Category Archives: updates

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.

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Goatsukah Game update 2 with features.

Finally took a little night time to deal with some issues I had with the game and how it’s going to be.
At the moment this is a platform/action game that takes some inspiration from games like Castlevania(Konami) and Megaman(Capcom) among many others that I’ve been playing over the years.

I’ll be posting some features that i’m implementing to make things easier and or more challenging for the hero depending on what they do during the game.

Gather Nourishment aura:

The invisible aura that gathers nurishment for the hero.

The invisible aura that gathers nourishment for the hero.

The Gather Nourishment Aura(GNA) is an invisible force around our hero that works like a magnet for blood specks around him.

as he goes close the blood follows him

as he goes close the blood follows him

The thing about the GNA is that is not precise the blood specks will move to the location where you were originally when the aura got close enough to “incite” them which will be an interesting mechanic to later play with as you could potentially gather a whole bunch into a place and then just take them. That not only looks kinda cool when moving they also may help in certain boss battles.

The idea is that eventually as the game progresses you get larger radius for the GNA and maybe be able to use it in your favor with other items, this is still a bit experimental.

As an aesthetic feature I also added a particle generator based “puffer” to the feet of our hero so when he lands it creates a neat effect. I was also able to use the same (or rather similar) concept for the “boss fight” wall closing down on you. I guess I could use that for falling blocks, and stuff like that too I’m still in the highly experimental stage of development so Ideas are just starting to tie in together.

The main idea is to get as many working features as I can together in one stage so I can implement them in different ways in the next stages to come. I have my stages already planned in terms of where the story will take you, what animation clips I want in between stages, what the bosses will be and how you will be progressing through the game. The little details and some mechanics are still being worked on with great success so far.

I also made what the basic interface will look like.

basic HUD/interface so far

basic HUD/interface so far

I hope to have much more updated and finished later so that it’s actually playable other than just walking/jumping and navigating around. Maybe some enemies to fight and some traps on the way who knows.


GoatSukah Game update

Screenshot of the progress of the GoatSukah Game.

Screenshot of the progress of the GoatSukah Game.

I’ve managed to put a few more minutes into it and now the game has actual graphics.

You can check the progress at the “Playground and Samples” area of this blog here and then.

Today’s update is located here.

What’s new since last version.

  • Decided to scrap the HUGE single map for smaller more manageable map. This lets me add a bit more quality per stage and makes it easier on portable devices.
  • Did a full overhaul of the stage graphics.
  • I’m integrating parallax into the background. I’ll be fine tuning that soon.
  • Still undecided if the hero should be that small or make it a bit bigger.
  • Finally added the ship to the background with some cool lighting effect.
  • Decided to make use of the actual stage look/feel so I hid most of the floor and wall tiles.
  • Added a “Castlevania like” camera. Still needs a little fine tuning.
  • Now the screen zooms to the size needed for the device.

There’s a ton of work to be done and I’m doing it just for fun.
The game is being made using Construct 2 
I hope you all like it. Soon I’ll get down and start doing the “scene” animations in-between parts of the stages but I’d like to get at least a few stages actually finished before that.


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…


Welcome to the Jungle.

Ah yes the jungle. After a trip to Florida with my family to “stretch” and “relax” (of which we couldn’t do either) I return to the frey. Long hours of work and a few projects that are extra hours after work.

What we have on the cooking pot lately:

  • Regular work.
  • Baby and Wife.
  • That book I’m writing(slow process for me).
  • Special Comic/Hybrid with a friend and a few teammates.
  • Some digital illustrations to keep myself polished.
  • More fiddling with Construct 2 to see if I finish at least one small game.
  • Custom designing a separate version of this blog.
  • Education project with a friend from church…
  • and hopefully get back in track so I can sell the apartment at the end of the year.

With this soup cooking you can imagine my health has not been the best lately. At least I’m cutting down on the soda. Cheers!


Construct your world.

If you’re a designer, a game enthusiast or even just someone looking for something to do you should really try out using Construct 2 from scirra.

Construct 2 to me is basically a far cousin of a program I used to have called Klick & Play from Maxis. I call it a far cousin because the idea behind it is to make games without needing much code experience (or none in some cases). The end result is a published html 5 game or application depending on what you made with it. Being as it may it also allows you to publish to certain wrappers or formats that will allow you to make your apps work on mobiles and tablets.

The community behind this product is strong and friendly. There is tons of tutorials, forums and documentation that will aid you in your quest to boldly go wherever you want to go with your game.

The best thing, in my honest opinion, is that you can start making stuff for free. When you are ready to take the plunge there are other two license options to choose from, not to mention they make special offers here and then.

Go and construct something today! … wow it almost sounds as an advertisement  he he.


To the future we look…

The interesting thing about the future is that it is not yet here, it is not certain, and it is not written. However we can predict tendencies and probabilities. There’s a high probability now days that education as we know it has to change or die. Today’s education system does not work… Einstein knew this, we know this and you know this. In fact the education system itself knows this although they will deny it for as long as they have to.

What can anyone do? In most cases nothing, however in very special cases… one can work in pro of a future where quality education is provided, where dynamic and interactive education is available anywhere. Working in pro of a future where the digital, the printed, the virtual and the physical are available and entwined in ways we have not yet seen. This is part of the goals we will be working towards. Together educators, designers, programmers, artists and public can shape the system to a point where our kids can develop their skills and sharpen their minds to accomplish whatever goals they so desire.