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there's a frog in my snake oil
I've been dipping in to some of AskAGameDev's 'War Stories' of bug fixes and other gaming anomalies. Liked this latest one:
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Virtual Reality chatter on a movie site? Got endless amounts of it here. Reviews over here



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Not that I really should have expected much, but the Story Mode on Super Mario Maker 2 is rubbish....time to jump online haha



there's a frog in my snake oil
This kinda has some broad gaming implications for the future lands. Sticking it here too:

Future Tech...?

**** is getting weird...



Also somewhat practical at an industry level, in theory...

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The VR crowd are also big on this whole face replication thing, doubtless with 'full body' avatars in mind:



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It all looks intriguing, but let us never forget 'FOIP'. Currently featured in... Star Citizen, and nowhere else. Nuff said

(Yeah I got an SC dig in. Apologies )



there's a frog in my snake oil
Some ace stuff here. Only slapping down some ones that are new to me. Go have a dive

















And some bonus ones that are more just tricks of the trade than tricks to get the right feels:










there's a frog in my snake oil
So I spent last night doing this...

You solve the conundrums by making multiples of yourself. Sending yourself out to be your own minion... If you're happy with how you did you save that copy, then move on to the next act, and get them all to interact...

...Something about seeing copies of myself looking confused and scratching themselves in reverie begged to be messed about with though. So this is all I recorded




We've gone on holiday by mistake
Just watched end of the final solo match in the "Fortnite World Cup", $3 million first prize to 15 year old kid. GG


That's more than Djokovic won for Wimbledon 1st place.....
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The People's Republic of Clogher
Just watched end of the final solo match in the "Fortnite World Cup", $3 million first prize to 15 year old kid. GG


That's more than Djokovic won for Wimbledon 1st place.....
The kid who got runner up was on the Today programme this morning (I know, I know ) and they were asking him if he felt any responsibility for kids who spend their parents money on Fortnite.

This country....
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The People's Republic of Clogher
Made my first Epic game store purchase today. Tetris Effect is worth buying again.

Not much to say really. It's a launcher, and the download speeds are definitely sub Steam/Origin/GOG/Uplay.

EDIT - Download speeds are actually fine, according to Windows, but the Epic launcher is all over the place in telling me how fast things are going.



The People's Republic of Clogher
Am probably going to give The Outer Wilds a try soon. Heard great things.
I really wish I liked Outer Wilds more, especially giving the almost universal stellar praise it's been getting, because I feel like I'm missing something fundamental.

Will definitely give it another crack some time but, as it stands, I'm glad I'm playing it via Game Pass and didn't buy it.

In other news, Tetris Effect is still utterly sublime and even better looking on PC with all the visuals cranked up.



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
Real quick, for lack of anything else to post, I found that I can run with 3 horses total in RDR2. One mounted while the other two follow. I have to have ridden the other two long enough to earn some whatever points with them each, but that's not bad. Could be more, but every time I tried a fourth, it kind of ignored me. Oh. I've found 2 of the klan rallies. Those were kind of funny in how incompetent they all were. I am getting a bit burned out on the game. Patterns are starting to show. But I'm not playing nearly as much, so maybe the new pace will help.

Grrrr... still too early for my call.
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The People's Republic of Clogher
Real quick, for lack of anything else to post, I found that I can run with 3 horses total in RDR2. One mounted while the other two follow. I have to have ridden the other two long enough to earn some whatever points with them each, but that's not bad. Could be more, but every time I tried a fourth, it kind of ignored me. Oh. I've found 2 of the klan rallies. Those were kind of funny in how incompetent they all were. I am getting a bit burned out on the game. Patterns are starting to show. But I'm not playing nearly as much, so maybe the new pace will help.

Grrrr... still too early for my call.
The Klan stuff gets darkly funny (no pun intended) and immensely satisfying the more rallies you take out.



there's a frog in my snake oil
I'm still chugging through SA's thread of dev Q&A. Liked this bit on AI's slow advance:


Originally Posted by GC_ChrisReeves
Originally Posted by limaCAT posted:
Second question: I can see graphics getting more complex but save for a few titles, AI or gameplay systems aren't scaling like graphics. I guess that in 2017 we could have had a game of The Sims with the same environmental density or complexity as Bioshock Infinite (or games like said Bioshock Infinite could have been better and more complex than System Shock). Why don't we get a new Ultima Underworld? Why is the industry relegating complexity to niche or kickstarted games?
I think good game AI is hard to demonstrate and advertise nowadays, only the most interested of gamers are going to appreciate when it's done well. And with that, I suspect AI complexity has quietly been chugging along in it's own lane, you just don't hear about it the way like we did in the days before Oblivion (Full day AI cycles!) released. From purely a gamer's perspective, MGS5s AI is utterly superb yet it rarely gets much praise. Good AI may just be being taken for granted nowadays.

As for gameplay, I suspect the conservative approach there is due to games being bigger investment risks than ever now and changing a previously winning formula without good reason might make the money-givers butts pucker a bit. So yeah, Indies have much more room to play about.
Originally Posted by leper khan
AI has stagnated a bit, which has been a topic at the GDC ai roundtables and ai summit for the past few years. Essentially the last major breakthrough was with behavior trees; right around the time halo (2?) came out.

There’s been some improvement to procedural generation since then, but nothing crazy. Most of the stuff coming out now in that realm are follow-ons from deep learning and other well funded initiatives.

It’s just a hard problem, and academia isn’t terribly interested in game ai, which has timing constraints not present in general decision management or planning. Not many organizations are interested in a multi-year effort to improve on the state of the art with no guarantees of success for results pretty much no one will care about.

Complexity has mostly been increasing with the number of nodes in behavior trees. Essentially more cases and granularity of the same thing.
Originally Posted by OneEightHundred
The problem of academic interest is that there are basically two completely different reasons to make a game AI:

One of them, semi-common in board games and strategy games, is to be as good as possible at beating opponents, or at least as good as whatever constraints are imposed to control its difficulty, and that type of thing is of interest to academia because it's useful elsewhere. Timing constraints are definitely not a barrier to academic research, there's been work on stuff like Starcraft and Doom bots and training self-driving cars in GTA entirely because so many useful applications of AI in things like robotics and self-driving cars have to be done in real time.

The other one is the one that you see in most game NPCs, which is not to make an effective AI, but more of a systemic performance, and the goal is to be interesting and fun to play against. A lot of being fun is things like giving enemies a distinct identity, and making them seem fair (which means, more than anything, giving the player a huge information advantage), but actual intelligence is often counterproductive. Most of the interest now is in group and emergent behaviors so that the AIs are more interesting and do more things.
Originally Posted by Mr.48
There is plenty of interest in it in academia, the problem is the lack of funding. Typically speaking this is not an area that you can get government grants to research, and funding from the entertainment industry is a pittance. As a result the vast majority of academic research being done in this area is in researchers' spare time, and accordingly the output is a trickle instead a flood.
Originally Posted by djkillingspree
The second point here is something really interesting to me, because it's one of those areas where game design and engineering heavily interact. In many cases the larger challenge is to define the role your AI should play, rather than just trying to make them as smart as possible. In that respect designing AIs for games becomes a much more subjective goal - often, you want them to *seem* smart while *actually* being quite predictable. It's often better to think of AIs as playing a role vs. trying to be as smart as possible, and it's a mix of design and code to get them to play it.

On the other hand, something that doesn't get a lot of fanfare, but is a huge deal, are the massive advances made in the capability of AIs to navigate environments. In order for a game like Assassin's Creed to work, for example, a fairly large number of AIs need to be able to understand how to navigate a fairly complex environment that can't be defined with a simple navmesh. Those kinds of advances don't get super-buzzwordy-reveals, but it's important to remember that in many games 5-10 years ago, enemies couldn't even figure out how to climb ladders, jump over gaps, or take cover behind objects without a human annotating the environment. I'm sure there's still some hand annotation going on in newer games, but it's clear that AIs have gotten drastically better at navigation in open world games over time. This is an extremely hard problem and has a ton of good work being done on it all the time.

Also, for AI advances, the recent Alien Creative Assembly game seemed to be a pretty impressive case of a complex AI that played a role really well. There's definitely a lot of stuff going on with developments in AI, I just think it's being presented more in the context of gameplay (which is good)
Originally Posted by eshock
Originally Posted by djkillingspree posted:
On the other hand, something that doesn't get a lot of fanfare, but is a huge deal, are the massive advances made in the capability of AIs to navigate environments.
This is basically it, and there's still a ton more changes that have gone on behind the scenes:

10-15 years ago (I'll cherrypick HL2 as an example bc a lot of people are familiar with how it works), you might have needed to find paths for 20-30 agents at once, from one thread, on one static data structure. HL2 started with a waypoint graph and later on switched to navmesh for some stuff. The entire map is going to be resident in memory the whole time you need to access it. If you wanted to avoid any dynamic objects, that'd be done as another step after the pathfinding.

It's not uncommon these days to have to manage paths for up to 150 agents at once, who might be updating from any thread, on up to 16 cores. Because the maps are so much bigger (32km x 32km is the upper limit of the way most engines do things right now, but people are working on solutions for going bigger), your paths could change lod or even be streamed out entirely completely without warning. There are multiple data structures to use, depending on the situation--many open world games use a navmesh for pedestrians and small agents, and a waypoint graph for vehicles and big stuff. Depending on your gameplay needs and level design you might also use a grid for some stuff. And those data structures are more likely to be dynamic, so moving objects get taken into account at the time of pathfinding instead (or in addition to) a second step. And of course those objects could be registering themselves with the graph from any thread.

But the experience to the player is still exactly the same, it's dudes walking from point A to point B.



there's a frog in my snake oil
More dev diving. Interesting 2017 interview with a westerner working in Japan:

The TLDR is he sees a greater focus on game mechanics over setting. But I liked this tea room analogy for cultural approaches too:

You once said that when you went to work for Kojima at Konami, you possessed “westerner’s knowledge” that was a hindrance rather than a help.

“Hindrance” is probably not the word. It is a hindrance if you persist in that way of thinking while the team is going in a different direction.

It’s not just language. It’s a way to perceive games, and the user. I see it on Splatoon right now. You look at Splatoon, and then people look at Overwatch. These are two totally different games. Overwatch is a self-service game. You boot the game and say, “Hey, I like this mode. I like this character. And I’m only ever going to play this mode, this character, and this map.” You’re like, “I’m going to get what I want.”

But in Japan, everything is tailored. You’ve probably heard Sheena Iyengar’s TED talk, in which she went to a restaurant in Japan and tried to order sugar in her green tea. The people at the cafe said, “One does not put sugar in green tea,” and then, “We don’t have sugar.” But when she ordered coffee instead, it did come with sugar! In Japan, there’s a sense of, “We’re making this thing for you, and this is how we think this thing is better enjoyed.” This is why, in Splatoon, the maps rotate every couple of hours. And the modes change. “I bought this game. Why can’t I just enjoy this game the way I want?” That’s not how we think here. Yes, you did buy the game. But we made this game. And we’re pretty confident about how this game should be enjoyed. If you stick with us, and if you get past your initial resistance, you’re going to have the time of your life with this game. You’re really going to love it.



there's a frog in my snake oil
Ok just to prove I do play games as well as read about them, here's a little PC/VR indie (so legit for the thread )

Drone Hero: Quick Look

Got this in the sale for 90% off and it's a bit of a steal. Very neat controls, super fine throttling required (I'm not there yet...), and some great laser / rocket challenges that you clearly can't do in real life...

Cool to have a VR game that's all about classic close skills, but benefits from the 'being there' and the improved depth perception.




there's a frog in my snake oil
Hoarding? What hoarding?



(There's a crappy Raider one off in the corner of shame too. And my good one is down by the Marina.... )



The People's Republic of Clogher
Received a Beta invite for GOG Galaxy 2.0 this morning and am in the middle of installing it.

It's potentially huge for the PC gamer - All your games libraries (and not just PC ones) in one place.

The only trouble I'm having so far is that PSN is timing out when I try to add it but, hey, it's a Beta.

https://www.gog.com/news/bgog_galaxy...ne_place_copy3



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Crash Team Racing on hard mode...is insane.
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The People's Republic of Clogher
Hoarding? What hoarding?



(There's a crappy Raider one off in the corner of shame too. And my good one is down by the Marina.... )
Reminds me of my time in Forza Horizon 4 (which I have 170 hours in now, according to GOG Galaxy) and my 7 1982 Porsche 911s.

Horizon 4 is the first 'live' game that I've become invested in, and call back every few days to do my dailies and weeklies.

Installing it on PC a few days ago relit my fire - It runs flawlessly at 70+ fps/Ultra settings with my now aging 980ti; a noticeable difference from the locked 30 on Xbox.