Game Development Journal: First Entry

May 22nd, 2012

Hello internet!

It has been a while since I last blogged. Working on multiple games simultaneously has a way of keeping one occupied. And awake.  However, I have been convinced that to love a thing is to blog about it, and I mist certainly love game development.  I’ve also been told that keeping a kind of “public journal” of my projects’ development is an excellent way of tracking my progress. And so here we go!

First things’ first: an introduction to my projects. Both are set in my fictional Sci-Fi universe, known as “Darkdawn”. I’ve previously completed two other Darkdawn projects; a short, old-school point-and-click adventure game called “Echoes of Terra”, and a UDK (Unreal Development Kit) level set on the jungles of the planet Niferung. I don’t want to spend this entire entry re-writing project descriptions however, so I’ll let YouTube do the talking:

Darkdawn: Encounters on YouTube

Darkdawn: Lost Worlds on YouTube

 

 

 

Entry 26: UniWar

July 17th, 2011

UniWar is a hex-based, turn-based strategy war game for mobile devices (iOS and Android). Having heard good things about it, I decided to finally download it and give it a shot.

Read the rest of Entry 26: UniWar »

Entry 25: Humble Bundle pt. 2: Shadowgrounds: Survivor

July 11th, 2011

The second game I played from the Humble Bundle was Shadowgrounds: Survivor, a top-down sci-fi shooter. The narrative concept lies somewhere between Aliens and Starship Troopers and is for the most part generic sci-fi; a human colony has been overrun by hostile, insect-like aliens and a few survivors are attempting to somehow make it out of the situation alive.

Read the rest of Entry 25: Humble Bundle pt. 2: Shadowgrounds: Survivor »

Last Flight of Atlantis: The end of an era and beyond

July 10th, 2011

As I write this, mankind has seen the space shuttle fly for the last time. Having spent my entire life knowing that the shuttle was out there, I can understand the fear, shock and sadness this realization sparks in the hearts of many. I feel it too. It feels like we’re loosing something magical, something that makes us, as Americans, unique and special. And my God, that thing IS beautiful; unlike the cobbled-together ISS or the old “simpler” capsule-based rockets, the Shuttle looks like it’s flown right out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s sleek, aerodynamic, and for 30 years it’s been living proof we’re “living in the future”. And now it’s all over, and we are diminished. Certainly NASA has lost its way and we are doomed.

Wait, has it? Are we? Maybe not.

Read the rest of Last Flight of Atlantis: The end of an era and beyond »

Entry 24: Humble Bundle pt. 1: Trine

July 10th, 2011

Score one for considering Facebook a useful part of society. Due entirely to the fact that I am a “fan” of a certain Facebook game news page, I received a message telling me about The Humble Frozenbyte Bundle; a special limited promotion where indie game developer Frozenbyte offered three of its games, along with soundtracks, editors, a pre-order for a new game and access to a canceled prototype project, all as part of a single bundle, and the buyer could name their own price. Even better, the buyer could choose how much of that money went to the developers, and how much went to one or both of two charities. Good games, good price, and helping to support both an indie developer and charities, while I am looking for games to play and evaluate. It was an easy decision, especially since one of the games, Trine, had been on my “radar” for a while.

Read the rest of Entry 24: Humble Bundle pt. 1: Trine »

Entry 23: Real Games on Facebook: NOVA Elite

July 9th, 2011

More recently, mobile gaming giant Gameloft has also entered the Facebook gaming arena. In typical Gameloft fashion, their Nova Elite is a fairly derivative but well crafted game. Using the same visual style but little of the narrative of their Halo-inspired NOVA universe, NOVA Elite is more reminiscent of the early Unreal Tournament games, and perhaps even more directly, Quake 3 Arena. Like those games, it’s a competitive first person shooter. Unlike those, it is coupled with some rather unsubtle (but effective) Facebook integration and some light RPG elements, such as leveling and purchaseable upgrades, weapons, armor and equipment. Much of this equipment has direct requirements such a having a certain number of Facebook friends playing the game, or cost Facebook points that are only obtained by purchasing them with real money. Still, there are some that may be earned simply by leveling up ones character, and in my limited experience with the game this equipment is not drastically overpowering. Player skill and reflexes outweigh the level-based and equipment-based benefits, much as they do in similarly structured games like Global Agenda.

Read the rest of Entry 23: Real Games on Facebook: NOVA Elite »

Entry 22: Real Games on Facebook: Dragon Age: Legends

July 8th, 2011

The next couple of entries in this notebook will deal with a platform that is not known for its high-quality games: Facebook. At first Facebook seemed a fad, likely to be replaced and made obsolete the same way it had replaced MySpace. As time passes however, it seems that Facebook will not disappear so easily. Companies like Zynga have already made huge fortunes from games created for Facebook. These are stereotypically somewhat shallow and formulaic, though they do interesting things to incorporate the social aspects of Facebook into their gameplay or scoring mechanics. Now, the success of Zynga and others has attracted the attention of companies that have previously focused on more traditional platforms and game types.

Read the rest of Entry 22: Real Games on Facebook: Dragon Age: Legends »

Entry 21: Portal 2

July 6th, 2011

The original Portal, which can be found just a few entries up on this list, was a surprising anomaly. Included in the famed Orange Box along with Half-Life 2 and its episodic sequels, what some originally saw as a neat, experimental bonus became an instant classic. Still, for all of its impact, Portal remains a brief, limited experience. Though I would call it a complete game, it’s much more limited in scale and scope than its “cousin” Half-Life 2. However, after seeing Portal’s runaway success, Valve (somewhat predictably) decided to create a “full-sized” (and full priced) sequel. The result is Portal 2. But do mechanics originally built for a 4 hour game still work for a 12 hour long experience? In my opinion, the answer is a qualified yes.

Read the rest of Entry 21: Portal 2 »

Entry 20 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

July 5th, 2011

In 2002, Retro studios released Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube, revitalizing the Metroid series, and in the process created an inspiring genre hybrid that that remains a unique accomplishment to this day. Unique, that is, except for its sequels. It was followed in 2004 by Metroid Prime: Echoes; a great game that nonetheless felt a little disappointing, mostly because of some dubious choices concerning art direction.

In 2007 Retro moved the Prime series to the Wii, with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.

Read the rest of Entry 20 Metroid Prime 3: Corruption »

Entry 19 A Slow Year

July 4th, 2011

Ian Bogost’s “A Slow Year” is next up on the list of assigned titles. It is made up of four “game poems”, programmed to run on the Atari VCS, perhaps better known as the 2600.

As the title implies, “A Slow Year” is meant to be experienced slowly. I must admit to only having spent a few minutes with each title, and having read only the first part of the accompanying booklet. I must further admit to not having read any of the booklet’s “machined haikus”, though I’m likely to give them a glance out of curiosity alone. I will likely revisit this “game” in a later entry, once I’ve had a chance to spend a bit more time with it.

Read the rest of Entry 19 A Slow Year »