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About Joshua.Hower

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  1. Joshua.Hower


    I don't know about everyone else but I do a lot of pen and paper prototyping. It usually takes a few hours but with some simple rules I can set up a similiar version as a board game. I used dice, grid paper, ruler, flash cards and a pencil, with these I can set up all sorts of ways to flesh out an idea or see if it is fun.   For example I layed out a game called Bomb Voyage (working title) into a board game in about 2 1/2 hours.   The concept was simple the player picked a character to play as, each character had to find specific items relating to them on a cruise ship before it sank. A bomb was planted on board hence the title.   Say you pick average joe as your character, you would need to find his daughter, wife, and dog.   To layout the map I just drew different levels of the ship on grid paper, movement was handled by dice and a movement modifier based on your character. I had a deck of flash cards with items on them that you would draw after your turn was over to represent finding them. I used monopoly pieces to identify level obstacles such as fire, broken beams, people and etc. each item gave you a bonus to get past obstacles but you could only hold so many at one time.   I used Dice rolls to see if the player cleared the obstacle or not, varying levels of the roll resulted in different effects e.x. If a panicked mob is rushing down your corridor you need a 5 to dodge them. Adding any modifiers to your dice roll the final result had to be >=5. If you rolled a 1-3 you were stunned and lost a turn, a 4 you couldn't move but you were safe and a 5 or greater you bypassed the crowd and continued your turn.   The time limit on the level was represented by a set limit of turns before the ship sank. It took a few plays to whitle this to an appropriate number. Every 10 turns a secondary explosion woud go off and that would randomly generate new obstacles on the map. Handled that by just tossing tokens onto the map.   I tested out a lot of things but it even let me realise how many players should be in one game at a time, so I knew the minimum of differing characters I had to make.   Then it all fit neatly in a box and I could bring it anywhere to let people test it out and give feedback.   This might seem like it went off topic a bit, I just wanted to share some ideas on how you can represent game actions through a board game and somewhat of how it at least helps me decide which project I'm going to follow through with.
  2. Joshua.Hower

    Novel Idea for a game -

    I think he just means don't make a clone, When I was in school the students would just make clones of whatever game was popular at the time.   By "Novel" I think he just means an original concept inside one of the  genres. I'm sure he's just tired of seeing super mario and counter strike clones.   Needed to fix this I somehow didn't read your last line, If you want to make an fps you have a few options. Try coming up with a new multiplayer game type,  or add a fresh feature to make a single player game "pop".   Off the top of my head-   Add some RPG elements into your FPS, the more your character performs repetitive actions he becomes more proficient.       Running 8km increase your speed by 1%       Firing 500 bullets from a sidearm gives you an extra clip or max clip size increase by 2       Taking 5k damage you increase damage resistance by 2%        ETC.    Just make sure you highlight these features with a screen pop up that congratulates the player or a skill tree.   Take a new spin on inventory management.       You can only carry 2 weapons at once but you can teleport in extra munitions or new weapons once you unlock them.       Add different ammo types to make certain weapons more effective against differing enemies.       Add overheating and degradation into your weapons giving the player a sense of fear.       ETC.   Add a interactive world mechanic.       As you progress you can interact with world objects to give you an upper hand, more than just explosive barrels. Like you can make ladders or boxes to reach new areas of the level.       Lockable/blockable doors and hallways to give strategic options.       Movable items to create a semi-puzzle environment.   I could keep going, FPS isn't really my strong point and I'm sure you could name games with these mechanics but it's just to help your creative fluids get moving.
  3. Joshua.Hower

    Good game design software?

    First I just wanted to say this was a great topic I've had the same question for a while.   I usually start everything pen and paper and if I can I make a board game prototype and let my friends play to see if the concept is enjoyable. I use this mostly for mobile game ideas, or to start fleshing out a bigger project.   As for software I have used Articydraft before, it is pretty cool and makes it easy to set up over arching ideas, I feel it's better suited for character development mapping as well as story or other complex systems. The issue I ran into was people I worked with had some difficulty understanding articy due to not being familiar with it. (this could be just the people I worked with but it is a problem I faced).   Mind mapping software is probably my favorite to pass around to team members I use bubbl.us. There is a fee but I don't emember how much, it wasn't bad though. It's simple and can be exported easily into jpg's and I find most people can read it easily and get a good grasp of what you mean. There is an example image in one of my design forum posts.   Even though those programs are cool and neat to use I have to admit I do use Word and  Excel a great deal more, the majority of my work is written into Word. As well as my data tables going into Excel, Everyone has their own preference but I run into more people who just want to see word documents or excel tables than anything from my other software.   Hopefully something I said helps, good luck on your search!
  4. I started using Bubbl, to create mind maps to help explain how certain mechanics should flow to my team. I made a quick mock up one for the basic combat function of a hack and slash game. I'd like to know if the idea is hitting on the mark as far as clarity and if anyone knows any other good idea mapping software I could look into.       I attached a copy of the exported mind map image to this post, it wouldn't allow me to link the picture with the url.   [attachment=22065:Basic combat mind map.jpg]
  5. Joshua.Hower

    Starting my studio

    Thats great! I know a random congratulations from a guy on the internet doesn't have much impact on your day to day, but you seem to have thought it out really well and mostly because you are achieving the aspirations I have for one day you've got this random persons admiration. Good luck!
  6. Joshua.Hower

    Starting game making help

    I'm by no means an expert, from what I gather though you should begin with what you want to make. Depending on the style of game your going to make that will dictate which engine you should use.    For example if you just want to make a 2D game  you might want to look at rpg maker or even some of the simpler enginge like game maker so you can get a feel of the process before you commit to a larger project. I know serious developers scoff at these but I feel they are a good building block to understand some core criteria in constructing a game and it is laid out for beginers.   Where as if you want to make a 3D fps or action game for the PC then you've got a lot of options like unreal, cry engine, unity, etc.   As far as where to start just you tube it, I created a wave zombie FPS in unity just looking up different tutorials on you tube. there are hundreds of videos for the different engines and coding types to create the basics of many different game types.   To answer if you need programming skills, well if your doing it alone yes you do. Even if you team up with a programmer you still want to understand the basics of code so it is easier for you to work together.
  7. Joshua.Hower

    Would like some feedback on a Pitch Paper.

    Sorry it took so long to repy I had an incident come up this weekend, I know the question is vague but this helped me understand that. I really do appreciate the feed back I'm currently just a hobbyist but I would like to eventually make this a career. I do think my main flaw is my communication of my concept to certain audiences and you guys made some great points that slipped by me.     I thought that was the impression I was giving but I wasn't sure how to phrase it, thanks for the input.     Thanks for the good points, I guess I was just a little jaded about "Evolve" I know I shouldn't have mentioned it but I did. I don't use quotation in the sarcasstic sense its a bad texting habit for defining a title of something to avoid confusion, I'll keep that in mind next time. This paper was an internal one I was asked to do to grasp the concept to new members seeing as how we are hobbyists and we obtain and lose people sometimes.   I do have a consumer facing pitch but I'm still working on that. I'm having a hard time cutting through the gristle but delivering a compelling point at the same time.
  8.        Nothing super fancy, I've just been reading a few books on game design. I've been interested in this field for a while now, I am currently working with a team on the project this paper is for. I just figured I'd post it and see if anyone could give me any pointers on the overall presence of the game in their imagination. I'm not sure if a pitch paper should be more technical or more engaging like a short story.   I'm sure you guys are up to date on current and upcoming games and I know this is similar too "Evolve" but I've been working on this Idea for the past two years.   Any constructive criticism is appreciated (including the format of the forum post itself, I don't want to post unruly content on here). Thanks for taking the time to read my post.   MOTD: Pitch Paper                 Soldiers engage in visceral player versus player combat opposing unspeakable monsters in this survival horror multiplayer online battle arena. During the course of a match soldiers will attempt to complete mission critical objectives while trying to withstand the relentless assaults from one of many unique and terrifying monsters. Each level or “map” will be an interactive “arena” where players slug it out; either to survive or kill. Arenas include interactive objects players can make use of, to open a path or restrict access. Soldiers scrounge up useful gear and weapons throughout each level to help them fend off the monster.  These items are added to the player’s permanent armory if they can complete the mission with them in hand. Soldiers and monsters both have in depth progression trees ranging from weapon and skill proficiencies, devastating monster ability upgrades and even the most powerful tool of all “knowledge”.                   During the lobby phase, after the matchmaking process is complete, players choose from a list of available characters. There are several different classes of “soldier” each bringing their own unique brand of mayhem to the arena. Every soldier class has individual proficiencies with certain weapons, gear and technology allowing them to use said items to the peak of their capabilities. With repeated use a soldier can become proficient with any weapon of their choosing.  The player who is designated to play the part of the monster will pick which monster they want to play out of their available monster list. Monsters have a plethora of abilities to choose from at higher levels and the more they use these abilities the more devastating they become. Players not only enjoy a frantic combat shooter in a tense arena setting, they are also engrossed in deep character progression.                  The battle fields of MOTD are interactive arenas, where players can use their imagination to help them complete mission objectives. These interactive objects range from simple tasks, such as opening or locking a door to control movement, or complex operations requiring multiple steps; like fueling a generator to illuminate a pitch black objective area. These interactive objects give players a vast number of options to help them achieve their goal. If a monster wants to bottleneck the soldiers to give themselves a tactical advantage, they can use a number of world objects to do so. Some of these include breaking door controls, moving large objects like vehicles or trees to block an alleyway or once they obtain enough knowledge they can manipulate electrical systems, heavy machinery and even the soldiers own automated weapons platforms. Soldiers rely mainly on their personal gear kits to engage the monster but are more than able to interact with the environment as well. By locking doors, disabling lights, activating automated weapons and even operating heavy equipment, the soldiers have numerous tools at their disposal. All of these things give each mission incredible replay value, the only limit to the strategy is the limit of the players imagination.                  Weapons and gear are the main commodity for the soldier, without them they stand little chance against the monster. During each mission weapons and gear will be scattered around the arena waiting for the soldiers to find it. Soldiers have the opportunity to permanently add new weapons and gear like machine guns, armors, tech upgrades, explosives, sniper rifles, side arms and even experimental weapons to their personal armory. The only catch is they have to survive the mission with that gear in their inventory. Once they permanently acquire an item it is unlocked in their personal armory, where they can select to take that item into battle with them during the character selection process. Once a weapon is stored in a player’s armory they don’t have to worry about losing it in their next match, due to their armory’s fabrication abilities. Every item can be upgraded and modified through resource points that are collected by completing missions, these upgrades can include modified sights, larger range of usable calibers, more damage and even style customizations.                  Soldier and monster alike have in depth skill trees allowing the player to customize their character to their play style. These abilities powers will be affected by a multitude of factors, gear, level, and even the amount of times the player has used it. If a soldier carries uses an M4 for many battles they naturally become accustomed to it and will therefore use it more effectively, the same goes for the monsters and their basic attacks and abilities. The monster is also privy to the most powerful tool knowledge. Monsters have the ability to consume the knowledge of their victims allowing them perform more complex tasks with human technology. A low level knowledge skill enables a monster to perform basic tasks like opening doors, while a monster with a higher knowledge level will be able to perform complex tasks with human objects like hacking automated weapons platforms.                  MOTD gives players high paced player versus player combat. Deep character progression gives players that all important goal to strive for; being the deadliest creature. Customization and upgradable weapons fills the players thirst for loot and instant gratification. Interactive arenas give players almost unlimited strategic options to give more playability to each mission. MOTD hits the trifecta in player needs promising this will be a fan favorite title.
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