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Starting My Journey

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Well, after 7 years at NVIDIA, I have left to start my own independent game company.

My partner and I last produced a shareware game in 1996. It was a action/puzzle game called Hubie, which was very similar to ( but shipped years before ) Dweep, and the recent Professor Fizzwizzle. Hubie was rated 4/5 stars by ZDNet back in the day, and made us a few thousand dollars, and helped me get my first two jobs in the retail game industry, where I worked on Pie Jackers for Turner Interactive, and Star Wars : Rebellion ( Supremacy in the UK ), for Coolhand Interactive & LucasArts.

In the intervening time, we have worked on several game ideas, but we kept coming back to a game idea I first had in 1985. The idea was to do a top-down action/rpg. Not in the console style, in a particular style that had yet to be attempted.

Over the next few years, I worked on my game engine, mainly as a way to keep up with the technology, so I could intelligently assist game developers with their graphics needs. Over time, it became clear that developing this engine, and designing the game around it, was far more fulfilling than my job at NVIDIA ( as great as that was ).

So, July 5th was my last day at NVIDIA, and now I am focused full-time on this endeavor. Right now we have a functioning level editor at about 85% completion, as well as the game engine itself, which I would put at ~85% as well. The gameplay is about 20% complete, although well fleshed out on paper.

The graphics engine is 90% complete, featuring shadows & per-pixel lighting from any # of lights and properly lit & shadowed decals, both using my variant on Deferred Shading.
It also features dynamic refraction of liquids & sky reflection.
All features run on GeForce3, Radeon 8500 or better. Performance is good, clocking at ~150 fps on a full level with 7 enemies on a geforce 6800 gt at 1024x768 resolution.

My partner is working on finalizing the game design doc, and I am 50% done with the AI navigation system. I didn't want to have to put in waypoints in the level editor, so I analyze the map at load time and create a navigation map using rectangular volumes, then perform A* on these at runtime, then use a series of line of sight checks to avoid dynamic obstacles and keep npcs from bumping into walls. The A* is not used on your character, as character control is direct.

Thematically, the game borrows from Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and the perspective and parts of the gameplay you might compare to Diablo, although we feature more action, as well as direct character control.

We will shortly be actively recruiting other team members. I want to emphasize that this is a real project, and we will offer both cash contracts or profit sharing ( large percentage of profits go into the profit sharing plan on a per-project basis - a huge benefit compared to other companies ).

Our plan is to self-publish the first episode as shareware, and produce additional episodes over time.

There is an example screenshot Example Screenshot

We are looking for immediate help with :

Concept Sketches
Art Direction
Character Animation & Rigging
Additional C++ Coding

Over the next couple of months we will be looking for :

Texture Art
Level Design

For those interested in working on this project for cash, profit sharing, or a combination, please PM me.
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Wow, it looks like you know your stuff, great screenshot. Good luck with your project.

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Brilliant! The journals are becoming oversaturated with talented game developers. So many...Oh and, good luck in your endeavour, I honestly do hope that you succeed. I have a personal stake in this. [smile]

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Wow, it's just like Daerax said, gamedev is finnaly going somewhere :)

The list keeps growing:

raduprv - His MMORPG
EDI - Eternal Lands, an rpg
dgreen02 - Gang Wars, all around sweet
SimmerD - NVIDIA, sweet screeny...
The Forgotten Mindset - All around coolness

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Forgotton: I can't wait to finish my game so atleast I have something to show for myself.

SimmerD: That is totally sweet! Are you doing it full time? What platform are you going for! Provide more information, dude, your project is fascinating.


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All I can say is: Good luck!

I don't think someone with your track record will have any problem finding a few decent people to help you in your quest [grin]

Keep this journal interesting - it's these sorts of "stories" that make for great journals!


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Well thanks for the feedback so far.

Some details on the project :

It's targeted at windows, using Direct3D under dx9.0c runtime, and FMOD for sound.

Yes, I am working on this fulltime. I am somewhat in demand for 3D graphics consulting, so may do a bit of that on the side, but this is now my day job.

Years ago, I think it was ~1993 or 1994, and I was living in Norcross, GA ( near Atlanta ), working at a crummy job doing LAN installation and PC setup. I was working with a coder friend on a parallax scrolling game, and we needed a sprite editor, so I went about building one, under DOS using Turbo Pascal. So, I played hooky and called into work sick, and booted up into OS/2, put the Velocity Girl in my CD-ROM drive and got cranking!

I put in a solid 8 hours of work, and had it finished by the end of the day. It was the first program on which I had ever utlized the mouse; I had always just used keyboard controlled cursors before that. I remember that feeling of satisfaction and thought 'this is what I want to do every day!' So, I started getting more serious about the game thing.

So now, I don't have to play hooky to get some work done!

But man, it's clearly more complicated nowadays. I'm lucky that I have the 3D graphics background, which really helps with everything from physics to AI. Soon we'll get some real artists working on this, and then it will start to look really good.

The screenshot I posted is 100% programmer art, with the level actually generated from a text file. The new level editor allows much less square & blocky art - supporting a fully general 3d environment.

If there's interest, I can post some early development shots, as well as some shots of the level editor.

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Dude, put your job posting in the financial listings (under features in the site's toolbar). You'll get people taking the jobs in no time.


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