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Technology Pipedream --  Ivan Beram
 

Technology Pipedream -- Ivan Beram

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The Technology Pipedream - A Development Fallacy. The role of technology in game design and development - by Ivan Beram. The updated and extended presentation delves into the nature of technology and ...

The Technology Pipedream - A Development Fallacy. The role of technology in game design and development - by Ivan Beram. The updated and extended presentation delves into the nature of technology and games, and how one can be mixed up as being the other; using the author\'s experiences working in the industry, with Far Cry as an illustrative example.

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    Technology Pipedream --  Ivan Beram Technology Pipedream -- Ivan Beram Presentation Transcript

    • v1.2 THE TECHNOLOGY PIPEDREAM – A DEVELOPMENT FALLACY The Role of Technology in Game Design & Development IVAN BERAM – GAME & LEVEL DESIGNERsELFiNDUCEDcOMA.com OMA
    • Commentary: the original talk was given at Free Play(Melbourne, 2003) then at the Australian Game DevelopersConference (Melbourne, 2004).Knowing how useless most talk slides are without theprepared speech – a series of simplified points, or a series ofimages, bordering on meaningless. Ive rewritten mine inmore detail allowing someone to read the slides and have abetter idea of what I actually meant by them. Especially ifthey didnt attend the talk, hopefully providing clarity.These slides have also been updated and expanded for thisweb version. Enjoy!
    • TALK OVERVIEW• First off: a little background• What is technology?• What is gameplay?• What consumers want• Where we can go wrong• E3 demo as an example• The first playable• The middleware path• The middleware reality• The middleware cost• My stark conclusion• Q&A
    • TALK OVERVIEW• First off: a little background• What is technology?• What is gameplay?• What consumers want• Where we can go wrong• E3 demo as an example• The first playable• The middleware path• The middleware reality• The middleware cost• My stark conclusion• Q&AThe purpose: to convince you that technology is a means toan end, not the end itself.
    • TALK OVERVIEW• First off: a little background Far Crys E3 2002• What is technology? gameplay demo, which• What is gameplay? was runners up for• What consumers want Best-of-E3 in a Where we can go wrong number of categories.• Is utilised as a• E3 demo as an example basis for this talk;• The first playable as are my experiences• The middleware path working for two• The middleware reality middleware developers• The middleware cost – Crytek & Micro• My stark conclusion Forté.• Q&AThe purpose: to convince you that technology is a means toan end, not the end itself.
    • X-ISLE: A TECHNOLOGY DEMO FAR CRY: FIRST GAMEPLAYTRYING TO BE A GAME DEMO – E3 2002 FAR CRY: THE FINAL PRODUCT TODAY
    • X-ISLE: A TECHNOLOGY DEMO FAR CRY: FIRST GAMEPLAYTRYING TO BE A GAME DEMO – E3 2002 On my arrival Far Cry was actually X-Isle, an impressive technology showcase lacking in interactivity. All graphics and no game. On becoming Lead Designer, the concept evolved into Far Cry. By E3 2002 – six weeks later – we had a demo that showcased actual gameplay, not just the technology powering its graphics. Gameplay, still evident in the final product. FAR CRY: THE FINAL PRODUCT TODAY
    • WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY? Technology is...• e.g. physics engine – or better yet, a smaller component of it like: “rag-doll” physics.
    • WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY? Technology is...• e.g. physics engine – or better yet, a smaller component of it like: “rag-doll” physics. Evidently this is a screenshot from a rag- doll physics tech demo. Each time it starts the outcome can vary a little or a lot. But, that is most likely the whole extent to its “interactivity.”
    • WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY? a TECH-demo is...● Various technology loosely integrated together into a showcase – at best.● Lacks any real functionality – (active) interactive use in creating gameplay.● A shallow (passive) experience for the user, like watching a film, with the odd bit of interaction that has no gameplay purpose – just initiates the demo / feature.
    • WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY? a TECH-demo is...● Various technology loosely integrated together into a showcase – at best.● Lacks any real functionality – (active) interactive use in creating gameplay.● A shallow (passive) experience for the user, like watching a film, with the odd bit of interaction that has no gameplay purpose – just initiates the demo / feature.Singular purpose: prove the technology works!
    • WHAT IS GAMEPLAY?Gameplay is...• One definition: an entertaining (active) experience where the player interacts with the game world via game mechanics powered by underlying technologies. ragdollkungfu.com
    • WHAT IS GAMEPLAY?Gameplay is...• One definition: an entertaining (active) experience where the player interacts with the game world via game mechanics powered by underlying technologies. These screenshots show a game utilising a form of rag-doll physics married to various game mechanics, in order to create gameplay. ragdollkungfu.com
    • WHAT IS GAMEPLAY? a GAMEPLAY-demo is...• Game mechanics (systems) highly interwoven into a cohesive whole, integrated with underlying technology.• Tech through mechanics has clear functionality (purpose) in facilitating the titles interactivity / immersion – gameplay!• Has art in place, though, not necessarily “finished” (polished) art.
    • WHAT IS GAMEPLAY? a GAMEPLAY-demo is...• Game mechanics (systems) highly interwoven into a cohesive whole, integrated with underlying technology.• Tech through mechanics has clear functionality (purpose) in facilitating the titles interactivity / immersion – gameplay!• Has art in place, though, not necessarily “finished” (polished) art.Main goal: not to be a shallow (passive) experience, but,one with (active) player engagement.
    • In way of terminology, Ive actually heard WHAT IS GAMEPLAY? tech-demos referred to as gameplay-demos. However it is my understanding that these are far moreainteractive in nature – I GAMEPLAY-demo is... would refer / liken it to: “prototyping.”• Game mechanics (systems) highly rough They may be testing a combination of interwoven into a cohesive whole, game mechanics in a sandbox-like integrated with underlying technology. in environment (level) with stand-in art – some cases levels are merely “blocked” out,• Tech through mechanics roughclear as are entities, with has limited functionality in place. Ain facilitating the animations (purpose) tool for getting feedback in order toimmersion – gameplay! titles interactivity / refine the game vision and mechanics. Their aim is to focus solely• on gameplay, function, ignoring the polish. Has art in place, though, not necessarily “finished”it is often art. same “polish” as However, (polished) this represented in a vertical-slice of the Main goal:that makes gameplay so effective but, game, not to be a shallow (passive) experience, by one with (active) player feedback to the player. providing vital engagement.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? Yes, gamers are consumers and they want interactivity! So do publishers.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? Yes, gamers are consumers and they want interactivity! So do publishers. The GTA series of titles is highly regarded for its “sandbox” gameplay – and quite often emulated for its popularity.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?Functional means: ease-of-use (usability).
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?Functional means: ease-of-use Freedom Fighters, (usability). let you control a resistance squad to wage skirmish warfare with tactical ease – well, almost.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? Active entertainment, not passive entertainment like film.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? Will Killzones gameplay and even graphics, live up to the pre-rendered trailer hype? Active entertainment, not passive entertainment like film.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?Update: evidently with the titles release Will Killzonesit has, though with a little hype – as I gameplay andimagined the case being. However, my even graphics,purpose with this example was to live up to theillustrate the danger there is in pre-renderedforgetting that games are an interactive trailer hype?form of entertainment. In this case thedevelopers delivered gameplay andlargely comparable graphics, to the pre-rendered vids. Many less experienced Active entertainment,developers, would not have delivered not passiveon this promise. entertainment like film.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? Not just graphical “wow” effects, pretty pictures on a screen.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? Not just graphical “wow” effects, pretty pictures on a screen.Beyond the exterior polish of SeriousSam 2s graphics. I cant help but think the gameplay is repetitively generic and stale.
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? But something:functional, interactive and immersive!
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? The Warriors was a game without the best graphics, but, it more than made up with it via highly interactive environments and immersive gameplay. But something:functional, interactive and immersive!
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT?Marrying your strong gameplay to a strongscenario to drive it.Can do wonders to your immersion too!
    • WHAT CONSUMERS WANT? However story like graphics alone, is not enough as games are interactive foremost. An active not passive medium.Marrying your strong gameplay to a strongscenario to drive it.Can do wonders to your immersion too!
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONGWhat is a game system?• It is comprised of:
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONGWhat is a game system?• It is comprised of: BACK-END Core supporting architecture and management base ENGINE CORE
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONGWhat is a game system?• It is comprised of:FRONT-END BACK-ENDComponents that Core supportingcommunicate game architecture andsystem to player and management baseallow for interaction ENGINE COREINTERFACE SHELL
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONG This represents theWhat is a game system? greyness of where one layer ends and• It is comprised of: another starts. It can also represent the game mechanics that glue the two together.FRONT-END BACK-ENDComponents that Core supportingcommunicate game architecture andsystem to player and management baseallow for interaction ENGINE COREINTERFACE SHELL
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONG This represents theWhat is a game system? greyness of where one layer ends and• It is comprised of: another starts. It can also represent the Its remedial systems game mechanics that theory, even a little glue the two together. simplistic in that game systems areFRONT-END specialised for highly BACK-END interactivity; but, itComponents that Core supporting will do for this talk.communicate game architecture andsystem to player and management baseallow for interaction ENGINE COREINTERFACE SHELL
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONGSome sticking points:• At times hard to categorize tech in that tech can fit into both categories, having both a front and back end role to play – eg 3D Renderer, Physics• Also, some tech compliments another by either providing front or back end functionality for it.• “Deficiencies” arise when tech is missing elements to its front or back-end – without one you lose the functionality of the other.• Or, when a tech / system that provided the front or back-end functionality does not exist, creating the same result.
    • WHERE WE CAN GO WRONG To perhaps confuse things further, ImSome sticking points: game-mechanicsthem going to generalise game-systems by also referring to and• Atas “tech” from now on – tech in that tech can times hard to categorize as that is really what it boils down to being; as fit somethingcategories, having both a frontbe into both like “written language” can and back end role a form ofeg 3D Renderer, Physics considered to play – technology.• Also, some game-mechanics are predisposed However, tech compliments another by either to having interactivity as their goal – providing front or back end functionality for it. their purpose.• “Deficiencies” arise when tech is missing elements to enablers, back-end – without one They are its front or allowing the player you lose the functionality of thesystem. Its to interact with the game other. an important distinction to make• Or, when aunderstood. that provided the front clearly tech / system or back-end functionality does not exist, creating the same result.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Some history: around 2 months out from E3, what was X-Isle became Far Cry. Most of the demo shown that year was hammered out in about 6 weeks. It was an important showing, as it was the teams chance to show that they could deliver an actual cohesive title, not just a mix-bag of technology demos. So the E3 demo, is an ideal illustrator.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE The screenshot is a Some history: around 2 little misleading months out from E3,however. It comes from what was X-Isle became X-Isles precursor, a Far Cry. Most of thetechnology demo called demo shown that year X-Isle: Dinosaur was hammered out in Island. X-Isle the about 6 weeks. It was an game, was an attempt important showing, as it at an interactive use was the teams chance of the underlying to show that they couldtechnology. But to put deliver an actual it bluntly, it was a cohesive title, not just afrustrating failure to mix-bag of technology play – if you could demos. So the E3 demo, even call it “play.” is an ideal illustrator.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Prior to the E3 demo, it was quite easy whilst playing the game to become lost in the dense environments of trees and bush; unaware of where the enemy was. Yet, it knew exactly where you were and could easily attack – frustratingly so.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Prior to the E3 demo, it was quite easy whilst playing the game to become lost in the dense environments of trees and bush; unaware of where the enemy was.Developers tend to Yet, it knew exactlyforget what they are where you were and couldtrying to create. They easily attack –assume by having the frustratingly so.(front-end) technologyto render denselypopulated outdoorterrain, that they havethe gameplay as well.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE AI could not only see through the brush, but also environmental effects like fog. Infact all they had to do to see you, was draw a straight line from their eye-point to the players – no matterhow well hidden you may have been.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Hard and soft cover were modelled – part and parcel in achieving the core gameplay AI could not only see of Far Cry. Hard cover (rocks through the brush, but and trunks) provided shelter also environmental from attacks yet impeded effects like fog. In movement. Soft coverfact all they had to do (bushes and foliage) to see you, was draw a obscured you from view, from straight line from the AI, but did not impede their eye-point to the your movement. This missing players – no matter back-end vastly improved the player gaming experience.how well hidden you may have been.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Your real-time dynamic,volumetric, soft-shadows may look great, but, do they have any purpose other than to make the screen look good?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Do the shadows actually make it easier for the player to hide from enemies and to sneak stealthily upon them? How about the real-time lighting, does standing in the spotlight actually Your real-time dynamic, make you a morevolumetric, soft-shadows clearer target? may look great, but, do they have any purpose other than to make the screen look good?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Does crouching, leaning, walking and running have any advantage and disadvantage towards shooting?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Does crouching, leaning, walking and running have any advantage and disadvantageIt largely depends on towards shooting?the game as to whetheryou wish to affect theplayers aim if theyredoing something likerunning. But, how aboutthe AI, are they allprecise marksman evenwhilst running?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE How about running through foliage, making it move, making lots of sound. Does thisaffect stealthiness?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Is that why the player was spotted so easily? How about running through foliage, making it move, making lots of sound. Does thisaffect stealthiness?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Does the player (or AI) suffer any disadvantages and advantages to stealth whilst crouched?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Does the player (or AI) suffer any disadvantages and advantages to stealth whilst crouched?Can the enemy see theplayer crouched and hidingin the long grass, lying inambush for the enemyapproaching?
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEBy adding the back-end sothat the AI checks a numberof body-points rather thanjust the eye-point, so as todetermine how visible theplayer is. Along with checkingother aspects, like whetherthey are running, creeping,standing or crouched – not tomention whether they are inthe darkness or a bright spotof light. You can begin toactually model adequatestealth gameplay.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEBy adding the back-end sothat the AI checks a number This is alreadyof body-points rather than done to a largejust the eye-point, so as to extent for thedetermine how visible the player. Can youplayer is. Along with checking spot the sniperother aspects, like whether behind the fallenthey are running, creeping, log easily withoutstanding or crouched – not to the binoculars?mention whether they are inthe darkness or a bright spotof light. You can begin toactually model adequatestealth gameplay.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Developers tend to forget that various aspects are already “modelled” for the player, and need to be instead modelled for the AI – so as to be seen as “realistic” and/or “fair” as per the expectations of the genre.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEAI that jumps around Developers tend to forget thatlike its playing a various aspects are already game of Quake on “modelled” for the player, and methamphetamines, need to be instead modelled formissing most of its the AI – so as to be seen as animations... “realistic” and/or “fair” as per the expectations of the genre.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEAI that jumps around Developers tend to forget thatlike its playing a various aspects are already game of Quake on “modelled” for the player, and methamphetamines, need to be instead modelled formissing most of its the AI – so as to be seen as animations... “realistic” and/or “fair” as per the expectations of the genre. ...runs non-stop, has perfect aim, can turn 180 in a millisecond, never appears to reload or stop firing their gun... is frustrating for the player, not a challenge for the player.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE Without these missing front- end elements, the AI “readability” was zilch; failing to communicate its complexity and sophistication to the player.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEThe AI eventually came to Without these missing front- have a diverse range of end elements, the AI animations, movement – “readability” was zilch; walking, crouched, failing to communicate its reloading – correct complexity and sounds, and a range of sophistication to the player.mannerisms and tactics...
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEThe AI eventually came to Without these missing front- have a diverse range of end elements, the AI animations, movement – “readability” was zilch; walking, crouched, failing to communicate its reloading – correct complexity and sounds, and a range of sophistication to the player.mannerisms and tactics... ...it would seek and use cover (rocks, trees, stumps, crates) for defence and offence. It would even appear to communicate and co-ordinate attacks with other AIs. All at a much slower (tactical) pace
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEThe AI models textures,animations and sounds; areactually communicating toyou various system states.So theyre actually part ofthe user-interface, enablingthe player to interact withthe game – via a keyboard,mouse or controller.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEThe AI models textures, These can tell youanimations and sounds; are what they are doing –actually communicating to giving a flankingyou various system states. order. WhetherSo theyre actually part of theyre angry,the user-interface, enabling whether theyre hurt.the player to interact withthe game – via a keyboard,mouse or controller.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLEThe AI models textures, These can tell youanimations and sounds; are what they are doing –actually communicating to giving a flankingyou various system states. order. WhetherSo theyre actually part of theyre angry,the user-interface, enabling whether theyre hurt.the player to interact withthe game – via a keyboard,mouse or controller. Everything outputted from the screen and speakers makes up the user- interface! It is not just the graphical on-screen heads-up display (HUD) that solely comprises the output of the interface.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE However, even with HD and next-gen graphics. We are still limited in what we can visually achieve via a screen and input devices – not to mention audio via speakers.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE However, even with HD and next-gen graphics. We are still limited in what we can visually achieve via a screen and input devices – not to mention audio via speakers.Without these binoculars, thisobscured and crouched enemymay have been just anotherblurry few pixels in the distance.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE The addition of gunfire trails / tracers, and muzzleflashes – as well as damage directionindicators. Aided theplayer in determining where and who was actually attacking him – no matter how far away. Arelatively simple fix and use of theexisting particle and shading systems.
    • E3 DEMO AS AN EXAMPLE The addition of gunfire trails / Developers forget that tracers, and muzzle game-worlds are not theflashes – as well as real-world, no matter how damage direction great our graphic fidelityindicators. Aided the seems in portraying them.player in determining We need to give players where and who was concessions so they can actually attacking interact with the game. him – no matter how What shape and form far away. A depends on the game,relatively simple fix and depends on the and use of the technology and hardwareexisting particle and that is powering it. shading systems.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEYour first gameplay demomay not necessarily havecomplete systems...
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEYour first gameplay demomay not necessarily have The indoors did notcomplete systems... natively support the AI. There were also issues with production pipelines and the reliability of indoor technologies – like the dynamic lighting and shadows.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEYour first gameplay demomay not necessarily have The indoors did notcomplete systems... natively support the AI. There were also issues with production pipelines and the For the demo we reliability of indoor scripted much of technologies – like the indoor AI and the dynamic lighting made sure to stick and shadows. to a linear path;we also relied on a more stable use of the technology –even if more bland.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEYour first gameplay demomay not necessarily have The indoors did notcomplete systems... natively support the AI. There were also issues with production pipelines and the For the demo we reliability of indoor scripted much of technologies – like the indoor AI and the dynamic lighting made sure to stick and shadows. to a linear path;we also relied on a more stable use of FYI: the present industry the technology – nomenclature for a polishedeven if more bland. first playable is vertical-slice.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEYou may not have all thegame & mission mechanicsin place, but, implement asmuch as necessary so as togive the impression to theplayer that you do...
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE The generic combat behaviours of the AI were good, but, lacked some of the more interesting behaviours – such as squad dynamics. In this caseYou may not have all the a squad on being shotgame & mission mechanics at, has popped smoke,in place, but, implement as pulled back behindmuch as necessary so as to cover, and has calledgive the impression to the in air-support.player that you do...
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEOthers showcased otherintended game & mission The generic combatmechanics of our gameplay; behaviours of the AIsuch as the utilisation of were good, but, lackednight-vision and lighting, and some of the morevarious squad strategies. interesting behaviours – such as squad dynamics. In this caseYou may not have all the a squad on being shotgame & mission mechanics at, has popped smoke,in place, but, implement as pulled back behindmuch as necessary so as to cover, and has calledgive the impression to the in air-support.player that you do...
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEThe demo showed enoughwow features andinteresting aspects to makeit feel like a completeexperience...
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEThe demo showed enoughwow features and The helicopter is shotinteresting aspects to make down by the playerit feel like a complete using a rocketexperience... launcher, targeted via its scope. The missile locks on and whizzes towards its target no matter if the aim is off or if it moves – leaving a snaking trail in its wake. It hits, and the copter trails black smoke as it crashes into the base.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEThe demo showed enoughwow features and The helicopter is shotinteresting aspects to make down by the playerit feel like a complete using a rocketexperience... launcher, targeted via its scope. The missile locks on and whizzes towards its target noHard-coded, hacked, matter if the aim isscripted. Call it what you off or if it moves –want, but this sequence leaving a snaking trailhinted there was more to the in its wake. It hits,game than just shooting at and the copter trailsguys hiding in the woods and black smoke as ittossing a few grenades. crashes into the base.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEWe as developers have a range of tools for debugging, that tell usexactly what is and isnt occurring within our game system(s).
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE We sometimes forget that filling the screen with: lines, shapes, arcane syntax and sets of numbers. Does not a user-interface make! We mayWe as developers have comprehend it, but a range of tools for debugging, that tell us not everyone (ifexactly what is and isnt not most) will. occurring within our game system(s).
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEGameplay is driven by your AI,and the AI is communicated viathe various game mechanics(tech) that comprises (or feeds)your user-interface.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEGameplay is driven by your AI, The demo should beand the AI is communicated via relatively polished,the various game mechanics as it is designed to(tech) that comprises (or feeds) “sell” to theyour user-interface. audience. So, even if elements such as the HUD arent quite worked out, perhaps even unnecessary. You should still strive to represent something that “might” be mistaken as the end result.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLEGameplay is driven by your AI, The demo should beand the AI is communicated via relatively polished,the various game mechanics as it is designed to(tech) that comprises (or feeds) “sell” to theyour user-interface. audience. So, even if elements such as A good rule: if it the HUD arent quite doesnt break worked out, perhaps “suspension-of- even unnecessary.disbelief” (immersion), You should still then it can be safely strive to representleft as is. If it does, something that then it needs to be “might” be mistaken addressed some way! as the end result.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE When creating your games AI, dont just focus on recreating what everyone else has done. Dont just create the “core” gameplay. Ask yourself: what are the things that bug you the most in the similar titles youve played? Ask a similar question about all your game systems.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE When creating your games AI, dont just focus on recreating For instance, what everyone else has done. making the AI take Dont just create the “core”cover when a bullet gameplay. Ask yourself: what whizzes past their are the things that bug you thehead, or, a comrade most in the similar titles youve “mysteriously” played? Ask a similar question dies; is so simple about all your game systems. to implement yet added so much to the believability of the AIs intelligence.
    • THE FIRST PLAYABLE When creating your games AI, dont just focus on recreating For instance, what everyone else has done. making the AI take Dont just create the “core”cover when a bullet gameplay. Ask yourself: what whizzes past their are the things that bug you thehead, or, a comrade most in the similar titles youve “mysteriously” played? Ask a similar question dies; is so simple about all your game systems. to implement yet added so much to Modelling such aspects for the the believability AIs hearing as well as sight. Can of the AIs add a great deal of “intelligence” intelligence. to the AIs believability and perceived challenge.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE PATH
    • THE MIDDLEWARE PATH Epics Unreal 3 engine; one of the most licensed if not the most licensed. Who wouldnt want that?!
    • THE MIDDLEWARE PATH• Aspiring to be a technology middleware provider, is one reasoning for not creating tech the right way – by making use of it in a functional manner within a quality title.• It is seen as less hard-work, perhaps more innovative, important, potentially Tech 5 engine lucrative and prestigious.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE PATH• Aspiring to be a technology middleware provider, is one reasoning for not creating tech the right way – by making use of it in a functional manner within a quality title.• It is seen as less hard-work, perhaps more innovative, important, potentially Tech 5 engine lucrative and prestigious. We are a technology graphics obsessed and driven industry. Many studios with the advent of middleware solutions becoming popular, have middleware aspirations.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY • Without the development context a title gives, there is no pressure placed on tech to be robust – bug free and complete. • We would even find that the fundamentals, the architecture of our tech is flawed, undermining further functionality that can be achieved with it.Jupiter engine
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY • Without the development context a title gives, there is no pressure placed on tech to be robust – bug free and complete. • We would even find that the fundamentals, the architecture of our tech is flawed, undermining further functionality that can be achieved with it.Jupiter engine No one (or not enough to be profitable) will licence your technology if it has not been proven in a commercially successful title. Otherwise it is seen as risky, and rightly so if you are not an experienced middleware developer; as experienced developers are not stupid! They want proven technology and solid support.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY• You will have to sell 30-60 licenses – or more depending on pricing – just to breakeven; and this may not cover ongoing costs to support the tech and your customer’s projects.• There are many established and reputable providers, that have competitive tech, pricing and support – utilised in numerous successful titles – that you will Gamebryo engine have to compete with.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY• You will have to sell 30-60 licenses – or more depending on pricing – just to breakeven; and this may not cover ongoing costs to support the tech and your customer’s projects.• There are many established and reputable providers, that have competitive tech, pricing and support – utilised in numerous successful titles – that you will Gamebryo engine have to compete with. Ask yourself: is your tech really good enough? Is it competitive in way of features? Is it competitive in graphical quality and finesse? Code-base complete and robust? Support the right platforms? Is it competitive in pricing? How about customer support and tools? In the middleware market, can you find a profitable “niche”?.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY Unity 3D engine You never know who is waiting around the corner with more competitive technology, or more appealing technology; that has beenshowcased in a successful commercial title/s!.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITYFor instance, maybe not 100%proven in a commercial title(perhaps in other apps) butcompetitive in developmentenvironment (Mac / PC),versatile technology and tools,support, platforms (Wii,iPhone, Web), and in cost. Unity 3D engine You never know who is waiting around the corner with more competitive technology, or more appealing technology; that has beenshowcased in a successful commercial title/s!.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATEDMarketing / Business (andeconomic) nimrods, usuallyespouse finding a niche for yourproducts / services. Of course, aniche in a small (niche) market,isnt a very big market share. Aniche in a large market, is a muchlarger (profitable) market share.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATEDMarketing / Business (andeconomic) nimrods, usuallyespouse finding a niche for yourproducts / services. Of course, aniche in a small (niche) market,isnt a very big market share. Aniche in a large market, is a muchlarger (profitable) market share. As an example, what for Valve in way oftechnology was the bigger long-term pay off? Its Source middleware solution, or, Steam digital content distribution system?
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Roboblitz (Naked Sky)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATEDHeres another example: Roboblitz.I bring it up, but, not because itutilises the Unreal 3 engine... Roboblitz (Naked Sky)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATEDHeres another example: Roboblitz.I bring it up, but, not because itutilises the Unreal 3 engine... Its becauseRoboblitz utilises a technology to procedurally generate textures – which implies dynamic uses in the future. Roboblitz (Naked Sky)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Allegorithmic
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED The (licensed) technology is called substance Air, developed by Allegorithmic. With it, instead of Roboblitz being hundreds of megabytes in size, it came in under 50mb – the limit for XBLA. Allegorithmic
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED This is an example of middleware finding aniche within a large market; where it has few competitors, and, seeks to “compliment” what the established middleware providers have to offer – not do one better than (“me too”). The (licensed) technology is called substance Air, developed by Allegorithmic. With it, instead of Roboblitz being hundreds of megabytes in size, it came in under 50mb – the limit for XBLA. Allegorithmic
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Scaleforms technologies, is another example of middleware finding a big niche. They focused on an area of game development that most developers were weak at. What they decided to tack on as an after thought, the game interface – menu UIs, HUDs, etc. Used in many titles, it is also supported by a core group of 3D engine middleware providers.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Scaleforms technologies, is another example of This middlware middleware finding a big niche. They focused on an provides developers area of game development a powerful solution that most developers were for easily creating weak at. What they decided high-quality to tack on as an after customisable Flash- thought, the game interface like interfaces for – menu UIs, HUDs, etc. their titles, among Used in many titles, it is other uses. Thats also supported by a core a big niche! group of 3D engine middleware providers.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Torque 3D (Garage Games)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Torque 3D (Garage Games)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED Torque 3D (Garage Games)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED After completing the first version of this web presentation. I realised that I was missing one middleware engine that has been around for yonks, and some would say is iconic. Since I mentioned other engines, I thought Id mention this one as well – fair is fair... Torque 3D (Garage Games)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATED After completing the first version of this web presentation. I realised that I was missing one middleware engine that has been around for yonks, and some would say is iconic. Since I mentioned other engines, I thought Id mention this one as well – fair is fair...Really, there are so many middleware “solutions” out there; just too many of them to warrant a mention here – thats not its purpose. Torque 3D (Garage Games)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE REALITY UPDATEDBut I can mention the Torque After completing the first version3D engine, that has a range of of this web presentation. Isolutions for 2D or 3D, for PC realised that I was missing oneor iPhone. I can also mention middleware engine that hasBrett Seylers interesting take been around for yonks, andon the middleware landscape: some would say is iconic. Since I mentioned other engines, Igaragegames.com/community/ thought Id mention this one asblogs/view/15952 well – fair is fair...Really, there are so many middleware “solutions” out there; just too many of them to warrant a mention here – thats not its purpose. Torque 3D (Garage Games)
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST Far Crys indoor engine, was a bottleneck when it came to creating content and testing it. Sure it looked great (eventually), but it did not natively support the sophisticated outdoor AI behaviours. Rather, it was all tediously scripted.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COSTThe outdoor engine, even withthe known competitors, was thedraw-card in way of graphicalappeal. Able to support largenonlinear sandbox environments,rich with lush organic vegetationalong with man-made structures.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COSTAnd an AI, capable of squaddynamics, that used itsfeatures well to provide theplayer with a unique tacticalplaying experience.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COSTAnd an AI, capable of squaddynamics, that used its Indoor could havefeatures well to provide the been supplementedplayer with a unique tactical with simplerplaying experience. structures rendered via the outdoor technology. Making it natively supported by the AI. This could have been an ideal solution in meeting the games vision.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST And an AI, capable of squad dynamics, that used its Indoor could have features well to provide the been supplemented player with a unique tactical with simpler playing experience. structures rendered via the outdoor technology. Making it natively supported by the And such “indoor” AI. This could havestructures, neednt be been an idealsmall, but could be in solution in meeting the form of sprawling the games vision. complex facilities.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST The resources and time spent making the indoors work for the title, for middleware ambitions. May have been better utilised on other aspects of the game. It may of even lead to a more tighter, and higher quality, gaming experience. Instead it lead to delays, relationship strains, and a lack of polish in way of effective use of technology in creating gameplay (in my humble opinion).
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST Far Cry prior to E3, ran the serious risk of getting canned! There were many competing titles out there already, with similar technology and with clear gameplay – if rudimentary at the time (e.g. Stalker: Oblivion Lost).
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST Far Cry prior to E3, ran the serious risk of getting canned! There were many competing titles out there already, with similar technology and with clearAnd they had no middleware gameplay – ifaspirations, they just wanted to rudimentary at themake a great game foremost! time (e.g. Stalker:Many had achieved quite a lot Oblivion Lost).without a publishing deal, yet FarCry had yet to prove it couldachieve the basics with one.
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST Reality engine
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST The middleware landscape is littered with the dead. Yes, some do make it. But you must really evaluate why that is so; what they offer that their competitors do not. Reality engine
    • THE MIDDLEWARE COST The middleware landscape is littered with the dead. Yes, some doPrior to the release of Crysis, make it. But youCrytek admittedly stated that must reallythey had only sold less than a evaluate why thathandful of licenses at a low-cost is so; what theyfor their CryEngine (Far Cry). offer that theirHowever, this may have finally competitors do not.changed with the release andsuccess of Crysis and theavailability of their CryEngine 2. Reality engine
    • MY STARK CONCLUSIONTECH alone does not make a game!• Technology does not create gameplay, it is how you use it. Consumers are more savvy today, and want quality of experience, not just better graphics.TECH alone is not profitable!• Even middleware providers must showcase their tech in a commercially successful title – either doing this themselves or via a licensees efforts.
    • MY STARK CONCLUSIONTECH alone does not make a game!• Technology does not create gameplay, it is how you use it. Consumers are more savvy today, and want quality of experience, not just better graphics.TECH alone is not profitable!• Even middleware providers must showcase their tech in a commercially successful title – either doing this themselves or via a licensees efforts. Ask yourself: do you want to make interactive-entertainment titles, or, interactive-entertainment technology?.
    • MY STARK CONCLUSION
    • MY STARK CONCLUSION Tech can always be licensed for your title, and does not need to be “cutting- edge” but merely competitive for the genre, andcompetitively utilised.
    • MY STARK CONCLUSION Im not against developing tech, quite frankly as an industry, we need too! But if you wish to be a middleware Tech can always be developer, youll have to ask licensed for your yourself some tough title, and does not questions, and demand need to be “cutting- tough answers of yourself – edge” but merely perhaps confronting ones. competitive for the And remember what youll genre, and still have to deliver on, incompetitively utilised. order to do so!
    • MY STARK CONCLUSION Source engine
    • MY STARK CONCLUSION A title with a cohesive and singular vision; with a spark of originality and innovative use of technology. What this entails, will largely depend upon the target genres context, and, the marketscurrent (as well as projected) expectations – what you can and cant get away with. Source engine
    • MY STARK CONCLUSION A title with a cohesive and singular vision; with a spark of originality and innovative use of technology. What this entails, will largely depend upon the target genres context, and, the marketscurrent (as well as projected) expectations – what you can and cant get away with.Remember: focus on interactivity foremost, and give your Source enginetechnology a functional purpose – "function before form”.