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BlackDeath

 

It has been some time since my last post. Short story is I have been working my industry job and been consumed with the current project I am working on. Right now I wanted to focus on a Game Jam from the end of last year, that was extremely productive but in the end turned out to be more destructive to moral.

 

The Start

 

The goal was to make a game for the Walking Dead Jam, an event put on by Skybound Entertainment the people behind the comic book and not the t.v. show. One of the most enticing elements of the event was creating a game inspired by some of the elements of the Walking Dead universe. It is an amazing universe and spun off other great titles like the Tell Tale Adventure game. We needed to make something over the weekend and we had our sights high on the production quality. So my friend Brenton Sewell and I enlisted some of our friends to help. Our goal was to make a First Person Arena Survival game, set in a medieval world where the black plague turned people into zombies. Ben Braman and Nicklaus West helped us with music tracks and sound fx, something we would barely tackle in a normal Game Jam but wanted to have a complete experience. Dan Williams created the excellent zombie model and rig for the game, to give us a fresh take on zombies inspired by the comic series. They were all a huge help for the game and pushed the quality of the experience much further than a normal weekend project. We were very happy with what we were able to contribute to the event.

 

 

The Verdict

 

We did not place in the competition. We did not place because of the design of the game, controls, art, and anything included in the game. We did not place because the game could barely run on their test machines… what were they using … Macintosh laptops. We were aiming to create an awesome game that was on par with high quality PC game specs, so it was a huge shock to hear the people that were running the event and including rewards like Steam green light access, were using computers that could not run 90% of the games that are currently on Steam. Contacting the event organizer, I tried to see if there was any other way they could test our game and the only response was to “magically” optimize the game to run on this much lower spec, something that would take as long as the creation of the game. I was pissed and even more in outrage with amateur at best games they chose for the finalists.

 

–Post Mortem-

 

The Good

For 48 hours I am incredibly happy with how the mood was captured in the game. It has bits of creepy horror, spooky, and ominous. It was a great practice for fast level creation and one of the first tries with fps controls. The art that was contributed was fantastic, and couldn’t ask for better music.

 

The Bad

The A.I. of the enemies needed to be more interesting and versatile. For an action game, the game is only as good as the challenges you put forth and if it is something you are battling every couple of seconds, it needs to be interesting. For this game I only had the time for a simple follow A.I. behavior that didn’t even do a great job. The enemies don’t have to be super clever, but adding attacks, jumps, or other interesting behaviors would go a long way. If I would ever do a game like this again, I would look for an A.I. package to have as a building block.

 

Final Word

I would like to thank Brenton Sewell, Ben Braman, Dan Williams, and Nicklaus West to contributing this project. Lessons learned, be aware of what the motives of the judges are and build accordingly. Also look for a jam that has a large contribution and feedback community like the Ludum Dare Jams. They are a much more constructive environment and a huge boost to your skills even if they don’t have physical prizes.
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A couple weeks ago, my friends Dan Dunham, Brenton Sewell and I came together to create a game for the Fantastic Fest Arcade. This is a local Austin event that showcases independent or weird games / movies. We were inspired by the Space “Mac” of the original Stark Trek, Captain Kirk. Our big idea was that your avatar was rapidly aging and needed to find a mate to produce an offspring and keep the game going. What we ended up making is a Space Exploration / Dating sim, where you can blow up voxel based asteroids to find gems. You can then use these gems to “Woo” randomly generated alien woman to “win” and produce a weird mash up baby.

Here is a logo treatment I made for the game, you can click on it to play it for yourself.

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Here is a dazzling screenshot of The Warm Embrace of Space

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Last weekend was spent on building a scene for the Shroud of the Avatar Scene Jam. I was really excited to try on a jam that was geared towards world / level building. Usually with game jams it is a rush to build everything from scratch and the very last minutes are spent on crafting levels / interesting content. For Mr. President, I made all 4 levels in the very last hour before uploading. Mr.President is moon walking because you can just use a walk animation and push the player backwards in seconds.

For this scene jam it was based around their Lunar Rift Portals inside of the game. I really liked all the concepts for them and use pieces from each to construct an interesting structure. You can find the concepts and rules here. 

Creating the scene, most of my assets came from the amazing Michael O. You can find that here.

Here is the unveil of  my win, kind of surreal to see Richard Garriott giving me a hand 🙂

You can Skip to minute 55 to see my scene.

Hey everyone I am working on a table top game for a skillshare class taught by Grant Rodiek. You can find a link to the class HERE –> http://skl.sh/15MfoTc

The game I am making is called Home Wreckers and you can play with a standard set of playing cards. I am going to be play testing and tweaking in the next week, but look forward to a post with refined instructions on this blog. In the mean time you can play the beta version now by following the instructions on my skillshare project here —> http://www.skillshare.com/Pass-Go-Design-Your-First-Table-Top-Card-Game/2088475817/projects/15782

HomeWreckers

Returning from the Philippines, I have been staying in Phoenix Arizona for a week. It’s been great to catch up with old friends and enjoying local spots. Looking forward to getting into a regular schedule soon and keep up with doing daily doodles plus more. In the meantime I have started a new routine of doing daily brainstorms for 15 mins a day, aiming to come up with new ideas each day. Some will be real projects, some will go into archives, others a waste bin but I think it will be fun way to evolve my idea process. This was inspired by reading Today Matters by John C Maxwell. Good read so far and look forward to finishing it soon.

While here I have been able to catch up with some other brilliant indie game developers who I have grown and been inspired by. Play tested their latest games and very excited to see what they come up with next. Be sure to check out their games and send some kudos their way.

Steve Swink – Scale – Greatest game design teacher around, its always inspiring to talk to and see what Steve comes up with. Scale introduces a whole new mechanic to games, where the players can manipulate the size of any object in the world. It takes big ol balls to run with a concept like this.

Erin Robinson – Gravity Ghost – Erin recently made some tweaks to the art of her game Gravity Ghost and I can easily see being in trance of this orbital based plat-former.  A game that will take time and skill to master with low penalties for failure, will let tons of people get into Erin’s world and enjoy their time with this game.

Aldo Jeffrey – Unannounced Project – Going to college with Aldo and staying in touch with him through the years, I can definitely say Aldo is one of the hardest working people in the arts industry. No matter which project he goes after he aims above and beyond expectations. From what I have seen so far of his latest project, he is a very epic game that I am sure will be great / unique when it comes out.

Ludum Dare 26 is over and there are over 2,000+ great games for you to check out. Head over here to play for yourself. http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/

You can also play my game Rogue Pirates right here, just click on this beautiful rendered art to launch the web version. Set Sail for Adventure.

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Screenshots

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Link to my Ludum Dare Page = http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-26/?action=preview&uid=16170

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