Of course, do not forget to optimize the game level – if it allows the engine, then try to hide or delete all those polygons that are not visible by the player on the level (if it is a 3D game). And it could to reduce the requirements for RAM or video memory. Also the view from virtual camera will not be very slow on mobile devices, on old computers or on economical type PC. If such optimization method can not be applied to the game engine, then it should be to optimize each virtual object directly in the editor, in which you create 3D objects (such as Blender, Maya, 3D Studio Max, etc.). Some level designers create the levels completely in such 3D editors, and there are optimized, on objects removing all polygons that are not visible from the player. – Be careful on which side are falling the shadows!Before starting the optimization, should fully to finish (to complete) the level and insert the final lights, because from the side of some objects with deleted polygons the shadow may not fall absolutely correctly and not authentically or did not fall at all. When finally you put the light and saw from which side should fall the shadows, then should begin to optimize the level completely, with all objects located on it.
Regarding the creation of 3D objects, you should not to make them with too low number of polygons in hopes saving more memory on mobile devices or on an old PC. Important that the different objects and characters did not seem too ugly – they must seem authentic. Best of all, that each high poly 3D object had 2 or 3 low-poly analogies for their implementation in LOD system of the game engine.Ideally would be that the virtual camera in each game would to automatically optimize the objects on levels (something like adaptive degradation or the backface cull). And then the poor designers will not be tormented at all, in working on objects for LOD system or manually optimizing the level.
As well, each simple 3D object is also a certain “theatrical, puppet” game requisites.
But what about the entourage on the levels? – Well, it’s a grand scenography! All that is situated on the level – houses, trees, and even the landscape – represent a kind of decorations for a large “virtual puppet show” (virtual puppet spectacle) – the game. So do not try too hard to make your level “ultra-realistic” – will still be almost like a puppet theater, because any level, like scenographic forms, is only an imitation, simulation (– of something from life or from fairy tales, etc.). The main thing is to not forget that to make and to place the decorations and various objects most authentically. -)
Notes: Here are some examples of games with built-in (or with an installed) editor, with some story with missions, tasks and quests. I will start from the oldest, most popular games about which can still remember and about which I am not too lazy to write:
– Quake series (Quake-4 seems to have a more modern graphics, although… – is suitable for unpretentious modds), plus Doom-3;
– Half-Life series (better to use a later version of Source SDK; its editor Valve Hammer Editor is difficult to learn, but perfectly accustomed you to professional 3D environment – strongly recommend to all beginners; this editor is good both for simple and cool modifications);
– Far Cry series (I recommend the first game of the series – its editor CryEngine Sandbox has everything to create a highly advanced games and modifications; is good for learning, after Source SDK);
– also Crysis series (has also the editor CryEngine Sandbox, but is more advanced, with better graphics and visual programming tool – I think is the best choice for modders!);
– Unreal series (all series like Unreal Tournament, Unreal Gold, plus Unreal The Awakening; the third version of the engine and editor, since 2007 became most modern and convenient, had appeared an visual programming tool, an excellent editor of landscape, as well as other useful tools);
– S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series (has a quite uncomfortable and unmodern editor, although the graphics of this game series seems to be nice and modern; is hard to learn and use; the main work on the mod is reduced to programming; I recommend it only for very advanced modders);
– the game Call of Duty-2 (it is analogical with the editor of Quake-4);
– also ArmA series, World of Warcraft series, StarCraft, plus the games Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, etc.
I personally, the author, for self learning, for creating of some modifications and games, worked with such engines and editors like Valve Hammer Editor (Counter-Strike 1.6 & Source, Half-Life-2), Unreal Engine (Unreal Tournament-1, UT-2003, Pariah), CryEngine Sandbox (Far Cry-1, Crysis-1 & 2). And I also worked with applications as Game Maker, Unity. Sometimes, for the sake of “sporting interest” I have studied and continue to study the different game editors. -)
Among other things, it is worth to note that to some applications and various editors for creating games (like Unity, Unreal, Leadwerks etc.) have game examples, for free or which is sold, with its own mechanics and gameplay (so-called Game Kit), be it race, shooter, strategy, 2D arcade and others – it is a great help in the study of the desired application and editor with the required set of game mechanics. These kits-examples also can be modified (it’s practically the same modding), for learning and gaining experience.
Also, to the popular applications and editors there are special attachable tools (so-called plug-ins), which can significantly increase the quality of editor and diversify the working process (the workflow) with useful and necessary tools.
For example, the editor of application Unity, at the moment, can be so much diversified with plug-ins, that theoretically we can get a set of tools, which its functionality is able to easily eclipse any other existing editor. However, much to dream about it not worth, because studying and selection of good and the suitable plug-ins may take a long time and can empty the pockets easily (actually it refers to any application). – It is better firstly to gather experience by modding with the editors of well-known games!!!
In general, for studying of one engine with the editor is enough two weeks (if you work with it every day!). During this time, with boldly you can to experiment with features of editor. But to create a full-fledged mod, with at least one level, may not be enough a month. So it should from the start to decide how large should be your mod. – For self-study, it would be enough a single level that will contain all the features of the editor and engine.
After one or two weeks (or months) of training, go boldly to the other advanced engine with the editor. When you finally see in action all the features of several advanced editors and engines, then seriously think about on which of them is worth to stop and to concentrate your own efforts to create a game “of your dreams” (or of a game by any of your concepts).
By the way, the company Valve has the habit (since its establishment) to recruit the employees from among of the modders. And why?!
– Elementary! – Such novice developers already have good experience in the creation of games.
Hello, different “bosses”! – It is worth to think about this. -)
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(notes for “bosses”)
I would not wrote it under the general theme, but I thought it was also very important, especially for the fruitful development of games namely in the team, indie or mainstream. Consider it that is one of the final touches of this article. So…
If I started talking about the team, so a sort of “bosses” should to keep in mind something – your employees are not a simple workforce, not just a working cattle, not animals, which is “obliged” to plow day and night. And is clearly that not worth to mock over them! Accept them only as a good and respected buddies or friends (already it depends as will be with each) that help you to bring your project to the “golden” finals, thereby helping you to earn not only money, but also the prestige. And it means that need to respect the employees and not to batter them each day, as if they are very obliged to you with something, solely because that you pay them a certain salary. Should not every day to torment some employee because of any trifle, especially in front of his colleagues. In no case shall not shout to them and show your irritation. No need to persevere hard that your employees, since the first day of work, to dream only about to run away as quickly as possible and far from your smelly office, to an more quietly shore. To sow discord, fear and hatred for you – is a direct path to failure of the project and collapse of the team of developers!
Also immediately need to pass any courses (of mental rehabilitation, had almost said …) about management and working with staff. And is obligatory to read a clever book about a good relationship between people, such as “How to Win Friends …” by Dale Carnegie – such book, by the way, should not to consider it as a strict set of rules, but only as a good and intelligent recommendation for introspection (self-analysis), personal spiritual growth, for using for the benefit of himself and others, but also for a good relationship with the people around you.
And while there is a conversation about such things, then try to transform your employees in your best friends or acquaintances (whether at work or in your personal life, it’s up to you) and in good colleagues at work. I think it’s really important! By the way, generally is considered that the chief must not permit a friendly, crony relations with employees. – Come on, seriously ?!
If someone from the employees is angry on you, it means that you can simply do not care about this,
just because he for you is neither a friend nor brother, just an entity and nothing more?.. And do you think that the tension will pass simply without a trace, and the employee will continue to respect you “deeply” and with all his soul want to continue to work for you???
If you are not a complete moron, then please remember that in most families there is always a leader, whether be father or mother, or even own grandmother? For example, you personally, in certain strenuous situations in the home – often keep the anger on someone of these “leaders”?.. Fast it passes? But then, you anyway continue somehow to communicate with these family members. And over time, from your anger not remain a trace, as though there were no conflicts. Mostly it occurs because of the fact that from your family you will not go anywhere, and your father, mother or grandmother also will love you, as before. Because you for them are native and dear person and they for you also are native and dear. Because in your life is no more important people than they are.
Often between the good friends also is happens – had quarreled, fought with each other, and then, on the passage of time (a day-two or more) the voltage passes, because you understand perfectly, that you do not have many such persons in your life, such truly important, dear people. It is very important that you take care of such relationships!
Imagine that in the team may also be so strong, friendly relationship between you and your employees. – Oh, of course it’s possible! Because with such relationships, many conflicts and tensions could disappear faster, than they appeared. Think about it.
– We continue more cheerful… :)
Try to stop any conflicts in the team, because any problem, eventually is solvable (yes-yes!). :)
If someone from the employees did a stupid thing somewhere and something, has raged and just is dissatisfied with something; smoke inside or take strong drinks at the workplace; sings with full voice
or puts any moronic songs with full power of sound; begins to assault female (or male) employees regarding the size of the “charm” and the frequency of prophylaxis of the prostate; late for work, drunken or stoned; urinate in the corner or masturbates, doing shit on the toilet rim or on the floor, smoking still there, puts his feet on top of the toilet, throws in it the bones or around of that ignite the candles and dancing with a tambourine; washes his “balls” and ass in the common sink & claiming that he cleans the karma; urinate from the window of office against the wind, hoping to create a wonderful rainbow, between warm raindrops, and cheerful smile from passers-by under the window; in working hours he plays in some online crap or just spitting into the monitor; with relish and loud does a burp or fart on the entire office, creating an atmosphere of a neighboring planet Venus; he communicates only with obscenities and did not understand the literary language; cultivates the snails on his table or make irrigation of pots with flowers on the working office computer; he or she brings homeless dogs or cats in the office, with the assertion that they will live here and will reproduce themselves, because in the apartment is not have enough space; watching porno on the entire screen with the included speakers; barely raises his eyes and speaks vaguely, does twitches and moans while walking without any reason; comes with advanced flu or has strong coughs; argues that he communicates with the Martians from Jupiter and with the Selenites from Pluto, but he personally came from Alpha Centauri; he deals with the black magic, with astrology and wants to do the astrological chart for all employees for a fee; he “privatizes” the equipment and all sorts of things from the office, steal candy from employees; throws himself from window with a parachute and thereby measuring the “height” of his mind and proving that the short feelings is extremely low and even silly; for money he “pushes” the bubbles, soap and all sorts of things “very branded”; bring his friends or the whole gang to “hang out” and play freely, everywhere leaving the cigarette butts and empty bottles; he sits in the office at night, playing online or in various new games, but in the morning you find him sleeping on a table or chairs, with a pile of garbage beside him; he wears dangerous weapon with him and even cleans it on the table, he twists the blades and organize competitions in accuracy directly at office; make post-apocalypse in different ways; rarely washes himself and from his mouth permanently stinks like by shit… then this is clear that it is necessary to do something… No, right away “to hang” him is not necessary, and to raise the issue on the agenda that “to impale him” (“to put him on the spike”) is too early (it only if you or a member of staff noticed such irregularities). It is necessary with such a “strange”, inappropriate employee, though very talented, to do certain friendly discussion, without the obscenities, without the manhandling and threats – is necessary very-very friendly, like a friend with a friend, to explain about in what consists the structure of social life, a simple order in society and in a team in general, that the anarchy is anarchy, but the project should be completed at the right time – definitely! Because of this is need mainly to show an absolutely elementary respect for the rest of the other employees.
It is quite possible that this employee have some problems at home, in family; fell into depression or having problems with the police; he entered into some gang or sect; use drugs or have additional work on the side; is an evil spy who was sent by competitors to fail the project or even to ruin your whole company; has slipped from the toilet and hit his head on the floor or just fell in love… well, “the autopsy” will show a lot. -)) In short, analyze what was going on, what is it and how is it, investigate a casus – obviously that here somewhere is hidden “a dead cat”.
But if you feel disgust for digging in someone else’s shit, just do a general briefing, reading aloud all the rules of the company, plus a copy on the wall and for each individually. And if someone does not agree and will repeat his “heroism” then he will fly “on spike” in public, including dismissal – rules are rules and punctum! (-and here just put the point!) – But you should not to exaggerate with draconian rules – because in such a way you will arrive personally “on spike” and even you will knock down the project.
With the dress code also not worth it to exaggerate. Let everyone wears what he wants, importantly that employees have clean T-shirt and shorts at least (although in pants is more handsome), plus a pair of running shoes.
By the way, you personally must to behave more adequately, and precisely not should to put signs on the door or to give the business cards with inscriptions, such as: “Here I’m the Boss, bitches! And who doesn’t like it, then let him go in hairy a…”, or "All of you don't work, lousy nits! I see everything, from the heavens!".
For prophylaxis, you can invite for some time (or even temporarily to hire) a professional psychologist with experience – is quite possible that an expert will understand better about the fact how goes the life of each employee and what kind of “cockroaches” live (inhabit) in their heads.
If you are offended by someone or because of something, became nervous highly, then you should to make a pause, to wait when your inner “storm” will pass – so do something relaxing (but not to drink alcohol!), listen to music, remember or look at something nice, and eventually, apply simple methods of meditation for relaxation, filtering of emotions and uplift of your mood. Then should start to think logically about that nervous situation that has arisen, think about how most humanly and friendly explain to a person (who possibly is a source of arising stress) about What is not good for the project, for the team, and What can be done more qualitative, etc. etc. (in general, the problems can be different). You have to learn not to be hysterical and not to lose suddenly your temper in front of employees! In case if for a moment appeared some nervousness, collisions, then at least tell a joke (because the humor is able to change the aroma of anything what you want). :)
And do not try to control everything and everyone, to buzzing in their ears to work permanently – for you they are NOT like the ancient slaves from stone quarries, and you are NOT a slave owner, with a whip in the hands! To control everything and always, actually is not possible. It is necessary to try that your employees, who work for you, would want to come to you, creating and working with pleasure – should give them some creative freedom! And that’s how they like to work, how comfortable are mentally (spiritually) and creatively for them – it depends by your effort, so it’s your problem.
At the briefings should carefully to explain, in the smallest detail, everything that concerns your game project. Even if this project is a kind of art-house which is full of different symbols and deep meanings, that all these things should be explained to the team – why this is namely so, what kind of style it is, what kind of character, etc. etc. All employees who work on this project, are obliged to know all the details, and you are obliged to explain them absolutely everything!
If you really need to go for some equipment or to drag something in the office, so ask the employees about who are more available, who is somehow free at the moment, or just politely ask someone to help you.
And here will not be superfluous to remind that you need from time to time to looking at the picture of Maslow’s pyramid, with the scheme of human needs, from the theory of motivation.
Strongly recommend to take care of your personal health. More often go to medical examinations of your body – is better to do prophylaxis of an illness that advance, than sitting in a hospital room with an already running problem and give a reason for surgeons to cut you like a pig (– by the way, the autopsy almost look like this). For your employees also infuse them a sense of duty to their health – to respect the modern medicine and their own organism (-well, that’s general culture!). – The treatment via drinking urine, inhalation of a “special” smoke, dancing with a tambourine and compress with wine – evident is some misunderstandings from the Stone Age, about which is useful to forget in general. And at least, do a little sport, some elementary physical exercises (not necessarily in the morning), do a jog or just walk around on foot.
I am always outraged (if to say it mildly) when I see the young (!) gamers and developers, who are sitting fattened in front of their monitors, who smoke, drink alcohol, guzzle unhealthy food and can barely to move, but at the same time, they talk about the great art – the games. There is one very important, well-known and ancient saying – “In a healthy body there is a healthy spirit!”. This means, that with healthy people, the great art of games can become more healthy and no less amazing. -)
I suppose that some indie developers in one day have come to the moment, when felt that they are no more able to work on its project, that not have any more the mood or the pleasure to work and no desire to work…
Then it is necessary to make a short pause, to do something else, for example – watch a movie, listen to music or play some game, cook something in order to eat or just drink tea, watch the TV set, or better to read something, to clean the office or to take a shower, etc. etc. In short – do something else that is not related to your project.
And when the time comes to sit down to the worktable, then do not expect that from nowhere, “will fall” on you the working, “fighting” mood, which so much is necessary for you. – The most effective is just to start to work. And by concentrating on your work, gradually will come to you the mood, pleasure and desire to work.
As it says in a proverb: “The pleasure comes during a meal!” …And you know – this is a pure truth!
– Just need to plan your working hours (whether it be 2-3 hours, or 5-8 hours per day), then after work you really need to rest, to enjoy with something, in order to distract you from work. And then, on the next day, to sit down again to the worktable and start to “plow” with new powers! – And once again will come the mood, pleasure and desire to work. :) Believe that it is true – it was tested on me a lot of times! This is a method that really works effectively!
Wish you success in your work! -)
Your friend, Dmitry Ghervas!
“Archetypical Classification of the Video Games”
or follow the link: http://dmitry802.livejournal.com/3292.html
"Game Design: the revealing of phenomenon" (previous article of the author): http://dmitry802.livejournal.com/1529.ht
"Interactivography – the new scientific term or The manifest of love for games" (previous article): http://dmitry802.livejournal.com/1881.ht
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