Game Project and GDC Online

Before I get back to more regular postings, I wanted to say sorry for being so behind lately! I’ve been hard at work on my new horror game project, but now that things are settling down a bit more, I have more time to post here and work on more videos. I also just got back from GDC Online in Austin a few days ago, which means I’ll start posting my “What I Learned at GDC” series again! I’ve also got several UDK workshop videos that have been sitting on the backburner, so I’ll get to work on those soon, too!

 

 

 

 

For those of you who might be interested, I’ve assembled a team of about ten to fifteen people to work on a 2D horror game called “Delirium.” We’ve been working on the game for a little over a month now, and will have the first two levels working by the end of this month! We’ve started a development blog for the game, which you can check out here: www.deliriumgame.wordpress.com . The rest of the team and myself will be posting about our progress on the game there, so be sure to check it out from time to time! Thanks for your support!

Prototyping Tools

Woah, it’s been a while since I’ve updated on here! Sorry about that guys! As many of you have heard, I’ve recently started up my own game project, and we’ve just begun pre-production. We seem to be off to a good start so far, and I’ll be posting more news about it and my experiences working with it later on.

 

In the mean time, I thought I’d talk a little bit about prototyping tools for game designers. As designers, it is our job to clearly describe the game’s vision, but sometimes, it’s just too difficult to do with words alone. Sure, you could use mock-ups or graphs to help get your point across, but every once in a while, it helps to just show everyone on the team exactly what you’re looking for. This is where prototyping comes in, and if you don’t happen to be very good at coding, digital prototyping can often be a difficult task. Fortunately for us, there are tools we have at our disposal! Many of you have heard of, if not used, Game Maker, which is a great tool that makes prototyping a breeze with its drag-and-drop coding. As much as I love using Game Maker, there is, however, a newer tool that takes what Game Maker does and builds on it. I’m talking about Stencyl, and while I haven’t used it much, it seems to be a fantastic prototyping tool. It retains the simplicity of usability that Game Maker has, while also allowing you to easily collaborate with a team. And don’t worry: you still don’t really have to code! Stencyl features an interesting little snapping code system, where you can snap blocks of code together to form strings… think Kismet meets Game Maker. There are a lot of cool features, so check out their web site for more information and to download the free tool!

 

http://www.stencyl.com/

 

This is the tool my team and I will be using for our prototyping needs, and I highly recommend it to any other game designers. You can even use it to create iOS and flash games, if you want it for more than just prototyping. That’s all I’ve got for today, but I’ll be posting more soon. Also, if you have any suggestions for my next UDK workshop video, let me know. Thanks for reading!

Vacation Time!

Hey everyone! I’m going on a quick vacation this weekend, then PAX Dev for the remainder of next week, so I probably won’t be on here much. But no worries: I’ll be answering any questions you might have later next week. When I get back, expect some update notes for the first workshop video, as well as a new post about learning programming and its importance. I’ve also got some good news regarding my project, so for any fellow UAT students, I’ll be posting more about that later, as well. If you’re going to be at PAX Dev, let me know and maybe we can meet up, otherwise, I’ll be back soon! Thanks as always for your support!

Visual Scripting in Kismet Video

Now that finals are out of the way, I was finally able to finish the Visual Scripting in Kismet video! Click on the image below to watch it on vimeo. Topics covered include: turning off the HUD, toggling lights using switches, implementing sound and animation, and setting up bots with basic AI. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Visual Scripting in Kismet Video

I’m starting to get the hang of making these videos, and I managed to get my hands on a better mic, so hopefully the quality is much better this time. I think next time I’ll be adding in some extras to go along with points where I’m just talking and not actually showing anything. Also, I’ve been receiving some comments that the July beta has some changes that make the first video confusing, so I’ll be working on some notes after I get back from PAX Dev to go along with the video for those using newer versions. Remember that UDK is updated every month, so little things may change from time to time.

Enjoy the video, and let me know if you have any suggestions for improving them or for the next one I make!

Kismet Update and CryEngine News

I wanted to apologize for the delay on the Kismet workshop everybody; I’ve been caught in a giant web of finals! I’m just about done with them all though, so as soon as I turn the last one in, I’ll be adding the finishing touches to the Kismet video. Keep an eye out for it to be posted by Friday!

Also, level designers received some great news today! CryEngine, the SDK used by Crytek, is now free! You can now download a free non-commercial license, just like you would with Unity or UDK. This is exciting news, and I know I’ll definitely be downloading a copy shortly.

You can read a short article about the release in Develop Magazine here:
http://www.develop-online.net/news/38462/CryEngine-goes-free

Or you can just skip straight to the CryEngine download web site:
http://crydev.net/

Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Project Proposals

Whether you’re presenting in front of publishers, fellow developers, professors, or students, talking about your next big idea can be a handful. There’s a bunch of stuff you need to include, but you don’t want it to be too long or boring, so you have to find the right balance without cutting out anything important. Even determining what is important and what isn’t can be a real challenge, and you definitely don’t want to over- or underwhelm the audience. If you’ve never made a project proposal before, it may seem difficult to find a starting point, so I’ve made this guide to help you nail both the actual proposal and the presentation.

 

Keep reading to learn more about making your own project proposals!

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Upcoming Kismet Workshop

After receiving a lot of interest from my “Learn UDK in a Day” Workshop and video, I’ve decided to create another tutorial video for UDK. This time, I’ll be focusing on working in Kismet, the Unreal Development Kit’s visual scripting program. The tutorial is intended for beginners to Kismet, but I might also include some more advanced techniques towards the end of the video. It doesn’t look like I’ll have time to set up an actual workshop like I did last time at my school, UAT, so this one is likely going to be video only unless enough of my fellow students are interested in the actual workshop. I’m not sure when I’ll get this done, since I am pretty busy right now, but I’m aiming for the end of the month, if not sooner, so check back for updates on it.

 

Some Topics We Will Cover:

  • Basics of Working in Kismet
  • Triggers
  • Toggling Lights, Objects, and Effects
  • Setting Up Sounds and Matinee Events
  • Disabling the HUD
  • Actor Factories
  • Creating Bots

There will probably be more topics, but these are the essentials for the video. If you’d like to see any other topics you feel are important, be sure to let me know and I’ll try to get it in! Unlike the last video, we will be focusing solely on Kismet, so we won’t be creating an actual level – only what we need to test out our scripts. By the end of the workshop, you should have a good knowledge of how Kismet works and how to use UDK’s visual scripting to set up in-game events. Keep an eye out for more information if you’re interested!

 

Project Approval!

At my school, all students have a senior innovation project, or SIP, that they have to complete in order to graduate. Since I’ve been preparing things for my upcoming game project entitled “Dead Pixels,” I decided that it would be a good fit for the SIP. We just presented our project proposals last week and I received my feedback yesterday. There were some interesting comments I received from the professors who I presented to, which gave me some new things to think about, but overall, my project got approved. I’m currently working on some documentation and a basic prototype of the game mechanics, and I will be putting together a team come early August, or sooner, depending on how much time I have this month. “Dead Pixels” will be a product of my personal indie studio, Katastrophe Games, and I plan on entering the game into the IGF. There’s a lot of work that is going into this project, so I will be posting here periodically to give updates as to how we’re progressing, as well as any issues we had along the way and their solutions. For those interested, you can read a little more about the game below.

 

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Learn UDK in a Day Workshop Video

It’s finally here! After a long delay due to crunch time at work, the video for my Learn UDK in a Day Workshop is finally available for viewing! Just click the image below to head over to vimeo to watch it. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to contact me.

Learn UDK in a Day Workshop

Continue reading to see the list of helpful resources and tutorials for UDK that were provided at the actual workshop!

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Video Update

Hey everyone, just wanted to post a quick update on what’s going on with the Learn UDK in a Day Workshop video. The video is completely done, but I’m having issues uploading it because of a not-so-great internet connection. I’m going to try to upload it at the school on Monday or Tuesday, so I’m sorry to say that it’s still not ready to view. I’ve been in crunch time and work, which is the reason the video is so late anyway, but all of this has been a learning experience so I can get the video out much quicker next time. Sorry for the delay everyone!

 

Also, I have several new posts on the way over the next week, so stay tuned. I’ll be presenting my project proposal for an upcoming game called “Dead Pixels” next week, so a few posts will be in regards to the game and how to write project proposals.