Goal the Game

Here is a little game that I made in UE4. Please give a try .

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Glass Cannon – Alpha Build

Do you like games like Super Smash Brothers? Do you like games made by Indie developers that don’t suck? Then download Glass Cannon, currently in Alpha, and be amazed. Please support my friends at RHO Interactive and enjoy their work.

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Omaha Game Developers Association

 

Above is a intro video that was made for a panel I was on at Nebraskon 2016.  If you happen to be in the Omaha area of Nebraska and like video games, come out to one of our meetings. We meet up every second Thursday at 7pm at DoSpace. Our next meeting is this coming Thursday, January  12, and will have two members as our speakers. If you are interested and would like more information please follow us on social media.

OGDA Social Media Links

Twitter

Facebook

Meetup

Website

 

Boss Fights Health

So I was watching my brother play the Rise of Iron DLC for Destiny and I had an idea during the first boss battle. My thought is that, depending on the difficulty level, only a percentage of the boss’s health comes back. So if you are playing on normal then the boss only gets 25% of their health back. Of course this would change with the difficulty, so hard mode would get 50% while extra hard would get 75% or 100% back. I think this would a nice little wrinkle when creating boss fights.

How to Indie Dev in 10 Steps

A few weeks ago a friend of mine linked a article from Gamusutra that is a top 10 list of things to do to become an Indie Developer. I innitally thought the list would give some real cool pro tips but it is just supper practical. Below is the original list by Christian Allan with my hot takes on each point.

1. Get the most powerful rig you can afford. Use NewEgg to build it to save dough. -This step is very important if you plan on making games for consoles, mobile or pc. This is your fondation for your development. You don’t want to be at the half way point when your 5+ year old rig craps out for the last time.

2. Buy a solid state backup drive. Hook it up and set it up to auto-flash the HDD. -Back up all the things.

3. Get a cloud backup solution like Carbonite. -Back up all the things again in case your your place burns down or your computer is stolen. I personaly like Backblaze for my cloud based backups.

4. Set up a Google office account for document management.-Staying organized makes game development a lot more fluid than trying to remeber everything. It also can prevent redundant work if you are on a team.

5. Get the following programs: Unreal Engine (free), Perforce (free), Paint Shop Pro ($70), Trello (Free). Learn how they work and what they are for. -I personaly use the Unreal Engine and GitHub.

6. Download the appropriate Unreal Template for your game.-You can also use Unity3D, CryEngine, RPG Maker, GameMaker: Studio

7. Watch tutorials on youtube on Unreal Blueprint Scripting and asset importing.-Repeat step 6 with your prefered engine.

8. Browse the Unreal Asset store for an appropriate starter asset kit. Buy it.-Even though I prefer UE4 the Unity3D asset store is much more expansive at the moment.

9. Start building your game, starting with the most basic player interactions. -Just make something, anything. Just do it.

10.  Recruit a group of gamer friends that you can send your game to and provide you feedback.  Prototype, integrate, test, iterate, repeat. -This, all day long.

Another thing that I would like to note is that if you plan to make video games you should remeber that the process is not a sprint but a marathon. The larger the game, the longer it will take to finish. So in the begining start with a small game that can be finished in under a month. Building something and then finishing it will boost your confidence. Always shoot for small victories.

Gamers Are Cry Babies

Tissue-Cry-baby

For as long as I can remember gamers have always been a very passionate group. An for the most part that is a good thing, especially when some good comes out of that passion.  Though a lot of the time humanity, not just gamers, like to focus on the negatives. That is probably due to the fact that we like drama, and not just any drama but other peoples drama. For some people it makes themselves feel better or it’s just the fascination of a car crash. You want to look away but you don’t. But regardless of the reasoning drama happens in gaming and is mostly started by the fans.

As a gamer I have seen how this drama usually unfolds from both the fans and developers point of view.  From the fans perspective there are two extremes; the Hype Train and the Fail Train. The Hype Train for the most part is pretty much always there before the release of a Triple A title. For the most part the Hype Train is a dangerous mistress that can bring record pre-orders (GTA5). Or it can be a great high before a hard crash (Titanfall). For the most part I feel that no game could ever truly live up to its own Hype Train cause once the train starts it does not stop till the reviews come out. An if the reviews are bad then the  Hype Train turns into the Fail Train. Now as long as most of the reviews are 9/10 and 10/10 the Hype Train will keep on rolling till the next big release.

Though for a lot of games they had a nice big Hype Train filled with good vibrations. Then the game released and those good vibes turned into a shit storm (EA’s latest big titles). The Fail Train is mostly composed of over exertions  on how bad a game is or how the devs changed too much and now the game plays like shit. In some cases these accusations are true (BF4) but for the most part are blown way out of proportions by gamers who have knee jerk reactions and are very vocal on forums and use ALL CAPS FOR EVERYTHING! For the most part these people are in the minority but since they are very active on forums it seems like there are more people  enraged then there actually are.

When it comes to these individuals I like to refer to them as cry babies. Some of these cry babies on occasion will have legitimate complaints but tend to not present said complaint in a civil manner. For the most part they just like to complain. Sometimes they complain because a feature from a previous game was taken out or a new game mechanic was added. Other times it’s because the game is going in a new direction or is staying the same. An at other times they just complain in hopes of getting free stuff.

Now from my limited industry experience,  from the development side of things a lot of these complaints are just ignored. Though one of the devs I know would joke about going through the forums so he could start hating himself. Now the studio I work at we are lucky enough to have a very positive fan base so most complaints are constructive criticism. Though every once in a while there will be someone who just needs to vent about all the issues they have had, in the Beta. For the most part devs do not concern themselves too much about the Hype Train but do their best not to be on the Fail Train.

Skywind – Fan Made Morrowind with Skyrim Engine

As  someone who has put in over 150 hours in Skyrim and has done a lot of modding this fan made project of redoing Morrowind fascinates me. Though I do have to admit I have only played Skyrim but I am really looking forward to seeing the finish result.  Also for those would be game creators out there they are looking for help for pretty much every part of the game. You can go to there forums page to see what need to be done cause I will help in any way that I can.

Source: Polygon

Mobile Gaming and Me

BBG-Logo-Preview

So near the beginning of February I started an internship at SkyVu Entertainment in Quality Assurance. For those  who do not now them, they are the makers of the Battle Bears series. There latest game is Battle Bears Gold and is available on Android and iOS so give it a try.

[Disclaimer: Since the CEO of SkyVu follows me on twitter this post is just my thoughts on my experience so far there. So if you are hoping for some juicy gossip you won’t get it from me since I have only been there a month so I don’t know much.] Now with my shameless plug aside let me share some of my thoughts  about actually being on a development team. First and foremost QA is not my ideal position but it got my foot in the door so I can’t really complain. Hopefully after I get my C# classes done I can move over to programing. Though more than likely if I were to move up inside the company it would be towards the design team since my table is right next to theirs. Building relationships I find is the best way to move up in any career path. So being in QA I do a lot of testing so essentially I play games all day. An for most people that sounds like a great job. An for the most part it is except that I have to play the same game over and over again. Plus I just can’t play, I have to constantly look for new bugs and try to reproduce bug if they were fixed. From a job stand point that is the only real pain but that is the job so I just deal with it.

Now from a personal stand point I find QA very frustrating. It’s frustrating for me because all I do is find bugs and see if they are resolved. I have no real involvement in the actual development or design of the game. An since I am working on majoring in Game Studies I haven’t been able to put anything I have learned to any real use. But since I do not have a direct hand in the creation I do try to give “suggestions” now and again. Hopefully, if I am still there in the next 6 months to a year, I can leave a mark on one of the future projects. Though in the mean time if I can just get my name in the credits of Battle Bears Ultimate, which is currently in beta, I’ll be content for a bit.

AlphaTest1-1

With that personal business out of the way let’s get to an issue in mobile gaming. An that issue is that some mobile games are just too big. Now what I mean by too big is that developers are trying to make more and more expansive games to distinguished themselves from the rest of the pack. An not just that, but something worth investing money into, since micro transactions are the future. Probably the biggest complaint I see on the BBU forums and review of other app games are that the game either just crashed or didn’t work. An from what I have seen is that it not so much the developers fault as is the persons phone. I blame the phone in some cases cause there are just so damn many of them. Apple is always coming out with a new iPhone which always has slightly different stats then the previous one. The Android OS is not always consistent across all phones that have it.  Also it does not help that practically every month there is a new phone. And I rather not talk about tablets too.

So since we have all these devices it brings a few challenges to developers. First is how do I get my game to work well on both platforms. This within itself is not a huge deal if you are using game engine like Unity3D where you can build to both devices. Though when it comes to iOS  it takes a  few extra steps and Xcode to build to a iproduct. The second issue is memory. If you made a mobile game that played well on the newest phone it may not work on an older model. An that may be due to that fact that the assets are just to large to run on an older phone.  Though with consoles they do not have that issue. If you build to and Xbox it is same across the board. But while I have been at SkyVu I have kinda over heard  the conversations to make the game work more universally. Those conversation were basically about optimization and dropping the resolution so it doesn’t tax the hardware of the phones.  So  as long as there is mobile game market this will always be an issue with developers. But hopefully tablet and phone tech will kinda plateau and make testing not so much a pain in the future. I know its asking for much but one can hope.