Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Forrest Smith is a great GameDev blogger

My blog list is quite full nowadays, so I don't add new bloggers routinely. I'm not sure if that's because I've got high standards, or just because I'm overwhelmed with all the content I already try to read.

Anyway, I stumbled across Forrest Smith's blog recently, and almost immediately added him to my regular list.

Here are 5 great articles from him that you should read:

  • The Tech of Planetary Annihilation: ChronoCam
    The ChronoCam is similar to a replay system except it’s in the live game. While you are mid-game you can jump back to look at the world from any point in time, play in slow/fast motion, scrub the timeline from start to finish, and even play in reverse.

    If your scout gets destroyed and you weren’t paying attention you can use the ChronoCam to find out how it died. If you’re playing with dual monitors you can simultaneously view the game world from two entirely different points in time

  • Extravagant Cheating via DirectX
    Online PC gaming is known for being full of dirty cheaters. Cheats can be implemented through many methods from simple to impressively complex. Macros, hex editing, memory inspection, memory modification, DLL injection, network manipulation, packet modification, and lord knows how many more. These various methods are then used to implement cheats such as rapid fire, no clip, aimbots, wallhacks, etc.

    Today I want to discuss a specific form of hacking and how it’s done. I hesitate to do so, but it’s usage is already widespread amongst hack creators and users. The damage is already dealt. By sharing knowledge of its inner workings hopefully that damage can be mitigated.

  • Synchronous RTS Engines and a Tale of Desyncs
    Have you ever played a game like Starcraft or Supreme Commander and gotten an error message that says “Desync Detected” followed by the game closing? Do you wonder what that means? It stems from certain engine architectures commonly used by RTS games.

    My experience in this area comes from working with the Supreme Commander engine at Gas Powered Games. Starcraft and Warcraft 3 have had desync bugs during beta periods so it’s safe to say they work in a similar manner. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to discuss the SupCom engine specifically from this point forward.

  • 30 Weeks of Game Development
    The hardest part of capturing footage is having the willpower to record every week. It’s easy to push back the capture because a major feature is almost done. Game dev is often an emotional rollercoaster and when you’re in a low it’s hard to muster the motivation to click record.

    I actually stopped making the videos around week 16. Every week felt like too little progress was being made to justify a video. After going gold and watching the early videos I was hit with a wave of inspiration so I synced perforce week by week to re-build and capture

  • Learning How to Learn
    The ability to learn on your own is a mandatory skill if you want to stay at the top of your field or simply continue your education after school. The smartest workers are always learning in their own time, no matter the industry. Working on side projects, reading blogs/research papers, discussing trade secrets amongst peers, etc.

    This post is my personal tale. Your tale is likely to be different. By sharing mine I hope that it can help others in some small way. Good luck fellow learners.

I always wanted to be a game developer. I didn't end up in that particular career, but since the tools that we build in my day job are used by many game development companies, I'm quite interested in the world of the game developer.

Forrest Smith's blog is great, and I love reading his articles, and hope he is able to continue writing like this.

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