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Chev
Jul 19, 2010


Switchblade Switcharoo

DreadCthulhu posted:

How do you cheat the system these days as a small indie team if you want to get closer to a AAA level of quality with none of the manpower? Will buying off the shelf assets get you far these days, or does that ultimately not solve the problem if you want to have a game that's got a lot of content in it?

You could go the No Man's Sky way of procedural generation. NMS' team was around 5 persons during dev IIRC and 10 near release. Of course that comes with the caveat of your content feeling repetitive.

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Stick100
Mar 18, 2003


DreadCthulhu posted:

How do you cheat the system these days as a small indie team if you want to get closer to a AAA level of quality with none of the manpower? Will buying off the shelf assets get you far these days, or does that ultimately not solve the problem if you want to have a game that's got a lot of content in it?

Depends on the type of content, some stuff you can buy some stuff you can't. You can get pretty good stuff off the asset store now a days esp. if you are willing to have a non photo real art style.

What kind of content are you talking about? Writing, models/animations, well generated maps, well balanced multiplayer characters (like a Moba)?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Don't AAA devs also buy assets to use in their games? I mean, with any asset you're going to have to spend some effort on adapting it so it doesn't look out of place with the rest of your stuff, but if making a purchased asset look coherent is less effort than making a new asset from scratch, then why wouldn't you? Especially since AAA games are already hugely expensive, it seems like dropping a few thousand dollars on saving your artists a few days' worth of work would probably be worth it.

Hughlander
May 11, 2005



TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Don't AAA devs also buy assets to use in their games? I mean, with any asset you're going to have to spend some effort on adapting it so it doesn't look out of place with the rest of your stuff, but if making a purchased asset look coherent is less effort than making a new asset from scratch, then why wouldn't you? Especially since AAA games are already hugely expensive, it seems like dropping a few thousand dollars on saving your artists a few days' worth of work would probably be worth it.

Other than for prototyping purposes I've never been at a AAA studio that brought pre-canned assets. We'll engage in outsourcing studios to build custom outsets to our concept art, but that's not really what's under discussion here.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Yeah, contracting out isn't the same thing, agreed. I'm surprised though that there's no purchasing assets. Is the concern that someone might recognize a model being re-used, raise a fuss, and the resulting PR hit would tank the game or something?

What about sound effects?

Gearman
Dec 6, 2011



TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Yeah, contracting out isn't the same thing, agreed. I'm surprised though that there's no purchasing assets. Is the concern that someone might recognize a model being re-used, raise a fuss, and the resulting PR hit would tank the game or something?

What about sound effects?

It's mostly that it's really difficult to find art assets that match the aesthetic, and are setup correctly. There's a lot more to an asset than just "does it look like a thing". There are stylistic, interactive, and performance considerations that largely make purchasing art assets not worth the effort for AAA studios.

Should effects are more likely to be purchased, and there are several sound fx packs that regularly make the rounds.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


Gearman posted:

It's mostly that it's really difficult to find art assets that match the aesthetic, and are setup correctly.

Yeah, it's this. Let's say you want to make a, uh... *rolls dice* twin-stick shooter in a *rolls dice* steampunk setting where you fight *rolls dice* dinosaurs from the moon. Now let's also say you've actually got some ambition and good ideas behind your game as opposed to just making something to dump on Steam. You want your game to look good, but also consistent, and to stick out from all the other stuff out there. You want the steamcars to look a particular way, you want the lunarosaurus rex model to feel like it belongs next to the Big Ben model as it crushes it in its huge meaty claws. You want Sir Reginald Gogglehead and Lady Margaret Gearcorset to be the actual characters you designed, not just some generic human model you found on the asset store with a hat you found on the asset store glued on.

Even for small to mid-sized companies, it is near impossible to build a game without having your own artists. Using asset store assets to any major extent will make your game look like, well... an asset flip. Canned assets just don't cut it, with a few exceptions (e.g. you can get some nice water shaders or particle effects or something and that's going to look pretty nice).

Sound is typically heavily altered before it makes it into a final product. Even so, people are in general far less sensitive to sound than to visuals, so you can get away with a lot more re-use. The sound of a footstep on grass is just not going to vary as extensively as the grass texture can. (That said, some games manage to have very distinctive soundscapes - go look at any video on YouTube with the words "half-life sfx" in the title, for example.)

Scaramouche
Mar 26, 2001

SPACE FACE! SPACE FACE!

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

Yeah, it's this. Let's say you want to make a, uh... *rolls dice* twin-stick shooter in a *rolls dice* steampunk setting where you fight *rolls dice* dinosaurs from the moon. Now let's also say you've actually got some ambition and good ideas behind your game as opposed to just making something to dump on Steam. You want your game to look good, but also consistent, and to stick out from all the other stuff out there. You want the steamcars to look a particular way, you want the lunarosaurus rex model to feel like it belongs next to the Big Ben model as it crushes it in its huge meaty claws. You want Sir Reginald Gogglehead and Lady Margaret Gearcorset to be the actual characters you designed, not just some generic human model you found on the asset store with a hat you found on the asset store glued on.

Even for small to mid-sized companies, it is near impossible to build a game without having your own artists. Using asset store assets to any major extent will make your game look like, well... an asset flip. Canned assets just don't cut it, with a few exceptions (e.g. you can get some nice water shaders or particle effects or something and that's going to look pretty nice).

Sound is typically heavily altered before it makes it into a final product. Even so, people are in general far less sensitive to sound than to visuals, so you can get away with a lot more re-use. The sound of a footstep on grass is just not going to vary as extensively as the grass texture can. (That said, some games manage to have very distinctive soundscapes - go look at any video on YouTube with the words "half-life sfx" in the title, for example.)

You will be hearing from my lawyer for this obvious plagiarism of my upcoming game, Lunar Victoria: Dino Salon, you fiend

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

To be clear, I wasn't talking about making a game entirely out of purchased assets. I was more thinking, like, "I need a crapton of rocks, instead of modeling them I'm going to go buy this asset pack of 100 different rocks and then adjust the materials / slap a shader on them so they look right for the rest of the game". Or boxes, or doors, or wall textures, or any of the other million little background elements that an AAA game has to have to have convincing environments but that doesn't really draw the player's attention.

Even then, yes of course you're going to need to make modifications; a game with a cell-shaded aesthetic is going to look damned strange if the rocks all have realistic PBR materials, or have noticeably more/fewer polys than anything else.

Gearman
Dec 6, 2011



TooMuchAbstraction posted:

To be clear, I wasn't talking about making a game entirely out of purchased assets. I was more thinking, like, "I need a crapton of rocks, instead of modeling them I'm going to go buy this asset pack of 100 different rocks and then adjust the materials / slap a shader on them so they look right for the rest of the game". Or boxes, or doors, or wall textures, or any of the other million little background elements that an AAA game has to have to have convincing environments but that doesn't really draw the player's attention.

Even then, yes of course you're going to need to make modifications; a game with a cell-shaded aesthetic is going to look damned strange if the rocks all have realistic PBR materials, or have noticeably more/fewer polys than anything else.

Pretty much every AAA studio will have tons of those kinds of assets already from other projects or prior games. That kind of re-use happens all the time.

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007



Some even have the "rock guy" and the "tree guy" and so on.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Ah, yeah, I guess that makes sense. Why buy assets when you already have them?

Gearman
Dec 6, 2011



Yeah and that's the kind of work that's perfect for new artists that are learning the pipeline and processes or juniors that need some experience.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

You walk in with the Turnips, you leave with the Bells.



I would never buy a pack of rocks but I absolutely have bought a handful of "20 ROCK ALPHAS AND BRUSHES FOR ZBRUSH" packs of tools that make MAKING these things easier/faster.

Chev
Jul 19, 2010


Switchblade Switcharoo

Chernabog posted:

Some even have the "rock guy" and the "tree guy" and so on.

Naughty Dog has a "female butt guy", for real, alhough I forgot his name.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

You walk in with the Turnips, you leave with the Bells.



Chev posted:

Naughty Dog has a "female butt guy", for real, alhough I forgot his name.

Most companies would find they already have several of these dudes, I think.

OneEightHundred
Feb 28, 2008

Soon, we will be unstoppable!


Coffee Jones posted:

Those are all CPU comparisons, Mark Cerny was talking about a dedicated decompression ASIC built into the PS5 which is getting me hot and bothered.
ASIC decompression's actually been a thing for a while. PS3, PS4, and Xbox One all have Zlib decompression ASICs, but some games are choosing software decompression anyway for technical reasons.

Big thing that happened with lossless compression is asymmetric numeral systems were invented a few years ago, which made it possible to get arithmetic/range coder efficiency (i.e. provably optimal) with much better performance, so that kicked off the race to crank out new algorithms incorporating it. zstd is one of them, pretty sure Kraken is too.

TBH I'd be happier if we got ASTC support so we could start knocking texture sizes down, it'd probably have a bigger impact, and it's really disappointing that newer desktop/console GPUs don't support it. The only sub-8bpp option is still S3TC, a 1998-era format that's been improved on multiple times.

OneEightHundred fucked around with this message at 08:30 on Mar 21, 2020

czg
Dec 17, 2005
hi

Just wanna chime in and say, quite a few AAA studios (aiming for photo-realism) use Megascans, both for textures and scanned meshes. The mesh scans are mostly applicable only for background set dressing, but the textures are a huge time saver for prop artists who don't have to hand-author a bunch of variations on worn metal or concrete.

Yestermoment
Jul 27, 2007



This question is more game dev adjacent, but it's a curious question I've had on my mind for a while that I was never sure where to ask:

I see a lot of games on Steam that are very clearly just a single person or small gaggle of developers self-publishing.

If you want to become self-employed with your own business, you go fill out paper work for a business license and bam. You now have Joe Jerkoff LLC. But how does that actually work with game publishing?

leper khan
Dec 28, 2010
Honest to god thinks Half Life 2 is a bad game. But at least he likes Monster Hunter.

Yestermoment posted:

This question is more game dev adjacent, but it's a curious question I've had on my mind for a while that I was never sure where to ask:

I see a lot of games on Steam that are very clearly just a single person or small gaggle of developers self-publishing.

If you want to become self-employed with your own business, you go fill out paper work for a business license and bam. You now have Joe Jerkoff LLC. But how does that actually work with game publishing?

Push a build to steam/apple/google and then press the release button.

Getting onto consoles is slightly more involved but not really more complex. Though they also typically have certification requirements around quality that are harder to meet than mobile. The real problem with being completely independent is marketing costs and getting visibility.

1337JiveTurkey
Feb 17, 2005



College Slice

Speaking of deployment what’s the most warnings you’ve ever ignored pushing to prod?

taqueso
Mar 8, 2004









Fun Shoe

I can't count that high

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


If you were meant to read warnings they'd be errors.

Fidel Cuckstro
Jul 2, 2007



What are good forums for a someone learning Unity/C# as a hobby to ask questions? Is the Unity forum geared towards that, or are they a more professional group? I remember there used to be a larger developer thread on here, but not sure if it still exists or if it's geared towards that...

(my coding background is basically non-existent, but I project manage IT and generally get new software development lifecycles, scoping/requirement writing, basic concepts of work, to level set where I'm at with this hobby)

foutre
Sep 4, 2011

RIP ZEEZ


Not sure about the unity forums, but this thread is probably what you're looking for : https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...549&perpage=40.

ChocNitty
Aug 3, 2011


Is it possible to learn software development skills if you suck at math really hard, not even getting past Algebra?

taqueso
Mar 8, 2004









Fun Shoe

ChocNitty posted:

Is it possible to learn software development skills if you suck at math really hard, not even getting past Algebra?

absolutely, for general development it isn't needed for most things and it is usually minor when it is needed

Fidel Cuckstro
Jul 2, 2007



foutre posted:

Not sure about the unity forums, but this thread is probably what you're looking for : https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...549&perpage=40.

Thank you

chglcu
May 17, 2007

I'm so bored with the USA.

taqueso posted:

ChocNitty posted:

Is it possible to learn software development skills if you suck at math really hard, not even getting past Algebra?
absolutely, for general development it isn't needed for most things and it is usually minor when it is needed

While I agree in general, it's probably worth mentioning that games specifically (since this is the "Ask A Game Dev" thread) do have some pretty math-heavy bits. You can often get by with looking up how to do that stuff as needed, but it is helpful to understand why things work.

leper khan
Dec 28, 2010
Honest to god thinks Half Life 2 is a bad game. But at least he likes Monster Hunter.

chglcu posted:

While I agree in general, it's probably worth mentioning that games specifically (since this is the "Ask A Game Dev" thread) do have some pretty math-heavy bits. You can often get by with looking up how to do that stuff as needed, but it is helpful to understand why things work.

The level of maths knowledge needed for games is always incredibly overblown.

If you can get through high school trig, collegiate linear algebra, introduction to discrete, and something with proofs you're good.

If you've done significant research into cutting edge maths, it probably hurts more than it helps. No one in games cares that the axiom of choice leads to a coordinated solution to the hat problem. You'll cheat on the priors way before you need to involve complex math.

ChickenWing
Jul 22, 2010



Fun Shoe

leper khan posted:

The level of maths knowledge needed for games is always incredibly overblown.

If you can get through high school trig, collegiate linear algebra, introduction to discrete, and something with proofs you're good.

If you've done significant research into cutting edge maths, it probably hurts more than it helps. No one in games cares that the axiom of choice leads to a coordinated solution to the hat problem. You'll cheat on the priors way before you need to involve complex math.

I would guess the "big maths" bit is when you get into more senior positions/more complicated projects in your personal and suddenly need to know how to make your engine do things that don't come prepackaged out of the box.

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

we vibin'
we slidin'
we breathin'
we dyin'


Clever Betty

quaternions lol

dirby
Sep 21, 2004


Fun Shoe

Let's remove Quaternions from every 3D Engine by Marc ten Bosch, the 4D game developer, so he would know.

Studio
Jan 15, 2008






leper khan posted:

If you can get through high school trig, collegiate linear algebra, introduction to discrete, and something with proofs you're good.

That's actually a lot of math.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

My (non-professional) experience with gamedev is that trig is unavoidable, matrix math and quaternions are borderline essential for 3D, and understanding how rendering works is very helpful for shaders. Higher-level math can certainly be helpful in a bunch of other areas but I'd hesitate to characterize it as essential for an indie dev.

MJBuddy
Sep 22, 2008

Now I do not know whether I was then a head coach dreaming I was a Saints fan, or whether I am now a Saints fan, dreaming I am a head coach.

Studio posted:

That's actually a lot of math.

For real. Especially in context of stuck at Algebra.


ChocNitty posted:

Is it possible to learn software development skills if you suck at math really hard, not even getting past Algebra?

I think someone should clarify the differences in building and engine or engine tool, using an engine, and game design and the math needed for each because I think they're all being referred to as a bit of game design soup right now (and I don't have the answers to all of them).

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007



As a one man studio I mostly use logic and very rarely any math, but I also design my games that way because I know what I'm capable of. The game engine takes care of all the heavy lifting.

taqueso
Mar 8, 2004









Fun Shoe

Quaternions were mentioned and I agree the math behind them is complicated. But, the game engine completely abstracts that away and gives you easy to use primitives like "look at that thing" or "look forward" or "turn 30 degrees left".

dreamless
Dec 18, 2013



Having a good grasp of vector math is really helpful; I see a lot of people coming into games who try to solve problems with high school geometry or trig that really should be solved by putting vectors end to end or taking a dot product. I don't know where it is in the curriculum, though. I was super comfortable with vectors after physics class, but it might have required calculus, which is locking the easy stuff behind the hard stuff.

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taqueso
Mar 8, 2004









Fun Shoe

I was farther along in my math learning when I got hit with vectors, but I found it much more intuitive than geometry and trig. I don't think you even need algebra if you have the 'rules' handy, just arithmetic. (hopefully people won't be afraid of it)


As far as the OP's original quesiton is concerned, go for it, worst case you end up learning a little bit of algebra by accident.

taqueso fucked around with this message at 20:41 on Apr 5, 2020

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