Beam Me Up, Scotty

Hey guys, its Nemo. Hope you guys are awesome as always and healthy both physically and mentally. Can you believe it! It’s already the 3rd month of 2016, 9 more and its happy new years all over again. Okay enough, let us not dwell on the future. Let us focus on the present, the current, the now.

Quick brief up on what’s been happening

  • Re-organised my weekly schedule
  • Re-design my blog site
  • Re-designed my website layout (itsdaum.com)
  • Re-designed my resume (Finishing uni this year )
  • Explored Blue Mountains and places around Sydney
  • Got back into running and staying fit
  • Finally Cleaned Car (for those who don’t know my car was quite messed up from road trips)
  • Photography (Timelapse of Sydney night life)
  • Started being part of social media – Tig Source and Twitter.
  • That’s about all I can think of.
  • Wait also new project – Beam Me – mobile game.

So let’s being todays topic. What is “Beam Me”? Well first we need to look into the most recent failures of 2015.

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Knob&Stud – This was a solo attempt game for ludum dare about a farmer called Knob and a pig named Stud. The game was a puzzle game in which Knob and Stud had their own individual set of rules such as Knob couldn’t swim whereas Stud could swim, Knob could chuck Stud, etc. You controlled Knob and Stud to solve puzzles which involved using each other’s pros and cons to over come obstacles. The best part was being able to chuck the pig. I had a ton of enjoyment chucking Stud. But the verdict was the game never finished due to a few reasons.

  • Since this was a game for ludum dare, I had to work with a few constraints. The theme was two button system. I originally had it focused on using the left and right mouse button to do everything, from chucking/ jumping/ walking. The game had to many mechanics/gimmicks for two buttons.
  • Hardware/Software constraints. I had a few hiccups at the start of this particular jam, unfortunately my main computer decided to catch a virus which took up all of the ram. I couldn’t use any software. So I was stuck to using my Surface, which wasn’t bad at first. But I soon ran into problems of having to draw art on Gimp. I could not stand drawing with a mouse, especially a heavy wireless one.
  • Time constraint – Tutorial and Gameplay. The game jam was 48 hrs long. Art was coming out at a slow rate, so I made it real simple. The programming side was smooth without many hiccups. The main problem was getting content into the game. Teaching the players each mechanics wasn’t too hard but when it came to building harder levels I came to brick wall. I couldn’t make complex puzzles because that required more mechanics, which meant more tutorials, which meant more art. I did not have time for it.

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The game ended up being simple tutorials of the mechanics of Knob and Stud which wasn’t too fun. I decided not to upload it to the competition as I wasn’t confident with the game.

I learned a valuable lesson from making this game

  • Don’t catch a computer virus just before a competition.
  • Get a better wireless mouse.
  • Design to the theme. I should have known that with 2 buttons I couldn’t do a game which involved a lot of game mechanics. I over complicated the game. I should have focused on what was fun and ditch the part which wasn’t necessary. Should have focused the game around chucking the pig.
  • Spend more time on designing/ quick prototypes.

I took these lessons and applied it to my new project “Beam Me”. Beam Me is a reflection of all the failures that happened in 2015.

I re-attempted at a game using the theme – two button system.

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Beam me is a mobile arcade game. The control scheme utilizes two buttons. The goal of Beam me is to control an alien spaceship which revolves around a planet while beaming up fallen alien soldiers and avoiding contact with any incoming hazards. The game has different planets to explore, each planet having their own unique objectives, hazards, and challenges.

I started this project at the start of this year to get myself familiar with the processes required to get a game onto the mobile market. I thought a simple game like Beam Me would help me achieve that. The game is relatively small scoped but with possibilities to build upon if needed. The current build is just a prototype and I still have a few more features ahead of me.

For more about Beam Me I started a tigsource blog for more awareness.

Next post will be about how Delirium influenced in designing Beam Me. Till then Ciao and Stay Awesome. Nemo Out!

 

 

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Learn from the past

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Sunrise of Jan 1st 2015

In the blink of an eye 2015 has ended.

Hey guys Nemo here, Happy New Years 2016!! A bit of a late Happy New Years post but better late than never.  So another year has finished, and I guess it’s a good time to have a brief recount of 2015 and where I’ve been since my last post which was published on July 12, 2015 at 1:44pm. So let’s begin.

I set out 2015 to become more active, by doing more with my time, discovering what’s around me, taking more photos, and developing more games. And for the most part I’ve managed to become that active person. I’ve discovered numerous hidden gems around Australia by travelling up and down of Sydney. I’ll just show you a few of the images taken throughout the trips.

2015

Apart from becoming an outgoing person, I’ve also spent a good amount time being a hermit crab working and developing games. In 2015 I’ve made an attempt at developing 9 games of which only 5 managed to get fully polished and complete. Out of the 5 complete games, 2 of the games won 1st place and 1 game made an appearance at Sydney’s Supernova to promote Vengador a comic book. I have uploaded all these games on my online portofolio if you guys haven’t tried it yet!

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Although these 5 complete games has helped me become a better game developer, what really taught me to design better and understand games development were through the failed attempts. In the upcoming weeks I shall go into detail as to why the 4 games remained uncomplete. I’ll go through the issues I’ve faced and what I’ve learnt from dealing with these situations.

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Anyhow that’s a brief update of what has been happening on my side of life in 2015. Let us make another memorable year! This year I aim to post more regularly, and keep up with what i’ve started in 2015 which is to develop more games, and travel more!

Remember

The days are long, but the years are short.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunrise of Jan 1st 2016

ciao for now. Nemo out~

Game Dev Diary – Part 2 – Living with Chaos

Living with Chaos

Hey guys Nemo here. Last week in our Game Dev Diary blog I went into the importance of having a game design document and gave a concise version of my design document of ‘Delirium’ a top down sci-fi action game set in a spaceship with a variety of bosses. You can scroll down to read up on it if you missed out on last week’s blog. With a readable, understandable and detailed document in my hands it was time to develop. This week was all about coding the game.

One Game Engine to rule them all.

Over the past 4 years, I have come across and have used a number of Game engines; Games engines that are free such as Unreal Engine 3, Game Maker Studio, Flash + Flixel and Unity3D. There has been a great debate on the internet and between my colleagues about which Game engine is the best. Many have argued that Unity3D is the one to rule them all. However I have found that Unreal Engine was a brilliant for developing games that were first person shooters. Game Maker Studio excelled in 2D pixel perfect games. Flash was efficient at vector art based games. And Lastly Unity3D which was the jack of all trades when it comes to Game engines. It’s not the greatest engine for a first person shooter game, nor was it the greatest for 2D pixel perfect and vectors games. They all had their own pros and cons. The point here I want to make is:

“There is no one Game engine to rule them all.”

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When I choose a Game engine for a project, it boils down to two things:

  1. Familiarity
    – Learning how to use a new Game engine isn’t hard, but it is time consuming. Time is something you cannot obtained back. There is little point in learning a new engine or language just to obtain the same result. Use an engine that you are most familiar with.
  2. Situational
    – Sometimes it’s better to choose a Game engine depending on your needs. If you are trying to make a precise first person shooter, its wiser to choose an engine that already has it built in like Unreal Engine rather than having to code the system from scratch to your own engine. Sometimes, the engine your familiar with might not have the functionalities that you want your game to have. An example of this would be trying to make a 3D game on Game Maker. There’s going to be a 98.9% failure rate.

Just choose one, and stick with it. Or you could make your own engine.

Chaos Manager

I chose to use Unity3D for this project as I have made many of my games on it and have become accustomed to it. One major problem that I have found using Unity3D was the sheer amount of chaos it can produce. Unity handles the main game loop logic(mentioned previously here) for you behind the scenes which can have nasty side-effect; It becomes extremely difficult trying to control the flow of the game loop. Without this control, you are no longer able to exactly know when each individual objects call their respective functions, they become independent. Not only that, it becomes much harder when looking back into your old projects. You or any new members to your project trying to understand your project will not know where the program begins. It makes it difficult to implement new functionalities/features to the project without having to go through every single objects in the game. This is the Chaos. So how do we control this Chaos?

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This is where the Chaos Manager comes in, it is also commonly known as the Game Manager. So what is the Game Manager exactly?

  • Instantiated once
  • Handles game states and controls the flow of the game
  • Saves persistent data

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Singleton Pattern

A Game Manager is designed to be a singleton pattern. Singleton pattern makes sure that there is only one instance of Game Manager allowed at any given point in time. We only ever want one instance of game manger in the game scene so that it can control the flow of the game. I won’t be going into the details of what a singleton is as it is explained much better here.

There are many ways of implementing a singleton design. The general Pseudo code would be:

if  uniqueinstance_gameManager is NULL
then create the gameManager
else
return uniqueinstance_gameManager;

Game States

Every game has game states : Start -> Play -> Pause -> Die -> Game Over, etc. Game Managers hold information on game states. By holding onto this information, game states allows us to control the flow of the game. Each state lets the game manager to know what game Objects to instantiate at what time. This allows for neater organisation of code, and makes it easier to identify where the game beings and ends.

These data are usually stored as a enum, accompanied by a handler and a getter/setter.

public enum GameState { START, MAIN_HUB, BOSS_ROOM, CREDITS };

public delegate void OnStateChangeHandler();

public GameState gameState {get; private set;}

Persistent Data

Since game Managers have a singleton design it allows us to have access to be persistent data. Data that will not disappear throughout different scenes of the game. This allows for some awesome things to happen. With persistent data, you are able to save player information, carry their stats, weapon of choice, last location, death counts over to different scenes. I shall talk more about this next week.

So Far

  • Implemented GameManager and state controllers
  • Implemented new rooms and scenes
  • Sweet camera panning between rooms
  • Updated movement and weapon system
  • Working on AI implementation of first boss

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Game Dev Diary – Part 1 – Living with Milestones

Game Dev Diary – Part 1 – Living with Milestones The Plan

Hey guys Nemo here, this week has been the official start of the holiday. With all my uni projects and contract work finished, I am free. I’ve been pretty pumped up for this holiday. This is the first holiday where I have had zero projects on my hand. It was such a relief but after the first day it was strange not having anything to work on. So, I decided it was time for a new project. After a bit of brainstorming on how I wanted to spend this 5 weeks, I boiled down to two main tasks. These are:

  • Game Development – Develop a prototype of a game that I’ve had in mind for  the past few months. A game that I can post to TigSource
  • Blogging – Post a blog at the end of each weeks about the progress of the game development.

And so it begins – The five week challenge.

The Game Design Document

We begin with the Game Design Document, this document describes the entire project, with all the details, and the methods by which each element will be implemented. It should encapsulate both the body and the soul of your game. By writing a design document it helps ensure you from wasting time, indecisive choices and from adding new features (otherwise known as feature creeping). It is like the blueprints of a building. When it comes to writing a design document there isn’t a golden template or rules to follow. However from my experience of writing and reading game design documents I’ve come to realise a few common traits that a good design documents have. These are:

  • Readable – People shouldn’t have to squint their eyes. If you have messy handwriting, stick to writing your documents on word. Learn to use good page layouts – eg. plenty of white space, easy on the eye fonts, bold headers.
  • Understandable – People shouldn’t get bewildered by your document. Dumb down the words. This isn’t 4unit Advanced English essay. Sometimes words aren’t the best choice either, you can sketch out your idea.
  • Detailed – Don’t tell them the “what”, tell them the “how”. eg. A bad example: A player can move in the game. A good example: A player can move by the keyboard or a xbox controller. On the keyboard he would use wasd and on the controller he would use the left joystick.

I realised that a good Design Documents are an essential to any projects and not just game related. The difference between a successful project and failed project can be reflected by the design document.

So Far

The concise version of my design document. Delirium, a top down sci-fi action game set on a cargo spaceship. Players will be put in a fast paced battle against a variety of bosses, in which they have to learn each of their weakness to defeat them. Upon defeating them they acquire new traits which can help them during other boss encounters. Features:

  • Intense and interesting boss battles
  • Players can shoot or use melee attacks
  • Players acquire traits such as dodge roll, different weapons
  • Players have 2 hit life system
  • Intuitive tutorial and gameplay
  • Swift and precise movement
  • Controller movement allowed
  • Pixel art – inspired by Crawl
  • The game draws its inspiration from Titan Souls and Mega Man

Untitled-Untitled-2 Placeholder art and basic functionalities of the game.

Well that’s about it for now but more to come over the 5 weeks! First week down, another 4 to go. Till next sunday! Stay well and keep productive. 🙂 Nemo Out

Ludum Dare Results!

Hey Nemo signing in, It’s been a while since I’ve gotten the results for ‘Link’ the game that my friend and I created for Ludum Dare 30! however i was unable to make a post in time. Back to the news! One word ‘Wow’. So my friend and I were both surprised and humbled at the results that we got back. Here is the run down!

Ratings

Coolness 69%
#9 Fun(Jam) 4.18
#33 Innovation(Jam) 4.03
#45 Overall(Jam) 3.95
#72 Humor(Jam) 3.52
#75 Audio(Jam) 3.81
#124 Mood(Jam) 3.65
#270 Graphics(Jam) 3.63
#413 Theme(Jam) 3.11

Okay, so the table might not make a lot of sense to those who are new to Ludum Dare. Well, the #no. next to the category is a rank. Which means ‘Link’ made it into the top 100 list! tied at 45th place out of a total of 1045 other game entries. The highest rank obtained was for the fun category which came at 9th place, which meant the game was entertaining (wooo). And the lowest rank was theme (aww) ahaha, I guess my metaphorical interpretation of connected worlds was too vague and nonexistent. Something that I’ll work on for the next Ludum Dare 31+! : )

I’d like to thank everyone who voted and commented! For all the helpful feedbacks and kind comments. I look forward to the next Ludum Dare to achieve better results :D.

For those who have not yet tried the game here is a link to ‘Link’

http://www.kongregate.com/games/hundredhundred/link

So what’s next Nemo?

What to do, what to do with the game now. Well, I do want to work on adding a few new features such as a tutorial, an online high score board and enhance graphics (some feedback said the cop lights were giving them seizure ahaha). Apart from those small features, I am not sure if my friend and I will be making ‘Link’ into a full game (a proper story, progressive level, more gameplay). I have no definite plans at the moment. As for now the game itself is what it is ‘a short Ludum Dare Game’ and I sorta like it the way it is. I’ll keep you guys updated if there happens to be any new plans to game.

Overall, taking part in this competition was a very positive experience, it helped me grow into a better game developer,  a better version of myself.

Nemo out.

Ludum Dare 30!- Connected Worlds – Day 1 complete

Hey guys Nemo here, its been a while since i last posted. On the flip side I am currently attending ludum dare 30 with another friend woo, as I promised you guys and myself :). So a little background of the event, Day 1 has been complete. The theme for this ludum dare was “Connected Worlds”. At first glance my friend and I were stumbled on where to start, the theme seemed hard to approach, but after 3 hours of discussion we managed to pick out an interesting game that we both wanted to create. For this project we both shared the programming task and art task, and we were able to get our first playable and fun prototype up within the first 6 hours which was quite an achievement. I’ll explain the game once the game is more complete as I am currently running out of ludum time!ludumdare30pic

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I’ll keep our progression updated so be sure to click that refresh button! For all you other ludum dare competitors Good Luck and I hope to see your awesome games in 2 days time!