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LaurawantsaCow

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Yay I'm Han, he's like the coolest non-jedi character :P

A random question that just crossed my mind for Josh and Laura: Do you guys ever get tired of reading ALL the comments on the forums?


Sometimes I do. When I feel that way it's not because I'm uninterested in what you all have to say. It's because I'm physically and mentally exhausted. In those moments, I don't want to do anything except crawl into bed and fall asleep. I'm happy that this is my job and I love reading everything you all have to say.

So I have another interesting question...how do you guys communicate throughout the office? Do you guys instant message using Skype? Do you send emails back and forth?


We normally communicate using Skype and email. If we really need to talk to someone, we usually get up and hunt them down.

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Only thing I want to know is if iamison has lost any time to playing Renegade X. I recall him saying he was a fan of the original C&C Renegade.


Dude. Don't remind me! I lost my friggin' mind when I heard that Renegade X went into Open Beta. I just don't have the free time to play it. I've spent maybe an hour or so playing around with it. So far, I'm glad to see one of my all-time favorite multiplayer games revived, but some of the map designs left me scratching my head. I've only played for an hour, so I'll need more time on the maps. Some of my favorite FPS maps started off as loathsome creations to me -- best example: Turf from Halo 2. Hated it at first, but I had some of my favorite LAN matches on that map.

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I'm looking into becoming a games designer and I would love to hear from one of your guys.
I Summon You Into The Deep Depths Of The Trendy Forums!

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I'm looking into becoming a games designer and I would love to hear from one of your guys.
I Summon You Into The Deep Depths Of The Trendy Forums!


If you look back on page 5, the mighty Lord Planadroit (and later Sir JBrawly) gave a nice response as to how to get into this field. Check it out :)

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If you look back on page 5, the mighty Lord Planadroit (and later Sir JBrawly) gave a nice response as to how to get into this field. Check it out :)

Thanks! I must have missed that.

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Crossbow? Shotgun?


I now have the vision of Laura riding a cow through the office chasing after Josh. :P Thanks for that

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I'm looking into becoming a games designer and I would love to hear from one of your guys.
I Summon You Into The Deep Depths Of The Trendy Forums!


What you should remember --

1. Technical proficiency is not optional :: There is no such thing as an 'ideas' only guy in the games industry -- and even if that basically was your role, you wouldn't be able to do it without a really firm grasp on how realistic and achievable an idea was. The better you are at programming/scripting, the better off you'll be. The better you understand the inner workings of your engine, the faster you can track problems and the less likely you are to break things.

2. Communication is key :: Chances are, at some point, a GD has to articulate his ideas to others. If you're really bad at this, its going to waste a pretty colossal amount of your time.

3. My pillars of game design are:

a -- Problem Solving -- The heart of design is problem solving, identifying an issue with a design and creating solutions to resolve that problem (ideally without creating new ones you can't solve)

b -- Embodiment -- A game designer looks at a system or theme and asks the question "What's cool about this?" and then tries to create systems and interactions that capture or emphasize that.

c -- Foresight -- The ability to recognize problematic elements of a design long before its built. Sometimes the exact nature of these problems needs to be witnessed to be understood however.

d -- Proactivity over Reactivity -- It's generally better to be taking action in design -- putting forth and trying out new ideas, then it is to be in a constant state of reaction. Reactive design tends to create a chain reaction of new issues that also require reactive design.

e -- Elegance / Simplicity -- The more complex your design gets, the less likely it is that its achieving the results on the player you want. All designs grow in complexity by nature, but you need to be able to step back and recognize where complexity can be reduced. Once you've added enough complexity to create the depth you want, you need to remove the complexity and retain the depth.

f -- Agility -- It's better to do ten prototypes that fail, then to do one completed system that failed. The faster you can translate ideas from your head to a system you can manipulate and experience, the sooner problems become apparent. The issue is often in the root of a concept, not in the execution -- but you can't generally see this until you can witness the execution.

g -- Failure -- Game design generally has to get it wrong before they can get it right. There *are* happy accidents, but they're very very rarely a product of coordinated genius. The vast majority of the time, GD will design something that doesn't quite work. This isn't just part of the process -- it is the process. Making mistakes *is* how you design games.

h -- Permutations Matter -- When you build something, you need to see how each component of the system affects the system as a whole. Trying turning things off, trying doubling values, try the clearly unwise. The more you learn about the dynamics you've actually built, the faster you can dispell notions that the system will work "they way its supposed to" (it never quite does by the way). Permutations in design generate insight.

i -- Perspective Matters -- It's easy to get too engrossed into a project to see flaws, and usually the ones you miss are fundamental flaws. Sometimes you need to get some distance of separation from your work, or you need to completely flip your perspective to see those flaws. Sometimes you need to throw out fundamental assumptions and rebuild them from scratch.

How did I get to where I am --

Well after my first son was born, I decided to stop mucking around and get a real career. I ended up attending the Guildhall at SMU, where I certainly learned a lot about development from a wide pool of talent. It should go without saying though, that my inauguration into design began long long before that, even if I didn't really realize how or why.

To begin with, I've been playing pen and paper roleplaying games, probably since I was 8. I was never content to just play the games though. These glorious constructs of logic and math were pretty fascinating to me. I owned roleplaying sourcebooks, probably for more than a dozen tabletop RPGs that I never even had the opportunity to play. I would read and digest the rules, I'd run scenarios in my head, create characters just to build them. I didn't realize it at that age of course, but I was assimilating myself into the architecture of these systems. It wasn't that long either before I started running tabletop campaigns, and then ultimately designing pen and paper RPG systems from the ground up, and running successful and well enjoyed campaigns in them. By the time I started undergraduate, I'd designed at least three board games I can remember, a massive Battletech style tactical campaign game, and at least five distinct pen and paper games. This background helped me cut my teeth on the fundamentals of game design and system design.

I'd always been big on playing with editors, although I'd never really built any finished products. In undergraduate I got sucked hardcore into text-based MUDs, and pretty soon I was programming and doing admin on some them. I stayed in that world for a pretty long time (until MMOs and fatigue with the human politics MUDs tend to create pulled me out). Doing work on MUDs gave me background with working with complicated systems, taught me more technical proficiency, and taught me community management, teamwork, and human skills I might not have otherwise learned. Finally, when I got pulled into MMOs (I played WoW, City of Heroes, and DDO) I somehow naturally ended up at the top of those leadership structures, and I sure learned a hell of lot about teamwork and team management from living in that world for three or four years.

I decided to go to Guildhall because they had a Level Design program, and it sounded like a perfect fit for me. I felt I had all the background and experience that would make me successful there. When I started at the school, I had this image in my head that I'd be a minnow amongst sharks, that everyone there would blow me away and I'd have to struggle to keep up. A bit to my surprise, I was one of the oldest students in my class and everyone was often looking to me for advice and guidance. The school really gave me a choice to change myself for the better, to fit the role well, and to learn the technical skills I needed and give me a frame of reference for how to succeed in the industry.

I ended up at TimeGate after I graduated, working on Aliens. Not to go into excessive detail, but one of my instructors at Guildhall told me I'd probably learn a lot more from working on a total disaster than working on a shining success. That's probably true. After about five months on that project I moved to working on an internal project -- a free to play shooter called Minimum that TimeGate announced shortly before legal issues destroyed the studio. I did a huge amount of level design, and highly technical design work on that project -- tons of prototyping, experimentation, and exploration. I got to work through the whole process up and down. When TimeGate imploded, it happened that Trendy was in need of a designer who did exactly those things, so now here I am.

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JBrawley officially beats Ice for longest post ever! Great post sir :) thanks for the information. Even though I'm much more into the community side of gaming, I still found this very helpful.

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Crossbow? Shotgun?


Well it looks more Like this:

An artist has been caught!

I now have the vision of Laura riding a cow through the office chasing after Josh. :P Thanks for that


I would...IF I HAD ONE! :'(

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I KNEW that junk food in the lobby was bad news. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me seven or more times, shame on you.

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[Dark Spirit Esorath has invaded your world]

Yo!
I saw someone mention they wanted to see who came up with the environmental traps.
Well that'd be yours truly.(And the other level designers but who needs'em amiright?)
As one of the level designers, I usually work with the great artists, concept guys, creative guys to get the feel of what the next map is supposed to be.
Creating the layout always comes before environmental traps, because if the space isn't fun to move around in, the entire map won't be fun regardless of kick-butt traps in there.

After the layout is done, I usually have an idea of what sort of effect I want the trap to have, or maybe some visual I want the trap to communicate. After that I do some basic testing and see how it works. If it looks cool and has a sweet payoff, thats a good trap. Sometimes we will create a trap that works really well but not in the layout that was built around it. So we save that trap idea for another map. The water trap in Siphon Site D is probably a good example of that. It was a in a previous iteration of another Sewer map that I had created. That iteration didn't pan out so EvilMrFrank ported that water trap into what is now Siphon Site D.

Since environmental traps are new to DD2, they will be ever evolving and always finding ways to make them awesome.

The Gate trap you guys saw a while back is probably one of my favorites.



PS Best thread

[Phantom Esorath has returned home]

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PS Best thread
[Phantom Esorath has returned home]


I love this thread! I have learned so much about Trendy as well as the game industry as a whole. I would like to give a sensational round of applause to all the members of Trendy who have been gracious enough to donate their time to this thread! You guys are amazing.

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Wow,so many cool people on this thread :P
Thanks guys!

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I love this thread! I have learned so much about Trendy as well as the game industry as a whole. I would like to give a sensational round of applause to all the members of Trendy who have been gracious enough to donate their time to this thread! You guys are amazing.


We're always happy to answer stuff because everyone at Trendy knows the value of getting this kind of information. We're fans of the video game business and we're always looking for tips on how to improve ourselves. Helping out a fan with what we've learned so far makes our jobs more rewarding. Plus it's fun being summoned.

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Creating the layout always comes before environmental traps, because if the space isn't fun to move around in, the entire map won't be fun regardless of kick-butt traps in there.


Absolutely 100% agree! Having a map cumbersome to traverse can be quite frustrating and is one of my pet hates. So I'm so glad that you guys are focusing on a good map layout before anything else. It really detracts from the gaming experience when the fluidity of movement across the landscape is hindered by a poor map design.

[QUOTE] The Gate trap you guys saw a while back is probably one of my favorites.

[/QUOTE]

It's interesting you say that, as I personally much prefer the water trap in Siphon Site D. It looks powerful, feels powerful and had a very real and visual affect on the mobs. The activation point for the water trap is in front rather than on the side of the trap, so the player is able to clearly see the crystal (is it crystal?) hungry orks get washed away by the torrent. Seen here:



One more thing, I hate to be picky. But the cog activation wheel (which looks awesome by the way) is off to the side of the gate, which would mean the player activating it wouldn't be able to see the gate's effect clearly, which in turn would deprive the player from the satisfaction of seeing the orkies impaled from the spikes. Speaking of which, they don't seem to be getting impaled, they just kind of fall over, which to me feels a little dull. I would love to see them either impaled on the gate or at least their corpses flown across the side as the gate slams into their pudgy little faces. Another solution would be to simply have the gate come down from the top, much like a portcullis. That way their death animation would make more sense.

Having said that, I really do love how the new DD2 is looking, and I can't wait to get my hands on the game. Keep up the great work! n n

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One more thing, I hate to be picky. But the cog activation wheel (which looks awesome by the way) is off to the side of the gate, which would mean the player activating it wouldn't be able to see the gate's effect clearly, which in turn would deprive the player from the satisfaction of seeing the orkies impaled from the spikes.




Apologies for the badly drawn illustration, I swear I'm not 5 years old! Just felt the need to illustrate my point, and of course practice my drawing (~obviously needed~).

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Apologies for the badly drawn illustration, I swear I'm not 5 years old! Just felt the need to illustrate my point, and of course practice my drawing (~obviously needed~).


This picture is amazing, and it's now my new desktop background. Thank you!

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