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Stories from Gary #000
Short background info:
So I'm working as a game dev for 3 years now and by now I can say that I've seen some shit. Mostly because of one of our game designers, let's call him Gary.
So Gary, from here on called GDG (Game Designer Gary), is a regular game designer (GD). His job is to come up with new game ideas, commission the assets, make sure that translations are done, etc. - simply put, he has to get a lot of shit together before we can start working on a new game.
Would be no problem at all if GDG wasn't lazy as shit and would work for once in his life. No dev really wants to work with him anymore, since he's known for calling a game or any issue "ready for development" even if half the assets or specs are still missing.
Let's move on to a particular situation that happened a couple of months ago.
I had an issue assigned to me, which was about implementing the translations for a new game. As I read the issue and checked if everything I needed was given, I noticed that the most important part was in fact missing - the keywords for the translations.
So, I called GDG and asked where I could find the keywords, to which he responded "Oh, I'm working on them right now... and by the way I got a weird bug with the translation program. Can you come check it out?". Sigh. I went over to his office, rambling about how I should be able to help him with a program I rarely use and which was written ages ago.
As soon as GDG saw me coming roundbthe corner, he started explaining how the keywords aren't ready yet, since the program to create translations and their keywords won't let him name a translation.
"I can create new translations, but I can't assign a keyword to them."
"Okay, show me what you did", I told him, eager to leave.
He started to type the keyword, which turned out to be huge ass long and immediately I noticed a little counter, like "x/50", directly beneath the text field started to count up with every new character GDG typed. See where I'm going with this? HE WASNT ABLE TO RENAME A TRANSLATION BECAUSE HE WAS TOO LAZY TO FUCKING READ AND CONCENTRATE FOR ONCE. Sorry for that, but even thinking about it gets me angry again.
To some this might sound like nothing, but it really got to me at this point. Maybe it will become more understandable as I post more GDG stories.
tl;dr: A 40 something year old man, who's been working in his job for over 10 years wasn't able to use a program which he daily uses and asks me for help, only to find out he's a complete dipshit.4
Everyone and their dog is making a game, so why can't I?
1. open world (check)
2. taking inspiration from metro and fallout (check)
3. on a map roughly the size of the u.s. (check)
So I thought what I'd do is pretend to be one of those deaf mutes. While also pretending to be a programmer. Sometimes you make believe
so hard that it comes true apparently.
For the main map I thought I'd automate laying down the base map before hand tweaking it. It's been a bit of a slog. Roughly 1 pixel per mile. (okay, 1973 by 1067). The u.s. is 3.1 million miles, this would work out to 2.1 million miles instead. Eh.
Wrote the script to filter out all the ocean pixels, based on the elevation map, and output the difference. Still had to edit around the shoreline but it sped things up a lot. Just attached the elevation map, because the actual one is an ugly cluster of death magenta to represent the ocean.
Consequence of filtering is, the shoreline is messy and not entirely representative of the u.s.
The preprocessing step also added a lot of in-land 'lakes' that don't exist in some areas, like death valley. Already expected that.
But the plus side is I now have map layers for both elevation and ecology biomes. Aligning them close enough so that the heightmap wasn't displaced, and didn't cut off the shoreline in the ecology layer (at export), was a royal pain, and as super finicky. But thankfully thats done.
Next step is to go through the ecology map, copy each key color, and write down the biome id, courtesy of the 2017 ecoregions project.
From there, I write down the primary landscape features (water, plants, trees, terrain roughness, etc), anything easy to convey.
Main thing I'm interested in is tree types, because those, as tiles, convey a lot more information about the hex terrain than anything else.
Once the biomes are marked, and the tree types are written, the next step is to assign a tile to each tree type, and each density level of mountains (flat, hills, mountains, snowcapped peaks, etc).
The reference ids, colors, and numbers on the map will simplify the process.
After that, I'll write an exporter with python, and dump to csv or another format.
Next steps are laying out the instances in the level editor, that'll act as the tiles in question.
Theres a few naive approaches:
Spawn all the relevant instances at startup, and load the corresponding tiles.
Or setup chunks of instances, enough to cover the camera, and a buffer surrounding the camera. As the camera moves, reconfigure the instances to match the streamed in tile data.
Instances here make sense, because if theres any simulation going on (and I'd like there to be), they can detect in event code, when they are in the invisible buffer around the camera but not yet visible, and be activated by the camera, or deactive themselves after leaving the camera and buffer's area.
The alternative is to let a global controller stream the data in, as a series of tile IDs, corresponding to the various tile sprites, and code global interaction like tile picking into a single event, which seems unwieldy and not at all manageable. I can see it turning into a giant switch case already.
So instances it is.
Actually, if I do 16^2 pixel chunks, it only works out to 124x68 chunks in all. A few thousand, mostly inactive chunks is pretty trivial, and simplifies spawning and serializing/deserializing.
All of this doesn't account for
* putting lakes back in that aren't present
* lots of islands and parts of shores that would typically have bays and parts that jut out, need reworked.
* great lakes need refinement and corrections
* elevation key map too blocky. Need a higher resolution one while reducing color count
This can be solved by introducing some noise into the elevations, varying say, within one standard div.
* mountains will still require refinement to individual state geography. Thats for later on
* shoreline is too smooth, and needs to be less straight-line and less blocky. less corners.
* rivers need added, not just large ones but smaller ones too
* available tree assets need to be matched, as best and fully as possible, to types of trees represented in biome data, so that even if I don't have an exact match, I can still place *something* thats native or looks close enough to what you would expect in a given biome.
Ponderosa pines vs white pines for example.
This also doesn't account for 1. major and minor roads, 2. artificial and natural attractions, 3. other major features people in any given state are familiar with. 4. named places, 5. infrastructure, 6. cities and buildings and towns.
Also I'm pretty sure I cut off part of florida.
Woops, sorry everglades.
Guess I'll just make it a death-zone from nuclear fallout.
Take that gators!5
My God is map development insane. I had no idea.
For starters did you know there are a hundred different satellite map providers?
Just kidding, it's more than that.
Second there appears to be tens of thousands of people whos *entire* job is either analyzing map data, or making maps.
Hell this must be some people's whole *existence*. I am humbled.
I just got done grabbing basic land cover data for a neoscav style game spanning the u.s., when I came across the MRLC land cover data set.
One file was 17GB in size.
Worked out to 1px = 30 meters in their data set. I just need it at a one mile resolution, so I need it in 54px chunks, which I'll have to average, or find medians on, or do some sort of reduction.
Ecoregions.appspot.com actually has a pretty good data set but that's still manual. I ran it through gale and theres actually imperceptible thin line borders that share a separate *shade* of their region colors with the region itself, so I ran it through a mosaic effect, to remove the vast bulk of extraneous border colors, but I'll still have to hand remove the oceans if I go with image sources.
It's not that I havent done things involved like that before, naturally I'm insane. It's just involved.
The reason for editing out the oceans is because the oceans contain a metric boatload of shades of blue.
If I'm converting pixels to tiles, I have to break it down to one color per tile.
With the oceans, the boundary between the ocean and shore (not to mention depth information on the continental shelf) ends up sharing colors when I do a palette reduction, so that's a no-go. Of course I could build the palette bu hand, from sampling the map, and then just measure the distance of each sampled rgb color to that of every color in the palette, to see what color it primarily belongs to, but as it stands ecoregions coloring of the regions has some of them *really close* in rgb value as it is.
Now what I also could do is write a script to parse the shape files, construct polygons in sdl or love2d, and save it to a surface with simplified colors, and output that to bmp.
It's perfectly doable, but technically I'm on savings and supposed to be calling companies right now to see if I can get hired instead of being a bum :P20
I've been putting off my gamedev project for a while... while the golden age of free open source game development has long ended, I believe that a renaissance is long overdue!1
Question for those that switched from Web, Mobile Apps development, Full-stack development to Game development after a year or more:
- Do you regret the change?
- What Game engine do you use?
- What Programming language do you use?4
Made my first game last weekend, in a Hackathon.
Had to build either a Pong clone or a Space Invaders one. Went with the later, and used Phaser. So pumped up! :D
You can check it here: https://cantarim.itch.io/intruders-...
Today I got hit in the balls by finding out that my idea of a videogame already existed in the form of a game called Phantom Dust, originally released for the first Xbox series, before the end of turn into the Xbox 360 series.
What adds insult to injury: The game is absolutely beautiful, fantastic and I have no gripes about the gameplay. It is everything I was hoping to develop.
This just makes my venture into game development in the land of Vulkan C that much more interesting.
If you LOVE card games(read Trading Card Games) like MTG, Pokemon, YugiOh etc, then you owe it to yourself to play this game7
The most fun I've ever had coding was creating a hidden object game in school (with Flash/ActionScript3). I even had a dude do voiceovers, it was dope! I would love to learn more gaming development but no time. :(
Data wrangling is messy
I'm doing the vegetation maps for the game today, maybe rivers if it all goes smoothly.
I could probably do it by hand, but theres something like 60-70 ecoregions to chart,
each with their own species, both fauna and flora. And each has an elevation range its
found at in real life, so I want to use the heightmap to dictate that. Who has time for that? It's a lot of manual work.
And the night prior I'm thinking "oh this will be easy."
(Also why does Devrant have to mangle my line breaks? -_-)
Laid out the requirements, how I could go about it, and the more I look the more involved
So what I think I'll do is automate it. I already automated some of the map extraction, so
I don't see why I shouldn't just go the distance.
Also it means, later on, when I have access to better, higher resolution geographic data, updating it will be a smoother process. And even though I'm only interested in flora at the moment, theres no reason I can't reuse the same system to extract fauna information.
Of course in-game design there are some things you'll want to fudge. When the players are exploring outside the rockies in a mountainous area, maybe I still want to spawn the occasional mountain lion as a mid-tier enemy, even though our survivor might be outside the cats natural habitat. This could even be the prelude to a task you have to do, go take care of a dangerous
creature outside its normal hunting range. And who knows why it is there? Wild fire? Hunted by something *more* dangerous? Poaching? Maybe a nuke plant exploded and drove all the wildlife from an adjoining region?
Having the extraction mostly automated goes a long way to updating those lists down the road.
But for now, flora.
For deciding plants and other features of the terrain what I can do is:
* rewrite pixeltile to take file names as input,
* along with a series of colors as a key (which are put into a SET to check each pixel against)
* input each region, one at a time, as the key, and the heightmap as the source image
* output only the region in the heightmap that corresponds to the ecoregion in the key.
* write a function to extract the palette from the outputted heightmap. (is this really needed?)
* arrange colors on the bottom or side of the image by hand, along with (in text) the elevation in feet for reference.
For automating this entire process I can go one step further:
* Do this entire process with the key colors I already snagged by hand, outputting region IDs as the file names.
* setup selenium
* selenium opens a link related to each elevation-map of a specific biome, and saves the text links
(so I dont have to hand-open them)
* I'll save the species and text by hand (assuming elevation data isn't listed)
* once I have a list of species and other details, to save them to csv, or json, or another format
* I save the list of species as csv or json or another format.
* then selenium opens this list, opens wikipedia for each, one at a time, and searches the text for elevation
* selenium saves out the species name (or an "unknown") for the species, and elevation, to a text file, along with the biome ID, and maybe the elevation code (from the heightmap) as a number or a color (probably a number, simplifies changing the heightmap later on)
Having done all this, I can start to assign species types, specific world tiles. The outputs for each region act as reference.
The only problem with the existing biome map (you can see it below, its ugly) is that it has a lot of "inbetween" colors. Theres a few things I can do here. I can treat those as a "mixing" between regions, dictating the chance of one biome's plants or the other's spawning. This seems a little complicated and dependent on a scraped together standard rather than actual data. So I'm thinking instead what I'll do is I'll implement biome transitions in code, which makes more sense, and decouples it from relying on the underlaying data. also prevents species and terrain from generating in say, towns on the borders of region, where certain plants or terrain features would be unnatural. Part of what makes an ecoregion unique is that geography has lead to relative isolation and evolutionary development of each region (usually thanks to mountains, rivers, and large impassible expanses like deserts).
Maybe I'll stuff it all into a giant bson file or maybe sqlite. Don't know yet.
As an entry level programmer I may not know what I'm doing, and I may be supposed to be looking for a job, but that won't stop me from procrastinating.
Data wrangling is fun.2
time to go for full snack development
started some open source project for discord bot that provides info for some free game users, through scrapping forum and requesting apis
This is kind of going to be a major refactorized second version, that considers all mistakes of a first version. And going to be much more scalable and easy to maintain.6
Every problem I ever had with a game development engine, only made me hope for something better.
After all, we’re independent developers, not activision! What the hell is an “indie” anyway? I’d even grown a sort of disgust at the term, as if saying it, without having published anything, was being fake. The word felt vapid. Like calling yourself an e-celebrity, or apple putting an i in front of everything.
(Don’t you know its year 20xx, we attach coin to brands now! Dogecoin, ecoin, walmartcoin, hospitalCoin for when you really really just want an appendectomy).
This is my newsletter, Y Intercept, and the story of my many embarrassing failures, and what I have learned from them.
Indie Game Development Tools
Stay tuned for more, like "how I once redesigned the same interface over two thousand times."
and gems like
"I wish it was more like Minecraft, But With Guns - and the awful ads that FLOODED the internet from that one little, terrible, god awful suggestion."3
everything is going as planned! :)
Learned Rust Lang. i loved it (that doesn't mean i am done learning na? No! never stop)
new language i could do game memory hacking in without worrying about C++ memory leaks or issues. it also compiles to assembly! another of my favorite languages!
(i use rust for game development and other stuff)
i am not leaving C / C++ though that would be harsh!,
finished learning the android java api so im basically set anything i want to make i can just go on my pc, listen to music and write it out in a couple of days.
well phazor what are you going to do now?!
i will code till i am old.
i will leave my mark like a shid that made its skid in the bowl :)5
Looking through a staffing website’s photos of recruiters. They all literally look the same from a distance. Like NPCs generated by the game’s AI. “Which character would you like to pick to ruin the next stage of your professional development?”
Can someone smarter than me make a game that actually hilariously simulates job searches? I’d play that for the mere catharsis and entertainment value.1
So basically I joined this new android dev job 3 months ago. I did android dev for 2.5 years and then had a gap of 1.5 years where I did game development so Im comming back into android dev as "junior" however Im tryharding to prove myself and reach mid level as fast as I can.
I had it planned like this from the beginning: original plan was to do really good during probation period so I could ask for a raise (which I did). Now while Im waiting for answer (which will take 2-3 weeks) I need to keep the show going so I am sacrificing evenings to accomplish goals. I ham going to these teambuildings, I am volunteering in this job fair event and Im joining bars with the not-so-social devs 1-2 times a week just to "fit in" and be noticed. After getting a raise I plan to take it down a notch and somehow relax....
During the usual work week I rely on stimulants (coffee/cigarettes/concerta) to get me through the days and then I use xanax or alcohol to relax. Worst part is that I am totally drained exhausted after long working week. I dont want to go out with my girlfriend. My libido is at its lowest and we do it maybe max 2 times a week and it feels like a chore to me. It feels like I exist only for this job and only to please everyone around me and it drains me out completely.
I feel like I am burned out. I wish I could just quit this job and run away somwhere warm for 6 months to chill alone and take it easy and recover but I cant. Im stuck in a trap. I have to pay off mortgage, I have to pay off bills. I am approaching 30's soon and I became fat and balding, I want to loose weight, I wanna get a hair transplant to at least enjoy my 30's properly. Im only 28 but I already have a lot of grey hair just because of immense ammounts of stress I have to deal daily because of my ADHD and anxiety. Also my gf is kinda dissapointed that I havent proposed her in 3 years of our relationship. I feel so much pressure and obligations to the point where I feel that theres no point in living if I just exist for the needs of others. I cant imagine getting married and having a child now - life is already complicated chaotic mess as it is.
I dont't know why I throw myself 150% at projects and hyperfocus so much to the point where it becomes my priority in life? Am I compensating for my lack of executive functions by throwing lots of effort and care in hopes that I will be validated? How to learn to take it easy instead of always thinking that what Im doing is not enough?
It's not even the problem of this job. Its just me. I had my own company for 2 years and I was dealing with same burnout problems...3
I wanna be a game developer. Can anybody provide me a roadmap and give me some more information about this field?4
I spent 2 years as android dev, after that another 2 years as game dev (current work).
Now I wanna go back to being android dev but I kinda lost self confidence and feels like I'm starting from square 1. Also I will struggle explaining my 2 years gap of working with game development.
Feels like I'm a junior in the area. Feeling totally useless since the way I am now I couldn't even pass android dev interview or complete a tech task.
Having ADHD doesn't help with his. Having gained +25kg and being a fat fuck doesn't help also.
WinUI looks nice and performs really well, I'm not a Windows fan but that's definitely a hidden Microsoft gem. It's a same which Microsoft was really late to the desktop development game and kept providing ugly frameworks until few years ago otherwise we could had a nice ecosystem on desktop apps on Windows as we have on macOS instead of tons of ugly and slow Electron based apps.3
3 days before, I talked with the owner of a small LLP Company along with other devs on discord. He told those who met with some skills can join their company (basically game development). I asked if they need any blog website or kind of portfolio for such (because the existing one sucks so much). He replied in affirmation and wanted me to contact him on Ig with a project link. I did the same in order. Now, he replied that Wix suits them perfectly. I was like
WHAT THE FUCKING HELL I CAN DO ABOUT THAT, why did he not tell me before
I don't know game development but idk I accepted an offer for game development competition..
the fuck I didn't even knew how to make one...
Now I. am working with Ursina Engine....
even the code on google does not work........1
hey uh, this is a rant about phantom forces, if you don't know what it is, look it up, anyways, that's really it.
so, i've been playing this game very actively called phantom forces and its a good game but its been ruined and the fun has pretty much been taken away. the community is dead and terrible, the developers don't care and the game is just falling off.
what i consider community is the youtube scene, and now as of january 1st, 2022, there's nothing left that's actually interesting besides godstatus and moons fps studio. honestly, its so dry and i'm sick of it.
i'm tired of seeing shitty best setup videos and gun reviews. i hate somesteven and strider and then, there's nothing to actually watch so i just watch brain-numbing shitty videos about stuff.
and then theres the developers, stylis studios is a great development team, i'll give you that but the sheer ignorance of their team is so fucking much.
its kinda obvious they don't really care about adding new features or anything new that isn't guns and its fucking sickening. just to see the same old updates, every fucking month man, its annoying and tiring.
i'm fucking tired of just seeing ape shit guns that are too high for regular players to actually unlock. like i know they're trying to please the growing number of 200+ rank users but its terrible, they haven't done a gun below rank 200 or 100 in forever. the last time they did it was like 6 months ago or something.
we've been asking for shit for years and they haven't given it to us and its fucking tiring. asking for daily quests, new features, more grips, vehicles and shit like that is obviously never gonna happen and thats the fucking problem. they don't care about their community.
but anyways, thats really all i want to say, might make a follow up post later. if you want to add your 2 cents down in the comments, you can do that. bye2