As usual, I’m working on too many things at once. But it’s nice when I have something nice to show!
This is an animation from the revamping of Chris’ game Rush Hour. It’s been done for a while but I’ve been set on adding some new features to make it even better. Chris has resurrected his programming role on this game and I’m glad because I had a hard time trying to figure out how his code worked. haha.
After we finish this, I’ll be focusing once more on the Donut game. And hopefully not much else.
I participated in the Global Game Jam last year after Chris peer pressured me. The game jam is where you meet up with a bunch of friends and strangers and work to knock out a game in 48-hours. I enjoyed the spontaneously creative environment and the new faces I met. Our game last year, Triune Soldierwas something that wouldn’t have been made without the Game Jam so I wanted to see what would come out of it if I did it again.
This year, Chris wasn’t able to participate because he was caught up in moving into a new apartment. That was a bummer but my coworker Alex was joining in so I was planning to work with him and whoever else I met along the way. I showed up late again this year and wasn’t able to find my coworker. When I made it to the GamePipe Lab, I found my teammate from last year, Gabriel, and his team working out the game concept. I decided to jump right in.
The theme for this game jam was “Extinction” — like what happened to the dinosaurs. They were working out a concept involving a guy swatting mosquitos. The game was being created in Unity 3D. When I got there, Gabriel was pitching a sort of departure from the concept, trying to simplify the idea and abstract it to make it something more reasonably attainable in the short 48-hours.
The concept was less literal. Instead of mosquitos, the players were destroying these docile “white balls”. The personality of the balls was to be communicated by how they reacted and animated. Gabriel wanted to communicate the story through the movement and sound design similar to what’s exemplified in the Heider-Simmel demonstration or the classic Chuck Jones animation The Line and The Dot. This direction was majorly influenced by Gabirel having to pull an all-nighter last year to finish up the artwork and animations for Triune Soldier. I supported the direction to go abstract. We were working in 3d and didn’t have time to create, setup, and animate assets. And we were working in Unity, which none of us had created any finished games with before.
This new direction created a divide within the team. Our lead programmer was set on creating a literal concept. And even when explaining that the gameplay would remain unchanged, just the presentation would differ, he couldn’t agree to work on something with an abstract direction. The argument against the literal direction was basically scope related: we didn’t have assets, mosquitos would be hard to read visually in a 3d environment, there’s more expectations of what the player could do (jumping, collision with objects, environment, etc.) He insisted that wasn’t gonna be a problem but if there’s anything that I know to be true, everything in 3d takes way longer.
I strongly backed Gabriel’s idea because it was fully conceptualized. He drew up mockups of the style, rendered a short 3d Studio Max animation of gameplay, created a first pass at sound, and the story had a beginning and end. This was hard evidence for his concept. My support for the abstract direction was a bit of a surprise to Gabriel as I was adamantly opposed it last year (“I don’t want any abstract bullshit I wanna see some characters and a story!” haha ), but I was more open to it now that we were working in 3d and he already drew up mock-ups for the concept.
So anyway, shortly after I joined, I broke off into another team. We were wasting too much time arguing and we needed to move forward confidently. I booted up Unity and began setting up a scene for Gabriel’s concept.
I had mentioned briefly that none of us had completed a game in Unity before — Flash is my area of expertise. I’d done some tests and tutorials before and between the arguing I was giving our developers Jacob and Vishak a primer of what I knew about Unity. Basically how to setup a scene, link code to objects and instantiating objects. Jacob was set to do AI for the game, he’d done a lot of stuff in C++ and C# and was planning to implement some concepts he learned from an AI book. The split of our team didn’t affect him much because his AI code could be used for both projects, as the concepts were practically the same!
That was the first night. The next day, I came in with a basic demo of the game. There was a player with movement, enemy spawning, and some basic shaders applied to them for a graphic look. That morning we got an e-mail from Jacob saying that he wouldn’t be making it back but he sent the AI code he created. I spent an hour or two implementing the enemy code. Throughout the day I worked to get enemy targeting and destruction working. Vishak was handling UI and sound related things. One of the game jam organizers, Mihir, served as our tech-support and goto guy for Unity help as he was in the lab with us and he had finished some Unity projects before. That night Chris H. made it to the game jam and joined our team, offering a variety of abiltiies.
On the 2nd night, I punked out and went home early. I wasn’t intending to burn myself out over the game jam, because that sorta negates the benefits of it for me. Overnight Mihir joined the team officially and took over — working to implement all of the features that weren’t in there. A proximity based enemy targeting system, new modes of enemy behavior, sound and more. When I returned on Sunday, the game transformed a great deal.
On the final day, the rest of the team mostly polished bugs. Working out the enemy movement, sound effects, adding the title screen and whatnot. I pretty much just sat back and watched, and uploaded it when it was done. The result was great and it was great to see everyone pull it off and smile at the result.
I’m looking forward to Game Jamming again next year!
It’s kind of hard to keep up with Flash game competitions. Every time I hear about one, there’s only a little amount of time left. And even if I know about them for a while, I decide at the last minute to enter! Here’s my last minute attempt to get the word out on a few.
This is my first time hearing of this Come2Play system. From what I can tell, games that implement the API use a universal currency called ‘tokens’. You can check out the documentation to get started and Emanuele Ornella wrote a tutorial for implementing the Multiplayer Api that might be worth checking out as well.
Requirements: Create a game with the theme of “benevolence”. Whatever that means…
Prizes: The best part is every submission wins a copy of FDT 4 Pure, the excellent ActionScript code editor. Which is awesome if you’re on Mac because you don’t have Flash Develop. Grand prize is Adobe Master Collection and a bunch of nice goodies. Check the page for the full prize list.
My homies the Super Fulton Bros. (Steve and Jeff Fulton) are judging this one, as they posted on their site. Jeff expressed concern for how subjective the theme is but that may make it more fun in the end! Part of what makes Apples to Apples so great — the other part being plenty of alcohol consumption.
The yearly Pico Day event will be happening on Newgrounds not too long from now. It’s a while so there may be time to plan something! haha
If you don’t know what Pico Day is, it’s a where Newgrounds users submit a bunch of animations and games themed around Pico, the classic Newgrounds Flash game from like 10 years ago. It was a huge inspiration for me back when I was messing around in Flash 3. Gotoandplay genius.
“Behold! A Massive Overhaul!” – Bryson, the Mighty
Tonight I finished an update to our blog theme. The new theme follows Sokay.net’s color scheme and design more closely — it’s bothered me that they looked similar but different. I like the direction it’s going and I’ll continue to revise the design sporadically.
Indiecade’s this weekend! Although Chris and I didn’t get our entries accepted, it was disappointing that they didn’t even bother to give feedback on our games — they basically said “we got too many entries. if you’re lucky, you’ll get feedback”. I’m suspicious as to whether they even played all of the games submitted. When Chris submitted Children at Play to Indie Fund, he was given a prompt and usefull feedback from Jonathan Blow. And he didn’t even have to pay an entry fee, haha.
With the Donut Game, I’ve passed the Fight Game’s engine to David. He’s working on updating the Fight Game’s animation with his most recent updates. I’ve spent some time working on the UI and some effects for that section of the game.
(this is a work in progress, yo)
To help me ease my mind, I’ve been working on this pixel portrait between running around in circles. I’ve been getting some assistance from the Pixelation community, check out my Work in Progress thread.
Work continues to progress on the Donut game. I’ve spent a great deal of the summer focusing on the Car Segment, which serves as an interactive intro. During this segment of the game, you play as the officer driving to the scene of the Great Donut Fire. You must drive through traffic, hopefully avoiding collisions with cars and civilians. The outcome of this section will be dependent on how you handle it — reckless driving will result in a ‘negative’ outcome where you don’t get to where you’re driving to.
With the Car Segment mostly wrapped up, I’ve moved on to focusing on the Fight Segment of the game, which acts as a mini-challenge within the game. David’s animating the characters for this part, the gameplay will be similar to Punch-Out!. I’m working on getting a skeleton of the game engine in place so that he can test his animation without requiring me to drop additional code in. Since this sections gameplay is so tied to the actual animation and timing, it’s important that he’s able to quickly iterate and test while animating.
The game is starting to emerge from the rubble and smoke. With every pass at detail and polish, it becomes clearer to see what the end result will be. While I chose to have the game mechanics relatively simple, I wanted to use them to play out a scenario and communicate ideas and themes from the world. This communication plays a larger role than it did in Thugjacker, where it was a bit more subtle, and is more integrated into the world than LUV Tank where it was much more blatant and abstract.
Most of the game artwork is done and in place at this point, but there’s a lot of animation that needs to be done. I’m doing planning for the game endings now, which will play a large role in the game. The way the game plays out will determine your ending — Way of the Samurai serves as my inspiration for this aspect. I’ve been thumbnailing these endings, working them out on paper while I develop the game.
Bryson’s been pressuring me to post about Children at Play for a long time, and I kept telling him “I’m too busy working on the game!” But enough a’ that crap. I uploaded the video preview to YouTube and I’ll have a playable demo up here very soon.
I started work on Children at Play at the start of last winter and its eaten a lot of my time since then. I consider it a small step, but an important one, in the right direction. I’ll save any in depth discussion for when I’ve got the demo up. For now I’ll post some text I’ve put together for various submissions and whatnot. Continue Reading…
So we’re done with that Indiecade submission nonsense. It served as a good goal for us, rushing toward the finish line. But in the end, it was just a checkpoint — a milestone — since there is still so much more to be done.
I’m happy that all of 3 games in the project are hooked into each other through the game scenario and most of the art assets are completed. We now have an even clearer idea of how the project is working so it makes the refinement process go much faster.
To the left are some game assets from the car game. I drew these cars in Adobe Illustrator, and made a few color variations. I’ve determined 11 variations aren’t enough so I’ll draw a few more and make additional colors to break up the visual monotony.
Since the last post, I’ve added Cryptic Circuitry’s music and sound effects to the game. It sounds great and it’s becoming more obvious what sounds are missing now. We need to take another pass at the sound now that it’s in. The sound is always the time consuming part that I spend little time at the end on. With the energy Cryptic’s putting into the sound design, I want to make sure it all works smoothly.
As far as the Sokay war with Chris Rock goes, I declare myself winning. As he is too much of a wusscake to post any news on his game. He claims his time “working on it” is much more valuable than posting on a blog. Pssh!
Here’s a bit of artwork I drew for the Donut game’s intro animation. It’s roughly animated so my man Cryptic Circuity can lay down some tunes for it while I tend to other areas of the project. My current focus right now is the top-down driving portion of the game. I should be showing bits of that part soon.
Chris has been touring Europe for the past couple weeks so don’t think the war is over. He’s just been readying the quiet before the storm. I’ve managed to gain some ground on him without having to sabotage his project, but his game was just about ready for a demo release even before he left. Regardless, both of our games are looking top-notch and I look forward to revealing more.
I’ve been hustlin’ on the Donut game. In the past month I’ve been busting out on the collision for the car segment and the intro animation for the game.
I’ve been working with the other members of the team — Ricky, David and Cyptic Circuity — to organize our tasks. Ricky’s doing most of the game’s character art and animation, primarily the Car segment and the Donut segment. David’s doing animation for a Fight segment — he did LUV Tank’s in-game animation. Cryptic Circuitry is doing the sound, as he did with Sammy Samurai.
I’ve had an idea of what I’ve wanted for the intro for the game for a long time but I had been conflicted on how I could get the story across without it being too drawn out. As an introduction to the game, I didn’t want the intro animation overshadow the game itself. I also don’t want to devote too much time to it when I have a game to make! I want something that basically says “Here’s your character. Here’s your scenario. Now play!”
I think of my games as interactive animations so I’ll continue to explore this balance. I haven’t made an animation like this in a while but I’m having fun so I may grow accustomed to it.
It seems I’m making one major site update a year, haha. This update has what I wanted to do with the redesign last year but didn’t get around to doing it. The major new content is each game having a subsection with images, a description and links.
Turned out to be trickier than I anticipated. I’ve been wanting to make the whole site XML based but since I don’t plan on updating it frequently I decided to go with a quick & dirty Flash route. I added SWFAddress to handle deeplinking for the site last year, but with subsections it becomes more useful. I also fixed a bug involving the back button not firing an update event (solution: make sure the SWF has an ‘id’ within the embed code). I’m also using a modified version of Lightbox for the pop-up images — I found it here (he’s got broken links and stuff so it’s hard to find).