Back in the saddle again

Well we are back in the saddle starting our new prototypes for the 2nd of 4 times in this semester. This time around it is a bit unique because we have fall break which will cut off about 1 week making this a 3 week project instead of a 4 week project. Further complicating things is that we will be working in HTML 5  and will be improving on a pre 1983 arcade game that only has 1 joystick and 1 button. We decided to go with Fighting Roller, A pretty obscure retro racer style game. We thought that we could make a pretty awesome editorial game and currently are working the idea of Baye Runner, a spoof of fighting roller that will include Kenneth Baye, a political prisoner in North Korea,  running for his life to south korea. We hope to have guest appearances by representations of Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un. We got a bunch of this stuff working in phaser with cloud9 as IDE. I am once again working as the Lead programmer of my team. This time around, I am applying what I learned before and am trying to decide on all the art dimensions and specifications ASAP, to better work with our artists. I also pushed a synchronization of all the engineers from day one and we have that working nicely now. Finally, we have made distinct roles and are communicating very well so far.

Here is a link to the game in its original glory:

I proudly present to you….GLOW!

Postmortem

Well it’s the end of the 4th week and it has been pretty crazy. We finished the prototype and were able to get everyone excited about our game. For now we are going to move on to our next project, but perhaps someday we will come back to work on glow again. On the programming side we have a list of known bugs that we would like to resolve as well as a few more features, but as we basically only have a few days until we start our next project, It has been put on hold until further notice. I will include an .exe file so you can try it out(with its bugs, sorry!).

The picture above is of our post-mortem meeting where everyone wrote the good and bad of our project relative to every other event. the items above the line are the good and include deciding on the roles, fixing the level editor, and things about the general scope of the game being accurate. The things below the line are the bad and they include a lack of a centralized server for asset and code sharing, ambiguous communication only through email, and a bit about options that could have been handled better.

Personally through the experience of being the lead programmer on this team, I was able to learn three major lessons.

First, I learned that a lead programmer is needed from the very first day of programming. through having good direction from the beginning we can avoid problems of communication between the engineers so that the project can maintain code integrity and the best practices of the industry. Unfortunately, because of the nature of our program we were basically just thrown into the mix of things without any prior instruction. because of this we didn’t have a lead programmer for the first week and a half. by the time I assumed the role, a single programmer had coded nearly all of the core mechanic by himself. This was great for us in one sense but the worst part was that the code was rather poorly organized and consisted of copious amounts of copy and paste rather than clearly defining functions etc. This meant that fine tuning down the road was very time consuming and difficult. Somehow we managed to get it all sorted out, but this problem could have been avoided by just having more direction from the beginning.

Second, I learned that it is important to do things the right way as much as possible. One aspect of our game was a level editor that allowed our producers to easily alter the level design through simply drawing it on screen and out putting it in xml format. This was an extra step that paid off in the long run. Because of this were were also able to help out or fellow classmates who were stuck on how to design levels. As a lead programmer, I should strive to make good decisions that have the future of the project in mind rather than a blind focus on what is fast and what works.

Finally, I was able to learn more in detail how an artist, engineer and producer should work together. I was blessed with am amazing first team and together we were able to make an amazing game. I know that the cross functional understanding of teammates roles will serve me for the rest of my schooling and into my career.

Without further ado, here is our game.(exe is coming soon!)

Games Games Games

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This has been a great 3rd week and it has been filled with GAMES! To start off in our Rapid prototype class, We have been creating our game that we have classified as an 2D upside down, sneaking platformer. It has come a long way and has costed us many long nights of programming. As the lead programmer on the team, I have had to revise how I normally approach projects (program everything by myself) and have tried to focus on good communication and teamwork among the engineers. In class we talked about the ideas of process and how crucial they are for a good team. I couldn’t agree more and our team has benefitted from our agreement on the process for our team. Here is a screen shot of what we have. It is basically done and we still have a week to make it more juicy and fun. I’m so excited about this game!

For Game Design class we were assigned to play the game Netrunner. It has been super fun to have a game as a textbook, though I must admit, that I play it a bit differently than I would otherwise. I am constantly asking myself, “Why would the designer of Netrunner do this or that?” and doing so has helped me to learn a bit about game design, and about the balance between complexity and playability. I am currently 10 wins and 1 loss and I am looking forward to the day that I can play vs. Jose(our professor) and see if I can beat him.

Finally, In my free time, I have been attending events such as the SLC comic con and have been trying to play as many games as I can. SLC comic con was pretty awesome. My major complaint is that it seemed like the organizers had no idea what they were doing with only 16 booths to process entry for over 100,000 attendees. You would think that they would look at bigger events and  try to streamline that process. But other than that, It was great. I got to meet Tommy Tallarico and he game me a signed CD with a bunch of his game music. He gave a great presentation on the History of Audio and Music in Video Games. My friends and I were also able to meet a bunch of artists, local youtubers, and fellow game designers and network with them. It was a blast.

sean and tommy

 

 

Know your role!(jabroni)

Our prototype has come along well. Our game is a neat mix of lighting effects and grappling mechanic. It seems fun so far and we have now decided to go for a more puzzle type game.

Along the road we unfortunately hit a little speed bump with a lack of a communication tree, unclear roles, and a general sense of confusion on our team. Luckily we were able to nip it in the bud before it became a major problem and we lost perhaps a day of work at most.

Even though it was a very small problem, I was still able to learn how important it is to understand the standard roles on a game development team and how important quality leadership is in a creative environment like the EAE:MGS. I think this is a huge asset for me to have learned this so early.

On a different note, this week is SLC comic con and a bunch of us will go down and check it out. I will try to post some pics later!

New Beginnings

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I applied to the EAE:MGS program so that I could pursue my dream of making video games. I have been doing video games on my own for about 2 years and have really enjoyed it. I love everything about games and am currently playing Dota 2 with some LoL games here and there.

The first week was just insane. We had all of our first classes, orientations and the pains of paying for a masters degree. In the end everything just seemed to work out and I am settling in nicely here.

I am currently part of team sticky games and we are working on our first rapid prototype game. Our game was inspired by a light up yoyo and I will give more details about it as the game progresses.

I am working as the lead programmer for this first project. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but now that we have the basics of out game done. It looks like smooth sailing from here.

I hope you enjoy my posts. I will try to do it weekly to keep you all informed. Thanks for your support~!