Today is a good day (Aleutia Dev Blog)

28 02 2010

I have completed the first fully playable build of Aleutia on time. I’m still getting over the thrill of managing to do this especially when I was worried I didn’t optimize it well enough. But it apparently took less than 20 minutes to fully render, which I think is about average for a decently-optimized TF2 map. Anyway from here I was planning to have some people I know play test it with me, just to see if there’s anything really glaring that needs to be fixed, before submitting Aleutia’s alpha build to for more testing and critiquing. For now though, some more screenshots.

Migrating North (TF2 Map Dev Blog)

27 02 2010

As I mentioned in my twitter a short while back I sorta went a bit crazy in the process of trying to finish my map. I was trying to find a way to “wall-off” the edges of my map in a visible sense. I’d already put in player clip brushes that would keep people from falling into the void, but still they would need a visual clue to understand why they can’t proceed past a certain point. The problem that arose was that it would be far too time-consuming to make displacement cliffs, at least if I was going to have this map playable by my self-imposed deadline. The solution was to use static props of cliff faces and huge rock formations. Only problem was that the only ones suitably big enough were not thematically fitting with the tropical/desert theme of the island, since they were from the Forest/Alpine theme. I couldn’t figure out a good way to justify the grey forest rocks, even as volcanic, so I decided to do something drastic. I completely altered the visual theme of the map. In short, goodbye to Moai Island, and hello to “Aleutia”.

No, you cannot see Russia from your spawnroom

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An Isle of Textures (Moai Island Dev Blog)

24 02 2010

I gave myself a self-imposed deadline to have a playable version of the map ready by the end of this month. I am very close to achieving that goal now. Not only is all the game logic in place, complete with working spawnrooms and resupply lockers, but I also have completed the base texturing of the entire level. I will let these screenshots speak for themselves.

Aerial View of the Island

Exterior view of the RED Spawnroom

An exterior view of the BLU Spawnroom

RED Spawnroom interior, note one of the doors has been moved

Capture Point Room

the BLU side of the Server Farm

Server Farm: RED Side, along with a better view of the tape racks

RED Base Entrance, complete with a version of my Morley's poster overlay

Naturally I still have a ways to go. I have some more props that need to be put down both inside and out, some more overlays need to be laid down, I have a whole lot of optimizing to do, and of course I need to get it tested out. But of course that comes after everything is done. As to whether or not I’ll actually put Moais on this island, well…I’m starting to think maybe I don’t need them, at least not for the first iteration of this map.

Lights, Cap-Point, Action! (Moai Island Dev Blog)

16 02 2010

Work is proceeding at a decent pace on Moai Island now. Still no Moai statues though. In fact I’m almost considering ditching that idea in place of putting a wrecked plane on the island instead but I still have a ways to go before I deal with that. While the file name still lists it as an Arena Map I’ve decided I’m going to throw caution to the wind and make it a King of the Hill Map. The logic for KOTH was fairly easy to put in place (thanks to and I think the fact that it’s on the smaller side will make for far tenser battles.

Anyway, here are some more screen shots. First up, a shot from inside the BLU spawn point. It’s still under construction but those doors work perfectly.

Impressive, but could you give us a roof?

Next up is an image I got while respawning, showing off some of the terrain as well as the satellite dish I finally decided would adorn the roof of the main building.

Just resting, boss

Then I have a shot of the interior of that same building, such as it is, now with a working capture point.

Lastly is a look at the server room in the island base, which connects to the room beneath the capture point room.

And yet all of this information could be stored on one DVD today.

Obviously I still have a lot of work to do, like optimizing lighting and texturing the interior, but I’m glad it’s shaping up really well so far.

Water, Water, everywhere (Moai Island Map Dev Blog)

11 02 2010

So my TF2 map is again coming along slowly. I’ve started texturing the terrain and doing the best I can with displacement seams and what have you, but more importantly, I spent most of the day trying to figure out why my water wasn’t rendering, only for the problem to solve itself randomly. I think I’ll take the victory seeing as how I was doing everything I was supposed to in the first place.

A look at the (seemingly) infinite ocean

Here’s also a view of one of the entryways to the control point with some of the alpha painting to make it look like a well-worn path. I actually changed the texture I was using so now it’ll be a more defined form of grass and it won’t look as disconcerting. I’ve decided making the island look somewhere in between tropical and desert is perfectly acceptable, and the “Egypt” textures lend itself well to that.

Weirdest looking grass ever

I still have a lot to do though, namely finishing up what the spawn buildings will look like, adding environmental objects (including the moai statues I’ve been designing) figuring out how to deal with boundaries underwater, and of course applying the KOTH game logic.

Global Game Jam Retrospective

1 02 2010

This past weekend I participated in the Global Game Jam, where small teams of game designers, artists, and programmers participate in a 48-hour marathon game developing session within a set theme and constraints. This year the theme was deception, and for our time zone the constraints were “Rain”, “Plain”, and “Spain”. Rather than make “My Fair Lady 2010”, most people went with other really off-the-wall and quite “indie” feeling ideas.

The group I was in decided to make a game that took a lot of inspiration from A Boy and His Blob, only with the twist that halfway through the very short game the blob turns psychotically evil and tries to destroy everything. Entitled “ConquistaBlob”, the game was about a young Aztec woman and a mysterious blob on a quest to save her village by traveling to a temple and getting some kind of MacGuffin. The blob would transform in one of three ways depending on different corn being fed to it. Upon reaching the temple, the twist that the Blob is actually sent by the Conquistadors reveals itself and stuff goes quickly to pot. We didn’t quite get to that part, though we had all the elements of it. Rather than be disappointed that the game wasn’t quite complete and was a tad buggy, I’m instead more impressed by the work of our programmer being able to solve a majority of the collision detection problems as well as get some actual platforming going by the time we had to submit it. Sure the game wasn’t perfect but we had a beginning and end, and even had created two stages, something not many other games had. We also had some pretty nice chiptune music and sound done by Ken Snyder, who also did music and sound for just about every other game done at WPI’s game jam. Big props to him for working so dilligently.

I was in charge of doing artwork (and in fact, really the only artist), and I feel I did a pretty good job in making an 8-bit styled world with associated characters. I’ll put some animations of them up on the portfolio part of my page at some point later, which will even include stuff that wasn’t able to be included in-game. For now though I’ll just put up this image I made as our “victory” splash screen, and the parody of a NES game box I made really quickly as well just because.

Fight, Aztecs, for everlasting peace!

A winner is you!

I'm sure the BabelFish Translation on the bottom is wrong

Game of the Year in Mexico in 1987!

Also something I learned (besides making games in Java is hard work), is that I should look into the Flixel library for my flash game dev project that I’m still, slowly, trying to complete. So overall I feel this was a weekend well spent in terms of making me feel confident about my abilities to some degree.

Anyway you can attempt to download ConquistaBlob from the Global GameJam site by clicking here. Be warned it seems we had some trouble uploading it and it may not work. Since I don’t have the files necessary that’s something unfortunately out of my hands.