Stress sketches.

stainandhawk
I’ve always sketched on my notebooks. Ever since I can remember. It actually helped me, when I was on classes, to remember what they gave in class even if I didn’t take any notes.

When at work however It takes an interesting form. I start gradually taking shots at the paper sometimes one line at a time or one detail at a time. Eventually some of the “random” shapes start taking interesting aspects.

It occurred to me some time ago to actually keep all the notebooks from my previous works in case I came upon some creative block so that I could channel or re-visit the creativity encased in those “random” sketches.

As a result I have amassed several notebooks with tons of sketches and doodles trapped between the notes and textual content of whatever I was doing that day.

Some of the sketches got pretty creative. I have one doodle that was stained by coffee and I decided to finish the job and color the drawing with the coffee and do some line work on it. Note most of these drawings are not measured or planned works of art. Just some overworked randomness.

Here are some of the sketches I managed to “rescue” for future consideration:

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After writing part of this article I actually checked some online articles with similar theme:

There are many other articles dealing with this trough the internet just search for art therapy or stress and art and/or drawing.

It is my personal belief that sketching inside and around your notes will help relieve stress and in my case it has the added benefit of helping me remember the actual notes I took… I’m guessing it has to do with memory somewhere too so try and apply it to your work and see what you can gain from it. You may be surprised of the end results either way.


Some music editing software I’m looking into.

metal_in_my_head

Programs for audio production:
I’ve recently started listening to a genius Leo Moracchioli as he makes his metal version of cover songs, Which are awesome and he is pretty forthcoming about what software he uses which is good for me as I always like to get my hands on cool software and see what frankensteinish monstrosity I can come up with.
Just for fun…

It’s alive…. it’s aliiiiveeee!!!!!!

Ahem….
Here’s some of the mentioned software he uses.

Kemper Amps

Reaper

Toontrack

EZmix
Try them out and let me know what you can come up with. I’m going to have to try them out soon and make some projects of myown.


Some html5 tools to sidestep Flash

Ok a little gross and graphic depiction of the flash logo being replaced by html5 a la Aliens.

For more time than I should remember there has been Flash, Flash ads and animations. Now days as web browsing moves to mobile technologies there has been a tendency to side step flash and shove it away.
Enter html5 and all its graces. Thanks to html 5 and many applications able to generate it now days we are able to convert flash animation along with some of its interactivity into html5 files that will work on any device.

Some tools to help other designers in the process are:

  • Swiffy – A simple Flash to HTML5 converter that helps make SWF files available to a larger audience. You can simply upload your published swf and it makes a nifty html file with all you need. Just pop it into a div or iframe and you’re good to go.
  • Google Web Designer  – This is an aplication that lets you author html 5 products like you would do in flash. It’s pretty simple to use.

I for one have tried and tested both options and they work great for my needs. I’m certain that there’s a ton more available.

Remember there’s also Game authoring tools that you can use to make games and apps that publish in html5.

  • I’ve used Construct 2 from Scirra for a long time(3+years) and although it’s not for everyone It certainly works for me and a very active and friendly community of developers too.

I hope this helps someone out there as it certainly helped me solve some work issues since our friend Google started adding “play” buttons to ads thus ruining the click experience for users.

 


Construct 2 : Simple Space Shooter template.

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Hi there. As part of the Construct 2 community you have access to create your own assets and sell them in their store. This is my simple space shooter template. Which is one of my first template-type games which you can play right away, use and modify to make your own using Construct 2. I put it up fairly cheap because I want people to be able to make their own games as easily as possible. I will be making other templates soon based on my learning experiences placing the crucial elements at the hands of the developer so they don’t have to dance around to make their game and they can concentrate on the design, graphics and polishing their actual gameplay.

Get it here simple space ship template.

The idea behind the template is to provide you with a simple working game with the simplest of controls and give you room to design and expand.

This template includes the following:

  • Generic assets.
  • Working ship with thrusters and shooting
  • Working hitpoint behaviour.(damage tracking)
  • Ship wraps around screen.
  • Enemy ship spawner with script.
  • Enemy ship with separate trusters.
  • Background generated elements.
  • Wrapping background.
  • Commented scripts.

I hope you all enjoy this template and create awesome space shooters(or whatever creative ideas occur to you) with it.

Note: the default controls is arrows and spacebar but you can create other control schemes.


Experiences on game making

Here are some of my character design sketches while working on the concept. I later took the best ones and made a clean version on illustrator.

Here are some of my character design sketches while working on the concept for FFB. I later took the best ones and made a clean version on illustrator.

 

I have always been an avid video game enthusiast. When I was little I used to play video games and my first programming experience was with an old Tandy TRS 80 model computer… in BASIC(no, not visual Basic the original Basic BASIC). I was really into it too. I had loads of papers with my designs. I still keep some of the raw concepts and sketches.

I went to art school and in the meantime I purchased Klik & Play (from MAXIS which had some evolutions since ’94) one of the first event oriented game programming engines I’ve been exposed to. It was exciting to see my creations move and walk and fight with little coding and lots of animating. I made fighting games, mega man style games, castlevania style games and plenty others but never one fully finished. I did keep all the sketches for later though.

As soon as I graduated I went to programming courses in the local college… however at the time they were more focused on accounting than gaming so I took all I could learn and went somewhere else to focus more on art and mix as much I could with computers.

It wasn’t until recently with the help of Construct 2 and loads of patience, forum diving, and luck that I’ve been able to fully publish a game. Getting players to log in and leaderboards to work was a pain for me. As soon as that was working I considered it a great victory. What I didn’t get into my variables however was the concept of making ads work in the app, and to me the actual interface and concept of making ads work is very much alien. It took me days to make the ads work and I still don’t fully understand them. This leaves me with some homework for next apps and games to come.

However this list may help someone else achieve their goals and they will serve as a reminder for me to follow on the next games I make.

  • Start small: Get the main idea on paper and focus on how it’s going to work.
  • Shut people up but do listen: Ok maybe not in the violent sense more like in the sense of keeping the purity of the concept. Many people will have many ideas and will feel they have to share them with you to “help you”. Good intentions pave the road to hell. Keep them in mind but try to keep the main concept clear and specific. Otherwise you’ll change the game more times than needed before you realize.
  • Write things down: Keep a record of what you are doing. A sketch, a doodle, a note… do try to keep them in writing and make a log or even an excel file with all the changes, fixes, modifications, updates, goals and victories so you remember.
  • Keep track of time: Important! Keep in your log hoe much time it took you to complete one given task so that when you have to do something similar again you have an idea of how long it will take. This also helps you keep track of “costs” in term of man hours spent and effort. Trust me in the end it will be worth knowing how much actual effort you put into things.
  • Do forum dive: If it wasn’t for the gamer/developer/forum communities most of us wouldn’t get to our goals. Sometimes other people have insight and solutions to problems you will probably not think of on your own. Do go, socialize and forum dive. Some people will have the golden cog that will make the machinery of your game work better than you thought.
  • Get information about that part you didn’t know you needed: Sometimes as developers we overlook certain details that have to be in your game/app to work.  It may be communication with “app store of your choice”, ad monetization, marketing and promotions, a fan base, the ability to make a plush toy out of your main character or some other gimmick, you have to take into account all you can and be ready to invest time/money in the tools, technologies or services you need.
  • Looks are NOT as important as mechanics: It may look awesome but if it doesn’t work it’s worth nothing to players/users. Make sure you get the mechanics working all the time. Looks can always be improved in the long run.
  • Work on fanbase before release!!! I was to keep the game hush hush before release which immensely lowers the impact on release. I know that from previous experiences but its good to keep it in mind. It helps keep people excited, it drives downloads and helps promote it beforehand. Facebook people … go get it!!!

Anyhow. Just a few thoughts. Try an d keep producing and making and creating stuff and don’t forget to have fun in the process. If it isn’t  fun it’s more work than it should be.


Freefall Bird – My first published game

FreeFall Bird Icon

FreeFall Bird is the first mobile game I’ve fully published with music by Jesús M. Cruz  and published by Solutions By Design. As of today it just hit the Google Play Store.

You can also find the game fanpage in facebook we’ll be adding updates images and more information there as well.

I hope it goes well and I’ll be working on keeping it up to date as best I can and fixing any issues that arise along the way.


The Baiden Region intro animation campaign

Working on this animation

Working on this animation

I finally decided on try my luck out and use the indiegogo service to fund the completion of the intro animation. As soon as that intro animation is made I can focus on other aspects of the project such as creating an app for the campaign setting and make even more animations in the process.

You can find the campaign here.

With everyone’s help hopefully we can get a cool product out there. I’ll be adding links to the Blender site as I’m actually using Blender as my 3d animation software.

My original model was made in poser but playing around with Blender made me decide I should just make my own so that it would be completely original which also lets me make it look a bit more like the drawing when It’s done than an actual “poser model”. I’ll be refining it a bit more before the final product, however shes just one of several models I have to work on.