Countdown Day 6 – Livin’ on a prayer indeed

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Hey All,

So where we at?  We have a fully modelled level (requiring texturing) we have a recorded music track (currently mixing) we have a absolute truckload of assets (requiring placement) and a folder full of sound effects (requiring mixing)

Oh, and we had a simple AI implemented and the full one is being worked on.  We have a chance of getting there but we have now going beyond the deadline point and went to the noose.  We can finish but with hardly any testing, it’s now just blind faith in our design.

We shall see.

Countdown – 8 Days

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Morning All,

Welcome to the morning countdown where I go over what isn’t happening 😉  This morning we are doing  the sound recording with one Sinewave and one Sarah (the Mezzo-Soprano) and the three tracks we are recording are sounding great!  Chris, John and Georgia are all also here working away on assembling the game, Wez is busy at home finishing up the level design and we’re hoping to get to assembling full levels later today.

Oh and the enemy animation is complete, we’re just a little lost with our asset list >.>

And we added a countdown of DOOM

[fergcorp_cdt]

ST~

Playtesting and Bug Fixing

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Hey Guys,

Boo’s due date is next weekend and as such we’re going to be doing a very short bout of playtesting and bug fixing.  This is planned to start on Monday the 26th of and finish Thursday the 29th of October.  These will only find the most obvious flaws and isn’t made for really fine tuning.  And right now I need to make a list of people for thispirate ship jumper.  So here’s the haps;

Playtesting: This will be taking place in person with a small group of people in one on one sessions.  I plan on organising this for Monday and Tuesday (26th and 27th respectively).

Bug Fixing: We give you a copy and get you to go for broke, recording the bugs you find.  You would have four days from the Monday.  I am especially interested in using Google Wave for bug tracking across a group of people, but will be accepting bugs through more traditional means 😉

If you’re interested in either please contact me through usual means or better yet email jon@game.pride.id.au

p.s: meet boo!  isn’t he awesome?

Game Pride Progress Report Wk9

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Production is a funny art, sometimes you get all the time in the world, the others you’re swept off your feet. Let me just point out the last report was back in week one on the 22nd of July… Yeah we’ve been busy.

So what’s been happening? Crew wise we have John in Italy looking at bricks and eating sweets, Graham’s in China trying to get into Tiannmen Square, Pauls’ finally moving out from under the stairs at his father’s place in Greece and into his own steampunk penthouse. Team wise we have brought onboard the brilliant Sarah Stanton for Music and she’s just about ready to record. Mike Browner for VA and Storyboarding, he’s almost finished his storyboards and just in time. Two new graphics guys have joined the team, Josh Bryson and Jeroth Diggiden who are rocking the 3d casbah pretty damn hard. And rounding the team out we have Emily Smith who has been helping Jess with the character designin’ and sketching like mad. However I haven’t managed to get more programmers on board and now we’re starting to hurt a little and things could end up seriously screwed, but Michael and Chris know Unity3d like mad. As I sit down to continue this (two weeks later) we have just added a Texture Artist to the team, the ever awesome Tim. Yeah we can do this.

So what have we done? Programming wise Michael sat down one day and converted everything to C# which fixed a whole pile of problems. Most of the main gameplay additions are complete, Graham has done the AI programming, Chris has done a nice environmental trigger class, the scare code has been fixed up. There’s problems with camera and the growth and shrink code but I put in executive decision that gameplay comes first and we can work on camera during October. I’m slightly concerned as while our alpha seemed fun there’s always the chance that when you grow a concept it won’t quite work. All the components are built and in the framework, AI is being polished up and scoring is being worked on (along with a multitude of bits and pieces)

Speaking of which, designing a 3d puzzle game is difficult as the manner we have done this will make it appear as a adventure game. We didn’t foresee it being this hard to separate the two. For those that don’t know, Boo! is meant to be a 3d take on the traditional 2d tile based puzzle game, you set up your ruleset, make the player learn them and then put em all together, then start changing the rules. Nothing too difficult but the moment you add 3d you have to work really hard to seperate plot and levels. This has continued to be the bane of our project.

Sadly we have missed out fourth of october beta date, this could not be helped but it did make a whoosh sound as it went by. And I just found that the person I had outsourced our main character to has not completed the work. Entirely my fault. However Jeroth has grabbed it with both hands and will have it done. I don’t know, it feels a little weird having a team so focused on the end task. It shouldn’t be but it is.

I suspect this will pass 😉

So what do we have left to do? This weekend all basic mechanics, AI and scoring is due. Weekend after is playtesting and bugfixes and texturing. Weekend after that is deadline and all the sounds and polish have to be in.

Last mile dash, we’ll make it!

Boo! Development Blog Wk1

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Ideas are nothing special, ideas are cheap and worthless and found littering the streets, in your kitchen and even lining your bed.  However what happens to turn those ideas into products is interesting, amazing, time consuming and boring all at the same time.  If you have been involved in any project from building shelves for your home to producing a multimillion AAA game you would be familiar with this concept.  However when it’s not your daily job to do that, the task becomes a lot harder.  Welcome to Game Pride 🙂

GP was started as a dev group in university with Paul, Geoff and Myself, since then Paul and I have continued to design concepts, build the team, shrink the team, develop games and do all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff.  Our primary aim is to create develop and learn, as such the GP rosterInflatable Boats is a rotating door between the various projects and configurations we have had over the past few years.  But one fact remains, we have fun 🙂

So a couple of weeks ago one of my members comes forward and states that she would like us to consider preparing a game for the Independent Games Festival.  So at the next weekly meeting we sat down and discussed the idea.  Having already finished a prototype a month or so earlier we could move forward with the idea preparing it for submission inflatable boxing ring.  Our concerns were as such, do we have enough people to pull this off in two months and should we be using a competition as a deadline?  Unfortunately (or fortunately) both Michael and John, our programmers, have been laid off so we have a little time to work with.  There’s some other considerations there but I will not go into them at this stage.

As such, our current makeup

John – Lead Programmer
Michael – Programmer
Chris – Programmer

Wez – Designer
Jess – Concept Artist
Paul – Modeller and Animator

Georgia – Producer
Jon – Lead Producer

This is obviously not enough, especially with John going to Italy for August.  But as a team we decided it was possible and we should go for it, with a reassessment milestone in a month’s time.  We sat down and divvied up the tasks for the next week and then discussed what would make Boo! a game worthy of the IGF.  Now for us at the moment all we can really angle at is quality of design, audience and overall, visual art and sound are dependent on who I pull together and the other two, while we have awesome programmers we’re using Unity3d and we need to implement, not innovate (but if we happen to, that’s awesome too).

So i’m on the phone, sending emails and assembling people.  seeing what we can pull together.  And I asked my crew a important question, what are some types of challenge that fit well within our scope?

Ok, We’re in for it now

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We’re starting work on getting Boo! done for the IGF…  This will be interesting.  Stay tuned to follow progress over the next 100 days.

Buried in Plastic – Piracy and Children

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently. I know it’s rather dangerous but I’m at the stage where I’m starting to firm up some thoughts, figure out plans of attack etc. One of the issues is piracy and how to combat it’s effects / is it worthwhile spending that time. You all have heard the arguments for and against so that isn’t the point of this column. I’m looking at another impact of piracy currently unseen. So to begin let me tell you what I overheard yesterday.

I was in a major chain store, one of those ones with the incredible discounts and with a toy sale on the games were even cheaper than usual. In fact here in Australia you can grab Rhythm Heaven for $30! That’s $40 off retail! A wide majority of the titles are priced between $20 to $40 with the shovelware for kids being at the lower end and Pokémon being the higher, but that’s still at least a $20 discount for platinum. So right now is the best time to purchase those DS games you have been putting off, right?

Well what horrified me was a mother with her four young girls looking at the DS games, all of the girls looked between six and fourteen. Now a couple of the girls were running up to their mother going “I want this one”, nothing unusual there. However what horrified me was the line that came next, the very next words out of the mother’s mouth in response to purchasing some damn cheap games was

“No, I won’t buy the Nintendo games, Daddy will download what you want when we get home”

I was dumbfounded, shocked and it took every bone in my body to resist walking over to the lady and giving her a piece of my mind. More violent thoughts also raged through my mind, but I just kept to myself and continued to walk, ashamed to be anywhere near the lady with the bad ideas. Piracy is not a victimless crime, it’s just that when you do it all you see is a line on a screen and an option to download. But that isn’t the issue here, the issue is “what does that teach the children?”

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have done piracy in the past, when my family got our first PC (a 386dx, we quickly upgraded to 486 with math co-processor!) my father “borrowed” software from friends at work on 3 1/4″ floppies. Jill of the Jungle, Worms, Duke Nukem, Commander Keen 4/5/6 etc etc. Hell when Pokémon came out I didn’t have a Game Boy so I grabbed a emulator and played on that, not quite the same but it was still fun. But when I did that I made those decisions myself and when I got my Game Boy and later my N64 I was constantly saving and hunting down gaming bargains to play on my system. But in terms of those four girls, what message does it send that they can goto daddy and he’ll download the game onto a piracy cart so they can play what they want on their DS without putting out cash? Isn’t saving and purchasing one of the earliest and easiest lessons for parents to teach their children? Isn’t stealing wrong?

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling that this is disappointing, if parents will not encourage their children to save their money and purchase even the cheapest of games aimed at them, what hope do we have for the future. Do we need to start educating people that there is real people they are harming with the blasé attitude towards piracy? I have always been of the opinion that you should only make the actions that you are prepared to accept the consequences for. If the kids can figure out how to get a R4 to work, where to download the ROMs from and can explain to me what they’re doing? I’ll give them that. But there is a better solution for raising gamers with a cheap wallet.

And that solution is my uncle. He has brought up his kids rather awesome, he’s taught them about ratings, went with a N64 rather than a current gen console and been cheap ass gamer the entire time. The kids still enjoy the games and can play to their hearts content. Hell he bet his son on swimming lessons that if he completed to a certain level he would purchase a Xbox 360 (and is now eating his words after his son completed two courses in three weeks) but the major difference is there. His kids save and scrimp to buy the games they want, they recognize things beyond them and hell, they are excellent gamers.

The morale of all this? Piracy is robbing more than the developers, it’s also hurting your kids too. Can you really afford it?

Boo scenery and ideas

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Managed to get some time and some pictures done, sadly all on note paper and stored in my back pocket for two days. In the scribblings are some scenery ideas, buildings and a general feel for what it could look like. Also is an idea for the ghost hunter, some sort of crazy old british huntsman. If I end up drawing him again, he’ll probably have a pith safari helmet. Also is an image I was getting some ideas from, a town picture of puddle lane of all things.




P.

GameJam Diary – Mon Wk2

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Well, here we are after a weekend of working on the game.

We don’t have enough of a game, this weekend we worked out how to use unity’s physics engine to handle drawing the field and spawning. And I managed to figure out how to get two like blocks exploding on collision, three or more is still a work in progress.

However I have just been told that using the physics engine is the wrong direction -_- I’m going to see if I can prove them wrong, ducttape is king.

Now I need to get the model made, and pray to hell that this week goes according to plan.

ST~