Sunday, 23 December 2012

Yay! Christmas!

Well internet, we've got a new game almost finished and ready for you perusal. Keep an eye on the website over the next few days! I'm not going to tell you anything about it now, you'll have to come back and see for yourself ;-)

Instead I want to give out a general update on some exciting new developments. So BONG! Here is the news!

We have a new team member: 

Take a bow Adam Tustian! Adam is Richard’s bro and also a kick ass composer / sound engineer. Like most of the rest of us he has no prior games experience but he’s been messing around writing tunes in Reason & Cubase for years. Expect kick ass beats in all our games from now on!

It also means that team Caper is now complete, between the 4 of us I believe that we’ve got all the skills required to make a game covered.

Game Jam: 

 I’m really excited about this – next Saturday we’re going to hold a game jam! For those who don’t know: a game jam is where you hole up somewhere and try to make an entire game from start to finish in one bash. We’re going to start from nothing and go through the whole process of coming up with an idea, and then designing, building and launching the game in a single day. The plan is that we start at midday and don’t stop until the finished game hit’s the website.

I think it’ll be a great experience for us, and we’ll learn a lot about working together as a team. Also it means you guys get another game to play, Merry Christmas!

New concept art:

Here's something Richard knocked up this week.  No idea if we'll use these guys for anything but it showcases a new art style that Rich has been working on... looks rather nice I think! 



That’s all for now folks, remember to keep half an eye on the website and enjoy your mince pies :-)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hello Internet!


It's been a while since my last post so BONG! here is the news!

First off a game update!


As mentioned last time I've been cracking on with Minesweeper.  I've gotten an alpha build up and running so I thought I'd whack it on the website for people to play with.  At the moment it's all my work but a lot of the text / images / etc you can see are just placeholders.  Rich and Mike are beavering away at coming up with some proper assets for the game. Anyway enjoy: 

http://www.caper-republic.net/d-day-minesweeper/DDayMinesSweeper.html



Also, we still want to put a twist or several on it - at the moment it's pretty much vanilla minesweeper - so I'm looking forward to creating a whole new version of it later on with some new mechanics and game modes.

In the meantime though, I want to give Rich the time he needs to operate so I'm going to move on to the next chapter in my book... Connect 4.

Great...

Well I can't think of anything interesting to do with Connect 4 so I expect I'll just read the chapter and knock out something completely vanilla.  The upside is that it won't take me any time at all and I can do it solo, obviously on the other hand it'll probably be bland as hell but oh well - it's all good experience:-)

If you have any ideas why not shout them into the comments box below :-)

Other general news

(In no particular order...)

Work sucks! 

my main job has been taking all my attention for the last couple of months :-( But I'm back to pretty much normal hours now until Christmas so I'm planning on getting a bunch of games cranked out by then.

eLearning is boring!

I've given up on the lynda.com flash course I was working through. It's pretty good and I would recommend it... but sitting watching hours and hours of videos has very nearly destroyed my will to live.  As therapy I've been actually doing rather than reading about it... So there you are: making games is officially better than reading about making games when it comes to making games.

Games are good!

With work and all the time I've been putting in to making games I haven't really played any for a while.  So I've been going through my steam library and playing all the games I bought in sales and didn't get around to.  So far I've played Bastion, Metro 2033 and I'm having fun with Borderlands (yes the first one...).  Rich has also blagged me a key for The War Z - Good man!

That's all folks!

See you in a couple of weeks with either a new game or an updated minesweeper :-)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Baby Steps


Well we're a couple of weeks in, here's an update:

My Bro's helping out:

He's a producer for a big UK game studio, so we'll be able to pick his brains for sagely wisdom and advice. I doubt he'll get too involved in the nuts & bolts of our work but it'll be great to have him around to bounce ideas off etc.

He's also younger than me by several years... so that puts him on tea duty!

Training's going OK:

Rich and I have been cracking on with learning Illustrator and Flash respectively. 

On my side I've ditched the boring training videos.  I feel I know enough of the basics now to actually start making some games!

I'm working my way through a book on flash game design, it teaches you by showing how to make a bunch of classic games, (pairs, bejewelled, minesweeper, etc). My plan is to go through each chapter and then, when I've got the gist of the game, start fucking about and try to make it a bit different.

With that it mind let me introduce our first ever game: Card Bastard!

You can play it at: http://www.caper-republic.net/card-bastard/CardBastard.html

As you'll find out, despite the awesome name, it's a pretty boilerplate rip off of the card game pairs.but it lives! and we made it! we're off the mark :-)

Also a disclaimer! We're going to publish a bunch of games over the next few weeks of a similar ilk... but these are just training exercises for us - they're not part of our overall plan.  We know the first 'proper' game we're going to make and we're already quietly working away on it.  So by all means go play these games, but don't judge us on them yet!


The website is starting to take shape:

If you clicked on the link above you'll have already noticed :-) I've added a simple colour scheme and some info about our blog / twitter / etc. There's still not much content on it, but it's a great jumping off point for all things caper - and that's where our games are, so go play!

http://www.caper-republic.net


This is by no means final (we'll tart it right up at a later date when we have the time) - but at least it looks a bit better than a white page with a couple of sentences of Times New Roman text....


Next step:

Well the next chapter in my book is on minesweeper... so expect a caper version of minesweeper in a couple of weeks!

We've already started brainstorming the design and have hit on a few ideas that should add a twist to the old formula.

Also I want to get everyone else involved, the last game I just got my head down and made in a couple of evenings.  I grabbed a few art assets that Richard has developed for other projects and also raided our band's mp3 collection for sounds, but neither the visuals or the sounds were designed for the game, I just picked whatever fitted.

Next time we'll do things the proper way round: starting off with a plan and then designing assets specifically for it.  Hopefully it'll make the end result more polished.

Well that's the plan anyway...


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Hello , World

So here’s the state of play, I’ve had a couple of chats with Rich (designer and also my best mate) and we’re on! We’re going to set ourselves up and have a serious crack at making computer games for a living!

This should be fun: neither of us has ever made a game before, right now we don’t really have a clue what we’re doing and also we have no website, no money and no support.  What we do have though is a love of gaming and a na├»ve excitement about starting something new that we REALLY want to do! 

Here’s the current state of play…

 

Rich & I are in training!

Rocky lifted rocks and ran about in the snow, Bill & Ted buggered off to the 70s in a time machine, for us it breaks down like this:

  • Video training on the tools of the trade (Flash, Illustrator & Photoshop). I hate it: there’s frickin’ hours of the stuff to wade through. To make it worse the narrator in the series I’m watching sounds just like that yappy annoying slag who runs the general store in Megaton in Fallout 3 :-@ 
  • Working out how we’re going to work together: This one sounds easy but it’s actually causing us quite a few headaches – what format should Rich be designing in? Should he learn Flash as well as Illustrator? Should we even be using Flash at all? Etc. Etc. – It’d suck royally to put hundreds of hours in to learning something that doesn’t end up being used…
  • All the other crap: website, twitter, this blog, and so forth.
  • We’re hovering up general industry wisdom. The great thing about the gaming scene is that it’s so open, everyone’s happy to chat about their work. The best sources I’ve found are:
    • Extra credits (weekly show on general design topics)
    • Design3.com (great interviews & a ton of articles)
    • All Your History Are Belong To Us (History of leading game companies & franchises)
    • PC Gamer (UK guys especially are awesome – keep flying the flag dudes!)
    • Double Fine Adventure (It’s an awesome opportunity to see how some of the greats approach making their games)
    • Of course Indie Game the movie
    • TotalBiscuit (He always explains in great detail why he hate’s something before mercilessly bludgeoning it to death in front of its children).

Actually I’d like to Segway a little on this:  As well as some really good tips & information, there’s also a common ethos to game design that all these indie guys all seem to have. Listening to the way they talk about their games really reminds me of musicians and other artists talking about their work.  It’s something I can resonate with and be inspired by. They really are the good guys, I want to buy beers for all of them! Also: games ARE art, end of.

We know the first game we’re going to make:

The idea started life as a straightforward 5 minute flash game, a dude walks down the street and you shoot bad guys who are trying to attack him. So far so generic…

Here are some pearls of industry wisdom for you: the first game anyone ever makes will be shit, projects always take longer than you think they will, don’t bite off more than you can chew, etc, etc.

So given all that we were going to just try and quickly bang out a bunch of quick & dirty sheds to learn the ropes & get the ball running. Problem is we’ve had many beers and many discussions and now we’ve gotten all keen about it!

A simple couple-of-week project is now bloated with all sorts of silly mechanics & fancy features: Do we need to rip off the Driver 3 leaping about mechanic? No! Will anyone give a crap about integrated leader boards, no, monetisation, no, I could go on…

So, against the best advice, we’re going to be ambitious and try and do things properly from the start, I know it’ll make things much more painful, but I’m kinda proud of that fact.

We have a cunning plan!

Our overall plan involves much more than spitting out games.  I’m really excited about the ideas we have for the website, community and a bunch of stuff that we’ll keep up our sleeve right now ;-)

Caper-republic.net is going to evolve in to much more than a games portal, it’ll be great to see how it takes shape – and how it goes down with you guys!

So what should you expect?

For now: not a lot. Being realistic I expect our first game will come out around Christmas time, and the website will be pretty empty til then too.

By then we’ll obviously be experts(!) at the whole process, so we’re hoping both the size & speed of production will ramp up.

For now though, we’ll be keeping this blog and twitter etc up to date with our progress so anyone who’s interested can keep tabs on there :-)

 

Happy Gaming !