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Everything posted by jeffnz

  1. Last year, the NZ Game Developer's Association did an entire talk on the merits of click-baiting and revenue generation (from mobile games).
  2. After playing CnC3 and then going back to TS I realise how good the map design is. The maps are huge and there is always a dirt trail or a gravel road that leads you through the map. Not long ago I read an article about how to do good game design, and I recall someone saying that a good game is one which 'communicates' with the player, without it appearing contrived. In Tiberian Sun, the broken roads are the hint, as are the cliffs that go 'pop' and open a secret path (I don't know what they are usually called). CnC3 gives too many obvious hints and I suppose that's the nature of games these days. The designers put in the hints because otherwise people will look online and watch a guide on YouTube. I liked the 1990s when everything came with a manual the size of a bible: Eurpean Air War was the best example I can think of, it was a pretty thick book if I remember... and we only threw it out 2-3 years ago. I'm also aware that TS had a physical manual for early copies, then it was only provided as a PDF. In my opinion a good game is one that can be figured out with intuition. Tiberian Sun is like that - besides telling you how to deploy an MCV and build stuff, they don't offer in-game advice. Anyone who played a strike-team mission knows from their first attempt, that if you lose your units, you lose very quickly. It doesn't need explanation. Although some subtle hints are found on maps, Tiberian Sun has some very unforgiving missions. Taking down the sensor net before Tratos can be really hard. I fought my way through that mission, under the impression that once I took out a station, I'd get reinforcements. In one case I lost a game because no reinforcements arrived. Perhaps a broken script, or I did the level in the wrong order. The behaviour of the hogs in that mission feels unpredictable to me. I think you're supposed to go south and reveal them right away, instead of going east past the Hand Of NOD, and THEN south. Sometimes the hogs will hunt down all my units, other times they go after NOD! Rescue Tratos is the other 'worst' mission in my opinion. Last year I managed to beat it without taking down the sensor net. It was ridiculously hard with the time limit. The stupid bridge that you normally cross is destroyed, and you have to walk past the main NOD base. If you do take out the sensor net, sometimes it's fun to raze at least 20% of the NOD base with your ghost stalker. It is tedious, but fun for proof-of-concept! Other missions that I hate: Capture Ummagon (the one when you don't start with modded artillery) Capture Jake McNeil. Destroy Banshee Prototype Facility Salvage Operation The strike-team missions are the worst, it's very easy to lose. I nearly lost Salvage Operation today. I made it through with two engineers and a badly damaged attack buggy. I captured two of Vega's structures and sold them to get extra infantry and I stopped the train just as the prompt appeared: "bullet train departing". I sucked at Tiberian Sun for about 13 years. Because I started playing when I was 12, I learned stupid habits. I'd always use a huge attack force to defeat an enemy, and the smallest thing would ruin my plans. Instead of using 20 tick-tanks or 20 titans, I now use a mix or units. I attack more frequently using better tactics. I have also mastered logistics - instead of using 6 APCs I will use 3, then I'll send them back to base to pick up the next group of infantry (doing so saves me thousands of credits). I take heaps of inspiration from watching the Syrian Army via ANNA News. Three years ago I saw a video which explained how tanks work with infantry units - the commander or lieutenant in charge hides behind sandbags, and the infantry call in the tank shells. Also, the Syrian Army love to recycle things: if a tank is damaged by an RPG, they will haul it to safety and repair it. One or two years ago I learned to make use of infantry in the Tiberian Sun campaign, infantry are fast to train and easy to deploy. You only order a retreat when there's a Devil's Tongue. Against disruptors, infantry do a lot of work. I always lose disruptors when I destroy enemy buildings because the bloody soldiers that emerge from the explosions. They keep coming. You can use Wolverines in that scenario but they're not that much better than light infantry, and if there's a single tick-tank that begins to attack, you are already wasting money on the Wolverines. They'll get damaged quickly and it's a waste of a war factory to build them (war factories are for armour). One thing I like about CnC3 though, is the use of carry-alls. Once I had about 4 veterans that were taking damage, so I quickly returned them to base for repair, and prepared to deploy them again. I've struck the perfect balance between a suicide mission against a critical target, and the need to sometimes retreat from such an action. I doubt I'll play CnC3 when it's ~20 years old, but Tiberian Sun, sure! CnC3 feels more polished and 'fluid' (in the sense that you can manoeuvre very quickly) but I prefer TS. Sure, TS units take forever to climbs hills - that, complicated by huge maps. It's easily manageable. I set up staging areas where I scatter units, then I set a waypoint for reinforcements and the eventual siege. It works really well, just like in real life where they set up field command posts with a few sandbags. Check out - recently in Sirte, a group of government fighters were saved by one of their comrades, who fired an RPG at a suicide truck... only just in time. Speaking of rockets and suicide trucks, I find NOD rocket infantry more important than ever. They suck at shooting air targets but I use them against anything else. If I see enemy infantry moving toward me I will attack with 2 light infantry and 4 rocket infantry, if I have them nearby. And suicide trucks: I used 2 in Final Conflict with help from a carry-all. That base directly west got wrecked. The blast is about 4 cells in every direction, enough to demolish 2 advanced power plants and any attacking units nearby. I let my former step-brother throw away my original Tiberian Sun CDs about 2-3 years ago, never thought I'd care about TS again, but every now and then I'll download it and play the campaign. It's showing its age but it's still as good as ever. The level design certain helps.
  3. Games are important! Without music and games, we would surely be lost
  4. My previous post: So I got around to making an update. Pure HTML/CSS is great! This little page is extremely vague but the idea was to cover the FFFUUUUUUUU rage quit scenarios that new users may find themselves in. I'm going to add that sub-domain to my signatures on various forums. Maybe at some stage I'll write a proper tutorial with screen shots, and do a book review of Jazon Yamamoto's book. In the meanwhile I'm making my CSS style sheet available, along with all my example code. I compiled my programs for both Windows and Linux. The programs are small, so I put all 3 in a single zip file. In the Linux version there's just a folder with a few BMP files, and there's the executable file. That's it, all the junk and Code Blocks files are wiped. I put the source code into its own folder so that everything is neat. World domination, here I come! Yesterday I wrote an email to every member of Parliament regarding Code Club and the lack of decent training in schools*. Even Code Club sucks. Their website is broken and it's so bloody slow. Go to http://www.codeclub.nz/ and select "I want to find an existing club" then select a region like Auckland or Canterbury and nothing even shows up. It says that no code clubs exist in New Zealand. Their database is wrecked. *so far I have got responses from Andrew Little's office and Winston Peters' office, saying that they will pass the message. I may get a response in a month or two. FYI Andrew Little is leader of the Labour Party and Winston Peters is the leader of NZ First. Based on the media narrative (coverage of "housing crisis" etc) I'd say that Andrew Little will likely become PM next year. People are tired of John Key's endless reign.
  5. Over the past several months, I feel like my head is going to explode, and after many wasted mornings, afternoons and evenings, I finally solve my own problem: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/680900-i-need-help-again-with-codeblocks-and-sdl-setup/ It shows how useless people are on help forums. I read Jazon Yamamoto's book, I read Lazy Foo tutorial, I read the Code::Blocks guide, and they all suck! The reason it infuriates me is because programming should be accessible to everyone, and setting up your environment/IDE should be the easiest part. Often it's the hardest part. Here's the trick: All you do is find instances of SDLmain and change it to SDL2main. Also find instances of SDL.dll and replace it with SDL2.dll - and BAM you can configure SDL to work with Code::Blocks and your compiler can find all the stuff it needs. I asked questions on gamedev.net and nobody could figure this out for me, so after much frustration I figured it out myself. Again I reiterate what I've said previously: programming from scratch beats modding by a long shot. About that argument that you have to make your own engine from scratch... total BS. You can use an engine like Unity or Cocos and then strip out the components you don't need. Then you have an engine that's up to date, instead of using something like the Battle Zone: Combat Commander engine, that was designed in 1998... using 1998 tools. So with some spare money, you can make a "mod" of Unity... which is essentially an original game... that uses a modern game engine that's a little more "2016". Much nicer! I used to be one of those guys who'd install every Dune II clone that I could find. I tried modding one of them once (Dune Legacy) and it still used .dat files which is an old DOS format. I tried to open the .dat files with a specific program but it didn't work. I thought to myself: "couldn't they just use .txt files". Of course part of the problem was me using .dat editors via WINE in Linux Another thing about Dune Legacy: it sucks. The main game file is about 10,000 lines long and I don't know what any of the code does! About a year ago I realised that remaking old stuff is largely a waste, especially if you become dependent on old tools and old formats. So now, I've proved to myself that it is possible to build "from scratch" or at least beginning with the Unity 3D engine. The benefits of this method avoids the pitfalls that come with mods. I can't wait to update my website and make my own tutorials with this stuff I've learned. Programming in c++ is supposed to be fun, but the advice I receive on game dev comes from hardcore people and I can't relate to their advice. Their advice often misses the point. Never rely on advice from experts until you are at their level. I can empathise with people who get angry with the advice they receive on forums. It's easy to be discouraged from programming. I'm probably going to volunteer for Code Club sometime later this year, or at least make tutorials, and have them ranked on search engines, so folks can find them. Anyone else got a story about ragequit with regards to programming?
  6. I'm broke, but if I get 2-3 days of contract work in a single week, then I could buy a game. Then maybe I'll get another 2-3 days of work, and buy another game.
  7. Piece of **** uploader doesn't work so I will use my fabulous web host. Things are going okay for me at the moment so I got Libre Office installed (had to move it via flash drive) and here's what I've got. It just needs a proof read for spelling etc. I'll run another check before I post. If anyone has thoughts that they'd like to reach Chris Bruzzo's desk, then post them here and I can do a quick postscript on page 2 if you like (Sonic?) and anyone with too many ideas is welcome to write their own letter As mentioned previously, I think the storylines in C&C have been reused enough times already so I advocate a new universe, one which can be loosely based on reality. Obviously I wouldn't want a C&C to feature a naval battle in the South China Sea or a guerilla war in Donbas, but a very small dose of reality is always good I encourage other people with ideas to write letters or comment on forums too. Earlier this year I was quite active on Kalypso Media Forums, discussing what Tropico 6 should include and developers there actually read the forums, believe it or not! Small company.
  8. A brutal post by Plokite_Wolf! My counter-argument is that I will buy all those games
  9. Too late now. Anyway, Rise Of The Reds seems interesting. I see Need For Speed on the EA Games website - we can assume that the market for racing games is okay. I'm still perplexed at the suggestion that strategy games are in decline. Certainly, there's no more Age Of Empires and generally there may be less RTS, but isn't that laziness on the part of game companies? On a Reddit AMA interview, I recall that a CnC developer mentioned that mobile games were taking over: profit had to be made from tablet and phone games (which then reduces the priority of RTS games). I don't think that's the reason. More likely, EA looks at a graph and sees a gradual decline to the point that it's no longer worth making another title - I'll mention the 007 games as another example. If there is a decline then that should lead to fresh thinking, and eventually, a new title. CnC is not dead forever, and neither is 00. What is the reason for Need For Speed continuation? Are racing games considered to have a broader appeal? If that's the case then EA should make strategy games with a broader appeal. I think Generals 2 may have been that example: Generals series doesn't have aliens or swordsmen, it isn't too futuristic and it isn't historic either. It feels like a middle-of-the-road approach. Generals has the pure "military" feel and by that I mean it isn't a "space game" or strong sci-fi, and it isn't Age Of Empires. Maybe Generals has more appeal than other CnC themes. Years from now we may see Generals come back. Video games are a creative field and the idea of discovering a market and making maximum profit until a decline strikes, is an awful formula for creativity. Someone in Metallica once said that if they found a formula to make perfect music, they wouldn't use it. The same should apply to games. If there was a formula for a perfect strategy game it'd be like CnC 3: It's similar to the older games, but it's faster and the engine is different (3d world instead of voxels and cells). The way forward is through creativity. You can make technical improvements to the point that it doesn't matter. We've hit a point with graphics today, where characters are animated well-enough to rival films. We can make technical improvements to draw distance, graphics cards, and textures but there is little point without improving the creativity. The fact that people still make mods is indeed a good example, one that demonstrates the irrelevance of the engine, and the importance of new ideas.
  10. Read taxowlbear's post again. He was talking about graphical styles and that is what I was responding to. Gears Of War was gritty alright, and the sewers were realistic. That graphical theme was a waste of graphics power - there was too much brown and grey. The ugly colours came to dominate. Wolfenstein and Half Life have some depressing industrial environments, but they also have cool sci-fi places, like the citadel tower in Half Life, and Deathhead's lab on the final Wolfenstein mission (for The New Order, not The Old Blood). Again, refer to taxowlbear's post. Either way he's arguably out-of-touch and he doesn't care how many millions he kills. That's why he's a great character - he's like a childish corporate CEO, more concerned with his reputation than ethics "You're not seriously suggesting we use the ion cannon are you?" "I am not merely... suggesting, I am ordering use of the ion cannon!" The collider is a stupid idea in my opinion. If it can't solve poverty or unemployment or end wars, I say don't bother with it. Thanks for the nuke history though!
  11. jeffnz

    PC Gamer's Top 100 Games (2016 edition)

    Screw reading all that, I just skipped to page 13 and I'll go backwards. On page 13 they have a "bingo" chart called "top 100 - internet reaction". One of the criticisms is: "MGS V is only half a game". Ha-ha! I loved MGS V. Of course, Konami killed half of the game... it was supposed to be longer. I'm going to paste stuff from the article that I like: "Who’d have thought Wolfenstein would form the basis for the freshest new FPS campaign in years. It’s astonishingly loud and astonishingly violent, big and muscular and Wagnerian in both its dumbness and its surprising cleverness." Yes, muscular ............. if games had "trigger warnings" then Wolfenstein would have one for masculinity lol Red Alert 1 and Half Life 2 are in there. Cool. I'm going to read "The 50 most important PC games of all time" instead. I only read half of the top 100, good to see all the Elder Scrolls games in there though.
  12. jeffnz

    Firestorm GDI Mission 09 Glitch

    I played FS a year or two ago. I never had this problem. I used a version of FS that I downloaded from the internet, not Final Decade.
  13. Ha-ha nice jab at EA there Generals is not too far off from realism. It's just too cheesy and it has simplified ethics. Many Generals units are real though, including Active Denial System. I agree with you on games being too desolate. I recall friends of mine getting an Xbox 360 shooter where you crawl through sewers and kill aliens. Gears Of War? I was complaining about the dull graphical themes non-stop! It was a waste of hardware to render those sewers. By gritty and realistic, I mean a feel, more than an appearance. CnC3 does a good job of it - the landscapes are desolate, but there's pretty greens and blues mixed into it CnC 3 does good sci-fi, because they combine geo-political paranoia with dangerous technology - a "what if" scenario. You could compare the ion cannon strike on Temple Prime with the testing of nuclear weapons - scientists knew that the atmosphere might evaporate and kill everything on earth, but they went ahead anyway. Mr. Boyle is totally the fictional equivalent World War II nuclear scientists
  14. Probably it doesn't make sense, because in c you can open binary files with stdio or whatever, no need for applications If you open those DAT files from Dune II, it shows gibberish in your text editor right? Why don't the Dune Legacy devs just use ASCII?
  15. jeffnz

    Forum software pros and cons

    Whoa that's fantastic! You have a few years ahead of me I take it, because I definitely couldn't afford web hosting plans like that - I need a decent job first. I have 500MB with 3 Rings Ltd and that means the 10GB of bandwidth is pointless, because I'll never use more than 2 percent bandwidth (can't host large files). Still, I got a discount with them so I only pay under $100 a year for the basic plan and a domain name. It's good for now.
  16. One day I might want to create a forum for something... so I wonder, what are the pros and cons or different forum systems? I'm familiar with the package that Canonical uses for their forums, because I've seen it used in other places. I also note that gamedev.net uses the same software as CNCNZ. On the other hand, forums.libsdl.org use a really old skool forum which I don't mind. Are these commercial packages worth it? Are they easier to set up? I really have no issue with PHPbb. Why is it seemingly less popular these days?
  17. jeffnz

    The 10 most overhyped PC games

    Could it be argued that Crysis had a reason to be hyped? It became a benchmark for the very best gaming PCs did it not? If you couldn't run Crysis on high settings, that was an indicator that you no longer had the best graphics card. zocom7: I read your post and then page one of the article where they say "some [games] lived up to the hype, some didn’t. On the eve of No Man's Sky's release, let's take a look" - the precedent has been set! What goes up must come down update: I'm pleased to see Elder Scrolls Online on that list. I wish they had stuck with single-player mode. Those Elder Scrolls games are so big that you can spent 8 hours a day playing it and drinking Russian Standard, and before you know it, winter is gone
  18. I'm referring to the budget not the mechanics. Sure it's a simple game to play, but it has a small budget. Therefore I'd call it a basic production in comparison with Petroglyph's previous titles. The easy of play and humour suits the game well. I'd liken it to Tropico 5. Tropico is an extremely complex game but it has a "basic" feel to it. You can tell that it was made on a budget, despite that fact, Tropico sold for $100 NZD at its launch (same as a AAA). As with 8 Bit Armies, I like that a small company can make a game on the cheap and at least put humour and love into it. Gaming on Linux is better now than it was. I've had some success on emulating things on Linux, over the years. Tiberian Sun eventually got working on WINE but if I recall from 2-3 years ago, the scrolling was a little jumpy. Certainly there are Linux users who play games but I suspect that group is was a dedicated minority. I used to play Wesnoth now-and-then, and I also played BZ Flag but nothing on Linux held any significant appeal for me. I preferred consoles for a while, until I realised what a waste of money that was. Now I'm on Windows and if I return to Linux, at least Steam has taken off. Back in the day, gaming on Linux sucked, especially all the old games in the repository (dead, long-abandoned projects).
  19. jeffnz

    No Man's Sky

    Well I mean it's "exclusive" on consoles so far - not counting PC. I know that's a stupid way of putting it. My point is that, if there's a new release on PS4 which isn't on Xbox, then you can bet that it'll be overhyped with Sony's help. No Man's Sky is apparently "indy" but it seems they have friends in marketing companies, judging by the publicity that this game receives, even well-before its release.
  20. Stop the madness! Even my former workplace crush plays pokemon go. No matter how much I like her intelligent ramblings and her beautiful face, I will never buy a smartphone just to get close to her! Pokemon Go is anti-social. Just another dumb thing to waste time with. It's no better than those little pet things that people bought in the 90s. Remember those virtual pets? Ugghh.
  21. jeffnz

    No Man's Sky

    A friend of mine in Nelson mentioned No Man's Sky before its release, and The Warehouse on Blenheim Road here in Christchurch had a sign up saying that NMS had sold out (last week). I don't believe the hype. My perspective: wait until Microsoft buys it like they did Minecraft. NMS is currently a PS4 exclusive so there seems to be hype around it. It's made by a small studio but it's being talking about like it's a blockbuster. Instead of asking how that's possible we should ask what merits the publicity. I hope they patch it up really good. Until then, money could be spent on other studios that have more realistic goals - the idea of a massive space exploration game is quite extravagant for a small studio.
  22. A terrible thing to joke about sir. If it became "a thing" (as Americans always say) then naturally, EA Games would want a slice of the pie, and every RTS game would look like 8 Bit Armies 8 Bit Hoards does sound absurd but that's what Petroglyph appears to go for. When your game is basic you make up for it with humour and absurdity! I like the feel of 8 Bit Armies (I've only played the demo). As soon as I have internet again, I'll buy it. The developers even said that they had considered making a Linux version. The only reason they didn't is because it creates more work when something becomes broken. They'd rather make new content for the game before trying to port. Anyway, the idea of porting to Linux is cool because it means that heaps of bored Linux people will get it - people who otherwise might not be into games. When I used Linux I had consoles now-and-then but overall I disliked gaming and got bored quickly. If I can play 8 Bit on two different operating systems, via one digital license, then that'd be great for me. Especially at the price. I'm not impressed by most AAA titles. The only thing I'm keeping an eye on, is Hideo Kojima and the rumoured new Wolfenstein - I'll probably buy the games when they're 7-10 years old, knowing me. I'm broke so of course it's better to get 8 Bit Armies and play it on my AMD A-10. I really like the direction that Petroglyph is taking. They're making RTS into a pastime for everyone, instead of a highly competitive thing with an obsession on rank. I used to play Generals 10 years ago, and I got my ass kicked and then people would criticise me for having 7 losses on record and no victories. Yeah I sucked, don't mention it
  23. jeffnz

    Forum software pros and cons

    Cool thanks. If I ever have a reason to make a forum then I'll try both Simple Machines and phpBB. I like the idea of small scale forums: for a church, a car club, a sports team, a group of friends... etc etc. Whether using commercial or libre the main thing is escaping the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr... make my own space that isn't connected to everything else The less features the better because I only have 500MB of space on my current plan, ha-ha! I've got an account with 3 Rings Web Services Ltd and the webmail is fantastic on slow PCs. I'm obsessed with speed, clean interface and no ads. I try using Outlook and I get impatient with it sometimes. I'll add someone to my address book and start a new email, but Outlook won't find the person I just added. Same goes with folders - I send something, and there's still '1' email in drafts for 5 seconds or more. I prefer to run my own services. If you're hosting CNCNZ on a New Zealand server then give the company a shout. Of course it's entirely possible that you're hosting with a huge Australian or US provider...... they offer a lot more HD space and very cheaply too.
  24. There's my mistake then. I was using Windows programs in WINE when there was no doubt a native linux program for opening binary files.
  25. jeffnz

    Pokemon Go is a horrible idea

    Pokemon go is brainless. I understand children playing it, but adults? I'm not making an argument about facts, I'm making an argument about values. This is what Bill Joy said about virtual worlds: "You can create your own island and people come to it... but I don't see any correlation between that and what it's going to take to be a designer and have a skill set to succeed in the world” Pokemon Go is another second life and I'd rather learn skills. Creating simple virtual worlds is something that I'm slowly getting into. The difference between Pokemon Go and my crappy projects, is that my projects require some level of planning, I have to do pixel art, and I have to program the game myself. These skills are valuable and soon I'll be teaching them to children at a local school. This is even better than going around chasing imaginary friends But as I always say: whatever floats your boat! edit: I'm not going to delve too much into the "former workplace crush" issue. One thing though, I wrote her a hand written letter about a month ago "dear girl's name, I miss your beautiful face and your eccentric personality" the rest I'll just not mention, ha-ha! I followed it up last month (she lives 1 minute from me) and she warmed up to me a lot since the letter, but still won't be friends lol. Yeah I don't recommend taking up a hobby with an expectation of getting some meow meow, heh heh! I'm old fashioned and I prefer the letter style courting: if you don't like my love letter thingy that I wrote from the heart, then at least I had the pleasure of writing it. Did I just say that