No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #45

Hello, everyone. After submitting VoxelDesc to the Procedural Generation Jam, I figured it would be nice to have an entry developed during the actual jam for a change, which is sort of the point, you know? Especially after getting a ton of visits and not one comment for what I thought was a fairly original concept. As it happens, inspiration struck, and in less than a week I came up with this:

It's supposed to become a twin-stick shooter, but for now I focused on the procedural parts, namely the level generation and graphics engine (and I had to figure out fast how to bang out a semi-plausible city map, however abstracted -- pro tip: BSP trees don't work here). I'll hopefully have something to shoot at by the end of the jam, now that the deadline has been quietly extended by a day.

In other news, the recent release of the X-Wing games on GOG.com has prompted a thought-provoking article about teaching players a game without explicit tutorials. And yes, that means trial and error. It means the player can lose and start again. It's even possible (gasp!) that they won't experience the game exactly as you intended. But you know what? At least they'll be playing, rather than munching popcorn while the game plays itself.

Dammit. One page into the newsletter and I'm already out of links. I could have sworn there were more. Anyway... over at the Escapist, Shamus Young writes about the long distance between your thumbs and your screen. And, you know, some of that complexity is actually useful. Remember how any DOS game had to have a joystick calibration screen? Nowadays I can just count on the driver to hand me the analog axes already normalized from -1 to +1, which means I can focus on writing the game proper. A definite gain! But for the most part...

Look at the tech demo I embedded at the start of this post. Just look at it. That's how much can be done just by slapping colored squares on a 2D drawing surface, and I got it right literally on the first try. Think of that next time you're fighting OpenGL bugs at two in the morning while insisting that it "makes your work easier".

But enough ranting. I'm done. Until next week.