Careful what you write for – a series of thoughts on writing and designs.

23 02 2015

I really need to do better at writing any sort of post even if I don’t have much to talk about. In this case I do have a bit to talk about which is my slow process at working on Ablation again. While trying to figure out if I should get 2D Tookit or not (yes I’m going to), I also worked on making a Design Document so I could ground my ideas a bit better. This helped in a few ways, namely identifying I want PC and FireTV releases above all else, and while I’d like to put the game on mobile phones and tablets I think that should come after I at least have the core tech down.

I also tried to write a very bare-bones plot for the game in the document. While doing so I got reminded how your story decisions, even when you don’t expect it, might influence your artistic decisions.

When I first envisioned this game, back in college, it was going to be more of a free-form shooter similar to Escape Velocity, only set in a massive debris field. The idea being this field was the result of a never-ending series of battles between two rival star empires. The player belonged to neither of those empires, instead a “neutral” third party that would routinely scour the debris for technology to repurpose. Of course the empires would also send their own salvage teams to recover tech, as well as patrol ships. The idea being the player could grab other pieces of debris to make their ship bigger and more powerful, but at the cost of maneuverability. The top “layer” of upgrades (i.e. the newest attached ones) could be cast off as missile/bomb type weapons to also free up speed)

While I do like this idea still, I feel it’s very similar to the game Habitat (although my idea would control differently), and as such I probably won’t try visiting it for a while.

Anyway, for this iteration of Ablation I initially wanted the attacking force to be colonists, miners, etc. attacking Earth over some greivance or another, but I felt that was cliche so I wanted to turn it around, that the player was on the side of the colonists attacking a facist Earth government. The problem is that doing it with the colonists as the enemies would’ve actually been more interesting from an enemy design standpoint. After all, miners could be using ships that were jury-rigged or repurposed mining vessels rather than purpose-built military craft.

So I almost want to go back to that idea, but I want a way of doing it that doesn’t feel cliche, even though this is a vertical space shooter and the plot doesn’t really matter. Also at the same time a bunch of jury-rigged ships might be seen as less powerful than a military one, but at the same time i’d imagine mining craft, especially out in space, would be made to be pretty robust.

Anyway, I hope to have more in a bit, possibly some art or something of that effect because I have been doing a lot of art work in the background.

Just throw the dang puck at ’em: Shuffle Breaker Dev Blog

17 04 2014

So I’ve been doing more work on Shuffle Breaker, slowly but surely. I recently fixed my nGUI implementation up a bit so that stuff is scaling a lot nicer and the anchors are behaving a lot better. Most of the previous issues were due to my unfamiliarity with newer versions of nGUI but most of that is gone now. I’m also working on a new Main Menu with a slightly more unified theme, a preview of which you can see below:

New Menu Preview

As you can see I’m attempting to more fully embrace the chalkboard aesthetic. Not sure if I’ll include the sliding panels still, I might just have the menus pop in and out, or maybe apply a fade effect if i can swing that, we’ll see.

The other aspect I was working on was still trying to find a good place to put the pucks when they need to be dropped both to start the game and to restart the game. The end result being the pucks being flung into the rink from the corner, like so.

Hyup!This works pretty well, though not always, especially in later parts of the game, like this:

Fshewww...I’m thinking I might give it a random angle so that it might go in a few different directions. Anyway that’s all for me for now, I swear I’m going to get more regular at making updates, even if it’s not specifically about game dev. Maybe some reviews or random thoughts, I dunno.

2013 In Review

19 01 2014

I’ll have some more information about Shuffle Breaker in a bit, for now though here is a YouTube video compiling my work over 2013 into a bit of a portfolio piece.

Also I’ll be attending Global Game Jam 2014 this year cause I got lucky with the way my work schedule sorted out for that week. Should be fun!

I need an update schedule: Shuffle Break Dev Blog

16 11 2013

So it’s been about a month since I last updated, which isn’t all that good. What is good is that my option selections in Shuffle Break now save not only when players return to the main menu but also when they exit the game entirely and come back. Turns out NGUI actually has a built-in system for passing selections in menus and checkboxes to Unity’s PlayerPrefs. Further cementing NGUI as both awesome and a good investment.

I also updated Unity to version 4.3, which isn’t a big deal now but whenever I get back to doing stuff of a 2D nature it’ll definitely be a big deal.

April in Review: MBD Dev Blog #2

30 04 2013

So yesterday I finished and submitted my game for the Ludum Dare 26 jam. MBD, short for Mondrian Base Defense is a minimalist tower defense game. Very simplistic, in that you only have two tower types (Laser and Cannon) and three enemy types. Graphics are also pretty simple too as you’ll soon see below. I went with the Commodore 64 color palette this time around because why the heck not.

I had a lot of fun doing this, took me only about 48 hours (not nonstop mind you), and I learned quite a bit in the process. Like how to create individual health bars for multiple objects. Also how to use paths in Game Maker Studio. As for Invaders of the Stratosphere I do have a plan to revive the game as a Defender clone but I need to figure out how to accomplish the sort of screen-warping Defender does in Game Maker.

Download the game here. Screenshots for MBD follow below:

MBD Title Screen

MBD Screenshot

MBD Screenshot 2

Suburban Assault Riders Dev Blog 1

7 02 2013

My game for One Game a Month for February is going to be a bit of an homage to the classic Konami NES game Jackal that i’m calling Suburban Assault Riders. Instead of driving through the jungle rescuing POWs, you’re driving through Suburbia fighting a faceless corporation who is totally not Omni Consumer Products because I totally wasn’t watching Robocop last night.

So far I don’t have much aside from a design document and these three protagonist vehicles I whipped up in GraphicsGale. Hopefully I should have enough time between work and such to keep at it though.

Protagonist Vehicles

Protagonist Vehicles

The Red car is based on a Ferrari, the green pickup is based on a Chevrolet Silverado (with a side-mounted gatling gun as an homage to Tango & Cash), and the Blue sedan is based on the Subaru WRX. Each one will have it’s own different upgrade path for weapons. I haven’t decided if I’m going to have the player vehicles have health or if they’ll just die in one hit, we’ll see.

Keep watching this blog for more to come.

Pardon my dust

24 01 2013

I realize it’s again been a long time since I posted, and I wish I had more to show and/or talk about but I don’t at this moment. In a couple days however I will. Currently the game I was working on has, like so many other projects, been shelved for the time being. I decided I wasn’t liking the art style I was going with and currently a friend and I are working on making some new assets.

However I will probably return to it in time now that I’m part of the whole One Game a Month challenge. Right now I’m working on revisiting “You Have to Hit the Block” from senior year of college by remaking it as a 2D game in Game Maker Studio. Sadly I’m a bit limited in what I can do with GM:S at the moment, since I only have the free version for the moment. Planning on changing that though.

In a couple days I plan to put up some screenshots of it; since I can only do a max of 5 rooms in the free version of Game Maker Studio, it’s bascially just going to be one “world”.

Dust Settling

18 09 2012

So it’s been a hectic past couple of months. I left my job and moved down to Maryland with a couple friends of mine in order to try and make a go at some independent ventures. While doing that I’ve also been getting back into working on Tesseract as well as another project to be named later. People who remember “Ablative Starfighter” will be familiar with the second project however.

As for the changes I’ve made to Tesseract, I’ve implemented the treasure into the main game itself instead of just my test level, and also done some behind-the-scenes work towards fixing my code. Specifically I’ve been trying to create a generic weapons script that I can just drop into any weapon. The only thing holding that up however is the way I have scripts relying on one-another to do things like handle reloads. I also still haven’t made any new weapons for the player to acquire just yet mostly because I don’t have the inventory implemented yet. I think if I implemented the inventory it’d go a long way towards fixing some of these reliance problems.

In any event, here’s Tesseract v0.19 for download. The only real noticeable change aside from the Treasure pickups is the spread on the Shotgun has been expanded somewhat.

In which I talk for the first time about something almost done

17 02 2009

So for almost half a year now I’ve been working on my MQP (Major Qualifying Project) at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) in which my group and I made a module for NWN (Neverwinter Nights) and we’re now JAD (Just About Done) and I will be RFR (Really Frakkin’ Relieved) especially since I can stop with all the GDP (Goddamn Parentheses).

Well anyway, I am glad that we are finishing up the first, and unfortunately only, round of beta testing, and are about 1 week away from releasing the module to the masses. The module’s name? Overstayed Welcome.
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