Posts Tagged ‘Game’

14Mar

Game Developers Conference is the “Mecha” for many game developers. It features the up and coming, the new common trends, and the stuff you already knew about but now get to see in action. This holy land that developers migrate to has been long been a staple of passion and a way to display achievements in the past year, and every year they open it up to students for 1 day. One may wonder… well… what do they offer students. Upon entering and completing registration I realized there were only 4 talks I could attend. I really had wished to attend “C++ is a bad language to make games in… so what should we use,” but no such luck was afforded, and in fact student passes couldn’t even get “free coffee.”

Despite these barriers and initial disappointment I went to 3 talks, of which I really enjoyed one, enjoyed parts of one and utterly despised the other. I had wished to hear about some cool new design practices or whats new in the world of game development; however, as students, this apparently over our heads.

The first talk I attended was enjoyable. The speaker talked about what it takes to make it in the Game Industry; however, his advice was more general and about what it takes to live a happy life and have a job. It is all about the passion and about honing your craft was essentially the gist of it. Later in the day during recall him saying such things, but it wasn’t new information. I have been telling computer science students for the past 2-3 years that if they are not passionate they should find something they love or else they will be miserable.

The next talk was amazing though. I really enjoyed this one, and it actually made looking back at the entire experience a pleasing one. They brought 4 developers from popular indie game studios (including developers of Flow/flower, pb winter bottom and portal) that recently made it big in the industry. These speakers talked about their successes, the challenges they faced and how to potentially make it. Once again the deciding factor is passion and actually going for it. My big take away was perhaps I should actually drop everything and pursue the games I am trying to make more seriously rather than make them back burner things. Later in the day as I other events impacted me I kept drawing back to this talk. Perhaps the life of the indie developer, the developer that wears many hats is the life for me…

The final talk I attended was just about resumes and interviewing. Once again no new info. They really just stated please be passionate and don’t lie. It somewhat irritated me. All their resume critics seemed fairly obvious.

Between the talks I attended I strolled over to the Expo. On the floor I hear people cheering and then see them huddling in a massive group around the Intel booth. I turned left and see the Unity booth and played with that for a while (Unity is essentially a really powerful 3d game engine with dev once deploy everywhere philosophies).  I saw the guys from Mono (.net for any platform) and recognized one of them that I met at Mix last year. They gave me a monkey with a Mono t-shirt, I think it was their last one, and definitely the best piece of swag I received. I saw the giant hamster ball in which people played a first person shooter. This was right next to the Indie Game Festival booth which showcased their best of show.

Finally, on the floor, companies set up booths for job opportunities; however, almost none of them were taking resumes (sounds like a career fair at SJSU). They told everyone to sign up online. I walked over to the Blizzard booth, trying to initially start up friendly conversation, which then turned into me getting slightly told off. “No do not sign up for Senior or intermediate game developer positions at Blizzard.” They only hire people who have worked on other AAA titles or pull people up from QA. If you ask me though why would you pull up someone from QA if he is doing an awesome job there. In any case, I refuse to start off as QA. It wasn’t even the good QA where you can script. All they would want me to do is fill out bug reports and a be a game master.

So let me ask you “forum” where does that leave the Computer Science student with passion for video game development who has been putting in extra hours developing games whenever he gets a chance? Where does it put the person who has worked with graphics algorithms and really honing that skill for at least 1.5 years if not more? Why does the industry put these “senior level” positions at such a high pedestal. I can write a report, I can develop, anything I don’t know I can learn in a few hours.

For some reason many companies in this world assume every person exiting college is a completely useless. In reality we are the ones with new ideas, the passion and the excitement to get things done. So am I going to ever apply to Blizzard. Well maybe. For now that I am giving the imaginary middle finger and I think I am going to go off and build my own games.

I am not trying to fight the system, and I know I am definitely hire-able despite how rejection feels. I just think with amount of experience candidates like myself have, and with amount of passion and potential we have we should be given the benefit of the doubt more often than not. Like the speakers kept saying… At the end of the day it is about the passion. Would I recommend going to GDC for other students? Yes. I just think if they are giving us a student pass we should actually “learn” something, and not be “lectured at”.

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11Mar

About a week ago I participated in this one competition know as Glorious Trainwrecks. This competition was about creating at least 351 games in a matter of 48 hours. You may ask… “why 351 games” and apparently the reason is because another competition known as Global Game Jam made 350 in the same time period with many more people participating. Rather than try to create the most amazing, massive, epic games possible this competition was more about creating quick, dirty and basically horrible games that are entertaining for about 30 seconds :). Our team at SJSU (from the game development club) made 30 games of the total 520 that were submitted. Of those 30 games, I made sound for 2 games. I had also created a game using Scratch that was rather stupid and hilarious but I couldn’t figure out how to get it to run without going through the Scratch website in time.

The first game I worked on was called “Partisan Politics“. It essentially describes how the US is split in to two parties and you (mega man) are getting pulled from one side to the other into the spikes. The second game was known as “A Normal RPG” (although I prefer the name Revenge of the Something, but whatever :)). Click on the links to download them (you need flash).

You guys should also check out the full list of games the Game Dev Club made at http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/taxonomy/term/514 . Many of which are pretty hilarious a few of my favorites include Noby Noby Lol and Skittles: the Aftermath (make sure to play the first version briefly). And don’t forget to check the http://proskins.io/ site, where you will find the best boosting services for all your games

In other news I am going to GDC this weekend. I will take pics and report back! Also I am going to socialize at GibHub’s headquarters tonight, I will make sure to take many many pics and report back!

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21Aug

I modified my platformer engine in a few ways. First I killed off the fisix engine. It was really a physics engine, but the lack of support kind of killed progress for me. I switched to APE and I couldn’t be happier. Next I made it more generic. I removed the idea that this was going to simply be a platformer, and I started to think about what the difference was between 2D games in different genres. The only thing I could think of that truly separated them was the action that occurred while walking or attacking and the perspective of the game. In other words an RPG is top down or at an angle (essentially the same just with different art) and a platformer is side scrolling. The only other game type not accounted for is a SHMUP (Raiden and other top down flying shooter types). So I took my level reader and stepped it up a notch. I now have 2 xml files. One to characterize the level and the other to characterize the player. I allow for many built in “actions” such as walking up, up-right, right, down-right, etc, and I am hoping to also include a way to add custom actions. These actions are tied into 1 swf file with multiple movie clips. Not only that you could also specify whether a certain movie clip should be flipped for a certain action which cuts down on the amount of animations or duplicates one needs to make.

Simply stated I could specify in xml that the right action is using the left movie clip and is flipped horizontally but not vertically.

Not only that a person could specify a game mode. Right now it supports walk (RPG style) or jump (platformer style, side scroller).

So the code doesn’t look to bad either. I’d say the messiest part is deciding what happens when these actions are selected. In specific when to flip and clip, when to flip it back, modifying velocity while jumping etc.

Once I get more work done with it I may post the source code, or I may just give out tools for making levels :-D, but for now imagine a world where making a game was this simple:

Level:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<level>
 <name>Platformer Demo</name>
 <description>testing</description>
 <walkMode>false</walkMode>
 <playerSpecs>players/platformer.xml</playerSpecs>
 <surfaces>
 <surface x="5" y="600" width="7000" height="20" bounce="0.3" friction=".1" rotation="0"/>
 <surface x="5" y="5" width="200" height="10" bounce="0.3" friction=".1" rotation="2"/>
 <surface x="700" y="400" width="500" height="10" bounce="0.3" friction=".1" rotation="3"/>
 </surfaces>
</level>

Player Profile:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<playerSpecs>
 <bounds type="circle" x="450" y="100" radius="45" elasticity="0" friction=".1" visible="false" />
 <speed horizontal="15" verticle="15" maxH="30" maxJumps="2" />
 <sprite>
 <file>assets/platformerNinja.swf</file>
 <movieClips>
 <clip name="walk_up" action="up" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_down" action="down" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_right" action="right" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_right" action="left" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_up" action="upRight" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_up" action="upLeft" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_down" action="downRight" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="walk_down" action="downleft" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="stand_right" action="stillRight" flipHorizontally="0" flipVertically="0" />
 <clip name="stand_right" action="stillLeft" flipHorizontally="1" flipVertically="0" />
 </movieClips>
 </sprite>
</playerSpecs>

Then imagine a world that had a drag and drop interface that could generate the XML files above with all the art specified as pngs with supported transparencies! 🙂

The implications also include that one game could have several level “types” per game with no extra development needed. Perhaps at some point people would be creating plug ins to support additional game types as well! Ahhh now we are just dreaming :).

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21Aug

gridzSo a few months ago I made this game on facebook with Edgar called Grid[z]. It is a simple little board game, but we have a ranking and score system that is based off ELO. ELO is the ranking system that is used for Top Coder and Chess Leagues among other things.

gridzWe have some planned modifications also including a public lobby that would allow players to invite each other. Also more stringent security policies are also needed. I don’t see this game becoming popular or making tons of money so I am considering it my first foray into the facebook api + cakephp. I may eventually post my cakephp library for making games; however, trying to validate player interactions with the server in a way to cover all cases seems to be a hurdle. It may be a nice starting point though.

Check it out: http://apps.facebook.com/gridzzz/

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27Jun

So as some of you know I work for NetApp right now! One of my charters is to create tons of game prototypes. Yes yes i know NetApp has nothing to do with creating games. They are primarily a storage company; however, I work for NetApp University. So I was basically told to research and pitch ideas about gaming mixed with learning. To show them that it does not need to take FOREVER to make games or require tons of resources I spent 2 days creating this AS3 based flash platformer. It reads an XML file and then places platforms (and in the future other objects). They idea I pitched was akin to the Little Big Planet 2008 E3 presentation (below).  Everyone seemed to like it.

Here is the source code. It is short and sweet (200 lines)! There is not enough source code using the Fisix Engine out there. Also platformers are the first thing everyone wants to do when they start making flash games. I hope this helps…

I used Flash Develop with the Flex SDK to compile. If you want to mess with it and add just add more platforms just open bin>levels>testlevel.xml and just follow the format for the platforms… I think there is artificial barrier set for the level at some point. Linux and Mac users need to edit the path before compiling.

The Source

ENJOY :)!

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