Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

About this blog

The challenges, problems (and solutions) we face in game development

Entries in this blog


Figuring Out Minimalism - Part 1

[font=georgia]Originally posted on http://nyphoon.com/[/font]

[font=georgia][color=#333333]First impressions matter more than we admit. As gamers, we base our initial verdict on the video game's artistic style. Even while watching a video review, the first interaction we have with a video game is with its graphical aspects.[/color][/font]


[indent=1][font=georgia][color=#333333]- The very first piece of concept art for Winter's Coming - the first step towards defining the graphical style for Winter's Coming[/color][/font]

[font=georgia]It's no surprise then that indie developers focus much of their efforts on polishing the artistic style. As a gamer, I've seen a wide array of art styles, and whenever the developer invested time and effort, it showed. From 2D to 3D, low-poly to high-poly, each art style can be innovative as much as it's alluring. And it was from this conviction that I set out to define the graphical facet of Winter's Coming.[/font]

[font=georgia]Minimalism can be rather challenging to nail down, whether in writing or as a visual representation. The first piece of concept art above became the groundwork for the ensuing improvements. Defining elements, such as the platforms (including the rock and snow) and the background, were instrumental as they characterized the game's looks and feel. In spite of this, I tried to improve them in the concept art which followed. Why the emphasis?[/font]

[font=georgia]In Winter's Coming, the focus will be primarily on the story, and minimalism is a perfect way of telling a story. Minimalism is all about removing the trivialities, leaving only the essential. Combining minimalistic influence with storytelling, the environment can tell the story by showing only the vital elements.[/font]

[font=georgia]I'm a firm believer that simplicity can be synonymous with beauty if used correctly, so when I decided to go for minimalism I knew that the road to perfection was a long one. It was for this same reason too that I went for weekly concept art - a couple of hours every week to develop this side of Winter's Coming. See, minimalism and simplicity don't really rule out the spectacular potential of art. With minimalism, I wanted to achieve a sense of grandeur and wonder.[/font]

[font=georgia]As an example, take the following two pieces of concept art - the second and latest ones respectively. Whilst they still respect minimalism, the subtle touches which I developed over the last three months distinguish them greatly.[/font]



[font=georgia]Whilst the latest concept art has greatly improved ever since the first one, there's a lot more work in the pipeline - new ideas to explore, and improvements to the current ones. In the next blog post, concluding this one, I'll take a deeper look at how I explored minimalism to arrive to this point. Until then, you can follow Nyphoon on Twitter, Facebook or by subscribing to the RSS Feed, to stay updated and in touch![/font]

Nyphoon Games

Nyphoon Games


On Being an Indie

[font=georgia]Originally posted on http://nyphoon.com/[/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]There has to be something - a part of it which makes it so special. Some may call it passion, others label it as the creationist spirit lying within man. Whatever it is, it's working. Six years ago today, I started developing games, and since then I've never looked back.[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]There were those days when game development was the last thing on my mind, but in the end, I always came back for more. Whilst last year I talked about the hardships of game development, this past year I savoured more of the bright side of game development. As a game developer, I find myself learning new stuff almost every day. Every challenge, every problem and headache is a step closer to a utopian perfection.[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]Starting out years ago and up to six months ago, I would read articles and dev blogs about how to be a successful game developer - how to start from scratch, build your own staircase to climb and finish a game.[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]Create prototypes. Work on your game everyday. Hone your skills. Week in, week out, those were the types of suggestions I'd stumble upon. Were they helpful? In intention, yes. Yet in reality it was a whole other story. The tips and tricks from seasoned game developers never really hit home, and perhaps rather late after having spent a number of months wandering around like a lost soul, I decided to abandon everything and go my way. Why?[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]I could never work on prototypes. If there was anything I made that I didn't like, I'd either abandon ship, or I'd spend long hours working on perfecting it. I'm a perfectionist. I could never grasp the aim of a half-finished game, and I still can't. Maybe it's sheer ignorance, or maybe it's just that I can't appreciate my own creation before having perfected it. Unbeknown to me, I was entering a school of thought and practice which was binding me to a tunnel-vision mindset.[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]Rather than embracing my perfectionist self and the indie spirit which I had fallen in love with, I was willfully choosing to surround myself with the voices around me, dictating what I should do. Earlier this year, I finally found a foothold and stuck with it - Winter's Coming. I didn't create any prototypes - I focused on my weaknesses and built on them. The results are showing. Rather than following in others' footsteps, I created my own. I went truly indie.[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]So choose what works for you and stick with it. Do what you love best and be the best at it. Be yourself and trudge forward.[/color][/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]Just create.[/color][/font]

Nyphoon Games

Nyphoon Games


Imagining a Game

Originally posted on http://nyphoon.com/

[font=georgia]In the introductory blog post about this new series of articles, A Game Developer's Experience, I talked briefly about game development. As promised, every now and then I'll be tackling a new aspect of building a game. This week, I'll be taking a closer look at the very first stage of game development - the concept stage.[/font]

[font=georgia]Game development deals with the inner workings of a game and the process to publish a video game, but before any of this happens, there has to be an idea for a game. A very general idea which answers an essential question - what's the game about? But why is this stage so important?[/font]

[font=georgia]The time when a developer is brainstorming for a game concept is crucial for any studio. Since development takes months, the wrong idea could often be a breaking point for a professional studio. There are also certain ideals which should be reached - for example the developer has to be sure that he has the expertise needed to finish the game.[/font]

[font=georgia]We've all played games which have previously-undeveloped mechanics to thank for their success, as was the case with Braid. Others, such as Minecraft, were the catalysts for new, emerging graphical styles. In fact, there doesn't seem to be a general formula which determines or predicts a game's future success. So what makes an idea stand out?[/font]

[font=georgia]Innovation is an important aspect in indie gaming. Many indie games' success is attributed to the way they pick a basic mechanic and give it a personal twist, or perfect it in a unique way. On an even more fundamental level, the basic mechanics have to be fun and engaging for players. Although the game is still just an idea, these points have to be examined and, if possible, added to the basic idea as early as possible.[/font]

[font=georgia]Coming up with fresh ideas could take time, and inspiration plays an important part. You might remember Nyphoon's barren spell last year after I dropped The Ark: Relaunch. So how do indie developers come up with ideas for their next project? As I wrote last year for IGDA, inspiration can be rather elusive. There are many aspects in indie game development which make it rather tricky for developers to come up with distinguishing ideas.[/font]

[font=georgia]The concept of Winter's Coming came about in one instant, but before that there had been months without any form of inspiration. Playing video games certainly helps fuel inspiration, yet everyone has his own methods of capturing ideas. Before finalizing an idea and deciding whether to take it up or not, I find it helpful to analyze each one - sometimes it's just a mental exercise, other times I feel the need to put pen to paper. And when an idea finally hits home, it's time to build upon it.[/font]

[font=georgia]As was the case with Winter's Coming, after the general idea is chosen it's time to lay down the basic mechanics - the foundation of the game. You have an exceptional idea, yet it's often a fragment of a game's concept. At this stage, the mechanics are the bare minimum, but it usually determines what the player's goal is in the game. In the next post, I'll be examining the thought-processes and exercises to change an abstract idea into something more practical.[/font]

[font=georgia]P.S. Big things are coming next week to commemorate Nyphoon's 6th birthday, so remember to follow Nyphoon on Twitter, Facebook or by subscribing to the RSS Feed![/font]

Nyphoon Games

Nyphoon Games


A Game Developer's Experience - What's in a Game?

[font=georgia]Originally posted on http://nyphoon.com/[/font]

[font=georgia][color=rgb(51,51,51)]One of my goals for this year is to bridge the gap between Nyphoon Games, my game development studio, and gamers. Most of my posts are usually too much on the development side - too technical for casual gamers. Of course, once Winter's Coming starts coming along, I will be able to post more screenshots and videos of the game. Until then, I've decided to start posting more about what it's like to develop a game.[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]Inspired by [/color][color=rgb(51,51,51)]Hardships of a Game Developer[/color][color=rgb(51,51,51)], a blog post I wrote last year, I will be dealing with problems I encounter on a daily basis, challenges one has to overcome, and the joys of game development - all from a personal point of view. But what is really the process of creating a game?[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]There's a very real reason why most times, indie game developers don't finish their projects. As a gamer myself, whenever I play a game, I don't really pay attention to what happens behind the scenes, and I imagine most other gamers don't either.[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]In reality, a moderately-large game is usually in development for at least a year. The project I'm working on myself - [/color][color=rgb(51,51,51)]Winter's Coming[/color][color=rgb(51,51,51)] - will probably take a bit longer than that. As you can probably imagine if you give it a thought, this long, sometimes arduous period involves long hours of debugging, programming and creating art for the game.[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]I believe that game development is essentially an art - developers deal with artwork in the form of graphics, music and storytelling, which makes a game a dynamic, interactive piece of art. The way I see it, game development is more creativity than codes and other assets. Think about concept art - why do artists feel the need for concept art? To get the juices flowing, get a sense of direction where they want to take the game.[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]Sometimes, as has also been the case with many of our own projects, the process can be too long, or too strenuous, and is dropped. Doesn't that make game development a risky business? What's the fun in game development?[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]Some game developers love solving problems, other like seeing gamers enjoying their creations, and for others it's another medium to express themselves. Personally, I love seeing code come to life. The hundreds, thousands of lines of sometimes-indecipherable code transforms into a moving snowball rolling down a hill made of points and gradients.[/color]

[color=rgb(51,51,51)]Like in any other job, game developers have to love what they do, and in this series of posts I'll be exploring every nook and cranny there is in game development, weeding out this loved stuff making up games.[/color][/font]

Nyphoon Games

Nyphoon Games

Sign in to follow this  
  • Advertisement

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!