Game Development Week 4 – Blog #2

This week we met on Monday to discuss the current plans for the week and began to discuss what tasks we needed to have done over the next two weeks.

Tuesday we had our meeting to discuss our progress with the team and our module leaders, before this however we were given our tasks and the deadlines for these. Brad and Brett have been put in charge of developing the Wolf and Child characters.

Aleksandra, Tomas and I have been given charge of the AI for the game and we got to work talking about what behaviours we wanted our AI’s to have and the different type of enemy AI that would be included in our end build. We decided to have three types of AI Aleksandra has the task of creating a spider enemy that attacks from a distance and attempts to keep a distance between itself and a target. Tomas has been given the task to develop a melee spider which will move towards the target until it is within attack range and finally I have been given the task of creating a Squad Based AI that will attempt to act with a hive mind.

Spider Concept

Spider Concept Art

Each of the AI’s will have generic behaviour for patrolling and when they are alerted to an enemy presence. The custom AI’s will then fall into their own behaviours based on what type of AI they are.

We plan to have some progress made by Tuesday 17th February so that we can show how they will work in our current environment.

I’ve had some ideas for the Squad Based AI that I have shared with the group and I hope it makes the AI feel more intelligent and more group based than acting without any knowledge of any other AI in their squad. I plan to have the Squads AI’s take some behaviour that can be seen in the Halo games where the grunt will retreat when a larger fellow AI has fallen. The plan is to have the Squad Manager look out for the Melee and Ranged spiders dying and if this happens within some proximity of the squad AI they will retreat to another larger AI, hopefully this will present an engaging experience for the players when they’re entering combat.

Courage Concept

Courage Concept

Thanks for reading and come back next week for the third instalment.

Game Development Week 3 – Blog #1

The first two weeks of our project have mostly been planning and deciding on all of the various software we will be using over the course of this project.

The first session we spent just brainstorming ideas and sharing them, we wrote a complete list of every idea that we had and we also built ideas off of other ideas people had. Due to all of us having different thoughts for what we wanted to produce gathering a list of everything we found was a good start as we could later refine this list into a group of features that we would like to be present in our final product.

Spirit Concepts

Spirit Concepts – By Josh Williams

Alongside this planning we discussed and agreed on the tool sets that we would be using for the development and how people felt about using these tools. Unreal Engine 4 was our choice of engine due to the graphical effects that it can provide along with the use of an Oculus Rift we want to produce a truly immersive experience for our players. Although Unreal Engine 4 has some disadvantages for the programmers we decided overall that the advantages outweighed them.

Secondly we decided to use SVN subrevision for our choice of source control as most of us were familiar with it and we could teach it to anyone who hadn’t used it before. One of our team members has his own server so hosting this SVN isn’t a problem and it allows us to store all of our data locally and backed up safely.

We found the team management website Producteev that we began using but quickly found that it was not suited to our needs and have since moved over to using Teamwork because it allowed for us to set individual tasks to our team members and allow them to be completed on a per person basis rather than everyone having to confirm completion of a task.

Moving into the second week we sat down and went through each individual idea and mechanic and split them off we then decided what idea’s we liked and narrowed down the pool of ideas, as this happened we slowly come to a general idea of what we wanted to produce and as time went on we refined the finer details that lead to the concept that is courage.

Courage the wolf

Courage the wolf – By Josh Williams

During this week and some of this week we have been working on our Product overview document and our presentation. We come together on Google Hangouts to discuss what we wanted to put in our technical document and the presentation how we wanted to represent our concept and what we want from our final product.

After the presentation tonight I feel like everything is on track for a great end product and look forward to moving into full scale development with our team of programmers and artists.

Thanks for reading and come back next week for the next installment.

Pushing Forward

Welcome back everyone, I’ve taken some time recently to relax and enjoy being back home with my family before I jump back into work and now that I have had some time to just sit and think about things and generally feeling better in myself I think its time to get back down to programming & game design.

So I have a few idea’s that I want to work on which I have been thinking about for a while and I’m going to start building some prototype versions to see how they pan out as an actual game rather than just a concept.

I’ve recently been working on a Project by the Title of Sure Footing, this is a project between 3 Programmers and an artist. The basic idea is to have an infinite runner with procedural generation based on user feedback and requirements. You can find screen shots and discussions on the Table Flip Games Facebook page. We will continually update this so that we can provide the newest information to our fans.

Click the Table Flip banner to go to the page!

Tableflip

 

 

 

 

I have been developing code for our game and helping squash bugs that appear, we recently had an Alpha build ready for our Artist to display for part of his masters course work. We have come a long way quite recently and the project is really starting to shape up. I look forward to sharing more when we have more information and when we release our first playable build!

Next we have a new project I started work on yesterday after a long time considering this idea and looking for the motivation I finally started it and its shaping up pretty good even with only 4 hours worth of work put into it. I’m hoping to have a build ready for some screenshots soon that will display the art style which is still undecided. I may use Kenney.nl assets or use simple primitives and colours. The general idea is you are moving in a direction at a speed and when you hit a wall you change direction and travel in the opposite direction. You can tap to jump to try and get to higher ledges and avoid falling off of the screen.

Mechanics : I hope to eventually have the following mechanics implemented.

  • Procedural generation of the level as you progress so that its always somewhat different.
  • Coin / Orb collectables to obtain score
  • Timer – Try to beat your previous time and score
  • Jump counter, try to limit your jumps to compare your skill against others
  • Possibly have a mini-map to give a little information on what to expect next
  • Enemies that roam their respective platforms

This is what I currently have in mind and I’m going to continue working on this on a daily basis so hopefully soon I can share more progress with you all.

That’s all for today, make sure to follow my blog so you get a notification when I’ve added new content.

Thanks, Rob.

 

 

This week in the life of a Programmer / Gamer

Welcome back everyone, sorry it’s been a while since my last post but it’s been pretty hectic the last few weeks.

Bevel Studios

Firstly the time on my placement is quickly running out and I really want to finish the work we have been doing on a new game, I’ve been doing level design and this is a first for me, I’ve never really designed levels for a game except when I used to make maps for Red Alert 2 & its expansion pack Yuri’s revenge. With this in mind I was quite excited about working on levels for this project.

I never really focused on a huge amount of balance in my maps I made when I was younger, I think this is mostly because I made a lot of asymmetric maps and this provided me with a simple way to balance the maps without having to consider much past the layouts, I always used to get a great deal of feedback from my designs and feel this has helped me when designing the levels this time around. I had to take into consideration the way a player would look at the level and try to predict what their default route would be to complete the level.

This allowed me to put obstacles in the way of the player and force them to re-evaluate their position and get them to try more routes that they believe would help the achieve their goal. This provided me with an odd sense of power and I liked it ha-ha.

So that’s Bevel Studios work and I’m very excited to get back to work tomorrow and continue my work, I really do enjoy working on new skills and getting feedback from my co-workers.

Titanfall

So remember I said I had been busy? Well Titanfall was a large cause of lost free time, I have so far spent around 40 hours playing Titanfall and I love this game, sure its got its faults like every game but over time I hope that the developers work to provide a better gaming experience for their users, as of Friday I believe they added some fixes and addressed balance and some known bugs. I would have liked to see some more changes but I’m sure they will come with time. I will provide a link to the patch notes so that you can check out the changes for yourself.

I mainly play with a few friends normally there is 3 – 4 of us playing together and we work pretty well together while being on Skype. We all have different play styles but I think this makes the game more interesting. I look forward to seeing what DLC is offered and this will determine whether or not I purchase the season pass for discounted DLC.

Diablo 3

Diablo 3 is another cause of lost time, a few weeks ago they released a massive pre – expansion patch that brought with it a large amount of fixes, changes and new systems. This got me and a few friends playing and I have been having a blast slaying demons and collecting legendary items. Overall I feel that the new patch has brought a lot of people back ready for Reaper of Souls to be released Tuesday 25th March.

Reaper of souls introduces a new Act, new loot, new monsters and a whole lot more, I will provide a link to battle.net so you can check out the new changes for Diablo 3.

Finally I’m trying to get myself back into shape and heading to the gym a few times a week so this also takes some time but come April 17th I officially finish my placement and will be heading back home to Essex towards the start of May. I will have a silly amount of free time so I plan to get cracking on my dissertation and finally push out The Crate Escape for iOS when I have access to my parent’s iDevices.

Speaking of The Crate Escape it has now surpassed 200 downloads for Android, 100 downloads for Windows Phone and around a 100 downloads between Blackberry and Kindles. This has been my first ever game I have released and am very happy with the results and feedback / support I have received from friends and family.

Thanks for reading,

Rob.

Titanfall – Patch Notes

Diablo 3 – Reaper of Souls Trailer

Back on track and Titanfall withdrawals.

Welcome back everyone I hope your all doing well.

This week I was to discuss the current work I have been putting into The Crate Escape and why I lost a lot of development time last weekend / first half of this week.

So the Titanfall beta is over as of Wednesday night for us in Europe and I’ve been feeling pretty lost without being able to jump on and climb all over walls and Titan mechs. This beta took a away quite a lot of the time I normally spend developing my game and well it was worth it but I have made a large amount of progress this week.

Leaderboard are now fully implemented thanks to Bradley Stone for providing the backend systems and the API to integrate into The Crate Escape. Bradley has provided me with a way to submit scores and retrieve them, his work also allows me to use specific queries that may make their way into the game in the form of providing the user with their previous information or something along those lines. Its taken quite a lot of time to get this implemented and to squash all the bugs that came with that implementation but that is finally 90% complete only a few more things to do before that’s good to go.

Secondly I have reworked the UI layout and design, I have cleaned up a lot of code in the back and the user experience should be better for it, I have changed the button texture as I felt the previous was just horrible as a button, I still need to work on an animation to provide the user with visual feedback showing they have interacted with the button but that’s on my list of fixes and polish.
I really like this theme and feel it makes the game look more professional than previously, I also feel like it gives the game a better look I felt previously that it was empty and bland.

See below for an image of the updated UI design.

UI Update

UI Update

As you can also see in the screenshot above I finally managed to get Admob working on Android too which took a fair but of time but thanks to an awesome fellow indie developer I finally got it implemented and working, I don’t expect to earn much but anything is better than nothing when you’re a student.

Music is coming a long nicely, I have two music students working on pieces that I really like and feel I can incorporate them both into the game nicely, I will hopefully put a preview of those up sometime next week.

Other things to note that have been implemented in the newest build are a Credits page, Sensitivity adjustments for the accelerometer, and general bug fixes. I plan to have version 1.7a release hopefully within a week but I also want to get it deployed for iOS with a free + Ad’s version and a paid version without ads.

Anyhow that’s pretty much it for this week I will continue to provide updates as I go.
You can find version 1.6 on the various platforms below.

Android – Windows Phone 8 – Kindle

Thanks,
Rob.

Titanfall PC Beta, Early Thoughts.

Hi everyone and welcome back, todays topic will be on TITANFALL 😀

Screenshot 2014-02-16 19.14.22

So I finally got access to the Titanfall beta after watching footage on Youtube and Twitch.tv for what felt like forever and I must say I’m very impressed. The game makes the FPS genre feel fresh and with a new lease of life, I feel the primary reason for this is the freedom at which you are able to move really makes the difference to the playstyle of Titanfall. With a standard shooter like COD the maps feel very small and although in Titanfall you can move so quickly I feel the depth added to the game by wall jumping and double jumping really adds a new dimension to the game and makes me feel like I have a lot larger space to play within.

The controls feel responsive and I haven’t had any graphical issues or FPS problems, below is a small breakdown of my PC.

CPU: Intel i7 920 @ 2.67 GHz
GPU: Gigabyte 670GTX 2GB
RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600MHz

This is running the game on Full graphics with Insane textures enabled, I’m not so sure if Insane textures work at the moment as I didn’t do a comparison between High and Insane but the quality of the games art feels really nice and futuristic.
The Titans are the next thing that change the way we will play Titanfall compared to other FPS and that’s because the dynamic of the game changes when you have to avoid Titan’s. You must use the roofs of buildings and inside buildings to avoid being absolutely ripped apart in a few shots by the Titans powerful weapons. Although pilots can jump on the Titans and severely damage them its always dangerous to approach a Titan as it can simply crush you.

Each player start’s as a Pilot and within around 2.00 – 2.30 of gameplay the first Titan’s begin showing up and wrecking havoc on the battlefield, there are two types of Titans that can be called in with Burn cards and these can be called in at the game start if you desire so this can really give you’re team and early lead by having some early map domination.
Burn Cards are perks you gain and can use when you respawn in-game, they give you access to weapons, boosts or Titans.

Although Titanfall only allows for a maximum of 6 vs 6 human players it does add AI soldiers to the battlefield for both teams that capture strategic points and make the battlefield much more alive, it also provides a way for new players to feel useful to their team as the AI’s are pretty weak when it comes to attacking you so they’re very easy to take down and give you points towards your objectives.

After 6 hours of play today I feel that this is a fantastic game and will be preordering it ASAP, I do however have a few issues with the game and I hope they get addressed in one way or another and they are the following:

Smart Pistol – This weapon auto targets and takes 0 Skill, you mow down AI soldiers and players alike its simply Overpowered.

Game Length – I feel that the match times are incredibly short, Just as I’m getting on a role the game ends and I feel underwhelmed, I would like the game modes to have two choices, standard which is the time that it is currently at and another mode which employs a game time of about 2 – 3 Times longer.

Short of these two issues I’m crazy for this game and I don’t know how I will cope 1 month without the Game when the beta goes away.

Thanks for reading,
Rob.

Somewhere to express my thoughts and aspirations.

Hi everyone, so I decided I wanted a proper place to keep track of all of my ramblings and developments with games and applications and I figured if I paid for a domain name I would be more inclined to actually post, I feel this will help me reflect on my experiences and share them with people who may be interested. Mostly I will be discussing game development and programming maybe little bits of code I find useful that people may benefit from and so on.

I’ve always wanted somewhere I can go and just look back maybe 2, 3 months or even year’s and just recall what I used to do and how much I have(hopefully) grown. I am currently working on multiple projects, One of them I have discussed over at the other tab titled “Development” I have discussed The Crate Escape.

My aim is to write a few posts a week hopefully, these will just entail my weekly ramblings be it development or what games I have been playing.

Well that’s all for now busy busy now. Thanks,

Rob.

The Crate Escape by Joe Weaver.

The Crate Escape by Joe Weaver.