The latest episode of Analog Shtick features a very special guest, Mike Bithell.
We talk Thomas Was Alone, indie marketing and chat about the games we’ve been playing.
Check it out!
A few months back I picked up a Macbook Air. It was a slight impulse purchase, but one I’d been tempted by since I no longer use my iMac at home for development.
I’ve got a few projects coming up that require some travel, too, so I figured the air would come in handy. I think I’ve justified it enough.
When buying a laptop, one of the first decisions you have to make concerns making sure it’s nice and protected whilst you’re on the move.
Considering I mostly just travel in and out of London with my Macbook in a classic ‘man-bag’, I just really needed something to stop it getting scratched and knocked about.
Having looked at various options on Amazon, I decided I wanted something a little bit more bespoke.
So, I contacted Jenny Brammall, who has a great Etsy page, and asked if she’d consider making a Macbook Air version of her L4D zipped purse, inspired by the L4D health-packs.
Later in the week I received it in the post, and it looks great!
Follow Jenny Brammall on twitter.
Jenny’s Etsy page.
As well as the L4D stuff, there’s also some other wonderful, geeky stuff on there.
PLAY ON GAMEJOLT!
PLAY RESCUENAUTS ON KONGREGATE.
For the last 4 weeks, Iain Gillespie and I have been working on a little project in our spare time.
It’s called RescueNauts, and is a game for either one or two players.
We made it as something to keep us off the streets, and also for something to use as an entry for the Edge Online - Get Into Games 2013 competition.
Why one or two players? Well, there are two characters and roles to play in the game. One character is on a bike, and needs to dodge stuff. The other character is on a moving platform and must shoot things to clear the road.
One is controlled by the keyboard, the other by the mouse.
SO, you can either go HARDCORE and play it by yourself, or you can SHARE THE LOAD and play it with a friend (which is the best way).
The ‘making the game’ was the primary focus, with the competition being used as a catalyst and milestone. Of course, we’d like to do well in the competition, but we didn’t want to feel too restricted to ‘making a game just for a competition and trying to win and being all AWESOME and people loving us for the rest of time and yes I know I haven’t punctuated any of this sentence but that’s the point’.
I’m becoming a huge fan of small development cycles now. Rugby Skills Challenge 2013 was about 4-5 weeks of development, and this has been another 4 weeks. It’s small, refined, and we only concentrated on the things that it really needed to be in orde to deliver the experience we wanted and to a quality level we’d be happy with.
We’ll see how it goes and might consider doing a more complete version in the future, but for now, we’re SUPER chuffed with what we managed to do in such a short space of time.
Also, massive thanks to Sabrepulse for letting us use his music in the game. You should totally buy the First Crush EP, it’s pay what you want.
Anyway, I’m off to play Bioshock Infinite.
PLAY ON GAMEJOLT!
PLAY RESCUENAUTS ON KONGREGATE.
Play the original ‘competition’ build.
For anyone that grew up playing point and click adventures in the 90s, this is for you.
Fester Mudd starts with a screen that says ‘This game is a tribute to the golden era of adventure gaming’ and that’s exactly what it is.
Mark Brown has written a nice piece about it if you want convincing by a ‘professional’, but let me just add that even though this is a ‘tribute’ it’s a legitimate game in its own right.
The execution of the 90s pixel art style is excellent. It takes a lot of time and love to get that style right on an iPad screen, let alone perfected
For example, It’s SO well done that even the important things like menu buttons are hard to read, BUT THAT’S WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THE OLDEN DAYS!
Before leaving Unity I was lucky enough to get to work on something very exciting that they are cooking up over there; doing some level design on the new learning content that Will Goldstone and his team have been busy creating for a little while.
Some of the content they are creating is aimed at teaching you Unity in context with the ways in which you might create gameplay mechanics for specific games/genres.
The first batch of content is based around a stealth game and has recently appeared on the Unity Asset Store for download. Lucky for me it’s the project that includes that aforementioned level designed that I was involved with.
As it’s for a game based around Stealth there had to be a lot of consideration taken for potential routes the player could take and balancing the ‘threat’ and ‘progression’ windows.
It’s a fairly short level, but I made sure that the level had points in which the player could use as a break point, so that they knew that they were safe from previous threats, and could asses the new threats ahead of them.
If I get an okay from the Unity folks I’ll do a more in-depth explanation about the level design…
Anyway, take a look if you’re interested, I think Will and his team have done an amazing job with this. (Especially the battle bus, which I had NOTHING to do with)
IAIN GILLESPIE: Squaddies Bodies -
Almost a year ago I began work on a game called SQUADDIES at PLA Studios. It was dreamt up by mostly @v21 and myself for a TIGA competition. The game is pretty much a modernised version of Sensible Software’s excellent game Cannon Fodder but with the introduction of loot,…
I’ve done it! I’ve only gone and bloody done it!
I’m super pleased to announce that Rugby Skills Challenge 2013 is now available worldwide on the iOS app store.
From a jet-lagged test project and play-test in the back of a taxi in Melbourne, to your hands. Making this game has been fun.
At the end of December 2012 I had a very rough prototype of the game, and I set myself a goal to finish it by the end of January. I worked any time I had available, and whilst being a little late, I managed to do it.
I had to cut some corners, and I didn’t manage by original goal of making 100% of the game myself (The amazingly generous Chris Pope modelled the stadium), but it’s done.
You can get hold of it by searching for ‘Rugby Skills Challenge 2013’ on your iOS device, or following the links below…
It’s purposefully been a short project, and it was purposefully a rugby game timed to be released with a rugby event. I’m planning on blogging certain parts of the development in the coming weeks, but for now… I want to say a big thanks to..
Chris Pope - Totally couldn’t of done it without you. From the stadium model to incredibly useful QA.
Andy Brammall - Likewise. Original tester in the back of a taxi in Melbourne. Legend.
Mark Robinson - For dealing with me sending him many TestFlight builds.
Nate Gallardo, Josef Ortner & Marcus O’ Donovan for letting me use their products/games on the advertising boards.
: Analog Shtick 5 The first time I played MGS2 I was horrendously drunk.... -
Analog Shtick 5
The first time I played MGS2 I was horrendously drunk. I fell asleep and woke up the next day with some guy called Raiden on the screen and thought WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?(MP3)
In this episode of Analog Shtick…
THE TOURNAMENT HAS BEGUN!
We go back in time and talk…
Oh hey there.
It’s a well known fact of life that sometimes you just don’t get around to finishing things. I for one should know, I’ve got 3 projects sat on my computer waiting to be finished, but yet I started another one. Why? Well, this particular game was an idea I’ve wanted to make for a while. It’s not a huge project, it’s not a groundbreaking project…it’s an achievable project that’s going to scratch a massive itch I’ve had for the last 18 months - to get something out onto mobile stores.
There’s nothing like a deadline to get you working, but we all know that self imposed deadlines are too easy to move. This project has a self-imposed deadline, but it’s one that was decided based on the fact the game has close ties to a sport, and an upcoming sporting event would be the perfect time to release it. I don’t want to spend days/weeks doing promotion, I want there to be some ‘natural’/cultural reason that would lead people to it without me asking. A sporting event is the perfect opportunity for that.
You see, I’m making a rugby game. Why a rugby game? Well, I’m a massive fan of rugby, and there’s a distinct lack of rugby games currently available, so why not?. This particular project started out as an experiment in creating ‘flick kick’ style controls, which very quickly turned into a prototype, which then turned into an experiment in different game modes. I quickly realised that this could be a project that could very realistically be achieved…so I decided to finish it.
I set myself a goal of finishing it by the end of January, which is what I’m working towards now.
Because it’s supposed to be a ‘one-man’ project in a short time frame, I’m doing 90% of the game myself, including art and UI, which admittedly isn’t something I’d every apply for as a job, but I can manage! The only area I’m getting help is with the stadium model, which is being created by Chris Pope.
90% of the code base is complete, and I’m now in the process of completing the art side of the game, and beginning playtesting and bug fixing. The initial launch will be iOS, and depending on whether it’s worth it, I’ll look into doing a build for Android at a later date.
Here’s where I’d like a little extra help, from you.
Sports stadiums have sponsor boards running around the edges of the pitch. Now, I’m obviously not allowed to use REAL sponsors, and I don’t have the tim to come up with incredibly witty puns on well known sports brands, or the time to dedicate to doing the art.
So I thought, “why not populate it with games?”. I want those to be indie games, and I’d like them to be your indie games.
You know what, it doesn’t even have to be games, it can be anything you’re working on.
What do you need to do?
A 512 x 128 banner image.
Send me a link/email (therussmorris[at]gmail[dot]com.) to where I can get hold it (whatever format you prefer)
Send me a website and or twitter account
Do it by Jan 31st.
What will I do?
I’ll put it in the game. The banner will appear on the adverstising hoardings, and a link to your website/twitter will appear in the credits.
If you create something, you can send it to therussmorris[at]gmail[dot]com.
If you do, that would be awesome. Super awesome.
Have a good day!
Episode 3 of Analog Shtick was released earlier on the week. Definitely our best episode. You should check it out, because….well, it would be nice if you did :)
Also, we got to episode 3 before Valve managed to, so there.
LUUG 14 took place a few weeks ago, and as ever it seemed to go down pretty well.
We were treated to talks from George Buckenham, who gave us a great insight into the world of shaders, something a lot of us only deal with on a ‘drop-down menu on a material’ basis, and Charles Burt from Colossal Games, who showed off the recently released Commando Jack.
We also had one of our most successful ‘open-mic’ sessions, with more volunteers than ever, and I’ll just go out there and say it, it included the best content we’ve ever had as part of our open-mic session.
A neat trick that came up involved vertex colours and dynamic batching. It’s one of those simple things that sounds more complicated than it actually is to setup, so I thought I’d just take the time to write it up and provide an example scene.
Looking worriyingly similar to a project I’ve been working on for a little while, but with added charm and character, Pop Cubes is a puzzle game where the player has to remove matching sets of coloured cubes from a series of columns and rows.
When creating a game like this, and particularly for mobile, you want to get around the issue of having lots of repeated mesh geometry that has simple colour variations.
Changing the colour properties of a material at runtime leads to Material instancing, which breaks your batching. Setting separate materials with individual colours means you can will end up batching different sets, which can be beneficial, but when it comes to a scenario where you have 6 cubes left, each of a different colour, you’re still having the same draw call overheads as you would with completely different meshes. Sure, it might not sound like a lot, but when you’ve got your head in ‘optimisation mode’ you tend to try and cut it down as much as possible. I don’t know about you, but I kind of get off on reducing draw calls…just me? Oh well… HERE’S THE SCIENCE PART.
The Magic of Vertex Colors.
What Mike is doing with Pop Cubes, is to change the vertex colors on the mesh itself, it requires a shader that will allow you to edit the vertex colours, but thankfully, you can get hold of those easily. Alternatively, you can check out Georges’ talk and then make your own, right?
What you need
- A shader that allows editing of vertex colours. There are a few on Unify
Unify VertexColor shader
- A load of gameobjects that share the same mesh and material.
- Dynamic batching enabled (Edit > Project Settings > Player).
- A script that changes the vertex color of the mesh.
- Another script to cycle through the colours and apply at run-time, just to be cool.
I’ve put everything that you need into an example tutorial scene.
Download : Vertex Colour example scene
The main script in this scene is called VertexColourTest.js (yes, JS, get over it).
Essentially what it does it take the mesh from the MeshFilter component, take the vertices of that mesh, then apply a colour to the mesh. Definitely more complicated that I’ve made it sound, but this is about all we need to know for now.
It’s definitely possible to apply different colours, and colour lerping based on vertices, but we’ll stick to standard colours here. You’ll notice though that the vertices are kept in an array, so if you did want to apply a colour per vertice, or lerp between colours, you need to add them dependant on their position in the array.
Based on the fact we’re passing in the colorToChangeTo, we need another script to determine what that is.
In my demo project I have it running off a different script so that we can determine what these colours are seperately, and if we wanted to, at runtime. It’s a basic built-in array with some colours assigned, and a quick colour picker using Random.Range.
It does some setup stuff on start. Essentially it just gets all the blocks, then caches a reference to the VertexColourTest script we are going to be accessing at runtime.
You can set the colorsToChooseFrom in the inspector to whatever you like.
Hitting R during at runtime should go through and change the colours without affecting draw calls.
Hitting E will cause an explosion to show objects reacting to physics, but still maintaining batching.
Dear Esther really is a stunning game.
I’ve been playing through it and taking some screenshots…
When he woke up in the morning he had no memory of his performance and a grazed knee.