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djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

exquisite tea posted:

Of all the stupid criticism game developers get from the community at large, "the devs don't even play their own game!" is by far the weakest and lamest out there. Yes dude, the people who work 60 hours a week trying to compile a million lines of gobbledegook into the modern magic you call a video game do not share the same extremely limited perspective as you, man who spends every waking hour playing his waifu and hating it when other heroes can do stuff better than his waifu. Players can be good at identifying problems but are often very bad at proposing solutions, because they have no sense for the greater balance of interactions that follow when you adjust one seemingly minuscule aspect of the game.

I sort of agree and sort of disagree. Obviously the simplistic player pov is dumb in a lot of cases, but on the other hand I've actually worked on games where we had to fight tooth and nail to get people to play the game they were making and give feedback. Obviously not everyone needs an encyclopedic knowledge of the game (that's a silly thing to ask) but it'd be nice if more devs understood and appreciated the context of the stuff they were making!

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djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Harrow posted:

I've read this a few times and it makes a ton of sense to me.

ArenaNet has this kind of weird specific request for suggested improvements for Guild Wars 2 on their official forum that surprises me and I wonder why they mentioned it. I thought maybe they were just encouraging people to post their ideas so they'd feel like they were being heard, but I'd think that, if ArenaNet does fix problems but not in the way players suggested, it's just inviting more dissatisfaction. Obviously people are going to post their specific ideas anyway, but specifically asking for it suggests that they hope to get meaningful ideas that way.

For my part, after reading a few developers talking about how helpful feedback is and how useless suggested fix ideas are, I try to keep those suggestions out of my feedback. But it's surprising to see that sort of thing actually solicited.

I think in a lot of situations these kinds of guidelines aren't actually about getting people to give usable suggestions, but to put them in the mindset of realizing that decisions are made to solve problems. At the very least, if you propose a solution, you have to then open yourself up to criticism of the flaws of your solution from other people in the community, which gets more people into the mindset of looking at the problems and less about bandwagoning specific solutions.

And, best case, communities can produce good suggestions. I don't think every community suggestion is good, and there are a lot of people with ulterior motives giving suggestions, but you do get really good community suggestions and feedback sometimes.

Side note, watching streams/youtube vids, participating in discords, etc. can actually be much better sources of feedback than forum posts anyways. Forums tend to select for a super specific subset of people who like posting on forums and that tends to skew the tone of feedback pretty hard in my experience. Forums tend toward bandwagoning a lot in my experience, too.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

SupSuper posted:

How do game devs feel about modding? It's always felt like this huge grey area that the game industry promotes with one hand and slaps with the other.

Mods are how a lot of the current industry started working on games. I think mods are great but I don't think it's a knock against a game if it doesn't allow modding.

I don't think there's a ton of "slapping" going on, unless IP is involved. If you mean shutting down mods over someone else's IP well... don't use someone else's IP?

The only other case where mods cause issues are in social games, like UI mods in MMOs. Once you feel like you are either directly or indirectly competing with other players, players start to feel like mods that improve efficiency or provide more information are "mandatory" and you start to lose control of the look, feel and presentation of your game. Obviously there are advantages, too, but I don't think it's an unambiguous win.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Chev posted:

A number of EULAs no one ever read or respect do forbid reverse engineering and modding of games, and then there are things like the whole hubbub about Rockstar shutting down GTA modding tool OpenIV and possibly only backpedaling because of review bombing.

Oh, I'd expect you'd have to ask publishers, then. I don't think devs in most cases give a poo poo.

As far as GTA/Take2 goes, I wouldn't be surprised if past PR issues caused as a result of modding (sup hot coffee) have caused them to be extremely conservative wrt modding.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Baxta posted:

I've messed around with Unity a bit and created a few very small 3d games to get a feel for physics and vectors etc, what are some things to research to get a feel for how huge RPG games are made? (baldurs gate style or even better Divinity: Original Sin 2)

I'm a C# .NET dev primarily involved in finance which bores the poo poo out of me so i'm wanting to see what potential talent I have in game dev land.

P.S. Divinity: Original Sin 2 should get goty2017

The easiest way is to look at an RPG where you can open their campaign in a publicly available editor. I don't remember but I believe this is possible with NWN1/2? IIRC.

In my experience the thing that differentiates huge RPGs isn't as much about the code that runs them as the content/scripting to support the content. Single-player RPGs aren't super nutty from an engineering PoV but tend to have really complex content (again, in my experience).

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Sunning posted:

Game development can be a full-time job so there are people specialized in dissecting competing games and market analysis. Even a developer that judiciously collects telemetric data on players might not have the expertise to utilize the information. Mid-sized developers and large publishers can hire a market research firm, such as EEDAR, or have an in-house team that is dedicated to understanding market trends. For example, Ubisoft has an editorial board that analyzes top selling games and uses that information when greenlighting new projects.

this is certainly the case for how some large publishers work, and I don't think it's necessarily as relevant for artists and engineers, but for designers I think it's kinda mandatory to play a lot of games and be able to critically analyze what did and didn't work in them. If you can't discuss your favorite and least favorite games you played in the past year, what did and didn't work in them, and why, it's really hard for me to get a handle on your design sense.

I don't think you have to play everything, and I don't really care what specifically you play, but you should play games and be able to break them down and talk about them in a thoughtful way if you want to be a game designer (in my opinion).

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

ninjewtsu posted:

How many professional game designers come from a specific design course or program in college, vs how many just got a compsci degree or something and ended up being better at designing than building?

What's the path to being a designer look like? An artist or a programmer could find work out of the industry, but game design seems like a very industry specific job, so it's less clear to me how I'd become one if I wanted to vs just about any other job in the industry I can think of

In the modern industry, the capability to make games is so democratized that there's really no reason for you not to have designed *something* on your own. That's the best path in at this point, I'd think. QA can be a path, but it's hard and highly competitive, so getting in at a small studio first or being a super stand-out at a large studio are really the only way to do it from that path.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Baxta posted:

Counterpoint

“Internally, we had this super hardcore test group – we’ve got a lot of hardcore players at Blizzard – that tested Inferno, and we got it to the point where they thought it was challenging enough,” Blizzard’s Jay Wilson told IGN.

“Then we doubled it. Because we knew, no matter how good we are, our players are gonna be better. We focused on making that as difficult as we could make it.”

For those of you long enough in the industry, how was this received? I remember a lot of backlash from the gaming community but would like to understand if this is an accepted way to do things (pretty sure it isn't).

EDIT: Just googled the bloke. Apparently he has left game design and D3 fans are STILL mad at him.

This depends heavily on the type of game and the audience for said game. Single-player games are drastically easier than complex co-op games.

When I was tuning hardcore difficulty on Dungeon Siege 3, I chose values that I personally found to be seriously challenging but which I could imagine myself reasonably beating (or that I did beat myself). I had just finished Demons' Souls and felt like that was roughly the target difficulty/engagement I was looking for. For normal and easy, I had to use feedback from watching playtesters and the team, because those difficulties felt "too easy" for me personally, but I knew that too easy was correct in those cases. Obviously once the game came out, players figured out strategies that made Hardcore easier, but for the most part the game played as I expected.

Having moved onto WoW, as you can imagine, tuning an MMO encounter is many times more complicated because you have many more vectors of challenge and you are trying to engage and challenge a large number of players simultaneously who have very distinct roles. I don't think there's really any equivalent experience in game-design. Now that I've done raid encounter tuning, it kinda bums me out that so few designers will get to actually design, tune, and see a PvE MMO encounter play out in their careers now that the MMO gold rush has petered out. All I can say is that, after having worked on a PvE MMO, I'm more convinced than ever that there are no right answers in design and that it's much more complex and tricky than players (and many designers) consider.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

IronSaber posted:

Due to recent events, I want to ask what you dev types think about loot boxes, hopefully in a more impartial and analytical way than I have seen on the social medias.

Do you think they are good/bad? Do you think they COULD be good/bad? Do dev's see any of the extra money that comes from loot box purchases? Do you think they add value/take away value from the game you worked on?

EDIT: Forgot, the major headline here should be that devs almost never make these decisions. These kinds of business model decisions are not made by individual developers on games at any company I've heard of. No programmer or designer is choosing (as far as I'm aware) how much to sell loot boxes for. Obviously that may not be the case everywhere, but in my practical experience devs focus on making the stuff, and then other folks figure out how to get money from people for it

On the other hand, some devs see, in some form, money from loot boxes, either through bonuses/profit sharing/etc. Maybe some game companies give equity? I'm not aware of any off the top of my head, though.

There's a couple different ways to think about loot boxes from the PoV of a player assuming you're talking about loot boxes vs. just paying outright for things.

The advantage of loot boxes from a player PoV is that you might get the thing you want more cheaply than if what the company might price it at if you were to pay outright. The disadvantage is that you might pay more (in some cases quite a bit more). Another advantage is that, sometimes, the act of opening loot boxes is fun in the same way slots can be kinda fun.

It's important to remember that the business model doesn't really add value to the game directly. The design can be influenced by the business model, but it is a rare thing, from my point of view, that the interaction of the business model makes the game better directly. But it is a reality that games exist to make money, and games that make more money tend to get more resources, so from that point of view, if loot boxes are a good way to get people to spend more money on a game, that money *could* (emphasis on could) correlate to more resources being spent on the game and thus potentially a better game. On the other hand, it's entirely possible the business model interferes with the gameplay and detracts from it.

Basically, when we get luxury gay space communism and all games can be free, then I don't know that any game will ever contain loot boxes just to make the game better.

There are regulations in China and Japan that I think are good overall for loot-box driven games. China forces you to publish the odds on items in loot boxes, and Japan requires that a given item is guaranteed to drop after a given number of loot boxes (this is a reaction to Gatcha systems that would have a 1/20 chance to give you the body, legs and arms of a mech and then a 1/1000 chance for the head, for example). I think both of those are reasonable regulations and I'd be happy to see them applied to games in the EU/USA.

Ethically I personally guess I have issues with loot boxes because I don't feel good about not being direct with players about how much they need to invest in a game to get the things they want, but I also understand the financial and economic reality that leads to loot boxes, because companies have discovered that loot boxes are a better way to get money from players than releasing fixed price DLC/purchases, and companies fundamentally exist to make money.

In short, at the very least, I really do think some equivalent to the Chinese regulations should absolutely be applied here.

djkillingspree fucked around with this message at Nov 15, 2017 around 06:59

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

MissMarple posted:

Whether or not this is an indictment of the publishers using them, the important thing to understand is that those are not “extra”.

The game got green lit on the basis of the expected total revenue, against the expected total cost. Loot boxes, DLC, or other micro transactions are part of that.

Obviously players see it as “extra” because it is an extra purchase to them above the base game, but it was all part of the original forecast (there will be some exceptions where stuff gets bolted on later).

As such that money isn’t some extra cash lying around to divvy up, it’s recouping the costs of development as much as the $60 up front. Or, increasingly, supporting continued live content.

Overwatch’s committal to “every map and hero we add will be free” is paid for by loot boxes. As and when players wane from spending on them, Blizzard will either have to increase the efficiency of the content creation, or slow down it’s cadence, or find some new way to monetise.

Battlefront 2 has had a litany if executional errors in what they are trying to do. But I think that up front if you say “Ok we’re going to do Battlefront again but just better” that game doesn’t get made. If you add some additional revenue from micro transactions, and a long progression grind that means people are still playing when the DLC rolls around (and reduces second hand sales)... that’s a better business case. In a pitch, it de-risks some elements. The game players wanted to see would never have seen the light of day.

There’s a whole bunch of other underlying stuff there about how you are meant to, quarter by quarter, act in the interests of shareholders. Or how games are a hit driven business trying to be turned into a dependable industry. Or how expectations and costs are escalating year on year. But the tl;dr version is; fewer games are seen as viable without these models.

I think it's extremely difficult to argue that Battlefront (or insert other game here) again but better would not be profitable. The question is whether or not that game would be more or less profitable than the same game with loot boxes/microtransactions/etc. That's the determination that these companies are making.

It's important to remember that companies (especially publicly traded companies) exist to, as efficiently as possible, turn money into more money. Making games are the means to that end, but they are not the end in themselves. The question is not "how do we finance making the best games possible", it's "how do we make games such that we can earn a maximum return on investment from our capital". This isn't even like a "publishers are evil" thing - I think publishers are doing what they are supposed to do, which is generate RoI for investors - it's just the heart of corporate capitalism. Also, some companies feel like making the best games they can is the way to most effectively make money, but that's not a requirement and I wouldn't expect that behavior from all companies.

djkillingspree fucked around with this message at Nov 15, 2017 around 21:39

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

SupSuper posted:

So does everything else in capitalism. What's in it for the customer? You can't justify every decision with "it makes money" or every industry would be a dystopian nightmare.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/201...-for-teen-blood

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

joats posted:

Maybe I should rephrase the question. As a consumer that would be my favorite age, but as a developer what period would be the golden gaming development age? Or best time working in the field?

I know that for my field, 2008 was a terrible time to be in architecture (lots of layoffs and few openings), but it has bounced back immensely. Maybe I have the wrong perception that it isn't the best time to be a game developer right now?

I think this is hugely dependent on what kind of development you are doing.

If you are an indie, there's never been a better time to be a developer (well, maybe like 2 or 3 years ago was better, but the general point stands), because you literally couldn't get your games in front of people effectively without low barrier-to-entry digital distribution, and toolsets were insanely expensive.

For companies that do work-for-hire for big publishers, though, the market has really dried up.

For phone game developers, the early days of the app store were probably better than now.

For console game devs, the PS3/360 generation was really rough from a technical point of view because the gap between PC and consoles was close enough that you could reasonably try to make cross platform PC/console games, but far enough away (especially in terms of RAM) that actually getting stuff running on them could be a nightmare.

Basically, it's always going to be an awesome time for someone and a lovely time for someone else, I think.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

I don't think it's necessary to assume that the direction that publishers have been moving in is inherently correct or data-driven, even though they are all doing it. You may remember when the entire industry lost a shitload of money deciding it was time to make MMOs when WoW made bank, or time to make MOBAs when LoL made bank. One problem with pointing to research is that the counterfactuals don't exist - because most companies tend to work off of the same playbook, it's hard to point to the publisher that isn't following it and how successful they were or weren't.

Ultimately, it's not really even a relevant argument to have unless you run a publisher or an indie developer. If you want to work on AAA, you work under the conditions of AAA at the time, which you don't get to dictate and which may or may not be dictated by logic, data or sanity. Thankfully, with indie gaming taking off over the past several years, at least we now get to play things outside of what AAA deems viable!

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Bushmaori posted:

Speaking of the cloud: What are the thoughts of you developers when it comes to cloud computing helping gaming? I remember reading a lot about it a few years ago but not so much since then.

My personal take was that this was a line essentially proffered by MS to support their Azure initiative and a theoretical way to shore up the original Xbox One's weaknesses vs. the PS4. I don't think there's ever been a realistic example of it being used to offload computation from client PCs in the ways it was being talked about previously.

The problem I'd see with that model of cloud computing is that the problem domain where it would be useful doesn't justify the potential risk. I could see potentially a cloud computing company developing a game that used it essentially as marketing for the idea of using cloud computing in games, but the use cases that I've heard described for it are either impractical or not worth the cost and risk. If you think about it, if you're using cloud computing to offload something that the client can't calculate in real-time, you need to be able to send the problem to the cloud, computer AND deliver the results in real-time, which is an extreme challenge. And, if you can afford NOT to deliver those results in real time, then why not just compute the results in non-real time on the client? Hard to imagine a really compelling use case.

On the other hand, from another point of view every client/server game where the server is remote from all of the players is, in a way of speaking, using cloud computing. Things like MMO servers are sorta doing cloud computing in the sense that there is computation happening on a server that would be impractical to do on each individual client. Especially as games start to leverage scalable infrastructure like AWS, there's some sense that cloud computing is helping with the server side computation of running online games, but not so much offloading traditional client loads.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

If you think a small amount of money was lost on those MMOs or that small teams were involved in the big publisher MMOs, I don't buy that. And while EA didn't go out of business, their stock did go down by *over 33%* in the year after SWTOR launched, and ultimately one of the main reasons John Riccitello was ousted was the poor financial performance of EA over his tenure, much of which was defined by the insanely expensive development of SWTOR and its ultimate failure to succeed financially as a subscription MMO.

I would point to the shuttering/sale of SOE, 38 Studios, etc. as examples of why these were, in fact, bad bets.

The fact that some of those MMOs have been able to be put on life support through F2P doesn't imply that the companies that developed them weren't heavily injured by their failure, or that they were smart gambles.

The extent to which a major publicly owned company needs to fail to actually stop existing is pretty spectacular. A large, publicly held company can undergo financial disaster and still survive.

I will say that MOBAs involve a massively lower amount of risk than MMOs, so to that extent, I think they are less of a reckless investment on the part of publishers. Though I still think publishers chasing them in a massive way are missing out on the reality of what people want in that segment, personally.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

MissMarple posted:

a bunch of gaas stuff

This is a really good and accurate breakdown of GaaS. The extent to which the industry has discovered that there are customers willing to pay a lot more than they used to for games is a big part of how the industry has moved in the past like, 5-10 years.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Gerblyn posted:

I don't know about perfect, but it would be suitable yeah. As you say, you'd need to upload the game world, which is essentially your save file, let the cloud run its turn, then send a save file back to the player of the world after the AI took it's turn, along with data so that the player could see the moves the AI took. The whole process would probably take a few minutes, but if you're playing a round-robin type turn based game, that's fairly normal.

If the game supports Play By Email, you could also have a cloud based AI take part in that as well, since PBEM games essentially involve emailing save games around.

I wonder how much value there is to the cloud in this case, given the fact that it would mandate an online connection, which is likely to piss some people off. I do wonder how much strategy game AI is limited by processing power vs. more design issues of how to design an AI that is fun to play against. It feels like the latter is a design challenge nobody's cracked moreso than a technical challenge?

On the subject of cloud computing, something that I'd heard suggested as a potential use case, which sounded kinda neat and plausible, was delivering your character model to the cloud and then rendering out pre-rendered cutscenes with your character inserted in the cloud and streaming them back. That's a use case that's actually pretty plausible (it's just sending a model out and streaming video back, no input is required), is actually pretty cool, and could actually have a fallback case for offline games (either a generic fallback movie, or falling back to in-engine quality for the movie if no connection is present).

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Gerblyn posted:

I’m not disagreeing with what you’re saying at all, I think I expressed myself badly. When I used words like Smart, I didn’t mean Smart like Napoleon destroying the player with searing strategic insight, I meant Smart like another human playing a reasonably competent game.

I think you’re underestimating how difficult it is write a 4X game AI which isn’t pants-on-head incompetent, yet alone one which is so smart that the player hates trying to beat it. Managing production queues, empire expansion, diplomacy, economics, research and military deployment, all with something that even roughly ressembles a human’s playstyle is a hugely complex task requiring a ton of prvoessing power. There’s a reason people complain that 4X AIs only provide a reasonable challenge by cheating in extra resources and units.

In the end, faking it only gets you so far with something as complex as a strategy game AI, and getting it
to play reasonably well falls squarely into the domain of the AI programmer. Most designers are only really qualified to provide the highest levels of direction, they can’t design around these problems except by fundamentally changing the rules of the game the AI is playing. That’s why I mentioned Sorceror King, which I personally think is going the right direction for people who want a fun, single player 4X game.

In SK, the Big Bad Guy AI doesn’t need to deal with all the complex stuff that makes the game fun for a player, all it needs to do is spawn armies and things which are tailored to challenge the player. If a designer says “Fighting this kind of army while trying to invade is fun”, the AI can just create one in the right place, which is far simple than what an AI in a traditional 4X would need to do to get the same result.

Yeah, I think we're ultimately agreeing, just different ways of saying the same thing What I meant is that - I don't know that the challenge in successfully executing fun single-player 4X games is an engineering/AI challenge, and thus the 4X genre wouldn't become drastically more enjoyable for players if it leveraged cloud computing, which probably makes it not worth the cost?

Again, like you're saying, I think it's the secret to good SP 4X is the design challenge of making something like Sorcerer Kings, where the game is inherently asymmetric, because even if you perfectly simulate a human player, part of the satisfaction of winning a symmetric PvP game is knowing you outsmarted a human. I would bet that most people would find beating an AI in one of these symmetric PvP games less satisfying? Hard part is, there's not a ton of 4X games that have tried something asymmetric to compare against!

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

OneEightHundred posted:

The problem of academic interest is that there are basically two completely different reasons to make a game AI:

One of them, semi-common in board games and strategy games, is to be as good as possible at beating opponents, or at least as good as whatever constraints are imposed to control its difficulty, and that type of thing is of interest to academia because it's useful elsewhere. Timing constraints are definitely not a barrier to academic research, there's been work on stuff like Starcraft and Doom bots and training self-driving cars in GTA entirely because so many useful applications of AI in things like robotics and self-driving cars have to be done in real time.

The other one is the one that you see in most game NPCs, which is not to make an effective AI, but more of a systemic performance, and the goal is to be interesting and fun to play against. A lot of being fun is things like giving enemies a distinct identity, and making them seem fair (which means, more than anything, giving the player a huge information advantage), but actual intelligence is often counterproductive. Most of the interest now is in group and emergent behaviors so that the AIs are more interesting and do more things.

The second point here is something really interesting to me, because it's one of those areas where game design and engineering heavily interact. In many cases the larger challenge is to define the role your AI should play, rather than just trying to make them as smart as possible. In that respect designing AIs for games becomes a much more subjective goal - often, you want them to *seem* smart while *actually* being quite predictable. It's often better to think of AIs as playing a role vs. trying to be as smart as possible, and it's a mix of design and code to get them to play it.

On the other hand, something that doesn't get a lot of fanfare, but is a huge deal, are the massive advances made in the capability of AIs to navigate environments. In order for a game like Assassin's Creed to work, for example, a fairly large number of AIs need to be able to understand how to navigate a fairly complex environment that can't be defined with a simple navmesh. Those kinds of advances don't get super-buzzwordy-reveals, but it's important to remember that in many games 5-10 years ago, enemies couldn't even figure out how to climb ladders, jump over gaps, or take cover behind objects without a human annotating the environment. I'm sure there's still some hand annotation going on in newer games, but it's clear that AIs have gotten drastically better at navigation in open world games over time. This is an extremely hard problem and has a ton of good work being done on it all the time.

Also, for AI advances, the recent Alien Creative Assembly game seemed to be a pretty impressive case of a complex AI that played a role really well. There's definitely a lot of stuff going on with developments in AI, I just think it's being presented more in the context of gameplay (which is good)

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

SilentW posted:

The studio I'm currently at uses Jira, but I've used TestTrack Pro as well - there seems to have been an overall push towards Jira recently because it's free, and integrates with confluence.

from experience setting up a bug database, Jira can be more readily customized than TTP so that's another reason to prefer it. It also has a nice workflow for tracking tasks and bugs in the same DB. Honestly they're all basically fine though?

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Warmachine posted:

So the shift in architecture, all else held equal, can result in something that was addressed in 32 bit space being in a different location in 64 bit space, and things that reference the 32 bit location won't be able to find the 64 bit location?

It's less that it would be a different location, and more that there are assumptions that are either explicitly or implicitly made that could no longer be the case in 64-bit.

The difficulty in porting from 32 to 64 bit is entirely caught up in how portably the code was written. If the code never intentionally or unintentionally assumes the width of variables, it could be as simple as telling the compiler to compile in 64 bits and you're done.

On the other hand, it's pretty easy to accidentally write code that isn't portable, because you'd never see the bugs until you try to port, and you may not even realize your code is making assumptions that aren't portable. What would actually happen in these cases is often that some parts of the program are now expecting and using longer variable sizes, which means that they can write or read past their allocated memory, which can cause crashes, weird bugs, or nothing, depending on what the code does!

Long story short, it can either be really easy to port to 64bit (just compile to 64bit and you're done), or it can be an incredibly laborious process of identifying and fixing all of the points where your code was relying on the system being 32bit. Which you may not be able to discover quickly or easily, and which may only cause rare crashes or bugs. Like everything with porting, the answer is it's somewhere between trivial and impossible, but hard to know without knowing the codebase

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

ShadowHawk posted:

Or just run it in Wine.

What about outsourcing Linux ports? Codeweavers does pretty cheap Wine-based ports for a fee (or maybe even a rev-share).

In many cases I think the risk of a bad port reflecting negatively on your game as a whole is often higher than the potential upside. It really is a lot of headache for a very minimal benefit. Additionally it probably doesn't hurt that the kind of people likely to run linux and play games are probably also the people with the technical savvy to dual boot and get your games on windows :P

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

friendbot2000 posted:

I am a fledgling game developer and am trying to start up my own little studio. I have a great concept for a series of 4 isometric RPGs. I have completed an extensive game design document, a Worldbuilding document the size of War and Peace, the game engine is nearly completed, but there is a slight problem. My strengths lie in writing, coding, and level design, but I lack the skills in art and music. I know that crowdfunding can be a dirty word sometimes, but is it advisable to pay someone for art and music assets for a good quality demo to showcase the first game and mechanics(maybe with teasers for the other three because all the stories are related towards the end and affect one another) and use crowdfunding to get the art and music for the rest of the series? What are the pitfalls in this approach that I need to be aware of?

Furthermore, does anyone have advice on how to manage freelance artists? I have a very specific image for the art style I want for these projects, but at the same time, I don't want to be a client from hell. I have had plenty of experience on the other end of that as a freelance web developer and I would rather not become that which I abhor. I have an art design document as well, which I figure is a good guide to show them what I want, but any other advice would be appreciated.

Also, does anyone in this thread know the business behind games or is this thread only for developers?

Edit: I should mention that I am the only person working on these games and it has been a labor of love for 5 years. The reason it is 4 games is that it used to be 1 monolith and I decided it made more sense to make it into 4 to make things easier for myself.

This is really just a question of finding the right freelancer. I think if you have a specific style in mind, then you need to find someone who is capable of/excited about executing that. Expect to pay them money up front.

But in general, if you provide direction, artistic reference, etc. then I think it's reasonable that any freelance artist who is willing to take on your work should be able to execute that and take direction.

I think crowdfunding isn't a terrible idea, especially if you have some proven ability to execute on your idea, but at the same time, I think people have been burned by some lovely projects and so don't expect to get huge buy-in. Keep your scope reasonable and I think it'll be fine.

Another totally reasonable idea is to self-fund a demo and use that as a basis for kickstarting or even launching early access. The most important thing is getting into a situation as quickly as possible where you can pay people so that they are justifiably willing to do the work. I'm generally against the idea of accepting free work from people you don't know extremely well.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

ETPC posted:

also when are y'all unionizing

a lack of respect for experience among management at many companies + large pool of young, inexperienced people desparately wanting jobs + precarity + general suspicion of unions in the US means that it's an extremely uphill battle.

imo, engineers are the real linchpin of any unionization effort. they are the hardest and slowest to replace and have the best opportunity to find work outside of the game industry. but unionizing designers and artists will be extremely challenging because companies have done a lot to try to make individual contributors as replaceable as possible. obviously this depends on the specific company but in general it's going to take a LOT to get game workers organized.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Likely 60$ in whatever year that was established in dollars was too high a price. It's not necessarily true that a higher price would bring in more revenue, and the impact on sales is likely to be substantial (at least for the first game to do it) unless it's guaranteed to be hugely successful regardless.

I know in the indie world price sensitivity is something that a lot of people have talked about, but an environment of lower prices isn't necessarily better for anyone - look at the mobile game wasteland as an example.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Chewbot posted:

Is this a safe space to complain about the gaming community?

Mostly kidding, but as someone in both AAA and indie since '99 I do wish the public would let the actual game developers decide what's best for them, whether that's unionizing or asking for support or whatever. I've been in bad situations and great situations and there's a lot more to it than how many hours I work in a week. Internet lynch mobs should not be the default reaction to every issue.


Are you Chris Reeves from BioWare Austin? And for the record your sentiment here is spot on.

you'd be hard pressed to find a more widespread publicly available example of the dunning-kruger effect than gamers talking about game development

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Dewgy posted:

I think that’s where it gets confusing. HDR as in high dynamic range lighting has existed since at least the Source engine and the HL2 Lost Coast demo, but RGB10 HDR as a display standard is something totally different. The PS3 couldn’t do RGB10 display output, but could include HDR lighting as part of the rendering pipeline, which is what I’m pretty sure this GDC talk is about.

My question’s more about HDR as like a bullet point on your TV specs, or like the Apple “millions of colors” vs “one billion colors” thing.

HDR rendering, which has been around since DX9 at least iirc, is about using a wider color space when calculating the color of pixels, but eventually the result of those calculations have to be mapped back into standard 8bit RGB to be sent to your monitor, and some amount of contrast and color information is lost in the process.

HDR displays handle the remaining part of getting HDR content to your eyes. They allow a wider color space to be sent to the display (HDR10 is 10 bits per color instead of 8), and tends to be matched with the display also being able to output a higher contrast ratio, so that it can both accept a signal and output a picture with larger dynamic range.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Dewgy posted:

Yeah, I know all that, my question though is luminance a good test of RGB10 HDR output or does that not really test the full range of colors? It should be 64x as many colors overall, not just brighter ones.

e: For clarity, here’s the video I was asking about. HDR stuff starts at around 8:30 and it all just feels off to me from what I know about the tech. They definitely showed it doesn’t push the brightness as high as it can but that’s not all of what HDR does.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDGIU88p-EU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJgXQ3qNg74

This one goes into some more detail. I believe the criticism is that it is directly mapping the standard 0-255 color range into the HDR space, with 255 equal to whatever you set the peak luminance to, as opposed to actually providing additional color information in between those steps. The fact that increasing peak luminance also increases black level would seem to indicate that it's doing something wrong, at least.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Warmachine posted:

This was want I wanted to ask about, from a consumer of games who has a "games as a narrative" perspective when he goes hunting for story based games. I've often thought that the writing problem could be partially solved by writing the story first, then figuring out what gameplay elements you need to make the story come alive after, and develop the actual game based on that road map.

this is basically why i think undertale and deltarune are both particularly brilliant. It's clear that the narrative inspired the game mechanics and there are constantly places where the line between game mechanic and narrative are blurred to the point where it's basically nonexistent.

For what it's worth, I think a lot of these problems come down to:

- many game writers aren't very good writers and kinda just want to ape genre fiction
- many writers who are good are not good gameplay designers and don't understand how to mesh gameplay with their narrative
- many gameplay designers don't care about or understand narrative
- many gameplay designers aren't very creative about how to mold their gameplay mechanics around the narrative to reinforce it and make it richer.

To make a great game with a great narrative that feels really well integrated, you need a ton of creativity not just from the writers but also from the gameplay designers. the writers need to understand how to stretch their writing skills to work within the context of a game and the gameplay designers need to understand how to make their gameplay resonant with the narrative. Instead, in my experience, usually narrative and gameplay design are basically in their own forts throwing poo poo over the walls at each other. I don't think it's a coincidence that the games that imo integrate gameplay and narrative really well either are made by a single person, a very small team, or have a director with a very strong hand forcing the gameplay and writing to resonate with each other (e.g. the from software games)

EDIT: just to go into more detail, even with good people, the hardest part of making a game is that a game of any substantial size is impossible for one person to develop, and communicating a vision in a way that gets people to internalize and produce content aligned with it is insanely hard. And if your gameplay designers and level designers and narrative designers and artists and gameplay programmers and etc. etc. aren't all on the same page wrt the importance of both gameplay and narrative and how you are going to integrate them, it's incredibly easy for cracks to start showing up all over the game just because whoever touched that part of the game didn't get it. The only way to paste over those cracks is with oversight and iteration, which takes time & money, and which is a luxury a lot of games just don't have.

djkillingspree fucked around with this message at Dec 5, 2018 around 21:32

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Warmachine posted:

This was want I wanted to ask about, from a consumer of games who has a "games as a narrative" perspective when he goes hunting for story based games. I've often thought that the writing problem could be partially solved by writing the story first, then figuring out what gameplay elements you need to make the story come alive after, and develop the actual game based on that road map. The obvious hurdle is accounting for what is technically possible, but I feel like if you are trying to sell a game on story, lacking innovation on the gameplay front is probably more acceptable (at least to me) than having a horrible ludonarrative disconnect pressing F to pay respects.

The second thing that came to mind was Alpha Protocol, as this is one of my all time favorite story games for how natural the conversations seem. I never felt constrained by the story when playing, and always felt that I did in fact have agency even though the narrative was always going to end up in the same places. Real or imagined, I felt like my choices when handling conversations and characters led to different outcomes, even if every story leads to storming the Grey Box. If pressed, I'd say it is because the short length of the game lends itself better to actually portraying branching outcomes that long form AAA epics don't have the luxury of when trying to cram tens of hours of gameplay into the package. What are your thoughts on sacrificing length of gameplay for breadth of storytelling?

as an ex-obsidian employee who didn't work on AP, I don't think the scope of AP was dictated by the branching story as much as the scope was dictated by production realities and the branching story was the result of being creative with those scope limitations. I think the only things that prevent someone from making "AP but better in 2018" are how few people played AP to learn from it and how intimidating designing branching reactivity feels as a designer, even though it's actually honestly not that bad :P

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

acksplode posted:

Kojima and the MGS series are another prominent example. Treating writing and game design as inseparable has led to some obvious successes -- why do you think those teams/functions aren't typically integrated?

Practically speaking, the skill sets for a narrative designer, combat designer and level designer are all very different and specialized, and continue to get even MORE specialized as games get more complex. There aren't a ton of people who can really understand all 3, and even if they could, they don't have the time to do all 3 jobs at once.

And, I think, on a big team game it's often extremely hard to get people to look past what they are making today and how they as a creator think about it vs. what the player experience of it is going to be. It sounds easy, but when you're working 40 (or 50, or 60) hours a week on something, it's actually really hard to step back and say "does this accomplish what we want narratively?" and "how will the player react to this" especially when you are constantly having to make choices for technical or other reasons that aren't player motivated

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

the real answer is that cheating became a massive problem once dedicated servers and server communities went away. It was much easier to ban a player and get them to go away when you had a server with a small population than it is in a massive game where there's no sense of persistent identity within a community.

Obviously people cheated back then but it was much simpler to just ban them from your server and move on when you didn't need to ask a massive company's support reps to pretty please ban them

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

ETPC posted:

it's such a bummer. god i miss the 90's/2000's style of multiplayer before halo 2 changed loving everything and everyone had to clone their lovely system.

"no mods, no community servers" basically meant i rarely got into any post cod4/WaW game's multiplayer (with a few exceptions like blops 1 and siege) recently. at least DICE games still have server browsers

yeah i have been thinking about this a lot lately. I feel like a lot of the problems of the modern internet are caused by disintegrating small communities resulting in people being tossed into giant anonymous spaces, usually so that the communities can be monetized more efficiently. even outside of gaming - like, what makes something awful consistently more pleasant than reddit or w/e.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Xun posted:

If this isn't too politically charged, how do you guys feel about reddit mobs getting game employees fired like in the Arenanet thing? Is this something you're worried about or were the company(ies) who gave into the mobs just unusual pushovers? Does this affect your opinions on unionizing?

I think the companies who did this (mostly Riot and Arenanet afaik) established a gross and bad precedent and also are hurting themselves in the long run because they showed that they care more about the internet mob than devs, when devs are the ones who actually, you know, make their games good, and the internet mob will give you goodwill for firing someone for about 5 seconds and then go back to being mad about whatever.

Overall, I'm also very suspicious of companies that place a huge priority on how important "the community" is, because of who most of those companies define "community" as "people who post". And I don't necissarily think catering primarily to the people who tweet/post on forums/reddit results in the best games or the best environment to be in when making them. It does however create insane fanbases of angry content creators who seem ready to turn on you at a moments notice!

In general I am pretty skeptical of the amount of post-release developer and community interaction. I feel like online games, especially PvP games, are patched too frequently to placate ppl online and it results in metas being overly stale and dominated by groupthink. I personally felt that the fighting and strategy games that existed prior to frequent patching were healthier as games overall because the lack of patches forced players to be creative to overcome perceived imbalances.

I think the whole situation just amplified my feelings on unionization but I was pro union anyways.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

i mean look at the food in japan and america/england, are you surprised that japanese games render food more lovingly and appealingly

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

mutata posted:

The actual reason is that food as a game object most often is on screen for less than a couple seconds and it is relatively small on screen (very few pixels in screen space devoted to rendering the food model), and it has to be loaded in and out quickly, so it gets the same treatment ambient creatures do. Low poly, low res, get it done and move on. Where food takes more importance in the design (like in FFXV and MHW where food affects gameplay and abilities) or if they want eating to be a Cool Thing with a neat payoff (like in MHW) they will put more importance into the assets.

Note, though, that when they DO put more time and effort into the food assets they will show them off. Or rather, they put effort into the assets because they're going to be showed off.

I don't necessarily think it's just that. Flowers are low res in games but artists take care to make low-poly flowers not look ugly. I think, in many cases, making food actually look appealing just isn't a priority for a lot of game devs.

And, the subtle details that make food look appealing are more complex to render than most props.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

mutata posted:

I mean, that's essentially what I'm saying, yes. Flowers exist in the world and generally don't disappear. Food is usually a consumable that is eaten after a few seconds on screen.

The worst food though is always the like static plates that are spawned in the world. I remember doing QA on a game where I was pretty sure the food was just a photo of worms

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Chewbot posted:

As for unions, I have the strong opinion that anyone engaging in the conversation needs actual knowledge about how unions work, what services they provide, how it would impact day-to-day life, and the tradeoffs. I have a feeling most of the people discussing it have never experienced anything to do with unions. Me personally, I've worked with a fairly famous individual from a different industry who was absolutely f'd over by the bureaucracy of his union, and I saw the stress and turmoil he went through during that ordeal which involved public slander and lawsuits. Unions are extremely controlling toward their members, like HOAs on crack, and as a side-effect make getting anything done a laborious and tedious process. They're full of rules and regulations that outwardly appear as utter nonsense to try and protect certain jobs. In a lot of ways it's like installing anti-virus software that just replaces the virus as a nuisance itself. This doesnt mean it's as bad as the virus, but it's not as simple and clear-cut as people make it out to be.

this is not true of every union, nor would it necessarily be true of an eventual games union. a union's only as good as its membership. but on balance, employees do better working under unions than they do otherwise.

djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Stick100 posted:

Wow, that's brutal. Looking at Programmer jobs (North America) it appears to pay about 40%-60% of the industry norms. Guess I'll stick to working on boring software for financial companies.

On the one hand, I wouldn't be surprised - but on the other, I do have to wonder to what extent this self-selects for lower wages. There's a huge stigma on sharing wage info and well-paid people might be afraid to share their salaries.

It IS pretty well known however that game programmers get paid a lot less than non-game programmers for work that tends to be a lot harder.

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djkillingspree
Apr 2, 2001
make a hole with a gun perpendicular

Hughlander posted:

I remember calling that out at some places saying, "We just need an A-Frame where the elevator doors open to saying "This quarter all design decisions will be copied from..." and then a spot for a box where we can put CoD/Halo/Battlefield. It'll save a lot of time in meetings."

But more seriously the most important thing is to ensure that design and engineering are playing the same games, and have a common language.

lol i know projects that have been sunk by too frequently changing the game they copied from ><

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