Tom’s GameDev Round-up #4 – Blizzard, Blender, Graphics Programming & UX

To continue my series on Gamedev Roundup I have dug up some more interesting articles from the game development industry, both new and old. They have in some way inspired or taught me about game development. In this gamedev round-up I have a mix of articles and other resources including graphics rendering, design & accessibility articles that I hope you will find as interesting as I when I first stumbled upon them.

Game Accessibility Guidelines

Game accessibility is still often overlooked, even today. The site can best be summarized as:

A straightforward reference for inclusive game design

Too many games release without even the minimal set of usability improvements like field of view settings or decent mouse options. Even worse is that today people playing on PC are expected to know terms like Anisotropic Filtering, PCF shadows, TXAA, FXAA, HBAO+ etc. And are left to their own devices to figure out how to configure the game for decent performance. Some games do this really well on the other hand! Games like Tom Clancy’s Wildlands actually provide some kind of visual reference on the impact of individual graphics options.

The site game accessibility guidelines takes this many steps further and provides UX tips in different levels (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced) and is a great resources in finding out not just the surface level UX issues, but deeper problems for people with disabilities like color blindness or more severe issues like one-handed gamers.

Blizzard Design Philosophies

I spend a decent amount of time watching GDC Vault videos, and sometimes little gems pop up. So did this GDC 2010 talk from Rob Pardo. The video description reads:

In this GDC 2010 talk, Blizzard’s Rob Pardo take a look at some of the key philosophies underlying Blizzard’s game design and some of the successes and failures they’ve experienced along the way.

It’s a worthwhile watch, and provides a look into Blizzard’s internal design philosophies and is just full of cool stuff especially as a fan of the studio and all their games.

Udemy: Blender Basics in Under 2 Hours

As I am working on my own Udemy course right now I spend some time looking at other instructors to see how I compare…and that’s when I stumbled on this Blender course which is actually FREE! In this 2 hour course you learn how to use the tool Blender. It’s primarily useful to get to grips with the core functionality, especially if you already know Maya or 3D Studio Max, don’t go in expecting to learn how to model and use reference material for example. I found this very helpful in my transition from Max to the free Blender now that I mainly need a modeling app to build placeholder assets.

Screen Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination

I love graphics talks and new techniques to improve real-time rendering. This article explains Screen Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination developed by UNIGENE. I especially love the image below, showing full-scene bent normals – as to me it adds a feel of cinematic rendering to the data.

Lead 3D Artist in UNIGINE Davyd Vidiger talked about the way Screen Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination is used to improve the image quality in real-time graphics.

Worth a read if you’re into graphics programming!

Mud and Water of Spintires

Continuing with graphics resources, Gamasutra published an article on rendering the mud and water of Spintires. Breaking down the render steps of the terrain deformation, the graphical touches and the physics interactions with the vehicles. Something I have been wondering about ever since I saw one of their first tech demos on the game. Again a worthwhile read if you’re into graphics and/or engine programming!

That’s all for this weeks GameDev round-up! Hope you got a few interesting reads or bookmarks out of it. Please leave your own suggestions in the comments below or check out my other entries in the round-up series or follow me on Twitter!

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