all, looking at other community projects, IMHO, the worst enemy is time.

another problem will be game art. because as i see it we have a lot of people who are burning to code the game but no ( correct me if i’m wrong ) artists. i wouldn’t like to see a game that suffers from the programmer art syndrom.

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vinmar 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 10:56

daveperman: Ok, I’ve always like the idea of developing outside an IDE, not sure why though… its so easy!

fringe: I agree, it does sound like a lot of work. But I don’t think our sights should be set on a complete game. Instead, the first milestone should be all that we are thinking about (whatever that milestone is). That way at least the end is in sight!

Hey! We can use my game engine! It has collision detection using winged edge modelling, but no ‘bouncing off of objects’ yet. And it loads .ms3d milkshape models. Erm, thats about it so far. :-s

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anubis 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 11:03

i tihnk the first thing to do is finding out exactly what kind of game we want to write, how big it will get, etc.
then we can decide wether the scale of the game and it’s story leaves us enough time for writing own tools, an engine, etc.

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vinmar 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 12:10

The time for talk has passed. More action. ;)

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donBerto 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 13:14

dave: d looks, sounds good.
everybody: i’m really glad the initiative has been set forth. why don’t we start discussing what we want and not want in the irc channel [so we can log and what not] and then start from there.

:yes:

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CyraX 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 13:37

If things are to start off…
1) Getting the design docs first. Lets say - WHAT kinda game (SIM afaik)
2) What is the theme of the game
3) Lang, Graphix Lib.

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vinmar 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 13:37

@donBerto

why don’t we start discussing what we want and not want in the irc channel

Right, so remind how that works again?! Is there a channel or something? I’ve never really used IRC, I have a client, but thats all, never done much with it. Well, I’ll figure it out, just need to get home first.

donBerto, isn’t it like 7am there or something? What are you doing up already?

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anubis 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 15:37

hey, just saw over on flipcode that there is a new game writing contest.
just an idea… if this project ever makes it ( and i hope it will ) we could try to enter into a competition.
i mean after this project we should be able to function as a team.
i think it could be quite a challange…

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baldurk 101 Apr 09, 2003 at 18:33

vinmar: I guess you probably have mIRC. Open it up, go to irc.enterthegame.com an then join #devmaster. Enjoy

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fringe 101 Apr 10, 2003 at 11:07

hi I tried this last night and it worked like a charm, except no-one was there :(
The nice thing about posting ontheboard is that it doesn’t mater what timezone we are all in :)

Anyway some further thoughts are needed. I think we should have something to show for what we have done in six months but a game is far away like a year or two and thats if things go somoothly which they won’t. If we design well maybe we can make it so that we can have demo entries etc as we go through, this would keep me excited and attract mmore members. I think possibly a team leader would be good, anyone want to offer their services?

fringe

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vinmar 101 Apr 10, 2003 at 13:06

Thanks for the tips baldurk. You’re right, it is mIRC. But I was having problems connecting, I think down to my ISP, or something. But Fringe is right, when are we ever all going to be all be awake at the same time?

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donBerto 101 Apr 10, 2003 at 15:50

first, somebody select a day. on that day, let us all give dates of availability (from time: x to time: y) and then check where all of us intersect. hopefully, our combined intersection time yields a good 1+ hours so we can cover a lot of details.

i have inconsistent “free” days, that’s why i ask someone else to pick a random day.

all times US EST. (GMT + 4?)
friday, 1200pm - 0400 am (i usually stay up on weekends)
saturday, all day
sunday, all day - 1159pm

:yes:

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vinmar 101 Apr 10, 2003 at 16:08

It looks like US EST is GMT-6 at the moment. I can be free:

weekday evenings (7pm->11pm) [1pm->5pm EST]
Friday and Saturday (10am->2am) [4am->8pm EST]
Sunday (10am->11pm) [4am->5pm EST]

Now, I just need to get mIRC working!

[Also, if I was feeling particularly crazy, I could get up way before going to work, this would mean 6-8am GMT or midnight->2am EST]

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anubis 101 Apr 10, 2003 at 16:21

i’m practically available 24h a day 7 days a week. this might change for the future but till
the new semeseter at the university starts ( which will be september ) i’m free.

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baldurk 101 Apr 10, 2003 at 17:16

I’m on as much as I can be. Only off peak times, normally ending about 10pm each day. So weekdays 6pm -> 10pm and weekends maybe 9am -> 10pm. Depending on if I’m out, or my parents complain or want the phone etc.

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fringe 101 Apr 11, 2003 at 08:50

Hi,

I could be on most the time at a weekend but evenings are best, and most evenings 8pm+ on weekdays (its free for me then). Should we also have a think about what questions we will be talking about and answering,

fringe

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anubis 101 Apr 11, 2003 at 13:09

vinmar : good idea, given that we don’t have much time to talk i suggest that we discuss the topics of the channel chats over the week on the board and then have the meeting at the weekend.

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baldurk 101 Apr 11, 2003 at 17:10

Offtopic: vimnar, I like the avatar! very classy :). Did you make it?

back on topic, I’ll layout a few things I think we should discuss.

  • language (C, C++, D etc.)
  • Pre-made engine, custom built engine
  • game genre
  • goals (e.g, will there be a story/some background/anything more than action)
  • etc, I’m sure we’ll think of more

I’m not sure how much I’ll be free on easter weekend, but I’ll try and make it in

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vinmar 101 Apr 11, 2003 at 22:52

@baldurk

Offtopic: vimnar, I like the avatar! very classy :). Did you make it?

Thanks baldurk, but I have to admit I stole it from http://www.vinmar.com. But the way I see it, they owe me something for using my name, right?

Perhaps something to be discussing is, as well as _what_ we’re going to do, _how_ we’re going to do it. I think without proper team management being organised from the start we might as well give up now! And no, that wasn’t the sound of me volunteering ;)

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dk 158 Apr 11, 2003 at 23:11

vinmar, did you get IRC to work?

meeting in the channel is good idea, this would give more opportunity to talk.

As fringe suggested, I suggest we start off with a small project that can take 2-3 months max. Then, when we get comfortable with each other, we can start with the big main game project. What does everyone think of that? It can be either a 2D or 3D game; it doesn’t matter.

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vinmar 101 Apr 11, 2003 at 23:21

I didn’t realise mIRC wasn’t shareware :( Just getting registration notices coming up now. But yes, I have managed to get on this evening through the java applet. I’m justing searching for a nice freeware download.

I think a project of 3 months max is a great idea. Anything bigger, as a virgin group, would be crazy.

I don’t know anything about writing 2D games, but I’d guess this is what we should think about as surely they’re simpler than 3D games by definition (hey! you’ve got a whole extra dimension in there!!). This can, obviously, be a topic for IRC.

Off topic here, sorry: But I’ve just got back from go-karting, what a buzz! I pushed my team up 3 places from bottom with a sneaky maneouvre on the second to last corner! And man, did the power steering on my car feel light on the way home after driving those little things round!

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vinmar 101 Apr 11, 2003 at 23:24

I know I said we can talk about it on IRC, but I’ve just had a thought about what I said about why we should go for a 2D game, and how what I said might be wrong.

Because, I am thinking, the mini-project could perhaps use the same (perhaps 3D) engine as the mega-project. This way we all get experienced with the big game engine, while still only working on a little project.

Sorry if this idea was already mentioned by someone before, I have a feeling it may have been.

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dk 158 Apr 12, 2003 at 08:38

I personally prefer creating my own engine rather than using an exisiting one. However, if we are looking at time, then using an existing engine would not be a bad idea for a start.

If an engine is goint to be built, then we’ll have to decide on how the engine should be designed and structured. Maybe we can host it on sourceforge or something… the details can be discussed in chatting.

Also, to finalize the chatting time, how about this date: April 28, 2002 7 PM EST? Is that good for everyone? The reason why its almost two weeks from now, is that a couple of people mentioned to me that they are busy in the coming 2 weeks due to exams and other stuff.

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vinmar 101 Apr 12, 2003 at 09:43

Its not a great time for me, because I need to be into work early and fairly alert the next day (got stuff going on that week). You’re talking about starting the chat at 1 in the morning here!

A friday or a saturday would be ideal if its going to be early in the morning.

Otherwise, can you just save the chat and email it to me so I know what happened!?

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baldurk 101 Apr 12, 2003 at 11:06

yeh, I don’t think that’s a good time for everyone on GMT. Also, my exams start in may, so April 28 is a bit close to them :/

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CyraX 101 Apr 14, 2003 at 09:53

I vote for working on an existing engine (GPLed Q2??).
I think I am ready with the list already:

Q2
DukeNukem 3D
Coin
FreeSpace

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donBerto 101 Apr 14, 2003 at 18:34

Cyrax: welcome back! haven’t seen you in quiet a while.
er’body else: as far as time, yeah - my finals begin around the 5th of may so if it’s cool to postpone til late may?…

I like Cyrax’s suggested list. out of all, i STRONGLY vote for FREESPACE

:yes:

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dk 158 Apr 14, 2003 at 18:41

donBerto, do you mean we use the same FreeSpace engine? I’ve looked at it a while ago and I was very disappointed with the way things are done. I’ve noticed that they do their own graphics pipline and transformation and they don’t utilize hardware acceleration. Freespace graphics are done in 2D just in case you didn’t know. But I must admit, that its an amazing game. What we could do is utilize and benefit from its code, like the physics stuff and some special effects which look amazing….

Just a thought…

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donBerto 101 Apr 14, 2003 at 23:47

apex, no I didn’t know - thanks for bringing it up.

yeah that sux how they do their own graphics*. I know you and I share a love for space sims… can we use the freespace engine and replace the graphics code? how about we “shadow” their graphics code to use DX/OGL? any suggestions?

:yes:

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CyraX 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 10:48

It is always ok for us to pick up something like Q2.
Freespace - yes I did notice they use 2D rendering, its alright.
My targets right now are to get SOMETHING @least on the working. Its simple, we plan tooo much and end up with nothing (yet) ready :sigh:
Once we get some demo or SOMETHING @least ready, we would see more ppl enthu about the project and contributing.
We have not YET decided upon the game genre and the API.
Any suggestions wrt Genere - I suggest a Space sim. Reasons: There are @least 3 team members who’ve already worked in something similar.
Space Sims are easy to build (relatively).

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donBerto 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 11:40

I second that motion.

:yes:

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vinmar 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 11:46

And I third.

Also, I’d like to see us using openGL for sure.

And, if we want to do a small project first, how about something like the original asteroids?

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anubis 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 15:22

anybody here that remembers liero ???
somthing similar might be nice for a first project

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baldurk 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 17:18

this isn’t a demand, but I won’t be able to help code if we are only using DX or only using windows code, so it would at least need to support OGL and SDL or whatever.

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donBerto 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 18:53

likewise.

I’m not against the idea of having a base code and then a separate win32 and a linux code that will both use the base code but I’d rather use SDL.

just a thought.

:yes:

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vinmar 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 21:53

I’ve got a (vector) linux system up and running. So I can, in theory, develop for linux as well as windows now.

But does anyone have any idea how difficult it is to get internet access going on Linux when you’re using a USB ADSL modem, especially when you’re a linux newbie! Any help would be welcome!

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vinmar 101 Apr 16, 2003 at 22:07

btw, has anyone played with openAL? Its meant to be like openGL, but for audio. And it will do 3D sounds.

I looked over it, but haven’t used it. It seems pretty good to me, but I don’t know how difficult it would be to use.

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donBerto 101 Apr 17, 2003 at 00:03

haven’t used openAL but I plan on using it in the very near future [this coming summer] if we use it in whatever we develop, that’ll be cool.

vinmar: i think you can just use dhcpcd and BAM! you’re up and running. if not, [phoneline?] I guess try PPP

:yes:

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fringe 101 Apr 17, 2003 at 08:46

I also like the idea of a cross platform game. It would be nice to be able to develope for both opengl, directx windows and linux but I guess this is really hard.
Like the idea of an asteroids game. We can make it a bit more sophistiocated and we could get gabdab, our modelling guy :) to build us some 3D ships and asteroids to shoot at. This would allow us to develope some tools for loading models and displaying them etc. This is probably not a difficult game to develope I am definitely in.

So can we have votes for language, lets start a poll somewhere, not quite sure how to do that.
Also anyone want to be team leader?

fringe

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CyraX 101 Apr 17, 2003 at 16:24

Well I also support OpenGL.
Infact I love it.
Coming to portability issues - I have always supported cross platform development. To my best knowledge - SGL would be a good choice. Likewise lets try and integrate a game engine. That would probably solve more than half the existing problems.
We have a model designer here - I can develop low poly models. So that would be a better way to contribute.

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anubis 101 Apr 17, 2003 at 17:08

CyraX : integrating a game engine for an asteroids clone ? isn’t that a little bit of an overkill ???

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baldurk 101 Apr 17, 2003 at 17:55

vinmar: if you start a thread about your problem with more details in the *nix forum, I’ll see what I can do.

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CyraX 101 Apr 18, 2003 at 06:03

yes - it is.
So lets make something better than Asteroids :D

I am looking @ the game to be something of Star Lancer, Descent Freespace kind.
You might as well Approximate Star Lancer to Asteroids - right?? ;7

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vinmar 101 Apr 18, 2003 at 19:46

@baldurk

vinmar: if you start a thread about your problem with more details in the *nix forum, I’ll see what I can do.

Thanks baldurk, but I’ve given up on Vector for the moment. I’ve left Red Hat downloading at work over the w/e. Its meant to be a bit more friendly then Vector/Slackware. But if I still have problems I might just take you up on your offer! :)

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baldurk 101 Apr 19, 2003 at 09:37

that’s what the forum is there for :).

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fringe 101 Apr 22, 2003 at 15:34

OK, so what do we need then to develope this asteroids sorta game. I guess a central idea of stuff needed for the game “engine”. So here is some stuff we should put together or borrow from our group:

a model loader (as flexible as possible)
an image loader
a timing thing
collision detection algorithm
splash screens/demo modes
menus
text renderer of some sort

just a starting list please add more to the board or any idea. Has anyone been reading the thread on HeNe forums about writting a game engine?

fringe

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vinmar 101 Apr 22, 2003 at 16:08

I like milkshape ms3d models. The ms3d loader on NeHe works well, and milkshape is easy to get hold of and use.

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baldurk 101 Apr 22, 2003 at 17:23

ms3d models are good, very simple but has everything we need.

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CyraX 101 Apr 23, 2003 at 13:22

MD3 plz.
GMAX + Tempest.
MD3 may be the BEST known model.

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donBerto 101 Apr 23, 2003 at 15:30

agreed.

md3 - second vote.

:yes:

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baldurk 101 Apr 23, 2003 at 17:13

I’d take a minute to consider the game type - space sim. Do we really need the features provided in an MD3 file? seperate files, linked together to provide ease of animation. Although that’s useful, why would we even need simple animation in this game. The model would be static and simply moved by the engine.

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fringe 101 Apr 23, 2003 at 20:31

I guess we don’t need all the complexity of a model loader, but it will be useful for projects in the future and if we have it for general use we can make a common interface that will be standard for other stuff in the future,

fringe

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dk 158 Apr 24, 2003 at 05:21

we can also make are own file format where we include only the stuff we want…since, as baldurk mentioned, we won’t need and keyframe animation.

Also, about a model loader. We could have a simple one for the purpose of loading, viewing, converting, etc… But at this stage its not that critical.

As for an image loader, I don’t see a great use for it. I believe using TGA, BMP, or PNG is good enough. We won’t need our own file format for that.

fringe: what do you exactly mean by a “timing thing”?

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fringe 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 08:53

Sorry I am being a little vague as always :)) The timming thing I was thinking about ti some sort of clock/performance timer to do frame rate independent movement etc. I know it is easy towrite and in fact I have an object which we can use but I thought I should mention it.

fringe

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CyraX 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 12:16

Pardon me for saying MD3 - I said that in the context of a GENERAL game. NOT a space sim.
In a space sim we need little (or no) animation. Whatever animation is required could be provided by shaders or animated textures :D - foolish.
What are the possible animations?
- Flame
- Burning
- Fragmenting of the aircraft.
- Hmmm maybe the pistons pumping from the engines - This might be needing an MD3 kinda model.

I am not really sure about “our own” format as of now. I would suggest that we load ANY model. Let us evolve our own formats over the time.

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davepermen 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 12:20

i think skeletons are great for spaceship like models. think of bigger things, that have robot-like arms, think of space-stations, that can brake their connection-arms, and all the stuff. some rigid-body physics, IK, skeletons. thats what at least _could_ get useful:D

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baldurk 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 17:17

I think we should pick one image format, e.g. TGA, and stick with it. It reduces code size and helps understanding.

also, CyraX reminded me that I should point out one thing that I would like to be a main goal - backward compatibility. I would like to see as few extensions being used exclusively (ie, no fallback) and especially no shaders. A hell of a lot of people don’t have shader-compatible cards, and this would leave them out. I’d prefer to write the game in such a way as we can scale it, e.g have LOD or several model files so that people on older machines can still run it smoothly.

CyraX: this isn’t directed at you, I’m just trying to put it out there now.

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davepermen 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 17:26

the rule is simple (learned from a real gamedev). use simple, existing libraries to make it possible to use as much formats as possible in your engine. helps the artists IMENSE to work. then, for the final package, convert all, drop the generic loaders and plug a specific loader in.

i currently use devil simply plugged in (about 5 lines of code), and replace it by an own format, all data converted in the final product (uses about 300-500kb of dll bull*beep*:D).

looking for something similar for models, but i think i’ll have an own editor.. can’t get around using one of the existing programs, hehe:D simply not WYSIWYG for me.

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anubis 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 17:43

the nicest would be to write a wrapping layer that would somewhat automate the process of loading files.
like recognizing images by file extension or so.

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davepermen 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 20:51

@anubis

the nicest would be to write a wrapping layer that would somewhat automate the process of loading files.
like recognizing images by file extension or so.

hm.. i prefer putting a file into each and every loader routine that i have and check if it can load it:D

but, if you want..

typedef std::map<std::string,File* (*loadingRoutine)(const std::string&)> FileLoaders;

FileLoaders fileLoaders;
fileLoaders["bmp"] = &loadBMP;

File* loadFile(std::string fileName) {
  std::string extension = fileName.substr(fileName.find_last_of('.')+1);
  FileLoaders::const_iterator found = fileLoaders.find(extension);
  assert(found != fileLoaders.end());
  return found->second(fileName);
}

something like this?

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davepermen 101 Apr 24, 2003 at 20:55

or you want external dll’s for each and every format?

as i said above, i don’t recoment this. bether write an “image loader”, a “mesh loader” and a “music loader” for example, wich can be nothing but a simple devIL wrapper, or what ever. for development thats great. for the final product, replace it with an own format, or with just one format, put the loader for only that format in, and replace all models. the most simple and clean way. clean final product, easy to work with for devteam.

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anubis 101 Apr 25, 2003 at 08:06

using a hashmap for supporting different file loaders was something i had in mind. i agree that facilities for loading different types of resources should be seperated.

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anubis 101 Apr 25, 2003 at 08:11

davepermen : ok, i think i get your idea. sounds like the right thnig to do…

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CyraX 101 Apr 25, 2003 at 13:46

I accept it - shaders should be supported optionally.
Loading models and textures : Classes that support various formats. We will ONLY load one type of texture. So lets stick to a common format TGA is my vote

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baldurk 101 Apr 25, 2003 at 17:12

hmm, davepermen, why allow the artists to create many image formats and model formats, rather than saying “only TGAs and MS3Ds” from the start. That, I think, would be easier.
Also, with shaders etc. One other problem is that less people would be able to develop/test those paths. I think multiple paths is the best option by far though.

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davepermen 101 Apr 25, 2003 at 17:58

because it lets artist use existing material, just for testing purposes. they love to test existing stuff. i know that. and explaining them fileformat restrictions for simple testing if something at least looks interesting, then you’ve made something wrong. don’t stand in the way of your artists.

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baldurk 101 Apr 26, 2003 at 10:43

well, even if the artists refuse to conform, it’s easy enough to convert jpgs, etc. into TGA.

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davepermen 101 Apr 26, 2003 at 10:59

its easy enough to use devil and don’t even bother. just convert to one final format in the end. you can even encript that and all the fancy stuff if you want (i’ll use wavelet from.. mavel or something like that in the final code, but devIL before, as no one supports that mavel format in the editors yet..)

that is USEFUL. just download a freaking model from the net, with some texture in some crappy format, and you can use it.

patchwork artists are very fast at rapid prototyping, but they require that it should be possible to load anything. it just helps everyone.

(integrating devIL is easy)

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anubis 101 Apr 26, 2003 at 13:00

i think davepermen is right. especially because this is an internet project. every artist that might want to support this project might be used to his own modeller, image format, etc.
sure it’s easy converting into one format but it’s just as easy supporting many file formats.

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Amithran 101 Apr 28, 2003 at 16:51

@baldurk

this isn’t a demand, but I won’t be able to help code if we are only using DX or only using windows code, so it would at least need to support OGL and SDL or whatever.

Sorry for chiming in here a little late, but I wanted to add a few thoughts on the graphics api question I noticed in pages 5 and 6.

I think the best-(not too difficult) thing to do is set up an interface for graphic and window calls. You can use .dll’s to handle the opengl, sdl, dx specific graphic calls. This would limite download size as the user could download the base .exe file and choose what graphic mode to run in and download the specific dll with the correct plugin.

ie.
glInterface.dll
dxInterface.dll
sdlInterface.dll

The windows and linux portability could be addressed using dll plugins as well in the same fasion.

The idea is every function call that would be related to a specific type of api should be wrapped up into a plugin-able interface.
The idea comes from reading the plugin tutorial on (shoot forgot website[im at school] Ill get the address later today).

functions like:
createWindow
resizeWindow
moveWindow
etc. for windows/linux platforms would be interfaced

and
pixel
drawTriangle
drawQuad
addTexture
etc. would be interfaced with the graphical.dll’s

This would solve the whole problem of protability, as any one who contributes via coding would no longer be limited by graphical api.

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baldurk 101 Apr 28, 2003 at 17:13

I’m not really bothered about the image thing. Just playing devils advocate.

Amithran: actually, my opinion is that that would make things a good deal more complex. It would be simple if you can just slot dlls in and out, but remember that you can’t use dlls for anything other than windows. Although there are shared libraries (the same thing) I would have thought it would be easier just to have a common interface, and put the platform specific code in #ifndef / #endif blocks, so that it is all sorted out at compile time. eg.

// Main code:-

OSCode MyOSInterface;

// function calls, but no OS specifc data/variables/types
MyOSInterface.createwindow(foo, bar);
MyOSInterface.dostuff(blah, baz);

// declaration of OSCode (OScode.h?)

#ifdef _WIN32
class OSCode
{
 // windows stuff
 int createwindow(int width, int height);
}
#elif defined(_unix)
class OSCode
{
 // unix/linux stuff
 int createwindow(int width, int height);
}
#endif

that way the rest of the code doesn’t (need to) know or care which OSCode we’re using.

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Amithran 101 Apr 28, 2003 at 20:36

What ever floats your boat. Im not knowledgable with nix’s yet and I know not there specifications. Im working on a plug-in interface via dll’s – hence the reason I brought it up. And your right on the complexity, you’d have to agree on a set of common standards and redo every dll version when ever a major change was made to the interface where if you use the compiler #ifdef tags changes can be made to all at once.

One last thing I’d like to recomend:
Start the game documentataion. I’ve glanced over a lot of things that have been said and some agreed upon but I cant see any official record of it. I suggest a mod Post an announcement type thread that only the mods can alter that lists everything that HAS been agreed to in a formated easy to read fashion. Don’t let this become another all talk–no walk idea.

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CyraX 101 Apr 29, 2003 at 08:47

SDL must be able to handle all the OS related stuff anyway.
Loading of the image formats and the Model files must be something of a better format - DLLs vis-a-vis SO.
Documentation:
I have been maintaining a list of the events and suggestions.
I guess I will start sending in the documentation etc soon.
However I would also like everyone to prepare a game requirments document of your own.

Preferred format : txt

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fringe 101 Apr 29, 2003 at 08:58

OK, this sounds like a good idea (the documentation). What should be written in such a document?

Hmm, the other thing is I am not quite sure what we are aiming for in the game, I have probably missed some posts or somethin’.
As far as I am aware we are starting with a simple game of asteroids to see if it is possible to work together and produce something for the forum. Is this correct? Are we adding any extra features to it or is it just going to be a standard asteroids clone?

fringe

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Amithran 101 Apr 29, 2003 at 17:12

These are a few snippets from a research paper I wrote up for school on the subject of game documentation:

“The purpose of design documentation is to express the vision for the game, describe the contents, and present a plan for implementation. A design document is a bible from which the producer preaches the goal, through which the designers champion their ideas, and from which the artists and programmers get their instructions and express their expertise” (Ryan The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1). This very decorative statement hints to the many things the one game doc means to different members of a team producing a game. To the producer the document is a “bible” of sorts and must be “preached”—forced to be acknowledged by all the members of the team to have any real benefit. To the designers of the team it’s a tool to “flesh out the producer’s vision”. Finally to the programmers and artists the document is a set of instructions, goals and guidelines to obtain direction from. (Ryan The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1)

Tzvi Freeman, a teacher of game design and documentation at the Digipen School of Computer Gaming, offers a bullet list of 10 pointers to keep in mind when creating the design documents—hints that offer insight to creating a presentable paper. I’ll give you a brief synopsis of each bullet point: 1) Describe not just the body, but the soul: A ‘matter of fact’ approach to detailing the information of your game design won’t win over any publishers looking to buy up game titles—but a carefully, even passionately, worded document that consistently uses the opportunity to buy into the whole idea will win over publishers.
2) Make it readable: Lines and lines of unformatted cramped up text wont entice any one to read the document through and through—simple formatting can make all the difference.
· Plenty of white space
· Bold headers
· Short text
· Direct the eye towards important material
3) Prioritize: Use keywords like important, indispensable and if possible to emphasize key material that represents the heart of your ideas.
4) Get into the details: Remember that specifics sell your idea. They also help to instruct team members in what to do.
5) Some things must be demonstrated: If a description of a complex idea gets too ambiguous, it may be helpful to construct a simple prototype to demonstrate the idea with.
6) Not just what, but how: Remember not to just document what needs to be done, but be sure to list ideas on how to do these things.
7) Provide Alternatives: There are some things that just wont be do-able, it will be important to provide other useful fill-ins that can take its place.
8) Give it a life: The design document as a whole should be an adaptable idea. There will be concepts “engraved in stone” that are crucial to game but the document should be susceptible to change with out losing its original intent.
9) Nobody should be able to say, “I did it that way because I couldn’t find any reference to it in the documentation”: This goes back to the details and specifics. Make sure its absolutely certain all areas of importance are covered in depth.
10) Deliver it in good condition: After all the hard work that’s gone into the creation of the document it would be a shame for it to not be read. It should be prepared in presentable configuration that is easy to handle and manage. (Tzvi Freeman)

The following headers should be included in the game documentation:
Introduction: Very much like a thesis that is heavily influenced by the goal to capture an audience and a secondary goal to give a –brief- idea of what you have in mind.
Background: Explanation of any reliance’s on previous products or projects conducted in the past.
Description: Explanation to the players of the game goals and game play. It should be expressed in a narrative of the player’s experience.
Key features: A list of unique ideas and plans to make the game play a fun and exciting experience.
Genre: A classification of game type, much as movies are classified by action, comedy, or drama. For games, the classifications range from puzzling action adventures to card and board games, including: Real Time Strategy, First Person Shooter, Action Adventure, Puzzle, Board, Role Playing, and Simulation games.
Platform: The medium the game will be available to. This includes computers—and their operating systems (MAC, LINUX, WINDOWS, etc.) as well as console systems (Game Boy, Playstation, XBOX, etc.)
Concept art: Little extra goods to use as prototypes to entice the reader into the game idea. (Ryan The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1)

Hope that helps :)

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fringe 101 Apr 30, 2003 at 09:00

Thats really helpful thank you, it does look like alot of work though. I shall have a little go at something soon. Any idea where we can publish these things? Is there space here somewhere?

I had a thought and was wondering whether instead of doing a straight asteroids clone whether we shouldn’t make it a litle more exciting. The game could be made so that instead of just blasting all the rocks out of space the aim is to collect the smallest sized rocks with a tractor beam. We could even build levels where asteroids that collided would get bigger again. Anyway I don’t know what you think shout me down if you don’t like theidea,

fringe

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anubis 101 Apr 30, 2003 at 11:56

yet another idea :

why not place something like a sun ( big object with gravitation ) in the middle of the level.
this would increase the difficulty of the game a bit. and anyone who ever playe kspaceduell knows that it is also a big fun maximizer.
come to speak of kspaceduell. do we want a multiplayer mode ???

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dk 158 Apr 30, 2003 at 18:58

fringe: yes, there’s space here. When things get busy and serious, we may have it hosted at sourceforge since they offer CVS service and some other goodies :)