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 #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!

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

Challenging my wife to a death match!

I’ve been working on this game with a good friend @FutureistTeletex (website) for the past day two days and its finally gotten to a playable point.

With that in mind i decided it was a smart decision to challenge my wife to a match of local co-op! here are the hilarious results.

Who do you think won! Comment your answers it will decide who’s cooking this week!

What is Indieverse

Indielink

So this screenshot has been making its way around twitter today and a lot of indie developers and indie game artists are getting excited about the idea of a central platform to support our careers, hobbies and lifestyles.

Many of you know me as @rm2kdev a fellow indie developer who’s had enough of the poor resources we have at our disposal and elitist platforms who single out certain projects above others. This is not the spirit of indie development and i want to do something about it.

But really what is Indieverse?

At its core the base idea is to allow indie developers and resource creators to distribute their content easily. Being a developer and a content provider I’ve often wished for a better solution to:

  1. Find Resources and Assets
  2. Using stock art
  3. Find Coworkers like Artists and Developers
  4. Sell my games
  5. Sell my assets

One of the core problems as an indie developer is finding assets to use in my games I’ve often resorted to outsourcing and getting less than professional results this is where indieverse could help by allowing professional artists to upload and distribute their assets free or commercial for whatever price they feel worth.

There are many other websites doing that but there’s a problem, so you buy this new tileset and make a map with it suddenly you need more resources for that awesome underground subway scene but the pack you purchased doesn’t have any underground assets this is where indielink comes into play. With indielink you can make requests directly to the artists who produced the content you purchased and receive quotes to have the new assets produced.

So we’ve fixed the communication gap between developers and artists by providing an endless stream of paid work for both sides of the fence artists can offer artwork and receive follow up work on these projects from developers and artists can find developers to work with now we’ve set everyone up in a position to begin, create and finish their indie dreams how do you distribute these?

Well your options currently are Steam? Humble Store? Desura?

Greenlight on steam is like winning the lottery even if you have a great game your chances of getting green lit are almost none , the humble store review all games and only approve what they believe is worthy and Desura is so overcrowded that its like throwing your game into a Japanese train where each passenger is competition

We combat this by having a fair and unbiased rotation of games on our homepage as well as daily ‘Check this out’ tweets rotating published items no matter how popular they are. If your game is good and the players enjoy it then you will get noticed and not left in the dark and if your game is not so good you will still be rotated and displayed with equal fairness but sales and downloads will most likely reveal what you can improve for version 2

Not to mention on all these platforms you wont get paid until you reach a minimum sale that differs per platform. Indieverse offers full application hosting with INSTANT PAYMENTS via Paypal, as soon as someone purchases your game/asset/resource you will receive the money in your paypal.

We live in the 21st century and the days of the publisher telling us the creators how much our games are worth and if they are worthy are over.

Welcome to the indieverse