Design Talk 12/12/2013

NekochuNekochu REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Developers Posts: 244 Developer
edited December 2013 in Design
Hello everyone!

So if you don't know who I am, and I'm sure many do not have a great familiarity with me on the forums here, I am the lead designer for TUG. I apologize profusely for the absence in many of the discussions going on here and the utter lack of my presence in the forums. I'm not here to offer excuses but instead to try to remedy the problem.

As such I am planning to start a little designer topic thread at least once a week and maybe more often as time permits.

So the topic for this week is sort of a get to know the team and their roles on the project because I feel like most of us are often aloof to the community which can be the case in many development situations. Please understand that we do like to share what we're working on but often it turns into just a matter of prioritizing our time effectively and we don't always get to talk to the community as much as we probably should.

Now I know I said earlier that I was not going to offer excuses for my absence BUT I also said I was going to talk about what I do on the project. Soooo, if a reader was to infer that some of my duties might be the cause of my lack of attention to forums, then so be it. ;)

Since we are a relatively small development team, we all end up shouldering a lot of different tasks and duties as they are necessary. As lead designer the majority of my duties include taking research information and suggestions from our research scientists and turning those into our systems and game mechanics. Up until this point, my job mostly focused on the world design of the game, working with biome population and terrain generation. While that served as my primary task, I still found myself juggling the documentation and mechanic design for upcoming features. So currently a lot of that focus has shifted into working with our crafting and early combat design for the upcoming survival games. On the design of things currently I am working on a much deeper combat structure that we can work towards going forward for both survival mode and the adventure mode of the game.

Here is where we get to the tricky part. In addition to these design duties, I have also taken on the roles of production and project management for the development team. It is a natural fit to fall into managing the team on a day to day basis, since as lead designer, I naturally fall into the vision holder for where the team should be headed. Game design at its core is not necessarily being the one with all the ideas but more of the one who makes sure the team is achieving the vision for the game and working toward those goals.

As part of production and management, it means that I am running our daily progress meetings, working through issues among team members and making sure tasks and planning on the project are all happening. It also has its fair share of taking care of day to day tasks just around the office too.

So that's my little who I am and what I do on the team. As part of these discussions I would now like to open up the thread to anyone with questions, specific to the topics discussed. So if anyone has questions specific to what a lead designer, game designer or even producer or project manager might do on a game development team, feel free to add them to this thread and I'll field them to the best of my abilities.

Thank you everyone for all your support for TUG and hang in there for the the Survival Mode launching in January! Tune in next week for another new topic!
Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
Tumblr: xnekochux

Comments

  • PamcakesPamcakes REGISTERED, Moderator Posts: 738 Seed
    No, Nekochu, thank YOU. :)
    That's a really cool shirt you have on.
  • RinRin REGISTERED Posts: 668 Seed
    what should a person planning on going into game design attempt to master beforehand and or go to college for?
    Warthunder, TUG and world of tanks fan/beta tester.
    member of The Lemurian empire and the Merchants guild
    Soon to be alchemist/apothecary in TUG
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  • spacedotspacedot REGISTERED Posts: 416 Seed
    Nekochu wrote:

    Up until this point, my job mostly focused on the world design of the game, working with biome population and terrain generation.

    Please tell us more about these. I am very interested in how the world itself will look , be formed and if we/you the dev team will be able to shape it.
  • erian_7erian_7 REGISTERED Posts: 195
    Very good to sees you starting this thread, Nekochu! I was a software development PM work for years, and always found that open upfront communication with the end users was a very good means of both managing expectations and gathering new ideas/requirements. I've reserved comment in most areas right now as I'd like to see more of the basic TUG framework/systems to get a better feel for how the team will handle things. Hopefully this thread will provide some of that insight.
    Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly With Your God
  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    edited December 2013
    What style of mining are you going for? A minecraft style, where you can easily gather tons of iron, or a more difficult and time consuming set of features like some have suggested on the forums?

    EDIT: This seems very biased so let me change it up a bit :D

    Is it going to be more like Minecraft casual mining style where you can run around and gain the resources from caves, or will there be a more realistic approach where you have to tunnel, create supports, create smelty things, molds etc?
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

    Bye!
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    Youngy798 wrote:
    What style of mining are you going for? A minecraft style, where you can easily gather tons of iron, or a more difficult and time consuming set of features like some have suggested on the forums?
    You make the answer so obvious...
    I sexually identify as a set of knight full plate armor. I hope you can accept me the way I am; otherwise, check your armor privileges.
  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    I looked back at that.. and god I sounded so biased. Probably because I am. But Ill change it to be less bias :D
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

    Bye!
  • SinnonSinnon REGISTERED Posts: 383 Seed
    I don't think this will have an actuall minecraft style, just like a bit, but will be quite unique in its own way, more like real life but in an alternate dimension.
    Sintiacutetulo-1-1.png
    Enlist your faction in Seekers Order, sub-groups or alliances are not problem with the enlisting, since we are a not a clan, just a UN sistem of organization.
  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    Sinnon is on a posting Mega spree :D
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

    Bye!
  • SinnonSinnon REGISTERED Posts: 383 Seed
    Youngy798 wrote:
    Sinnon is on a posting Mega spree :D

    Yeah :P, trying to move up from the Organization sub-forum since I was only active there, and wasn't really aware of the rest of the community :P
    Sintiacutetulo-1-1.png
    Enlist your faction in Seekers Order, sub-groups or alliances are not problem with the enlisting, since we are a not a clan, just a UN sistem of organization.
  • LeifLeif REGISTERED Posts: 361 Seed
    Thanks Nekochu!
    otViQlH.png
  • PamcakesPamcakes REGISTERED, Moderator Posts: 738 Seed
    Leif! It's been so long D:
    That's a really cool shirt you have on.
  • LeifLeif REGISTERED Posts: 361 Seed
    Pamcakes wrote:
    Leif! It's been so long D:

    I know! Work has been a killer!

    Where have you been? Still running a TUG chatroom? I really should join in one of these days.
    otViQlH.png
  • NekochuNekochu REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Developers Posts: 244 Developer
    Rin wrote:
    what should a person planning on going into game design attempt to master beforehand and or go to college for?

    So design is a field that has room for a lot of different backgrounds. Designers can fall into scripters, world builders, writers, environmental artists or even just things like production & documentation. I would suggest deciding where you see yourself as a designer before deciding. If you prefer more of the artistic side of design, look at something like architecture, planning or even drafting blueprints or concepts. If you see yourself more leaning to the code side of design, get experience with as much programming and logic systems as possible. Learn things like creating a logic flowchart or just learning the basics of coding and logic flow in systems.

    For most jobs in the industry, companies look for past experience and portfolio pieces so while I do not feel that a solid bachelor's in some prior degree is not critical, being able to show something you have worked on in the past, game related, will get your foot in the door a lot easier. Above everything else, experience the world, make yourself knowledgeable on a lot of subjects and have the ability to deconstruct how people do things or create things. As a designer, your role on the team is being that filter of art & code that creates the final game product so it is very vital that you have enough experience with communicating with experts in those two fields that you can take their work and turn it into something fun and enjoyable in the end and when you do need adjustments to make your design work shine, you know how to ask for that help or adjustments from the other areas of game development.
    Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
    Tumblr: xnekochux
  • NekochuNekochu REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Developers Posts: 244 Developer
    spacedot wrote:
    Nekochu wrote:

    Up until this point, my job mostly focused on the world design of the game, working with biome population and terrain generation.

    Please tell us more about these. I am very interested in how the world itself will look , be formed and if we/you the dev team will be able to shape it.

    Currently our world generation is build upon the idea of biomes each with a distinct terrain generation model that allows for terrain frequency that creates the ups and downs in the terrain, like mountains and valleys as well as very specific terrain control for things like terraces, mesas and very abrupt height and frequency changes in terrain not handled by normal terrain generation. Each of these biome sections have access to one terrain generation algorithm that we call a geome and then any number of cave geomes that cut into the terrain. These cave geomes basically serve as a slicing tool to break up the otherwise contiguous terrain created through generation. Using these cave biomes we can get valleys, trenches, surface caverns and the like that add even more features to the terrain.

    The biomes themselves are set up in order of where they will occur during world generation. So say there is a mountain biome in the list that is set to have a snowy mountain biome on one side and then a tree filled valley on the other. When the procedural generation for the world occurs it takes a look at this list of biomes and which biomes occur in which order. By doing this, we can make sure biomes naturally have a flow, so like in the example above, the mountain biome will always flow either into some higher snow capped mountains or the tree line at the base. There will never be the occurrence of a desert bumping up to a set of snow covered mountains, unless we switch the biome order for that to occur!

    Finally after biomes on the surface are created, we also have a series of caves and tunnels that are created under the world. These special biomes do not have the same order or precedence as the surface but are just created after the surface biomes are generated.

    All biomes, including the world caverns have a population algorithm attached to them as well as terrain generation. This is where objects like flowers, rocks and trees get placed. When placing these items, a frequency as well as amount for each item is set and the objects are then generated procedurally, just like the terrain. Certain objects can also be set to occur as a cluster, allowing for more control over placement. This means you can set up things like a ring of mushrooms or make sure that a sapling of a larger tree will always occur in the vicinity of its larger version.

    All of these variables and controls are exposed to all users through the gameobject text files and the generation files stored in the Data folder of the game. There are several more detailed threads that go more into the specifics of making adjustments to this and other features in the game currently.
    Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
    Tumblr: xnekochux
  • NekochuNekochu REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Developers Posts: 244 Developer
    Youngy798 wrote:
    What style of mining are you going for? A minecraft style, where you can easily gather tons of iron, or a more difficult and time consuming set of features like some have suggested on the forums?

    EDIT: This seems very biased so let me change it up a bit :D

    Is it going to be more like Minecraft casual mining style where you can run around and gain the resources from caves, or will there be a more realistic approach where you have to tunnel, create supports, create smelty things, molds etc?

    I think this will probably adjust according through the development cycle and it's hard to say which will be the prevalent style in the end but let me answer this one more to how minerals and deposits are handled in the world generation at the moment.

    Currently ores and distribution of them are handled in the generation files and occur with the frequency, size of deposit and its depth in the world. Each of these is set up independently per biome, allowing us to keep with the idea that certain ores would occur more naturally in the biome that you would expect to find them in. This also allows for resource scarcity and distribution control that users might employ throughout future development of the game.

    So in mining, every terrain element that would be mined is structured to be destroyed or added by a certain tool. For example, you need a pick for rock. You would need an advanced pick for harder stone or even a specialized pick to gather certain ore elements. This method of tool tiers is what allows us to control the difficulty of mining. So if we decide that deep metamorphic rock requires a higher tier pick than stones found on the surface, we can then control the distribution of ores and valuable resources that we only want accessed after a player crafts the higher tier tools to occur lower than the metamorphic rock that serves as a gateway of difficulty to reach those more precious ores.
    Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
    Tumblr: xnekochux
  • erian_7erian_7 REGISTERED Posts: 195
    I'm very interested in the mining (and harvesting) aspects as well. Needing a cart to haul back logs/ore is an appealing idea to me vs. being able to gather up what would in RL be literally tons of material and carry it all back. That, however, gets down to a play style issue when considering resources required for construction, effort that players will find "fun" over tedious, etc. A counter to the work being harder would be having those gathered resources be of greater use. So felling a few trees and hauling them back to process actually results in a sizable amount of resources, rather than needing to cut down dozens of trees (which are easily stacked up and carried in some inventory window). Processing is another aspect I'm hoping has more effort, but greater reward. Stacking up logs, vs. turning those logs into planks (and later having a saw mill for faster production) is something I'd enjoy. The same for smelting ores, needing a blast furnace/bloomery for iron, etc. For comparison, I like TerraFimraCraft as a mod over vanilla MC any day.
    Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly With Your God
  • mcmanusaurmcmanusaur REGISTERED Posts: 141
    Nekochu wrote:
    Rin wrote:
    what should a person planning on going into game design attempt to master beforehand and or go to college for?

    So design is a field that has room for a lot of different backgrounds. Designers can fall into scripters, world builders, writers, environmental artists or even just things like production & documentation. I would suggest deciding where you see yourself as a designer before deciding. If you prefer more of the artistic side of design, look at something like architecture, planning or even drafting blueprints or concepts. If you see yourself more leaning to the code side of design, get experience with as much programming and logic systems as possible. Learn things like creating a logic flowchart or just learning the basics of coding and logic flow in systems.

    For most jobs in the industry, companies look for past experience and portfolio pieces so while I do not feel that a solid bachelor's in some prior degree is not critical, being able to show something you have worked on in the past, game related, will get your foot in the door a lot easier. Above everything else, experience the world, make yourself knowledgeable on a lot of subjects and have the ability to deconstruct how people do things or create things. As a designer, your role on the team is being that filter of art & code that creates the final game product so it is very vital that you have enough experience with communicating with experts in those two fields that you can take their work and turn it into something fun and enjoyable in the end and when you do need adjustments to make your design work shine, you know how to ask for that help or adjustments from the other areas of game development.

    I'm no expert, but I like to think that working knowledge of psychology is very essential to game design. Also, don't forget systems (i.e. combat system) and UI designers!
  • NekochuNekochu REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Developers Posts: 244 Developer
    erian_7 wrote:
    I'm very interested in the mining (and harvesting) aspects as well. Needing a cart to haul back logs/ore is an appealing idea to me vs. being able to gather up what would in RL be literally tons of material and carry it all back. That, however, gets down to a play style issue when considering resources required for construction, effort that players will find "fun" over tedious, etc. A counter to the work being harder would be having those gathered resources be of greater use. So felling a few trees and hauling them back to process actually results in a sizable amount of resources, rather than needing to cut down dozens of trees (which are easily stacked up and carried in some inventory window). Processing is another aspect I'm hoping has more effort, but greater reward. Stacking up logs, vs. turning those logs into planks (and later having a saw mill for faster production) is something I'd enjoy. The same for smelting ores, needing a blast furnace/bloomery for iron, etc. For comparison, I like TerraFimraCraft as a mod over vanilla MC any day.

    Yes, that will come eventually. We are definitely working toward the idea of deeper difficulty being more rewarding and you will start to see hints of that in the backpack design. The look and size of the backpack will reflect what/how much you are carrying, making players decide how what is important to them during treks into the wild. Resources in that type of system become more valuable when the player is limited to how much they can carry and pack load out becomes a critical decision.

    You are correct though that this level of tedium must be balances with reward as it does border on the idea of not fun but pointless tediousness on the player.
    Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
    Tumblr: xnekochux
  • Youngy798Youngy798 REGISTERED Posts: 905 Seed
    A quick suggestion, I think mining shouldn't be in a continuous motion like Minecraft, but every click counts as a hit. Everytime you hit the block a crack gets larger until it breaks (like in 7 days to die) also having ores in huge clusters of around 100-200, but making them take a long time to mine makes it rewarding to set up a positions in one spot instead of running from area to area just ripping it out of caves.
    Hello there! I am Youngy future owner of Plainhold (hopefully), go read the topic about Plainhold, and the Lemurian Empire, maybe also some of my other posts, like my mining suggestions! :)

    Bye!
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