First animation test

Trying to wrap my head around sprite creation and animation. Failing.

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My First Ludum Dare

Last week I decided I would participate in Ludum Dare, a 48h worldwide game-making “competition”. It turned out to be a mess. An awesome and stupidly fun mess, but a mess nonetheless.

This time, the theme was You Are the Villain. I struggled to have a decent idea for the first couple of hours, but then I decided to do something different and I went in a completely different direction. By the time I finished writing down my basic design, my idea was something like:

YOU ARE THE VILLAIN‘s cat… Make your way through Evil HQ while picking up treats and attacking unsuspecting heroes who are trying to sneak in and destroy your Master. Reach the Evil Control Room and sit on your Master’s lap, allowing him to deliver his menacing speech!

Yeah…

My main inspiration for this project was probably this image of Donald Pleasence as Ernst Stavro Blofeld:

Villain

I decided to use the Unity3D engine, because going with cocos2d meant that I’d only be able to make an iOS game and, therefore, wouldn’t have the ability to post it online. I also really wanted to do a 2D game, so I tried using a few 2D frameworks such as Futile and Orthello2D. I went with a low-res (320×320) and monochromatic game, because I wanted to do something that would mask my complete lack of art skills. x] Although I failed to make an actual game, I learned a great deal from this.

Lesson 1: Trying to learn new tools during Ludum Dare is NOT a good idea. I had trouble getting stuff to run properly because I was still learning how to work with Futile and Orthello2D. I also skipped the warmup weekend (a chance to prepare for the “main event” and also to get to know any new software/framework that you’d like to use), so I was clearly setting myself up for failure.

Lesson 2: Make a step-by-step to-do list and actually follow it. My biggest mistake was trying to juggle too many things at once. I tried to build a prototype while still finishing my basic design and I got stuck on “meaningless” tasks (e.g. getting the game to work with an Xbox 360 controller) before completing the first level. I wasted a lot of time, mainly because I was trying to do everything at once.

Lesson 3: When given the option, ALWAYS go for well-documented software. When deciding what framework to use, I went with the one that seemed similar to cocos2d. It turned out that it lacked basic documentation and most of the stuff I did was on a trial-and-error basis. This led to a LOT of wasted time.

All in all, it turned out to be an awesome experience, though, and one that taught me more about making games than any book I’ve read or class I’ve attended. I was constantly motivated and trying new stuff. I eventually realised that I wouldn’t be able to finish on time, but I kept trying to learn how to make stuff work.

Here is my first playable build: LD25_Cat

I’ll probably keep working on this and I’ll try to complete the game by the end of this month. Now that I have a few days to master the tools, it should be a lot easier. :]

PROTOTYPING

Started working on what will be my first iOS game.

Will share more stuff soon!

figment

I finally have some time to blog.

The last four months have been pretty much a hell-on-earth scenario:

I shot a sci-fi short film – “Entropy” – which is the final project for my Master’s Degree in Cinema and Audiovisual Arts. It was really, really difficult, but I feel that it was a GREAT learning experience;

I also created a simple 2.5D side-scroller (using Unity3D) for my “3D Interactive Animation” class, along with one of my classmates. The game – “Seed” – was supposed to be a story-driven platformer, but ended up as a simple demo due to time constraints. Hopefully, we’ll pick up where we left it in a few months. Will post screenshots and/or videos soon;

Meanwhile, I’ve also been learning how to code through Codecademy’s CodeYear and by myself, using Objective-C and cocos2D;

Now, I’m busy writing my Master’s dissertation and contacting small portuguese game companies in order to try and get an internship.

Life’s hard…

Still, I always seem to find time to do some stupid stuff for fun and, so, I end today’s post with a concept icon for my (hopefully) upcoming iOS game.

Will update soon with more news about the game’s story and gameplay.

Farewell, Steve.

Thank you for daring to dream. Thank you for not settling.
Thank you for showing us the true possibilities of technology.

You will be missed and you will be remembered.
May you live on in the hearts and minds of everyone you inspired.

Rest in peace.

Project: broken

I’ve just started the process of designing my first iOS game. For real.

After a few (peaceful) discussions with my girlfriend and coding sidekick, Joana (@joanaomarques), we’ve decided to forgo the development of a simple time-waster and go straight for something more relevant and insightful. It’ll take a lot longer, because neither of us is a proficient programmer, but we think it’ll be worth it in the long run to have a (hopefully) meaningful game out there, rather than just a simple little attempt at iOS game programming.

As far as I’m concerned, this new focus on narrative will allow for a more serious and thought-out process. Rather than building a game that’s simply about squishing bugs, we’ll be trying to create a cool story that, hopefully, some people will relate to. Also, being able to work on the story, design and code will allow me to cover a few of the disciplines of game development and, in the process, learn a lot more about it.

We’re still finishing up the basic details of the game, so the next few weeks will be entirely dedicated to pre-production and, perhaps, some prototyping.

For now, here’s a sad little attempt at creating concept art:

self = [super init];

Today is the day I start breathing life into my newest (and, hopefully, last) blog.

This little corner of the internet will house a few articles on games, technology, film and science. It’ll be a place of constant rambling and brainstorming. I’ll also write a few reviews, whenever I feel inclined to do so.

For now, consider yourselves welcome.