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DaveTroyer

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  1. In my opinion, it is good to have something published and if it's good enough to be shown to the world, it should be good enough for your portfolio.    But that brings me to a different point. Develop a critical eye for your work. When you publish something on a digital distributor like XBLA, Steam, or even mobile devices, you need to be very critical of what you're showing the world. Potential employers, clients, and colleagues can all see what you've put out there and they will all use that work to determine your skills.   Be sure to polish the game play as much as possible. Clean up and refine all of the graphics. Make sure the audio is exact and clear. Just be sure to check everything and make sure it is as great as can be and not just good enough.    But that's just my opinion. 
  2. I would also try looking around for small indie or hobby projects to work on so you can meet others and be known to them and others. Its easier to get jobs in "the industry" at an indie level; very few people hop straight into a massive triple-A studio job without busting their buns first.   Now, with these smaller jobs, there might not be pay for all of them, but taking some time to build up a portfolio of games you've worked on will always help in the pursuit of either more projects or a studio job. Worst case, keep (or get) a day job to pay the bills and keep a roof over your head and spend some of your free-time working on games. Don't spend all of that free-time though since being a well rounded individual with hobbies and social skills will definitely help. 
  3. I guess its really your call and what you feel most comfortable with...but for conversation sake...   One thing you should also take into consideration is the engine or even the language the game is being created in. If you're the lone programmer and you're building it all from scratch, then you'll learn your limitations.    Also, think about what platform the game will be for. If you're creating an HTML5 based game for cell-phones, vector images might not be the best because of hardware limitations. Many games use higher resolution raster simply because the ease of getting much more detail and the sprites are scaled down to be added to the game.   So, in order for me to feel more comfortable giving my advice, what platform and engine/language will your game have?
  4. Hello Arthur and welcome!   First I'd like to say your work will be useful when and if you chose to make this project, though I would suggest to be flexible with the design as it may be difficult to implement all of the features when the time comes.   Now to address the question of what to do now. My suggestion would be to learn all you can about development and to find your path in the development cycle. Are you an artist with code or with polygons? Do you feel more comfortable writing back stories and plots for the game and its cast of characters or do you like planning out the different ways the players can solve problems and what they can do? Answering these questions will come with experience that you can gain from creating smaller, very simple game projects. You will (hopefully) create some of these projects in your education.    Your approach of playing your game with pen and paper is a great idea that has been used by many successful game developers to get an idea of if their game is even worth pursuing. I think it's very intuitive and brave of you to take that step and taking the chance that your game might not be fun even after investing so much time in its design. But, you should look at your design bible and be willing to cut content if it doesn't fit the game.    Finally, don't try to tackle your 600+ page design document until you know what you're doing. It will take some time for you to gather the skills needed to create your game even with help. If you fail with your dream game, it becomes harder to revisit and see what is wrong. You might lose faith in your abilities and abandon the game all together. If you fail with a simple game, its easier to analyze what went wrong and where. You will have more knowledge and know what needs to be done to remedy those mistakes if they happen again.   Best of luck to you and feel free to ask for more feed back in the forums. We're a very helpful community here. A tad blunt in our responses at times, but we're all here to help one another. 
  5. I think its interesting, but like everyone has seemed to say, it's a little un-inspired.   I'll throw my 2 (or 3 or 4) cents in though.    I think you need to make the king like super freaking crazy. Like talk to himself and argue with himself. Have the king get lost in his own thoughts but maybe only when he isn't in the safety of his castle. Because he is the protector of the civilization, when ever he is outside of the city, he snaps a little and when he's safe in his castle, he calms down a bit. He could still be disconnected from his duties, but everyone could just assume that he is tired from fighting off monsters all day.   So here is another idea. Maybe have him constantly trying to summon and kill the Leviathan because he thinks he needs to defeat it to save the citizens. All the citizens will see him doing is flying out to the sea to do battle with this beast only to have it ignore the king every time so the king returns in defeat. The citizens think it was a victory for the king, but the king knows that he didn't even make a scratch on the beast. This would be driving the king mad over the years. The king attacked the ship maybe because the leviathan paid more attention to the player than the king, sending him into a rage.   Also, I would reverse the order on the final battle. I would make it so that the player fights the king who finally finds or steals or whatever what can attract or kill the leviathan and the player knows that the leviathan will wreck the poop out of the entire island if he summons it, so the player has to fight the king. Then the plot twist happens. Near the end of the battle with the king, the leviathan appears and just kills the king in one fell swoop, thus starting the battle with the real final boss. Boom.   One other thing that was touched on by shay. The ending having all 4 classes seems odd. If you make the player feel like the end all hero only to show they need help, it takes the player down a peg which kind of sucks. I would take a route where each character could be the hero of the entire game. Just like how each class has different story arches, they should also have different challenges and solutions in the game. The assassin may be more agile so they use a rope to cross a gap and avoid some traps where as the pirate might be able to use a magic skeleton key to open a locked door to enter a puzzle room they need to solve to pass the gap. When coming to the end bosses of the king and the leviathan, having different ways the player combat and defeat the bosses will help to add to the replay value of the game. Maybe the monk uses a holy command to summon a giant devine angel/dragon to fight the leviathan on an epic level and maybe the archer uses the newly acquired "True Shot" bow to do a bullet-time event to hit the vulnerable spots of the fast moving leviathan.    But yeah, just my thoughts...more info on the game type and gameplay features would help us give more ideas.
  6. Hi!   First, some clarity would be nice. What kind of game is it? So we can come up with more well rounded questions for you. Did you develop the game with family and friends or are family and friends helping test the game?   If family and friends are testing, they will lie to you about your game. They'll do it to soften the blow of things they don't like or over-look little mistakes. They have the best intentions but it'll taint the data.   Otherwise, I would tell the tester that their data will be anonymous and that most data will be viewed by an outside analyst. This helps create a larger disconnect from the game and the player so that they feel safer giving honest questions. Another good idea for testing would be to watch people play the game through a web-cam or some other non-intrusive way.   This will help you to see their reactions to certain aspects of the game that they might forget by the time they fill out their survey. Ideally, you'd want to have testers in person so you can ask questions of them when they're done rather than an online process, but I know that isn't always possible.    Oh, and ask questions about the over-all feel of the games pace and progression. This will give you information on the difficulty, level design, and even on whether or not certain mechanics are being utilized well. This kind of question is best asked as a short paragraph response answer.
  7. Hi jsuffolks!   There has been some sound advice, so I won't go around a beat a dead horse, but...   For the story aspect. Do what you (and/or your team) wants. Its a game. Games are meant to be fun. If you (and/or your team) are so worried about what others will like, then it won't be as good as it could be, but that's just my opinion. And chances are, whichever direction you (and/or your team) chose for the game, you'll get some fans as long as its fun.   Well, now I'll say "For the Xbox? Are you sure? They dropped XNA support and their indie market is projected to be disappearing by next gen, so maybe aim for PC until you get more demand for your title?". You can't always assume you know who is going to want your game let alone where they are looking and I think if you're an indie dev and you're looking to create something with a whimsical story matched with spaceship dog fights, then the PC is a safer bet. Heck, you'll need to get it running on a PC no matter what, so why bother with the extra console work when you don't even have an hour of game play yet.   Last thing I guess I'll say is this. It seems like you're avoiding completing your game if you don't want to extend it past a 1 to 2 hour experience. To me,  what you have is a proof of concept right now at 30 to 40 minutes and you only want to extend it to a playable alpha of 2 hours or so.   If you don't want to flesh out your game to make it a reasonable amount of play, then maybe its not worth completing. And there's no shame in that. Tons of devs have a library of unfinished games that they started, really liked one part of it, but didn't really like enough to forge ahead and complete.    You have to decide if there is enough "oomf" in your game and you for you to complete it.   Seriously, don't short change your game and expect others to be okay with it. Create the most complete experience you can for your game before you think about releasing it and you'll do fine. If you try to make your game just "good enough" or "long enough", then it will show and that is not good for you, the game, the consumer or your career.   Hope I didn't irritate you with my tough love approach, but come on guy, you don't want to put your name on something like a 1 hour game that your trying to sell for $5, do you?   Be the dev that gives the player more than they asked for. Be the dev that has fans that advertise for you because the game is just that good. Be the dev that goes above and beyond and loves the consumers that support them.   Don't be that lazy dev that releases a game when it's "good enough".   Good luck and don't disappoint. 
  8. Steel-weave armor - This armor is made of thousands of strands of steel that has been tightly woven to give some flexibility and air-flow to the wearer as opposed to traditional plate armors. The armor would look like the musculature of a human being with no skin, but with thin metallic strands in place of muscle fibers.... I just think it would look cool 
  9.   So very true!  I love this quote!   But as for all the talk of "degree vs. no-degree", I just think a degree can help to show employers that one is willing to put in the time and effort to see something through to the end. I worked as a technical illustrator for years before pursuing a higher education and if it weren't for the company doing major lay-offs, I probably never would have gone back to school and never would have discovered my passion for game development.   I completely agree that if one doesn't develop and cultivate their skills, then a degree will be nothing but useless paper, but if you have a strong portfolio and work your butt off, then having a degree on top of that just shows you have commitment to long term goals and maybe a more well rounded individual (granted, not always the case, but it might ).   Though, I've been impressed by some with amazing portfolios yet no formal education in the field. It all really depends on how good you are.
  10. Hi there PosthasteGames!   You have an interesting idea, but I have to ask some questions to really get to the meat of it.    I'm going to skip some of my initial concerns first, but we'll come back to that.   How exactly are you intending your game to be played? I'm going to assume that you want a slower, more dramatic pace since you make reference to adding a sense of psychological horror but does that mean you'll have more cut scenes or narrative driven exploration? Or maybe you'll be going for a more open environment that gives the player the illusion of free-will while making sure that all story aspects end in the same place seamlessly, thus giving the player an unsettled feeling; to feel out of control?    I guess I'm not really seeing much of a game design rather than a story idea, so that's one of the things I would like to see solidified. How is the game played? What kind of mechanics would be a part of the game? What is the core of the game?   That being said, I think it has the potential of some fun psychological horror mechanics to be created, but you can't use someone's intellectual property without consent and the Silent Hill IP is a pretty big one, so there is that.    You might want to work for Konami some day; heck, you might even get there and as a game designer, but that doesn't mean you'll ever get an opportunity to work on that IP. I would seriously suggest that you re-work the ideas you have into your own unique idea or world. For instance, I could picture this game being set in a small prospector town during the 1800's, lending to limited communication technology, the idea that outlaws are responsible for some gruesome murders, tension building up due to limited light sources at night, etc. It would be easy to lean the ideas away from Silent Hill and more in the direction of something original and you wouldn't be limited by ethos and mythology established in that series.   tl;dr - Its an interesting idea, but don't use Silent Hill unless you own the IP and chances are they won't like it if you use it. 
  11. It says the album is private, so I can't really help and critique your work. 
  12. Hi!   I don't necessarily agree with everything unit187 has written, but he does bring up a some good points. A degree can be very expensive, especially when you want to be so specialized in the field. I don't agree that the degree is not worth the time and effort, but that really comes down to you and your decision.   Are you a strong enough artist in 3D and vector work to get the job above others with a degree? I worked as a technical illustrator for a few years, and it takes some practice to get to an on demand standard. If you're looking for a full time position some place in the US or Canada, you'll need to have a really strong portfolio with a degree and a super awesome portfolio without.   So with that information along with free online learning resources (that you won't get a degree from), you have to ask yourself if you're realistically on the same level as others in your field. Are you better than others that may be fighting for the same position?    Also, maybe you're looking for a position as a 3D generalist. This is someone who creates various 3D assets for the game that may or may not be largely significant, like toys on a shelf, bathroom fixtures, or debris that litters the streets. Its not a glam job, but its definitely needed in the game development industry.   Anyway, best of luck to you in whichever path you chose! -Dave
  13. Just adding to what I said last.   Maybe I was thinking too specific in the terms of core team as in reference to my own experience instead of the experience others have had.    That being said, I can only go off of my own experiences and the same can be said for everyone else. Woland has opened up to share some of his experiences and views with us and I think this entire conversation has turned rather ugly because our experiences or views don't really match.   I'm not innocent of being a little jaded just like everyone else, but I think we missed a prime opportunity to have a serious discussion on the different paths into the game industry.
  14. "Tumbleweeds....who knew it would be tumbleweeds?" Were these the last words of the old-timer? His voice broke the silence of the unforgiving desert like a pile of gravel in a blender. This old man would be the savior of man-kind.   Hoss Tucker Saves the World - The Trouble with Tumbleweeds   Plot/Story/Stuff: In this 3rd person adventure, you play as the towns infamous old coot Hoss Tucker. Everyone in the tiny town of West, TX has heard the rants and conspiracies of Hoss Tucker and they have dismissed them all; from ducks running the hip-hop industry to the moon landing footage being faked because they left the lens-cap on when they really went.   Our game opens with our hero, Hoss Tucker sleeping on his recliner, having a nightmare. He awakes suddenly to the realization that tumbleweeds are planning on taking over the world!   Gameplay: The player will be responsible for making their way around the city and try to convince all of the citizens of the impending doom with the help of his mini-scooter. Some citizens will request favors or items before they'll listen, such as returning items that Hoss or others have borrowed.  When the player is outside of the town, they might get attacked by roaming gangs of tumbleweeds. Though this reinforces what Hoss believes, none of the citizens see it happen. The combat will be basic melee with Hoss doing very bad looking pretend kung-fu and later using weapons like rakes and leaf-blowers.   Midway through the game when Hoss has warned all of the citizens, they all gather behind Hoss's back to laugh at him for being a crazy old man and generally dismiss his claims all without knowing Hoss could hear it all. This sets up the next part of the game where Hoss is determined to kill off all of the tumbleweeds to show the other citizens he isn't crazy...this time. By following clues left in the desert, talking to wild animals (one sided dialog), ease dropping on other conversations, and a hilariously brutal torture scene/mini-game involving a lighter and a tumbleweed, Hoss learns that the tumbleweeds are planning to attack during the annual summer festival and they have all gathered around Hoss's tiny mobile home to catch him before he interferes.   In the nail-biting conclusion to the game, Hoss learns that it's too late and too many of them. He rides his mini-scooter back into town, this time being chased by viciously scratchy tumbleweeds that are bent on violence and world domination! This will be played out as a survival race with the player getting to attack either side to keep from getting knocked down.   The final (?) scene of the game is Hoss entering the town during the festival, covered in minor scratches and collapsing at one of the citizens feet who dismisses him as being crazy just as a single tumbleweed crosses the scene.   Credits role.   After credits, the same festival scene is shown, then it slowly pulls back to show a huge wave of tumbleweeds approaching the town.   Cut to black.   ----   Not an easy idea to play with, but that was fun! Really like the simplicity and mechanics in Servant of the Lords idea though; it made it tough to focus on my idea. 
  15. There's lots of good advice here already, so I'll give you the "real talk" shtuff you asked for about your work. I'm going to be fairly critical, but I'm just trying to help, so please don't hate me.    I'm gonna go from what I think is your worst work to the best.   Skyrim level - If I were looking for a level designer, this doesn't show me that you can do it. If you had a better lit walk-through of the level with the enemies being non-hostile or something so that way I could see the lay-out and design, then maybe it would help. Also, its in an existing games level maker, using all pre-made content, so it won't be considered as strong of a portfolio piece as original content.   Maya models - There are a lot of very skilled 3D modelers, riggers, and animators out there. That being said, I don't think model making is your strong suit. If it is a direction that you want to pursue, then I would try to find an area of 3D content that you want to focus on. Like if you want to animate characters, I would start with simple skeletal rigs and animate out scenes. If you want to do character modeling, start with lower poly characters to learn good topography and patch modeling and practice. If it's just a side note, then I wouldn't nesicarily have this in the portfolio.   The Skyrim level and the Maya models are your weakest because they aren't what you'd expect to see from someone who is going to college for media or game design. I would focus more on original content that is more polished.   Joyride - Its a really fun and interesting idea, but the video is half fluff and the rest is maybe screen shots? Also, the graphics are less polished than the rest, making it kind of rough for a portfolio. You might not have anything to do with the graphics, but that just means you need to get on the case of whomever is so you can have something prettier to show. If you're the designer, that means you have to bring the hammer down and get the art work all on the same page and up to a standard. One thing I would probably do with this game is take it out of the portfolio for now until it gets some more polish and from your resume it seems that it is still an on-going project.   Pyroclast - Another interesting game idea with "meh" graphics. One thing I think would have been great to see here was a video like everything else. The reason I bring up graphics again is because even if you aren't in charge of them, those graphics are what represent your game and ultimately tell the quality of the work done on it to potential employers. You might have done a phenomenal job on your part of the game, but if everyone sees bad art, they'll think the entire game is unpolished.   Massteroid - This one is pretty well polished and has some awards attached to it which easily makes it the piece you want to showcase. I think you even did a good job on the video by having straight up game play, and also with the write up by really explaining what you did, some challenges you faced, and how you over-came them. Maybe adding some links to external sites that have your game listed as winners of those awards will help?    Anyway, my over-all impressions of your portfolio is that you're not really showing what you want to show. From your headline, you say that you're a level and content designer. What you're showing is a couple of space shooters with mediocre to decent looks, an incomplete (but cool idea) racing game with inconsistencies in design, and some pretty beginner level stuff in Maya and Skyrim.  Also, show more stuff! Your portfolio is pretty short on content, so try to fill 'er up!   If you want to help show you're a level designer, I would create some top-down maps of dungeons or levels for a game, then have a fly-through of the level. Also, show some completed game design documents to show that you have the design skills to complete one that makes sense. And finally, I know I've said it a couple of times, but I strongly suggest you get some polish on those games. As a content designer, you need to hold not only yourself but your entire team to a standard. If they can't create content that meets your requirements, then encourage them to practice, do multiple iterations of the content, and if you still can't squeeze what you want from them, then maybe pass the art reins over to someone else. There may be butt-pains flying around, but not everyone is an artist just the same as not everyone is a programmer. Just don't pander to others delusions or whining. Ultimately it is your career and the game that you need to look out for, and if someone can't cut it, than it isn't good for you or the game.   I hope I was some help and that I didn't get you mad. I think you've got some good stuff on there, just not quite enough or quite right to show that you are a level and content designer. It feels fairly unfocused on what position you're looking to fulfill.   tl;dr - your skills are being represented by sub-par art and you aren't showing what you want to show for level and content design. add more content will help.