The Poor Man's Netcode

The more you know about a given topic, the more you realize that no one knows anything. For some reason (why God, why?) my topic of choice is game development. Everyone in that field agrees: don't add networked multiplayer to an existing game, you drunken clown. Well, I did it anyway because I hate myself. Somehow it turned out great. None of us know anything. Problem #1: assets My first question was: how do I tell a client to use such-and-such mesh to render an object?

The Poor Man's 3D Camera

Each of us have our own giants to face. This is a story about one of my giants. Something I never imagined could make a grown man cry, until it did. A 3D camera. No one can face your giants for you. This is a story, not a walkthrough. Expect no useful information. For that I recommend 50 Game Camera Mistakes by thatgamecompany's John Nesky. His job title is literally "

Thirteen Years of Bad Game Code

Alone on a Friday night, in need of some inspiration, you decide to relive some of your past programming conquests. The old archive hard drive slowly spins up, and the source code of the glory days scrolls by... Oh no. This is not at all what you expected. Were things really this bad? Why did no one tell you? Why were you like this? Is it even possible to have that many gotos in a single function?

The Poor Man's Voice Acting

Allow me to regale you with an exciting tale: the birth of a janky dialogue and voice system. I have a JSON file with all the localized strings in my game, like this: { "danger": "Danger", "level": "Level %d", ... } A preprocessor takes this and generates a header file with integer constants for each string, like this: namespace strings { const int danger = 0; const int level = 1; // .

The Poor Man's Threading Architecture

The game industry hit Peak Advice Blog a while ago. Every day I read skim ten articles telling me how to live. Fear not! I would never give you useful advice. This series is about me writing bad code and you laughing at my pain. First Contact Say you have some voxels which occasionally get modified. You regenerate their geometry like so: voxel.Regenerate(); Because you are a masochist, you want to do this on a separate thread.

Ludum Dare 34 Postmortem

Friday 21:15 Fifteen minutes after the theme announcement, my friend Ben Homan walks through my front door. Not really my front door, I'm just a subletter. But this is a first. Normally he ignores our instructions to walk in without knocking. The first time, he texted me from the driveway. 21:30 Jesse Kooner walks in, also unannounced, bearing frozen pizza. Before he can even kick his shoes off, I loudly explain the theme: a never-before-seen tie between "

One Weird Trick to Write Better Code

Developers hate him! We'll cover some standard tips and tricks here, but we're not really interested in those. We're looking for the One Weird Trick to rule them all. Hopefully each trick we encounter brings us closer to coding Mecca. In the beginning The first video game I ever wrote was called Ninja Wars. Yes, that is an HTML table of images. I changed the src attribute to move stuff around.

The Poor Man's Postmortem - Lemma

The big secret of our industry is, we don't actually enjoy making games. We slave away in obscurity for years in anticipation of one glorious day. Not release day, no. The day we can finally write a postmortem full of pretentious anecdotes, bad jokes, and unsolicited advice. Well I just finished a game, and doggone it, I am going to exercise my inalienable rights as a developer. Lemma is immersive first-person parkour in a surreal, physics-driven voxel world.

The Poor Man's Character Controller

Let's say that, like so many of us, you want to make a surreal voxel-based first-person parkour game. You're trying to figure out a production schedule. What will take the longest? Graphics? Sound? Level design? I bet it will be the character controller. And I bet it will take 4½ years. Why? In running/jumping games, player movement is paramount. It takes forever to nail the right feeling.

Screenshot Saturday 213

It's the end of February and this game is supposed to be content-complete. In a sense, it actually is. All the levels are done. Twenty in all. I thought this month would never end! Just so you know, there are sixty of those lights and I had to hook up each one individually. It fell just barely beneath the "worth it to automate" threshold. Don't look too closely at this next one, it's a bit spoilery.