Last week, I went into a couple of articles talking about how next year, I’ll be getting back into game development. I’m currently in the midst of NaNoWriMo, but yet I’ve found myself some time to start practicing my Unity skills once again. It’s been a very long time since the last time I used Unity and Blender, however I hear from a lot of people that they don’t have the skills to make video games. I always challenge people on that; we’re in an era where we have the resources at our fingertips. So today, for anyone who says they’re unable to start in game development, I’m going to share a few channels I’ve been watching, as well as a few quick tips to get started in game development (and how you can apply this logic elsewhere).
So here we are again catching up with PlayExpo. This time we are talking Sumo Digital who are mostly a UK based development team with an office in Nottingham and Sheffield. I managed to get some time to chat to Seb Liese the designer of their new game who originally was a biology teacher in Holland. He was first noticed by Sumo Digital because he was one of the top rated level designers for Little Big Planet, he has now been working there for four years. At the end of 2015 Seb won a 24 hour internal Game Jam with his ‘snake physics’ based tech demo and was given a team to work with to translate this into a fully fledged game. The game itself is physics based action puzzle platformer called Snake Pass and is due for release around the first quarter of 2017. So let’s go through my chat with the designer.
Humble Bundle has given me plenty of great games, but they’ve also given me some really good design tools as well. This article is a first impressions review of one of them: Spriter Pro. Join Timlah as we look at what Spriter Pro features and what it can do for your own hobbyist or indie game design studio.
I love a good side-quest, to the point where whenever I make a tabletop campaign, or work with modding tools, I add in side-quests. They’re fun and they build upon a story beautifully. Recently, I’ve been replaying through Final Fantasy IX, my favourite game in the series and remembering all of the incredible minute details it presents. Join Timlah as we discuss the importance and the joy of side-quests and what makes a game linear.
Friday night saw us go through the Gamely Giving stream – Which has now come to an end. Thanks to everyone who came to watch and a big thanks to everyone who donated. Want to see what happened and what’s in store for my first game? Read on!
Want to know what you can do to help Timlah out with his live game jam? Perhaps you just want to watch it for yourself but want to know a bit more about the project beforehand? Read on fellow geeks!
Game development is something I’ve not really done properly for quite some time, so I’m going to be faced with some awesome challenges in the new year. Along with this, I hope to be making some huge changes to GeekOut which will allow us to be more social, more connected and more collaborative with one another. This article explains my plans for the game I’ll be making during the charity stream.
Isolate is the working title for the RPG Maker game I will be developing live for one hour during GameBlast. If you’re unaware as to what that is, please click on the link and have a look so you know what’s going on. Live development means that for one hour, everyone has a chance to say what they want to say to me. They can give me valuable feedback about progressing the game and what I should include (time constraints considered).
To make a game within one hour seems all out impossible. I can hear little Jimmy from down the road screaming at me now “OI, TIMLAH, YOU STRANGE FELLOW. That’s impossible!” However what a lot of people aren’t taking into consideration is that although I’ll be developing it live, I won’t be making assets during the stream unless there’s something important I specifically forgot which can be made live quickly. Once the game is finished and out there, I will likely consider putting up patches to make it bigger and better – Or if people really enjoy it, I could make it into a full feature game.
The idea of Isolate is to make the player feel isolated from the fun that others are having, which is what the people that SpecialEffect deal with day in and day out. They bring the fun and the joy of gaming back to those who otherwise would be unable, due to disability and illness. With this in mind, the experience I am going for is less of dealing with disability, but more the focus of being excluded. This’ll be through a storytelling narrative that RPG Maker VX allows me to work through.
Those who know GeekOut well knows that I run a Linux computer. Those who know my GeekOut meetups well are aware I have a laptop, which is so underpowered it’d be amazing if it could run RPG Maker VX, It’s a miracle it runs Worms Reloaded and Quiplash in fairness. As such, I’ll be emulating RPG Maker VX via WINE. I’ve already tested streaming this from my computer and it can definitely stream RPG Maker activities. Hurrah!
When we’re live on air at 11pm onwards, just chat with me. Let me know what you’d like to see and hey, if you enjoy it enough, then make sure you let us know by helping the Gamely Giving guys. In the new year, I’m going to start either doing Google Hangouts or Twitch streams for when I’m making stuff for the game. I’ll promote those via social media and on here, so don’t worry – You will always be in the know! Come join me, let me know what you think and Bob’s your uncle! If you think there’s a better way to deal with live streaming prior to the actual GameBlast event in the comments below. Cheers all!
What do video games and charity have in common? SpecialEffect and their GameBlast events: A video game stream for charity, that’s what! On February 26th to February 28th, a continuous stream will be happening from the Gamely Giving group, set up by 1001Up. Those who attended the last GeekOut Meetup will have heard me stick my hand out and say that I’m part of this stream, for a wholesome 5 hours (potentially more!) So what will I be doing for my part of GameBlast 2016?
The next step is to understand what an asset is. This post is more of a quick, simple look at Unity, showing you what it looks like and what we can do with it. It’s amazing how many people will start up Unity and be overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there is to do and see, as well as for people to expect that everything will be there, ready for use straight away. Sadly, asset creation takes a long time, so this mini-series of Game Design With Timlah might take a temporary hold whilst I develop content for the game.
However, let’s look at some of the core features of Unity’s asset management and what it can do for us!
As a supplement to the Game Design with Timlah series that’s currently ongoing, I thought I’d do a simple post to show the sort of style I’m going with for the game that still remains unnamed.
Last time on Game Design With Timlah, we thought about the protagonist and the antagonist. We thought about the motives of the protagonist and now that we’ve had some time to flesh it out, it’s time to figure out the theme of the game along with the story. The next Game Design With Timlah which will be in a fortnights time, we will have some assets made for the game and begin looking at Unity on how we’re going to make the game work using some stock assets.
One thing that the last edition taught us: We’re going with a relatively risky theme. We’re using religion and possession as the two major themes of the purpose of the game. Let me break down this religion, the research I’ve done and initial concepts.
I didn’t want people to feel like I was mocking a religion. I also didn’t want real religion, in any case. A game of this kind isn’t a smear campaign against, or even a campaign for religion. Instead the major focus of the game is about a persons faith in general, about what one will do to stand up for what they believe in or what they’re willing to stoop to. As such, the first (and possibly most important) element of this game is the motivation. Why does your character step out of his or her cosy role as a brother/sister of their religion, to go and pursue some bad individual?
I wanted this to be a relatively silly game, but I wanted it to have a serious undertone. As such, the world the characters live in will have a fair bit of politics. Before you all think this is going to be a heavily political game, that’s not right either: I just want the state of the world to be quite obvious and a much discussed element of what goes through these characters minds. The religion is of significant importance to this world, so they would be discussed outside of the holy grounds.
Whilst designing the religion, I decided to do some research into four real life religions, to see how they would impact our in-game one. Check out the super cool table below to find out more!
How it influences ours
|Christianity||Prayer and a “holy building”, wine, One Lord (Trinity, see notes)||The Holy Trinity is represented in this game by the God of the game being an unspecified being. Instead, although it is just one God, it does have several “states”.|
|Deism||No miracles, One God||There’s not much to say about Deism. It was a bit of an old school religion and I thought I’d look into it. It seemed interesting and it shared the concept I had in mind, of “One God” that wasn’t specified.|
|Taoism||States of being, defining good and evil, alchemy..!||Taoism is about inner harmony, peace and longevity. As such, our religious folk enjoy the company of one another, sharing their food and drink as well as providing natural remedies*|
|Wicca||Dance, Sharing food and drink||Wiccans believe in the God and the Goddess. To address this, our One God is genderless and can be represented however. During ceremonies, our people come together for dance and to share in good food and they drink responsibly.|
With all of this research done into existing religions, I’ve got to design what our religion is going to look like, but how will they be referred to in game? I was going to make a name for it, trying to bring the notion of unison into the name of the religion. After much deliberation, a friend said “how about Unity”, to which I retorted: “Yes, I’m using Unity to make the game.” This confused them for some time and it gave me the idea to refer to the religion in game as “Those of Faith”, or “The Faith”. Faith would always be capitalised, allowing people to make the religion whatever they wanted to.
Our people come together in prayer and dance every week, so it’s obvious to me the game should start by introducing us to The Faith. Those of Faith will come together in The Sanctuary and a player will be able to see what they get up to when they all come together. This gives the player the incentive that: Okay, this is what my character likes to do and in fact, they work at The Sanctuary as a brother/sister of The Faith.
I’m no professional animator. I’m also no professional artist. Heck, I’m certainly no professional programmer either. I’m sticking to simple sprite sheets to help with this part, which will have a way to skip the scene (and ask for the player to confirm it). If someone has played it once before, sitting through the starting scene might not be too exciting. Our order will have a divine symbol which they pray to, rather than a traditional book to read from, or scripture of any kind.
How the world perceives this
There’s going to be three major splits with The Faith. There’ll be Those of Faith, then there’ll be those who oppose The Faith and finally those who are on the fence. Of course, we’ll not be spending the game trying to recruit anyone, that’s besides the point. Instead, the information people will provide the player, along with how the player interprets the information will determine the future of the characters belief in The Faith.
Now, it’d not be me if this was too serious. As if the picture of the great Flying Spaghetti Monster above wasn’t self-explanatory. I’ll be adding in my own sense of humour here and there, so hopefully it’ll translate well in the game. If it doesn’t, then so be it! Our character is going to be optimistic, but depending on the actions you take throughout the game, your character may change slightly.
The antagonist is going to be stealing your faiths Holy Symbol, which affects the ability to pray. No one has ever stolen the Holy Symbol before, under the belief that humans are all inherently good beings, with only some corrupt individuals being the root of all evil in the world. This gives our character the drive to go and retrieve the Holy Symbol, whilst the rest of The Faith are in blind panic over the loss of their relic.
How does this sound as a concept so far? Have I thought too hard about the religion, or do you think that since it’s what drives the game, that I’ve done just enough research into religions and the likes? Do we want more political views of The Sanctuary throughout the game? Comments in the section below, over on Facebook or Twitter and give me some ideas for this game. If you have an idea that can fit the themes of the game and I like it, I’ll let you know I’ll be implementing your idea and you’ll be in the credits of the game. Thanks as ever for reading, see you in a fortnights time!