Archive for April, 2013

Date: April 29th, 2013
Cate: Quadrilateral Cowboy, sketch

Monday Sketch: Bienjensu KDR-7 Simulator

The Simulator from my upcoming game Quadrilateral Cowboy:

simulator_process

Time-lapse recording of the sketch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt7GzfxEAcw

Date: April 22nd, 2013
Cate: sketch
3 msgs

Monday Sketch: Patti Smith

Patti Smith sketch:

pattismith

Time-lapse recording of the sketch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdhm6OPHPuM

Date: April 15th, 2013
Cate: sketch

Monday Sketch: orchid

The orchid I keep on my desk.

orchid_process

 

Time-lapse recording of the sketch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g712zjYAXcI

And here’s how the orchid looks like:

orchid_source

Date: April 12th, 2013
Cate: announcement
2 msgs

Humble Weekly Sale group photo

I organized a group photo for this week’s Humble Weekly Sale:

humblegroup

(Ultimately, the rhino didn’t eat the bird, but not for lack of trying.)

And here’s a link to the above image with the text removed.

 

Date: April 11th, 2013
Cate: development
19 msgs

Hello World

This week I’m fortunate enough to be featured in The Humble Weekly Sale. My email inflow has skyrocketed, and amongst them I get a fair amount of messages like this:

I’m a student in high school and I’m really interested in making games, but I have no clue where to start. I was wondering if you could offer me some insight into where to start?

Everyone’s brain is wired differently. For me, my best suggestion boils down to:

Make stuff. Then make more stuff.

If you’re not into brevity, I’ll get more specific.

The Dive

Someone smarter than me once described game development as jumping out of an airplane with nothing but a needle and a silkworm.

para

I don’t think it’s important to have a great idea. I don’t think it’s important to be unique or innovative. I don’t think it’s important to be bulletproof, or for that matter, good.

When the ground is rushing toward you at a million miles per hour, what’s important? You make something.

People can’t play a design document. People can’t play a grand vision. People can’t play all the cool ideas you’ve planned out down the road.

docs

People can play the game you make.

The moment you start making objects move on your computer monitor, that’s when a flip gets switched. That’s when all your theory and ideas are forced to prove themselves, and it’s there, in that collision of code and art and sound and design, where things happen.

You start sussing out what “feels right.”

Connections start connecting.

Discoveries are unearthed.

Your skillset crystallizes.

Most importantly, your toolbox gets bigger.

hello

Don’t get stuck focusing on making it good or clean. Focus on making a game. Get good at implementation, and the game will follow suit.

The Show

I find it impossible to objectively view my own work, so I place a lot of value in playtesting. Order pizza and present your game to your family and your friends and the friends of your friends.

By “present,” I mean you stare at the player as they play your game. They play. You watch. They’ll ask you questions, and you reply with a stare. Silently. Gravely. With your steely butternut eyes.

stare

The thing is, the player doesn’t know what the game is supposed to be, or how it’s supposed to play like.  The verbal feedback they give sometimes matches up with the game design, but actions speak louder than words here, because actions can’t lie.

You’ll see them fidgeting with the mouse, not knowing what to do next. You’ll see them completely miss the giant glowing button in the middle of the screen. You’ll see them do everything wrong.

And so you stare, and don’t give a single lick of help as they click on every incorrect thing. You’ll have a notebook where you write down every horrible thing that happens, and this notebook becomes the new center of your galaxy.

path_notes

Then you make a new build and find new friends to rest your steely butternut eyes on.

The Finish

The hardest part of making a game is the last ten percent. By now, your elegant work has matured into a tattered tower of popsicle sticks held together by wishful thinking.

But the game’s not done with you. The tower is gluttonous and hungers for more, making the tower more shaky, more warty, more farty.

And you’re going to release this warty farty thing into the wild.

dove

More poetically, you’ll let your caged bird fly free.

More realistically, it’s going to be a bloodbath. It’ll be educational, it’ll be enlightening, you’ll emerge covered in a thick coat of goopy blood.

And you’ll restart the cycle all over again, because you know your next project is going to be ten times better, and damn that’s addictive.

Et al

I started dabbling in game development during elementary school and began earnestly putting time into it during sixth grade. This was stuff like QBasic, DEU, and Autodesk Animator.

Years later, Gravity Bone was my first game that I was satisfied with, in that its execution began to match my taste, and in how it found an audience.

gravitybone_1

That’s a span of about fifteen years between me first starting game development, to making something I liked. Fifteen years of making really awful stuff.

Actually, that last sentence is deceptive. It implies I no longer make awful stuff. Truth is, my hard drive is bursting at the seams with broken, clunky prototypes. After shipping Atom Zombie Smasher, I spent the entirety of 2011 making prototypes, all of which explosively failed:

Here’s the multiplayer space RTS:

space_rts

Here’s the dungeon-master game:

storygame

Here’s the survival roguelike:

survival_roguelike

Here’s the hack n’ slash roguelike:

dungeoncrawler

I fail frequently and I fail quickly. It’s a natural part of the process, and because I’m human, this parade of failure does get discouraging from time to time. Everyone has to find their motivations to push onward.

So, to wrap it up: make stuff. Then make more stuff.

Date: April 8th, 2013
Cate: sketch
2 msgs

Monday Sketch: big bird

 

That’s one big bird.

huggybear

Date: April 1st, 2013
Cate: sketch

Monday Sketch: Metro Rider

Metro Rider:

railrider_process

Time-lapse video of the sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vXt5OKchiI