1. Add me on Minus: elusiveanmol! Download @MinusApp now and lets get social! Get it here: https://minus.com/app

     


  2. I just supported Phonebloks on @ThunderclapIt // @davehakkens

     


  3. The reality is broken

    What is a game? That’s the most fundamental question asked by Jane McGonigal @avantgame in her book The Reality Is Broken 

    So let’s take a look at what she means.

    <DISCLAIMER> (The content featured below are not meant for copyright infringement but rather for educational purposes)

    "When you strip away all genre differences and the technological complexities, all games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation.”

    The goal is the specific outcome that players will work to achieve. It focuses their attention and continually orients their participation throughout the game. The game provides players with a sense of purpose

    The rules place limitations on how players can achieve the goal. By removing or limiting the obvious ways of getting to the goal, the rules push the players to explore previously uncharted possible spaces. They uneash creativity and foster strategic thinking.

    The feedback system tells platers how close they are to achieving the goal. It can take the for of points, levels, a score, or a progress bar. Or, in its most basic form, the feedback system can be as simple as the player’s knowledge of an objective outcome:- “The game is over…”. Real-time feedback serves as a promise to the players that the goal is definitely achievable, and it provides motivation to keep playing.

    Voluntary Participation requires that everyone who is playing the game knowingly and willingly accepts the game, the rules, and the feedback.

    The above definition may surprise you for what it lacks: interactivity, graphics, narrative, rewards, competition, virtual environments, or the idea of “winning”- all traits we often think of many games, but they are not defining features. What defines a game are the traits- Goal, Rules, Feedback System, Voluntary Participation. Everything else is an effort to reinforce and enhance these four core elements. A story makes the goal more enticing, Complex scoring mechanics/metrics make the feedback system more motivating. Immersive graphics, sound, 3D environments increase our ability to pay sustained attention & advanced algorithms increase the game’s difficulty as you play.

    Well this pretty much sums it up for what the def. is of the video games.

    Next time we will go in detail about video games with a help of a book Game Writing:Narrative Skills for Videogames  by Chris Bateman

     


  4. The Production Pipeline

    So, today we talk about the production pipeline. You might wonder- what is a production pipeline? Well its a method or a process through which a video game or an animation film is created. Some of the things mentioned in this article are also related to the process of how modern films are made.

    The Production Pipeline consists of the 3P’s:

    Pre Production

    Production

    Post-Production

    Pre production 

    In this stage, the game idea is pitched to the team and the lead director and the investors. And if approved it goes to Storyboard/flowboard to showcase a bit about what the game is about in the forms of sketches and concept art. If all goes smoothly, it proceeds to the Game design Document-which is like the Bible of the videogames.

    Production

    Production involves the actual creation of assets and the world environments. Stuff like 3D modeling, texturing, animation (character design, world design, world objects, level design)

    After all this is done, the last step before this moves to the post-production is the Technical Design Document which involves the integration of the assets to the Game Engine(Game Plan, AI, Audio, Networking, Special Effects, IO Programming)

    Post-Production

    This phase involves the testing phase such as white box testing, black box testing, beta testing. After all the bug tests and stress tests are over and done with, the final game code is announced as ‘Gold’.

     

    I hope this was a good video game education today. Next time, I a going to introduce a few key chapters from one of my favourite video game design books. Watch for this space!

     

    Song of the Day- DMT by XXYYXX

     


  5. Diffusion of Departments

    So the last time we talked a bit about the structure of a typical Triple A Studio. Now its time to go much deeper.

    Programming Department


    Lead Programmer- AI Programmer, UI Programmer, Gameplay Programmer, Graphics Programmer

    Technical Director- Tools Programmer, Networking Programmer, Level Programmer, Physics Programmer

    Whew. A lot things might be new to you so let me explain a bit as far as I know. A programmer is someone who codes and implements your core idea into workable, form. All video games need a programmer, Yet there are some games which were made by just desingers using special tools and softwares. It is often a projected view in this industry and the web design industry that if someone can hire a programmer for cheap, why hire the expensive one. Well, I ain’t no programmer yet :) but I do know that those programmers who were not hired just because they were out of the “budget” could have done 10X of the work more effectively than the cheap one. I know for certain that the expensive ones would have made the code so complex yet modular that in the future you could use parts of it for a new project. Okay, next up is the AI programmer who basically designs and develop the artificial intelligence of characters…how they behave, how they react when they see the protagonist, how they respond to the environment and so on. Many programmers have a certain disdain for being assigned as the UI Programmer, its not a difficult area per se, but they feel they can utilize their coding skills somewhere else. The best thing to do in these cases is to group one with a UI artist or a designer so they can both tweak and flesh out the user-interface. The Gameplay programmer has a lot of brunt to bear. All the necessary game mechanics, features, physics are undertaken by the gameplay programmer. They way a rifle feels in your hand, or the way your character jumps and slides smoothly under an obstacle…thank the gameplay programmer for that! I am not entirely sure of the exact roles of a graphic programmer although I do have a rough idea. Basically, all the lighting, the environment lights, particle effects, visual effects and graphic quality is handled by the graphic programmer. It’s a graphic programmer’s job to tweak the graphics and visuals for high-end devices and the low-end devices while keeping the game playable under a respectable amount of FPS(frames per second).

    Next up

    Design Department

    Lead Designer- 3D World Modeler, 3D Entity Modeler, 3D Character Modeler, Character Animation, Entity Animation

    Game Designer- Story Writer, Dialogue Writer, Level Designer, Interface Designer, Motion-Capture Artist.

    The Lead Designer, 3D World Modeler, 3D Entity Modeler, 3D Character Modeler, Character Animation, Entity Animation have a lot of similar rules. Some of them create 3D visual and physical model of environments and the game world, then some of them create enemy NPC’s that are in 3D while some create character animation which have realistic movements and other animation required by the character,

    Art Department

    Lead Artist, Art Director


    Well sorry to disappoint but I hardly have a clue about the people in the art department. If any of those reading my blog, do comment and let me know and I will update the article with the correct information.

    Sound Department

    Lead Sound Director- Voice-over Artist, Sound Effects, Music

    Music Director- Composer, Orchestra, Music/Score Arrangements

    Sound is seriously one of the most underrated fields in the video game industry. However it is one of the most as it can have an immediate effect on the player. Some games employ player’s agency#1 to influence sound and vice versa. Ever heard of creepy footsteps behind you and making your character turn in a jiffy? You could appreciate the Sound Effects Engineer for that.

    Quality Assurance Department


    Main Team- Game Testers, Multiplayer, Localization Team.

    Q.A Lead- Compatibility, Beta Testers


    This department provides a great opportunity for gamers to get into the industry if they do not have an education of game programming or game design. Of course, game testing is not as attractive as it sounds. You don’t get paid to play games, you get paid to play shitty versions of the game until you and other tester’s efforts improve the quality of it. Those bugs that you didn’t know about in Starcraft 2 were examined and tested by testers doing one action of a character multiple times in different areas until it was bug-free.

    Management Department

    Producer, Studio Head, Line Producer, Associate Producer

    Basically the people who have the crew under their pockets. This is where the money trickles down in the form of paychecks.

    Business Department


    Publisher, Studio Head, Lawyers

    People looking after the IP(Intellectual Property)- the game that the people in the studio work so hard for. They have all the big shots lawyers who fight copyright infringement eve though they sometimes don’t win.

    There are a lot things that I have missed and might have overlooked so I really urge you peeps to please, send me those through the comments. Any point or any role in a particular studio, you are welcome to explain the process and I will update it. Its time we start to acknowledge video games as the ultimate medium for entertainment and education.

    That’s all for now folks. Next time, its the process of how a game is made and this applies to almost every video game ever created.

    Song of the Day-  If You Stayed Over (Reprise) by Bonobo