Blog…

So euhm, May kinda came and went, right?

Sorry for not updating, you guys. It was hectic. Not only did Tesla release for iOS, it got its first update with an extra tutorial stage and difficulty tweaking, I signed a new apartment, so a lot of organization in that department, plus I also started a new assignment which has me working part time at R3DPixel.

Let’s break it down. Tesla release was quite exciting, it hasn’t really caught on, but we still have to actively sell it. We only did a soft launch and see how it would do. Now it’s time to really start writing mails and see what we can do in the ad department. But, since Unity announced that all mobile release packages are to be free, we’re going to work on an Android version first to get that going. If anyone want to get beta versions to test, it would really help us out, to see what devices we can support.

I signed a new apartment, which will get me some more room for the office at the moment, so all free time I had, was either spent, painting,planning or pooping. Triple P. But  I hope everything will be done in that department somewhere this month.

And lastly, I started working closely with R3DPixel in Amsterdam. They make educational games and they contacted us to cooperate working out new ideas and serious games. It’s an amazing opportunity and a lot of fun. So, I have to go to Amsterdam most weeks, which is also fun, but of course takes some time out of the day of not writing blogs.

With all those new changes, it’s hard to find a new schedule and the blog took a hit, but I hope June promises a new start and let’s try to keep this up!

Queue Branch

Tesla is waiting in line for a review at Apple, I can’t say which day it’ll get released, but you can expect it any week now!!!

The submission process went smoothly, but the last tests were kinda alarming. I had only tested the game on iPad 2, but the game supports all iPhones, I had written the game to support all ratio’s (so Android should be possible aswell). But testing it on an iPhone 4 wasn’t really running great at all. I wanted it on its way and decided to just send it to Apple and just support iPad at the moment. Later I realised I still had AntiAliasing on 4 and thought it was the culprit behind the bad performance, which ofcourse it was. The next day I focused on getting the iPhone version included in the binary. It didn’t run fantastically because there were some alpha objects in the game. Seeing as these were final and the alpha wasn’t that heavy to bake in the mesh, I re-topoligized my meshes so they didn’t need alpha textures anymore. It helped the performance quite a lot, but not enough to justify yet. After reducing the textures (the game supports textures for iPad Retina) I could bump up the FPS to a steady 20-22. Which isn’t that fantastic, but enough to play the game. But it did guarantee that all newer devices like the 4S and 5 and iPod touches will be able to run the game steadily and like it’s meant to be played!

Next time we speak, Tesla’s hopefully retrievable from a nearby appstore.

Last day!

putting the finishing touches on Tesla as we speak! or write? or read? I dunno….euhm.. woo! Game Development! Go Sports!

This will be the last development post about Tesla and I’ve hardly got anything to show you. Mainly because I don’t want to give it all away, why would you buy the game. Tomorrow I’m sending it to Apple ready for all systems above iphone/ipod 3 and I think you can add 10 days after that and it should be ready? It’s hard to pick a date with all the godly days off in the next few weeks, but maybe that’s a great way to spend those days instead of doing things outside with friends and family. Amiright?

It’s hard to say goodbye to it, because I don’t know if it’s any good. I’ve been working on it for too long so I hate it ofcourse, but I hope some people will catch on to my original concept and see the direction we took with the art and gameplay. In any case it looks,sounds and works great. The gameplay is debatable, but that depends on what you’re looking for. It’s a simple, easy to pick up and challenging game with a unique story!

So, see you on the other side!

Final Week!

It’s been a while since my last post. Mostly due to holiday stuff, a lot of meetings (with great result) and general work. I’ve been finding some time to dedicate completely on Tesla and it’s safe to say that the game is entering its final week of production. There’s still some work to be done, mostly in the finishing touches and I added the idea for an extra level last week, but finding music for it, hasn’t gone particularly well. I guess I have to mash up a song for it myself and I hope I won’t lose too much time doing that.

But on the bright side, most of the levels are up and running and still require some testing, but the boss level is 100 % done and it’s awesome! I really hope people make it to the end because it’s quite a challenge, but also shows all the aspects of the game perfectly and if the freeplay gets implemented I’m sure this song will be the most popular! But making a level like that takes a lot of time. Mostly because there’s a lot of beatmatching that has to be done, so I can control the spawn rate and enemy types and not overwhelm the player. The boss level also has some extra options and that didn’t make it easy.

 

 

I also added more variation to the backgrounds and fixed some effects and that really adds to the atmosphere of the game and levels. I’m still having some trouble with the GUI, just can’t get certain things across. Hopefully I’ll get these figured by Friday, which will be D-Day! I’ll send the iPhone 4-5 and iPad versions to Apple!

I’ll leave you with some screens!

Port of Antwerp Security Game

it’s been a while since my last post, too many Monday meetings messing with my schedule and I don’t feel like writing these on Tuesdays, but this week I can finally give a little insight into a project I’ve been working on for months.

The Port of Antwerp Security game is a serious game made possible by the yellowmole initiative of Innotek, which I made together with Sakari Games. You can find all the details on http://www.portofantwerp.com/en/news/port-authority-introduces-serious-game-boost-port-security and the iTunes link on my main page. Be sure to check it out, especially the iPad version is nice!

Now what is it? Well, it’s a sort of point and click adventure game that plays more like an RTS. You oversee a standard facility in the port of Antwerp and you have to spot, handle and report all irregularities that can occur in real life. The game is split in 6 levels each with 5 unique scenarios.

Now, let’s get to the how it’s made? Well early on in production, Pepijn of Sakari Games made a mockup of the environment and graphics and it seemed like a cool idea to work with colours. All interactable objects would be in colour and the rest grayed out. The RTS view and navigation made it easy and quick to explore the game and we soon decided to take a more adventure game approach to handling all the scenario’s. Talking, collecting, managing,… in a very clear and easy way. I created a simple adventure game engine, where everything is handled with actions. You have a look action, talk action, move,… and everything could just be stacked as components on objects and call each other, simple action stacks. I made these very clear cut and simple that anyone could work with them and eventually Pepijn was creating scenarios with these action stacks. If there was more time, I’d add a more visually aesthetic way of using them.

I did all the coding for this project and while this included GUI coding, I designed most of the interfaces myself, looking at the website style of the Port Of Antwerp. Red, black, white and grey those were the colours and then working with different font sizes to get everything looking as great as it does now. Early on in production, I thought it would be cool to have an iPad version of the game, because the navigation and play style would transfer easily. So the entire GUI was made scalable to handle all resolution and dimension up to 2048×1536 (the new iPad resolution) and which device you might check out, it always looks crisp and clean and I’m rather proud of that.

We had the base and 1 level done rather quick and the customer was pleased giving us the green light to continue. Working from a list of possible intrusions that happen from time to time, we chose about 30 and started creating levels. Due to the action components being so easy to use, Pepijn and I could make our levels independently and just combine them at the end. Ofcourse being developers, we added some funny dialogue and surreal scenarios, some of which were scrapped, but most of them are still there. Pepijn even added some time to getting the environment looking as top notch as it does at the moment, by adding ambient occlusion and shadows. It all looks really simple, but the amount of detail would surprise you.

Eventually when all the scenarios were set up, the port of Antwerp did an amazing job of testing the game and reporting all the small bugs or spelling errors in a detailed fashion that made it a breeze to fix these. They saved us a hell of a lot of time by being that thorough resulting in the polished game that it is today.

Once it was done, it was still a long wait till it got released, but the wait did add the functionality for multiple languages (now only Dutch and English) and the amazing iPad version that I hope many of you will check out!

And that’s about what I can tell you about it, I hope you enjoyed it!

Default

Last week was crazy, I got swept into a digital vortex, I had to fight some Master Control program and then I was involved in Wargames. So SORRY if I missed last week’s post, but the fact that all your electrical toothbrushes still work should make up for it. You’re welcome!

 

What have I been up to? Well, I kept myself busy. Mostly preparation for future projects and missed projects, but hey those are the best lessons. That one assignment I worked on for a couple of months last summer is finally going to get released. (it’s been done for so long) It’s shaped up nicely and with the mobile version added to the entire project, I will be able to share it with all of you. I’ll be glad to finally write my postmortem about that project, so it’s just crossing off the days now!

What else? I’m working on expanding my arsenal and did some small research projects that give me some more tools of trade. I finally upgraded my blender 2.49 to 2.66 (this version always gave trouble with unity) and I can gladly say I’m starting to like blender. 2.66 is more suited to my liking.

I also got a couple more ideas in the working, when Tesla finishes up, I’ll know to what project I’ll switch. And I have a particularly bad idea in the works. So bad it’s good! I also had some great brainstorm sessions for a potential assignment and fingers crossed, because I’d really want to make that idea work.

And while we’re on the subject of Tesla. Levels are almost done, it’s all coming together and all the optimization I did, really did a number. It’s running smooth like a mot… a person with a weird sexual preference. I can up the effects again and it’s looking great. I’m having some doubts about the texts. They may be a tad long, getting these to a perfect synopsis could be quite troublesome. Still thinking about the price and stuff. Would it work to just release the game for free, with an in app purchase that says “thank you” and just hope some good Samaritans just donate a small buck? I don’t think I can gather enough interest with just a paid app :/

Stuff for thought… See you next time!

 

Juggalo’s

Friggin’  Macintosh, how do they work?

 

Yeah, it was a week of Juggling, so that makes me a juggalo, I guess. Euhm… Pins for life!

I had a new assignment last week and that took up about half my week, getting it done, but it was a cool experience. I can’t talk too much about it, but I can say it really stretched my comprehension of Unity a bit further. Especilly when it comes to high poly models on mobile. If you play your cards right and be creative, you can get pretty high end models running smoothly. Pretty cool!

 

Tesla is of course still WIP and it’s always when you near the end, you remember, ooh yeah it’s still missing this and that. Like loading screens, menu music, simple sound effects. It all takes up time, but having them in really creates the perfect package.

So loads of small details, but nothing really to show :/, so I’ll just give some fun detail shots of Tesla in Action. When his lab gets destroyed, he’ll fix it up and it will look a little like this:

Next up, we have Tesla celebrating our victory over the forces of Edison.

And that’s everything I can show you this week. I doubt I’ll be able to show more next week, because I’m just creating levels, which is setting the rhythm and adding the songs. And deciding which levels with what song. And that takes up some time.

See you next time!

Checklist, check!

Still plowing through Tesla! Working mainly on menus, tutorials and levels.

I did add a new gameplay mode this week to add a little deviation in the story and I can assure you, it’s quite challenging! I also finished all the optimization stuff and now I’m looking into pushing the envelope again! Let’s start the sharing part!

 

The game logo as it stands at the moment, just a quick throw together, still lacks some texture and touches. I’m trying to create a Dexter’s lab vibe, the logo should be associated with that.

Here we have a screen of the new game mode. This mode requires you to plan your attacks a bit so don’t go crazy!!!

Like last weeks, it’s a real puzzle to get Tesla in between all other meetings and assignments, but I’m just focusing day by day and see how far I get. But it’s shaping up to be a cool package! See you next week !!! (hopefully!!)

Optimistic

Time to get Optimistic!

Well, not really, I’m optimizing-tic on Tesla. But let’s rewind!

Tesla is going strong, tutorials have been added, still have to write a couple. This isn’t so easy, I want to add a little story to the game and the tutorials are Tesla telling what’s going on, explaining the enemies and how to play. It’s text and images, but I’m wondering if I should add a voice over. It could affect the build and I have to find a spot or a way to get a clear recording. Plus what kind of voice should I do? If anyone has some advice, pls tell me!

I promised some more stuff this week and I thought I’d show off more Frieda stuff! First up we have the main menu. Which is animated and pretty awesome :p And for anyone who knows a little Dexter’s lab, quite memorable.

Next up, we have a look at how the tutorial starts. I don’t know about the text yet, but the mix of photos and blueprints will be part of the idea. The Blueprints have all been made already, so I’m not getting rid of that work!!! The text scrolls and the images add when the text reaches it. Tesla also taps the board at times.

Frieda also made an icon for the app. So her work is almost done on this project.

At the moment, I’m optimizing the entire thing for Mobile Devices. I found this interesting thread on Unity3D, which I’m trying out to see if it affects my game

http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/79689-Optimising-with-Unity-for-iOS

What else can I say? I’m just focusing on getting it out as quick as possible. And I’m wondering if I should put a demo here. What do you think?

 

Game Jam!

He-yo! I got a Lego!

Inside joke, I guess.  Well it’s been a busy week! Last week I continued work on Tesla (as always) and some research and basic gameplay elements for KK. But the week didn’t end on friday. It ended last night at 4 AM. It was pretty hectic, but awesome. And how did that happen? Well as it does every year, it was Global Game Jam Weekend! GGJ? For those among you who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a game developers event where people meet up and make a game in 48 hours. I’ve been a part of every Jam that’s hosted in Belgium and I continued the streak this year, although I didn’t sit in the full 48 like I did last times. Why? Last times I went to eager into it and I always ended up pushing my limit, resulting in a major crash at the end. More mentally than physically, but I decided to keep it quite loosy goosy this year, because I have a busy week ahead of me. That said, I of course invested more time than I planned…

I started on saturday and I chose to work with a team of professionals because there were some people in that team that I hadn’t worked with before and wanted to create something cool with them. When I started, the idea was kindergarten kids who find their parents shotguns and go to the local playground with it. I don’t know how they came up with it and I didn’t want to know. I got to start immediately on stuff I love and that’s player control and gameplay elements. I created the entire player gameplay behaviour and gun control with as a cool feature, ricochet bullets. I also integrated the possibilities for interactive objects so the playing area would be influenced by your shots and create more of dynamic experience. And last but not least, the player deaths, which is just too awful for words :). After I got those implemented, I had to leave only to return on sunday at around 9 AM.

When I arrived I heard that the development had hit a struggle and everything was working, but there wasn’t a lot of gameplay. Jeroen (Dessaux) proposed to create a new level, while I continued with getting everything up and running. This meant fixing small problems, but also getting everything integrated and making the gameplay more challenging. Eventually it all came together as a cool package and we ended up grabbing the first place as the best completed game. But the price didn’t really matter that much, the game is just insane fun to play. With the ricocheting bullets, it’s really challenging not to die by your own bullets, so every shot you make has to be good. And seeing people play it, was amazing fun. After everything was packed up, the team headed out for dinner and decided to keep the buzz going and finish everything up that we had created and getting the entire thing completed.

Before you know it, it was 4 AM, but the game is looking great so far.

I’ll post some screens of the game, be warned, Pepijn of Foreign Legion fame was in our team, so you can expect some Gore.

      

This is one of those long posts again… Oh well, I’ll just add more content for your patience! Wim Wouters made this video of all the games of the GGJ and you can catch a glimpse of me (in the red sweater) and the rest of the team playing the game. But you can also hear it, which sounds very… unique!

This post is boasting enough as it is, I’ll give a big Tesla update next week showcasing last week’s work as well.