Wednesday, 22 December 2010

New UDK Beta with iOS support is released!

I've been anxiously waiting for UDK to release this version of their engine so that I can start churning out loads of iPhone game ideas and prototypes. 

Available to download now at

I'll hopefully be sharing some of my own UDK iPhone ideas in the future.  Let me know what wonderful ideas and playable games you come up with too. 

Friday, 17 December 2010

Gears Level Design Document

It's been a while since I posted anything so here's a quick catch up. 

I've been completing the first draft of my Gears of War level design document which I'm naming Save All Souls (or S.A.S at least for the time being).   It will be a short level, part one of my complete idea for the level.  Hopefully it will be a good addition to the Gears universe.  The doc can be read here.

Other than that I've been looking at another small project in UnrealEd to keep me entertained at lunch.  I've also been adding some additional gameplay features to The Epidemic, polishing the existing ones, trying to revamp the graphics and creating additional levels to make this a good little portfolio piece.  Hopefully these changes will make a great improvement so hopefully by the end of January I'll have another UnrealEd project and my SAS level blocked out.

I'll be posting some WIP images of my Gears level as and when I have them.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Portfolio least for now

So it's been a few weeks since I completed my Halloween house project in UDK and I've been busy writing posts for Take Initiative and putting together a level design document for a Gears of War level that should hopefully show that I am capable of creating a single player level with interesting cinematics and a beautiful environment.  However, after having a think about my current direction in design I have decided to put this level on hold as it will be a lot of work and as I haven't finished playing Gears Of War yet it may be a bit early for me to assume that I could put together a level that would fall into place seamlessly within the storyline that I haven't discovered yet.  So until I have finished my level design document and completed Gears of War, I'll be concentrating on developing smaller game ideas that show my interests. 

I really enjoyed using UDK and Unreal tech so I'll definitely be returning to it within the new year.  Hopefully playing more shooter, open-world, single player campaign games will help me gain a better understanding of the genre so that I can apply this knowledge to my own levels next year.

My idea at the moment in order to produce a number of small projects within a short length of time is to create simple Game Maker games or Flash movies demostrating the core mechanics and major features of the game ideas.  As someone is more likely to sit a watch a short 1 - 2 minute video of a game than sit and play through 30 levels of a game I think that this is the best way to go. This decision also appeals to me because of my limited time at home due to work and making time to play games.

It's been a while since I played around with Game Maker and years since I've put together something in Flash so hopefully within a few weeks (Christmas willing) I'll have something new to put in my portfolio.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Halloween Postmortem

So last week Thursday I decided to draw a line under my halloween house and upload my final images for entry into the World Of Level Design challenge.  I can honestly say that every time I use Unreal tech I learn alot more. 


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

3 Days to go!

The countdown continues and I began today with the intention of sticking to my 'schedule' but this didn't go as planned.

I first decided to create a pumpkin in max, export that, then import it into UDK.  How hard could that be right?  Wrong (sometimes it feels like I'm the only one to have problems with computers and software).  So I created my pumpkin, all be it very basic and no carved face but hey, it was just a test to see how to export and import.  So after I added my materials I exported the model and tried to import it into UDK.  The model appeared perfectly.  Woohoo!  I thought then I realised that instead of the 3 materials slots I had assigned only one appeared :(  I still have no clue what I did wrong but after spending too much time dwelling on that I decided to re-organise my schedule and get other things done.

4 Days to go!

So, I'm cutting it extremely close here.

I've spent the weekend bringing my building up to scratch and I think it looks quite cool now. This was I had by the end of Sunday:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Blocking out my halloween house

I finally got around to posting on the WoLD forums to enter myself into the challenge.

Having already cut down my aims and objectives for this project I thought with the limited amount of time that I have left that this would be acheivable (see my post on the WoLD forums).  But after reading a reply from someone I have decided to reign back totally on any scripting and focus on creating a really visually attractive environment. It's sad because I was really looking forward to creating all of those effects but thinking realistically I probably won't be able to get it all done before next Friday :(  But it's all good experience and I have learned from this that if I intend to make a map for a contest with a month's deadline don't start it halfway through the month.  I should have time to go back to this map early next year and start the kismet and matinee sequences to really bring the map to life so I am looking forward to this.  Luckily for me I am happy with the interior layout so all I'll have to do is the kismet and matinee work.  But now back to the present...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Halloween's approaching!

It's been a busy time for me over the last week.  Moving back to the original project I was hired for and yes, doing overtime (again!).  But this will not deter me from continuing to build my portfolio.  Right now I'm considering entering the WoLD Halloween contest.

I've thought of an idea and will be using UDK.  As this will be the first time I use UDK I will be creating an explorable environment rather than a gameplay map.  However, I do intend to improve on the visual quality of my level by making long corridors more interesting by using a variety of materials, effects and more meshes.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ruins of the Mayans: Quick-Point Postmortem

Well I have finally gotta to the Beta stage of my map (Hurrah!).  I'm having a few teething problems with publishing the map (mainly materials missing GRRR!) so I have decided to look into this a bit further down the line, but for now I'm happy to stick some screenshots of the Beta version to my map on my portfolio site and upload a video later in the week.

As I have learned a hell of a lot on this project I thought I should take some time to reflect a moment on what went wrong and what went right in a quick-point postmortem.

Monday, 20 September 2010

RotM - Nearing the end of a great journey

It's been a while since my last blog post so to sum up, I've been putting the finishing touches to map by adding meshes to the area.  The hardest thing that I am finding is locating appropriate assets provided with the game that suit the style of my map.

I also realise that although I spent a lot of time researching the look of my pyramid, I didn't fully look into what should be within the corridors.  So the last of my time is being spent populating the corridors of the pyramid and the tomb before I do the exterior and interior lighting before the final playtest. Well...that's the plan anyway.

One-Page Designs

As I'm trying to diligently create a lot of content for my portfolio it is important for me to not only create a lot of high quality designed games and levels but also to show that I can document my ideas and levels to a high standard.  Unfortunately, creating comprehensive design documents takes a lot of time and (as I'm working to a deadline) this will eat away at my time to actually develop these games considerably.

I do want to demonstrate that I can create great documents that support the fantastic games that I make but alas what could I do?  The answer came to me in the form of a tweet by Matt Glanville (thanks so much!).  He'd read a blog post by Josh Sutphin, a Lead Game Designer at Lightbox Interactive, which talked about a great way to fully document games - One-Page Designs.  This idea was brought to Josh's attention by Stone LiBrande, Creative Director at EA/Maxis who did a talk on this subject this year at GDC.

Using this method the designer would fully document sections of the game i.e. the UI, game mechanics or map layout and encounters using diagrams, icons, story boards etc practically anything apart from  paragraphs of text.  Apparently this method is more appealing to readers and they are more likely to read the one page rather than a one hundred page document.  I'm not sure how true this is (although I'm sure that it's not far wrong) as I haven't used this method yet, but over the next few months I will be using this method to document the various small games and maps that I'll be creating as they will save me time and provide me with documentation for my portfolio.

If you've used this method of documentation before please let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Alchemy on Android!

The past few days I've been for lack of a better word obsessed with a game released on Android called Alchemy.  The basic idea is to combine different elements to create new things.  You start with the basic elements of earth, water, fire and air and away you go. You combine the secondary and tertiary products of these combinations to create even more new objects.   There are 300 items to unlock in total and so far I'm on 118.  So quite a lot more to go and it's starting to get really tough. 

But what I love about this game is that it's such a simple idea.  As I have an interest in science myself I was trying to think of an educational game using the periodic table elements but this has blown me away.  It's a much better idea than using elements from the periodic table as everyone will identify even the most basic elements of earth, air, fire and water. 

I also love the little easter eggs and quirky objects that I've unlocked so far.  I've found Yoshi, the 1 Up mushroom from Mario Bros, a Genie and a Zombie.  I can't wait to play some more later on.

So if you have an Android OS on your phone, download this game today.  Oh, didn't I mention.  It's totally free!  Here's a sneak peek at the game for those unfortunate enough not to have Android.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

RotM: Step back to making a better map

So before I dived into starting to add static meshes and textures to my map I thought I'd get the opinion of one of my friends who is quite an avid FPS gamer.  Doing this dropped my hopes of nearly finishing my map to setting me back at least another 2 weeks.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

RotM: The joy of Textures and Static Meshes

So I've finally finished the geometry for the map.  It still needs to be polished but its at a good standard for me to begin filling my map with textures and static meshes.  So over the next couple of weeks that's what I'll be doing.  I intend to apply the WoLD's technique and work systematically through the map section by section so each area is brought up to the same level of quality.

I'll post some new images soon!

Monday, 2 August 2010

RotM: More Terrain and Water features

So now I've finished blocking out the terrain and pyramid so that the tomb now has exits that lead out up to the ground level.

I'm going to be placing the pick-ups today so that the map is closer to what I think will be the gameplay in the final design.

The rest of the week I guess I'll be adding the kismet and matinee triggers in to activate the secret doors (that I want to put in place over the tomb exits) and finish refining the terrain. There are some areas of the terrain that still need smoothing and the steep drops at the sides of the pyramid need to be steeper. I also think that raising the river will also be beneficial for the map.  Currently at some points in the terrain the player cannot see down to the river and it would be a shame to block the players' view of this feature.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ruins of the Mayans

As I'm posting progress of my Mayan pyramid level to the WIP forum of World of Level Design (a great site for anyone interested in learning how to start level design) I thought I'd do the same on my blog.

This map has gone through so many iterations already from indoor map to outer and inner gameplay areas. The whole mayan pyramid theme was only decided upon when I decided to create an outdoor environment. I really like the unique shape of the mayan pyramids and my initial idea of a maze fit in very well for the bottom level of the pyramid, after that the environment was sort of built around that.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Importance of Planning

I have revisited learning level design using the Unreal Editor and I have to say that I am finding this time, time well spent.

Since my evenings are spent at work (yes at work!), relaxing (when I actually get in from work) with my boyfriend, eating dinner or sleeping, I have being using my lunchtimes to practice using the editor.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Hold on TI DeDA Experiment

Due to unforeseen circumstances the DeDA experiment that I was going to conduct later this year will have to be put on hold.   The DeDA (for anyone who has not read a previous post) was going be an experiment to educate myself about games design using a similar course structure to what is taught in current Game Design degree and masters courses around the UK.  This course I was going to fit around my hectic social and work life (being a QA tester restricts my time a lot) and also would help me to create a tailored portfolio of great work to help me when applying for junior game/level design roles in the future.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Review of 2010 Goals

Late last year I made some goals to get myself into a junior design role. These were:

* Play more games

* Make a small game using Unity

* Make a small game level using Unreal Ed

* Create a great standard project, even if it's just the one.

I've laid Unity aside for the moment as I think it's more important for me to focus on learning Unreal to a good standard i.e. terrain, particle emitters, Kismet, Matinee etc so that I can create some excellent gameplay maps and environments.

I have now made some progress over the past month or two as I'm more focused now at using my lunchtimes to work through the Mastering Unreal Technology Volume 1 book tutorials. So hopefully before the end of July I will have a fully built (and working level to show off).

I'm working on playing more games this year so I am pleased with my progress with this. It's just the 'great standard project' that I seem to be slacking on a the moment sadly, but I do still intend to get something created before the end of the year, hopefully the end of August.

Escaping the curse of the 360 Achievements!

I love collecting things. When I was a little Girl Guide, I had collected so many of the badges that instead of the normal two columned width sash, I had to upgrade to a three column one! In games, e.g. within Dark Cloud (a game for the PS2) I had to get 100% within all the town and upgrade all of my weapons to their highest potential. Now, I didn't immediately jump onto the Achievement Junkie (or Achievement Whore as so many have eloquently named it) bandwagon immediately. I just played games on the 360 for the pure enjoyment of progressing through the games and because I wanted to start to analyse the design of the games in order to help me become a better designer. However, whilst working within a games industry (and being surrounded by a lot of competitive males) I had come to understand another reason for Achievements - bragging rights! And, because of the niffy nature of your gamertags being visible to all your friends and everyone (depending on wherever you want to place it) there is no limit to how many people can view your gamerscore. So after comparing my gamerscore to everyone else's on my Friend's List I was utterly disgusted with my lack of effort, after all gaining achievements is just another form of collecting so I wanted to gain all that I could.

My next game was the Orange Box, specifically Portal. Before I began the game I look at the list of achievements and see plan how I was going to gain them. So I went out of my way to look for all the cameras, fall so far etc in order to gain these achievements. It was only when I was playing Resident Evil with my partner the other night that I realised that while I was going out of my way to gain these achievements, I wasn't taking the time to critically analyse the design of the game or even enjoy what I was playing. When I started getting disappointed that my partner had just gained 60G (by accident!) and I didn't, I realised it was time to stop.

I have now consciously decided that I will not play games just for the achievements. Achievements are a good way to make players replay the game and search the vast areas of the game that so many developers took the time to create for our amusement so it's only right that we do make an effort to explore them. Your gamerscore also speaks for itself by showing everyone how much of an interest in games that you do have, so I do think it is important that I do build this up to a significant amount (say over 10K?). But I will not be going out of my way to gain every achievement within a game just for the sake of it. I still feel good when I have gained yet another achievement, but my goal for the future is now focused to analyse the design of games so that when I become a designer I will be a better one and to enjoy the games that I am playing.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Move to Blogger!

It has become apparent to me that Google are a great global force that is only getting larger and better over the years. So I have decided to move my blog over from it's previous home in Wordpress to Blogger so that I can check out all the fun stuff Google can offer me via Blogger.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Finally the title that I'm working on has been announced!

Kinectimals is a new title being developed by Frontier Developments for the new Kinect system for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

The game is filled with lots of cute animals that you can interact with in a variety of ways and even though it may not appeal to most hardcore gamers, it's guaranteed to be loved by lots of children and young at heart adults.

So watch the trailer below and see what you think.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

DeDA: Structure and Update

I have decided that I am going to break each topic into two parts:

  1. Theory - the current area that I am researching citing references

  2. Development Diary - this will detail my opinions on the subject and (if applicable) how I have applied the theory that I have just learned to my project and why I have chose those decisions.

The theory will be posted on the TI site so that anyone wishing the try out this course in the future can view all of the topics and hopefully learn something from them. While both the theory and my Development Diary posts (detailing the practical application) will be posted here.

At the moment I am currently:

  1. Refining the course content into manageable chunks

  2. After working out my free time in the week, I need to apply the course content into calendar to see approximate full time length of the course

These are my on going tasks to do before I begin my course:

  • Continue to wrap up my current projects

  • Continue my research into a suitable reading list

  • Save some money for laptop and books needed for course

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Game Maker Competition 6!

Sadly I have not yet learned to stop involving myself in new game projects.  Currently I have one (shall we say) dormant role in one project, one not so strenuous role (yet) in another project, one project that I'm losing interest in and then there's Project TF which is my main focus at the moment.

The dormant project is unofficially in a hiatus as theproject has now been pushed back for an expected release next year.  The team members are now returning to their own lives and other projects which is a shame as it was looking to be a good project.  So hopefully, the team will be brought back together later in the year and I can gather some good experience using Unity.  The deadline for the project that I'm losing interest in is drawing ever closer so I just intend to do what I need to to for this demo and call it quits.  Internet projects are hard especially when there's a lack of communication between the team members and you're losing interest.

The not-so-strenuous project is an interesting one because while it doesn't require alot of input from me at this point in time, it will require me to develop a new design skill set which I will need to practive heavily on in order to deliver good (or at least acceptable results).  This project is also non-digital which will be extremely useful in my portfolio as I have not got any non-digital game projects that have been produced.   So I am very keen to stick at this project.

Lastly, Project TF.  This is my game concept and I need this be achieve great results.  The additional member to the project has already helped me intensively, producing a basic engine in a very short time and giving me design critique which is helping me to think over the current mechanics within the game.   I'm hoping that Project TF will be a good candidate for the Game Maker 6 competition which has the theme of 'Discovery'.   While discovery is not the main focus of the game it is one of the important mechanics for progression and character development.  So if my team member and I get it together I may consider entering.  There's nothing to lose but everything to gain!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Help with Pitch Documents from Irrational Games

Irrational games have revealed the pitch document that helped unleash the Bioshock franchise to the world. I would advise any aspiring game designer to have a look at this document as the would be useful for answering questions regarding the content required, the layout and would also give designers an idea of just how much a game can change from conception to the release product. Read it here.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Game Design Challenge: iPad

So for the last couple of weeks I've been working on an iPad game idea  for the fortnightly GameCareerGuide Game Design Challenge.  To be honest I did put a lot of effort into this idea asking people's opinions, doing the board layout and just refining the basic rules, so Project TF was neglected only slightly during this time.  But luckily my hard work paid off and although I didn't get the a place as the best entry (maybe next time) I did get another honorable mention :)  This has motivated me to try more often to 'compete' within these challenges as they do get me to think outside of my usual design box.

So here is my design for the iPad Construction Destruction.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


...after a few weeks off of being completely lazy and a pitiful amount of time being spent on Project TF over the Easter weekend.  I am now returning to the development of this prototype.

Unfortunately, it seems as if I'm doing this project solo so a lot of the polished art work will only go in once the functionality of features have been verified.  This is probably the best plan for me as spending time working on or looking for resources will take up a considerable amount of my time.  So anyone playtesting the project will hopefully look past the graphics and focus on the mechanics and gameplay to help me refine the game to make it more enjoyable for players.  After I, playtesters and focus testers are satisfied with the improvements I'll start creating beautiful graphics to help my game shine.

Where I am at now is completing the final details of the design on the project site and I've got the following done and into the control system:  Walking, Jumping, Machete Move 1, Machete Move 2, Whip Move 1, Lassoo, Discovery.

The problems that I have encountered at the moment is that after the animation has finished playing the character is not moved to the new coordinates, so that will be my first thing to look at.  Also the Discovery move needs further animations made of the character at a smaller size.  This shouldn't be difficult, but will take a bit a time as I didn't think to cover this when making the rest of the sprites.   Also there is a small problem of the character playing the jumping animation and using the Discovery move at the same time because they are on the same buttons, but all of these seem quite minor and I don't reckon they should be difficult to fix...hopefully.

After this is done, I'll work on some basic enemies, the experience and the Intellect system.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The TI:DeDA Programme

Over the last few weeks I've looked into the objectives and learning outcomes of degree and masters courses within the UK currently available to anyone wishing to get into the games industry. And I have also been trying to generate a suitable name for the programme.

The Programme Title

From looking at these course outlines and a few requirements of my own I have come up with a first draft of the objectives and learning outcomes for my new course, which will be called the Take Initiative: Design Degree Alternative (DeDA) .

I decided to focus on a course that consisted of subjects taught on degree courses so that it will cover the basics of game and level design for beginners. As I am not qualified to teach a professional course most of the information I distribute will be from secondary sources, my own experiences with design and whatever I learn along this process. I intend to create a plan to produce each project that will be used in the portfolio, but will break each section of the development process down so that the participant has a chance to analyse that stage of the process in greater detail.

Objective and Learning Outcomes

After researching the objectives and learning outcomes of the current Degree and Masters courses within the UK I have created a shortlist of the objectives that I want DeDA to achieve and the learning outcomes that I want the participants of the DeDA to gain.


  • Keep the cost of books, tool, software and trips i.e to conferences and/or IDGA meetings under the cost of professional/official courses at this time. Currently, this is about

  • Provide information and teach participants how to use current development tools e.g. UDK/UT3, Unity or Hammer to produce high standard game projects.

  • Be level design and game design focused

  • To be a suitable time scale to learn all the content outlined in the course and produce a portfolio to fit around a schedule i.e. a QA role

  • To produce a portfolio of work that will (hopefully) consist of 2 large projects that demonstrate knowledge of current tools

Learning Outcomes

  • A comprehensive understanding of the study of games and techniques used to create them

  • To be able to make critical analysis of certain areas of games after playing them and to be able to talk confidently about them

  • Learn to design and develop game projects from concept to release using the latest development tools

  • Be able to make contributions to the development of innovative games, methods, concept, genres or mechanics.

These still need to be looked over and refined but they seem pretty solid for me at the moment.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Project TF: Update

Right, so last week I got all of the animations for the game into GameMaker.  This week I'm looking to assign the controls to the animations to make the character walk, jump, use their weapons and the discovery feature.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Phrase for Thought

"To be really good at anything, you have to spend 10k hours on it" - Malcolm Gladwell.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

New Direction for OliveWorks

Right, so I've had a think about how I want the future of this blog to progress and I want it to be a game development blog personal to me so showing my postmortems and sharing lessons learnt throughout all of my projects.

I'll also be posting more information about the game development course alternative (GDCA) that I'm working on to see if I can put together a course with the content of a Masters programme but at a much lower cost. So keep watching this space if you're interested in developing your game design skills at a lower cost.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Project TF progress: Development Time!

I've got a rough idea of the stats for the enemies and will be using this to get all the moves' attributes correct.   I have decided to cut down from the original 60 I have to a more realistic 30(-ish) as at the moment I don't think there will be enough content to equally distribute these moves to the player throughout the game.

So far I have learnt that during the design phase of this game I need to design these aspects in the following order: Core mechanics, Other mechanics to support gameplay, intended hardware/software, controls,character stats, enemies stats, weapons and their attributes.

So my tasks for this week are:

  • Making a dev schedule for prototype

  • Starting the prototype development

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Project TF documentation progress

Right, so I'm a bit behind with starting the production of this project however this is due to work and can't be helped.

So far, I've developed a list of moves that the different weapons gain as they progress and I'm working to finalise the details for these such as amount needed to unlock etc. Lastly I'm working on some basic enemies nothing major at the moment just someone to practice the moves that I have on and help me to balance it.

Looks like I'm working on the weekend so may be a little behind starting the implementation of this but I've saved time setting up the basics by using an early early version of a previous project of mine.  Once I make a schedule of the prototype I'm hoping everything will come together so this project can be wrapped up by September 11th.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Professional Masters or Self teaching?

I've recently been investigating a Masters course which offers the best course content for me.  So, for me, this is not a programming related or focused course, but one which has a focus on game and level design and possibly modeling as I enjoy that too.

Another thing that I have thought about it the type of software that the institutions can offer me.  Most designer job posts state that the candidate will need a knowledge of the Unreal Editor, Hammer or similar tools. So learning these tools are of high priority to me.

Some courses I have read about state that they use the latest technology but when I looked into it further I found out that their 'latest' tool was a product exclusively available to everyone that had the internet.  Too bad as the rest of the course content seemed good, but the price tag of over £5K  for a course and tools that I can download myself put me way off.

Now that UDK and Unity Indie is freely available to everyone there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to produce games with the current technology retail games now use that are well polished and are up to a quality high enough to be good for distribution.  After all some of the iPhone games distributed nowadays are made by small teams.

So far I think I've found an online course that will allow me to work and study part time.  I'm still waiting to find out about details about the course content, tools and fees that they use but I am considering this course.

The alternative, of course, will be if I can find some decent books that will teach me the ins and outs of game design, teach myself the latest tools and develop a small polished project (or two) demonstrating my design skills I reckon I could get the same output of knowledge and portfolio content from this instead of a professional Masters programme.  Ok, so I won't walk away with a qualification, but I will have saved thousands of pounds that I can use for much more.    I've attempted to do this in the past working on short projects and some have been developed but not in the tools that I need to learn or demonstrate an ability in.  I have also been side tracked by life so I would be working each week in an unstructured way with only bits and pieces getting done when I had time or was focused enough.  This time, I believe by outlining a full long term timetable will help me develop a good work attitude and produce faster results with my work.

So if I intend to start my own 'Masters' programme will have to develop a course which will fulfill the following:

  • Keep the total cost of the course e.g. books, trips (for conferences and IDGA meetings) under the price of a professional Masters programme at the present time

  • Teach myself the current development tools

  • Produce a portfolio of work

  • Keep up to date with the current games industry news and design techniques

  • Put together a useful reading list

To do this over the next 6 months I need to do the following:

  • Wrap up/finish my current projects

  • Buy a laptop capable of running the latest development tools

  • Gather people's opinions and read book reviews to develop a reading list

  • Design a part time two year course to follow around my work schedule that includes learning  game design theory and how to use the latest development tools

  • Create a calendar to block in a fixed schedule of time to dedicate to this 'Masters' course

So, as well as waiting for more information about this course, I'm going to start preparing and researching for this course.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Progress with Project TF

Well it's been a while since I posted anything about the progress about this project so to quickly sum up:

  • A working title has been decided for this game

  • We've lost the concept artist pegged for this project to another one of their personal projects :(  So that means I'm doing a lot more of the work.  Good because I'll have a lot of stuff to put in my portfolio, but bad because I'm no where near at a great standard at the moment so I guess I'll churn out lots of sub standard work before I get to the gold.  Also with all this extra work the project length will undoubtably increase.

  • Fully dedicated to using Game Maker as the prototype tool for this project and who knows maybe the full dev tool.  With the release of GM 8.0 I acquired a free upgrade to this new iteration so I will be able to use all of the new features that hopefully this project will benefit from.

  • Set up a wiki to manage the documenting of this project.  As I normally do this in Word docs I thought I'd give this method a try. I have already found this extremely useful as I can access the up to date docs online from home and work.  I am also using this as the project site so that any prospective team members will be able to follow the progress of the project and judge whether they would like to be a part of it (this link will be disclosed in the future as the project prototype begins to take shape).  The only downside to using the wiki that I chose was that I found out that Google do their own one and it looks much better :(  But I'm still happy with WikiSpaces as it seems that it can integrate most items like spreadsheets and Google's calendar into a page as well as Google's Wiki alternative.

So, right now I'm ironing out the details for the prototype like the mechanics of the game and systems with the other members of this project so that I can start as soon as possible on this prototype.  I hope to begin this the week beginning the 9th March.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Talisman of...

Trying to write up the doc for a new game that some of my friends in QA and I are developing.  I haven't decided the dev software yet but it's looking like Game Maker because its quick or trying my hand at Unity.  We also need a working title so hopefully that's sorted soon.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

One doc down!

So I've finished the short concept document for the NTG game and now I'm going to start thinking more about this short platform adventure game that I'm concocting with a friend from work.  The pitch document for this project can be found here.

Friday, 29 January 2010

NTG: Completing the doc

I've nearly finished working on the doc now.  I've got a few interface diagrams mocked up and just need to complete the screen mockups with just basics of what options each holds.

I've also joined another group project using Unity to improve my skills and motivate me to keep learning it.  My main task is just to design puzzle and quests but if I practice with Unity more I may be able to be a level designer too for this demo, which should be completed by May so says the project lead.   Guess we'll  see how that goes.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

NTG: Finalising mechanics, screen flow and interface design

Last night I didn't get a lot of the documentation wrote up, but I did pin down the entire mechanics of the game, screen flow chart and interface design of the game.

I've decided (if time permitting) that there may be two modes: complete before the time runs out and get the fastest time.  I couldn't decide which would give the better gaming experience so I decided that creating both and testing both will help to decide this.

Only drafting left to do is the GUI at during the main game.  I'll use simple menu designs at the moment and just concentrate on getting it all fleshed out into a working basic prototype.

It should be interesting trying to do this whilst learning the tool.

Monday, 4 January 2010

NTG: Mechanics and Scheduling

Over the past couple of weeks I've been fleshing out the mechanics and scope of this project.  The majority of this doc should be completed over the weekend and hopefully some basic level designs so that I can start creating a very basic prototype of the game with basic art elements.