Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Facebook connect

I've been busy fixing bugs and making skydive accessibly to as many people as possible. People don't want to register on a new page, especially when it's a new page. At first I had a simple register/login-mechanic, which wasn't well received. Then I made it accessible to everybody, storing information based on IP, but that's not very safe and people were playing on eachothers accounts. So I ended up making a facebook-connect mechanic combined with the usual login-system. I don't know yet how this will work out. Hopeullfy it is not as intimidating. If you don't sign in you can still play the demo.

Facebook connect allowed me to make a challenge system where a player can play a level and send his time to a friend who in turn must beat that time in order to win. I'm not sure how this will be used. It's just finished but it will be interesting to see if people will use it.

Next up is marketing the game. As well as working on some other projects. I would prefer just to make games, but it's more fun if people know about them and can enjoy them.

I made a few public challenges that can be accepted. You can try it here:

Play skydive

In lack of gamedevelopment recently I uploaded a small prototype for another idea I came up with. I just wanted it to be a really small game, but the ideas are growing in my head :) This one is intended for Android, so I'm eagerly waiting for Unity3d to release the Android Indie version.

Try Barswing

Monday, October 25, 2010

Skydive update


The future for skydive is unsure right now. I saw at unity forums that at last(!) unity games were approved over at Kongregate, which was good news. I completed the last few levels, polished the new features and did a full integration with Kongregates API. After a few weeks I got an email saying that they don't approve unity games at this time. Apparently they only accepted unity games for a few days. Bummer for me, so right now there is no playable version of the game anywhere. I might wait and see what happens at Kongregate before I start integrating with another site. I'll probably put it up on my site in the meantime.

While completing this game I came to realize the importance of a project model even with only one developer. There's a lot of stress involved when you develop alone, and a lot of decisions. What made this easier for me was to simplify my workflow. I do the thinking first and plan a small iteration with todo-tasks and put everything else in a backlog. Whenever I come up with new things that would be cool, I put them in the backlog and try to be diciplined to not skip ahead and do tasks that I didn't plan for. In practice I have a few different backlog documents relating to either graphics, sounds, game design or coding. Current TODO tasks is a separate document. I also try to have a clear goal of the next "release" and what features should be included.
By doing this, I maintained a feeling of being effective and not overwhelmed, which relieved a lot of stress. Before I started working like this things got very messy and I felt like I had no control or a clear vision of what I should do next. Just hammering and hammering at new things that never stopped coming.
This is very similar to SCRUM, so if you're not familiar with that, you can google it for more details.

I'm not sure how others are dealing with project management in solo projects. I would like to hear any good advice though, so feel free to comment.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

First game Skydive.

Just uploaded the promovideo for my first game skydive that uses the unity engine. There are a few more things needed to be done before it can be released. But here's a taste. The clips are from in the game. The song is a clip from my band's song When I'm alone. Bands name is Wasted Saints.

You really gotta be a renaissance man when making games alone. It is much like a modern handicraft, a complicated piece of artwork.

Anyway, I just got a new site for Let it roll Productions up and running: Let it roll Productions

By the way, I'm really liking Microsofts MVC implementation for the web. End result is such clean code compared to normal asp.net forms.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Android, Iphone & IPad, Portal publishing or Do it yourself

I’ve just cut down in time at work so I can have more time for my own firm to create games, which feels really good. My boss was very understanding and it’s a big load off my shoulders. So I feel better about my work and my life. Sweet.

Now the question is just how to get paid for my games. My first thought was that of course I should aim for the Iphone platform, that’s where I got the best chances to make some bux. I’m starting to reconsider, because I don’t even own a Mac or Iphone . Personally I prefer Android for many reasons, but right now in Sweden I can’t publish to a paying market. I might aim at both in the future, but right now I’ll start with one platform and later port it if it’s worth the time. In Unity 3 coming this summer you can publish to different platforms just by changing build target, so porting (hopefully) will not be that painful. Another aspect is that I would rather develop for Windows PC or Mac where I can use fancy 3D effects. I found that Steam and Gamersgate can publish your games. I read that Steam has 25 million users which seems like a lot, but the question is how many of them are interested in indie games. I get the impression that it’s hard to get your indie game published there though it probably depends on how fun and polished the game is. I would like to know how much a good indie game might bring in over a period of a year. I’m also considering GameHouse which seems good for casual games.

I’m just starting out and I wish I had a mentor in all this. I usually read Gamasutra and Indiegames blog which is both inspiring and a good source for information. Well if you got any advice for me please send a mail or comment here so everybody can take part of your wizdom.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shiva vs Unity3D

I tried both free versions. After three days of evaluating shiva I decided that Unity was the best choice for me. It costs much more, but I have a lot more fun while creating games.

Shiva uses some kind of LUA scripting language, which is a big issue for me. I don't like it, nor do I like vb like syntax. A lot more lines to do the same thing. In unity I can choose between (Unity) javascript, C# and Boo which is then compiled to unitycode.
In shiva you have access to most features even in the free evaluation version such as dynamic shadows and render to texture. It is easy to set up and you can create some beautiful scenes pretty easily once you find the restart button. The tools in shiva is generally hard to use and at first glance there are a lot of windows to keep track of. I felt very frustrated after three days of evaluation. I had high hopes beacuse of the price. Maybe I should've given it more time, it is still a good engine, but in the end it was LUA combined with a frustrating GUI that pushed me towards unity.
Just have to say that I'm really impressed by the unity community and all user submitted content on the wiki and forums. Just amazing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Unity3D Game Engine

Been a while since I posted here :). I have been very busy developing stuff though. I recently tried the game engine Unity3D. I was totally blown away how easy it was to do just about anything. I love it so far. A lot of drag and drop (even with the scripting), and things just work as you expect it to. Had a bit of a problem importing bone animations at first though.
I got the free version, which doesn't include any shadows worth mentioning which really sucks (pro version costs $1200). The iphone version only costs $300 if you preorder it now, which I probably will. Projected shadow blob should suffice for now. On the positive (probably negative if you ask my girlfriend) is that I'm under a spell, feel really creative and productive, so I don't really sleep much anymore thanks to Unity.

I'm currently working on a prototype of game I call Magnet space (in lack of sommething better). I already made a prototype of this idea when I found googles O3d engine (3D engine for the browser), which you can try here: Magnet space
Register doesn't work, but you can use:
Username: demo
Password: demo10

I tried it on a few people, but nobody seems to understand the game but me :). I had an idea that I wanted to experiment with magnets. You move around the world by attraction and repelation, not the way you'd except I guess. So heres the instructions for controlling the amazing magnet.

The goal is to get all the green magnets.

[Space] attracts towards magnets. (They're all magnets until you collect them)
Arrowkeys restricts attraction in only that direction. So for example

[space] + [left arrow] : player is only attracted by magnets to the left.

Simple enough. To get higher score you have to take all magnets before the timer runs out. The timer starts when you collect a green magnet.

There might be a few bugs :P (Sorry about the asp.net MVC standard css, didn't think I'd show it to the public)

I'm not sure what is going on with O3D, haven't seen anything on their blog for a while. I liked the API, was simple, however javascript isn't very well suited for performance so if you want 3D physics it isn't the best option just yet. Unity3D has a webplayer which is good enough for me.

So currently I'm working on a prototype of this game again, just to learn Unity. I'm trying to get it to work in 3D, but I think the camera will be forced to the side so it'll practically be 2D. There will be some screenshots of the new version shortly.