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Postby xander » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:30 am

Chris wrote:
xander wrote:It probably did not take that whole time to produce -- a level like Demo2 could easily be made by an experienced modder in a day, though we must also assume that some extra time was needed to add the code required for the rocket.


And with that comment, Chris falls over and dies.

No, it took three months of solid work to complete.

If there is a modder out there who can produce Demo2 in a day, we would like to hire them immediately and pay them a handsome salary.

Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me!

In all seriousness, when I said that the level could be made in a day, I was not refering to any of the preparatory aspects (e.g. deciding what the general shape of the level is going to be, deciding what the objectives should be, deciding how the story will flow, &c.), or any of the polishing aspects (e.g. stress testing the level, cleaning up scripts, &c.). With all of the various modding aspects involved, I think that an experienced modder could put together a level like Demo2 in a week or two.

Here is what my own process would be:

PREPARATION
  • write the story -- this could take me anywhere from five minutes to a month and would be a basic outline of what should happen in the level (i.e. what are the objectives, what kind of units should be available, what reason does the player have to acheive the objectives, what reason is given for access/denial to certain tech, &c.) -- most of the levels in Insurrection took about 2-3 hours for this step; while I think a level like Demo2 would probably take me the better part of a day, as it is a very complicated little level.
  • sketch the map -- again, anywhere from five minutes to a month; most of the levels in Insurrection went pretty quickly, say 30 minutes to an hour each; this sketch also includes ideas about where to place buildings (both functional and decorative), and units; Demo2 would probably be about the same.
CONSTRUCTION
  • create the landscape -- I like to use the grid guide, so I would probably spend two or three hours on that; it can probably be done faster with random landscapes, but I could never get quite the right "feel" with those
  • place buildings -- this generally takes me about half an hour, assuming that I already know what the level is going to look like; a couple of levels took more time (e.g. Sanctuary, with its large circles of trees, fences, stone heads, &c. -- took for ever, and was only possible with the aid of trigonometry :)
  • place units -- this generally went very quickly in Insurrection, if only because my level sketches generally gave me a good idea of what was going to work, and what wasn't; call it another hour, just to be conservative
  • setting up objectives -- five minutes
  • creating scripts -- each script takes about 10 minutes, once I know what I want it to do; most levels that I have created contain 5-10 scripts (including objectives), so 1-2 hours to complete the scripting; in this time is also included additions to game.txt
  • writing strings_default.txt -- give that 2-3 hours, plenty of time to proofread, &c.
  • create new textures -- an hour to get the basic color scheme down, plus another hour to get it right; Recruitment took me two days to get to my liking (it is based on the redwood forests of California), and I am still not entirely satisfied with Station (based on the very bright, washed out colors of the Great Basin, where I live); I really like the reds in Repository, however :)
  • lighting and tweaking -- I might spend several hours tweaking the look and feel of the level; changing light levels and colors (though I used basic white lights all throughout Insurrection, though some brighter than others), changing building orientations, adjusting unit counts, &c.
  • creation of new shapes -- this takes me a while, as I don't have a 3D modeller, and have no idea how to use one; I have created a few new shapes, most of which only trickfred has seen, which will all be included in Paperwinia, whenever I get around to finishing it -- these take me a long ass time, but I assume that some with better modelling experience could do it faster.
  • sound -- I don't really have to tools to edit .ogg, so don't know how long this would take; I think I could get new sounds created and put together in a day, but that depends on how many sounds are being added, and how complicated they are

TESTING & TWEAKING -- in my eperience, this is what takes the most time. And even then, I never really caught everything. I still catch bugs in Insurrection every now and then. At any rate, playing through the level a couple of times gives me a feel for how the level will play, how it looks, and helps me to stomp any major bugs. If there is only one level, like Demo2, that is about it, because I don't have to worry about interactions between levels (like the horrible kludge that is the transition from the first version of Backdoor (with completed objectives) to the second version of Backdoor (with new objectives)) or the "save point" system that allows Discovery and Recruitment to interact a bit.

At any rate, that is peek into my own modding process. I hope that offers some logic to the comment that I made above. Again, I think that one can throw together a level in a very short amount of time. It is the polish that takes so much time -- someone once said that the last 5% of a project takes 95% of the time, which can't be far off :)

xander

EDIT: Also, Chris, shouldn't you be coding Defcon? Stop reading the forums! ;)
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Postby Leonaken » Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:25 am

xander wrote:EDIT: Also, Chris, shouldn't you be coding Defcon? Stop reading the forums! ;)

Silence, nazi. DEFCON is in late development, aka BUG CRUNCHING MODE. He's desperate for stress releif as it is.
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Postby Avenged » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:53 am

lol, xander, that post from chris really hit u where it hurts didnt it? I had images of you groveling on the floor at his feet trying to make your last point :lol:

Seems to me like you SHOULD be on the dev team with all that jargon you just whipped up. :)
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Postby Kron0 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:15 pm

Avenged wrote:lol, xander, that post from chris really hit u where it hurts didnt it? I had images of you groveling on the floor at his feet trying to make your last point :lol:

Seems to me like you SHOULD be on the dev team with all that jargon you just whipped up. :)


I wouldn't blame him for trying, Icepick made it into the IV staff, although he proved himself with LOTS of mods, so its not that much of a leap that someone in the community could join IV
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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:08 pm

Kron0 wrote:
Avenged wrote:lol, xander, that post from chris really hit u where it hurts didnt it? I had images of you groveling on the floor at his feet trying to make your last point :lol:

Seems to me like you SHOULD be on the dev team with all that jargon you just whipped up. :)


I wouldn't blame him for trying, Icepick made it into the IV staff, although he proved himself with LOTS of mods, so its not that much of a leap that someone in the community could join IV


I think Icepick also proved it with his qualifications...

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Postby Darksun » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:13 pm

NeoThermic wrote:I think Icepick also proved it with his qualifications...


And the fact that that Icepick is Chris, so he was already on the devteam
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Postby xander » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:14 pm

NeoThermic wrote:I think Icepick also proved it with his qualifications...

NeoThermic

Indeed, he actually has a degree in this stuff. I have a degree in anthropology, which doesn't help me write games at all. I also have no interest in making any kind of career making games -- I would much rather teach. It is much more fun :) I would rather play games than make them ;)

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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:15 pm

Darksun wrote:
NeoThermic wrote:I think Icepick also proved it with his qualifications...


And the fact that that Icepick is Chris, so he was already on the devteam


I have proof to the contiarary! (or however that is spelt!)

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Postby Darksun » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:16 pm

NeoThermic wrote:I have proof to the contiarary! (or however that is spelt!)


We all know that the image was photoshopped!
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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:17 pm

xander wrote:
NeoThermic wrote:I think Icepick also proved it with his qualifications...

NeoThermic

Indeed, he actually has a degree in this stuff. I have a degree in anthropology, which doesn't help me write games at all. I also have no interest in making any kind of career making games -- I would much rather teach. It is much more fun :) I would rather play games than make them ;)

xander


Those who can, teach, and those who can't, teach PE? ;)

The fun of making a game is you can take any idea in your head and make it appear on the screen infront of you. The other aspect of the fun is letting other people play, and seeing they have fun.

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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:21 pm

Darksun wrote:
NeoThermic wrote:I have proof to the contiarary! (or however that is spelt!)


We all know that the image was photoshopped!


It was?

http://www.neothermic.com/gallery/v/dar ... 8.jpg.html

(This is where both Chris and Icepick kill me as they hate that picture.. possibly because it dispells the rumour)

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Postby xander » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:21 pm

NeoThermic wrote:Those who can, teach, and those who can't, teach PE? ;)

That is really more true that seems healthy. I think I have known maybe on smart PE teacher in my life :)

NeoThermic wrote:The fun of making a game is you can take any idea in your head and make it appear on the screen infront of you. The other aspect of the fun is letting other people play, and seeing they have fun.

NeoThermic

Yeah, but I want INSTANT gratification. :) I didn't mean to imply that making games is not fun, just that I don't find it to be nearly as fun as playing them. On the other hand, Insurrection was a fun project, so maybe I am approching things incorrectly.

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Postby Darksun » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:22 pm

NeoThermic wrote:
Darksun wrote:
NeoThermic wrote:I have proof to the contiarary! (or however that is spelt!)


We all know that the image was photoshopped!


It was?

http://www.neothermic.com/gallery/v/dar ... 8.jpg.html

(This is where both Chris and Icepick kill me as they hate that picture.. possibly because it dispells the rumour)

NeoThermic


Some kind of elaborate illusion involving smoke and mirrors!
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Postby NeoThermic » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:23 pm

xander wrote:
NeoThermic wrote:Those who can, teach, and those who can't, teach PE? ;)

That is really more true that seems healthy. I think I have known maybe on smart PE teacher in my life :)


Quoted for Irony ;)

xander wrote:Yeah, but I want INSTANT gratification. :) I didn't mean to imply that making games is not fun, just that I don't find it to be nearly as fun as playing them. On the other hand, Insurrection was a fun project, so maybe I am approching things incorrectly.

xander


You'll rarley get instant gratification from any job you do. To be satisified with anything enough to get gratification takes time.

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Postby xander » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:31 pm

NeoThermic wrote:You'll rarley get instant gratification from any job you do. To be satisified with anything enough to get gratification takes time.

NeoThermic

I don't know about that -- in teaching, the best gratification is the long term, look-at-what-this-kid-can-do kind. Watching a group of kids learn to read, starting in kindergarten, and knowing that you have something to do with that. However, there are a lot of opportunities for instant gratification, too -- seeing a lightbulb going off in a kid's head for instance -- one minute they don't understand something, and the next they do. I suppose it could be argued that this, too, is delayed, but it seems very immediate.

xander

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