Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Free Play Arcade: Crowtel Is Out!

So as part of my Games Games Games show: I've started making mini episodes about free indie games that can be found online. The very first of these is about a game called Crowtel. This is partially because it's a game where you play as a bird and we are so close to Thanksgiving. Also, It's because I came up with the idea after stumbling upon this game. New episodes should be arriving every week.

Here's the first!


In other news, I'm going to start making a small game for a short game jam just to get back in to the swing of development again. I want to document the quick dev time and make a video about it. We'll see how that works out.

Either way, I'm going to share with the blog, and keep you updated on what kinds of projects I'm working on in the future. What are you working on? I love hearing about what other people are doing. Drop me a line or leave a comment below.

Monday, November 16, 2015

And now it's time for: Games Games Games!



Gosh. It's been almost four months. But I assure you that I haven't just been sitting around on my tuchus doing nada. I have been spending almost all of my free time crafting the first pilot episodes of Games Games Games. And they are ready for you to enjoy.

Without further pomp:





The last one is actually just a chunk of a much larger conversation. if you want to listen to the whole thing for free you can at the official Games Games Games Bandcamp page! How about that?

This project has kind of taken over my life, and I have a whole new appreciation for other people who've been making videos for years now. I hope you watch the videos and maybe share them with your friends. I'm going to keep releasing videos every month. (I already have episodes planned out for the next year.) If people are watching, I'll be able to invest more time, and then release videos more frequently.  Can you help me make this grow?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Something New Is Coming

BUS_WAIT is on hold for a hot minute while I work on something entirely different. After this moves forward I promise you. I promise you! BUS_WAIT will resume. More details are inbound, but until then enjoy this teaser...

And this...


I've been very hard at work, and I already have the scripts written for 3 episodes. Production is well on the way for all three of them, and I have cool ideas lined up for a great many more.

The first episode is going to be about Snake Rattle N Roll. A game made by Rare that I played a ton of growing up, but isn't very well known compared to much larger titles from the same developer.

What do you think? Look forward to the launch of my YouTube channel very soon!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Today's blog post is about the rule of kiss. For those who don't know this rule, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

I've recently been caught up trying to put together environment assets for BUS_WAIT that would rock the socks off of people. But rather than worrying about the individual pieces I should spend more time worrying about the Gestalt (the whole) of the project.

For example: I've spent a long time recently worrying about power lines in the dungeon.

What color should they be? Do I want bunches hanging from the wall? What does the hook look like that holds these power lines up? I sketched pages of doodles for these power lines. I asked friends color theory questions about how best to incorporate the power lines into the scene. I was letting this problem bring the entire project to a halt!

Who gives a fuck?

Keep it simple: no one cares about the power lines except me. They are background information that helps to build the structure of the rest of the scene. Rather than worrying about this small and insignificant part of the dungeon: I should spend more time building out and populating all of the rooms with the myriad of more important assets that actually have significant storytelling and game play importance.

Later, I can go back and improve the assets I've already made to inform a more cohesive whole. But this all needs to happen later.

Keep it simple, stupid. Worry more about the big picture, and less about the details. This may seem obvious, but it's a very helpful reminder for me.

As for the game...

More info soon. I promise.

Here's a Sonic doodle for your troubles:

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Still Waiting?

Wow, so it's been a hot minute, hasn't it? My last update was at the beginning of April. Summer is here, and it's time to get back to work.

I am well rested, and I hope that you are as well.

So let's talk about BUS_WAIT.

BUS_WAIT exists as a kind of demo for a much larger game about magic and storytelling and making decisions. A sort of "Choose Your Own Adventure Game." A game that is not about waiting for a bus, but you could definitely make it about that if you wanted to. I want to share a bit more of that larger idea in the demo without completely spoiling it all. so let me share this asset I've been working on for BUS_WAIT:

So yeah. That's a thing.

I figured it would be good to have BUS_WAIT deliver a taste of the rest of the game. This screen is just a space in development. I'm making a template and asset library to draw from, and I'm going to have a whole mini-dungeon hidden in BUS_WAIT waiting to be found. Also, since there's a whole story that unfolds through repeated playthroughs of BUS_WAIT and since 1 hour is a ridiculous amount of time for a person to spend waiting for the story to develop on a single screen: I am reducing the wait time for the bus down to 10 minutes. There are a whole host of other changes I want to make to the game as it exists right now, but I'd rather show and not tell. So I guess there's nothing to it but to get back to work.

Until next time.

Friday, April 03, 2015

While We Wait.

BUS_WAIT is fast approaching, and it should be completed sometime this month. I don't know if I'll meet the deadline for Punk Jam with a finished experience, but I would still like to submit what I have... 9 days left! While I remain Knee Deep in the Dev, I wanted to draw attention to some amazing projects from people that are inspiring to me.

Aeon Valley by Michael James (http://www.aeonvalley.com/) : "Aeon Valley is a science fiction comic about a group of friends who explore the strange urban legends and mysteries that surround the very town they live in."

Michael has been working hard on this webcomic for a couple of years now, and he's really taking the time to tell an adventure story worth following. There are robots and time (dimension?) shifts and calamities and ancient evils afoot. Currently one of the main characters is sneaking in to the sewers under his town to go exploring and I honestly have no idea what's going to happen next. Michael updates twice a week: you should really give Aeon Valley a read and get hooked.

Nwain by Terrana Cliff (http://www.nwain.com/) : "The story follows Nwain, a knight who wanders dreamland in search of home.  She fights monsters, joins tournaments, solves disputes, and helps others face their nightmares, until she must face her own."

Nwain is an amazingly ambitious undertaking: a fantasy story with a deep lore put in to an animated webcomic format. Terry updates with two new pages at the end of every month and I am regularly blown away by the craftsmanship and ideas she presents on every single page. Her characters, locales and writing come to life on the screen and inspire might just leave you frothing at the mouth for the next update.

Red and the Wolfe by Nicholas Rubatino (Link to ComiXology Page)  : "Red and the Wolfe is the story of a young girl confronting the world on her way to adulthood. It is also the story of the world confronting a Wolfe on his way to canonization. Their lives mix, ideologies are tested, crucibles are passed, blood is lost, and mushrooms are ate. All while the menace of impending life looms over the proceedings."

Red and the Wolfe is a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood with more than a slight macabre twist. This story takes place in a dark reality where most everything is dangerous. Wolfe has tasked himself with the protection of Red on her way to grandma's house because he believes that she was sent to him by God. Red mostly does not care, but thinks that the Wolfe's religious views are a hinderance at best. Meanwhile colorful commentary is provided by Robin and Vulture: two birds following the journey from a safe distance. The story is dark comedy, but it might also leave you with a few thoughts on what it means to live in a world with beliefs that are not universally accepted.

All three of these projects are graphic in nature: two webcomics and a digital graphic novel. There is another thing I wanted to draw attention to, and it's a band. The band my brother is in: Success (http://www.successpunk.com/). They are awesome. Success is currently in the middle of a tour tour, and is playing shows in California over the next couple of days. They just released a new album called Radio Recovery and it's the best work they've ever done. Right now you can listen to the album on Spotify or purchase it from most major online music distributors. If none of those suit your fancy though, check out this single from their album posted to YouTube:


Other than being incredibly awesome stuff that I would like my own work to be associated with, what does this have to do with BUS_WAIT? Well... I plan on putting nods to all four of these in BUS_WAIT. You'll see.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Punk Jam Game Jam: DEEp Demos with just a hint of gameplay

I really like Itch.io. If you haven't taken the time to check out this Indie Game storefront, just take a second: there are some really cool and new game experiences in there, and a great deal of the games are free.  The site was introduced to me a while back by my friends at Ultra Runaway Games, and if you are looking for a site to host your games or a cool storefront that is well maintained but doesn't have crazy hurdles to get your content on there: definitely check them out.

Itch.io also hosts Game Jams. This is where Punk Jam comes in to play. A counter-culture game jam. One of the rules was explicitly to make games that: "have 'anti-design' or things that go against the grain of 'what counts as a video game'." Perfect! I am immediately invested in this.

Let me explain why...

To do so: let's talk about dungeons. I've decided to develop my dungeon explorer from a simple mechanics demo in to a full game. Up front I'll just say that it is called DEEp, It borrows some ideas from all over including: Zelda, Narnia, The Longest Journey, and choose your own adventure books to name a few. I'll go more in depth about DEEp in future posts, but let me tell you about it's prologue. DEEp starts out in the rain. You just missed the bus, and the next one isn't coming for an hour. Enter the Punk Jam... I am going to make the opening scene to the game for the game jam.

Work in Progress. ;)
I'm calling it BUS_WAIT. What do you do in BUS_WAIT? Why, wait for the bus for an hour of course! There's a bit more to it than that, but there's the general nugget of goodness. There will be little things in the environment that you can explore, and the character will talk to himself at times, and maybe a few other things. However, it's mostly this: you wait for the bus, and then the bus comes. The End.



This non-game is a good excuse for me to develop the visual style of the larger game while making one of the more troll-y (trolly?) parts of the larger story. This will also allow me to spend more time working on the story and planning out the rest of them game before jumping all gung-ho in to the DEEp end. Think of BUS_WAIT as the demo for DEEp. It will tie in more to larger game than you may think, and I think you're going to like it.

So that's what I'm working on. How about you? What are you making right now? If you aren't working on anything currently, or if you are working on something but feel like taking a break: why not try out a game jam? As of today: there are still twenty days left in the Punk Jam. More than enough time to make something grungy. Or you can check out the larger list of game jams on Itch.io. Or maybe you could start your own!

If you want to share, I want to know. I'm always down to geek out about game design and art.