Monthly Archives: February 2011

Quadtrees: Implementation

(This article originally appeared in Issue 26 of Dev.Mag)

Quadtrees are 2D data structures, useful for efficient representation of 2D data (such as images), and lookup in a 2D space (where are those monsters?) In this tutorial, we focus on the implementation of quad trees that represent 2D data efficiently; that is, where quadtrees can be used to compress data.

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Board Silly (Tabletop Game Design)

Do you happen to be one of those people who does not know his C# from his JavaScript? Are you someone who has nightmares and cold sweats about looping structures and syntax errors? Does the thought of having to figure out how to get your game objects not to implode spontaneously keep you awake at night? Or are you simply a smart-ass looking to try his hand and something new?

Board games, card games, and games involving dice have been around for longer than you’re probably capable of imagining. That’s a Cthulhu-damned long time – like before-Buddha-was-around long. And today, while most people assume that the monopoly on board and card games belongs to Texas hold ‘em and Cluedo, there’s a huge variety available for those that are willing to look.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t always space for new designs. And such a challenge never goes unnoticed by our wildly talented Dev.Mag crew.

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Using graphs to debug physics, AI, and animation effectively

Anyone who has stepped through code or has waded through endless lists of variables or log entries knows that these aren’t always the best ways to find certain kinds of bugs. For example, when a physics-controlled object does not behave as expected, looking at how the values of variables change on every frame can be a painfully slow and frustrating process – if you are lucky enough to be able to break into the debugger at the right time.

However, when you display the values of variables graphically, you can instantly see trends and relationships. This makes it much easier to spot errors and to track down what caused them. Sometimes it can even highlight problems that you were not aware of. Continue reading

Video game user interface design: Diegesis theory

Interface design is often one of the most challenging aspects of game development. There is a lot of information to convey to the player and little screen space with which to do it. When the interface is poorly designed, a good game concept can be reduced to a frustrating user experience.

There are several theories that can be used by designers to analyse a user interface and help them break down choices. The theory we will look at here is called diegesis theory. It is adapted from diegesis theory used in literature, film and theatre. Diegesis refers to the world in which the story is set, and hence it focuses on games as stories.

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