Are there any game designers here in our midst?

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#1 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 02 June 2009 - 06:42 PM

Hi,
I'm starting my summer project. I just created a thread for the project and the various initial specs.

All of my games generally suffer from poor game design. Consequently the games are boring and not engaging beyond the first couple of minutes.

If you've got some game ideas I can use feel free to share them. I'm open to most ideas now. I need to narrow it down over the next several days. I did post some constraints in the above mentioned thread.

Thanks,
Chuck

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#2 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 03 June 2009 - 02:17 AM

Hi Chuck,

I like to think of myself as a game designer at times. I think the hardest part at times is coming up with an original idea. There are so many games out there at times things seem to be repetitive. I would have loved to have come up with the idea for Tetris first.

A good category to work in 2D, IMHO, is puzzle games. There is so many possibilities out there. PopCap games has so many good ones! I love Bejeweled 2, Alchemy, Noah's Ark, etc. Word games can also be good. Problem with word games though is you need to create or find a dictionary to work with.

I read your other post and left a reply. I think I'll be watching your thread.

Cheers!
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#3 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:36 AM

View PostSixOfEleven, on 3 Jun, 2009 - 01:17 AM, said:

Hi Chuck,

I like to think of myself as a game designer at times. I think the hardest part at times is coming up with an original idea. There are so many games out there at times things seem to be repetitive. I would have loved to have come up with the idea for Tetris first.

A good category to work in 2D, IMHO, is puzzle games. There is so many possibilities out there. PopCap games has so many good ones! I love Bejeweled 2, Alchemy, Noah's Ark, etc. Word games can also be good. Problem with word games though is you need to create or find a dictionary to work with.

I read your other post and left a reply. I think I'll be watching your thread.

Cheers!


Hi,
I took a look at PopCap's games. I really liked the quality of the artwork.

I've got a couple of ideas for a 2D puzzle game. I posted the concepts in the other thread. Feel free to offer more specific ideas.

For the game designer I intend on providing him/her an editor to build levels (if there are levels). I'm not very good or patient at thinking level designs through to maximize the challenge and to balance the level of 'fun'.

Regards,
Chuck
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#4 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:43 PM

I'll try and follow the other thread. I took a look at your web site in the site check forum. I did like your game screen shots. :^: Yes, level design can be a pain. Ran into that when I made a Arkanoid type game.
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#5 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:13 PM

View PostSixOfEleven, on 3 Jun, 2009 - 03:43 PM, said:

I'll try and follow the other thread. I took a look at your web site in the site check forum. I did like your game screen shots. :^: Yes, level design can be a pain. Ran into that when I made a Arkanoid type game.

What kinds of issues did you find with the level design?

On my "Skunked" game the player drives a 'segway' and jumps on skunks. It's a side scroller. There are 5 levels. It was a hassle manually coding a portion of the first level. It took me 4 hours to build an editor in VB6. Wow!! That saved me a whole lot of time.

Even then I got tired of using the editor. That's why I would benefit from someone on the team with the patience to construct a great level. Haven't found anyone yet her or on other sites.

Regards,
Chuck
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#6 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 04 June 2009 - 08:24 AM

View Postchuckb, on 3 Jun, 2009 - 10:13 PM, said:

What kinds of issues did you find with the level design?

On my "Skunked" game the player drives a 'segway' and jumps on skunks. It's a side scroller. There are 5 levels. It was a hassle manually coding a portion of the first level. It took me 4 hours to build an editor in VB6. Wow!! That saved me a whole lot of time.

Even then I got tired of using the editor. That's why I would benefit from someone on the team with the patience to construct a great level. Haven't found anyone yet her or on other sites.

Regards,
Chuck


In my break out game, I also made an editor, I actually used XNA to do it and just imported the bricks from my game so I could see the level visually. The problem I had was coming up with new and interesting levels. I think I made about ten and got bored with it. It is also something that is holding me back on the RPG I'm making. Creating an entire world, including towns, shops, characters, items, etc. takes a very long time and is a little hard for one person to do. I think that is why a lot of major game companies hire students or entry level programmers do level design. It is not one of my favorite subjects to work on.

Regards,
Jamie
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#7 stayscrisp  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 04 June 2009 - 09:34 AM

Hi ChuckB

This is quite an interesting read.

Here's where I found it which might also be of interest to you :)

This post has been edited by stayscrisp: 04 June 2009 - 09:36 AM

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#8 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 04 June 2009 - 05:17 PM

Quote

In my break out game, I also made an editor, I actually used XNA to do it and just imported the bricks from my game so I could see the level visually. The problem I had was coming up with new and interesting levels. I think I made about ten and got bored with it. It is also something that is holding me back on the RPG I'm making. Creating an entire world, including towns, shops, characters, items, etc. takes a very long time and is a little hard for one person to do. I think that is why a lot of major game companies hire students or entry level programmers do level design. It is not one of my favorite subjects to work on.

Regards,
Jamie


Hi Jamie,
To fight getting bored I added some 'auto generating' features for things like trees. You could click any where in the game world and it would create a random number of trees within an area around the mouse location. I've also seen some auto maze generation that was cool.

So, maybe a game level could be 100% auto generated...and the designer simply removes/modifies the level to make it more challenging. That might make it easier.

Regards,
Chuck
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#9 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 04 June 2009 - 08:29 PM

View Postchuckb, on 4 Jun, 2009 - 06:17 PM, said:

Hi Jamie,
To fight getting bored I added some 'auto generating' features for things like trees. You could click any where in the game world and it would create a random number of trees within an area around the mouse location. I've also seen some auto maze generation that was cool.

So, maybe a game level could be 100% auto generated...and the designer simply removes/modifies the level to make it more challenging. That might make it easier.

Regards,
Chuck


Hi Chuck,

That is something that I've been thinking about. I'm a big fan of strategy games, well it is type of strategy game, like the Civilization series and the Heroes of Might and Magic series. So I have often thought of making a random map generator. In university, back in 89, I did make a maze generator as well as a program to try and traverse the maze as an end year project. As I remember, the TA gave me 107% on it because the generator was an extra feature, as well as animation of the traversal. He was going to give me 110% but I neglected the trivial case of a 1x1 maze. You live and you learn I guess. :)

For an RPG though, I want more control. It will take longer, true, but in the editor I could add features like a fill tool or something like the old spray cans in older paint programs. Part of my problem is I've never been all that good with graphics. Though I'm learning and trying my best. I've been working on a tile set for my game. For now I'm making them in a single layer but I am saving them in a way that I can layer them.

Let me know what you think of the set.
Attached Image

Regards,

Jamie
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#10 Kanvus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 05 June 2009 - 04:42 AM

Sometimes I wish I knew how to use Adobe Illustrator and make decent animations. Mine are done 32x32 one pixel at a time in GIMP lol. They end up looking hilarious and impressive for 1 second until you look closer. Then it looks like a 5 yearold did it with crayons. Great graphics and subtle sounds going on in the background keep the player subconsciously amused. Like Spongebob has many things we don't hear consciously. But some of them are included in every other episode and get the viewer comfortable to stay for endless hours. It's the little things that matter a lot more than big stuff like the awesome epic title you come up with. A lot of games have strange names if you think about it. Fly For Fun doesn't sound appealing but the game itself is really not bad. The only thing that makes most people quit is how long it is to level past 61. And the max level is around 120.
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#11 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 05 June 2009 - 07:21 PM

@Staycrisp,
Thanks for the links. That was a good read on "Fun". I enjoyed this link on game design. It was a good overview of game design.

@Jamie,
I never thought about a 1x1 maze. That's interesting...and a bit unfair. :) I do like your tiles...especially the water and rocks.

Regarding the tiled images, is the goal to load a large image (say 1024x1024) with the maze design...OR...create and save a data file that is loaded into an array. Sprites/tiles are chosen then based upon the data in the array? Let me know if this is confusing.

@Kanvus,
I use paint.net (getpaint.net). It's free and the forums with tutorials are good. I like the available effects that can be applied. It makes my so..so art look good. :) I agree with subtle background sound effects being amusing. In this link my son and his friend spent a few hours recording sound effects in the living room. As a result, there's a very good collection of ambient noise such as digging, picking, horses, etc. Great railroad track making noise. It really made a significant difference.

Regards,
Chuck
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#12 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 06 June 2009 - 05:54 AM

View Postchuckb, on 5 Jun, 2009 - 08:21 PM, said:

@Jamie,
I never thought about a 1x1 maze. That's interesting...and a bit unfair. :) I do like your tiles...especially the water and rocks.

Regarding the tiled images, is the goal to load a large image (say 1024x1024) with the maze design...OR...create and save a data file that is loaded into an array. Sprites/tiles are chosen then based upon the data in the array? Let me know if this is confusing.


For the stone roads I had help from a product by Spiral Graphics. They have some nice tile texture products. The water I created using GIMP.

Yes, I understand the tile map process. This is one of the simple maps I made in a tutorial I wrote on how to create a simple tile map using XNA, when my tiles were still in their infancy:

Posted Image

The array was bigger than the window but this is the array:

int[,] map = new int[,]
{
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 2, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 2, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
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    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},
    { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,},



I will eventually put the array into a file and I am planning on a layer system. Like in a game where you draw the background and then draw transparent sprites on top of the background but in this case there would be more layers. So there would be a layer with base tiles. Then a layer with transition tiles. A layer of terrain features. Then things like roads, buildings, trees, items and finally a collision layer.

When you are making your games, do you have a system in place for managing screens? That is one of the first things I start working on now. Instead of just going straight to the action screen. I like having the screen manager in place to start with.

Regards,

Jamie
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#13 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:14 AM

Hi SixOfEleven
Nice graphics!

I see your array. I remember coding a 40x40 arrays in QBASIC a long time ago manually. That was very tedious! Now, I like to build editors to create this stuff. I definitely agree with your file loading plan. I don't use binary files because I like to tweak the data files manually some times...so I use CSV.

You 'layer' description is a good idea. In our level file we specify the layer of an object sprite. The code renders in order of this value (like Z-order). It works nicely. I usually can get away with about 10 layers: terrain, shadows, buildings, trees, clouds, user interface, etc.

Quote

When you are making your games, do you have a system in place for managing screens? That is one of the first things I start working on now. Instead of just going straight to the action screen. I like having the screen manager in place to start with.
I use 'game states' to describe what is being render/updated at any time. Each state is a class defined from a 'virtual' class. So, the basic states are:

CGameStateIntro
CGameStateMenu
CGameStateHelp
CGameStatePlay1
CGameStatePlay2
...
CGameStateCredits
CGameStateQuit

I believe this is what you may be describing.

Have you experimented with 'splatter' tiles? That's what I call them. They are tiles with various bits and a lot of transparency. They are drawn on top of regular tile sprites. For example, given your wall, splatter would add variation and make the wall look weathered, old, damaged in places, etc.

Regards,
Chuck
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#14 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:44 AM

Hi Chuck,

Thanks on the graphics. :)

I am working on an editor for the game. I'm starting to think, instead of using just an int it would be more appropriate to make a class for the tiles. That way I can give them more properties to work with.

Quote

I use 'game states' to describe what is being render/updated at any time. Each state is a class defined from a 'virtual' class. So, the basic states are:

CGameStateIntro
CGameStateMenu
CGameStateHelp
CGameStatePlay1
CGameStatePlay2
...
CGameStateCredits
CGameStateQuit

I believe this is what you may be describing.


Yes, that is pretty much what I was describing. I have a screen manager class that I use. I'm not sure how I would implement it in C++ though.

Quote

Have you experimented with 'splatter' tiles? That's what I call them. They are tiles with various bits and a lot of transparency. They are drawn on top of regular tile sprites. For example, given your wall, splatter would add variation and make the wall look weathered, old, damaged in places, etc.


No, I haven't experimented with them yet. I do like them though and I am planning on implementing them. They are a good way to help break up the plain janeness of say a field of grass or a wall.

Regards,

Jamie
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#15 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: Are there any game designers here in our midst?

Posted 07 June 2009 - 02:15 PM

Hi,
Well I couldn't get a game designer to step up to the challenge so I had to create our Game Design Doc. :D Consequently it won't be great.

Here's the spec for Battle for Kursk.

Any feedback would be welcome.

Regards,
Chuck
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