Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blue Blast!!

I added some sound to Blue Boy's game play today.  Some of the sound does not seem to be loading correctly but it is a good start I think.  I found some tasty sound bites out here:


So check out Blue Boy blasting things in Stereo:


Leaving Comments

I just received a request my Daddy to sort out commenting.  Looks like my parents are having trouble leaving comments.  He is asking to be allowed to post comments as an anonymous user.  I did not think this was possible but after reviewing my settings it looks like it is.  Seeing how they are probably the only ones checking this blog on a regular basis:


Monday, March 18, 2013

Theme Music - Maybe

OK it is still Monday and here is my update:


This is Theme Music I created using instuments in my "home studio".  A fellow developer, Auntie Val, from one of the gaming sites has reviewed my game and suggested some possible theme songs from this location - http://audionautix.com/index.php

I might use one from there called Dark Mystery.  I sort of like the one I have but it has no driving beat like the stuff out there on audionautix.  And this brings me to another point.  I am breaking one of my survival rules.  I am not using much graphics or music from some of these freely available sites.  I guess the creative site of me can't help itself from doing much of this from scratch.  I do think the sound tracks on audionatix are way better.

I am getting some positive feedback on my game mostly around the art and animation.  I need to start sketching out level 2.  


Blue Boy Theme Music

OK I did not get to put together any sample tracks yesterday.  That said I got two things accomplished.

1. I took a really good nap
2. I setup a space for my rudimentary music/sound recording equipment in the office. 

Hopefully today will produce some actually results. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Having reached the milestone of finishing the training level, I took a breather from Blue Boy.  There are some items I think I will be working on next:

  • 1. Sound affects
  • 2. Background music
  • 3. Proper Start up sequence 

not necessarily in that order. 

For Background Music I am going to be using my piano.  I guess this will be my Blue Boy activity for today.  If I have something created by this evening I will post it here. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blue Boy's Mechanics

Here is my survival guide for bringing Blue Boy to fruition:
  1. Make the game as simple as possible as to keep it completable in 1 year.
  2. Keep the game mechanics as simple as possible.  No combo shots here.  Simple left, right, up, down, and shoot.
  3. Simple Graphics.  If I can't draw it or render it in Blender myself it ain't going in the game.  No Character should take more than 2 days to animate.
  4. Use as much free art as I can find.  I will only create original art when I have to (not just because I want to).

I am not really sure what the format of this Blog will be.  Sometimes I might post a graphic novel style description a level I am working on.  This will help to continue the story of Blue Boy.  Sometimes I might just blab/blog about some technical issue I am having with his game.  For tonight I decided to include a link to Blue Boy in its current state.  I have worked out a "Training Level" which walks the user through the basic mechanics of the game.

Here is what I have so far:


To date I have put about 1 and a half months into this effort.  I also worked out some rudimentary start and end screen that I am not at all pleased with.  I might spend time working on this next.  At the very least the end screen should have credits and some sort of summary of what happened during game play.  

Meet Blue Boy

I guess I will jot down an introduction to Blue Boy.

Blue Boy is basically the antithesis of one of my favorite Marvel Comic characters called The Silver Surfer.  The Silver Surfer had a primary goal of seeking out worlds to be consumed and destroyed by an astronomically powerful character named Galactus.  Unlike the Silver Surfer who was forced to play herald to a world gobbling super entity, Blue Boy's mission is to actually save worlds from destruction.  He is charged to do so by an intergalactic Senate.  Of course we will have to have a prequel game where we go into the origins of both Blue Boy and the Senate, but for now we start Blue Boy's story somewhere in the middle.

Blackberry: Men have always hated us. 
  Holly: No. They just destroyed the warren because we were in their way.  
Fiver: They'll never rest until they've spoiled the earth. 

-Watership Down

It is the year 2173 and the Earth has been taken over by the very machines they created to help make life more of a utopia. Not long after Earth's Point of Singularity was reached, humans lost control of innovation on their planet.  Machines were now the new innovators creating ever more fantastically horrific systems, and optimizing Bio Extraction with dire consequences.   With all non-renewable energy sources gone, these machines are using biotechnology to remain operational. Ordinarily biotechnology is a good thing, it can be made renewable and has endless possibilities.  But without a soul to measure their steps machines have gone to far and raped the Earth of most of its vegetation without any thought of replenishing it.  Until now we have been mentioning the machines as one nameless entity.  However there is a central control they call Crystal Gate.  Crystal Gate is composed of a series of subsystems each with its own dedicated task.  Oddly enough CG has sorted out a way to properly restore balance to the Earth and still have the energy they currently need.  However, having already discovered thousands of other planets and a means to reach them, they care less for Earth's outcome then a man eating a single grape cares for it when sitting down to eat an entire basket.  In either case Earth could never contain CG's lust for expansion.  It is this lust for expansion that has caught the notice of the Intergalactic Senate.   

What of humans?  What has happened to them in this new age...

Humans would have been wiped out long ago if it were not for an interesting technical twist of fate.  You see these machines are not completely composed of wires and metal.  They descend from the very first Humanoids created by humans in 2030 and containing neurons taken from living human subjects.  The neurons do not live long outside of the human body.  CG has gone far in its humanoid evolution, and the neurons can last for much longer now, but must be replaced with new ones at some point.  Humans were spared for this reason alone.  I use the term spared lightly.  If you consider living under the cruel tyranny of CG being spared.  Humans are treated like cattle.  They are kept in small prison camps and milked for there precious neurons.  The air on earth is no longer fit to breath so even if they wanted to rebel they would not live long outside of these prison camps with their artificial atmosphere.

Sensing Earths impending destruction as well as the doom about to be unleashed on the universe the intergalactic senate has called upon one of their youngest Planet Savers.  Blue Boy's mission is to go to Earth, shut down the CG, free the humans, and restore Earths natural balance.  God Speed Blue Boy!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The lost years

The other day I was talking to a friend about the lack of time we have to really focus on our hobbies.  I recall saying something like "if I didn't have kids I would have already created the next angry birds."  I guess I say such things to make myself feel better about my recent failed attempts at video game creation.  However looking back, the sad truth is that I was failing at this way before I had kids.  Maybe by noting what I think are the pitfalls I can avoid them with Blue Boy.
Here is a high level summary of what I think the major stumbling blocks have been:

Technical limitations
Creative limitations
Lack of fleshed out story line
Overly ambitious game mechanics

OK I am not sure which of these short comings is most most significant but I am thinking technical limitations goes towards the bottom of that list.  Not sure why I placed it at the top but I will start with my struggles in that regard.  I am a software engineer with an advanced degree in cs but in all honesty that has served as more of an obstacle that anything else. The first time I sat down in front of the computer to create something was an exercise in futility.  I faced creating a game like some type of term project where I was going to start from the bottom up an implement every little cog that went into creating my game.  No cutting and pasting code for me man I was going to account for every little pixel.  After about 3 months I knew a great deal of assembly language and had drawn a stick man on the screen.  He could walk across the screen and looked something like this...

I remember showing my girlfriend this wonderful work of technical genius and she just stared blankly and ask what is it suppose to do.  I was getting no where fast.  Fortunately I had enough sense to stop programming my video card and start using sprites and Java.  Finally I was getting somewhere and a few months later I have a poorly drawn pixel art character walking across a blank screen, and knew a lot about Java and Object oriented programming, but still nothing you could call a game.  Life happened and I put aside the idea of creating any games for a few years.  Eventually I came across someone who knew a bit about graphics programming and they inspired me to great my own characters and give the gaming thing another try.  This time I was actually able to place objects on the screen that actually interacted with each other!  And you could control the outcome of the game by using your mouse.  I guess you could call that a game but it had no HUD and no way of gaining points.  Once again I proudly showed my girlfriend (new girlfriend) and she asked why I spent so much time working on it.  What was the point.  I agreed and went into me second retirement from video game creation.    At some point I got into rendering 3d graphics using a program called Blender, and when they came out with a game engine I decided to give that a shot.  I started on the creation of this 3D airplane simulator game.  Eventually I was able to actually fly around inside of a 3D world with clouds a sky, runway, etc...  Once again I became frustrated, but this time I knew why.  I had worked out most of the technical issues, thanks in large part to the good folks of Blender, but I have no idea what I was trying to create.  I had no story line for this game.  So I took some time to play other 3d flight sims and sketch out what I would like to do.  Things were sort of coming along until I got caught up in:

1. How to properly fly the plane
2. How to introduce enemy AI
3. How to keep the plane from flying through the ground
4. etc...

I got frustrated once again and stopped.  I realize now that my problem was that I did not work out the game mechanics prior to  doing a bunch of implementation and had painted myself into a corner.  In either case this was the start of another game creation retirement.

Over the next few years I had many more failed attempts.  Mainly failing as a result of one or more of the reasons mentioned above.  One thing I noticed though is that each time I took away a little more knowledge and skill in an area that is essential to game creation.  Graphics design, AI, animation, music creation, and story boarding were all learned during this process of trial and error.  So by the time I got a hold of this latest game engine called Construct 2 I was ready to finally say enough is enough!! and commit to creating some kind of playable game by the end of 2013.  I sketched out a storyline on some scrap paper, and have begun working on the game.  I decided to use this Blog as a way of tracking my efforts.  Most importantly I am hoping to use this Blog to bring Blue Boy to life and by doing that motivate myself to complete both this character and his world(s).


I have a Blog!

I feel like this blog is going to be serving two purposes.  The first is to finally put to pen the struggle I have been having over the past 10 years to create a independent video game.  The second purpose is to chronicle what is probably my 10th video game creation attempt in so many years - the creation of Blue Boy (Planet Saver).

At least if I can't say I created a video game I CAN say I have a blog about never creating a video game.  That has to count for something.  Right?