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11:41 AM on 09.02.2009

My somewhat modified PAX experience!

Up until about 3 days ago, this was gonna be my PAX experience.


People! Community! people!

But instead, i'll be spending my weekend like:


Turns out, I came down with a case of the Swine Flu, conveniently 3 days before PAX. But don't anybody worry, i'll have plenty of fun simulating PAX in my quarantined dorm room! For example, i'll be playing Beatles: Rock Band, Lysol Edition

Not to mention the most realistic game of L4D2 that's ever been seen.


So yea, I was really looking forward to meeting all you Dtoiders, but it looks like it'll take another year. Just try to remember, when it comes your turn to demo a game, to play another round in my honour. <3.

Have fun!   read

2:33 PM on 04.07.2009

Living the Dream: One Gamerís Journey through Game Development (Part 3: Almost Done!)

What's up, Dtoid? It's been a long while since my last update, and a whole lot of work has been done on our game since the last update. Since the semester is almost over, and our game almost done, I thought now would be a good time to write about how the game is doing.

Progress of the Game So Far:
The game is almost done, we are just tweaking things that make it look more polished, like in game menus, animations, sound effects, etc. The graduating senior in our group has expressed interest in continuing working on the game after the year is over, and if he does, we may just continue working on it until it's actually able to be "released," although I feel that's probably just a distant dream of ours.

Although we can't make a version of the game that is testable without having to compile/run the code itself, eventually we will be able to make a standalone client version, that could be sent to people so they can test it out. When the semester is over, I could pass those out to anybody who wants to try it out, just to see what a semester's worth of work can make.

My Personal Experiences
My role in the game has been largely on the design side of things, which is more my cup of tea. While I also do my fair share of coding, it's been my responsibility to design different abilities, talk to the artist about the game's art style, and things like that. This job is really interesting to me, because it's fun to design abilities based on the limitations of our game (a.k.a, whether we would know how to implement it or not.) Basically, not only do I have to think of a cool idea, I have to also think about how it would be implemented. I posted some of the design drawings i drew, just cause i thought they looked funny.

Some "design" ideas i drew. Mad mspaint skills were definitely involved.

When I started out this year, I was pretty inexperienced about programming in general. Like, I'd done basic programming things, but nothing overly complex. Working on this game has done me more good for my programming ability then any of my classes this year; it's taught me how to program and solve problems that arise in our code, as well as having to work around a game that is entirely online. (It's also infinitely more interesting than any of my other classes; I can't even remember all the times I've put off doing work for another class, because I wanted to finish working on something for our game.)

This used to scare the crap out of me. It still kinda does, but at least now i can handle it.

My next project is going to be trying to find an internship at a game studio this summer. Hopefully I can continue on in the game development track, and be able to work on some sweet video games.

Wish me luck!   read

10:54 PM on 01.12.2009

Living the Dream- One Gamer's Journey Through Game Development (Part 2: The First Milestone, and My Talk with Pi Studios)

As this blog was begun after development on our game had already started, it's necessary to bring everybody up to speed on the state of our game as it is at this time.

The layout of this semester's class is a group project, consisting of four programmers, and one artist. The project we agreed on is a top down online PVP oriented RPG, where you control a character who has to fight against the opposing teams army, in order to conquer their team's base, Once that base is captured, it affects an overall "War Map", changing the ownership of that territory to that team. The whole game is online, and the character's will be persistent, level up, and belong to one of four character classes. It's also twitch based, meaning, among other things fireballs that won't auto-follow enemies. When you cast a spell, you have to aim it so that it will hit your target, accounting for trajectory, cast time, etc.

To put it simply, it's kind of like a WoW battleground, but all the while fighting alongside NPCs, constructing beneficial structures, and being more action based in it's gameplay.

I don't want to post art, especially without being sure our artist knows about it, but this is the basic view that our game takes place during the battles. Our art style is heading in a very cartoon-like direction

So today was a day when we had to show a presentation of our game's state (we've been working on it for a few weeks now) to not only the rest of our classmates, but also a few designers from Pi Studios. The head of my group gave a short presentation about the gameplay mechanics, while my half of the presentation was to explain the background story / differences in the two factions of our game, as well as how it relates to the theme of our art.

It was definitely a really interesting experience. Hearing professionals commenting on our game ideas was really cool, since it was one of the first times one of my game ideas was met with more professional and insightful feedback. Most of the time, trying to explain what i thought would be "a cool game" would be met with a general "Oh hey, that sounds neat." from my friends, or a "Yea, cool!" from my family. Now, I was talking to people who knew more about the process of developing games, and what other things to think about when turning our game ideas into a working game.

The people from Pi Studios are really helpful towards our class, and definitely deserve a huge high five for helping us, as well as giving me sweet advice

After the presentations, I decided to get a few more words in with the guys from Pi. I asked them what a prospective game-maker should try and do to get their start in the industry. The advice given was basically as follows:

1) Always try to make games in your free time
They always made sure to emphasize that making games is something that you really have to have passion for, not just something that you are deciding to do for money. Higher paying computer-science jobs aren't hard to find, but working in game development is sacrificing a bit higher pay, and working long hours, in order to work on something you genuine interest for.

2) Be ready to travel
They also told me that I should be ready to travel somewhere else in order to get a good job. They did mention the West Coast as a hot location for game design, but even said that lots of their colleagues had gotten jobs overseas. Though I don't think I would be looking for a job in another continent, I guess the possibility is always there.

3) Meet lots of game developers
The last thing they mentioned was the importance of who you know in the industry. They said that it's important to get to know lots of people who make games, in order to get them to help you getting into the industry. Internships are especially useful, apparently. Hopefully this website will help me with this step. I hope to attend PAX next year, so maybe some networking can begin there :)

Hands were shaken, good-bye's were said, and I felt just a bit closer to my goal of one day being a real game developer.

Anyways, pretty soon we are going to be working on getting networking on our game working, first between two computers over LAN, then more, and finally to/from a server. As I have no prior knowledge about this subject, I can only imagine this phase is going to be even more confusing to me. Oh well, gotta start learning how to do this some time.   read

5:35 PM on 01.10.2009

Living the Dream: One Gamerís Journey through Game Development (Part 1: Introduction)

The world of game development has always fascinated me. Ever since I was a kid, Iíve been playing games (thanks to a certain other dtoider), and always looked at my games wishing I could add something new to them. I used to have notebooks in middle school that were filled with doodles and sketches for cool new weapons, or neat alternate control schemes for existing games. I used to think that one day, I would be able to say that I was a part of this game making world, creating the next big video game.

I came to Rice University with the plan to get a degree in Computer Science, and then hopefully somehow get involved in the industry. I didnít even know I could take a class on game development here until I started reading the course offerings. Naturally, I jumped at the idea of a game making class, and enrolled in one of them for Fall 2008.


My final project wasnít anything too amazing, just a 2D sprite that would run around, shooting bullets at aliens on a static, textured background. But this was the first time I was able to start from scratch, designing a game the way I wanted to. I added in a time control button and different little power ups, that made the game seem unique and different from all the other final projects. So when the next level course was offered in the spring, one that involved working in a larger group on a much more in-depth game, you know I had to jump on that opportunity. Now Iím in the class, and work has begun on our next game.

A semester of work, and my game was already basically an XBL Community Game

This blog is just going to serve as a way for you to read about my experiences creating a game, even one that is vastly less complicated than what you would see on a GameStop shelf. Keep in mind that I am definitely not the most talented person in my group; Iím just the enthusiastic freshman who almost died of excitement when he was given the opportunity to work on a game. The others know so much more about computer science itís almost embarrassing, but that doesnít mean I canít contribute my own ideas to the game play concepts, and other things like that. Iíll try to update the blog every few weeks or so, to talk about developments in the game idea, design, concept, or whatever. Iím hoping that by the end of the year, there will be some kind of demo for people to download and play, so if you follow the blog, you get a treat at the end!

Most importantly, Iíll try not to suck.   read

8:03 PM on 12.10.2007

Best Buy: Our (free) Rock Band Arcade

-"Hey man, what you doing later?"
-"Well i was gonna engage in sexual intercourse with my girlfriend, after which point i was probably going to indulge in all kinds of various drugs..."
-"Well me and some friends are gonna go to Best Buy, you wanna come?"

Am I exaggerating? Perhaps a bit. Perhaps not.

But seriously, with some of my high school friends lately, hopping in a car and heading to Best Buy is the new "hopping in a car and heading to somebody's house."

And what reason would four high school seniors in their prime have to drive 20 minutes to a Best Buy? The great holiday deals? Nope. The wall of TV's in the back? Getting warmer...

Rock Band. ALL the way. We like to stop by any Best Buy we find, and play a few rounds of the game. None of us actually have the game yet . That's bound to change by this Christmas, when one of us is bound to get it. None of us really have jobs, so our income is essentially divided into one of two categories: "Skittles", and "Everything else"(drinks, other snacks, lost bets.)

Of course, gotta mention that we LOVE the game. When we are playing a game of Rock Band, we feel like the biggest bad asses in the world: nailing solos, five starring songs, and drawing the Best Buy crowds( Of course when the song ends, we realize once again we are still just 4 lonely nerds jamming on plastic toys. Oh well.)

I do kind of feel bad for loitering around their store, since our intentions were never really to buy anything. We make sure to pick up a coke on the way out, so it's all good.

Every group of high school kids you see playing in a Best Buy is another group that ISN'T on the streets.

Though maybe that would be better. At least we would get some exercise.   read

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