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What Nobody Tells You About Being a Game Dev 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-people-curse-your-mother dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Alex Norton is the man behind Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox, an upcoming indie action-RPG. What makes Malevolence interesting is that it's infinite. It uses procedural generation to create a world that's actually endless. Norton jumped into this project without having worked at any big gaming studios, and in this article he shares what he's learned as an independent game developer. Quoting: "A large, loud portion of the public will openly hate you regardless of what you do. Learn to live with it. No-one will ever take your project as seriously as you, or fully realize what you're going through. ... The odds of you making money out of it are slim. If you want to succeed, you'll likely have to sell out. Just how MUCH you sell out is up to you.' He also suggests new game devs avoid RPGs for their first titles, making a thorough plan before you begin (i.e. game concepts explained well enough that a non-gamer could understand), and considering carefully whether the game will benefit from a public development process."
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What Nobody Tells You About Being a Game Dev

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  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @04:32PM (#42083127)
    In the article he claims that it would take three weeks to walk across one segment of the map, even with noclip enabled, and then it would just create a new segment.
    I just am wondering who would play a game that much that they would even care? Few people are going to really "complete" even Skyrim much less an "infinite" world.
  • Infinite (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arth1 (260657) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @04:34PM (#42083143) Homepage Journal

    Ok, so how do you create an infinite world with procedural generation?
    You can't limit yourself to, say, a 64-bit int, cause that's not infinite. You could, presumably, use linked lists, but then you'd run into speed issues. Arbitrary length BCD (or similar)? Yeah, but the procedural generation routines have to be able to handle them. The memory required quickly grows towards infinity too.

    Also, a procedural generation based on coordinates (which, when all comes to all, just is a seed number) has to be robust enough to not repeat as the seed becomes arbitrarily large. A simple PRNG won't do, or someone may find out that the world repeats if going flaxtythree billion miles in either direction.

    Too bad there are no details in just how this is done, because that's clearly the interesting part.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 (260657) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @04:41PM (#42083185) Homepage Journal

    In the article he claims that it would take three weeks to walk across one segment of the map, even with noclip enabled, and then it would just create a new segment.
    I just am wondering who would play a game that much that they would even care?

    For an MMORPG, it would matter a great deal. Being able to find a pristine area for yourself that 14 year old Kevin and gold farmer Deng Wu are statistically unlikely to ever find would be great.

  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @05:39PM (#42083491) Homepage Journal

    well.. daggerfall, an older game in the elder scrolls series, is actually much bigger than skyrim(iirc about the size of england in real life), because it uses generated content. which on that days graphics and level complexity worked pretty nice.

    also there's of course frontier which gives you an entire galaxy(albeit only a smallish portion near sol of it is populated).

    the point though with it is that it gives you a sense of being an explorer - but the novelty gets ruined if there's no special places to find in there(which gets us to why only hundreds of systems in frontier are interesting.. however in frontier first encounter there's thargoids to find - which you could find by pure chance or more likely by following the buggy plot, which does send you on a cool mission into deep, deep space. that's much cooler than taking a jump in freelancers insanely limited world).

  • by preaction (1526109) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @10:41PM (#42084773)

    You get a Real Job (tm). At my Real Job I make enough money to pay some contractors at my game company, and I spend my nights and weekends coding for the game.

    No, I don't have a spouse or a social life to speak of, why do you ask?

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw

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