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#1 2020-09-09 16:33:13

Registered: 2020-09-09
Posts: 1

I think that if we want VGDL to evolve

15 May.

Posted by                                              Categories

This is a postmortem for our game ELIMINATION (you can try it here:  on Browser, Android, or iOS devices) talking about the different design decisions during creating the game and the level generator and validating some of these theories using players’ data.
This post is an adapted version of our (, , and )  that was submitted as a short paper for CoG conference.
18 Mar.
Posted by                                              Categories                                                                                           Hello Everyone.
In the following post, I will be describing my process in designing my latest game, ““.
First of all, I would like to thank , , , , , and  for their feedback that helped in improving the overall game and making it more accessible and less evil big_smile.
I will divide this topic into three separate blog posts because “” consists of 42 scenes which would take too much time to write and too much space for just one.
The idea for this game started a long time ago after I finished a tiny game with  for the  (GameZanga is an Arabic game jam that happens every year in the ) called ““.
I liked the idea of having a winged character with very precise controls that allows the player to avoid most of the traditional platform’s challenges (as I am not good with most  that utilize momentum).
For a long time, I was trying to find the best environment to introduce this character until I remembered playing a game by “” called, ““.
I remembered how much I was fascinated by the idea of the flying citadel (you can notice the similarity between that and my flying house).
At that time, “” was becoming very famous and I wanted to experiment with it before buying.
As a PhD student, I have very little money in general.
When I Googled “free alternatives,” I found “” which is an fantastic open source fantasy console.
I decided to build my game in.
The above images show my first draft of the game’s main story, the challenges, and the overall map which has connections inspired by “” and “” series.
I wanted the player to be able to see the different locked branches from the beginning of the game.
I also wanted to use the “soft locks” idea similar to the one used in the first “The Legend of Zelda” and the latest, “Breath of the Wild” for controlling the order of visiting the different dungeons.
Locks in general are used to guide the player towards an optimal way to finish the game.
Soft locks use very difficult challenges for the player’s current skill level.
Soft locks provide the feeling of openness instead of having better guidance while hard locks are used to have a more carefully guided experience.
Most of my knowledge in designing this game came from reading ‘s amazing book “” and playing “” and ““.
The images above are notes from my notebook after I got my first feedback on the game, and were used to redesign some of the challenges to make it more focused on the core verbs (mechanics).
““‘s core verbs can be seen in the first page: Fly, Move, Jump, Drop Slowly (Gliding), and Drop Fast.
Every challenge in the game revolves around these verbs – especially Fly and Glide as these are what make “” stand out among similar games.
You will also notice that I decided not to use any text inside the game either for story or for guiding the player, similar to the approach used in ““.
I would like to note that the world of the game is divided into multiple regions – like in “” – with each region having a different set of challenges ramping from easy to hard as the player advances, ending with the player getting a key.
In this first part of the blog series, you will notice that  to  are the first region while  to  are the second region.
The first region helps the player to learn the basic verbs and uses spikes as the core challenge.
The second region is more about precise control and timing, adding on laser challenges.
<!--, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,                                                                                                   7 Aug.
Posted by                                              Categories                                                                                           Hello, This blog post is the background section from  (I, , , and ).
The paper proposes the problem of tutorial generation for games, i.e.
to generate tutorials which can teach players to play games, as an AI problem.
The background of the paper talks about the history of tutorials and their different types.
I hope this post will help developers and designers to design better tutorials for their games.
Tutorials are the first interactions players encounter in a game.
They help players understand game rules and, ultimately, learn how to play with them.
In the game industry, developers experimented with different tutorial formats.
In the arcade era, when most games were meant to be picked up and played quickly, they either had very simple mechanics, or they contained mechanics that players could relate to: “Press right to move”, “Press up to jump”, and so on.
As a result, these games usually lacked a formal tutorial.
As their complexity increased and home consoles started to explode in popularity, formal tutorials became more common.
Some game developers tried using an active learning approach which was optimized for players that learn through experimentation and exploring carefully designed levels.
Games like Megaman X (Capcom, 1993) follow this approach.
Other developers relied on old-school techniques, teaching the player everything before they could play the game, such as in Heart of Iron 3 (Paradox Interactive, 2009).
While one cannot argue that one technique is always superior to another, different techniques suit different audiences and/or games.
Tutorials have evolved significantly over time, from the simple directive of Pong (“Avoid missing the ball for highscore”) to the exquisitely detailed in-game database of Civilization.
Suddaby describes multiple types of tutorials , from none at all to thematically relevant contextual lessons, where the tutorial is ingrained within the game environment.
Williams suggests that active learning tutorials, which stress player engagement and participation with the skills being learned, may be ineffective when the player never has an isolated place to practice a particularly complex skill.
In fact, Williams argues that some active learning tutorials actually ruin the entire game experience for the player because of this reason.
According to Andersen et al., the effectiveness of tutorials on gameplay depends on how complex a game is to begin with , and sometimes are not useful at all.
Game mechanics that are simple enough to be discovered using experimental methods may not require a tutorial to explain them.
From these two sources, we find our first two boundaries for tutorial generation: there exists mechanics that are too simple to be taught in a tutorial, and there are mechanics complex enough that they may need to be practiced in a well-designed environment to hone.
In general, a game developer would want to use the most suitable tutorial style for their game.
For that purpose, they must understand different dimensions/factors that affect the tutorial design process and outcome.
Andersen et al.
measured how game complexity affects the perceived outcome of tutorials.
In their study, they defined 4 dimensions of tutorial classification:   whether the game has a tutorial or not.
whether the tutorial is a part of story and game or separate and independent from them.
whether the player is free to experiment and explore or is forced to follow a set of commands.
whether the player can request for help or not.
These tutorials explain how to play the game by providing the player with a group of instructions to follow, similar to what is seen in boardgames.
For example: Strategy games, such as Starcraft (Blizzard, 1998), teach the player by taking them step by step towards understanding different aspects of the game.
These tutorials explain how to play by showing the player an example of what will happen if they do a specific action.
For example: Megaman X uses a Non Playable Character (NPC) to teach the player about the charging skill.
These tutorials explain how to play the game by giving the player freedom to explore and experiment.
For example: in Super Mario Bros (Nintendo, 1985), the world 1-1 is designed to introduce players to different game elements, such as goombas and mushrooms, in a way that the player can not miss.
One way of seeing that is that early obstacles are instances of patterns, which reoccur later in the game in more complex instantiations or combinations.
References:  Therrien, C.
In DiGRA Conference.
Andersen, E.; O’Rourke, E.; Liu, Y.-E.; Snider, R.; Lowdermilk, J.; Truong, D.; Cooper, S.; and Popovic, Z.
In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 59–68.
Williams, G.
Ray, S.
Suddaby, P.
13 Mar.
Posted by                                              Categories                                                                                           Hello everyone,  I had a chat with Dan (a friend of mine at the ) about how many new game developers don’t know a lot about different game engines.
Once the discussion ended, he asked me to post about game engines, and rate them according to difficulty and complexity.
Nowadays there are more game engines than in the early days of indiegame development.
The funny thing is only a few of them are popular such as Unity, Unreal Engine, and Game Maker.
Warning, this is a long post and if you don’t have time, you can jump to a summary table that outlines them all at the end of the post ().
Bitsy (): is a simple browser based game editor that doesn’t need any coding or even logic.
The tool itself has predefined types of sprites and actions.
The user needs only to draw different images and define dialogues for each game character, connect everything together, and TADAAAAAA, you finished a simple html game.
All games created by it are topdown story based games where the player can talk to different objects.
Dungeon Decorator (): is similar to Bitsy, except it designs.
The user needs to design the map, some dialogues, and they have a game.
All games created by the tool are platformer story based games where the player can talk to different objects.
Scratch (): is an MIT tool that helps children to create stories, animation, and games.
The tool allows you to program your own logic, by designing logic trees and attaching them to different objects in the scene.
Scratch is more generic than you can expect, but it is hard to design very complicated games using it.
Scratch produces html games to be played in the web, and all the created games are hosted on their website.
You can check their top games here ().

Twine (): is one of the most famous interactive story tools

You can design your text based adventure game, interactive stories, and etc.
Twine is a very easy to use tool where you build a story branching tree and link it together.

Twine exports html and javascript games

so adding any javascript code works fine in the game.
Here are some known games made with Twine:  This Book is a Dungeon ().
Depression Quest ().
Bureau ().
ChoiceScript (): same as the previous tool in creating interactive stories.
The output game is played in different way than games developed by Twine.
Examples of games done with it: Runt of the Litter () Empyrean () Choice of the Pirate () The Hero Project: Redemption Season (.
10 Aug.
Posted by                                              Categories , ,                                                                                           Hello everyone, I attended IRDC last weekend.
There was a talk by  (the developer of  and ).

The talk is called Real Time Synchronous Turn Systems in Roguelikes

It’s about analyzing the current turn base systems in Roguelike and comparing it to his game.
This talk inspired me to write about different systems and which games use which.
His talk was astonishing but missing lots of ideas that can be done (It just covered the classic stuff).
Here is the ideas about the systems:  Asynchronous Turn Based System: The player plays and after it finished each enemy play its turn.
This is the most classic technique used in lots of games (, , , and …etc).
Synchronous Turn Based System: The player plays at the same time of the enemy.
The system resolve the collision by some precedence.
Some games adds a speed parameter to have different enemies.
Every enemy or npc move related to the player so if he is slower this means he might take more than 1 turn to move but if he is faster than the player he might be moving two tiles with every one player move.
For example  and.
Real Time System: Everything runs at each frame.
Everything is continuous and running smooth.
The collision happens at each frame.
For example , , , and …etc.
Real Time Synchronous System: This is the system he was talking about in his game.
The player move in tile based and when he is moving everything else work in real time (enemy bullets can be avoided).
For example.
Bullet Time System: The game move in real time till enemies come near then the game goes in bullet time.
Right now there is no roguelike use this system but it would be amazing if some one used it.
The current game used it is.
Physics Based Turn System: The player move with a speed and the turn ends when the physics stops simulation.
For example.
Real Time Pause System: Everything runs in real time and if the player didn’t move nothing move.
For example.
Real Time Rhythm System: Everything moves on a rhythm if the player didn’t move enemies will move.
Missing the rhythm make enemies move while player is still at same location.
For example.
Real Time Slot Pause System: The game is totally paused where the player can make all his decisions then the game turns into real time for a fixed time slot.
The only game that used that is not a roguelike but it would be cool in a Roguelike.
The only game is.
7 Aug.
Posted by                                              Categories ,                                                                                           Hello everyone, I went to the International Roguelike Developer Conference (IRDC 2016).
It was fun, you can watch it on twitch and they are gonna stream tomorrow ().
Markov Text Generation: Caves of Quds text/books/tomes/realms/lore are generated using Markov Chain models.
They use Markov Chain models to generate paragraphs (3 to 6 sentences) and books (4 to 8 paragraphs).

Some other people do two direction Markov Chain instead of one direction Markov Chain

For book titles they used a template filling like  but this technique is kinda limited so they replaced it by a generated sentence from Markov Chain models with limited length then shove off the unwanted words from the beginning and the end of the sentence.
For hidden secrets in the book, .

He generate all the secrets first then he add them to the Markov Chain model

Also he told to check () by Emily Short.
Writing Better Code: It was about tricks and hints to write better readable code.
For example, use code review, read a book ( by Steve Maguire), read other people code, and …etc.
Examples for stuff that make the code better is always make the write the constant on the left of the condition, comment beside any else to understand which “if-condition” its related to it, unroll big long “if-condition” statement to multiple short ones, and …etc.
Applications of Dijkstra Maps in Roguelikes: This talk is about using Dijkstra Maps instead of A* algorithm.
A* algorithm (check ) is widely used, easy to implement, call on demand, and efficient when points are close but you need to recalculate the path when something changes and its expensive when used by tons of NPCs.
Dijkstra is done over the whole map and can be used by all actors but its more expensive than A* and there is no off the shelf implementations.
Dijkstra produces a map of numbers where each number equal to the number of steps to reach the goal.
In order to find the path just move from the npc location towards the goal in the direction of decreasing number till reaching the goal.
Dijkstra can be used for autoexploring, procedural generation for rivers, optimal range for ranged enemies, find the path towards the mouse location, and …etc.
Surprises: He is the creator of  game.
Now he is working on Space Punk which an open world metroidvania where the Enemy AI is the challenge.
Also he used  language to allow modding.
Procedural Dialect Generation: That was super interesting talk about a game called.
The game generate history for NPCs, religions, names, dialects.
You have to try it if you are into exploring stories and understanding different cultures.
29 Jul.
Posted by                                              Categories , ,                                                                                           Hello everyone, This is my talk in GECCO16 for our paper ““.
26 Jul.
Posted by                                              Categories , , ,                                                                                           Hello everyone, Ages since last post ???? on Thursday July 14th I gave a talk about my paper “” with , , and  at IJCAI16.
Thanks to Aaron, he captured a video of my talk.
Here is it:                                                                                                                                            7 May.
Posted by                                              Categories ,                                                                                           Hello everyone, Today me and Gabriella gave a talk about Super-W-Hack for the incubator program.
I felt it would be nice to share the talk with you people.
Hello everyone, I am Ahmed and this is Gabriella.
We are PhD students at the game innovation lab here at NYU.
We are going to talk today about our game Super-W-Hack.
is a roguelike game with retro aesthetics as a tribute to the roguelike genre.

Our game takes the procedural content generation (PCG) up to the next level

We use it to generate everything in the game.
Levels are procedurally generated, names, layouts, enemy distributions.
Player weapons: weapon pattern, names, sounds.
Even bosses are procedurally generated.
All game main features are done.
But since our research is in PCG and we know how amazing it can generate stuff so we want to embrace it more.
Generate the main character (his back story, why he is going to the dungeon).
Generate variable weapons like teleportation, mines, bombs.
Also our game still needs music.

Since we have lots of PCG so we need lots of testing to make sure it works correctly

We plan to finish the game and release it by the end of the year over Desktop such as Steam and as Desktop has always been the land of roguelikes and the hugest fanbase.
Since the game has simple controls and small decisions to take at each step.
We believe it will do well on Mobile markets such as App Store and Google Play.
We are going to send our game to all the major events such as IGF, IndieCade, and PAX.
We believe with the help of the incubator we will be able to reach all these goals.
Thanks everyone for listening any questions.
(Then we played this video in the background while taking questions)  I just wanted to share my talk about the game and here is the link () to the alpha version if anyone wanna try it.
In the current state its still a little hard to understand in the beginning but as soon as you understand it.
It so intuitive and interesting to be played.
9 Oct.
Posted by                                              Categories ,                                                                                           Hello, This post is a presentation I did couple of weeks ago at.

It supposes to help people at the lab to understand VGDL and GVG-AI framework

I think that if we want VGDL to evolve, more people should know about it and use it.
This evolution won’t happen without showing to people the power of GVG-AI Framework and VGDL.
There is lots of development happening to improve the framework and language and making it more accessible to people (creating an Interactive Visual Editor with computer assist).
The following paragraphs are my slides with a description for each slide.

The current drawbacks of the VGDL: It hasn’t a visual editor

It hasn’t a good online documentation for the language, It has limited physics (no continuous physics to prototype games like Cut the Rope), and It has limited events (all game events are restricted with collision events between objects).
Right now people are working to improve these drawbacks and make the VGDL more accessible to more people.
Check the current draft of documentation and may be you could help improve the writing and improve it ().
September 2020      M  T  W  T  F  S  S                             123456      78910111213      14151617181920      21222324252627      282930                                                                          by Mkhuda.


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