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Life at Demergo Studios

The Design of Fixbot

Posted by , in Demergo Studios, Fixbot 17 February 2012 - - - - - - · 643 views
design, character, main character and 7 more...
The Design of Fixbot Fixbot Blog Post by Omni, Art Director at Demergo Studios:
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Here's our humble protagonist. He is Fixbot model no.: 23-972-c. Like most video game protagonists, Fixbot had to be designed by somebody. In our case, he was designed by a group of artists led by a dynamic vision.

As mentioned by Todd, the project began with a "spark." The spark begins with the team of designers, artists, and programmers all collaborating to craft a gaming experience that is founded upon a compelling story. Right away, the other artists and I began to draw whatever came to mind throughout the meeting. At the beginning, we knew some things were more or less certain: the game would boast a multiplayer co-op and would have something to do with gravity or space. With this vague concept in mind, each of the artists' initial sketches were wildly diverse.

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As the "spark meeting" progressed, it was determined that our game would be a side-scrolling shooter. As the story and gameplay began to take a more solid form, so did the designs for our character. The story eventually culminated into a tale about little robot whose sole purpose, according to his programming, is to repair a gigantic abandoned space vessel in which he finds himself upon startup. You're likely familiar with the old saying "form follows function." Well, as our character's function became more defined, each artist's sketches began to converge into similar forms.

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In the second day of our spark meetings, we finally hammered out a final design for our robot, which we decided to call "Fixbot." The final design, which was produced by yours truly, is a culmination of many of the design elements of the various sketches by the different artists. As each artist draws a bit differently, the process of combining these different elements required the creation of a set of stylistic conventions which would guide all subsequent character and object designs moving forward. Using these conventions, I came up with this final design sketch.

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You may be able to recognize various elements that were borrowed from the preliminary sketches. Fixbot is equipped here with a hard hat, a modular hand that serves as a repair device and low-power weapon (pew pew!), and a magnetic base which fixbot uses to affix himself to any metal surface in his gravity-less environment. So as you can see, character designs are constantly evolving as the game concept evolves. As such, it is important for an artist to let his mind flow freely. In doing so, a design can evolve naturally and rather effortlessly.

This has been Omni, (otherwise possibly known as hextupleyoodot), and I am an artist.

Reposted from Fixbot Blog:


Game Design: Guiding the Player

Posted by , in Demergo Studios, Fixbot 14 February 2012 - - - - - - · 755 views
design, fixbot, game design and 6 more...
Post by Zak, Design Director at Demergo:

Someone told me that a designer's job is about making decisions. He wasn't talking about game design specifically, but it seems to fit. In my little bit of experience I would like to add one other thing: designer's fix problems before they happen.

One of the problems we faced with the design of Project Fixbot was limiting player movement. There are times in a level when you need to narrow where a player can go. We do this to help the player find the right path. In a normal platformer this is easy because you just throw a wall at the player and he can't go through. But in our game the player can move on the walls. He can attach to any surface. He moves by launching himself around the map. How can you limit a player that has free rein to any surface?

One of the ways we solved the issue was to limit the angle that the player can launch from. This allows us to steer the player in the right direction. We can now guide the player towards objectives without worrying that he is going to get lost.

So that's my job. I'm Zak, and I'm the game designer. I solve problems.

Reposted from Fixbot Blog: http://demergostudios.com/fixbot/

Who are we... and where did we come from?

Posted by , in Demergo Studios, Fixbot 13 February 2012 - - - - - - · 690 views
co-op, co-operative and 11 more...
Aside from the obvious answers: we are humans and we come from the planet earth... well... some of us at least. Who exactly is Demergo Studios? Where did we come from? And why are we here?

It started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... on a little known planet called earth, in a little known city called Greenville, SC, where a number of ambitious young college students collided and formed Demergo.

Before Demergo, many of us had worked on smaller personal game projects. We all loved games, and we all loved making games, but individually we were limited on the size and scope of the games we could make. We realized that together we could make a game much bigger than any of us individually. Demergo originally started off with Dan, Zak, and I sitting down, and discussing what we wanted our futures to look like. After a while we all kind of came to the realization that we wanted to make games. One of the best ways to get into the game industry is to actually make a game and sell it. The game industry as a whole is much more experience and knowledge focused rather than degree focused, so starting a company and make games is a great way to break into the industry.

But looking at the three of us there is clearly no art talent among us... none whatsoever! Yeah we are definitely artistically challenged. So we set out to find some artists for Demergo. We found a number of artists that we added on, we also added on some good friends of ours from our programming classes, and we also picked up a few cinema production majors. By the end of our first project, Norwall, our team totaled around 14 people. Thats a lot for a start up.

Well, most of you are probably wondering, "why haven't I heard of Norwall yet?"; well thats because it never really saw the light of day. It was an ambitious project, and very fun to work on, but we made too many mistakes on that project to really recover it. One of the primary mistakes was not requiring work hours. We are all college students and as college students we have no time, so very little progress was every really made on the game. But we learned a lot. We made a bunch of mistakes that we were able to learn from and take those lessons and bring them over to Fixbot.

For Fixbot we required set work hours which immediately eliminated a bunch of people. After that we sat down and re-evaluated our situation. We were down to 8 people (much more manageable of a size), but we were running out of time. Many of us will be graduating in May so we had only a few months to really get something out. We decided to set a deadline, and limit the scope of the game to something we could produce in 3 months.

One month later, here we are, starting to get the word out about Demergo Studios and our current project, Fixbot.

That takes care of the where, but how about the who and the why?

Well, simply put, we are a bunch of college students who want to make video games. We are passionate about making high quality, co-op games with great stories. We are hugh fans of Naughty Dog and how they tell amazing stories through video games. We are also huge fans of Gears of War and Halo with their co-operative play. So, we desire to mesh the two and create games with awesome stories, together with fun co-operative play. Unfortunately, we are not as big as Naughty Dog, but they were not that big early on either. We look forward to the journey that lies ahead of us and we hope that you will join us on this journey as we post about how we do things and various problems that we run into and overcome as we continue this journey of starting an indie game company.

Devbot Todd Shutting Down...

Reposted from Fixbot Blog: http://demergostudios.com/fixbot

Announcing Project Fixbot

Posted by , in Demergo Studios, Fixbot 11 February 2012 - - - - - - · 894 views
platformer, physics and 9 more...
Today we are very excited to announce our latest project, FixBot.
Project FixBot has been under heavy development for the last month and we are really excited about showing off some of the cool stuff we have been working on.

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The game is a 2D platform-shooter emphasizing multiplayer and puzzles, with a unique movement style. The game will be playable across all iOS devices running iOS 4.0 and later.

Project FixBot started off as the idea - or as we like to call it, a “spark” - of a gravity platfomer. Something where the player can change his gravity source. As we continued to design we changed the gravity idea to magnetism, and the player became a robot fixing a space station. This got further expanded to the idea of “what if the player could only move by connecting to magnetic surfaces”. From there the spark was fleshed out and the game was solidified.

The release date for project will be April 21, 2012 (pending Apple approval). We will be posting regular updates on the project every Saturday so that you can follow its development. The artists will be posting additional concept art and production art, and the programmers will be posting about the various challenges they faced in developing an engine that solves the unique problems that are involved in making a game of this style. We look forward to getting to know our growing community fanbase while we make this awesome co-op 2D platformer.

Devbot Todd shutting down...

Reposted from Fixbot Blog at http://demergostudios.com/fixbot/