Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Year of Indie Development

Once upon a time, I was a bright eyed and enthusiastic budding gaming student ready to storm the world stage with my genius and in just a year I've come to realize how disillusioned I was. Game development is no walk in the park, it takes every part of your time, skill, patience and an abundance of passion, and without it making games would be an impossible task. over this last year I have spent the better part of my time trying to create a game of any sort and during this time I've learned many lessons that I feel I should share for anyone who is about to plunge into the depths that is indie development. I should probably note that over the past year none of my personal projects have reached release and the total tally now stands at 6 games designed and 0 games released, we made all the rookie mistakes and though we had been told to avoid them we still walked straight into those basic blunders, if you are new to games development heed these warnings 3! yar!

1. Stay in Scope:

Nothing will kill your game faster than going from a 5 minute demo of your collective skills to an fps/mmo/rpg/rts/puzzle/facebook game in little over a week. Scope is the bane of the bright eyed enthusiast but most of all an artist’s weakness, all I can do is plead to any programmers dealing with artists demanding never ending game content, slap these fools... they’ve gone mad with power and will soon turn on you for brains. To put it simply, make your design realistic and then stick to it.

2. You NEED Deadlines:

All games have and need deadlines, if you don’t have one you will end up making your perfect little xbox live game for 20 years before its ready for release, No game ever meets its dream state of development, being a good designer means knowing what to jettison and what mechanics make your game worth playing. Telling that story you’ve had hidden away for years is less important than having a fun game. Deadlines need to be reinforced, if you’re in a small team elect a leader, rotate your role as leader every fortnight but make sure everyone is working towards that deadline.

3. Plan for the Future:

Define your concepts and designs before you begin the process, write a clear and detailed design document, it will prove endlessly useful in making sure that your vision is met, I’m not saying that your game won’t change dramatically throughout development but make sure you’re still making the same game you started out with, don’t go from a single player iPhone game to a multiplayer PC game. You need constants in development, define them from the word go; what console is this on? Is it multiplayer? What programs do you need? Can you make this for free? Don’t walk in blind, it’ll be a slaughter.

Games require passion, never ending devotion to an art that you love and even though I have faced 6 consecutive defeats in just under a year I still feel optimistic, I feel that you learn so much from failed projects and the more you engage in development the closer you will get to tasting the sweet success of having a released game. I’m blessed with two amazing team members that prove to be endlessly skilled, but if your'e new and looking to make games, talk to your community, go to letmakegames lectures and meetings, you’ve got a highly trained community just waiting for you to contribute.

I saw this video on Polycount, it's from the Escapist and is definitely worth a watch for any aspiring designer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

.Uni Begins.

I've always wanted to texture a 3D model with tones, but now that I'm studying again this project might have to go on hiatus for a short while, thought I might aswell post it up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

.The Lack of Theory: Brown, A Mans Best Friend.

I've never dwelled to deeply into digital art, now that I am exploring the medium I've started to relize how little I know about it.

As a medium paper is very easy to learn to manipulate and exploit to achieve desired effects, where as working with a tablet takes your senses out of the picture and leaves you having to plan ahead alot more of your art. With physical mediums like paper I've never had a large range of colour to work with so coming into such an unlimited amount of colour in photoshop is all a bit jarring and left me with a huge desire to learn a LOT more about colour theory.

These are some of the works I've done since being given a tablet, the recurring brown theme is evidence of my lack of confidence with colour. Thanks to Matt Dyet for the Tablet.

Monday, October 19, 2009

.Going Indie Baby.

This Post is sort of a response to a Diomades Blog post about porting bit to the IPhone that has gotten me thinking a lot about what has to come next:

It's a really exciting idea, we never finished our original version of "Bit" and I'd like to see such a solid and unique concept have our names attached to it, not to mention that the visual style of bit would perfectly transition to the IPhone, Our end beta-Esq product showed real potential and this would be a chance to actually have a finished product of "The first game I ever made from scratch".

but the more I think about the Legal side of making a game that had so many students attached to its conceptualization the more I get a headache, Now I want to have nothing to do with the Law side of things... NOTHING, my brain just does not go down that lane in a productive way. So I'm thinking maybe it would be wise to enlist the help of a student from another University or College (or a real "Man of Law/Lawyer" but the cheaper the better) to draft up some contracts and run us through what we need to do in terms of making everything legit... then there's the issue of purchasing copies of Adobe software which in the long term would be beneficially but when your a student with no money looking at only making a few bucks out of an IPhone game the sense seems to fade fast, which of course is going to leave me looking for free alternatives that allow commercial use.

But forgetting the subject that haunts my dreams, It's the concept I'm looking forward to expanding on. When you're as passionate about a concept as I am about bit the new idea's seem to flow like a river and it's in this thought that I have a never ending confidence in the concept itself, it seems limitless at this point. Remaking all the art is going to bliss as well... as a self proclaimed artist there is nothing like making some old art look better... cause your harshest critic in the end is always going to be yourself.
I've made an image to show how the art will look compared to how it did in it's first project stage, It's the 16-bit character. It might not seem like much but I believe it has a very defining quality.

UPDATE 20/10/09: Finished upgrading the walk cycle of the "Red Round" character and thought I would mock up how it might look on the IPhone.

~ Scott ~