Vlambeer's Rami Ismail posed a fun question on Twitter this morning: "What is your favorite or most surprising "hack" solution to a game development problem you've personally used or implemented?"
As you might expect, the resulting answers make for a fun and enlightening read. Game makers from around the industry jumped into the thread to share their own improvised solutions, each of which shed a bit more light on how game industry projects survive the journey from concept to ship.
For example, veteran game coder Renaud Bédard jumped in to explain that Polytron's Fez (which he helped program) generates a day/night cycle by slowly transitioning the sky through samples from a very small texture with a symmetrical spectrum from black (with alpha transparency so stars shine through) to bright blue.
And later in the thread, Ubisoft Montreal's Gavin Young explains that while patching a "New Game+" mode into Assassin's Creed: Origins after launch, he tried to ensure that New Game+ players would keep that status if they loaded their save game on an older version of the game by making the NG+ "token" an inventory item that was never used in the game but was in the baseline 1.0 version.
The full thread is an enjoyable read (we've taken the liberty of embedding a portion below) and makes a great addition to the ever-growing library of game dev trick tell-alls available online.
What is your favorite or most surprising "hack" solution to a game development problem you've personally used or implemented?— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) April 9, 2018
I've always liked the way we encoded day-night cycles in FEZ using a super tiny texture that I just sampled a column from, and slowly scanned through it with filtering pic.twitter.com/kfg4vEpLTG— Renaud Bédard (@renaudbedard) April 9, 2018
as to not need z-sorting in rymdkapsel, i made the only place where it's "missing" be non-walkable by the minions.— grapefrukt (@grapefrukt) April 9, 2018
For demoing The Flame in the Flood, we wanted a demo exit that required basically no work. I created an affliction called "demo over", set it's effect to death after 1 second, and gave it to the player after 10 minutes.— Forrest Dowling (@stuckbug) April 9, 2018
For a game jam I didn’t have time to properly implement resource management so I just let players spend into the negative and then acknowledge it with the endgame text as though it was intentional.— Liz England (@lizardengland) April 9, 2018
This is a metaphor for all of game development.