Tech Toolbox

Notes on a series of micro-talks

  • Tools for voice tech—Nicole He (@nicolehe)
    • Enhance.computer built using this
    • Appropriating business voice tech for games
    • Cutting edge tech here are in areas where mega corps can make money, like customer service chat bots
      • DialogFlow from Google is an example of this; aimed at finding conversational intent without rigid structures
      • Useful for games too—Mystery Animal game for playing 20 questions
      • Garden Friends (collage with Eran Hilleli)—see demo video using conversational intent/sentiment analysis to take actions
        • The api is really not meant to be used this way
        • UniFlow plug-in integrates this with Unity
      • You don’t have to use game making tools to make games!
  • Leveling up your level editor—Erik Rydeman (@iamdoborg)
    • Clone drone in the danger zone game
    • They ship a level editor to publish stuff to steam workshop (15k levels published so far)
    • They dogfood the editor for their own levels
    • Cool features
      • Highlight an object and expose its attribute values via reflection and attributes—can also slap an attribute on methods of the objects you’re editing to have them do stuff live (e.g., preview the height of a ball bounce)
      • Triggers for when someone enters, leaves, at the end of an animation, after a time
        • Can chain things off door openings, other events
        • Can build a calculator in this system by moving enemies around and such
      • Text to speech for voices
        • 33k spoken words
        • Have a google spreadsheet with asingle click to generate audio and package you a manifest
      • Animation system within the level editor
      • When it is easy to add content, people will create a lot of content
        • Want people to forget the tool, stay in the creative mindset
  • Using midi controllers for game authoring—@lazerwalker
    • KORG NanoKontrol 2 wired up to stuff like physics constants-tune them in real time and see how they feel
    • Leads to tight feedback loops
    • Can tune complex sets of variables that are all interdependent
    • Could wire this up to a UI window instead—we could have a slider UI for controlling datarefs/art controls
      • Integrate this tightly with the default dataref viewer
    • Helps avoid lazy human friendly values—not 5.5 or 5.6, but 5.557321
    • See William Chyr blog post on using MIDI
    • Need to allow the sliders to configure the range, maybe allow for nonlinear sliders
    • Want to augment human creativity
  • Perlin noise animation—David Mershon
    • Small team with no animators; key frames are off the table
    • “If you want it to look good, Put a Perlin on it!”
    • Used originally for procedural textures in Tron
    • Basically convert each luminance value into a range from 0 to 1, use that as the amplitude over time
    • Smooth, combining the unpredictability of randomness with the smoothness of a sine wave
    • Looks alive, not mechanical
    • Unpredictable, but smooth
    • When you combine these on different parts of a character, it gets really powerful
  • Yarn Spinner—Jon Manning (@desplesda)
    • Tool for Night in the Woods dialog
    • Yarn is a language for writing dialog, inspired by Twine
    • Yarn editor uses node representation for dialog trees
    • Designed to be easy for writers
    • Almost all the game’s action is scripted by Yarn, including changes within the scene
    • Can reference variables in your code
    • Includes commands—stage directions like sitting, waiting, etc.
    • Includes shortcut options for yes/no that don’t actually change the game
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