Category Archives: assets

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.


Spriter animation software

Spriter icon

Spriter Is a very affordable, utility that can help many users of Construct 2 or any other game making, animation making, fun loving, person, create the animation sprites they need. The program Itself is fairly strightforward to use, its well documented and has several trainings available for people to dig into.

Be sure to give it a try. One of the features I personally like is the ability to set up bone structures which you can then animate and swap elements as needed which is great when making “skins” for your characters or pre-fab animations for your production process.


Useful Programs Bank

This is one basic list of some useful programs I’ve found over the years and incorporated into my workflow in many cases the programs are free I’m certain that the non/free programs may also have a trial version or someone somewhere made a similar free program. I shall try to keep this post updated from time to time.

Web design programs or services:

Since html5 has taken over the internet I’ve decided to edit this article and update it with some useful tools I’ve found on the interwebs.

Turn.js: Flipping book creator javascript which lets you make your own flipping book by adding some simple code which you can obviously complicate quite a  bit if you want.

Google web Designer: I’ve already mentioned this one in one of my articles.  Let’s just say its a great tool to side step flash.

 

Illustrative Arts Programs:

Paint – This is included with your Windows operating system. We allowed some minor fixes to some images and allows us to save in various formats (BMP , JPG … )

 

The GIMP, is an open- code that has many capabilities similar to photoshop. The same is a bit tedious for many people to install but once installed it proves to be one of the most powerful free image management I’ve found the web programs.

 

Paint.Net is a FREE editing program that has graphics similar functionality to Photoshop though a little easier .

 

Inkscape – a program for vector like Adobe Illustrator. This is open source .

 

Another program that I have is one of my favorites is ARTRAGE ( has cost but worth it ) This is a paint program with excellent working tools which give the artist the ” feeling” working with traditional materials and the end result has IMHO the quality and purity necessary to be considered as being an original artwork regardless of it being digital medium.

 

Mypaint – like program but art artrage free and very useful if you have some artist.

 

Do not forget the office programs that are available such as:

 

Online Html editor quite useful

Free-playMusic -Get free music to play in presentations, animations and others.

Open Office – A suite of office programs free and open source similar and consistent with those of microsoft (Word / PowerPoint / Excel … etc)

A good useful program called Articulate Presenter includes two more programs ( Engage and Quizmaker ) . This program allows us to make a presentation and convert it into Flash format. Besides we convert flash adds a navigation bar, allows us to record narration and allows us to easily integrate the elements of the 3 programs in one presentation with all the bells and whistles. It has some additional features but those are the ones we are currently using. There are other programs on the Net that do something similar, but we use this is up to the full hour.

There are several programs that are similar to Articulate (and a whole lot more affordable).

http://www.ispringsolutions.com

http://www.sameshow.com/index.html

Remember that Google has its free app today and also have a “market” included in your Chrome browser which can download and install applications directly in the browser. In addition to your google account (like an e- mail to gmail ) have free access to these and other tools ( Google Docs, Blogger, Reader, News, Videos , Maps, Draw … etc … )

 

There is an Internet address that I find invaluable when looking for a LEGAL programagratis it , it is http://www.freedownloadscenter.com hope you do find as useful as I do.

 

Picasa – This is included among the many programs that Google is offering in their ” secret place ” is an area that not all Google users know it exists. This area has a lot of utilities and programs free of charge to the community of Google and the online community that you know where to look .

 

3d programs:

 

Blender – Free program modeling , 3D animation and video game contains an engine to analyze and test your models in a gaming environment . Additional program has very good simulators liquid , smoke, fire , dust , hair and others. The community that supports it is very active .

 

Sculptris – from the makers of Zbrush engine is similar to the modeling of the program and allows you to ‘ paint ‘ their models creating various textures . It also allows import and export in obj format is one of the most common 3D interchange formats between programs.

 

MeshLab – This program allows you to manipulate 3d models reduce polygons, adjusting and making some corrections or effects. The site is frankly rubbish and the program has a somewhat rustic look but is an excellent program and its free.

more later on…


CSS generator (Box, Text, Gradiant) Shadows and more

Made using Shape Generator

As a designer sometimes you have to go and venture the depths of the internet in search for tools that will help you accomplish quick and easy repetitive tasks. Sometimes you have to make a box shadow or a box button or some gradient or some text shadow to make your designs pop. This is where hard working people that make the “generators” get their glory. This is an example of one such Generator sites. There’s sites for generating css triangles and shapes too among other tutorials and sites like this one that gather them in “best 20” style which is awesome for us to go fetch.

There’s an old saying. If the wheel is already invented why make it again. As designers we can re-design and re-shape it but re-making it is a waste of time and effort for production based designers like myself. I give the thanks to those who make the code and scripts needed those who fiddle and prod at the code to make it react with new found life and vibrance so that others can make use of it and say hey… that dude did an awesome job thanks to your code and hopefully one day we can share the results of the combined effort and one day maybe even give something back to the developing community in hopes of a better designed and better scripted internet.

Those are my two cents inspired by the many coders, scripters and and developpers out there. I thank you all.