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Developers / Re: PROJECT: "Ecology" by MUZBOZ
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 16, 2017, 10:21:07 PM »
New video, with a basic day-night cycle, and some more animals in it.

Ecology - Dev Video #2
Developers / Re: PROJECT: "Ecology" by MUZBOZ
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 15, 2017, 09:05:56 AM »
This project is exciting for me, because it's a playground for what I might work on next as my "big main project".

I'm trying to figure out what to build next, and I thought I'd play around with simulation / ecology elements, to learn more about coding in Unity.

I like the idea of having a world that is ticking along without the player, and actually changing and "living" over time.

But as to the nature of the actual game, I have lots of ideas, and haven't decided what I'll be putting into the mix.

I have a bunch of ideas, and was thinking about trying to map out a set of features I'd like to implement, and section them out into various releases, starting with something discreet and small that I can to begin with, that acts as a complete and playable small game.  Then add to it with another feature or two that give it a new dimension.  And have a sort of "living project" that keeps grows, and having new components plugged into it.

I'm interested in the idea of a Medieval Town Sim, and a Procedural Stealth Game (that could happen in or around that town), having the player go around helping to maintain an ecological balance, kind of like a wandering Park Ranger mixed with a Wizard for Hire.  Smiley

I like the idea of building a Plant Simulator, where the plants grow up and over the environment and buildings.

But for now, I'm just going to explore various new systems and assets, as I feel like putting them in.  Smiley

Still lots to learn!  So just having fun and taking it by ear.
Developers / PROJECT: "Ecology" by MUZBOZ
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 13, 2017, 01:25:05 PM »
Here's a new project I'm working on, developing some code skills and ideas around an ecology system.

Video: Ecology Prototype - Stags eating, drinking, resting, fleeing

I think that one of the central elements of games that I like, is simulation and immersion (hence my liking immersive sims!)...

I've been thinking about a game with an ecology that runs on its own, such as a wilderness in nature, or a medieval town with people buzzing around and getting on with their lives.

I made a start on the weekend, and made a little island with stags milling around, eating, drinking, and fleeing if they detect the player.


Developers / PROJECT: "Lady Lomat's Thief" for Thief 2 by MUZBOZ
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 13, 2017, 11:48:21 AM »
Thief and Thief 2 are some of my favorite game series of all time!

Here's a game level I made for Thief 2, where I was exploring how to make a level with multiple paths through it, and lots of dynamism between the player and the AIs, etc.

Lady Lomat's Flute

There's a new re-imagining of the game coming soon from Eidos Montreal, and also an unofficial patch for the original games appeared somewhat recently amongst the fan community, improving the game's compatibility with modern computers, and also improving the shadow maps and other tweaks and improvements throughout.

This prompted me to re-visit my old Thief 2 mission I made in 2001, which I'd always wanted to tweak but never found the opportunity. 

I decided to open it up again, and it's provided me much joy to present an updated version of the mission, "Lady Lomat's Flute", now with a great intro movie with illustrations and voice-over by my good friend Brendan Barnett (also a big fan of the original games).

The video below shows a play through of the mission, and contains spoilers, so if you want to play the level yourself, give it a go before watching the video!  (There's a link to the download in the video description on YouTube).

My goal was to build a relatively small level that provided a lot of different possibilities for the player to approach the goal from different angles. The mission allows for sneaking, pick-pocketing, climbing, rope arrows, lots of ways in and out of the house, sword play, chaos, and more.

You can download the mission here!

General Discussion / Re: Game Development Videos - Some of my favorites!
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 13, 2017, 11:36:41 AM »
Also, the Double Fine Adventure Documentary series is really great...
General Discussion / Game Development Videos - Some of my favorites!
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 13, 2017, 11:31:28 AM »
Here are a bunch of my all-time favorite game development videos that you can find online!

Will Wright - Dynamics for Designers

Will Wright - Classic Games Postmortem - Raid on Bungeling Bay

Joel Burgess - Level Design in Open World Games

Stone Librande - One Page Game Designs

Stone Librande - 15 Games in 15 Years

Stone Librande - Game Design < Design

Jan Willem Nijman - The Art of Screenshake and Game Feel

Zach Wilson - 50 questions to ask yourself when your level sucks

Eitan Glinert - Rapid, Iterative Prototyping Best Practices

Simon Darveua - Prototype: A Developers Best Friend!

Tom Francis - Efficiency for Game Designers - Lessons learned from making Gunpoint quickly without going mad

Will Wright - What's next in game design?

Will Wright - Metaphysics of Game Design

"Sir, You Are Being Hunted" is also a fantastic procedurally generated game, with wonderful looking English style landscapes and stealth gameplay.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted on Steam

There is a great talk by programmer Tom Betts about making the terrains and towns, etc...  from the GDC Vault here:

General Discussion / Re: Q: What is the definition of an Immersive Sim?
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 13, 2017, 11:12:43 AM »
Qualities of an Immersive Sim

Right, so I'm just gonna crack into making a list of the qualities of a "traditional immersive sim"...

  • The game is played from the simulated perspective of a character in the world. (This could be a human, or a fantasy creature, or a bird, a goat.)
  • The game is an immersive realtime simulation.
  • AI agents that are believable, consistent and simulated on multiple dimensions. (NPCs and Enemies react to things in the world in a believable and consistent way.)
  • There is some freedom of player choice and expression.  Players can "negotiate the world" (ie: navigate, or solve puzzles) in more than one way.  (Players have a hand in the game's "authorship").
  • The player can solve problems in more than one way, using the systems that are simulated in the world.
  • Levels are not linear and prescriptive.
  • The player participates in how scenes play out, how problems are solved, and each different playthrough of the game will not be the same series of events as all other players.
  • Elements in the world interact in believable and consistent ways.
  • Interactions between elements are not hard coded, so much as they are systemic.
  • Objects in the world have properties, such as “flaming” and “flammable”, and if something flaming touches something flammable, that object also catches fire and becomes “flaming” itself.

Q: Could an immersive sim be turn based?

Q: Can an immersive sim be played from a non-first person perspective?

General Discussion / Q: What is the definition of an Immersive Sim?
« Last post by MUZBOZ on September 13, 2017, 10:56:15 AM »
Q: What is the definition of an immersive sim?

I stumbled on a Twitter conversation with Otherside Entertainment (founded by Paul Neurath and other Looking Glass Studios people!) about Immersive Sims, and whether there is a better name for the genre.

I actually don't mind the term "Immersive Sim", even though it sounds very broad.

To be, it basically described games that are immersive, and based on simulation.

These are the games I like the most!  Like Thief: The Dark Project, and even King's Quest III (although most probably wouldn't describe this as an immersive sim, but then, that's why we're here today!).

But what IS an Immersive Sim?  What defines the genre?  What games are in the genre, and which are not?

Many people list the core games of the genre:
  • Ultima Underworld
  • System Shock
  • Thief: The Dark Project
  • Thief 2: The Metal Age
  • Deus Ex
  • Arx Fatalis
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
  • Dishonored
  • Prey

And perhaps some others include these...
  • Morrowind
  • Oblivion
  • Skyrim
  • Fallout

But could I include other games I've loved, that are immersive (in a sense) and simulated...?
  • Phantasie
  • King's Quest 3
  • Sim City
  • King's Bounty
  • Quake
  • Half Life

I don't necessarily think these games need to be first person (although it often makes sense that they are).

A list of criteria
I'd like to make a set of criteria that can be applied to the genre, that make for a good immersive sim.
And then use that list to twist things a bit.
I'm calling this definition The Boston Definition (in honor of all the Massachusetts based studios that have been all about immersion and simulation.  :)

I'd like to run an IMMERSIVE SIM GAME JAM, where people are encouraged to not necessarily focus on ALL the criteria at once, but to amplify a specific few of the criteria.

I think this defining of Roguelikes, and then running roguelike game jams that let people poke and prod at specific parts of the genre, has been really beneficial and interesting.

So...  is there a set of criteria to meet to be an immersive sim? 
How far can we stretch the definition and still allow for a broad range of games that still fit the philosophy and qualities of the “genre”.

The “Immersive Sim” is a tricky thing.  It’s not exactly a genre.  It’s more of a philosophy.

Quake is a First Person Shooter, and Deus Ex is a First Person Shooter.  Both are simulations.  Both are immersive. 

But what are the qualities of the set of games that have become referred to as immersive sims?

It is actually my hope to define the sorts of things that are behind immersive sim games, but also - by listing them - to broaden the definitions, and keep them open, and hopefully even inspire people to try some new twists on the genre. 

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