Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cardinal Game Jam

Stanford Alumni is hosting The Cardinal Game Jam in Silicon Valley. This one has a shortened time constraint of 26 hours compared to a traditional 48 hour jam. Thanks to, I'll be heading there to participate, all expenses paid with the reasonable condition that I use their platform technology along with something compatible like Unity or Cocos2D-x.

Unity is a rock solid engine for multiple purposes. It is very suitable for time constrained game jams because getting up and running is just so easy. Creating new object types for a project is just a matter of attaching components, including script files written in a high level language like C#. This excellent multipage tutorial demonstrates the basics.

Perhaps it will be my engine of choice in the future.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Conceptual art and playability

I like to establish the general art direction early in a project. To avoid going overboard, I limit the initial collection to just one background, a few animated characters, and some weapons and objects. Just a few polished assets can make an impact on the programming and design side of things. It can be motivating to understand the potential behind what would be a messy collection of primitive shapes and unlabeled buttons.

Normally background art is my greatest weakness, so I took my time with it by creating a dozen individual pieces that all come together as a single composition.

The foundation of my art style evolved from many sources including Monster MayhemTriniti Interative, Mika Mobile, Derek Laufman, and others.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lucky 13

My next project will be [un]lucky 13. I sense the web gaming market slowing down, so I will be returning to the mobile app stores. This time I want to release a mobile version of a game first, and then port over to the web. Despite the market, web games are still a powerful platform considering the millions of downloads a game can receive within days or even hours. It can be very effective if utilized correctly.

Currently I am working on a project similar to Zombie Situation, which is one of my better games. I want to offer a polished experience with a lot of interesting weapons and features powered by a leveling system comparable to some of the Call of Duty games. This game will be larger, both in scope and in development time.

It will not be a paid app, nor will it have excessive in-app purchases that would make it wreak of the freemium model. I would prefer to offer one bundle of premium content at a respectable price. Web gamers especially are turned off by anything more than this.

The technology side of things is straight forward. I am writing the entire game in Lua for Corona, currently using primitive shapes and placeholder interfaces for flexibility in design. It feels very lean and lite-weight. I dabbled in other cross-platform engines and frameworks, but I don't think it would have saved me time; porting to Flash from Corona is really easy (e.g. sequel Pigs Will Fly), especially when the art is built in it. The syntax is similar, so very large chunks of code can be copied and pasted. Both technologies are very optimized for their respective platform.

Now that I am renewing my Corona license, I will be patching all of my previous apps. For example, Scratch Tickets will receive four additional tickets. The King's Path will come to Google Play, will feature ads, and will be free to download. Paladin vs Demons, well, I am unsure at this point.