01 February 2020

I Was Ignorant About Shaders

Congratulations, University. January is the first month on which I didn't post on this blog for a whole month. I've been working on four different projects: Specifically Audio, Assembly, Interactionmethods, and Shaders.

Me And Shaders

When I had first come in contact with shaders, I've been ~8 years younger. Back then, I first started to learn to program with the DirectX SDK. I never really understood shaders back then, and they were annoying. I never really did anything with them. From there on out, it took seven years until I came across them again during studying when I saw the project of a fellow student talking about his shaders. The game looked amazing. One semester later, in the Realtime graphics course, we were taught DirectX as well as shaders. It was- fascinating but pretty technical. It wasn't until I took the "Modern Techniques for Shader Development and Imagesynthesis" course.

The Epiphany

Until then, I didn't think much about shaders, but the courses made me realize how important they are and how easy it is to write them. Most of the animations, particle systems, post-processing effects, and other things making your games more beautiful, are probably done using shaders. Vertex shaders, geometry shaders, fragment shaders, image effect or post-processing shaders, and compute shaders give you the power to push your games to a new level of aesthetics and beauty.

What If Shaders Are Not Your Thing?

Of course, it's not the end of the world if you don't write your shaders. There are shader assets out there that you can get. You can make other people write them for you (like me :P), and most engines come with standard shaders. So, no one is forcing you to get into writing shaders. However, I still want to make you realize how important they are and that it is possible to create great things with them.

How To Get Started?

The university course I took taught all techniques by using case studies. So, get out there, take a game and try to recreate the effect. Oh wait, maybe you should start with some tutorials on the basics first. Read into how Vertex and Fragment shaders work and make your own in Unity since you can get started right away there. Check for some websites that teach shading while using case studies. The tutor of the course has a website called lexdev.net.

Shimmy, Shimmy... Out And Away

That's it from my side for today. I'll come back with more posts eventually, especially after the exam phase. Also, I started to use Grammarly again, given your feedback on the blog posts that didn't use it compared to the ones that do. Thanks for that feedback, btw. Oh yeah, I could write my case study or tutorials in the future.

16 December 2019

Game Design: Shout Out To These Creatores!

I've decided to make a bit of a different blog post this time. Instead of talking about theorycrafting, philosophy, game design, or magic, I'm gonna list and talk a bit about some other content creators. The point of this is to give my readers that are interested in this a blog post that features a list of interesting YouTube channels to revisit whenever. Another reason is to show you guys other creators that talk about varying topics of game development but make some great points.

Extra Credits

Extra Credits is probably one of my favorite channels on Youtube and I always watch it. They come from the industry and bring great insight into all the topics that there are. If you plan on becoming a game developer or take any related Job I can only advise you to check out some or all of their videos. And to the Extra Credits team. You've taught me and others a lot and helped me with my Seminar Paper during high school (Berufsoberschule). Keep up the good work!
>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCODtTcd5M1JavPCOr_Uydg

8-bit Music Theory

8-bit Music Theory is for all your future composers or game designers out there. If you're interested in learning or dipping into music theory for games it is a great channel for that. Since I try to keep my knowledge broad as I want to go into game design mainly with a focus on programming I try to take in as much information as possible. This channel definitely helps there! No doubt about that. If that caught your interest go check it out!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeZLO2VgbZHeDcongKzzfOw <<

Design Doc

Design Doc is a channel that suddenly popped up in my related videos. The focus of this Youtube channel is pretty much anything about designing a game. My favorite videos are the good design, a bad design where Design Doc gets the point across using examples showing both sides. In my opinion, anyone interested in game development should have at least heard or seen these videos, however, if you're planning on becoming a game designer it's gonna be your job to make sure you don't fall into these mistakes that were done. Really "Noice".
>> https://www.youtube.com/user/Warbot40

Snowman Gaming

This is one of the channels I came across while looking for something game design related. Again just like the Design Doc, this one focuses on the overall game design of games but goes more into the complete titles. There are videos for good game design and bad game design and I can just recommend it to any game designers as well as anyone who's taking inspiration from one of their favorite games that may pop-up in this list. Keep it up.
https://www.youtube.com/user/snomangaming <<

Razbuten

I actually came across this channel through a very interesting video in my feed: "What Games Are Like For Someone Who Doesn't Play Games". This is absolute gold. When we design games we always think about gamers in mind. We rarely ever think about people who never played video games. And of course, the other videos on this channel are interesting as well. So, if you have the time to check them out go ahead!
>> https://www.youtube.com/user/razbuten

Adam Millard - The Architect of Games

I just came across this channel recently and added it to my list of interesting channels to check out. I haven't checked out much of this one yet, but from what I've seen this one is a good channel if you want to think outside of the box, see things differently. So, if you need some uncommon inspiration there you go add this channel's videos to your playlist!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY3A_5R_m3PXCn5XDhvBBsg <<

Why This List?

Well, it's December and soon it's Christmas. This is the season of giving and so I'll give you stuff that helped me to learn game design. Learning game design is a difficult topic anyways. We don't know for sure if a concept works unless we have case studies. That is where these youtube channels come in handy. If you want to learn game design check out opinions of players, reviews or analysis and game design videos. Feed your brain with what appeals and what doesn't find out why and use that knowledge. I hope this list helps others as much as it has helped and schooled me so far and share your information with others. "Because Games Matter" ~ Extra Credits

Also, I've decided to change my use of Grammarly. So far, I've been using Grammarly and making sure that I get 0 mistakes shown even the premium ones (I don't use premium, because of no income right now). This post, for example, has 30 premium errors. Check out this survey, to help me.




18 November 2019

Discord Game Bots: From Video Back To Text?

So, I've sort of managed to switch from playing MMORPGs to... discord bot games. Honestly, I didn't even know these existed until now. And no, I'm not talking about the games you play on discord like counting to infinity.

Why Discord

Discord has grown to be a favorite software for many gamers and non-gamers. It combines the ability to talk to people on a server like on Teamspeak, with the ability to share and post information and have private chats like on Skype. With features, such as reactions, embedded audio, images, and videos, and more, I can't deny that I love it myself. The developer interface makes it easy to create your own bots and connect them to your application. This allows for all kinds of abilities such as news, user commands, easier moderating, administration, or... games. With gamers on discord, is it far fetched to have discord bots that feature games?

My Experience With The Bots

So, the three bots I looked at are called OwO, Yui, and Tatsumaki. Each provides some similar, some different, and some completely different commands. I'm not gonna focus on the other ones besides anything related to the game. This means currency commands, game commands, and quests or dailies. The order in which I'm going through these will be from the lowest to highest content.

Yui

Screenshot of the Yui
 Profession Commands
 on Nyaa Langs/kiss Lingo Discord
Yui is a Discord bot written in Java. It features a daily giving you currency as well as commands to level up different professions such as mining, fishing, and chopping. Using it is pretty straight forward actually. Unfortunately, the currency has no use except for a leaderboard. The profession commands give you some respective "Experience" as well as money. Leveling up a skill, thereby increases experience and currency gained by 1%. After a while, the word "Depleted" will be contained in the bot's message, which decreases the chance for higher experience gain and seems to make it impossible to get currency. As much as I would like to get into more detail... this is pretty much it. So, let's move on to something more complete.


Screenshot of the Tatsumaki
Tamagotchi like game
 on Nyaa Langs/Kiss Lingo Discord

Tatsumaki

Tatsumaki is a Discord bot written in Javascript. It contains a lot of features such as experience and leveling by chatting, reputation, searching on the internet, and managing roles. Most prominently, it has a Tamagotchi like game called Tatsugotchi. You start off by entering the  " t!tg " command. This will give you the next command to buy your first one. If you repeat the last command now, you will see the room some status bars and your pet. Thanks to the hint you're shown then, you will know that you have to feed, play, and clean it. It's not necessarily intuitive that the command is the same but with the respective words behind it. (e.g. "t!tg play"). From here on out, it's pretty much just take care of it and train it to level up. You can use the daily currency you get to buy a new one, with the chance of it being rarer. Or use it to have your Tatsugotchi being taken care of automatically. There are also quests you can do each day but are really simplistic. At first, I assumed it would be necessary to have a scale on those bars. Later on, I found out entering the commands takes care of the whole bar making a scale unnecessary. That's quite nice, but let's look at something bigger.

OwO

Screenshot of an on-going
 battle from OwO
on the Nyaa Langs/Kiss
Lingo Discord
Now we're entering the RPG category. Do you like Pokemon? What about RPG? You might love this. The premise is quite simple. You hunt for animals that are put into your zoo. From there on out, you can create a team, sacrifice, or sell them. There are six stats, multiple items, different roles, different weapon bonuses, and - of course - leveling. I'm not going into the detail oh how to play it because that would be worth its own blog post. I have noticed myself, however, that playing this game is tedious if you don't know all the commands. Figuring them out is difficult, and there's no introduction. The website doesn't mention all and how to use them. It actually feels like a step back from what we have learned about game design over the years. This gives OwO a high entry curve. And yet it is still a full-fledged round-based Discord RPG. As there isn't much information about this one, it seems like a good topic for a future theorycrafting post.

Conclusion

So, through the Discord API and interface, we can have players interact with these bots. This is quite interesting and asks questions like, in which ways can the user interact? How can we show information? Which stimuli can we give the user? Where are the limits? And much much more. For now, I'm gonna leave this as is.


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About Me

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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.