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Messages - NikitaSadkov

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Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 23, 2019, 06:37:52 am »
There were plenty of challenges in the 1980s. They were just different. While there weren't vast, complex libraries and engines to learn, programmers had to be a lot more cautious with resources. It took a lot of skill to get the most out of every byte of memory. Plus, it was a lot harder to look up how to do something. Now we have online documentation, chat, forums, and for better or worse, the expectation of an immediate solution.
In some cases limited resources can be a boon. For example, with the NES's 2kb RAM you wont be making a huge all-encompassing open world game with overwhelming amount of cut-scenes and dialogue, but instead concentrate on making smaller game with well polished gameplay. Although one can probably argue that Metroid and Zelda are open world, and there were even a few isometric games for NES, like Marble Madness, Solstice and Snake Rattle n Roll. But they were all well designed and straight to the point. I doubt these games had superhuman game designers behind, but the hardware limitations reducing the decision space in game design. And now we have Fallout Online - a game so big, it is impossible to balance and debug even for thousands of beta-testers. So I think less can be more.

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Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 22, 2019, 12:01:04 pm »
The "Vallas Engine" renderer uses a ray-tracing approach. It doesn't handle reflections, and so is very simple compared to most ray-tracing implementations.
Wow! You actually did it! I'm surprised it runs in browser at all!

I wouldn't say Stencyl wasn't built for anything beyond simple tile games, though. Rather, much of Stencyl's marketing is directed toward novice programmers and simple tile games are easier to code than games involving complex graphics or physics.
Exactly! Just setting-up a modern OpenGL viewport to blit a sprite takes 1000 lines of C/C++ code, not speaking about resource management, like loading and and caching graphics, and then we also have sound and music playing. And you already mentioned GUI, which is a science in itself.
http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/freedink.git/tree/src/IOGfxSurfaceGL2.cpp
http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/freedink.git/tree/src/IOGfxDisplayGL2.cpp
That is a daunting task for a person who just wants to make a game. Unreal would be even more daunting, because it was designed for larger teams with a programmer specialized on maintaining the 3d engine itself.
Still I remember that in 1989 drawing graphics was as simple as
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*(char*)(0xA0000+y*320+x) = color;Compare that to https://github.com/SaschaWillems/Vulkan/blob/master/examples/triangle/triangle.cpp

I once wrote an MMX optimized textured triangle rasterizer in less lines of code.  So yeah, for most people it is either making a game with pre-made engine, like Stencyl, or making no game at all, ending up with unfinished engine.

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Journals / Re: My Story. Or Why I'm not Using Unreal/Unity/Cryengine
« on: February 21, 2019, 01:47:45 am »
Well the post is about people who tell you to use Unreal, even if you have zero gamedev or programming experience, or scold you for having a 2d game. I have a lot of programming experience, enough to design my own programming language or read assembly code, yet I still wont dare to use Unreal or other heavy weight artillery, which requires a team for manning the pipeline. TLDR: if you use Unreal, you will likely accomplish nothing, if you use simpler tool like Stencyl you will have a finished game. And there are a lot of stories of experience gamedev veterans switching to Unreal and failing badly. The latest being that System Shock remake. So yeah, when people tell me to use Unreal or Unity, I get frustrated, because it is infinitely easier to just
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"screen[x][y] = pixel" than to glLoadMatrix

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Journals / My Story. Or Why I'm not Using Unreal/Unity/Cryengine
« on: February 20, 2019, 01:50:14 pm »
After the release of the demo of my game The Spell of Mastery, my Russian friends started spreading rumors about me that I was crazy, schizophrenic, that my game allegedly contained viruses and stolen graphics.

> This is, by the way, not his art, but sprites ripped out of all sorts of games in the last 10 years. He really sat like an autist, and for several years he deciphered the file formats in all kinds of retro games. He even somewhere the source code of his was sprite ripping utility. With stolen assets it is impossible to sell, of course. It is strange that Gabe has not banned him from Steam yet.   -- Typical defamatory Russian comment

However, Russians failed to indicate where and what I've stolen. In fact, a part of the graphics was created by myself, another part was ordered to artists, or got from royalty free sites (such as itch.io and pixabay), and then edited for the needs of the game. Each file in my game contains the source of origin and the list of authors who participated in its creation.

I replied to such libel that I prohibit Russians to launch my game - that way they will have no problems with viruses. However, I indeed enjoyed reverse engineering and modifying commercial video games, digging in an assembly code, and wrote a collection of graphics converters combined into one package - SAU (Sprite and Archive Utility). However, in my game, The Spell of Mastery, I did not take a pixel from these games. I was just inspired by general ideas from such classic games as Lords of Chaos, Spellcraft and XCOM.

And then Russians, including my brother, began bullying me and kept repeating that my game sucks, because it is not like some other game, or because it is in 2d, while everyone today use cool 3d engines like Unreal, Cryengine or Unity, designed for large professional teams. Russians apparently had no idea, that developing a good 3d game costs a lots of money, in range of millions USD. Using industry standard AAA engine also requires a rather large team of programmers experienced in said engine, and even larger team of artists producing optimized low poly 3d models. Several examples, like Star Citizen, demonstrate that even industry veterans with huge teams, 20 million USD budgets and decades of experience are incapable to handle these heavy engines, like Unreal, and modify them for their game design needs.

It is far easier to just manually draw sprites into framebuffer, than to use complex 3d software, requiring PhD in computer graphics to understand. It is very easy to produce a simple 2d sprite, but can you image how hard and time consuming would be sculpting a similarly detailed 3d model in the very expensive ZBrush and animating it in even more expensive Maya? Even more, I use my own programming language Symta, and it would be near impossible to interface it with say Unity or Cryengine, which is written in C/C++ -- a language that doesn't support runtime introspection, and requires special very complicated parser to produce bindings. It is also much easier to optimize the drawing of 2,000,000 sprites at fixed angle camera than the drawing of 2,000,000 polygonal meshes, especially if camera is free, as required by 3d games standards. Russians gave me absolutely no discount for having organic brain damage (resulting into autism, psychopathy and schizophrenia), no education in art or computer science, no budget and in addition of me being persecuted by Russia, with all my bank account being blocked for terrorism. No. I still must use Unreal, even if I know nothing about it or professional 3d graphics.

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Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 19, 2019, 01:05:39 am »
Pretty neat. Looks like it's been in development for just as long.
Yeah. It seems your main difficulties come from using Stencyl, which wasn't build for isometry or anything beyond a simple tile games. Why wont you just use raw SDL or even OpenGL?

I myself use plain SDL (without  OpenGL),  so I had to do all 3d stuff in the game's code. I tried using even ZBuffer, but it failed to handle transparency, so I still had to topological sort everything. The other solution appears to be sorting transparent sprites by depth and draw them after non-transparent sprites. Polygonal 3d engines use a few tricks to process transparent surfaces. Life is much easier, if one uses ray-tracing instead, but then CPU requirements will be too high :D

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Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 14, 2019, 03:30:45 am »
Hi,merrak! I got inspired by your thread and also wrote a little isometric video game:
https://nikitasadkov.itch.io/spell-of-mastery-demo

Although I did everything differently, especially topological sorting (which I reverse engineered from Ultima 8 and Magic & Mayhem).

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