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Christian: The Impossible Jump

Took a break from the inventory this week to rework jumping. The system that I had built wasn’t nearly robust enough to handle what we needed it to, so I took another look at it and game it an overhaul. Now, jumping is based off of what tile the player is over. If that tile is marked as “Unwalkable” then the game initiates its jump routines (either falling or jumping, depending on the player’s Y velocity) A more detailed explanation of this mechanic is to follow later, but the main hang up I had was the coordinate system. After some fiddling I managed to figure out how the tile position related to the tile number, and from then on it was smooth sailing. If this new jumping system passes muster, then I can go back to working on the inventory.

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Andrew: Can you smell roses on the run?

Time keeps trucking along, I know that everyone here has heard it and said it but time really does move fast, I have to keep reminding myself to stop and take a breath and look around a little bit.  I have been working so much that I start to forget how crazy it is that I get to do anything even remotely related to art for a living.  I had fun watching the wire and drawing the muffin gang, I also have been brushing up on the ‘ol graffiti skills in case I get to use them for some more in depth art later on. For now I’ve been trying to think of fun things this gang might tag on a wall.  I think this next week will turn either really cute or really dark depending on the crowlings. I’m also gearing up to take a real swing at the main character, after dealing with the move sets of these characters it will be fun to explore what our hero can do.

-Andrew

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Hadi: Whoops

Aaaaand I am late once again!

“Shame…. Shame…. Shame….”

Well like always I forgot about this part of development, whoopsie dasies.

This past week I’ve been heads deep in some logo design for our game! If I already haven’t mentioned it, we have a name! But we’re first trying to make the name look cool before we show anyone so I can’t say what it is yet…

Ah well, other than that I’ve been working with Dre for ideas on the scene for Episode 1. I think it’ll look cool, we just have to make sure that we go about this carefully and with care.

I’ve been waiting to have a meeting with Andrew for our character designs but I still haven’t heard anything about it, I can’t wait to see what he has in store. I’m pretty excited about that!

So a lot of irons are in the flame, so slowly we will reveal a bit more about this “game” we’ve been working on. I’m excited to see what people think!

Until next time,

Hadi

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Ken: Jump Out of Your Skin

Hey everyone, Ken E. here. Last week I talked about the Walking Corpse Syndrome, in which people come to believe that they are actually dead. However, that’s far from the strangest psychological disorder I’ve encountered. That honor goes to the Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. It’s a real thing. Go look it up…actually you don’t have to, because I’m about to tell you about it.

In 1878, an American neurologist named George Miller Beard discovered an incredible phenomenon was sweeping through a community of lumberjacks and French Canadians living near Moosehead Lake in northern Maine. Beard found that these lumberjacks were surprisingly jumpy – meaning they startled at the tiniest surprise.

Not only did these lumberjacks scare easily, they had an exaggerated reflex, so they often jumped like cartoons when surprised. And it gets stranger. These individuals often had bursts of outrage, and were very ticklish. They also often felt compelled to repeat the movements or words of the people around them. What’s more, these lumberjacks would obey any command as long as it was given suddenly. So if someone yelled “Jump,” they wouldn’t ask “How high?” They’d just jump. Beard actually recorded a few lumberjacks attacking their loved ones on command (thankfully he was also able to stop them before too much harm was done).

Unfortunately, the cause for Jumping Frenchmen syndrome remains unknown, and the mystery continues to baffle scientists and psychoanalysts to this day. However, what if this wasn’t a disease or psychosis of the brain? What if these jumping frenchmen from Maine were feeling the hypnotic effects of something ancient and unseen that resides in northern Maine? And what if that thing – whatever it is – is still there? What if it is still waiting for its next set of victims?

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Isla: Link roundup 7/26/16

For submissions, suggestions, or things to add, send ’em my way: @isla_es.

Video of the Week: The Philosophy of Bill Murray – Wisecrack Edition ” from Wisecrack (@wisecrack with @earthlingcinema, @8bitphilosophy, and @sparkysweetsPhD)

See Also: Dave Strider’s (of Andrew Hussie‘s/@andrewhussieHomestuck“) comments on this particular (and arguably very “American”) type of irony:

Capture

Song of the week: “Moon River (cover)” by Molly Moose

Reading material:  “Chrono Trigger’s Design Secrets” by Victorial Earl (@vmearl)

Excerpt: “From Mass Effect to Skyrim, modern RPGs go to great lengths to merge linear, carefully crafted narrative with dynamic, emergent gameplay. Hundreds of thousands of man-hours are poured into these incredibly complex works, all in the effort to create a believable, cohesive story while giving players a sense of freedom in the way they play their game. The results of these efforts have been best-loved play experiences video games have offered.

But the goal of marrying linear narrative to dynamic gameplay is not out of reach for developers that don’t have the resources to create such complex systems. No game shows this better than the classic RPG Chrono Trigger. Crafted by Square’s “Dream Team” of RPG developers, Chrono Trigger balances developer control with player freedom using carefully-designed mechanics and a modular approach to narrative.”

Reddit thread of the week: How can a multiplayer game create distinctive characters? by /u/Katamariguy

Excerpt:  “Characterization is definitely a very different matter in a multiplayer title, where creating an experience allowing competition/interaction with other players takes direct precedence over any form of story or dialogue. There seem to be two main ways that games are able to create interest in their player’s “classes.” The first is (usually) tangential to gameplay, where visual design and voice-acting characterize as in other media. This can be tough to balance out – conversations inserted into the beginning or end of multiplayer matches can be intrusive, and dialogue in the middle of gameplay can easily be forgotten in the heat of battle. The other is through differences in play-style: both Overwatch and Team Fortress 2 set out to create classes whose designs and characters directly complimented their mechanics and play-styles. Having a well-designed class system allows each player class to create a distinct and memorable playing experience. This allows players to feel attuned with the person they are playing as, or alternately, in some cases to create fan personas of classes.

Artist of the Week: Olivia Huynh aka. OliviaWhen (Portfolio, Vimeo)

Random Link of the Week: Click it if you dare (@josephknoop)

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Christian: Swap Meet

With equipment more or less working, it’s time for buying and selling. The basic mechanics of this is that when the player enters a shop, they will be presented with not only their own inventory, but the inventory of the shop clerk. In this state, trying to pick up an item will, instead of equipping it, initiate a buy or sell for that item, depending on if the player is in the shop’s inventory or their own. These mechanics are now in the game in a more or less complete state. the main issues I’m having are with the GUI of the shop not scaling well to different screen resolutions, and the controller behaving weirdly when shopping. Both of those should be fixed easily enough next week.

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Hadi: Loose Ends

Hi guys,

My apologies for missing last week’s journal entry. I’d like to say that I forgot, but I’d be lying.

The reason I missed it was because I was distracted with other aspects of our project.

This past week I’ve been assembling the first part of our slice which we are calling “Episode 1” (for now) by converting the awesome concept art for world’s end that dre drew up into a functioning in-game pixel art asset. I have also been trying to bring all of the work we’ve done so far to make sure that all the pieces are fitted nicely together into a fun (and hopefully interesting) experience for the player. This includes updating our game design document and chipping away at our slice’s character and environment document. I’ve also have had the pleasure of meeting up with our artist to brainstorm ideas, which is always fun to do. The story for the slice is getting close to completion and slowly but surely we can see a game emerge from the chaotic dust of concepting.

Somewhat relating to our game’s story, we’ve figured out a name! I won’t go into too much detail as to not ruin the big reveal; however I will admit that it is nice to have a “proper” name for our dear Project Nibiru.

One of the more difficult things that I’ve had to fac as a designer on this project is trying to “predict” what mechanics and systems work well with one another without necessarily having it implemented and tested out in game. Through researching similar games and having an elementary understating of core game design principles we try to make out our best educated guess as to what the solution for the problem presented can be. Now more times than not, when you get to implementing these designs, it will no doubtably have to go through it’s own changes and updates which are based on practicality and game-play testing. So by knowing this, as a designer you need to make sure that you have a solid “foundation” for the game so that when you have to make these changes and updates it does not break what you’ve been trying to build. I suppose it’s very similar to predicting the future; you don’t know how wrong you are until you’ve tried it out. 😀

So on that note, back to work!

Till next time,

-Hadi

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Andrew: Journal entry #18

First and foremost, Dre, I think you are pretty awesome too.  I had an awesome time up in the mountains. I really had a chance to be distraction free and work out Rutherford. I will be posting him mañana along with a color deal. I also has some logo stuff for consideration but it is too late now and I am sleepy as hell. I’m cited to get moving, getting things worked out is super motivating. 🙂 I look forward to this week.

-Andrew

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Dre: Revived

So I ran out of contract, but now I’m back.. INDEFINITELY (don’t tell the bosses). So I have enough time to finish all the map designs. I’m glad because I was worried that there would be some that were sub-par. I now have the time to finish things to the level I hoped they would get to, as well as time to do some level design and some promotional art. All these things fulfill a piece of my soul that has been empty for a while. Thanks Mr. [NAMESPACE]. I will be happy, you will be happy.

Also, on a side note, I have been depressed for a while (recent self diagnosis) but I have started recovery and I got a raise at my day job as well as a pretty solid performance review. It’s good to be reminded that I’m pretty awesome at what I do. So with the boosted confidence, I think everything will continue to get better. All my jobs are good and my personal life is also pretty good. Now I just needa find some ladies to pull me back into reality. BRING IT ON!

Dre
The conqueror.

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Sean: Animation Hooks

Ah yes, the unity animator. Creating overworld animation hooks means creating another tangled web of animation states.

Messy… maybe. Effective… definitely.

So far I have idle, walk, attack and roll states down and functioning exactly the way I want to. In an attempt to debug animations by myself with out needing outside testing, I have resorted to running a video capture while both my animator and game windows open. By doing this, when an animation breaks or just doesn’t behave the way I want it to, I can simply scrub back through the video and see what is being called at the problem point.

Next up is working through jump animation hooks. I ran into some unanticipated issues on Friday but having talked through it with Christian, I should be back on anim hook track in the next few days.

Until next week,

Sean