Game Development Category

  • What if your game characters had children?

    Very often as indie developers we’re responsible for both the game build and game story. And that’s assuming there even is a story in the first place. We don’t typically create “game bibles”, meticulously planned out for months in advance. And other than perhaps doing a sequel, nearly every game we make is  treated as if it’s being built in complete isolation from the one that came before. But what if instead of doing this, we linked them together using a “family tree” of game characters, common environments and a shared lore?

    For example, say hello to Bob:

     

    Now Bob here could star in his own little piggy platform adventure. Happily running and jumping around. Perhaps he has a special ability like shooting from his snout? Whatever we decide to develop, this becomes Game #1, we publish it and carry on with our next game.

    In Game #2 we decide to have a female piggy protagonist called Sally:

     

    This time it’s not a platform game, but a time management one. For the sake of originality (and to help uphold blatant gaming sexism) let’s say Sally is in charge of a diner and must dash around serving the customers. And who should appear as a  customer a few times? Yup, it’s Bob, fresh back from his platforming adventures. And as he dines they fall in love, eventually producing:

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  • 30 years of being a game developer in 3000 words

    I borrowed the majority of this text from a great private forum I’m on, where everyone gave a potted biography of who they are and how they got to where they are today as a means to introduce themselves. I wrote my introduction 3 years ago and have toyed many times with the idea of posting it here for all to see, warts and all. And after some editing and refreshing of content I’ve finally decided to do so. The title is a little misleading of course as I’ve not been a game developer for 30 years, but I have always wanted to be, and that passion and love has never left me – as you’ll find if you dare to read on :)

    I know it’s way too long and probably not even my Mother would read until the end, but here we go. This is how my love affair with computing and game development started, and lead to where I am today…

    My name is Richard Davey. I don’t really use pseudonyms on the internet anymore (spent enough years doing that in Quake clans!) but l’m part of Photon Storm. I’ll be 37 in August and I live in a lovely part of the UK with my wife, 6 year old son and 2 year old daughter.

    Growing up Atari

    Back when I was the age my son is now, my parents were complete technophobes and didn’t buy into the “every home must have a family computer” one bit. So it was a long time until I got one of my own. Ironically my Mum is now the most hardcore gamer I know and I swear 40% of her annual earnings goes direct to Big Fish Games.

    I may have been computer-less but I was addicted to the arcades. All of my “holiday money” would vanish into the latest Atari, Williams and Sega machines. When I was 8 we moved house and I made friends with the kids in my new street and got my first experience of home computing. There were ZX81s and Spectrum 48ks within a few houses and that was it. I was utterly hooked. To my shock (as it wasn’t even Christmas or my birthday) one day my Dad bought home a computer: A Toshiba MSX.

    In hindsight I appreciate just how amazing that computer was. Built-in cartridge port letting me run all the hottest Konami and Capcom games, tape drive so I could buy budget games from the newsagent, really nice graphics, really nice sound. But no other kid within a hundred miles owned one which made aquiring new games next to impossible. But it did give me my first taste of programming. Type-in listings from magazines and hacking around in BASIC. The MSX and later a Spectrum +3 served me well for a few years until I hit secondary school. And via another kid there I was introduced to the Atari ST.

    My whole life changed. It was one of those moments you know? Those real life changing moments. Getting that ST home. Hooking it up to this piece of trash black and white TV in my bedroom. I just knew there and then I was addicted, and that my life would be one spent in computers.

    I wasn’t wrong :)

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  • The one in which we do a podcast interview, VJ at Blip Fest and tech edit an HTML5 book

    It’s been a busy few weeks for both Ilija and I. He has been off in Melbourne VJing at the Blip Festival. It was the biggest chip music event to hit Australia and had a formidable line-up including Bit Shifter, Nullsleep and my personal favourites Trash80. There are various videos and pictures of the show, all of them varying from “ok” to “terrible” in quality at the moment, but here you can see Saitone play while Ilija mixes the visuals in the background:

    Now he’s finished playing with video mixers for a while he may even post the “Making of” the pixeltastic new RGCD logo :)

    A book you say?

    Over on my side of the planet I’ve been kept busy mostly buried deep in HTML5 land. I started out the year by doing a technical edit of Jesse Freeman’s new book Introducing HTML5 Game Development published by O’Reilly. It’s one of O’Reilly’s new short-format books, meaning it weighs in at just over 100 pages rather than the usual epic tomes they publish. Jesse focussed the book specifically on coding with the ImpactJS framework and walks you through the process, start to finish, including wrapping it up for mobile. If you’re new to ImpactJS and want a good cheap overview of using it, then for $14 you can’t really go wrong (and members of his NY User Group can get 50% off even that low price!)

    … and a podcast!

    Matt and Geoff over at Lost Decade Games record a regular podcast called the Lostcast. Being html5 indie game devs they focus their podcast on and around this subject. Recent topics have included the Zynga cloning debacle and HTML5 the Bad Parts. Episode 9 was released today and features a nearly hour long interview with me about the subjects of html5, flash and game development in general. I had great fun chatting with the guys and thank them for inviting me to interview. To anyone who listens I apologise for rambling on for too long in parts, but hope you take away something interesting from the discussions anyway!

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  • Flash Gaming Summit 2012 – 15% discount and 2 free tickets giveaway

     

     

    If you’re able to get to San Francisco on March 4th 2012 (the day before GDC) then I’d strongly recommend attending the Flash Gaming Summit. This is the 4th year it has been running and it’s a great place to meet pretty much everyone of any importance in the Flash gaming world. Sponsors, companies, portals and fellow developers will be in attendance. The topic this year is “Maximise your game” which is a PR way of saying “hold onto your IP”. Accordingly it will cover taking your Flash IP onto other platforms, and who knows – you may even meet someone who has actually made some money from Android games 😉

    The speakers list is impressive: CrowdStar, KIXEYE, Adobe, The9 and BioWare to name a few. Definitely go and hear what Thiabault Imbert (Flash Player Product Manager) has to say in his Flash: The Next Generation talk. The summary is enticing: “In this session the Adobe gaming team will discuss the next generation of Flash technology that will enable incredible games for both the web and mobile devices. Topics will include new GPU rendering technology and advanced profiling tools that will empower developers to take their games to the next level on the Flash Platform.” – maybe he’ll even demo FalconJS.

    If you’re anything like me it’s probably the more indie dev speakers you’ll want to hear and there’s a good selection of them. The Ninja Kiwi guys will be talking about multi-player game development, Ben Garney will cover “the death of Flash” and Sean McGee is hosting a panel about Flash development circa 2012. Iain Lobb will also be doing a talk about making a “real” 2D game in Flash, i.e. apparently something that doesn’t use Flixel. BTW I’ll give away one Amazon gift voucher to an attendee  if he disses HTML5 more than 10 times in his session 😉

    It sounds like it’ll be a great conference. If you’re going to be in the area for GDC anyway then it makes complete sense to attend, or if it’s easy for you to get there then do so too! The organisers have offered me a discount code. So if you want to buy a ticket you can save 15% by registering here and using the code: promo_photonstorm_15.

    I’ve also got 2 free tickets to give away. If you’d like to win one just post a comment to this article and I’ll pick 2 people at random at the end of the week.

    The full program schedule here: http://www.flashgamingsummit.com/program.html

  • A quick glance back and a long look forward

    Happy New Year! 2011 was certainly eventful. While I won’t dwell too long on the past I will pick out a few key moments and drop my 2012 thoughts into the mix.

    2011 was the busiest year yet in terms of blog posts. As well as a new redesign we published 104 articles. Everything from coding tutorials, lots of Ilija’s stunning artwork and of course observations on the Adobe debacle. This is a pace I don’t intend to reduce in 2012 although focus is going to shift from being so heavily Flash based.

    At the start of 2011 we were still riding high from the successful launch of Cat Astro Phi and it remains to this day my favourite game we’ve created so far. In terms of actual game releases 2011 was pretty light with only 1 full game Chickaboom and one mini-game Jingle Bells. The reason being that at the start of 2011 I released the first version of my Flixel Power Tools. What started out as a few helper classes turned into quite the monster by the end of the year, boasting 32 different classes, 88 examples and an interactive test suite that I’m still really proud of. It was my largest open source project yet and I’m extremely proud that developers are genuinely using it in their games.

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