View Full Version : PGD Annual 2007 - Questions to AthenaOfDelphi

01-02-2007, 11:57 PM
Hi all,

If you're competing in this years competition and have need to ask me a competition related question (about my judging, my systems or anything else), please post it here. I'll post all my comments and questions to competitors here as well. That way we can keep everything in one place.

If you can't make up your mind whether to give it a go or not... go for it. Last year was the first time I'd entered a competition... it was great fun and I had a blast. If it wasn't for the fact I have too much on at the moment, I'd be entering again this year instead of judging... especially with the multi-genre requirement. Should make for some interesting games.

All I want to say now is GOOD LUCK to everyone who takes part this year. I'm looking forward to playing your creations.

Have fun... let battle commence :-)

02-02-2007, 03:54 AM
So whats your favorite Genre :)

02-02-2007, 08:27 AM
Just like my musical tastes.... indeterminate. If the games good fun and keeps me playing, its fine by me :-)

06-02-2007, 11:08 PM
About Your systems. Which of them is preferred one for playing entries? I am mostly concerned about graphics cards. There is a difference between GeForce3 and GeForceFX, so I would like for which I should design graphics engine.

07-02-2007, 07:49 AM
My machine is the one with the FX5200. The reason both are listed is just in case my Athlon 800 struggles. I can test on Spirit's 1.3GHz Duron which has the GeForce 3.

I will say this though... for me personally, games aren't just about pushing the graphics card to the limits. Its more about engaging game play and where appropriate a dam good story.

07-02-2007, 10:55 AM
My machine is the one with the FX5200. The reason both are listed is just in case my Athlon 800 struggles. I can test on Spirit's 1.3GHz Duron which has the GeForce 3.

Thanks for the clarification.

I will say this though... for me personally, games aren't just about pushing the graphics card to the limits. Its more about engaging game play and where appropriate a dam good story.

I can only agree with that.

07-02-2007, 11:19 AM
A story? Ouch ... now I have to think about bringing a story into a childen toys puzzle and artillery game *lol*

09-02-2007, 09:43 PM
Hi all,

Well, with the first deadline approaching I'd like to wish everyone good luck and don't forget to upload your design documents if you are competing.

Even if is very short or its not finished.. upload it. Providing the goals of stage 1 are met, its 20 points.

Best of luck to all of you. Now it gets interesting :-D

10-02-2007, 11:38 AM
Since I don't have any GF5200 of GF3 (lowest spec'ed hardware around is a GF6100), I have a little question about what they actually support with the latest drivers...
Do you know if they support GLSL f.i.? at least vertex programs with CPU emulation may be supported I would guess, but what about fragment shaders? Is there minimal support for the GF3 or none at all?

For instance, could you try running the simple GLSL demo at
and let us know if it works and what kind of framerate you're seeing? Thanks :)

10-02-2007, 12:00 PM
Hi Eric,

I've download the demo. On my machine (GeForce FX5200, Athlon 800) I'm getting the following frame rates:-

Lambert - ~44fps
Blinn-Phong - ~20fps
Phong - ~25fps
Thin plastic - ~20fps
Sharp specular - ~15fps
Rim lighting - ~24fps
Velvet - ~18fps
Sheen - ~15fps

I do normally find I get better framerates when the app runs in full screen rather than windowed.

On the other machine (GeForce 3 based card with Duron 1.3GHz) I get the message 'This demo requires GL_ARB_fragment_shader'

If you need me to do anything else, let me know.

10-02-2007, 02:06 PM
That's very bad, I'm using shaders for pretty much all rendering tasks in my engine... Guess I have to code some kind of OpenGL lighting fallback or something to use in case the shaders won't work.

10-02-2007, 02:59 PM
Thanks Athena!
Those are rather low figures indeed, I guess it means that a fragment-shader-free path is going to be required.

10-02-2007, 03:10 PM
You need to count yourselves lucky actually... before the competition I had a 32MB GeForce 2 GTS in my machine :-) Only reason I didn't switch to the FX5200 prior to that was that from the specs it loses about .5mil texels on the fill rate compared to the GTS (and it shows).

I know my machine spec is a little on the low side (not through choice I can tell you), but (and before you say... I know they have big budgets and lots of time) games like Half Life 2 manage OK with it by removing excess baggage in the scenes and providing alternatives to shaders etc.

This next bit isn't a rant about or an attack on anyone, its just my thoughts about the whole PC/hardware uprgade situation.

Its one thing that really gets me with the games market today, the constant need to upgrade your machine. Its all well and good if you're loaded, but if you're not its a real annoyance (my language is normally a lot harsher at that point, but seeing as I'm in good company ;-)). My machine was rendered obsolete about 2 months after I built it when AMD upped the FSB speed of the Athlons. Shortly after that the RAM was rendered obsolete and somewhere in the middle, my graphics card became old news. That was about 6 years ago.

Fantastic graphics using all the funky hardware does NOT make a game playable and enjoyable... it can enhance the experience, but if the game is dull it won't matter how many of the latest GPU's you throw at it... it will still be a dull game. And this is where the PC market could learn a thing or two from the console market IMHO. Consoles of course don't have the luxury of being able to upgrade the hardware... instead you have to get the best out of what you've got (this is clearly visible when you look at the progression in quality of games for say the PlayStation and the PS2). This is something the PC market has failed to do since the dawn of time IMHO.

So, in short (in accordance with competition rules).... you need to make your game run with all the judges hardware, including my slow old Athlon 800 (since that is my normal everyday desktop machine). If I can't get it running and playable it will be nil poit from me here on in I'm afraid and I don't want that. I want to play all of the games I've read about because they all sound like they are going to be fun games.

10-02-2007, 04:54 PM
Recommendation: Run GLInfo (http://www.delphi3d.net/hardware/index.php) :)

Same for Sascha and Clootie.

It might be OpenGL specific information, but it'll at least give all GL-based teams a good idea and D3D-based team a ballpark as to what your card(s) can actually do.

10-02-2007, 05:52 PM
Here (http://www.soft-answer.demon.co.uk/MyOpenGL.htm) it is... the html report from GLInfo.

10-02-2007, 08:57 PM

Christina, can you tell me if Tanx was running on your machine?
I mean, this OpenGL demo Eric posted, I have over 1000FPS with my "not so up to date" video card... how can I test if what I am doing here is running on your machine?

10-02-2007, 09:59 PM
Hi Dirk,

I think most of the sluggishness comes from my processor and motherboard. Tanx ran, but when it got busy (lots of stuff going on), its framerate dropped, but it was still playable.

Since I'm the one with the slowest hardware out of all the judges, if you want me to test stuff BEFORE deadlines, then I can do that. Just post your request in here with details of the downloads etc. and I'll sort you out with the information you need.

10-02-2007, 10:09 PM
Ok, thank you Christina....
I'll keep that in mind :)

13-02-2007, 01:34 AM
In response to Jeremy's feedback, I've re-read the design documents that were submitted and tried to provide some more detailed feedback. Most of my comments relate to genre choices and the level of detail in the document. Comments are listed under team names. Genres are listed. If a genre is in italic there is a specific concern/thought I have about it.

Where I've commented about genres, if I've based my comments on these definitions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_genres) which were used to construct the genre list for the competition, the competition genre list and a whole lot of thinking.

2nd Moon
Genres : Action (Red)/Strategy (Green)
You've acknowledged in your document that you've left a lot out because you were short on time, but the key elements (including an overview of gameplay) are there, along with some hints about the finer points of battles when you go on the offensive (vehicular differences), but one thing that is missing is what happens when your opponents go on the offensive and attack your cities. I'm guessing that this is where the strategy aspect of the game really kicks in with regards to planning defences etc. Overall though, you seem to have a clear idea of what you're trying to achieve.

Genres : Action (Red)/Building and Management (Cyan)
Quite a lots of thought gone into this. The action part sounds like some classic Atari 8-bit games 'Sea Dragon' and 'Nautilus', they were both great fun so I'm quite looking forward to playing the game. My only concern comes from your comments about the operation of the port aspect of the game. My take on it is that building and management implies you have full control over the choices (within boundaries governed by say available technology), but part of your document makes it sound like the port will be a guided set of choices that you must work through to open up new action levels. If it is guided and there is a strict order in which things occur then I would question whether its a multigenre title (For example, if action level 1 opens option A in the port... option A opens action level 2 and so on) because actually, you as the player have no choice at all in that case. Also, based on the genre definition of 'City Building', there is a certain implication that your choices have implications for your 'citizens' which in-turn has an impact on the game.

Genres : Educational (Grey)/Artillery (White)/Turnbased Combat (Red)
This is one of the most complete documents I've read and its nice to see someone specifically targetting the NDS. Unfortunately, whilst there is a wealth of information in it, I found the document a little tricky to follow in places. One such place is the exaplanation of the artillery aspect hence my concern about that genre. As I said, this is one of the most complete documents and its clear theres a hell of a lot of thought gone into it, so please don't take this the wrong way... sometimes quality is better than quantity. Some parts of it could have been sacrified for a clearer explanation of some of the game mechanics.

Average Idiot
Genres : Puzzle (Grey)/Strategy (Green)/Action (Red)
First off, the puzzle genre. If all you do is manipulate the playing field, then that does not qualify as a puzzle. Strategy/Tactical move yes... puzzle no. This issue aside though, its nice concise overview of the game. The only thing its really lacking is what constitutes a win (or loss) and how the game progresses.

Genres : Traditional (Grey)/Adventure (Blue)/Action (Red)/Puzzle (Grey)/Role-Playing (Red)/Simulation (Cyan)
My first thought... genre overload. On the whole, the document is pretty good and its clear you have a detailed idea of what you want to achieve and how the various aspects of the game tie up. But, I would question the genre list. The phrase 'less is more' springs to mind especially as each additional genre colour above the minimum requirement of 2 only accounts for a 5 point bonus.The issues as I see them with the genres you've listed are as follows.

Adventure implies two things puzzle solving since it is one of the key aspects of adventure games and certain characteristic game mechanics (such as a point and click control, e.g. Myst). So with regards to the puzzle genre, unless there are puzzle minigames, the puzzle genre won't (IMHO) count. Also, based on how you describe your game, it doesn't have the limited set of choices or point and click interface of an adventure, so it would (IMHO) more accurately be described as an action adventure.
The roleplaying genre implies certain game mechanics... characters stats for example. There is no mention of character stats with the exception of reputation in the document, so whilst you take on the 'role' of this bounty hunter/mercenary, I would question whether that is sufficient to qualify as a roleplaying game.

So in short, I personally would describe the core mechanics of your game as 'Action-adventure' and 'Simulation' (2 genre colours). Traditional and Puzzle minigames would add a third genre colour. But my main concern is that if you try and implement too much, the rest of the game could suffer and you could lose far more than you gain.

You scored 0 because you didn't upload a design document, thats all I can say.

Genres : Adventure (Blue)/Action - Vehicular Combat (Red)/Economic Simulation (Cyan)
I can't comment too much on the document because for the most part its not English and unfortunately my Spanish is non-existent. But, I would question the genres. The economic simulation I can see, with the trading aspect thats mentioned, whether it qualifies I guess will depend on how good a market simulation it is. My concern comes from the Adventure and Action - Vehicular Combat genres. As mentioned above, Adventure implies a certain set of game mechanics, so I would suggest that actually your game fits into the 'Action Adventure' (red) and 'Space Simulation' (cyan) genre, which of course means you only have 2 genre colours. But overall, I like the sound of the game.

Genres : Puzzle (Grey)/Real Time Strategy (Green)
Another good design document. The genre choices are clear as are the explanations of the game and its mechanics. Great job so far.

Genres : Artillery (White)/Strategy (Green)
This sounds to me like its going to be a nice twist on the turn based strategy. The document provides enough information to get a good idea of the game and how its played and I have no concerns about your genre choices. Great job.

Cerebral Bicycle Company
Genres : Puzzle (Grey)/Platform (Purple)
Overall, a good document with some clear explanations of the game and its mechanics. I like the twist on Tetris and I like the live action sprites idea, but I have concerns about the platform genre. At its most basic level, yes the player sprite may be required to climb on top of the tetris blocks and run around to avoid being squished (I hope you don't plan on dropping a block on your live action stunt actor btw) but is that sufficient to fit into the platform genre or is it simply a twist on Tetris?

Eon Clash
Genres : Maze (Black)/Puzzle (Grey)/Strategy (Green)
Another great design document. I personally don't have a problem with the inclusion of the strategy genre from reading the description of combat. The other two are quite clear cut. All in all, great job.

Genres : Action (Red)/Strategy (Green)/Simulation (Cyan)
The document provides an overview, but doesn't discuss the details of the game mechanics as a result I can see the action and strategy parts but I'm iffy on the simulation aspect. Whether or not this is a valid genre will largely depend on the final game I guess and how good the in-vehicle aspects are. But even if its discounted, you've met the required 2. Overall though, looks to me like it could be quite a nice game when its done.

Genres : Action (Red)/Strategy (Green)
The document is fairly short, and as you acknowledge, its not the best translation, but despite that it does give a basic overview. This makes the action part clear, but doesn't go into too much detail about the strategy part. A little more detail about the mechanics of what goes on on the surface of the planet would have been good. Whether strategy qualifies will depend on those mechanics.

Genres : Mecha (Red)/Military (Cyan)/Artillery (White)
As I said in my original comments, you did the absolute minimum. There is no real design in the document, just the list of genres, platforms and title. It would have been nice to get an idea of how you planned to put these together, but as it is, only time will tell if you manage to pull off the genres you've stated.

Genres : Stealth (Red)/Puzzle (Grey)
Nicely presented document with a pretty good explanation of the game and how the chosen genres will work together. Nice job.

Genres : Puzzle (Grey)/Artillery (White)
Nice clean concise document that gives a good idea of the game. The puzzle genre... whether this is a valid genre I think depends on implementation, although I honestly can't think of where I would put that aspect of the game in the genre list if it wasn't classified as a puzzle. That concern aside though, sounds like it could be great fun.

Infinite Space Online
Genres : Puzzle (Grey)/Shooter (Red)
Nice clean document that provides a good overview of the game. The idea is great, and compared to all the other entries, it has that nice twist, where you aren't actually trying to integrate the genres into a single game as such... instead the different genres become neat self contained components in a bigger picture. I have to ask... will you be going for a clean sweep of the genre colour chart?

Marek Mauder
Genres : Role-Playing (Red)/Strategy (Green)
Great document and clearly defined genres. I can't say much more than that as you seem to have it pretty much worked out.

Genres : Action (Red)/Chess (Grey)/Simulation (Cyan)
Whilst the document is a little on the short side, it does provide quite a clear overview of the game. Its not the most original concept (Archon and Battlechess spring to mind), but none the less, it should be fun to play (I might actually stand a chance at beating people at chess). My only concern is the simulation genre. Whilst the genre list is open to interpretation, Mechs are listed specifically as Action and there is no mention of them in the competition or Wikipedia genre lists relating to simulation. The only mention that I could find was in Vehicular combat. Assuming simulation is acceptable as a genre, then my concern would be will the mech be realistic enough to qualify? You will achieve the minimum requirement with the Action and Chess genre, so is the added work of making a realistic mech simulation worth 5 points?

Genres : Arcade Flight Simulator (?)/Racing (Yellow)/Puzzle (Grey)
Whilst the document provides the basics, its not totally clear and so interpreting the Arcade Flight Simulator genre thats suggested is a little tricky. First off I think the words Arcade and Simulator (based on the Wikipedia genres) are mutually exclusive when it comes to in-game flight. Action or shoot-em-up would possibly be an acceptable genre, or possibly even space simulator, but it will all depend on the implementation within the game. Overall though, it does sound like it could be quite a fun game.

Genres : Run and Gun (Red)/Economic Simulation (Cyan)
Nice clean document, if a little on the short side. Unfortunately, theres not much about the game mechanics so judging whether the run and gun genre is accurate isn't very easy at this stage. You've stated that the other genre is economic simulation... if all you can do is sell stuff you find to buy other items, in my opinion thats not in-depth enough to qualify as an economic simulation. So you need to give this some thought.

Genres : Racing (Yellow)/Simulation (Cyan)/Action (Red)
My first concern is your stated platform support. Whilst Windows XP is largely the same as Win2K, it does provide some features that Win2K does not. The document is a little short on details, but it does give a fairly clear idea of the game and from that I think the racing and action genres are fine. But, the simulation genre is a bit iffy. Will it be realistic enough to be classed as a simulation?

Genres : Simulation (Cyan)/Breakout (?)/Maze (Black)
The document is a little short on details, but there is enough to get an idea, although I'm not totally clear on finer points of the maze part, but this is in my opinion, the only clear genre. The simulation genre... reading the document, I would says its strategy not simulation. So thats your two genres. Why only two? Because at this point, I can't decide where the breakout component fits in the genre colour table. I would classify it as an arcade game, but there is no arcade genre (I think it was removed because it was too broad)... as such, I can't find a genre in the list that could be used to classify breakout, except maybe Action. This is largely irrelevant though because at the very minimum you have two genres.

Project Miniverse
Genres : Space Simulation (Cyan)/FPS (Red)
Overall, its a nice clean, concise document that provides a nice rounded overview of the game and its mechanics. The genre choices seem accurate based on the documents descriptions of the game, so there's not a lot more I can add.

Genres : Strategy (Green)/Lightgun (Money green)
Clean and clear document that gives a fairly concise picture of the game. Unfortunately its a little lacking when it comes to details (as an example, heres a couple of points that left me wondering... how the lightgun element is going to be implemented and how you will gain a tactical advantage in the strategy element). This lack of detail has left me wondering about the genre choices, whether they are appropriate, so I'll have to wait and see when I get my hands on the game itself.

Genres : Shooter (Red)/Puzzle (Grey)
First off, the document is clean and concise but its a little lacking in details. With regards to your genre choice, I have to ask the question why do you feel it should be classed as a Puzzle Shooter and not say an action adventure or even a platformer like Tomb Raider. Action adventures involve puzzles and possibly shooting (or other methods of despatching) enemies, as does Tomb Raider. And I ask, because I personally would classify your entry (having re-read it) as an action adventure which means it fits only a single genre.

Teleport Media
Genres : Run and Gun (Red)/Puzzle (Grey)
Overall, this is a nice clean document. It provides quite a bit of information although theres not too much about the run and gun element and its tie in with the puzzle element, hence I've marked a concern against the run and gun genre. I'm guessing that the puzzles sit between sections of run and gun action. None the less, I quite like the sound of it.

Genres : Platform (Purple)/Strategy (Green)
Nice clear document, with details where needed to explain the mechanics of the game. Your genre choices are pretty clear and theres clearly quite a lot of thought gone into it already. Nice job.

These are my thoughts and comments after reading your documents for a second time. I've been pretty brutal in some cases with my interpretation of the genre choices. The decisions I've made about what I believe qualifies and what does not have been based on the Wikipedia genre list and a lot of thought. I mentioned when I originally posted in the competition thread that some entries got me thinking about the genre choices... now on my second reading, I've found more entries that I have possible issues with. Ultimately though, these concerns may not be relevant... it all depends on how your games pan out over the course of the competition.

The adventure genre - Several teams have specified this as a genre, but in my opinion, adventure implies certain game mechanices.... text based command interface, point and click... but a common theme is actually quite a limited number of choices... go north, go south, go east, pickup key, etc. In my opinion, none of the teams has submitted a design that includes Adventure as a valid genre. Action-adventure, yes, but adventure no.

The simulation genre - This is a toughie, because simulation implies just that.... a realistic simulation. The one exception is that of the space simulator (Freelancer for example), which based on the Wikipedia article shouldn't really be considered a simulator since in alot of cases they throw away (or disregard larges parts of) the rule book regarding realism. However, for the purposes of this competition, space simulators are classed in the Simulation genre and so are acceptable. But for other subgenres, a certain level of realism should be present in order to cross the boundary from say action (in the case of a mech or vehicular combat) to true simulator.

Less is more - There are only 5 bonus points for each additional genre colour that you implement over and above the requirement of 2. If you implement 5 extra genre colours badly, you'll get 25 bonus points, but you could well lose more than that because the graphics, sound etc. suffer. So please bear this in mind.

Template documents - Jeremy was kind enough to provide a template for other teams to use and whilst its a good document template, it would have been better if those teams that used it could have removed the sections that weren't filled in or relevant. I found myself wading through quite a lot of text that wasn't relevant/completed. I understand that you probably didn't want to remove the sections so that you could fill them in later, but you could have used 'Save as...'. Load the newly saved document, remove the excess, and then submit that. The more detail the better in these documents, but conversely, the more wasted space we have to trawl through as judges, the longer the scoring process will take.

Platform support - Unfortunately I didn't take too much notice of platform specifics (I only checked that they were listed) until I read NecroSoft's, which got me thinking. They were quite explicit stating that their engine correctly works with Windows XP.... what about Windows 2000 I thought. A requirement of the competition is that your entries must run on the judges hardware and some of you have some pretty high end machines. I have Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000 Server available on an Athlon 800 and Windows 2000 Server available on a Duron 1.3GHz. Nothing else, so if you make use of XP only facilities and your entry won't run on my machine, it will be 0 points from me here on in. And high end these machines are not. Several teams have mentioned Newton... I can categorically tell you that if you rely heavily on Newton (or more generally extensive physics) you game could be unplayable for me.

Documents - Overall, I thought the quality of the documents was pretty good. I realise that all you had to provide to get the points was a working title, the two genre minimum and your platform support plans, but one thing the competition trys to encourage is good development practices. Whilst I was able to get a general idea about the game for every entry (with two notable exceptions), some were much clearer than others, especially when it came to defining the finer points of the game mechanics and their use of the different genres. The documents that were really good also stick out in my mind because they gave me more information and consequently a better idea of the game.

And finally...
If you feel I've been unjust with my comments about genres, then lets discuss it. But if we can't decide (or you can't convince me), WILL and Savage can have the final word since they are in charge of the competition. So if we can't reach a satisfactory conclusion, we can ask them to make the final decision.

Overall though, I stand by my original assessment of the competition so far. All the entries (with the exception of two teams) sound like they could make great games, so nice work and good luck to all of you. I hope you all hit the stage 2 requirements on-time as I'm looking forward to playing all your games :-)

13-02-2007, 04:43 AM
Well, well, well. Thank you VERY much for your effort! :wink:

13-02-2007, 04:59 AM
Having read through your comments there seemed to be two that you thought pretty much perfect (from a documentation point of view I mean) - Cool - I was one of them :wink:

Ñuño Martínez
13-02-2007, 11:39 AM
As I said somewhere I have not a lot of time, so quick: thanks to the judges for share theirs thoughts with us.

I agree there are great games here. Good luck for everybody.

14-02-2007, 05:20 AM
Genres : Action (Red)/Building and Management (Cyan)
Quite a lots of thought gone into this. The action part sounds like some classic Atari 8-bit games 'Sea Dragon' and 'Nautilus', they were both great fun so I'm quite looking forward to playing the game. My only concern comes from your comments about the operation of the port aspect of the game. My take on it is that building and management implies you have full control over the choices (within boundaries governed by say available technology), but part of your document makes it sound like the port will be a guided set of choices that you must work through to open up new action levels. If it is guided and there is a strict order in which things occur then I would question whether its a multigenre title (For example, if action level 1 opens option A in the port... option A opens action level 2 and so on) because actually, you as the player have no choice at all in that case. Also, based on the genre definition of 'City Building', there is a certain implication that your choices have implications for your 'citizens' which in-turn has an impact on the game.

I like that "lots of thought went into this" bit. The truth is that I decided to enter at 12:00 midnight the day of submission and wrote my design doc in about an hour. :lol: So I don't know exactly how the port/building system will work out. But to clarify, it will NOT be strictly linear. Examples of scenarios I might include:

-A friend asks you to lend him money to open a business. If you have earned the money at that point in the game, the option to give him money appears. Doing so opens a new location later, while refusing or being unable means that he tries to earn the money himself, leading to a mission where you have to rescue him.

-You are doing an escort mission for the government. You fail the mission. This does not end the game, but instead means that you cannot access government facilities or equipment later on.

One thing I would like to try is to never completely punish the player for their "big decisions." Failing the government mission might open up black market/criminal missions and bring about another path.

That style of gameplay is more like "adventure" or even "interactive movie" since it's mostly about dialogue trees, but I may also do something with numbers in it, which I'm sure is what most people think of as "city-building." But I don't really have ideas there...yet. The idea of opening new locations is what led me to think of "building" as the genre, but I'd like to focus on people more than numbers, so maybe I was thinking of the wrong genre :wink:

14-02-2007, 07:36 AM
Thanks for providing that information rtf, I'll take that into consideration at the appropriate point in the competition.

14-02-2007, 04:10 PM
If I may Comment on the review of my (and my team's, of course) project, MechaChess:

I actually didn't know about BattleChess or "Archon", resp. that the concept of mixing chess and action had ever been implemented. I will research on this, maybe there are a few good ideas to steal ;-)

I always wanted to make a game like Mechwarrior or Earthsiege 2, now I just had to search for another genre, and "Chess" came to my mind suddenly while reading the genre list up and down.
So making the mech simulation as sophisticated as possible is one of our declared goals(a teammate already asked me, "are we programmers now or are we engineers?!").
(Of course we need to keep it low a little bit... there should still be some action in it after all)

We know we're a little bit in-between on genres, but we just put it all into the design doc. I didn't see any penalties for not implementing an additionally announced genre. ;-)

14-02-2007, 04:37 PM
Well, I'm the lead programmer of MechaChess. I do know the simulation part and the action part might overlap. At the moment, I'm still coding the basic engine and the chess part, so I don't know what the simulation part will be like.

If we have enough time, I will do something like individual equipment and something like tuning. We'll try to do the mechs' behaviour as realistic as we can. I don't know if this justifies the genre "Simulation", but the contest description didn't say anything specific about it and so we just added the simulation part, cause the worst thing to happen was that the simulation part wouldn't be accepted as an own genre and we wouldn't get the 5 extra points.

So, if it will be accepted, it's fine. Otherwise it's not a big thing, too.

Good luck to all of you others.

14-02-2007, 04:50 PM
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), I'm of that age that remembers games like Archon (it was released in 1983) and Battlechess.

You are quite right, you won't lose points directly if you don't achieve the simulation genre, providing of course you achieve the minimum requirement of two genre colours.

14-02-2007, 07:17 PM
Don't worry, we will. ;)

At least if that OpenGL stuff won't kill me before we finish it. D'oh!

EDIT: By the way, these games are older than I and my fellow programmer DGL-Luke are. 1983, that's 8 years older than I am. :lol:

14-02-2007, 09:10 PM
EDIT: By the way, these games are older than I and my fellow programmer DGL-Luke are. 1983, that's 8 years older than I am. :lol:

Man that makes me feel OLD. I was 15 in 1983.

14-02-2007, 09:22 PM
Dom, you ARE old :)

I was "only" 11 in 1983 ;)

14-02-2007, 09:34 PM
Dudes you're old :)
I wasn't even born in 1983 :P

14-02-2007, 10:09 PM
I was 12 in 1983 :-) Whilst we may be 'old' we were there at the birth of computer games. And it was great :-D

14-02-2007, 11:20 PM
Wasn't the first computer game made around the 60's? (that ofcourse depends on how you define computer game)

I did naturally not mean anything negative about my comment. Honestly I prefer many of the 'old' games compared to the new games that are released today. Today it's all about graphics while in the beginning of the 90's and before it was more about creating a really fun gameplay.

If I take a look at the games I play 70 % of them requires dosbox to run.
In some matter I envy you guys/gals for experiencing what I would call the Golden Age of computer games :wink:

14-02-2007, 11:29 PM
Bunch of young pups! :P

I was the ripe old age of 3 back in the good 'ole days of 1983. :o

10 years later I was set on the path of programing that would prepare me for the day I became the greatest Pascal games programmer that ever lived... ...that or just the cocky yet slightly deranged sociopath who can post a lot. :P

Eye of the beholder or something about pudding and all that. ;)

'This post is not yet rated.'

15-02-2007, 01:14 AM
In 1983 I was winning my first Software Development Compo and going to Washington DC as a reward. In case anyone is curious, it was developed in Turtle Basic with other students to help bring awareness about recycling.

I won't tell you what grade I was in, but it was elementary school.

if CompareText(WILL, 'Psychotic Sociopath') = 0 then
WriteLn('PGD Started!');

PGD Started!

15-02-2007, 04:20 AM
I love these Age debates - because I quite often win them. I beat Athena by a few months it seems :)

15-02-2007, 10:46 AM
I was 12 in 1983 :-) Whilst we may be 'old' we were there at the birth of computer games. And it was great :-D

Actually, thats a bit of a porky... my birthday is near Christmas, so for about 98% of 1983... I was 11 :-D

15-02-2007, 10:53 AM
Man that makes me feel OLD. I was 15 in 1983.

I'm up there with you buddy, I was 11 :) Shall we open an "old Farts" forum :wink:

15-02-2007, 12:46 PM
I was 10... so I'm an old fart too.

AH... back in the day, with my trusty Sinclair Spectrum by my side, my old TV, my dog eared Spectrum Basic manual and Z80 Assembler books, my assembler and disassembler, trying to squeeze every last ounce of speed out of the machine so I could draw masked sprites, masked parralax scrolling and hi-res colour on the 256, 192 display, with 7 whole colours... writing my own drawing programs to make my sprites, loading and saving everything to tape and fitting everything into a nice 48k of memory... they were the days...

(sound of record scratching) WHAT?!!!...

No!, kids today have it much easier.. Multi-Gigahertz processors, gigs of ram, CD quality sound, Terrabytes of disk space, 3D graphics apps, music sequences, Object Oriented programming languages, compiling to native code, step through debugging and... the Internet.

Yung'uns today have got it so easy, but why is it that only a few even attempt to do anything with this wealth of resources at their displosal?

Can you imagine what we'd do (old un's) if we had that kind of tech when we were kids?...

No more trying to code small AND efficient, loading level data from tape, writing sprite compression routines to get more than a handful in memory, writing low level sprite handling routines which flipped the sprite horizontally to save on memory, no more using the code memory as a random number array...

Now I feel old... old and grumpy

I do think there is a different mindset these days though, in the days of the Spectrum, the magazines were bursting with information about writing your own games.. in modern PC mags, the most you get is tutorials in the latest game making package or level editor..

Yep... definitely old and grumpy :oops:

15-02-2007, 02:45 PM
I never bought any magazine to learn writing games. Learning and doing, that's my way of learning things. ;)

16-03-2007, 03:17 PM
AthenaOfDelphi, I suppose you didn't read my readme file. In my readme file I stated several debug-keys and -commands, among others the F7-key which toggles the FPS counter.

16-03-2007, 06:17 PM
If an FPS count was obvious within the game, I reported what I was getting, if it wasn't present out of the box, I didn't. Rest assured that it ran OK and I had a nice quick game of chess against myself to check out the chess engine :-)

Just bear in mind, that I'm trying to score all entries within 24 hours of the stage deadline.

16-03-2007, 07:37 PM
Never mind, I didn't mean to criticize you.

03-04-2007, 11:54 AM
Hi Christina, just wanna ask a little about the performance that you got on my entry, 7th Division. (Dunno if this is the right place to post this here)

You mentioned that you only got 16fps, with low details, on your 2nd desktop, 1.3GHz Duron Geforce 3(128 MB, Overclocked). And 1 fps on your main pc, 800MHz Althon nVidia GeForceFX 5200. :)

The second slowest pc I've tested my entry on is a 1ghz ?Athlon? Laptop, with onboard video (8mb from what I can tell), 256MB RAM. It ran at a constant 26fps, low details.

I know none of the PC's mentioned are gaming pc's, but I spent a bit of time Optimizing my entry to run on slower computers. I'm at the stage again when I'm further improving the performance, and running tests.

I'm using, at the time I submitted my entry, Octrees for Terrain and Scenery culling, Box-Frustum culling for Scenery, BackFace (and some frontface) culling, display lists for each scenery and Octree Node, State sorting, and triangle strips for all polygons.

The tree's are about 2700 polly's each, and although they are each drawn twice a frame (for cartoon outlines), I calculate the average scene draws about 50-60,000 triangles a frame. Which doesn't really seem all that much especially without textures. And using display lists, strips, and face culling, the hardware mentioned should be able to the the game ok.

I dunno, I'm just trying to investigate the performance, and am very suprised that your first pc only got 1 frame a second, lol. Maybe I have bottlenecks elsewhere apart from rendering, maybe in the AI or something, or all the overhead in polygon culling. I'm also worried, because the Demo Map that was supplied, was pretty bare. I'm planning on the final release to have about 10X as much scenery, it is infact ment to be thick jungle terrain after all, lol :)

Also, about Windows 2000 Server. As I have never had any experience with it, just wondering how you (and others ;)) find it's performance compared to say Windows XP, in gaming and general applications, and the driver support in Windows 2000.

I never got around to supplying a test demo before the dead-line, but I'll be sure to this round.

I just want everyone to be able to enjoy my game the way it's ment to be played :)

03-04-2007, 09:13 PM
Lets address the easiest question first... performance of Win2K Server... I've stuck with it because the majority of my code is server stuff. I only have one real driver issue and that relates to my soundcard (Yamaha SW1000XG). Apart from that, I've not had any real problems playing games. The only thing that does crop up occassionally is stuff like periodic services... you'll notice minor slow down from time to time whilst playing, but overall, its great.

Performance... I've tried various configurations and I can't get a playable game. If you want me to run some tests to try and rule things out, I can do that for you, just email the exe's and instructions to me at athena at outer hyphen reaches dot com and I'll post the results in this thread.

05-04-2007, 08:33 AM
Hi Christina.

Did you have problems clicking on the buttons of my dialogs in stage 3 entry?

05-04-2007, 09:30 AM
Hi Dirk,

Yes I did (I thought I mentioned this in the comments). The 'shop' dialog seemed to work ok, but the cannon control dialog seemed to be broken. I struggled to control the cannon.

I also struggled performance wise, especially when pushing blocks around with the bulldozer.

05-04-2007, 01:24 PM
I forgot to make the button functions framerate independent. So could it be that the cannon moved just very very slow on your machine?
In addition to that, a simple fast click is not the way it is intended to work. A click and hold will move the cannon.

I need to know if the buttons collision behaviour is working on your machine, so if you have some minutes for me, could you test it again and take a look at a maybe very slow movement of the cannon?

05-04-2007, 04:47 PM
Hi Dirk,

The problem with the canon, does appear to be linked to the physics in the stage 3 upload. I bought a cannon straight away and I can move it without any real problems. Then, I switched to the bulldozer, moved a bunch of blocks around (incidentally, it left the cannon controls on screen when I did this). When I switched back to the cannon it was slower. I switched to the hand and tried stacking some blocks (for some reason it appeared that everytime I picked up a block, I picked up the cannon). When I went back to the cannon again, it was practically dead.

Hope this helps.

If you need more specific tests performed, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

05-04-2007, 05:26 PM
Thank you very much Christina... this gives some hints where I can investigate the mentioned problems. The stuck cannon to the mouseclick is a bug I found myself after submitting. And the physics problems should be already solved now. I changed the way I call Newton update.

I will fix and add some other things and then surely will upload a test version before the next deadline. Thanks again!