Game Development Tips #3 – Adding fine details

Observing Fine Details

UDK Bokeh DOF
UDK Bokeh DOF

A key part of being able to make your games have that ‘polished detail’ to them is the ability to learn what others are doing, take a look at the latest AAA title in the genre you are working on a for example if your working on a first person shooter take a look at the latest battlefield? or call of duty? or if your working on some fantasy role playing game look at final fantasy or some other AAA rpg.

The developers of these AAA games have spent millions of dollars refining their techniques and they put them right their in front of you to learn from if your looking to improve your games overall feel try emulating some of these tactics.

Emulating Polish

No one ever said that you needed a degree in game art to create amazing games so lets copy what the AAA titles are doing. Lets assume we’re working on some FPS game right now what could we do to achieve a higher level of polish? Firstly lets start making sure our controls feel great, Play some COD or Battlefield 4 and try to get your controls feeling right make sure your players are moving with a similar amount of force and that your transition from walking to running occurs at a similar level, Ensure your character stops a similar amount of time after releasing the game pad stick or keyboard.

What about visually? well there’s a stack of tricks these developers use to give their games amazing level of detail. More recently developers of shooters have moved towards applying layers of ‘dirt’ to the in game camera when the player gets hurt or entered some dirty dusty area.

UDK Color Grading
UDK Color Grading

Add some Depth utilize things like camera focus to add Bokeh and utilize color grading to help make your scenes lighting and details pop more.

Colour grading can not only be used to help adjust the colours in your scene to get a better overall look and feel but it can be used to simulate times of the day and seasonal weather effects such as the bright white glare of summer, the cool blues in winter orange hues of fall/autumn and bright days of spring

Shaders

These play a huge role in a games overall look and feel if your engine supports shaders then you are in luck there are plenty of resources online that teach you how to write shaders from scratch but depending on your engine you may have access to hundreds of amazing visual effects. Take a look through your engines asset store and see if you can find them otherwise if your interested in writing your own shaders from scratch there are a great reads that you can pick up on Amazon for a bargain such as the GPU Gems (1, 2, 3) series quite old but the concepts mostly are still relative to todays games and another really good one is called Real-Time Rendering which covers more than just shaders but still is an amazing resource in creating polished works please note that creating shaders is not for the feint of heart and usually requires a vast knowledge of game development and software engineering

Game Development Tips #2 – Finishing Projects, Engine Choice

I'm a distrction image from Deviant Art
By R2ninjaturtle

Evaluate your game ideas

When starting a game development project or any project for that matter its a good idea to sit down first and evaluate your ideas. I find that writing down your thoughts on paper allows me to clearly see where my projects are heading and what the final goal should be like. Once you’ve spent some time brainstorming, charting and describing your ideas on paper its a good time to evaluate if they will be worth your time. If you do decide that a project is worth your time then set some goals and stick to them.

Finishing your games

Personally this is a tough one and I believe we all face some kind of inner demons that prevent us from finishing our projects but they can be overcome with some simple tricks.

Remember that you are one person so don’t try to re-invent the wheel and design a new engine every time you make a game project realistically, how many engines have you started and finished and then gone on to make a game with? there are plenty of game engines out there for you to use and with just a little bit of research you can find the ones that suit your projects perfectly.

RPG Maker
Unity 3D
Game Maker
Construct 2
UDK (Unreal Development Kit)
Craft Studio
Stencyl

A few good resources

here are a few good reads that I can recommend on the subject they aren’t specifically game development focused but the key elements of focusing on projects and sticking to your ideas translate across any subject.

Why cant i finish? – By Elizabeth Grace Saunders
Heres how to finish anything you start – By SSCHEPER

Final notes

Forget about stigma, no ‘gamer’ cares what engine you write your games in, all the gamer / consumer cares about is that your game is fun to play so if you feel like writing your RPG in RPG Maker or making your space shooter in Game Maker then just do it because at the end of the day your consumers will not care and any fellow dev’s who put you down for using craft studio? or stencyl are probably 12 and writing their 789,964th engine in c++ and assembly

Finally always remember why you are creating games, maybe your long term goals are to turn this into a career but initially we make indie games for the fun of it, there’s no rush to complete an indie game and that is the benefit of being an indie. Work on your games in your ‘spare time’ don’t neglect your life maintain your relationships with family friends co-workers.

Game Development Tips #1 – Finding assets

House in the style of pokemon
By WesleyFG

Finding Assets Online

When you begin a game project you might have this amazing idea of how your game will come out but it is extremely hard to visualize without matching assets. Thankfully there’s a lot of resources online and many options presented to you as a developer to find great assets. Here is a small list and some notes that I have to say about each.

Open Game Art

This is a great place to find game assets with most requiring only a mention in your games credits or a link to the owners website. Just be sure to check what the requirements of each asset are before using them open game art provides links to the licences and simplified descriptions of what the licence requirements entail.

Envato Networks

Finding Assets Is Easy Now

This company plays host to a bunch of website namely themeforest activeden graphicriver photodune audiojungle and a bunch more this is one of my primary sources of audio assets and website themes however recently there has been a huge spike in game related assets appearing on graphic river such as tilesets characersets user interfaces and many more. I’ve taken the liberty of searching the whole website and creating a collection of game assets from graphic river Graphic River – Game Assets Collection.

Here’s a link to my two favourite items on graphic river I have used these both in past projects. Platformer Pixelart Sprite Bundle and Top Down Pixelart Sprite Bundle.

Frogames

These guys have been around since the dawn of unity3D most of their assets are tuned towards unity however nothing is stopping you from downloading their asset packs and pulling out the bits you need for use in any engine. Keep in mind its not just game related assets these guys make and distribute they have full game packs tutorials artwork and sound effects

The Unity 3D Asset Store

This is an amazing place to get assets for your games there is a huge community backing unity 3D both indie and professional and as such many of these users have created and submitted amazing scripts resources sound effects 3D models even full environment packs. While once again these assets are usually tailored to Unity3D and scripts tailored to the engine there is absolutely nothing stopping you from extracting what you need from these assets. In my own personal projects I’ve found many scripts on the unity asset store that I’ve purchased or downloaded free in most cases these would not just ‘Plug In’ and work in other engines but they’ve helped me out in understanding algorithms or code related effects that I would not have grasped without a good example.

Dont forget to subscribeTwitter

Twitter is an amazing place to find assets I’ve made so many friends on twitter and most of you are probably the people reading this! The amazing thing about making friends on twitter is that if you are talking with the right community i.e the people posting to #gamedev and #ss you will inevitably meet game artists. Most of these people will always be willing to work on projects with you and game jams you just have to meet the right people while this can take time it is defiantly worth growing your social network. In my own personal experience I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing and talented people whom I’ve met on twitter not just artists but audio engineers, other game developers, game designers and artists when there’s more than one person working on a project your always more inspired to finish what you start AND have fun doing it!

Game Development Tips – Introduction

Rm2kdev will teach you

Welcome

Hello and welcome everybody to this series of game development related blog posts. Over the years through major failure and minor success I have started to gain what I believe is some insider knowledge to the game development process. Maybe this insider knowledge is just a refinement of my own personal game development habits and processes but I will attempt to share them with you all.

In the subsequent blog posts that follow this one I will be writing and sharing writing tips and tricks to help you in your game development journeys.

My Goals and Time frames

I’m planning on writing these tips and tricks as often as possible putting my thoughts into paper each topic will be roughly 1 x A5 page and may or may not include code depending on the subject obviously a post about graphics design or conceptual ideas will not have scripts attached to them. The overall goal with this project is not only to one freely share the information I’ve gathered and formulated myself over time with the game development community but also by the end of a year come out with enough quality pages to begin formulating a book on game design, efficient workflow and generic tips and tricks. Hopefully with your feedback through the comments section I will be able to tune and maybe even improve the content before attempting to compiling this information into a book.

Lets consider this an open beta and your all invited.

Final Notes

Dont forget to subscribeLast but not least just some reassurance that of course all the information presented will be freely available on this blog forever I wish you success in your game development and I hope anyone reading this experienced, amateur, indie or professional will join me on this journey to create these game development tips and tricks.

So please feel free to subscribe to the blog or check back regularly for updates.

 

The Ultimate Deathmatch – Developer Log #5

This is just a quick demonstration of the new weapons system. It has improved physics and support for multiple weapon types. previously I was limited by my design choices to weapons of the same shape and physical characteristics henceforth most weapons ended up being physical sticks or swords etc.

In this build of the game we’ve added
Farmers Scythe
Samurai Swords
Baseball Bats
Flowers
Swords
Boxing Gloves
Baseball Launcher (What you’d find at the baseball pitching range)
Bows & Arrows

As part of the new weapons architecture each weapon has adjustable animations, frequency for projectile weapons, and attack power as well as projectile forces i.e. bows have a lower force than baseballs launched from a baseball launcher vs a bow but bows cause bleeding damage.

The overhauled physics system contains a new system that calculates the angle of impact and apply’s force to your opponent in that direction the idea here is that you may be able to force people down wells or back them into holes with more powerful weapons etc.

Anyway, Please subscrube to the blog for more updates on The Ultimate Deathmatch