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Old 03-21-2005, 03:47 PM   #21
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Yeah, the licenses in AGAST and Wintermute made me decide to pick SLUDGE. If AGAST and Wintermute had a fixed price, it might've been less easy to choose. SLUDGE commercial license costs 50 bucks for unlimited distribution, which is a very good deal, IMHO. I paid double that amount for tools like Dark Basic, MultiMedia Fusion and Jamagic.

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Old 03-21-2005, 06:50 PM   #22
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I found AGS to be slow at high resolutions and difficult to run the program itself. However, I found SLUDGE to be much more flexible, easy to use, and capable of making much more satisfying results. I'm not saying either engine is better than the other overall - I'm just saying that I like SLUDGE better. The downside of SLUDGE is its lack of compatibility with anything but TGAs, and the fact that it costs $50 to register.
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Old 03-22-2005, 12:28 AM   #23
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That's the only thing I don't like about AGS. It's too slow with high res and high colour graphics.

I couldn't figure out Sludge.
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Old 03-22-2005, 01:39 AM   #24
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AGS is perfect for what i need to do - 320x200, none of the alpha blending, hardly no need for 32bit. I tried SLUDGE and didn't really, well 'get' it. That's the good thing about have a few programs to choose from it's likely that they can all do pretty much the same things, so you can choose what interface you like working with etc.

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Hand drawn at 1024*768 with 32-bit colors looks VERY pretty. Project Joe proves this, I think.
All very nice indeed, but really how often do you see these projects finished by an amateur group?
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by custard
All very nice indeed, but really how often do you see these projects finished by an amateur group?
Graphics aren't everything, sure. It might be better to give in at some point in the development process - if the project benefits from low-res graphics, making the development process easier, go for it.
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Old 03-22-2005, 07:42 AM   #26
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I tried really really hard to use SLUDGE. It was just WAY too open ended for me. I'm not a programmer, I'm a writer and an artist. If I want to make a game, I need an engine that will tell me exactly what to do at all times; one that will take care of all the coding garbage and let me focus on all my right brained fluff. AGS does that. SLUDGE didn't.

To be honest, I don't care about game speed, or resolution, or anything like that. I didn't even know what resolution was until I started working on my second game. I don't care if it has anti-aliasing or what speed it runs at. I just have an idea for a game that I think would be cool, and AGS is a quick and easy program to make the game with. If I was making my game in SLUDGE, I'd have to have a firm grasp on every tiny aspect of my game. AGS does most of the nitpicky things for me.

Translation: I like AGS because I'm lazy.

If you want to make a high resolution, full colour game and have complete control over every bit of data, than SLUDGE might be for you. If you just want to be able to tell your story through an Adventure game, maybe you should look at AGS.
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Old 03-22-2005, 11:04 AM   #27
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from the Sludge FAQ #6
6: Why not 24-bit colour? Simply because SLUDGE was developed in 16-bit colour mode, so it stuck. Maybe, if there's enough call for it, 24-bit colour will be available as an option later... but increasing the size of data files so much for the sake of smoother gradients seems like too high a price to pay for the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonrose
If you want to make a high resolution, full colour game and have complete control over every bit of data, than SLUDGE might be for you.
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Old 03-22-2005, 11:19 AM   #28
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Dragonrose,

Even though I understand what you said, I would like to comment on some of the things but please don't take them as anything offensive. I just wanted to say that in this day and age, "just artists and writers" aren't always what they used to be. For example, people working in film and game industries that do exclussively 3D rendering, animation work or various special effects are also artists, and I've seen several forum posts where some people complained about having to know various 3D rendering programs scripts, such as Maya's MEL scripts. Well, this is normal and is often necessary in this age. An artist who works with computers is also a little bit of a programmer or a scripter. On the other hand, big companies usually have dedicated programmers and scripters to help alleviate artists' work. But at least basic scripting knowledge for an artist is often a big plus. And the code or scripts is definitely not garbage. I feel bad for the programmers that have to stay up late, eat bad, live on coffee just to get a project done in time. I appreciate their work. Not saying you don't. But just wanted to point out that a little scripting or programming shouldn't scare an artist or a writer.
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Old 03-22-2005, 11:57 AM   #29
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Kazmodan: No offence taken, and I completely agree. If artists/writers don't want to have anything to do with programming, then working with computers is probably not the best idea. You need at least a basic idea of how a game must be put together if you're going to write it, and if you're creating 3D art, you're as much a programmer as an artist.

In my case, I've got just enough knowledge of programming that I can use a graphical engine like AGS. However, a scripting only engine is beyond me.

And saying "coding garbage" was a poor word choice on my part. "Garbage" was just a filler word. I could just as easily have used "stuff" or something.

Golan: I'm sorry if I got my facts muddled. Deadworm mentioned 32-bit colour being used in a game. It didn't click at the time that he was talking about Wintermute, not SLUDGE.
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Old 03-22-2005, 12:26 PM   #30
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No worries. I had a feeling you just meant "mess". Which is true, code and scripts can become a mess and a pain to sort through.
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Old 03-22-2005, 01:58 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonrose
Golan: I'm sorry if I got my facts muddled. Deadworm mentioned 32-bit colour being used in a game. It didn't click at the time that he was talking about Wintermute, not SLUDGE.
I'm too lazy to check what I actually said, but I had no idea Sludge only supports 16-bit graphics.
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Old 03-22-2005, 02:02 PM   #32
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My code isn't that neat either. I'm not a very good programmer either. Graphics and animation are more my thing. But putting comments in my code makes it easier to follow.

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Old 03-23-2005, 11:02 AM   #33
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There is something that has happened in the realm of media and film that I would like to touch on. I'll get to that later.

Artistically Strong, Technically week:
Within this topic of underground adventure games where usually one person is doing the work it seems that if that individual has strong skills in writing, composition (design, as in making things look good to the eye), and general artistic ability (the ability to output finely crafted work) that the resulting game would most likely be enjoyable. One of the side effects of having a skill in composition is that you also get a compulsion correctly implement composition and design into all your work. My point is that if learning how to work with code/scripting is an integral part of having a good design a person with the above skills would naturally force themselves to learn at least the minimum needed or find some way of getting it done.

Technically Strong, Artistically week:
Now I will get back to the topic I hinted to at the beginning. There is a reverse to the skills previously mentioned. There are some people who are very very good at coding and scripting but don't really have the artistic background or writing skills needed to make the resulting game enjoyable. There is no compulsion to learn the artistic skills simply by having the technical skills as the former skill set has. So for the person with this skill set to make a good game the compulsion to bring it all together and actually make an enjoyable must come from within the individual. This may be more common then you would think as most people I know who do well with the technical end of computing got that way from the compulsion and desire to learn it. So with the right self motivation in place a person artistically week can still make a good game it will just take more work.

Oh, media and film... right... There are some well known schools out there that train people in the technical end of the graphic arts. These schools don't teach design and composition but never the less their graduates call themselves graphic artist.

There are other skill sets out there that I did not touch on. There are some people that are good at both artistic and technical skills and as far as the mostly solo hobby of underground adventure gaming goes also most likely to produce the best output.

-- Rant Start --
The Professionals:
All this gets me thinking how a bad professional level adventure game ever gets made. If you get a team together of people who are very good at a few things and you have the right designer to orchestrate them and top it off with a good story you would think that a good game would be a no brainer. After hearing the horrible voice acting in the Black Mirror while my girlfriend played it I could not force myself to sit through it and play the game myself. Why go through all the work and drop the ball like that.
Just look at how a pixar movie gets made. Everyone is specialized to the extreme. Even if you don't like their films you have to admit that they do nice work. You know something goes wrong when you get a good team that makes something that is below them. A film like Star Wars Episode I can have the best people working on it and still be bad because of the week plot of just the person in charge.
-- Rant End --

There are also people like myself that fit into another group altogether. I'll call the group learners for lack of a better term. I'm not a great artist but I know good design when I see it. I have the technical skills of photoshop but lack previous knowledge of coding/scripting. I can learn how to script, I've just not been exposed to it before. If I was on a team I guess I would be a facilitator / coordinator. I have enough general knowledge to effectively bridge the gap in communication between a genetic engineer an auto mechanic and an astronomer. As far as my own work in adventure gaming is concerned I hope to produce something worth spending at least five minutes on.

Links and definitions: (not in order)

Artist (as related to this topic) - Someone who can command artistic ability, composition and design. Death is optional but a necessary long term goal for optimal results.

Artistic Ability (as related to this topic) - the ability to output finely crafted work.

Artistic skill set (clarification) - Writing and any of the separate skills it takes to be an Artist (see Artist). For this topic photoshop or some other paint software is required to completely express Artistic Ability (see Artistic Ability) and so is under this skill set.

Technical skill set (clarification) - Anything not in the Artistic skill set. Easy enough. I'll throw in character animation software here assuming that the original work was generated using some artistic skill. If you paint into the software directly it would be a form of paint software and then should be listed under the Artistic skill set.

http://www.markryden.com/ artist ( still alive), be inspired by his odd work.
http://www.fullsailsucks.com/ site still down story below
http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2...prweb89175.htm
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Old 03-23-2005, 11:43 AM   #34
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Just like many things in life, the definition of an "artist" has evolved over time as well, IMO. Even one of the definitions of an artist at www.webster.com is "One who is adept at something". And you've probably seen books and/or articles with titles like "The Art of Programming". Simply put, a result of combined effort at giants like Pixar would not have been possible without all the people involved, especially considering the time it was accomplished at. Can an artist paint a photorealistic-looking ocean that is also fully animated and realistically reacts to some sort of physical action that is happening on it? Not without proper tools like Maya. That is why there are research teams for products like Maya that study the fluid formulas, then translate them into code, which allows people to play around with how different things would react on ocean waves, for example. Half the fun is to experiment with the physics rather than have a "pre-drawn" plan on how the waves would act in your specific scenario.

Let's take "Lord of the Rings", for example. It involved a team of programmers, 3D artists, pencil artists, sculptors and more to archieve many results you see in the movie. Could a sculptor or a painter make the same incredible looking battles scenes with computer AI that acts on its own? Could the 3D rendering and animation team easily have such detailed models without first having an actual sculpture that was later laser-scanned into Maya? Sure, something like ZBrush might come close but if you have an option for a real sculptor, that would probably be preferrable. Could the crew easily envision what the Shire would look like without the amazing pencil drawings on-the-spot first? Probably not as easily. The point is that all of them depend on each other for big projects like that. I personally like this balance. It's true that in big teams, even with 3D animation and rendering, you'd probably do only a small part. You may just be asked to make a face model, then the next guy will animate it, the next will make textures for it, and so on. But it is always preferred that you know a little extra than your specialty, be it programming/scripting or arts and design.

Look at webdesigners, for example. If you post at webdesign forums that you're looking for a graphics artist for your sites, and that you will share the profits, you will be laughed at because as a webdesigner you are expected to know Photoshop and at least basic 3D. Not to mention all the coding of the pages and latest web technologies. On the other hand, once you're no longer a one-man team, there probably will be dedicated people for various tasks. In order to get a job for just one task, however, you're still required to know much more.

Anyway, the point is that I like that balance and that cooperation is often needed for truely talented projects.

Why do some big game or film projects fail? Time constraints and pressure, bad actors, bad directors, bad management, bad vision of what a particular story should look like in a game of film medium, narrow-minded view in a story or even too much propaganda. Then there are budget issues too. If you can't hire best people for a job, or if you can't afford all the needed resources, you have to cut corners and it shows in a final project.

Just IMO.
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Old 03-23-2005, 12:48 PM   #35
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I think these adventure game creation utilities are more like consoles like Super Nintendo and Genesis or GameCube, XBOX, and Playstation 2. I'm sure they all have their strength and weakneses, but it's about what you can make out and what you want to do with them and not what they can actually do! You look at what they offer, and then make something good out of them.

From personal experience, high-resolution games cost a lot more time to make because of all the hand drawn and detail work that has to be put on them. I think this is another reason why people working with AGS choose low resolutions, other than the fact that they want the old-school look. But that's why people can make more great and stupid games with AGS, because they can pull out a game a lot quicker that way.

I really never tried out SLUDGE, so I can't compare them both. Though I think I'll download it and look around it, though!
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:28 PM   #36
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Good scripting isn't necessarily important. "The Breakdown" is apparently very badly scripted. In the Curves of Danger -team, we have one professional programmer, and me. The professional programmer makes so much better code I can't believe it.
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:58 PM   #37
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Heh, bad scripting knowledge is still a bit better than none at all.
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Old 03-24-2005, 05:06 AM   #38
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Hey, at least you PC users can have this discussion. It's like people arguing over whether to buy a Porche® or Mercedes™ in front of a hobo - which, in this case, is us poor Mac users.
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Old 03-26-2005, 04:10 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erwin_Br
although the people on the SLUDGE forums are very helpful and respond to your questions very quickly as well.
I agree.

As a side note, I'd also like to add that I've found the scripting-based style of Sludge interesting in itself. Sludge itself has no concept of a room, it's all done in the scripting. The implementing of some of the more strange ideas I've had have required some creative thinking, but as a side effect that also inspired me to come up with the best and most interesing puzzles in my game. It suits me very well.
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Old 03-28-2005, 05:12 AM   #40
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I have twice seriously investigated AGS, and both times was nearly converted, but both times chose to use/stay with Sludge.

First let me say that I am highly impressed with AGS. If you want to make a game quickly and easily, you can't beat AGS.

However...

I choose Sludge because I am making a very big game (several thousand rooms - though so far it only has a few hundred - I am only a couple of years into it). Sludge for me has the following advantages:

1. Speed at high resolutions, as others have noted.

2. Flexibility - I did not like some of the ways that AGS does things. That is just a personal preference - I think AGS is great. But Sludge basically gives you a blank sheet to work with.I like that.

3. Limits. Sludge allows 65,500 of anything (objects, strings, etc.) In my game I will be pushing against that limit in the strings department, and possibly in the functions department as well. Both times I checked, AGS had much lower limits, so it just wasn't an option for a very big game.
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