Introduction To 3D Gaming


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Ever wonder what it takes to put together a blockbuster 3D game? Wonder no more. In this talk, we’ll discuss game theory as it relates to today’s gaming industry, examine the essential components of a 3D game, and survey the roles and specialties involved in making a AAA title.

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  • Introduction To 3D Gaming

    1. Introduction to 3D Gaming Clint Edmonson
    2. 6 Average budget ( in $millions ) for a blockbuster game title.
    3. 50 Average size of development team for blockbuster game title.
    4. 10 Average number of programmers on development team for blockbuster game title.
    5. 32 Average number of months to develop a blockbuster 3D game from concept to delivery.
    6. 6 Average number of months for team of expert programmers to develop a complete game engine from scratch.
    7. 600,000 Number of dollars to license the Unreal game engine for 1 game on 1 platform.
    8. 6 Average number of months saved by licensing a game engine.
    9. 8 Current number of job openings at Epic Games, the makers of the Unreal game engine.
    10. 107 Current number of programmer/engineer job postings on
    11. 9 Average number of gigabytes consumed by game installed to PC hard disk
    12. 5 Average number of terabytes consumed by game assets created by development team.
    13. What is a Game?
    14. Play Learning in a safe environment
    15. Interactivity The illusion of control in a controlled environment
    16. Toys, Games, and Simulations What’s the difference between a toy and a game?
    17. Toys Abstraction of reality Don’t have goals
    18. Toys, Games, and Simulations What’s the difference between a game and a simulation?
    19. Simulations Try to closely mimic reality Complexity may affect fun
    20. Toys, Games, and Simulations TOY GAME SIMULATION Complexity Abstraction
    21. Formal Elements
    22. Players <ul><li>Voluntary participants </li></ul><ul><li>Roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uniform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple, Balanced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Player vs. Game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Player vs. Player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unilateral Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multilateral Competition </li></ul></ul>
    23. Objectives <ul><li>Desire to work towards goal is key to game play and immersion </li></ul><ul><li>Provides challenge and sets tone </li></ul><ul><li>Symmetric/Asymmetric </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Race </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rescue/Escape </li></ul></ul>
    24. Procedures <ul><li>Actions or methods of play allowed by the rules </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Starting actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Normal actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolving actions (point scoring) </li></ul></ul>
    25. Rules <ul><li>Define game objects and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Describe allowable player actions </li></ul><ul><li>Proscribe reactive events </li></ul>
    26. Resources <ul><li>Items made valuable by their scarcity and utility </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tokens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health Points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terrain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul>
    27. Boundaries <ul><li>Defines the scope of the game procedures and rules and creates the game &quot;reality&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Terrain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul></ul>
    28. Conflict <ul><li>Relationship between objectives, procedures, and rules limiting behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obstacles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opponents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dilemmas </li></ul></ul>
    29. Outcome <ul><li>Measurement of achievement </li></ul><ul><li>There must be a winner – a player who achieves a positive outcome </li></ul>
    30. System Dynamics
    31. Objects <ul><li>Properties </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul>
    32. Interaction <ul><li>Linear </li></ul><ul><li>Branching Network </li></ul><ul><li>Autonomous Agents </li></ul>
    33. Economies <ul><li>Currency, markets and bartering </li></ul><ul><li>Resource pools </li></ul><ul><li>Equilibrium states </li></ul>
    34. Dramatic Elements
    35. Perspective <ul><li>Player’s point of view </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Top-Down </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Side-View </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Isometric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third Person </li></ul></ul>
    36. Challenge <ul><li>Creates tension </li></ul><ul><li>A balance between frustration and boredom </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses attention towards objectives </li></ul>
    37. Play <ul><li>Mechanics that provide flexibility to allow player creativity and imagination </li></ul><ul><li>Play styles/archetypes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Competitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Explorer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Collector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Achiever </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Joker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Artist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Director </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Storyteller </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Performer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Craftsman </li></ul></ul>
    38. Premise, Characters, and Story <ul><li>Provides context to the formal elements </li></ul><ul><li>Story Arcs </li></ul><ul><li>Character Arcs </li></ul>
    39. So what is a game?
    40. A game is… <ul><li>Closed, formal abstract economic system </li></ul><ul><li>Players involved in engaging structured conflict to achieve a goal </li></ul><ul><li>Resolves to an unequal outcome </li></ul>
    41. Mastery <ul><li>Long plateaus of practice with spurts of progress </li></ul><ul><li>Learning occurs during plateaus via repetition </li></ul><ul><li>Great games allow players to achieve state of flow </li></ul>
    42. Designing a 3D Game
    43. Game Types <ul><li>Action </li></ul><ul><li>Adventure </li></ul><ul><li>Casual </li></ul><ul><li>Fighting </li></ul><ul><li>Platform </li></ul><ul><li>Puzzle </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation </li></ul><ul><li>Sports </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Role-playing </li></ul>
    44. Genres <ul><li>Fantasy </li></ul><ul><li>Science Fiction </li></ul><ul><li>War </li></ul><ul><li>Espionage </li></ul><ul><li>Crime </li></ul><ul><li>Mystery </li></ul><ul><li>Horror </li></ul><ul><li>Western </li></ul><ul><li>Romance </li></ul>
    45. Game Play <ul><li>Perspective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Top down </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Isometric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Side scrolling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text based </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Modes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiplayer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mechanics </li></ul>
    46. Story (1) <ul><li>Dramatic writing = Conflict! </li></ul><ul><li>Characters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivation & back-story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appearance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catch-phrase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personality traits & quirks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every character is on a journey </li></ul></ul><ul><li>World Creation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is plausible? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecosystems always seek an equilibrium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equilibrium drives motivations </li></ul></ul>
    47. Story (2) <ul><li>Storyboards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot out the overall story arc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analyze structure and refine to create rising tension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hollywood has proven the 3-act structure works </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dialogue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid clichés </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cinematics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-rendered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-game using 3D engine </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Take the player some place special and exciting </li></ul><ul><li>Humor is hard </li></ul>
    48. Levels & Environments (1) <ul><li>Story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Setup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continuity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Goals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sub goals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Previsualization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reference photos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concept sketches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low fidelity level blocking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Zones, regions and rooms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Power ups </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enemies </li></ul></ul></ul>
    49. Levels & Environments (2) <ul><li>Enriching the vision by layering in detail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Location and terrain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time of day and year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weather conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boundaries and hazards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scripting of triggered events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lighting and special effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prefabs and doodads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sounds and music </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Play test early and often </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refine, refine, refine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Looking to achieve player flow </li></ul></ul>
    50. High Concept <ul><li>Title </li></ul><ul><li>Type </li></ul><ul><li>Genre </li></ul><ul><li>Game Play </li></ul><ul><li>Story </li></ul><ul><li>Levels & Environments </li></ul>
    51. Team Roles & Specialties
    52. Production <ul><li>Executive Producer </li></ul><ul><li>Line/Brand Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Producer/Project Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Localization </li></ul>
    53. Design <ul><li>Story </li></ul><ul><li>Character </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Game play </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single Player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiplayer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>World Creation </li></ul><ul><li>Level </li></ul><ul><li>Environments </li></ul><ul><li>Scripting </li></ul><ul><li>User's Guide </li></ul>
    54. Programming (1) <ul><li>Graphics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Animation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Interface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shaders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terrain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sound & Music </li></ul><ul><li>Physics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rigid Body Dynamics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collision Detection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Particles & Effects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AI </li></ul><ul><li>Network </li></ul><ul><li>File System </li></ul>
    55. Programming (2) <ul><li>Database </li></ul><ul><li>Memory Management </li></ul><ul><li>Engine </li></ul><ul><li>Game play </li></ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Build </li></ul><ul><li>R&D </li></ul><ul><li>Web </li></ul>
    56. Art (1) <ul><li>Concept </li></ul><ul><li>Story board </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental </li></ul><ul><li>Cartography </li></ul><ul><li>Motion Capture </li></ul><ul><li>Cinematics </li></ul>
    57. Art (2) <ul><li>Texture </li></ul><ul><li>Character </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Animator </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Props </li></ul><ul><li>User Interface </li></ul>
    58. Audio <ul><li>Score Composer </li></ul><ul><li>Sound Effects </li></ul><ul><li>Voiceover </li></ul><ul><li>Foley Artist (Cinematics) </li></ul>
    59. Quality Assurance <ul><li>Level testing </li></ul><ul><li>Focus groups </li></ul><ul><li>Technical Support </li></ul>
    60. Remember: Design accounts for ¾ of entire production timeline
    61. Next Steps <ul><li>Join </li></ul>
    62. Next Steps <ul><li>Join the XNA Creator’s Club </li></ul>
    63. Next Steps <ul><li>Play LOTS of games! </li></ul>
    64. References (1) <ul><li>Aliens and Alien Societies: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Extraterrestrial Life-Forms – Schmidt </li></ul><ul><li>Character Development and Storytelling for Games – Sheldon </li></ul><ul><li>Designing 3D Games That Sell – Ahearn </li></ul><ul><li>Game Architecture & Design - Rollings & Morris </li></ul><ul><li>Game Design: Secrets of the Sages – Saltzman </li></ul><ul><li>Game Design Workshop – Fullerton, Swain, & Hoffman </li></ul><ul><li>Game Development and Production - Bethke </li></ul><ul><li>Get in the Game: Careers in the Game Industry - Mencher </li></ul>
    65. References (2) <ul><li>The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Campbell </li></ul><ul><li>How to Write a Damn Good Novel – Frey </li></ul><ul><li>Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment – Leonard </li></ul><ul><li>Object-oriented Game Development - Gold </li></ul><ul><li>The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook – Kenyon </li></ul><ul><li>The Writer’s Journey – Mythic Structure for Writers – Vogler </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimate Game Design: Building Game Worlds – Meigs </li></ul>
    66. About me… <ul><li>Clint Edmonson </li></ul><ul><li>Architect Evangelist </li></ul><ul><li>Microsoft </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: @clinted </li></ul>