Monday, 16 January 2012

Final Major Project: Gutsy's Quest Re-Dux

Recently Will and I had a meeting with our tutors where in we discussed what it was we were looking to do exactly before we wrote up our final brief. By the end of the session we had decided on what exactly our deliverables should be:

One Completed video Game Level:
This is instead on creating our original 3 levels as we felt we could focus our efforts on one to create a final high quality level that could be used in a video game. If there is time nearer the end of the project we may build more levels but for now we're focusing on just the One.

Two Fully Rendered and Animated Characters:
Again this is a reduction in the original amount to focus our efforts on creating high quality models. Originally there were going to be four models but now we're focusing on just the player character and an enemy character.

We'll be adding more components to make the game appear as professionally made such as a HUD, Background Music, Sound Effects and a Menu.

Overall we feel it will focus our work into creating quality rather than quantity, also we'll be aiming to release a PC build rather than an ios device initially. Potentially looking at getting the game as a beta build/demo released on Steam. We're confident that we can create a high quality level for people to play.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Final Major Project: Time Management & Gantt Charts

With the project pressing on Wii and I decided it would be best (at the suggestion of our tutors) to put together a Gantt Chart to better maintain time of the project using visual cues to show when various parts of the project should begin and end. To create this Gantt chart we used a program called "Gantt Project", a piece of freeware thats quick and easy to use.

We used three colours to identify which tasks we'll be dealing with, Will's tasks are signified by the blue bars, my tasks are the red ones and tasks that are to be completed by both of us are coloured in Purple (being a mix of red and blue). Down the left side of the chart lists the various tasks we should complete for the project (along with start and end times) and over the top is a calendar/date layout.

Using this chart becuase of it's visual properties is a great way of keeping on top of the project and making sure that things get done, for this reason we carefully considered the amount of time it would take to complete various tasks and over estimated them, we also constucted these periods of time around key dates such as the intrim crit, final crit and hand in dates.

In all honesty I was hasty to create a gantt chart as I wasn't quite sure how but by using this software it was a much simpler process than I first thought and it does really help to keep an idea of time in my mind but also see how much time I have. I feel fo future projects I'll be using the program "Gantt Project" and Gantt charts to manage my time much more efficiently.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Final Major Project: Spiral Knights

Whilst looking over Steam's most recent Sale I found this game by the name of Spiral Knights.

Spiral Knights is an MMO game where in players control Spiral Knights to fight against enemies, they can go solo but it's implied that you should team up as it's meant to be a co-operative game.

Several things made it catch my eye, firstly, there's the art style. The graphics are simple, cartoonish but effective. Like Mario 3D Land it's easy to differenciate you player character from other players, environments and enemies. Also theres the textures simple but bright and colourful. I also like the designs of the characters and the environment as it could attract players of all natures, theres also the inclusion of customisability to the player's armour which adds a nice little touch of making your knight unique.

Next there's the story, very simple. You and your fellow knights have crash landed on a strange planet and have to fight to survive by teaming up. You can also trade and communicate with fellow players. What I also admire most is that the game has a very humble outward appearance and is Java based, this gives me hope for our game as the first version will most likely be a web based one and if Spiral Knights looks this good maybe Will and I can create something halfway decent.

The gameplay is also not overly complicated, pretty much consiting of move character, use weapon, switch weapon. I felt it's just be nice to bring up that I've noticed a game that's similar in aesthetic and game principles to the one we want to create, on closer inspection of things like the environment and it's textures make me wonder how they were made and if it's possible for use to create something as similar rather than an area with one texture populated by props. I feel this will require some further research though. If anything looking at spiral knights has made me realise I should research more into how Backgrounds are made and how a game based off Java will run in steam.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Final Major Project: Mood Boards

Before beginning to enter the concept art stage I thought that it'd be best to put together several moodboards for the three main characters for their designs. These characters are ofcourse: Sir Gutsy, Princess Fairly and Wizard Devioso, the mood board for the characters is really nothing more than a collection of images that I feel could/can/will influence the designs of these characters.

This Mood Board created for Gutsy contains loads of great reference illustrations to real knights and images of cartoon/fictional knights/heros with simiiar qualities, I feel this gives me a good range to start working on concept art with and a good mixture of colours there's plenty of room here to come up with many variations for one design.

This is the moodboard for Princess Fairly, I had a lot of difficulty trying to even gather images for this one but I feel in the end I got a good range of images ranging from stylised cartoons to of the era portrait paintings. Since I've never really developed a princess like character I feel this one may be the hardest for me to develop, but I'm confident I'll develop something of a high enough standard.

Again I feel I got a good range of visuals for my Wizard moodboard and theres a definite theme showing through in terms of colour and general design motif. With devious characters it's always fun to see what variations you can come up with.

With these done I'm almost ready to start designing the characters themselves, I'll have to create a moodboard for level designs but overall I feel that this can be left until I have some preliminary designs of the characters done. Bring on the concept art!

Final Major Project: Getting Published

Whilst thinking about the potential future for this project I beghan to investigate, how does one get a game published, especially a small budget, indy game. Immediately I thought of the PC platform Steam. Steam is essentially an online shop for people to buy and play games from online, owned by the Valve Corperation, who they themselves make video games nsuch as Half-Life and Team-Fortress 2, Steam is their personal service that allows customers to not only buy games, but also play them online with each other for free, it's got a whole littlwe community behind it.

So How exactly does one get a game onto Steam?

The process to get a game published on Steam seems very lengthy but when reading it it's clear that it's all there for the benefit of you, the game makers (for lack of a better term). To get you're game published all you have to do is send in the application form with a demo or full build of the game and they'll consider it.

Publishing on steam also comes with loads of benefits such as the ability to add microtransactions to your game, full controller support, Reatil Support (pricing, release date etc), the ability to update the game with newer versions.

On top of all these Steam also boasts Publishing Services such as; Anti-Piracy (Custom Excutable Generation, Retail Encryption and Valuable Platform-Dependant Features), Auto Updating, Real-time Sales Data, Territory Control, Key based- Authentication and Weekend and Guest Passes.

Steam also allows developers to do Beta-testing and bug reporting to make the games even better.

All this comes with a simple application form and demo of your game, after that if your game gets approved it's myunderstanding business things get discussed such as princing and revinue cuts. Steam seems like a paradise for independant developers and with the amount of features it has and with little things such as being able to update or beta-test seems like a great way to get a game out there easily. I have a feeling when we have a near finalised build of the game we'll be using this as an outlet for our product.