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About this blog

Hello World.
I'm a student pursuing a job in Game Development.
I'll be posting irregular updates regarding my adventures, and some takeaways (or XP if you prefer) because I'm boring like that.

Entries in this blog

This coming week, my game design club will (finally) start working on Digital Games.

Last week we made paper concepts.  Most of us have ZERO Game engine experience, this is going to be thrilling!!!
I've decided to bring everyone into a 2D engine called Defold, which outputs Cross-platform (Mostly HTML5) games with LUA Scripting and joint animations.

That's great Timm, but who's going to answer their questions?
They are, of course!  I have never used Defold, but in the Game Dev industry, they will

  • routinely have to self-teach to keep up
  • Rely on teammates to solve problems that nobody really knows the answer to
  • Rarely if ever start a game from square zero, they'll always build on others' work.

To that end, rather than making a game from zero (/*programmers NEVER start at square one*/), we are going to mod a public platformer template.  

Hopefully, we can divide into some kind of logical teams based on specialty and ability.  Good groups are small enough to enable everyone's input, but big enough to explode productivity.

My Experience:

Modding is better than square zero for learning game development:

  • THOUGHT PROCESS:  Since every large company has their own proprietary engine, learning how to learn an unfamiliar engine is invaluable
  • WORKFLOW: Game Companies will teach you by letting you dive into existing code, which is exactly what modders do
  • SPECIALIZATION: You can focus on your specialty (programming, art, music, level design) instead of trying to juggle ALL OF THEM so that you can get a job in ONE OF THEM.
  • SCALE: You get experience in a HUGE PROJECT that you may never fully understand rather than a tiny demo 
  • RESULTS: You can make something awesome (though not quite as accessible) in a shorter time since most of the heavy lifting is done
  • PLAYERS: You already have a huge player base and a known target audience if you mod a popular game.  this looks great on a resume
  • FEEDBACK: If you do have lots of players, you have lots of complaints.  Learn to deal with it, noobs.

Today, I got to see an eight-year old open his VERY FIRST Raspberry Pi.  I taught him to install NOOBS and use it, and he's really excited to change the world (For one, he won't be bored at home anymore).
I showed him the built-in python games and how to edit their code (to make yourself faster, bigger, etc.).   
Even though I can code faster than I can make bad jokes, I would never have been able to make a game with him... but just editing a couple lines of code in an existing game brought about some super-fun results. 

So basically, I showed him how to mod as a gateway* into programming :)


*Not a Gateway 2000, he's too young for those



That's right, I modded the Unity Splash screen.  The default one wasn't doing it for me.
I'll make a video on how to do this with your own image if there's any interest.

In other news, project Unleavened progressed a little.  There is a movable pawn that shifts gears, like a car.  The bulk of Unleavened will be driving.
I had planned to assign gearshifting to a button, like in pole position, but that was too unintuitive (and StickyKeys got in the way.)
Instead, I took influence from River Raid on Atari 2600.  If you drive into the top of the screen, you go faster.  If you drive into the bottom of the screen, you go slower.  
But instead of a momentary boost, the speed boost lasts until you downshift, but the screen will never stop scrolling.

I am now president of the MU Game Design Guild.
I have planned all our meetings since last semester, and this semester attendance shot up from ~7 to ~18 people per meeting.

THE KEY: Announce it in classes, so that people are guaranteed to know about it.  Also, promise them development experience.

Meetings are tough to plan, because we gamify everything.  We have done one design challenge and two programming challenges.

Card Game Jam: Make a card game.  Write the rules.  Other teams play it from your rules.
    Iteration: You can revise the rules between rounds of playtesting.

C++ Challenge: Write a simple calculator with as few ; as possible.
    Record: 1 semicolon, after the meeting.  During the meeting, it got down to 3.

ComBots Challenge - We had a tournament using this: http://www.crazymonkeygames.com/comBOTS.html
    Lots of chances for iteration since each team could make 3 ComBots.

As el presidente, I will be kind to the people of Tropico.

Long live the Guild!

I haven't been super-busy working on homework or games recently,
So what happened?

In between classes and work, I've recently completed my portfolio Web Site!
I don't have much love for web design, but coding your own site is totally worth it IMHO.



Good portfolios to draw inspiration from:





Check them out if you plan to make a portfolio site anytime soon, they're way better than mine.

Importing Scripts, Elegant movement
If this is going to work, it has to get done crazy fast.  That's impossible... Unless half the code is done.
To that end, I'm re-using as much old code as humanly possible.  Much of it is from another project that might never see the light of day, so I'm glad it's going to good use.

I also wrote a new movement script.  It hardly does anything yet, but it feels elegant as hell.
(For comparison, my old one is on the left)

1-12 - Movement Script old vs new.png

So what am I working on?

Mostly portfolio building and applying for internships, but there's also a game.

Last summer, I made a plan to get into a certain game studio.  It involved making a game about video game history with four gameplay styles (one for each of 70's, 80's, 90's, 2000's).  The conclusion would make use of all four styles and relate in some clever way to me getting the job that I wanted.
Dozens of hours of R&D Later, Finals week came around.  I had to stop working on this game, Project Sourdough, in order to finish up my final projects for school.

After some deep thought, I came to the conclusion that project Sourdough, while some parts were neat, was too big to be finished in time.  
Since Project Sourdough failed, I had nothing.  That is, nothing more than the Fellowship of the Ring after Boromir died!

The next step was to take my unfinished concepts and the experience I gained from working on Project Sourdough, and make a new, smaller project to fulfill its purpose.  It would have to reuse as much code as possible, and be produced very efficiently.

Thus, Project Unleavened was rolled out.


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