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Moonpod Homepage Starscape Information Mr. Robot Information Free Game Downloads Starscape Highscore Table
Apr 05: LUA Killed My Inner Child...
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imadoki



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Canada



PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May dev dairy. PLEEEEEZE. Razz
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It just occured to me that Mr. Robot might just turn out to be the most polished-looking game on the indie market yet. Most indie games I've played have a very indie look to them. They either have low-budget looking 3D graphics or very well done 2D graphics. There are some that stand apart from that to some extent, but the more I look at Mr. Robot, then more I can't help thinking of it as everything but your typical indie game.

As it looks to me right now, it looks like the only two very indie features of it is the size of the team and the fact that it's an original game with original gameplay (from what I can tell from all those dev diaries). There are no easily recognicable "indie" peculiarities to hint you off. I'm curious about the music and how that will be, since the music and the menu graphics were basically the most "indie" things about Starscape.

Eagerly anticipating any news!
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icarus
Troll
Troll


Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Location: Olympia Washington



PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It just occurred to me that you are right. Last time i saw graphics this good in an indy game was tribal trouble. I also occurred to me that occurred has 2 Rs.
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Poo Bear
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a picture of one of the menu screens in the next dev diary, I think we've improved a lot in that area over Starscape so see what you think.

As far as music goes i've always thought the Starscape stuff was pretty special, but everyone has their own very specific musical tastes. For MrRobot we've got some cool electronic stuff, slightly more chill out than Starscape, I love it Smile

As far as indie games go, I think we are seeing more developers becoming disillusioned with the mainstream and staying independent which means standards are rising. So you get games like Tribal Trouble, Space Tripper, Strange Adventures, Outpost Kalokai, Oasis, etc. These are all "pro" games with pretty high production values, very impressive.

Then of course you have the crazy puzzle game market of popcap and all the portals (real arcade, gamehouse, etc). I don't think "casual games" is a good genre name, not sure what you'd call them really, "puzzle games" doesn't cover it all. Anyway, they've suddenly discovered big money to be made in very simple games and the suits and business types have moved in. On the plus side that means a lot of these puzzle games(?) have pretty amazing production values, very slick, very polished. Instead of making "MaddenFootball9" with 200 drones*, make "ColourMatcher8" with 10 drones*. The result is the same, a really nice looking well polished professional game.

The downside of course is the costs go up and the suits get a little bit scared (I would too if I'd put $300k down) and so people tend to take the safe slightly boring predictable route. That's ok though as long as you still have players prepared to put down cash for something that seems a bit crazy, but maybe doesn't look quite so polished. It's like an indie scene within the indie scene and as long as that stays healthy then I don't see any problems. Do popcap et al still count as indie, I think so? Hopefully the slightly less hardcore players who buy all the puzzle games are slowly getting a bit more game savvy as they mature and will start sampling slightly more involved titles too (like ours? - he he).



*drones - young innocent wide eyed college leavers enticed by some fantasy that making games is the new rock and roll who then get exploited and squashed by the suits before realising their mistake and disappearing into a proper job like database design, never to be seen again. Hence, you never see any old developers at game companies. Plenty more where they came from though eh?


p.s. sorry to pick on popcap but I don't know the names of any other match3 clone developers.
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icarus
Troll
Troll


Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Location: Olympia Washington



PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Don't really like the casual game market. Sure i love a game that you can pick up and play for 5 minuets, i just wont feel compelled to buy it.
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Fost
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

imadoki wrote:
May dev dairy. PLEEEEEZE. Razz

Go on then, just for you...
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imadoki



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Canada



PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so very much. I really wish you guys the best of everything. You guys deserve all the success.
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ewmailing



Joined: 02 Jun 2006
Posts: 2



PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:03 am    Post subject: How did you implement the pretty line graph? Reply with quote

Hi, I'm new here and was just skimming the forums. I had to stop when I saw this graph.

Poo Bear wrote:
We Just Clicked...

HIGH AMPLITUDE TRANSITION: This loops fine during playback, but clicks when it initially starts up.


ZERO AMPLITUDE TRANSITION: The sample now loops and starts up without clicking.


I really like how you got that halo effect around the lines. I was wondering if you could tell me how you implemented that. I have been drawing lines in OpenGL but they never look as good as what you have. I tried applying a texture to the lines, but I could only attach a 1D texture so I couldn't figure out how to get a halo that diminishes perpendicular to the direction of the line.

Since I'm replying to this article which also talks about Lua and scripting, I thought I might add a few comments. First great article. There are definitely pitfalls to debugging as scripts get larger and better tools are the key. I've been told that most developers will usually run a utility like lint on code to help deal with the static time issues you mentioned like typos. As for run time debugging, the problem is more interesting. Tools you have to write yourself, but Lua itself has very good introspection capabilities and debug APIs so I think what is typically done is that application specific debugging tools are written to be run inside the application itself while running. Something like the Quake console might be a basic form of this. I have seen a commercial application from Adobe that implemented an entire debugger IDE (Visual Studio-ish) inside their app for Lua so they could set break points/compile/fix-and-go scripts on the fly. It was very cool. But of course the downside was that it was embedded in the app, so that means everybody else has to reinvent the tool for their own purposes.

Addressing your point about scripts intended to be small and light, I'm not so sure about that. I remember being told that the commercial game Pyschonaughts had 17MB of raw Lua code (333,000 lines of code) over about 2400 files compared to their 9MB of C++ code (200,000 lines of code) over about 580 files. They also said they made the 'rookie' mistake of not coding enough in Lua and wrote too much C++ code.

Touching a little on your segway to C# and D, one of the attractions of Lua and other high level scripting languages is that they are easy to learn. Lua is actually one of the simplest (despite its considerable power). C++ is actually one of the most complicated languages out there and even people who code in it on a daily basis don't know of many its idiosyncrasies (unless they are a Boost C++ contributer). This is not expected to get any better with C++0X. So by pushing Lua (or some other high level language that is easy to learn), you open the door to more non-hard-core programmers to write content.

Java, C# and D are much cleaner languages than C++ (but almost anything is), but they are still considerably challenging for a non-programmer. They are still a quanta more low-level than languages like Lua, Python, etc. (By the way, Lua has been bridged to all sorts of languages including C#, so you might imagine writing a future game in C# and Lua as you currently do with C++ and Lua, presuming you might be willing to surrender good cross-platform support for C#, depending on how far the Mono project goes of course.)

D has been around since at least 2000 I think. I don't think people see D as an update to C++. I think for most people, it is a different language that looks C++ like. To C++ programmers, the only real update will be the future ISO revisions to C++ such as C++0X. I don't think D got a lot of traction because Java fills a similar void that D tries to fill. And at the high level, scripting languages like Perl, Python, PHP, and Ruby were already taking off.

As far as Microsoft, they have a bad track record of supporting things they don't control. I can't see them backing D for any reason. They still refuse to support the ISO C99 standard and here it is in 2006.

I think there is a gcc D compiler though. Look for GDC. But, I doubt the language as a whole will gain much traction unfortunately. Look at Objective C. It is a wonderfully well designed and elegant language. It is a 100% superset of C (unlike C++) so you can mix in with C code and libraries. (And ObjC++ lets you mix in with C++ code too without effort.) But Apple (NeXT) is the only major company seriously using Obj-C/C++ and the language has been around for 20 years.

Any way, I hope some of this info (ranting) was interesting.

Thanks
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
Starscape Jedi


Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was told by somebody not to bother learning/using Lua/Python, because C# would fill the same role better. I'm not yet convinced. I know fine well how much more tedious Java programming is than Python programming, and while I really like the look of C#, I haven't yet seen anything to make me believe that it is a substantially smoother coding experience than Java. Can C# really do the same job as a good scripting language?
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ewmailing



Joined: 02 Jun 2006
Posts: 2



PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have any first hand experience with C#. I have some friends that have done both Java and C# and they tell me C# is essentially Java (with some cleanups). I do have some first hand experience with Java. In fact, I learned Java and Perl at the same time. Java felt much closer to coding in C or C++. Perl was at a much higher level. In my opinion, coding in Perl was much easier and faster than Java. Though the term "scripting" language is ambiguous and can apply to many things like Java and C#, I don't really consider those scripting languages myself because they are not high level enough.

So if C# is like Java, in my opinion, C# would not be a good scripting language. And you would be well served to learn Lua or Python (or other high level scripting language). The coolness of Lua in my opinion is that it is designed to be embedded with another language. Most other languages intend you to do everything in that language so you end up porting lots of code to your current language of choice. There were many times in my Perl days where I really missed having access to C to handle critical loops or needed native system calls I couldn't get from stock Perl. While Perl does have an API for this, it isn't nearly as simple or powerful as Lua's, and Perl is huge because it tries to provide everything under the sun (Python is like this to) so it is more difficult to embed and port to many systems.

Anyway, it all depends on what you're doing. If you're doing plain old Windows GUI programming, C# might be sufficient, unless you think you can build a higher level API and expose it in Lua, in which case a C#/Lua binding might be to your advantage. If you are doing a lot of non-native-GUI stuff that involves many different things such as network services and databases, you might find Python (or maybe Ruby) a better choice. If you have a lot of legacy code, are working on stuff on embedded systems with tight resources, or are doing a game, a Lua/<your favorite language here> combination would probably be a good choice.
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Fost
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Re: How did you implement the pretty line graph? Reply with quote

ewmailing wrote:
I really like how you got that halo effect around the lines. I was wondering if you could tell me how you implemented that.

It's not a coded effect - it's a screengrab from the sample editing app we use, and then I tarted it up in Photoshop - sorry!


Re lua/C#. We've been talking a lot about that at Moonpod, because we've pretty much concluded that all future games we make need to be made more easily extendable post release (Starscape has taught is that lesson the hard way). Adding a scipting language makes initial development slower (when you are in a team of two it does anyway - I could see it being more worthwhile in large teams), but makes post release updates much more manageable. The big time sink for Poo Bear is debugging - lua++ has a standalone debugger - but nothing is going to beat having it built into the visual studio environment. We'll definitely be investigating C# for our next game, but lua may still be our best option. As already mentioned, it has a very small footprint, and is highly portable. c# on the other hand requires .NET on windows. This is built into vista, but what about XP? you can't rely on it. It's possible to ship the .NET installer with the game, and it can be reduced to only the components you need using thinstall - so you only add about 6 meg. Cross platform though and the only option is Mono, but we've no idea how easy it is to stay compatible, or whether the 45 meg install can be cut down.
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Flumpaphone



Joined: 18 Sep 2003
Posts: 86



PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many of the student programers where I work are going C# crazy. I cannot speak from an informed position, but I do know that anybody who touches C# does not want to come back. It does seem to be a well thought out and well supported language. Cross platform capabilities/worries do seem to be the only thing that is holding it back from wider adoption. Outside of game programming or the creation of high performance applications, I would hazzard a guess that it will take over from C++ (if it hasn't already) as language of choice once Vista arrives.
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HunterXI



Joined: 26 Dec 2003
Posts: 476
Location: Playing like there is no tomorrow.



PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lua versus C# is an interesting debate, and personally, I do think that C# is better for game development. Nevertheless, Lua is extremely useful in scripting, especially so for use in map editors (for the sake of the end user) -- personally, I know that learning Lua was a breeze compared to learning C#. I'm still pretty bad with it after months.
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Ari



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 15
Location: New Zealand



PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Top Tips!

This month's mini development tip - Since identifying one of my biggest time losses as being the act of finding files I need on my machine, I've discovered a quick way to get through files alphabetically. When browsing a folder, I always knew you could press any key on the keyboard to skip to that letter, but what I didn't know was that if you press another key quickly enough, it will skip to the first file beginning with that two letter combination. E.g: if you were searching for a file called 'needle.tga' you would press 'n' and 'e' quickly. Great when you are trying to get to one file in a folder full of hundreds. Probably been in Windows since win3.1 and everybody knows, but it was news to me Smile


Just a note: You can actually keep on typing this way as long as you want, so long as none of the characters repeat, and you do it fast enough. (repeating characters seem to do the same thing as repeatedly pressing a letter key, unfortunately) It's a great way to check if a directory has a specific file! Smile
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