Edit: I think the GDC Vault has been updated with all available content, so you may want to go there instead. See you next year!?
Get’em while they’re fresh! If you know of stuff missing here, please tell me about it on Twitter @TheJare. You can also check industry sites like Gamasutra, Polygon or Develop for ongoing coverage, and hopefully a lot of these materials will show up in the GDC Vault soon.
Production & Biz
It’s been nearly 20 years since we released that old fire effect and the demoscene turned out to love it. I have ported it to HTML5 to celebrate!
It all started when we bought a math coprocessor for our 386/25 and I started playing with fractals and plasmas. A few programming mistakes later, this thing came out and looked neat, so we slapped JCAB’s VT player and released it. Eternal gratitude to Jester of Sanity for unknowingly lending me his fantastic ‘Elysium’ mod – it didn’t take me long to learn that such acts were VERY badly frowned upon.
You can check out the source code on github if you are so inclined. The comments are slightly better this time! This version runs rather slowly on Chrome, and I don’t really know why, but IE, Firefox (Win and Android) and iOS Safari work great.
It’s that time of the year again, when everyone else is partying and having fun (or maybe not – WTF IGDA?) at GDC in San Francisco. I’ll try to collect any links to lecture materials I come across. If you know of stuff missing here, please tell me about it on Twitter @TheJare. You can also check industry sites like Gamasutra, Polygon or Develop for ongoing coverage, and hopefully a lot of these materials will show up in the GDC Vault soon.
Edit: also check out eXile’s awesome and better organized compilation (focused on programming & rendering).
- Virtual Go by Glenn Fiedler (also check his entire series of articles)
- Continuous Collision by Erin Catto (lots of stuff from him there)
- Indie Soapbox (reprise), on technology and design spaces by David Rosen
- No One Knows About Your Game (rehearsal) by Chris Hecker
- Orthogonal Matching Pursuit and K-SVD for Sparse Encoding by Robin Green and Manny Ko
- Intel HD Graphics Samples from Intel
- There is No Escape: Designing Videogames for Maximum Real-Life Impact by Jane McGonigal (plus lots of research links)
- Building Scalable Cloud Tech for Mobile / Social Games by Paul Winterhalder
- Designing Without a Pitch – FTL Postmortem (writeup, slides here) by Matthew Davis and Justin Ma
- Empowering the Player in a Story-rich World by Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (video) panel with Hideo Kojima
- Loading from Imperfect Data by Andreas Fredriksson
- Network Serialization and Routing in World of Warcraft by Joe Rumsey
- Molyjam: How Twitter Jokes Can Save Video Games (video) by Anna Kipnis
- Smack Talk, Big Data, and Localization by Liesl Leary
- Modular Level Design for Skyrim by Joel Burgess and Nathan Purkeypile
- Fair Use rant (video) by Chris Hecker
- Halo 4 Postmortem (video) by Kevin Grace, Frank O’Connor, Kiki Wolfkill and Matt McCloskey
- Destiny: Building a Brave New World (video) by Bungie
- Classic Games Postmortem – XCOM: UFO Defense (video) by Julian Gollop
- Usability is not Random by Mike Acton (check his repo for lots of other talks)
- The Western Mobile Games That Conquered China by Henry Fong
- COLLADA to WebGL by Remi Arnaud
- Biff Boom Pow: Introducing Students to Sound for Games by Karen Collins
- Surviving Free-to-Play for Small & Early-Stage Start-Ups by Margaret Wallace
- OMG! Zombies on the Great Wall of China! by James Gwertzman
- Game Educator’s Rant 2013: The Telltale Job Ad (reprise) by Clara Fernandez-Vara
- The Velveteen Marine – The Power of Belief in Natural Selection 2 by Charlie Cleveland
- Why Virtual Reality Is Hard (and where it might be going) by Michael Abrash (also, a transcript of the talk)
- Crowdfunding for Indies: Real Numbers and Trends by Thomas Bidaux
- The Future of Storytelling by Jesse Schell
- Building Games for the Long Term by Emily Greer
- Spaces in the Sandbox by Matthew Jack
- Math for Game Programmers: Dual Numbers by Gino van den Bergen
- Physics for Game Programmers: Spatial Data Structures by Gino van den Bergen
- Understanding Quaternions by Jim Van Verth
- A Gamer’s Guide to Parenting by Carla Fisher
- Duct Tape Award Acceptance Rant by Scott Jon Siegel
- Designing Virtual Markets for Fun and Profit by Vili Lehdonvirta
- Of Choice and Breaking New Ground: Designing Mark of the Ninja by Nels Anderson
- We Are Not Heroes: Contextualizing Violence Through Narrative (video) by Walt Williams
- Why Are You Making Games? (Indie Soapbox reprise) by Noel Llopis
- Working Together: Solutions for Collaborative Asset Creation by Niklas Frykholm
- Under the Hood of Blizzard’s Internal Build System by Blaine Whittle
- Supercharging Word of Mouth by Jussi Laakkonen
- Story-telling as Problem Solving: Defender’s Quest by Lars Doucet
- Lessons Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality by Joe Ludwig
- Diablo 3 Postmortem (photos) by Jay Wilson and Wyatt Cheng
- Free to Play Game Design: A Year in Review (video) by Juan Gril, Steve Meretzky and Dave Rohrl
- Video Game Business Models and Emerging Trends Among Consumers by Robb Lewis
- Guild Wars 2: Scaling from one to millions by Stephen Clarke-Willson
- Low-Level Thinking in High-Level Shading Languages by Emil Persson
- Horizon and Beyond: A look into Tomb Raider’s Tools by Jason Yao
- Porting Source to Linux: Valve’s Lessons Learned (author?)
- The Rendering Technologies of Crysis 3 by Tiago Sousa, Carsten Wenzel and Chris Raine
- Hothead Rant (writeup) by Mitu Khandaker on race and representation
- Hothead Rant (writeup) by Anna Marsh on crunch and “being hardcore”
- Candy Crush Saga Postmortem: Luck in the Right Places (video) by Tommy Palm
- Everything from Nvidia
- Eliminating Texture Waste: Borderless Realtime Ptex by John McDonald
- Particle Shadows & Cache-Efficient Post-Processing by Louis Bavoil and Jon Jansen
- Three Years of Collaboration on Assassin’s Creed III (video) by Marc-Alexis Cote, Alexander Hutchinson, Damien Kieken, Francois Pelland, Hugues Ricour
- Everything from Intel
- Multiplatform C++ on the Web with Emscripten by Chad Austin
- Indie Soapbox, Ranting about Text by Emily Short
- Classic Game Postmortem: Myst (video) by Robyn Miller
- The Polling Problem by Dino Dini
- Dear compiler please don’t be my nanny by Dino Dini
- Little Hands, Foul Moods and Runny Noses: Mobile Games for Kids by Carla Engelbrecht
- Igniting the Spark: Building Online Services for Borderlands 2 by Jimmy Sieben
- Casting a New Light on a Familiar Face: Light Based Rendering in Tomb Raider by Jason Yao
- A Survivor Reborn: Tomb Raider on DX11 by Jason Lacroix
- Constraint propagation is your friend by Ian Horswill and Leif Foged (also, the tutorial)
- Supply Chain and Paper Simulations of Digital Games by Stone Librande (Game Design Workshop)
- Simulating a City, One Page at a Time by Stone Librande
- Genre and Creativity by James Lantz
- Implementing a Rewindable Instant Replay System for Temporal Debugging by Mark Wesley
- Everything from AMD
- Presence, Self and Storytelling by Thomas Grip
- The ethics and psychology of the ‘freemium’ model (video) with Eli Hodapp, Arash Keshmirian, Kevin Pazirandeh, Keith Shepherd
- Hothead rant (writeup) by Naomi Clark on why games should be striving to mean more
I always loved math and it was one of my favourite subjects during school. I have to thank my dad and my bro for instilling that love in my head. My young self was always baffled by how most people around me not only hated math, but they seemed to have a hard time with it. How could it be hard? It was all logical, you hardly needed to work or memorize anything because, hey, with just a few basics in your head you could deduce any formulas or theorems you needed during an exam, right? Heh.
This year I’m one of the tutors for the Master on Game Programming at the U-Tad. The subject I’m teaching this course is Game Architecture: Game Objects, Main Loop and Timing, Reading & Saving, etc. This is the Master’s debut year, so while I believe the course is going great (and students seem to agree so far), some bits and pieces are not ideal and will need improvement for the following years.
One of them is, unsurprisingly, math.
Back in my 2nd year in college (1990), I took a half year course on functional programming. Back then, having several years of heavy duty Z80 assembly videogames programming, and being recently introduced to high level languages via Pascal and Modula 2, my brain was very fresh and open to new paradigms and ideas. Structured languages like Pascal and C were a great way to remove some of the tedium and bureaucracy of assembly, but functional was mindblowing. I already understood the idea of passing functions around as parameters, since we did a lot of that in our semi-OOP approach to game character behaviour. But when you create your first infinite list, wow, that’s a moment to remember!
A few months ago I created a Github account to see what it’s all about. Even if you use it yourself without all the nice features of a distributed version control system, it’s a great way to manage & publish your open source projects!
[Edit]: The GDC Vault is now open for business, with lots of slides and presentations. Meggan Scavio also had good news on Twitter about availability of free videos.
..Until April 8th. It normally costs around $800, so get it even if you don’t have immediate plans to use it.
But what’s the value for Microsoft? Is this WinJS effort going to encourage devs to port their web apps easily into native Win versions? I think that’s just not very likely, most devs will settle with just a web app (e.g. Trello), and very successful web apps will get native versions regardless (e.g. Evernote).
I can’t help but think that the effort would have been better spent developing a hassle-free PhoneGap-for-Metro kind of wrapper rather than a close-but-not-quite web-like native environment that developers still need to treat like a port and a separate platform.