Pacing - The secret to finishing
April 12, 2019, at 08:14 AM (3 comments)
Title: Pacing - The secret to finishing Author: mgarcia Date: 2019-04-12 16:14 +1000 Tags: 2019, Industry, Friends, Misc, Pics, GameDev, Blog, Electronics Comments: Open
Size: 2.12 MB SPOILER - Advice is in bold, middle of the page.
This advice comes from an excellent source (which is more important then the advice itself!), so in case you don't know who André LaMothe is, he wrote a lot of excellent beginner to advanced gamedev books in the 1990's and 2000's.
These are just a few books he's authored:
LaMothe's style is verbose in a good way, breaking down complex concepts with a bit of humor here and there, it's educational and more importantly accessible and fun.
Crash Course In Electronics
He recently created an epic (nearly 100 hours!) course on electronic engineering, a comprehensive syllabus ranging from beginner electronic fundamentals (maths, analog, digital etc), building up to the goal of designing and manufacturing PCB's.
The course isn't scripted, instead he talks like a university lecturer (more like a friendly tutor) and he goes to great efforts in showing and explaining visually.
Admittedly I haven't spent much time on hardware (casually going through the course), but if you have even a small amount of interest in electronics, I highly recommend taking a look!
It's so cheap for what it is, let a lone access to the man himself, check out the free preview videos!
It also includes two electronics PDF books and two game development PDF books:
- His very cool Black Art of Video Game Console Design book as PDF (including source code) for teaching electronic theory in the course, but the book goes on to build a console similar (and better!) to the original NES.
- David L Heiserman's 1978 book How to design & build your own custom TV games explaining how to make a "TV games" console including golf, missile attack, tag, dog fight, torpedo attack, ambush, stormtrooper attack and pinball games.
- Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus 1st ed , which looks into AI, physics, game logic and 2D graphics (and also include source code).
- And lastly, but certainly not least, the beast Black Art of 3D Game Programming.
I blogged about this book before in regards to the Net Yaroze as it's what I used back in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
I find it a practical and fun way to learn 3D maths and graphics pipeline programming!
The code (which is included) is simple and very easy to follow, highly recommended!
It’s 25+ years old, it has a little bit of DOS and assembly, but they can be skipped over and easily replaced with a modern layer, ie SDL with OpenGL.
Console Hardware Development
Lamothe isn't just a career author, if you didn't know he's designing the controllers of the Intellivision Amico, a newly announced 2D, family friendly, E rated console, due in 2020.
If you're familiar with the Intellivision, you'll know the original controllers were a critical part of that console!
But he's not just replicating the old controllers, in fact the new controller specs look like some serious piece of engineering!
2 wireless Bluetooth controllers (up to 8 player compatible and connectivity). 3 ½ inch (2:3 aspect ratio) Color Touchscreen. Pioneering tilting positional disc with surrounding interactive LED border. 4 arcade-style tactile feedback buttons. Gyroscope & Accelerometer. Force feedback. Controller to be used horizontally or vertically including dominant left or right hand usage. Qi (pronounced “CHEE”) wireless onboard charging. Speaker Microphone
Anything related video game console development or game development always has my interest, so I commented on his latest course update.
- I wrote-
Hi André, I like reading your updates :D
But no mention of Amico? xD xD
Sorry to be off topic, just wondering, for a bonus video, if you could do a retrospective on the books you authored?
The making of.. behind the scenes stuff... something not so serious I guess.
I still pick up and read through your Black Art of 3D and Gurus Advance 3D books.. of all the gamedev books (new and old) I have.. these two really resonate with me.
Actually I recently got a copy of Flight of Fantasy and thought of you!
Well, I am working on the Amico hardware for E3, 24/7.
As far as behind the scenes on books, it's really simple, imagine someone that works 120 hours a week, and never sleeps, that's it :) BRUTAL.
But, the take away from writing 1600+ page books that other people would benefit from is the simple rule:
If you want to get something MASSIVE done, you can't stare it down toe to toe, it would be overwhelming.
Rather, you set a pace, and maintain it
I had to write 10-20 pages a day on writing days, and on coding days, I had to write "demos" in 1-5 days.
As long as I kept that pace, I got it done.
Just like the project I am doing now, its very stressful, but I have done many large projects, so I know there's light at the end of the tunnel,
the trick is to not give up, not panic. And just keep fighting and sooner or later, you hit a point, where you can literally see the end and then it become fun.
So, in reality, people say the first 5% of a project is fun, then the remaining 95% is torture, that's why there are 1000000000 "game developers" that never finish a game.
The write some code, make a walk thru in unity, then when the ACTUAL game dev starts and the daily grind of it they give up.
Anyway, I say, that the first 5% is fun, then the next 90% is BRUTAL, but the LAST 5% is actually fun, since the project is DONE!
And you realize, hey this wasn't that bad, and of course, think I could have added all these cool features :)
Of course, if you did that, you would have missed the deadline.
Finally, Flights of Fantasy is one of a kind, just like my Black Art of 3D Game Programming, Mitch Waite the CEO of Waite Group knew how to let his creative authors do whatever they wanted, and the results were always best sellers.
There will never be another book like Flights of Fantasy or Black Art. It was a confluence of things; the authors, Waite Group and Mitch, the time, how game programming was a hot new topic, NO internet to speak of really, so BOOKs really were the best way to get information
Anyway, good times.
Wow... what a great reply! (he actually replies to everyone!)
I still believe books are the best way to learn, well maybe after a in-depth video lecture course like: Crash course electronics and pcb design! :D
Mitch Waite's Wikipedia entry is a great read and explains further LaMothe's sentiments, including Waite's connections to Apple and Atari.
I've always wondered how they got Steve Wozniak to write the forward to the Black Art of 3D Programming book and Nolan Bushnell to write the forward of Tricks Programming Gurus Advanced Graphics Rasterization.
Well there you go, both great books deserving of great forwards!
And both still relevant today if you're interested in simple, C/C++ graphic pipelines!
So in closing, a Glengarry Glen Ross quote which I've adapted:
Screen capture of original conversation as seen on udemy announcement: 'Welcome New Students! And yes, its TAX Time Again...'
3 comments on "Pacing - The secret to finishing"
- MeltedCheeseGang: 2021-06-02 11:22 +0200 Wow 🤯 André LaMothe seems like a computer science/electronics engineering genius & a really nice guy for actually bothering to reply to you😊. I'm definitely going to buy his udemy course & look at the black art of 3d game programming & flights on fantasy so I can be a smart boy just like him.
- Optimus: 2021-11-20 12:47 +0100 Nice reply, I keep thinking sometimes how some projects look very big (and I am not good with maintaining the pace on big projects) but looking back at the code of a finished project I wonder how the hell did I managed this? But it was that I could focus on writing a small piece without looking at the enormity of a project. If I stopped and look that I am still at 1% and I need to push myself for the 99%, I would be demotivated and abandon it. I look at finished code and realize this was build step by step without thinking much about it.
Although I've done small things, not any big game or complete project that takes years. But I am thinking, if it looks intimidating maybe the best strategy is to start with a simplified version of what you want to do. And sometimes you might daydream about crazy features you want to add, but then it makes it feel bigger and overwhelmed by choices of what is better to add or not. So maybe it's better to start with the most basic thing that does the solution and only then build up from bottom to top. When someone wants to make their own 3d engine, people are like "are you crazy? do you know how much work it needs? There are hundreds of people working in Unity/Unreal, how are you gonna make it all by your own?". But to make a basic 3d engine doesn't mean to make a complete Unity UI with thousands of features as what people think. You can make something basic like a rotating cube or a single camera moving around basic geometry and build up from there. Maybe years later in the making will look more like an enormous project, but your basic game doesn't need a huge engine, but something simple even without UI (people think engines are the enormous UI like Unity/Unreal, but a lot of old engines were a crude list of basic functions). It's the same with other things, like someone building an OS or a computer, people think "are you gonna build MS Windows or something? That's a project with hundreds of people behind!". But a primitive OS/Computer is something people wouldn't think it's an OS or a computer. An OS can boot up in a command line with nothing to do, that's a start. A computer can be a CPU and bootup ROM with init code and no display for starters, then build up from there. If you think that and try to build simple primitive stuff and keep the pace without overthinking, you won't get overwhelmed by enormity of projects.
p.s. Flights of Fantasy, I remember a friend recently showing me this book, saying "Look that old book I found in public library!".
- mgarcia: 2021-11-26 06:19 +0100 Hi Optimus! : )
Good advice man... yes I think it's very easy to completely disregard engine building today. Because it requires a deeper level of (fundamental) understanding, it's easier and quicker to skip it and go directly to a larger commercial engine.
But like you say, engine building is relatively simple if you just need simple features... it's just a very weak excuse (deflection) to compare it to commercial engines.
I think the modern internet (social hive sites) are a lot to blame, they just hear the same crap and repeat it, without having first hand experiences, or even exploring alternatives.
Flights of Fantasy, I was pretty disappointed with it, skimmed through it for an hour or two... I didn't like the author's writing style and explanation, Andre is more entertaining and a better teacher.... but 3 times the book too :D
But the flight sim looks impressive, at list the stills do!
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