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1371809 Posts in 64667 Topics- by 56793 Members - Latest Member: zengeor

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA learning blog
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Author Topic: A learning blog  (Read 168 times)
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« on: September 10, 2019, 11:08:25 AM »

Hello guys.

Currently I'm learning about game development and exploring the industry. I'm a lifetime computer game junkie, ex-professional poker player, mathematician/programmer/entrepreneur.

I had a private diary so far, but decided that it's better to share my thoughts& discoveries with others, and also connect to community and hopefully find like-minded people. Hope it's appropriate in this section ._.

Games that impressed me (from recent to childhood):
Into the Breach
Dota 2 (a year of my life went there actually. I had >24 hour sessions multiple times)
Papers, please
Super Meat Boy (helped me to go through the toughest&most important programming project I had)
Bad piggies (I know...)
Hotline Miami
Starcraft 2 (was low Grandmaster level at my peak in WoL)
Warcraft 3 (especially FFA, tower wars, Uther party, Orcs&elves, Dodgeball)
Gothic 1/2
Brood War
Civilization 2
Diablo 2
Red Alert 2
HoMM 3
Might&Magic 6/7/8
Star Control 2 aka Ur-Quan Masters
Dune 2

Poker (primarily NL Holdem) - I played professionally for 3 years.

I played PC games since I was 4. Until 17 years old I was constantly battling my parents because they had this stupid idea that it's not healthy to play computer games more than 1 hour per day. Needless to say, I was playing as much as possible while they were at work and couldn't nag me PLUS 1 hour per day while they were home. Sometimes they took away a power cord, but I had an extra one Wink

Sometimes I was playing at night (because dial-up was cheap and stable) and the scariest sound was parents' bedroom door screeching because I had 2 seconds to shut down computer and get into bed, otherwise they saw the light from the screen in a gap under my bedroom's door.

I'm still a bit angry at my father because of all the times he told me to quit the game when I was in the middle of a close Warcraft 3 1x1 Battle.net match, because he needed to use a phone line or because I'm supposed to sleep at night.

Anyone can relate to those?


1. Understand better how games are so addicting for me. The best way to do it is to start making them.

2. Make a small game for my friends&colleagues with inside humour about degenerate gamblers and investors.

3. Make a game that I like myself and earn some money with it. I understand this is super-tough goal, the market is brutal, there are so many brilliant people working in the industry (indie and big studios).


I'm currently reading The Art of Game Design (Book of Lenses). Super insightful, fun thing to do is to think about every game I ever enjoyed and see how the concepts apply to it.

Addiction by design - about how slot machines are so good that some people want nothing in life but play them. It's an evil industry, but it's useful to understand mechanics.

Non-technical books I enjoyed:

-Blood, Sweat, Pixels.
-Masters of Doom.
-The Tetris effect (not much about development process, a lot about international business)
-Homo Ludens - this one is not about video games at all, but it has a ton of historical examples of games (in broad meaning). Nice to have a perspective that people play one way or another all the time (war and court of law have a ton of examples).

-The making of Prince of Persia - did not start yet

Interviews, blogs

I'm going through all interviews with makers of games I enjoyed to learn about the inspiration and development process. I got some actionable advice from there actually.

Dukope's technical posts are great.


Usually I like to read or do stuff myself and don't like listening or watching videos. But it's nice to go for a walk with a podcast in earphones. Enjoying Infinite Ammo.


In past, I made some tiny games in Java, and in Warcraft editor. Currently going through Unity course, ones at learn.unity.com are crazy good.

As I'm learning the tools I'm going to make a bunch of weird experiments/prototypes.

The biggest issue for me is that I'm clueless about graphics, sounds/music and narratives. Initially I thought that gameplay / skill progression  / flow are most important things, but now I realise that immersion and emotional experience depend on other things extremely. I would say that audio is most important for me to get into flow.

This all means that I will either have to learn how to draw and design sounds, or find co-founder/employees that are good with that.

Bright side is that I'm good with programming (made some advanced & successful stuff over few years) and have quite some time&money to dedicate to all of this.

Realistically, it will take 6-12 months for me to get familiar with game development and make a bunch of weird prototypes. After that I may invest some money to hire/partner with some other people and make first "real" game in a few months. It likely won't be a commercial success, but it will have fun parts and will be a good learning experience. And the game after that may be actually good. Obviously, it's all wild speculation because I may get bored of this in couple months and go live in a monastery with monks.
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2019, 11:00:56 AM »

As part of research, I was playing a ton of different games. Naturally, I got hooked on a bunch of free-to-play mobile games. This post is about Adventure Communist. I will try to deconstruct hook & force-to-pay mechanics.

It has exponential delay between rewards so it’s non-stop action for first couple hours, then you need to check once every 15 minutes, then it’s once an hour, then it’s once a day etc. When it’s 1-2 times per day it became very annoying because I got used to the fact I get something fun when I check the app, but when I open it there’s nothing to see. You can pay real-money to fast-forward time, but I hate spending money on stupid manipulations like these. So I unistalled it.

But I had a habit of checking it when bored, so I reinstalled it (it saves progress to the cloud) next day. Then I got annoyed again and unistalled it.

Long story short, after 3 days without it, I reinstalled it again, and decided to punt 100$ into it. The last straw was that you get unlock upgrades as you play, but there is not enough “science” to get all of them. It was annoying to think and compare which ones are better. And 100$ buys huuuge amount of science, I think it will last for a week a so.

Also, when you unlock next rank, you have a choice to proceed, or to stay a bit longer and finish couple more quests on current rank which gives you more science and upgrades. Wait is painfully long when playing for free, so it’s better to get next rank ASAP. However, it so satisfying to complete all quests in few more minutes when I can afford all upgrades.

My plan is to play AS ANIMAL and buy all the fast-forward and upgrades on the slightest urge, and pay close attention to how I feel. Either this will be a satisfying experience, so it’s money well spent; or a disappointment, so I will learn first hand that free-to-play games are a trap. Each outcome is better than supressing myself to not pay any money to the stupid game.


24 hours later, I spent almost all gold I bought and already bored by the game. First 4 hours were very fun actually.

Going to participate in Ludum Dare.
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