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Why I’m not (yet) excited by the Oculus Rift

Let’s forget about the Facebook acquisition – that one aspect is enough to make me not want to buy one – but for the purposes of this blog, “Oculus Rift” is short-hand for any VR headset. I have a spinal condition which makes it difficult to walk and to move generally. Basically,...

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On Patreon and conflicts of interest

Posted by CaptainBinky | Posted in Useless Advice | Posted on 30-11-2014

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I must admit, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Patreon – is it okay for me as a developer to fund a games writer who potentially in the future could write something about my game? I don’t know – you’re certainly not, in that simple act of Patronage, entering into a binding contract where they must write something favourable about you. But at the same time, without intimately knowing the person you’re supporting you also can’t guarantee that it won’t predispose them towards you.

So what to do? Well, here’s a thought…

Patreon

Set your Patreon account to “private”, you muppet. You can do that dead easily. For extra fun, set up another email account with a meaningless address and don’t put your actual name (or common internet handle) into the Username box (those are the only two mandatory fields). That done, there is no way that the person you’re supporting, or the public at large, could ever know you support them – and therefore there is no way at all that this act of Patronage could be perceived as a cash for coverage situation.

If the person you’re supporting doesn’t know (and can’t know) you support them, how could this possibly change anything? The other way round, press supporting devs… that’s a little different and I bow gracefully out of having an opinion on that matter since it’s not an issue I have to concern myself with, not being press and all 😉

Generating Normal Maps from Textures

Posted by CaptainBinky | Posted in Games, Useless Advice | Posted on 30-11-2014

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It’s not infrequently that I stumble upon forum posts on hobbiest game dev sites where someone proclaims in response to a question, “no – you can’t make normal / bump maps from textures”. The logic being that there is absolutely nothing in a texture map that would in any way yield useful depth information. This is certainly true – and it would be also be true to say, “you can’t make really really good normal maps from just a diffuse texture”.

But you can make normal maps which serve a purpose – you’ve got a texture which had no bump map packaged with it, you’re not an artist, and anything half decent is better than nothing. It’s also staggeringly easy and requires no skill, yet I almost never see it mentioned on the internet in these discussions.

So I present to you, Photoshop’s “High-Pass” filter:

NormalMaps

Take your texture, and do:
Filters -> Other -> High Pass

Play with the slider until you get something bump-mappy (usually quite low values), desaturate the image, done. You’re welcome 🙂