New Concept Art for the Specter U.M Ultra Creature – Surrigog

5 Apr

New concept art completed by the Lost Boys concept artist Tango (Tan Ngo) for on of the bosses in Specter U.M!

Check out @LostBoysAZ’s Tweet:


The Return to Blogging about Game Development and Our Living World

11 Mar

Hello world, it’s been a long hibernation for the TPA blog and I’m very excited to start writing again and sharing knowledge and ponderings about our interactive world.

Last year I founded and independent game studio called the Lost Boys Ambassadors which is part of Lost Boys Media LLC. Things are going strong and we’re making a game prototype called Specter U.M that we’ve been developing for over a year now. I will have much more to say about that soon.

Here are some updated captures from the Mansion Lab and the secret Mirror Room in Specter U.M




image image

UDK and Kismet Scripting with Scaleform and Flash – toasty goodness

23 Jan

It’s good to be back. Hope you all had a great Holiday season; I know I did. I got married to an amazing woman, moved, and celebrated Christmas and New Years all within the span of a couple of months. But now it’s time to hit the ground running and I’ve been working on scripting menu’s and UI scenes with Scaleform and Flash.

I must admit that when UDK first switched from UI scenes to Scaleform using Actionscript 2.0 I was kind of peeved. Because I had just gotten a really good grasp on UI scenes and the game level I was working on at the time utilized UI scenes. On top of that I hadn’t touched flash in a while and didn’t feel totally comfortable using it to script out a menu or UI Scene. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned the hard way it’s not to let the big changes psyche you out. Hit it hard as soon as possible and 99% of the time you’ll find that with a little leg-work you’ll like the new feature even better. At the very least learn it even if you don’t end up using it.

It pays off big in the end. And if you’re serious about being a game developer you’ve gotta keep on top of the updates or you’ll soon find yourself behind everyone else. It’s fun though to keep up on the latest features and most of the time it helps your workflow anyways once you jump the hurdle. All that being said there’s a few tutorial videos that helped me get the initial steps down with making a menu (and alternatively with the same concepts a UI scene). I’ve embedded the videos below for anyone looking to learn more about it. I’ll be posting some progress of mine as I get further along. A big thanks to Vox House Studios!

Fun With Psychology – Stockholm Syndrome

18 Nov

Stockholm syndrome : definition

noun Psychiatry .

an emotional attachment to a captor formed by a hostage as a result of continuous stress, dependence, and a need to cooperate for survival.

Origin: after an incident in Stockholm in 1973, during which a bank employee became romantically attached to a robber who held her hostage

Hola people of awesome. I’ve just finished up a chaotic move into my new apartment and now that the dust has settled I want to make up for some lost blogging time with some bite-sized bloggy goodness. Let’s talk about Stockholm Syndrome and you.
This is something that I’ve been contemplating for years now. So according to the definition above much of Stockholm Syndrome is based on the co-dependence of the captor and captive. I would argue even that the deeper levels of the human psyche are designed to need and desire affection and love, and in a situation where the captive is completely lacking in the usual love and care of friends and family there is nowhere else for the psyche to turn for a fix than on the captor. And again if the captor is methodical and predictable I would even say the false sense of security from the routine can cause the captor to cling mentally in an attempt for some kind of structure. So being a game designer these types of psychological syndromes and instances fascinate me but I absolutely recognize the tragedy of these things as well. But there’s something that has been bothering me about this syndrome…
pet owner
Is our relationship with our pets a form of Stockholm Syndrome? Now before you break out the pitchforks and torches you should know that I have a beautiful hound dog that I love very much, but I can’t help but recognize the similarities to the syndrome. Our pets generally don’t have a choice in who they end up with, and we force them into captivity. We care for them and discipline them (some people more than others sadly) and they sometimes obey purely out of fear of the consequence. They are dependent on us for survival and learn to need what we give them since they usually don’t have experience fending for themselves. They’re not completely helpless of course as their primal instincts give them a leg-up on life, but they are conditioned to need us. The relationship between a pet and his owner can be a wonderful one and I feel most people who have pets want to give them love and care, but the comparison holds water. Just think about it next time you walk by a pet-store.

Game Mechanics – Player Engagement and Punishment – Con Queso

7 Oct


PLAYER ENGAGEMENT – FILLING THE GLASS:  I had a revelation just recently that every simulated achievement or struggle within a game is a push and pull sequence. At it’s very foundation it’s the act of filling a glass or emptying a glass; then attaining more glasses to empty and fill once more. But the resistance and opposition to our attempts to fill the glass is what makes the act itself engaging. This becomes almost obvious when you think of all the meters and gauges involved in measuring your achievement within a game: health bars, experience bars, mana levels, power levels, attack modifiers, defense modifiers. But things get more interesting when you begin to see the relationship between the state of the glass and your attempt to fill or empty it. Let’s say you have too much water for the glass, so your new goal is to earn a bigger glass. Or the power you just gained allows you to poke a hole in your opponents glass causing it to empty faster. And now a power you have temporarily causes your water to turn to ice so the opponents hole poking attempt is futile. Better yet, you have the ability to destroy you opponents glass causing them to need back-ups if they are to continue the battle. All of these different thought processes begin to outline the thousands of interesting ways to turn the act of emptying and filling a glass (pushing and pulling) into something engaging and memorable. This is the simple beauty of Game Design.


REACHING FOR THE STICK:  How often as designer’s do we look to punishments and death penalties to coax the player into making the “right” decisions? Like good little digital parents we teach and poke and prod until the player gets the picture. But very often the most effective way to teach a player right from wrong in relation to the game world is to reward them in subtle and powerful ways that they are on the right path. To remind them without saying a word, or entice them without showing any signs of the obvious thought and development. This is when the world itself truly feels alive and the player’s path feels rewarding and natural. Like the digital world around them is bestowing countless and subtle blessings on them for being awesome. Instead of countless punishments for being inadequate.

(NOTE:  Rob Pardo (VP of Game Design at Blizzard) touched on this during his 2010 KeyNote at GDC, highly recommend checking it out)

PRIME: Battle for Dominus – New stream video Q&A with Pitch Black games – 9/16/2011

16 Sep

Very excited for the release of this game. For more info go to or  This is the newest Q and A that they do every Friday, which is something that I think more developers should do. Kudos Pitch Black.

My favorite quotes of this stream:   

– “Did you not hear me?” “No I wasn’t listening”

– “Just me and Al Gore, we used to have death-matches in QUAKE”

Special note for this stream: There may be BETA testing open tonight!

PRIME: Battle for Dominus – New stream video Q and A

13 Sep

Very excited for the release of this game. For more info go to or  This is the newest Q and A that they do pretty much weekly, which in my opinion is something more developers should do. These guys love the community, and the community loves them back.

My favorite quote of this stream    “Atari 2600, not that old common guys!?”


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