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Everything posted by NoMan2000

  1. One way to learn is codeacademy.com They have free tutorials and they are step-by-step with everything from loops to OOP. Plus Ruby, Javascript, and Python are free languages, they require no money just a computer. Pure Data is another free language, used to make sound effects. It does require an intricate knowledge of how sound actually works, but the book "Designing Sound" by Andy Farnell covers it pretty well. Finally, for visual effects, the language Processing has tons and tons of tutorials, free repositories, and teaches Java-style programming. Since it's designed for artists, it's one of the easiest programming languages to begin learning. If he's really interested in game programming he should get Unity and go through the tutorials. Along with the tutorials, there are tons of free assets in the marketplace and more than enough to get him started. It's somewhat true most people don't learn programming at a school, but higher level concepts like Artificial Intelligence programming, physics calculations, and memory optimization will require understanding math, algorithms, and physics. So if he can't take programming, he's going to want to take strong science-based courses. If that's not an option, he should hit up Khan Academy and watch their really good free tutorials on those subjects.
  2. Dragon Age II was not respectable. It featured an incredibly bad plot with awful writing in the main dialogue. Your emo brother dialogue scenes? Anderson's dialogue? The lack of a viable love interest? All of it was utter garbage compared to Dragon Age I. Minus the Dwarf, there was not one memorable or likeable character introduced. Tell me which one you liked and why? Some of the best dialogue happens inbetween the scenes if you stand around and listen to them banter, but that shows the shift in development. Stick the best dialogue so it's hidden from sight? What sort of RPG is that? The gameplay is likewise awful. You play the role of the Great Janitor of the City. You must fight identical enemies in the exact same brown/grey palatte places over and over and over again. Nothing you do matters, much like ME:III. The art was pure garbage as well. The gameplay reduced tactical RPG elements to a mash-your-fist "Press A" repeatedly sequence. Lame. Bad gameplay, poor artwork, awful storyline, unmemorable characters, and a lousy plot. That's what you get in Dragon Age II. That game was an abomination to humanity.
  3. I agree, this is a great post. The mods should sticky it.
  4. It's big in Ruby on Rails programming or other "Agile" architecture frameworks that rely upon rapid prototyping and iterative development. I hear it a lot in Python, Ruby, and Javascript environments, not so much in Java and C++ oriented environments.
  5. I can't comment on older game systems, but in modern gaming systems, dialogue is a royal pain. You have to write the lines, lip-sync the characters, give them body animations to go with it, get it into a studio, and then record the voice actors. Well, you usually have an intern test it first because what sounds great on paper can sound awful when spoken, ask any English teacher. The difficulty in dialogue vs. action is that a video game is quintessentially about game play. The medium is the message, as the saying goes. So a game that isn't fun isn't going to work no matter how great the writing is, conversely, there are game series which have utterly godawful dialogue that do very well. If you can combine both, you get a truly unique game. I think of the difference between Saints Row II and Saints Row III. Saints Row II had a really great story behind it and some touching scenes. Saints Row III goes to wacky-purple-****-town and never looks back, the story, scenes, and characters are entirely forgettable. One glaring difference in approaching backstory is a compare-and-contrast between Fallout III (Bethesda) and Fallout: New Vegas (Obsidian). Fallout III has very little direct story. If you want to find out the World, you have to read holotapes and play them back and piece together the World bit by bit. You can run through the game and get almost no idea of what's going on other than a bomb went off, people need water, and Liam Neeson is your dad. In fact, if you chose not to explore anything, you can beat the game in a few hours or less. Fallout: New Vegas is very direct about the story, you get told what's going on and you often have to make choices that affect the entire game World. You're forced to explore the World and interact with different factions, areas, and learn the backstory of your companions. The DLCs then add a new layer to the story of the Courier and other elements and characters in that World. You can pick which one you like best. The traditional advice is to put all the story in out-of-the-way places and make it so that the players who want it can find it and the rest can find it if they feel like it.
  6. The console market is already gone from Microsoft's own report: " Xbox console sales are down 48 percent for the quarter, according to Microsoft. So even though Xbox is leading the console market with 42 percent share, according to Microsoft's latest numbers, the video game console market overall is very soft. http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/23/you-could-have-it-all-my-empire-of-dirt/?grcc=88888Z-1ZwdgtZ0Z0Z0Z0Z0 http://parislemon.com/post/21394408259/microsofts-online-operating-loss-improvement Operating losses at 229 million dollars for the Xbox right now. Bing loses at 480 million dollars if it makes you feel better. The "casual" market you refer to is Apple's Iphone business, which is larger than all of Microsoft *combined*. You might really want to think about that for a minute. Then you might really want to think about this. At the rate of increase we're seeing from tablets and smart phone release cycles, even a next-gen super-console is going to be obsolete before the next few tablet releases. All of Microsoft's gains have been on the Enterprise front, not a single gain on the consumer front. Even the Xbox, thus far the only bright spot against Apple, has had poor profits this quarter, shocking Microsoft. So with all of Microsoft's gains coming from one direction, (Enterprise), and all of its losses coming from one direction, (Consumer), you think it's going to go all-in to the consumer market? http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57417863-94/meet-googles-secret-weapon-for-fighting-apple-and-microsoft/ <---- That's companies betting that smartphones will entirely replace computers. Quick question: When the casual gaming market is beating out the hardcore gaming market by a factor of 200 to 1, do you think any hardcore gaming system is going to survive? Where are these hardcore games you speak of? Every game now is super-easy to not alienate the audience, (ME:III, Dragon Age:II), why? Or how about Final Fantasy, which you don't even need to be involved in anymore to win? What happened to all the CRPGs that used to be the big sellers? They're now on Kickstarter because no big company would even think about funding them like that anymore. The guys at Obsidian know this better than anyone on here. Even ME:III, the most successful of the RPGs, had to have obligatory Gears of War combat, dumbed down difficulty, an option to turn off the story in case, you know, all that RPG'ing got in your way, a removal of almost half the story, no places to explore, (All that freaking RPG'ing is killing this freaking RPG!) and a multi-player pack. Why? Hell, even FREAKING NINJA GAIDEN now has a multi-player mode. The short answer is this: No one cares about what a small but vocal minority of users think, every gaming developer out there is going to go where the big bucks are. If you think otherwise, you've ignored thirty years worth of industry trends like how well the Wii sold vs Xbox or PSIII, the losses that Sony has been hammered with, and the complete loss of any consumer market by the Xbox. Show me an investor willing to put his money into that market and I'll show you someone who is fixing to be broke. The answer is that if you like the 'hardcore' games, you're going to be stuck in the same position as people who like the old CRPGs, you better fire that console up and go back to 2000. How do I know this? Because I work with a high-end Microsoft computer that has better stats than every Apple computer out there if you spent ten thousand dollars on it. And a lot of guys in the VFX industry couldn't believe that Apple would completely drop support for their high-end workflows by killing the Mac Server, not supporting NVIDIA, (almost all GPU acceleration uses NVIDIAs CUDA rather than AMDs rival OpenCL), and completely gutting Final Cut Pro so that it's now a hyped-up version of Imovie. But that's what Apple did and they've been killing it in profits by doing that. Several people in the VFX field have had to start switching back to using Windows computers, (and whining about it incessantly), just to be able to do decent renders, but Apple doesn't care about what a small minority thinks, they want profits. Supporting one percent of your market at the expense of what 99% are doing, (which brings up another point that many people thought the ARM-processors would lose to Intel's x64 architecture because of the amount of power that Intel has behind it, wrong again), and ignoring how most people use their computers is not going to work as a business model. Sure, you can hope/pray/wish whatever you want, but money talks in the entertainment industry. If you ever talk to investors, here's a quick question for you: Which is a better movie, "True Grit" or "Cars 2"? It's a trick of course. True Grit is a million times better a movie, but Western movies do not sell outside the US. So while it was a phenomenal movie, it was not a commercial success. Cars 2 was a piece of crap, it generated billions in revenue. So for an investor, a crap movie like Cars 2 is always a better movie than something as amazing as True Grit. You want to argue that something amazing like True Grit should by its very nature, because it is so vastly better than Cars 2, not be thought of like this. However, as "right" as that may be in some senses, it's absolutely wrong from a pocketbook perspective. No matter how much more epic ME:2 was as a gaming experience than "Angry Birds", guess which one generated more profits? Actually, guess which of the two is still generating profits? Then take your feelings aside and ask if you could get money for your investment, which one would you invest in? Only for the tablets and smart phones. With regular downloads, the only caveat is that you must have a download digitally signed by Microsoft to verify that it actually works correctly. Many Microsoft crashes are actually the result of bad drivers or other third-party installs, but no one cares if it's not Microsoft's fault. All they know is that they have a Microsoft operating system and it's not working, ergo, Microsoft's fault. Apple maintains stricter quality controls and it's paid off, and it's the same complaint you'll hear in the App marketplace of the Android free-for-all approach versus the very hierarchical and rigid Apple approach. Microsoft is making a much-needed transition so that all of the Win8 architectures run the same, so you get the same experience on any platform. The runtime is much faster and .NET applications now run like native code, and it's faster than almost any other OS with touch screens. It doesn't work nearly as well with mouse-interfaces, which is a broad portion of the market. That's what their trying to fix in the final release before a lot of non-touch screen users are upset at the switch. I don't think it will work for the consumer market though.
  7. Found it interesting, the website features reviews from consumers about the games in a single-word. http://owreviews.com/ Fallout: New Vegas on PC top three words are "Fun", "Dusty", and "Deep". On PS3 it's "Glitched", "Buggy", and "Broken". I'm guessing there's a big difference between how the game runs on PC and PS3 from the look of it. Alpha Protocol gets "Potential" and "cool". ME3 earns "sh**"", "Bad", and "Meh. I'm wondering how long until publishers start using this as the new way to score bonuses?
  8. Alpha Protocol is one of my favorite games. I own it on PC, (which I bought off Steam for 3 dollars), and from Amazon, which I bought new for ten dollars. (I bought it new in the hopes that some money would flow to Obsidian.) I actually got one of the pre-order bonuses from it too. The biggest problem with the game is summed up by another game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The problem with the branching structure of AP is that it means a lot of work that wasn't true during Planescape:Torment or KoTR or Fallout I & II. When you branch now, you have to have developers re-program the entire scene. Voice actors have to retell the lines. Animation has to be done for facial movements and actions. If they stealth or do any movements, those animations have to be added in as well. The branching gives huge replayability to a game, but for a developer, they want to know how to all this extra time/money translates into a higher ROI. It reminds me of something Sol Stein said. He's an author, but he spent most of his time as an editor and as the main guy you have to get approval for when you want to publish a book. He breaks down authors he works with into two categories: Literary authors and commercial authors. Literary authors are writing something which will stand the test of time and will be praised years down the road. The book needs to be its absolute best and they may take years working on it. Commercial authors are only making their book for the here and now, and they do not invest any more effort than would be required to make the book sell a certain amount. After all, that's time lost from writing the book after that, and that means publishers get mad, less bonuses, etc. I tend to think of Obsidian as the kind of company that makes the literary author equivalent of games. However, the game publishers will generally not like this attitude and want to see a return as quick as possible. Back to Deus Ex, outside from the boss fights, which weren't done by Eidos, you could go pure stealth or pure violence, your choice. In AP, you get stuck in awkward zones where some missions clearly prefer you stealth and some clearly prefer that you engage in firefights and everyone in the area is hostile and looking for you. This makes specialization, especially if you picked "rookie/novice" as your class, difficult. These sorts of forced decisions go against the otherwise open nature of the game. Likewise with the skills in Deus Ex, they made it so certain skill enhanced the game greatly, but didn't effect core gameplay. In A.P., it greatly effected core gameplay which skills you choose. That's typical of an RPG, but not of an action game. The problem though is that unlike a game like Fallout: NV, which has a steady progression of difficulty, you can be thrown into some difficult missions at any time and not having the right skill set can make you useless. Another distinction between the action/RPG-style game. So it had a lot of moments where the game wasn't sure which direction it wanted to go and the game suffered for it. Deus Ex solved this by making the game linear, which means once you beat it, there's not much incentive to go back and play it again. So that's the hurdle that Obsidian or any other game team would have to overcome in making another AP. Personally, I'd love another AP.
  9. Kickstarter recently changed their rules which will affect how these projects are being done. Previously, they didn't require you to provide proof of tangibles, they just required some basic demonstration that you could do what you were talking about. E.g. I did a movie script: http://afcbjj.net/wordpress_hire/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/lastVice.pdf Ironically, the whole reason I wrote that script was because I wanted to get into the gaming industry and they asked if I could write. That's only a first draft version, but it was originally enough to get started with Kickstarter. They e-mailed me back and said that they want proof of tangibles, e.g. that there was actually a film being made before I asked for the money for a film to be made. The reason is that they are getting swamped with submissions now that Kickstarter has taken off, and they are more closely scrutinizing the projects that they are accepting. Kickstarter is a great avenue for independent film-makers and game-makers that allows fan-focused films and games to be made. However, it's pretty small compared to what a major studio release offers. Where I'm at, they film god-awful movies that average ten million dollars per. They're revoltingly awful: http://www.filmbatonrouge.com/ Those are the ones they're proud of, btw. But they still get millions. If you go kickstarter, you might get a few thousand, (e.g. CodeHero earned 150k, 1.5 mil for the sequel to Wasteland), but that's still nothing compared to what a major studio release is worth. Compare to Skyrim: About 100 million dollars to produce. So the kickstarter would be great, but the amount of revenue would be small and even though Obsidian has been hit by some terrible news recently, the amount of time it would take to go into a side project would pull them from their core games. They might get enough money to pull together a small group away from the main games and work on it, but the most passionate people at Obsidian would want in on this side project, and whatever developer is getting ready to steal produce a game with Obsidian isn't going to want the most creative talent working on a side project.
  10. Apparently, you've never seen how many billions of dollars Microsoft will waste for no reason. BIng has been a money-suck for a decade now. Google is transitioning away from web advertising because people are now using Apps, Twitter, and Facebook for links, not search engines. So Google has been seeking new markets by making Android while Microsoft tries to jump into a dead one and didn't have a competing platform for over 3 years. On top of that, they keep going a step further and trying to buy out Yahoo for no reason except to waste an extra 15 billion. The R&D on a chip or any next-gen console wouldn't even be a dent on how much money Microsoft wastes any given year. On a more practical note, the amount of money spent on R&D of anything is nothing compared to the costs of putting out a product that no one wants to buy. Ask HP and their smart tablet about that. Once the production line gets started and you put out millions of units expecting them to sale, you end up having to eat billions of dollars in useless equipment if it doesn't sale. This was the traditional reason Microsoft preferred being in the software business vs. the hardware business until Apple's vertical integration model killed them. Apple's Iphone app store is so successful it makes more money than all of Microsoft combined. Think about that for a minute and the fate of consoles for a company obsessed with profits. The next-gen games in development from other companies like Lionhead are already owned by MS and the job they posted said they required skill working with DirectX 11. That's a PC or Next-gen console possible. Which sounds to me like they're hedging bets still by this ambiguity. They did this in Win8 where they didn't tell the developers what technologies they would support on Win8. https://forums.silverlight.net/t/230725.aspx/184/10?Windows+8+apps+going+html5+wtf+part+2 There's a few thousand of those types of threads from developers asking WTF is going on at Microsoft and what technologies will be supported out of the ten million they added like WPF, Silverlight, XAML, C#, IronPython, IronRuby, F#, LINQ, LightSwitch, WCF, WF, and more. Studios Microsoft owns will keep developing and either release a PC-tablet only version, (if the market says no to Microsoft), or a possible console version if pans out. Even if they do release a console, they're going to play it safe and give us the safest games possible: "Halo 4: Has anyone noticed we can't even pretend to have a point anymore?"
  11. To add to this, there's another war being fought by console makers. The XBox 360 took years to develop and turn a profit. It's only been profitable in the last 3 years. Which is why both Sony and Microsoft have been queezy about releasing a next-gen console because there's this huge problem that's been killing their profits: 1.) Iphone 2.) Ipad Who plays a DS or a PS Portable, (whatever it's called), right now when you can get something far more multi-functional with easy choices to switch games? The graphics are getting insanely good on both those, attracting casual gamers who don't want to learn advanced skills. Same reason ME:III has the watered-down story version so you don't have to play a hard game. For hardcore gamers: 3.) PC In other words, the console system is being eaten up by people who have either want the high-res textures for their computer, (go Valve), or who want to play games that don't actually require any skills, (FarmVille and Angry Birds). My guess is that what Microsoft is going to do with Win8 and the integrated app store is compete directly against those three markets. At least right now, the rumor, (under NDA for the new console), is that it does away entirely with discs. Which means that everything will be bought entirely online via the app store or via the nebulous solid-state drive plan. The other thing this does from the publisher/developers point of view is kill their not-that-secret arch-nemesis: The Used Video Game. More interesting will be if the app store will be cross-platform with Win8, which means you could play any game you buy off the Xbox720 or whatever it will be called on Win8. If so, why buy the console? Given that, Microsoft is going to hedge its bets. If the Win8 console picks up for PC and Tablet and they can create a vibrant eco-system that turns out money, they'll push the release date back on the next-gen console. They're likewise going to be watching for sales of the Wii U, which is going to have trouble competing against the next-gen tablets and phones for sales. So then, Microsoft will wait on these two things: 1.) If the sales of Win8 are high and 2.) If the sales of Wii U are low The next-gen console will get pushed back to 2015 or later, if it even gets made at all. If however: 1.) Win8 sales are low 2.) The sales of Wii U are high Then it will get released in Dec. 2013 to try to capture some of the market share lost. Given the incredibly squeemish approach that Microsoft has had under the reign of Balmer which has been nothing more than "me too" releases, (Win7 phone, Silverlight, Bing, no tablet still, etc.), the most likely reason that the project was cancelled has nothing to do with Obsidian or Kickstarter and everything to do with Microsoft not knowing if they wanted to sink money into a project that they might not even end up developing or putting on hold for several years.
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