Very excited for the release of this game. For more info go to www.primeonline.com or www.pitchblackgames.com 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!
Very excited for the release of this game. For more info go to www.primeonline.com or www.pitchblackgames.com 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!?”
So during my final quarter at AIPX I was working on a Rat-Man for my grad project Requiem of Subject-O- And I posted some initial pictures in an earlier article, but never the final product. It’s nothing wondu-ferous but it came out well-enough. I may do another pass at him polished up and such for a final toasty goodness.
Game development is such a specific yet allusive medium, that it’s sometimes hard for people to understand the different roles involved in the development of one single game. In fact there are many people in the general public still under the impression that a full-fledged AAA title doesn’t take as many people to make as a blockbuster movie. The comparison between the two isn’t a perfect one (especially in the indie-games world, which we’ll get into in a moment) but they are formidable opponents absolutely.
When you look at the credits of a movie its amazing how many people are involved in its creation, but we’re used to it. Sitting in a dark theatre after the fact, watching reams and reams of names rolling by while we begin to process the experience we just had, and wondering if the people around us share our thoughts. But when a person who doesn’t know a lot about games sees the credits for a AAA title, they are often astonished at the colossal list of talent involved.
The flip side to this point involves the Indie-Game world, with the rise of: FACEBOOK, iphone/ipad, droid, X-Box Live, the Playstation Network (PSN), and browser/ flash games; small development teams (and even individuals) have shared in a new success that even ten years ago was completely unheard of in the Indie-Games market.Titles such as: World of Goo, Mafia Wars, FarmVille, Plants vs. Zombies, Everyday Shooter (a game by Jonathan Mak), Flower, Journey, (just to name a few) have shared in great success. Many of these development companies only consist of a hand-full of people, sometimes less than 10 and in the case of Everyday Shooter, just one..
So the expectation of “more people = better product” isn’t always correct, having the privelage of being the Game Designer/Producer of a small development team (very small, very experimental) I got to see the dynamics of a small team trying to accomplish big-things. The experience itself has been extremely valuable. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that DEVOTION and STRONG VISION within a development team is actually more important than how many people you have.
A team that has 2o highly motivated individuals, and a shared vision, can accomplish far more than 100 people with a crippling lack of vision and devotion. Like a heat-seeking-missile that 20 person team focuses all their shared vision and devotion, into the goal. “Eye on the ball” so to speak. And this has led to some tride and true underdog stories. A great one is the story of the team of students from digiPen that first made PORTAL (which went by a different name originally) the team and their game got picked up by Valve. Down-right inspirational. And as a side-note, a friend and mentor of mine, Game Designer named Steve Swink, has his own Indie Dev company you should check out. ENEMY AIRSHIP is their name and they are the bees knees: http://enemyairship.com/
- “Game Design: principals, practice, and techniques; by Jim Thompson, Barnaby Berbank Green, Nic Cusworth.”
- “A Theory of Fun for Game Design; by Raph Koster”
- “TRON: Legacy, the soundtrack; by Daft Punk”
- “INCEPTION: Movie Score; by Hans Zimmer”
GO HERE: resources and awesome sauce
DON’T SAY ”good luck” SAY ”DONT GIVE UP”
I’m currently the Designer and Producer on a small team of student developers put together by our SGDA chapter (Student Game Deveopers Association), made up of students from our school. Our team name is ‘Robots Never Surrender’ (web-site under construction) and we’re creating a game planned to enter into the IGF (Independent Games Festival) which takes place Feb/Mar of next year at the Game Developers Conference (GDC).
The game is called SLAM IT SHUT! And original IP of mine that I had the honor to pitch to our academic director/GAD teachers/SGDA officers, and it got chosen! Their descision was based on my presentation and my written GDD (game design document) And hence started our long journey to completion of this project. I will be posting regularly on info and progress on the SLAM IT SHUT! project, and feel free to post suggestions for the game. If we use any ideas of yours there will be a special thanks in the game’s credits specifically for you.
So in this post I want to quickly teach you what I have learned and implemented about small team pipe-lines. All of us as a team are still learning and experimenting with production pipe-lines, and recently adopted the following system:
1. (Roman) Complete Initial Model with Art Direction and greenlight from our Art Director (Matt)
2. Once changes are made the model is passed to me (Danny) for review and final ‘model’ greenlight
3. The model then goes to our Animator (Juan) will add or subtract specific areas of geometry in order for the mesh to correctly deform with his animations, then our Texture Artist (Tasha) will receive the model, do the initial unwrap, and while she is texturing her heart out with the guidance of our AD (Matt), our animator (Juan) can be finalizing his animation sets for that model.
4. Once those things are completed the new texture and animations and model are GOOD TO GO!
This process of course isn’t perfect but my goal for implementing this system is to really focus people’s individual strengths, and being accountable to the next person for your work to be done can give people the incentive to go the extra mile. I’m very happy with our system for right now, and our productivity has risen a ton.
So keep in mind that even on small team it is possible to assign important roles and titles, and create a production pipe-line that will keep people happy and working like a well oiled (and sometimes rusty) machine. =)
Once upon a time about a month ago, I was standing outside school (The Art Institute of Phoenix) slurping on a huge fountain Mountain Dew, and having a cigarette. Suddenly upon my rumpus tumbly bum I felt a rapping, or more of a sharp stinging sensation very foreign to that area of my persons.
I soon realised that I had been sitting in a line of ants that descided to make good use of my pants, I was after all in their way. So after standing and dancing off all the stow aways, I had a very intriguing thought, “WHAT IF I COULD GET THOSE FREEKIN ANTS TO MOVE OUT OF MY VERY FAVORITE SITTING SPOT?” So I plotted… and planned.. and sipped…even puffed my way to the perfect solution.
Staring tactfully at those little buggars, I took the straw out of my dew and dropped a few little morsels of it a few feet away from my spot. Then a few more drops, and a couple little ones closer to the ants for good measure. Although my fellow AIPX kinsmen may not have understood what I was doing, my plan began to take effect.
Then like a pack of wild somethings descided to abandon their arse-biting rought through my spot, for another more lucrative area where my deliscious dew had been dripped. In other words, instead of trying to kill every single little buggar, I lead them away with my own rescources, a kind of ‘shared’ craving that I exploited. In the end I got my spot back, and the ants got their yummy goodness… Everyone is Happy.
This is a great lesson to be learned about the power of assets and rewards in Game and Level Design. When you want your player to avoid a certain area and focus on another area, you MUST give him incentive to go there! Whether that’s with a particular reward/asset/power-up/boundary/ or even a simple story motivation;
JENNY: “Ahhh I can’t believe the big gorilla man monster thing is taking me to the clock tower, oh my! blahhhdeeee blah blah blahhh…”
MANLY MAN: I think I should go to the CLOCK TOWER! to save…… ohhh damn it, what was her name again?…
Have you ever been playing a game and no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t figure out where to go? Only to find out that the place you NEEDED to go was RIGHT BEHIND YOU!! This is frustrating for any manly man or girly girl, on any level, of any game. And this circumstance is usually a result of poor Level Design and communication to the Player. You don’t have to force your Player to go somewhere, simply give him A REASON TO BE THERE.
“INCEPTION” is a movie I highly recommend, twice over, but not just for its entertainment value. I just got back from seeing INCEPTION with my beautiful fiance’ in full IMAX experience, and I must say friends, PURE TOASTY GOODNESS and OUTRIGHT MIND GOO-IFFICATION. But I digress, this post isn’t about how much I loved the movie, but instead about the serious implications that this movie has towards the theory of Game Design, and the conceptualization of worlds.
In the movie Leonardo DiCaprio, and his band of para-geniuses, use a machine that can intertwine peoples real time dream-space, and therefore intertwine their minds and deep subconscious projections. The notion that human beings can interact with one another in a dream realm is as old as most documented religions. Lucid Dreaming, and Astral Projection, are both examples of abilities that some religions and spiritual practices consider to be very valid and valuable to ones spiritual and emotional well-being. Lucid Dreaming being the ability to recognize you are in a dream-state, and attain a certain degree of control over your circumstances, almost like becoming the god of your own dream world. Astral Projection being the ability to project your mind, or your spirit, out into a different realm or dimension, where you can interact with other people who are also in that realm, or view the “physical” dimension as a spectator.
Q: ”Why Danny, is it like what happens after I get fragged and die when I’m playing Counter-strike?”
A: Yes anonymous disembodied brain voice, it is like that. And INCEPTION is like Lucid Dreaming on serious ROIDS, with a gattling gun, strapped to the back of a mounted wild elephant. Con Queso’.
(“INCEPTION” and the mind of Game Design) Part 2 COMING SOON.
Good evening world! As some of you may know I let this, my beloved blog, go into hibernation in order to get my life back in order. with a collaboration of fate and pure toasty purpose. There have been some big and amazing changes in my life recently, and now that the dust has settled I have a chance to resurrect this blog out of the ashes it whence came. And I couldn’t be more excited about it! So if you would join me in my Game Design journey I would love to share my thoughts with you,
NEW POSTS, STARTING NOW.
The 2009 Video Game Awards were a triumph and lame sauce (thank you Avery) all at the same time!
Hello all you out there in this BIG NOISY void of words, letters, pictures, gossip, crap, and toasty goodness. If you caught the 2009 VGA’s last night on SPIKE, you’ll know exactly what I mean by triumph and lame sauce. First of all the fact that SPIKE has a VGA’s is pretty fantasmic… The fact that FLOWER actually WON the “Best Independent Game” award is a complete triumph! I’ve mentioned FLOWER before in my previous posts, and I hold to my opinion that it is one of the most wonderful games i’ve ever played… ever. It gives us Game Dev students hope for the future of games. “But Danny… in FLOWER you can’t shoot anyone, or run over a hooker to take her money… or blow an alien’s head off!!” ……… “EXACTLY!” says I :P ….. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy Gaming mayhem as much as anyone.. but the fact is there is so much more that can be explored and experienced within the Gaming realm.. and “That Game Company“ did it with FLOWER.
To cover the other triumphs; Uncharted2 won “Game Of The Year” and definitely deserved it. ASSASINS CREED2 also won “Best Action/Adventure Game” and although I have not yet played it…. I REALLY WANT TO. And from what I could tell watching the AC2 Dev Diaries (Free on the Playstation Network) the developers (UBISOFT) have truly out-done themselves with this one. Congrats NAUGHTY DOG and UBI-SOFT!
Now the lame sauce part of our little endeavour. The fact that SPIKE was attempting to promote their own shows DURING the VGA’s made me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon…(not something I often desire to do).. I understand advertising is a part of life, but the waters of the VGA’s were so white-washed with shameless pitches and celebrities that it felt more like viewers were tricked into watching just so SPIKE could cram its’ self promotions down our pretty little throats… What most people don’t know is that a large majority of people who play Games have highly developed spatial reasoning, and a larger capacity for complex cognitive tasks. THE POINT IS, WE’RE NOT DUMB :O We can tell when we’re being spoon fed self served advertising garbage.
So my message for the organizers of the next VGA’s…. thanks for the awsome Game Awards show, but cut the crap please.