Tag: competitions

Entries for tag "competitions", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 37.

Warning! Some information on this page is older than 5 years now. I keep it for reference, but it probably doesn't reflect my current knowledge and beliefs.

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# HLSL Development Cookbook - Contest Winners

Aug 2013

Congratulations to Tommy, czoper and Mark for winning digital copies of HLSL Development Cookbook, the book I had just reviewed.

HLSL Development Cookbook

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# Book Review: HLSL Development Cookbook

Aug 2013

I've been given a chance to read a book HLSL Development Cookbook published recently by Packt Publishing. Below you can find my review. Packt has proposed to offer 3 digital copies of the book. Keep reading to find out how you can win a copy.

The book has 224 pages. Its author - Doron Feinstein - works as Senior Graphics Programmer in Rockstar Games. The book is about implementing various rendering techniques in HLSL using DirectX 11. It uses new features of this API, e.g. geometry shaders, compute shaders, UAV, tesselation etc. It presents very professional approach and does not over-simply anything for educational purposes (for example, the author uses linear space for color computations, explains HDR rendering and passes reciprocal value as constant where appropriate as multiplication is faster than division).

The book assumes that reader already knows DirectX API and is able to code a framework that loads meshes, textures, constant buffers and all the stuff and pass it to GPU rendering. He should also already know the concept of shaders and the HLSL syntax, not to mention math/geometry basics of 3D graphics (like properties of dot product or transformation matrix). So this is definitely not a book for complete beginners who want to learn game programming from scratch. It does not even give complete shaders to just copy-paste into your engine, but fragments (functions) that are interesting in some technique. Which I think is good, because where per-pixel parameters of your material come from (like albedo color, normal vector, specular intensity and exponent) - whether from texture, a constant or some computations - is up to you and the book focuses on what to do with it without boring, multipage code listings.

Subsequent chapters cover following topics:

  1. Forward lighting: Describes straightforward implementation of different types of lights - hemispheric ambient light, directional light, point light, spot light and capsule light (with explanation of Lambert law for diffuse, and Blinn-Phong model of specular), as well as texture projection from point light and spot light.
  2. Deferred Shading: Introduces concept of deferred lighting (requires rendering geometry 2 times) versus deferred shading (requires rendering geometry 1 time, used in this book). Mentions different ways of storing nomals in GBuffer and of course reconstructing world-space position from Z-buffer depth. Shows implementation of same types of lights in the deferred way.
  3. Shadow Mapping: Covers shadows from spot lights and point lights, PCF (Percentage-Closer Filtering), Cascaded Shadow Maps for directional light, PCF with varying prenumbra size and visualizing shadow maps with silhouettes highlighting.
  4. Postprocessing: Describes HDR Rendering (calculates average luminance for tone mapping in compute shader) with exposure adaptation, Bloom, DOF (Depth of Field) and Bokeh (all done on GPU).
  5. Screen-space effects: Describes SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion), lens flare (using occlusion query and predicate query), reflections and sun rays, all done as screen-space effects.
  6. Environment effects: Describes dynamic decals (as an example of using stream out feature to generate mesh on GPU), distance/height-based fog and rain (as simple example of stateful particle system colliding with scene geometry, calculated entirely on GPU).

That's not a "gems"-style book with every chapter being a separate article written by different author. But each chapter is a complete "recipe" for a rendering technique, whether an implementation of particular type of light or some other visual effect. Each one of them is divided into sections:

As you can see, described topics are not some sophisticated and specialized effects like rendering foam on an ocean coast or crowd on a stadium, but fundamental techniques needed by every engine. Just as the book says: "Lighting and postprocessing are two of the most important fields in 3D rendering."

Summary: This book is not intended for complete beginners, but if only it fits the knowledge you already have and the knowledge you currently seek, I think this it can be a great step on you path of learning game/graphics programming.

Now here is how you can have a chance to win eBook copy of this book: All you need to do is head on over to the book page, look through the product description of the book and then drop a line via the comments below this post to let us know what interests you the most about this book. 3 best comments win!!! Deadline: The contest will close in 1 weeks time. Winners will be contacted by email (before the end of this month), so be sure to use your real email address when you comment.

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# IGK 2013 Quiz

Apr 2013

During IGK 2013 gamedev conference, just like in previous years, we organized a contest with 75 questions in 15 categories, from gaming to programming. We had 8 participants this year and the winner was Artur Poznański "artpoz" - congratulations! See full results.

You can now download new version of the application with source code in C# and this year's questions to test your gamedev knowledge by yourself or with your friends:

IGK_Quiz_2013.zip (2.76 MB)

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# Here be Dragons - Our Game from IGK 2013 Compo

Apr 2013

During IGK 2013 gamedev conference there was traditional game development compo, where teams of up to 4 people have to make a game in about 8 hours. Of course we participated in it. This time we called our team "Mass Deffect" (just some random name). There were four of us, all programmers: Kamil Szatkowski "Netrix", Karol Kuczmarski "Xion", Krzysztof Kluczek "Krzysiek K.", and me.

The theme this year, with all the requested features of the game, was: "Artiller game - multiple ways of destroying map, hp & mp - at least 2 kinds of energies - achievements - multiplayer" That fitted into my plan to use two mice on one computer, which I researched recently and described in: Handling Multiple Mice with Raw Input. We designed our game in the Saturday evening, after considering multiple ideas. Finally we chose Krzysiek's idea inspired by Rampart - an old Atari game (see this video).

Our game has title "Here be Dragons". In works on PC, Windows. It is written in Visual C++ 2010 Express, based on a Direct3D 9 framework developed by Krzysiek K. We decided to use 3D graphics (which becomes more and more rare on this kind of game development compos). But game logic is 2D and map entirely fits the screen. Two players build castles on the opposite sides of the map (with left mouse button). On the large enough castle, towers with maidens appear which are resource needed by dragons :) When player has dragons, he can shoot fireballs at the enemy (with right mouse button).

We took 4th place out of 12. Our game lacks many planned features. It doesn't even have sound or music. Anyway, it was fun as always :) Here you can download the game with full source code:

HereBeDragons.7z (3.17 MB)

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# After IGK 2013

Apr 2013

Today I came back from 10th Polish Game Engineering Conference - X jubileuszowa Ogólnopolska Konferencja Inæynierii Gier Komputerowych IGK2013, which took place at Uniwersytet Przyrodniczo-Humanistyczny in Siedlce, Poland. See also Facebook page and topic on forum.warsztat.gd.

It was fun :) Maybe papers were not the highest possible quality in scientific terms. I also noticed complete lack of presentations from any companies producing "big" PC or console games. There were only talks about mobile and web-based games, as well as serious games - simulation and training for military.

The presentation I liked the most was "Desert Tycoon - Gra stworzona na piasku" by Konrad Rodzik and Jarek Potiuk from Polidea. They talked about their first iPhone game - Desert Tycoon. It's a game like Farmville, but taking place on Arabian desert. I was amazed by the openess they present when talking about what went good or wrong and all the technical details of their work. It was very interesting to hear about e.g. the quirks of rendering text in Arabic language.

My second favorite talk was "Testowanie rozproszonych aplikacji mobilnych opartych na Unity3D" by Marcin Korniluk and Piotr Duda. It's not the most interesting subject for me, but I liked the structure of this talk. They showed what they are talking about and what problem they want to address and then they presented the solution they are working on.

The big name of this conference was probably Sos Sosowski with his talk "It's not a bug, it's a feature". This indie game developer, author of McPixel, has great talent for speaking in funny and engaging way.

I'm glad we managed to organize the quiz. Congratulations artpoz for winning! I will publish the application we used along with all the questions we asked in the following days and link it from here. Meanwhile please leave your comments about any ideas, what you liked or not liked about this game, how we could improve the rules, the app and what kinds of questions would you prefer to see next year.

Of course on Sunday there was also game development competition. 12 teams participated this year. The theme was: "Artiller game - multiple ways of destroying map, hp & mp - at least 2 kinds of energies - achievements - multiplayer". We took 4th place. I will publish our entry soon. I think the level this year was quite high. Almost all compo entries looked like nice games. My favourite game was the one from team "Kryzys". They made a game for two players with top-down view about tanks shooting each other with different kinds of weapons and destroying the map. Tanks were controlled by... smartphones with Windows, using touchscreen and accelerometer.

There were around 70 participants this year. The possibly biggest groups were people from Polygon (game programming interest group at Warsaw University of Technology), Warsztat community, Vexillium group, Ganymede (game development company, one of the sponsors). Here is a group photo.

Some additional links:

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# 10th Polish Game Engineering Conference IGK2013

Mar 2013

5-7 April 2013 the 10th Polish Game Engineering Conference - X jubileuszowa Ogólnopolska Konferencja Inæynierii Gier Komputerowych IGK2013 will take place at Uniwersytet Przyrodniczo-Humanistyczny in Siedlce, Poland. There is still time to register until March 24th.

The agenda doesn't look very impressive, but I'm sure there will be a good vibe as always when people from warsztat.gd from all over the country come together. So me and Krzysiek K. are coming there. Xion will be there as well despite he now lives in Zürich, Switzerland.

Besides talks, there will be also a quiz. Everyone on the conference will have a chance to participate and test his knowledge about game development. Everyone except us because we make the questions :) I can reveal that this time my part of questions will be less about hardcore programming details and more about latest games and news from the gamedev industry.

And of course on Sunday there will be game development competition where teams will have to develop a game in 8 hours. So I'm sure there will be lots of fun :)

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# Global Game Jam 2013 - Our Game Octovirus

Jan 2013

Global Game Jam 2013 came to an end. The local event in Gdańsk, Poland - 3city Game Jam (Facebook page) was organized by playsoft gamedev company in their office. During the jam, a lot was happening on Twitter in hashtag #ggj13 and #3citygamejam. Here are my several photos of the event. The theme this year was "sound of a heartbeat".

I joined a team of 5 playsoft employees. Together we created a 2D game called "Octovirus" about an actopus-like virus swimming inside veins, collecting blood cells and avoiding evil bacteria. We made all the graphics, including fonts and even sounds during the event. As for the code, there were two of us programmers. We developed in Windows, using Visual C++ 2010 Express. We used Cocos2d-x framework and Box2D for physics. I didn't know both of these libraries before GGJ, so I had to learn the basics quickly :)

The game works on Windows using OpenGL, but it's also portable to Android and iOS. Here is Windows binary: Octovirus.zip (6.09 MB).

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# Global Game Jam Starts Tomorrow

Jan 2013

Tomorrow Global Game Jam 2013 starts - annual, 48-hour, worldwide event about game development. Just like last year, big Polish cities will also host this event (Warsaw, Poznań, Gdańsk, £ód¼, Kraków), but this time the local edition in my city - Gdańsk - is organized as 3City Global Game Jam 2013 (Facebook page) by playsoft company. I will go there despite I have no team and no idea what technology to use. I will just see what happens :)

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