Monday, 29 April 2013

Please take a seat, we have much to discuss

Hellooo there internet me old chum!

Want to know what we’ve been up to? Well here are the deets!

Well we’ve been working hard in three areas…

1. Bedlam!

Mungy’s been hard at work in the art cave.  He’s created a bunch of assets for the intro sequence and the other cut scenes as well tarting up the game in general.  He’s come on a lot during the development of this game and so I guess it was inevitable that his earlier work wouldn’t match up to the par he’s working to now.  He’s pretty much finished this now and the end result should be a more coherent look to the game.

Here are some screens of his recent work:

Adam’s also been getting stuck in to the sound.  We've worked up a brief and an asset list that’ll meet the requirements and feel of the game so he’s working through that to pull it all together.  I have to say, I have no idea what music should go with a game set in a Victorian mental institution, so good luck there Ad! – It’ll be fascinating to see what he comes up with.

I expect both will have completed their bits & bobs in the next week or so.  Then it’s just a simple case of putting all their good work in to the game and we should be ready to rock!

2. Website!

As I’m waiting on the others to get their stuff done for bedlam I've been using the free time to crack on with the website.  We really want to be more than just a portal for the games – instead we’re shooting for a nice friendly community portal.  Somewhere where you guys can hang out, interact with us and talk gaming as well as play our games. So far I’ve implemented the following:

A forum
Facebook integration
Twitter feeds
Blogs – so you’ll be able to read this whilst playing!
User system
News feed
Stat tracking / leaderboards – so you’ll be able to brag to your mates!

That’ll probably be about it for version 1.  We’ll get it out there and then use it as a foundation to build more features on going forward.

As a side note: Web development is what I do in my day job – Therefore I’m finding it really boring! Don’t get me wrong: I’m chuffed with the way it’s taking shape and I think it’ll be awesome when it’s done… but it’s just not the same as making stuff that blows other stuff up!

3. Polishing up the back catalogue:

No, this isn’t a euphemism… go wash your mouth out.
I need to go through all the old games to get tem working with the website, so while I’m at it I’m also enhancing them a bit as I go.  I’ve just finished CardBastard (still the best game name ever!) and it’s been a fun exercise to do.

I’ve added in a bunch of new art assets for the tiles. So now they’re all made out of characters / art from our games rather than being 30% sketches and 30% dodgy facebook images.
I’ve changed the music and sound effects.  It’s now using some tracks that Adam wrote a while back – good to get some of his stuff in to one of our games!
Some tweaks to how it plays and fixed a few bugs – mostly boring stuff though so I won’t bang on about it here.

Next I’m going to focus on D-Day Minesweeper (add sounds & music / then do some tidying up) – and then on through the rest of the games til I’ve done the lot.

Getting ready for launch!

So that’s what we’re up to, so what’s next?  Well if we time it right then we should get all the above done at roughly the same time… this is not a coincidence!

So far we haven’t publicised anything we’ve made, apart from a select group of friends who’ve been helping us with our testing we’ve mostly been keeping it under our hats.

So we wanted to do a big launch to kickstart this project in to life.  With the new website and a couple of extra games we feel that we’ll finally have enough content to make it worthy of your time.

Therefore in the near future our baby will finally be born! There will be fanfares! Parties! Celebrity guest endorsements! – well actually none of that… but we will be plastering ourselves all over the internet like shameless whores to try to get some traffic to the site.

To be honest its kinda scary! I’ve got no idea how people will react, or if anyone will even bother showing up… fingers crossed!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

How to become a programming god!

What up internet?

Today I want to talk to you about a difficulty curve: not the one that you experience when playing games – but the slope that I'm climbing learning how to make the bloody things!

If you've played our games so far then you may have noticed a thing: every released game is a little bigger and more complex than the last… and they've all got something new about them that the others do not.  This is deliberate!

What I'm trying to say is that this is one of those rare occasions in my life where I'm actually following a plan! In each project I'm setting myself a new challenge or two, with the idea being that I’ll expand my knowledge of games programming a little each time and also add a few new tricks to my toolbox.

So what I thought I’d do with this post is lay out where I think I am with it all and also what I’m thinking of tackling in the future… and why!

The story so far…

Here’s what I’ve conquered so far (on top of learning how to deal with general Flash BS):
  • Basic game AI & logic
  • Cut scenes / movie clips
  • Sprites / animation
  • Sound controls
  • Faking 3d & depth

There’s a bunch of other stuff you need to know to get to this point, but I’m already an experienced programmer so most of it wasn’t new to me… I won’t bother boring you with the details!

So that’s where I am, here’s where I’m headed..

Next steps on the path to enlightenment:

As well as official collaborative project with the other guys I’m also going to keep cracking on with personal learning projects.  From where I am I have a rough roadmap that I want to follow.  Each of these games will teach me a new thing that I want to learn and hopefully let me grow a little as a game developer.  Here’s the list of projects I’ve got in mind – and what I think I’ll get out of it:

  •      A bullethell game  – Dealing with a player avatar on screen
  •      Top down racer – direct twitch input
  •      A platformer – It kinda covers all the skills I’ll have under my belt at that
  •        An adventure game – Mungy wants to remake dizzy...
  •      A multiplayer game – duh multiplayer
  •       A Roguelike – It’s a great way of providing a lot of content efficiently
  •     New platform / something in 3D - dunno
If I get this far then it’ll probably time to move on from Flash…

Along with these I also want to dick around with the following features in my games:

  •        Doing an android game
  •           Integrated leader boards, achievements & player stats
  •           Facebook game
  •        Getting on a game portal like newgrounds / kongregate etc.
  •           Making a game that works with a game pad

So I’m probably going to mash up these two lists and see what comes out J

Anyway that’s the plan, let’s see how it all works out…