March 27, 2012


I managed to confirm a majority of things today but not enough to safely dump all my concept art. So I made something fresh for you guys that I don't quite care if it gets stolen. I took 10 min or so to do a very quick rough sketch of what one of the new characters might look like. I was thinking about adding freckles and adjusting the jawline to make her look a bit younger. I couldn't decide on a hair color and I didn't feel like spending time to do eye lashes right so her lack of them does look a bit creepy I will admit. The freaky discoloration is meant to be a symptom of mutation from the cloning process indicating she can't afford to die too many more times. As a character dies more the mutations become more apparent. If you let your team mates die too often they too will become more mutated and you can completely lose them making the rest of the game MUCH more difficult. Back to the character I'm thinking now of more shoulder length hair and free flowing instead of a bun which I didn't really make clear. What it comes down to is a basic shape, scale and positioning of important facial features. As I work more out on the character these will become more prominent and detailed.

The eyes were started with a mosaic pixelation and radial blur which I then went over with brush and burn tools. I've never been a fan of the "black outline" of features, I've always liked subtle color shifts to indicate shadows and such leading to a much better looking image. I tried to dodge in a couple highlights for reflection and depth though they could have been done much better than they were. Hopefully you can click the pic and see the full size version. This was all done in photoshop because I'm trying to shift in that direction away from fireworks which I've been using since back in the days of macromedia. I love fireworks layer system and the integration of vector tools with pixel paint but when it comes down to it it's a half way and I'd really be better off doing full vector or full pixel. I might do a basic 3d in max and render that out to repaint and see how that goes, this time with ears. I'd say this wasn't bad for grabbing my little digi pen and flailing for a couple minutes.

The most important thing I tan think of when it comes to doing digital art is definitely layers, I can't stress it enough. Layers make a world of a difference in workflow. For example this contains roughly 28 layers, good luck spotting them all.

Hopefully I'll be able to dump on you soon, because I'm getting this "put up or shut up vibe" like I need to put out some OC or risk being a faker. Keep in mind the main game is still pre production with perhaps a few early dev assets already in place. I have the city already done but I've been adding to it for a long time. I have the main characters for the same reason and the story, but now I need to organize everything and get ready for full blown development of everything else. I only have 1/4 of the weapons I intend for finished and they all need to be programmed still. I haven't done any of the scripted cinematics though I do have the facial rigs and everything else in place so that it'll be quick once I start. I suppose you get the idea now, main game sounds much more complete than it is only because I've thought it through and mocked it up enough times to know how everything should turn out. Mini game I haven't touched all week I'm going to have to finish it up.

March 25, 2012


One remarkable feature of the game dev world is the ability to literally bring anything and everything to the table. Not only experience and knowledge but pure unadulterated fantasy as well. While other mediums have tried to do this as well they're missing a critical connectivity with the audience for complete immersion. Movies are too short and tend to be restricted in physical means a majority of the time, while books lack fast pace and generally leave the visuals to the imagination leading to multiple interpretations conveying a vague sense of the story rather than a complete and specific picture. The ability to blend anything together brings about creative scenarios never before imagined and is rewarding in so many ways.

On the subject of concept art I still didn't receive the letter which makes me very nervous. On monday I'll have to start tracking it down if it doesn't show up. Meanwhile I'll direct you to the new page tab up top. This is my crowdsource tab, anything you want to contribute or if you want to help fill a role / open position this helps you do that. It's still in progress though for now it'll at least give you an idea of what I'm looking for.

March 23, 2012

Update 3/23/12

I waited by the mailbox for a letter that never came. Truly the first and only time I've ever waited for the mail, mostly because I know when it comes but all the same. So I was expecting my confirmation letter today and instead I got a bill and an awkward look. So hopefully tomorrow will bring better news so I may comfortably share my art with you knowing that if any of you try to steal from me I have something to work with. Not that you'd be so cruel I've just learned to be safe rather than sorry, unfortunately the very hard way.

With that in mind I spent the rest of the day wondering what to replace today's post with since it won't be containing a bunch of concept art. All that I've done this last few days is work on these new characters I had in mind, and a tiny bit of art to start fleshing them out as potential ideas go. So there's not much that I can add there other than both characters are women.

This lead me to the idea that I heard people complaining recently about a lack of strong female lead characters. To which I reply that I do indeed have strong female characters I would suggest. Then again who am I to judge what a strong female character is? My characters remain feminine without being bimbos or sluts which I would think is a good start, though one may be a bit provocative. The other is quite literally insane but not in a bad way and even though insane is not any worse off than kai from heavenly sword which was only a little quirky. I don't demonize their sexuality which may or may not cause unforeseen problems though I'd like to think they come out fairly normal all things considered. They've managed to survive the apocalypse every day since it started in one way or another which is far less than many others can say, and even still they fight where others cower in fear and ignorance. They are intelligent and resourceful making them very capable soldiers in this barely functioning militia. They carry more significant roles for a longer period of the game than any other main characters, aside from potentially the player depending on perspective. One is a medic, if she were not I doubt you'd love her as much, and is it so wrong to take advantage of a stereotype? Would you rather your medic be a man for some reason? The other is an expert sniper relying on her skill rather than technology to calculate her shots. Again, would it be so hard for you to accept this idea? How would it change the game if it were a man? Is there a reason that a strong woman can't still by physically appealing, merely being beautiful makes you weak?

I dare to try, even if I meet failure in my efforts I can say I did better than most. How would you define a strong woman? More importantly would you say from my short description that the women I have portrayed are strong?

March 22, 2012

Bullet Hell

I was reminiscing about my learning days when I made my first top down shooter. The idea was the longer you stayed alive the better your weapons got. With your multiplier and a running total of your current score that would append to your total score whenever you died and a highest life score next to the current and totals so you could see how you're doing. As you would progress you'd earn an unlock then press a hotkey for a type of upgrade of your choosing. You could get an additional bullet for every shot, a wider spread of your existing shots, more power per shot, or upgrade one bullet to a higher class. These higher classes went from standard to armor piercing to setting enemies on fire, etc. If you managed to stay alive long enough all you had to do was sit still and keep shooting and no enemy could ever get close to you, it was a little broken. Turns out though that there's a name for that type of shooter called bullet hell. The idea is that you have so many bullets on screen at once constantly wiping out everything. Now I'm seriously considering doing a remake.

Though I'm also laying ground work for a backstory mini game for the main game, independent it'll function as a loose pretense for the world you get dropped into. It's kinda based on the firestarter gameboy game from way back in the day. Essentially you have an endlessly growing city you must destroy to keep it from consuming the world. Igniting 4 science research facilities triggers the zombie apocalypse and isolating the city to an island and destroying all land around it and building a wall of ruble by destroying buildings is the only way to win. As you progress you get support from the UN and get better firepower to destroy stronger buildings. So you start with matches, then gasoline, then napalm, c4, etc. The idea is to keep the city alive but stop it from spreading outwards. Destroying it all makes you lose as does letting it consume the world. It was a simple and elegant game that I remember fondly.

The side note for the post: Realm of the mad god is supposedly a bullet hell game and it's quite fun, check it out.

On to the question of the day, what would you like to pay for a mini game? I always prefer free but I also know that if I'm always that cheap the guys like me that make what I like to play won't be able to make what I like anymore so I give them a few dollars and tell them to get back to work. Games like geometry wars and super stardust HD I was happy with my $4 spent, I'd have even given $6 but $8 I might have passed on. Some times a mini game gets overpriced and I end up not getting it or hating that I got it leading me to hate the game itself even if I otherwise would've liked it. I honestly hadn't thought of what I might price the mini game for until now and I'm not sure if I want to go crazy and just put it up for $1 and throw it at every device and market hoping for the best or focus down on specific platforms and go for $4 to $5 a copy to make up for the fewer sales.

Last but not least I'm going to spell out the secret for you. It was the Konami Code. Press up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A and a popup will appear, the secret message has been changed because apparently nobody figured it out or didn't want in on the beta, anyway now you know something about the blog that may come in handy in the future as I'll periodically update the message and may even give you tips on new secrets through it. If you want the code to add to your blog I'll post it in the comments here after someone requests.

Edit: apparently I didn't make it clear that I'm talking about using the keyboard here. Use the arrow keys to enter the sequence up up down down left right left right and the on the regular part of the keyboard press b then a without the shift or caps lock though I'm not sure if they'd make a difference anyway just don't bother. Having done this you'll see a question, whenever you see a question or want to comment about it just write something in the comments of the most recent post. Once again using the arrow keys between the number pad area and the majority of the keyboard, below the special function keys insert, delete, home, end, pgup,pgdn with those 4 keys that kind of have arrow symbols on them press up up down down left right left right then on the main part of the keyboard the b key between v and n below g and then the a key between caps lock and s below q and above z

up up down down left right left right b a

this isn't for the majority of you visitors, it's for the exceptionally thick ones that thought I was talking about the old nintendo controller somehow in relation to my blog.

March 20, 2012


I've already mentioned what a wonderful source of inspiration women can be previously, now it's time for other musings. I often work with music playing, I often put together a playlist before starting with emotional relevance to my target or otherwise assist me in getting the juices flowing and more specifically in the right direction. I have a talent for hemorrhaging ideas once I get started they just tend to go all over the place. Music can help me channel the thought process and direct it at my goals.

It's not alone I tend to have lots of reference material. I also keep various tutorials up and around just in case. Most important to me though is my thinking ball, an object to keep me physically engaged while I think to keep my scatterbrain from forgetting what I was just thinking about seconds ago. To aid me I also consider my meals and snacks as they play a bigger role than you might think. I'll also play other games in the genre and try to think about how they accomplish a given idea that I might like. A big part of my creative process includes absorption and analysis before I get to work. I of course then plot everything down before the actual work starts but still. Getting everything organized comes secondary to having something to organize which is why I often just throw down as many ideas as I can then play process of elimination with them, what can I do, what can't I, what's time feasible, etc.

With all that in mind and having been said I'll progress to some work I've done towards the main game. I've added a new addition to the shields in which you now have an upgrade to them that redirects incoming bullets away possibly hitting other enemies. I've added new visual effects for this shield and the old shield for when they interact with objects and projectiles. I've also added new visuals for existing field barriers so now instead of being a solid color they're mostly clear with wandering random streaks of colors that shift color dynamically as they move, no small feat mind you especially with unreal which was horribly unforgiving this last week. I've also started updating the "knock down" system in which if a player is not fatally hit by a projectile with a velocity over a certain point they get violently thrown to the ground. The update to this will increase speed at which the player can recover, an experience addition to it for players that have a knack at surviving, and the ability to shoot on your way up though it may be unlikely to use as often the only bullets that meet the requirements are from snipers which as previously mentioned tend not to be in direct combat. Though obviously not only combat snipers are going to be enemies around you, while you may be knocked down by a sniper you may still be surrounded by other enemies and need to shoot as you crawl away or otherwise get up. Just as previously mentioned sometimes you simply won't have a leg to stand on till a medic arrives and pulling yourself to safety may be your only option.

I've also been tweaking other features and adding in more content but I've really been writing down more concepts for improving the storyline. I was thinking about how short I'd really made it and figured it would be surprisingly easy to expand. So I've started writing in a few new secondary characters that will have significant roles, not to say "main characters" simply because they'll be almost entirely optional. While I'm expanding the options I'm not sure yet if I want to significantly increase the single player on a mandatory level. Rough estimates so far is that when it's complete a player could brush though single player in a little under 12 hours, my eventual goal is to push this to at least 16.

March 18, 2012

Decision Making and Knowing Your Limits

I had this great idea for the mini game to be able to pause the game slightly and allow you to draw on screen where you wanted to cast a spell or otherwise draw on screen for something. this isn't necessarily beyond my sKills but it wOuld take everything i kNow And Most Importantly a lot of time, much more than I'm willing to put in at this point for what's supposed to be a mini game. Though I may add a new state to the scrolling at which you then get a targeting circle that focuses on a specific area or target but that would likely be all.

One of the most important skills to have as a developer is knowing what you can and can't do and how quickly you can do what you can. Don't take on more than you can handle or you'll suffer greatly for it.
Before you freak out I am working on a target lock that I think you'll like. That's essentially the highlight of the week, I've been busy with other things and modest amount of partying that I only do a couple times a year. I should be receiving confirmation papers soon and once I do I'm dumping concept art on my deviant art profile so you can get a real feel for what the world will / does look like.

I've been thinking more on significantly branching storylines on the main game. Often a non-linear story works in bubbles, a few select events that focus in and a bunch of options that lead to nothing because you're pulled back to the same events and intersections. I'm working on the idea of wildly branching so that you don't come anywhere near the same ending though right now you kinda do. So if I were to do this I'd likely stick with what I have and just open up a few extra paths. All just thoughts for now though, we'll see what comes of them.

Don't forget the secret is still hidden, or at least if someone's found it they've ignored it. Also, I'm nearly being abrasive or out in the open with the hints, it's about as subtle as a fireworks display. I'll give you a couple days before I just spell it out for you.

March 14, 2012

The Secret Is...

So the secret is now active first come first serve, please don't reveal it to others if you find it. For today I also took the liberty of finding a sound fx generator for you aspiring devs that have no hope of making awesome fx on your own but want something, anything, which is better than nothing which would be silence in this case.

This will help you get ready for the step up to FL Studio which is where I tend to make my musical magic happen. Don't kid yourself, sound fx are just as musical as any composition they're just much shorter and arguably more important.

My birthday is St. Patricks day, so I may not post on my philosophy blog unless it's early morning or late night of 16th. Time for green beer and heavy celtic metal because it's also metal march, if only it could've been metal march monday then we'd be in good shape. I might be in chicago, I might not, my plans are constantly changing. What I do know is I made plenty of green skittle vodka, and found a very rare bottle of green irish whiskey that I'll skip details on for now but it's not green because of food coloring I'll say that much. I've also got a few bottles of green dragon (marijuana tincture), green fairy (absinthe), and various other awesome green-ness. It's going to be a hoot.

March 12, 2012

Subtle Changes

It's the small things that count, the minor details
However I won't be discussing any of that today
instead I'm going to tell you to pay very close attention to the blog and my twitter over the next week as I'm putting in a secret on the site and the first few to discover the secret will get a prize
I'm not beyond being tricky about how I hint it to you as you may need to translate some of my twitter to learn something or pay attention to the background, drag the mouse around the screen looking for a hidden link area, or read into what I'm saying on the blog to find a hidden message in the blog posts

The secret is not up on march 12th or 13th but it'll more than likely be up by the 14th and I've already given out 2 clues, as to what it will be, once it's up I'll post another 8 clues before the end of the month, if nobody has found it by then I'll come right out an tell you. One clue is in one of my older blog posts, I've gone back and hidden a message which means if you've been paying attention this may be easy for you. The other clue is hidden in the last 24 hours of my twitter feed.

Let THE GAMEs begin.

The Bare Essentials

Here's some basic code to get you started on your own UDK top down shooter. This isn't the code you normally get while searching for this kind of thing and if you run through the normal tutorials then try this you'll notice a huge difference between the methods. For starters this camera doesn't tilt while you're moving, and your reticle is free roaming as opposed to invisible or non existent all together.

I take no credit for these, they're readily available around the net as is if you know how to look for them, it's where I started, and I've since re-done them all but I keep backups just in case or for reference.
here's the link

They're already in different classes
create a folder in your udk>development>src folder called topdown and inside that folder make another folder called classes and stick these in there
in udk once you start / restart it it'll be an available gametype, after you select it you should be able to just play and you'll get a top down view, no enemies or anything I won't do it all for you, but it's a great start for newbies.

You'll find that unlike most of the top down tuts out there which don't give you any real "shooter" info this comes with actual crosshairs to play with, and you can easily setup a kismet to give your player a gun, because it's almost always recommended you not give the player a starting inventory. Just connect the out of player spawned to the in of give inventory and set the player as the target of that.


March 10, 2012


Keeping things in a certain order always helps things run smoothly. If everything is part of an understandable system then finding anything in that system is usually quick and easy. This holds extremely true when it comes to computer files and more specifically game code / scripts.

First some backstory on my OCD. My wallet is organized such that upon opening it you have photo ID readily available. Behind that are other photo ID's. Second stage of opening my wallet has all my important medical information which is likely why anyone else would be opening my wallet for honest reasons. Then once fully open you have my memberships and club cards. My medical info is overlapped on the payment options, while the physical money is kept separate up top behind everything. This system is extremely easy to immediately recognize to anybody opening my wallet. You open and like oh now I know everything I need to know about you. My keys are separated on rings by distance from my house in use. So first ring is keys for inside the house and the house itself. Next is the garage and car keys on a separate ring, and finally work and bank keys on the furthest ring. By bank keys I mean deposit boxes but w/e. The idea is that I can easily reach on my chain and know where the key I'm looking for is located without hassle, which is almost as effective if not more so than engraving the keys, which I did myself anyway. At most peoples first glance you wouldn't think I'm anywhere near as organized as I am, but once you start to notice you can't help but think I go overboard.

My system for organizing files on the computer is by primary and secondary categories for starters. I then subdivide into more specific categories and within those I organize by most efficient method of use. If for example I generally would access the files in order or sequence such as picture 1, picture 2 then I go alphabetically. Though if for example I'm generally going to access the files according to most recent then I go chronologically. I would love to organize my pictures by color every once in a while but it's not a big enough deal that I've seriously bothered to look up a way to do that. In the case of game related files I generally have them all alphabetically by type to quickly find what I'm looking for because chronologically I may not remember when I worked on something previously which could then organize them in a way I have a hard time finding what I'm looking for. Considering they're all the same file type for now I type in the category first in the file name then the rest of the specific name. So for example I'm looking for my HUD, I'd go to Interface_Hud, or if I'm looking for my inputs it's again an interface related type. The same goes for weapons, cameras, animations, etc. With non related game files it's not unusual for me to sort by just file type and size but usually that's just for organizing purposes for main categories, and because most files don't really support tags I use a different program that I can manually input tags for and I use that to sort for more specific files when I need to. Though it's mostly used for just pictures it still helps a lot when I need it.

What this is all really leading to is coding practices in which while making your code you have the forethought to organize while making it to help you when you inevitably have to get back to it to change it some how. When making your code be sure to comment a lot and indent to keep segments of the idea grouped so that the entire thing is easy to understand and follow. It's nice when you're in the old code and are looking for something specific to be able to just jump right to it.

update: I don't know why the "schedule" exists if it won't post content on schedule, this was meant to autopublish on the 7th so I wouldn't be gone for so long. Times like these I miss tumblr... so while I'm not in the habbit of apologizing, I do feel as though I owe you something, I'll give you some bare essentials code in a couple days so you can make your own top down shooter.

March 05, 2012

Hard at work or hardly working?

So for today's update we have a simple idea that's much more complex than you'd think. I've been hard at work on the hud, getting all the little details right. I'm stuck on a switch between the cone and circle, I'm not necessarily looking for a progressive change but right now it's about at subtle as a jackhammer in the face. For some reason it's going from a wide and short cone to an almost map covering circle, and it's not accurately representing the damage area which thankfully is still happening the way it should. The circle shrinks when I scroll down like it should and will revert back to a short cone like it should but just that transition into it isn't working right. My initial plan was to  make the circle larger by scrolling down, not shrinking that way which while slightly counter intuitive makes sense as you transition between modes.

My attempts at limiting it during or after the change aren't quite working how they should either. Suffice to say that while this is a headache now, when I'm finished it'll seem so simple, and the average player will never know what went in to making it work right. I did manage to already fix the scrolling bit by just inverting everything. Scrolling up covers a larger area instead of narrowing / focusing which apparently almost immediately made everyone happier, they didn't even seem to realize it was a problem until I changed it. I'll probably try to include both options in the final game but if that doesn't work out then it'll just be the one.  I'm not sure why or where the error is coming from considering a slight adjustment works without problems. I'm thinking it's in relation to some part of the code not related to the actual input but how it's interpreted, to say then that it's likely the part of the hud responsible for the circle. Though I again don't know how it works one way but not the other, but when I have another look at it in the morning I'll likely figure it out right away.

As for the giant circle, I've already checked default properties and min / max area etc and everything in the code so far says it should start out at the min range. So tomorrow I'll be rechecking the rest of the code that interacts with that info and see what's telling it to be so large because it obviously isn't doing it at random, something has to be feeding it the wrong info somewhere.

I'll be hard at work most of tomorrow, but after that I'll likely be consumed with mass effect for a couple days before I can pull myself away to really work more at this. Granted it'll take me much longer to really finish up with ME3 but I'll be more likely to take breaks and do other things, but the first couple days I'll probably not even realize I'm hungry or tired just play right through till I crash.

March 03, 2012

All Substance No Context

It seems like I've been talking alot about features and not much on story in relation to the main game. Obviously the mini game has almost no backstory, you're in a descending dungeon with no way back or up other than to go deeper down. That is about all you need if not more than you're used to in relation to a simple shooter. The main game I'm going to have to question you though if you want me to actually tell you all about the story or not.

Without spoiling anything I can give you a small idea of how the main story progresses. You start out in a cinematic that leads you to a place you're unfamiliar with, putting you in immediate danger in which you are saved by a small group of apparent military background people. They explain the situation to you while plotting something to use you. You build a certain level of trust with each of the characters, and at a point you essentially take over becoming the boss of this group. You then built up a new trust with them so that they will follow you in battle. Your objective becomes one of three which all lead to the same end. There's a few bosses, moral implications for some of your decisions, a few good twists, and you eventually solve a majority of the problems displayed in the game. The "zombies" are actually mutated clones and are non infectious. There's a few other groups which you help in the process. You take down the corporation responsible for the mutations and restore people back to normal. You may also return to where you started from or you may not choice is yours.

I couldn't be more vague I know. At least it's spoiler free. I could go into greater detail but won't. The actual story though the details are what draw you in and make it particularly good, so how can I go about this? 

March 01, 2012

Over A Month

As I should have expected, It's been more than a month, and I haven't really met my deadline. Remember my Second Post? I should probably have said what I was thinking, which is 3 months. Which from now should mean one more month, but now I'm thinking March is a special month for me, I may not get much done. If I had perhaps more funding and didn't have to hussle so much to get cash together I could focus more on the work and actually get it done anytime soon. I guess we'll just see.

like the pic? I was thinking about making it a permanent part of the site