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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Exploring Outside of Game Development

I've recently hit a wall with game development. It's become harder and harder to work on game projects. Given that, I'm going to be exploring other hobbies alongside game development.

I'm going to be (hopefully) getting a job in the next month or so, which means that I'll have an income and thus money to spend. I'm thinking of getting into electronics and/or robotics. If/when I get good at that, I will find a place to record those projects.

I'm also going to look at other kinds of software project. I'm looking at app development. If I can get the things that are necessary for me to publish on iOS and/or Android, I'll be very happy. Some of my apps will be games, but some will be utilities and others will be "toy" programs. (By toy, I mean entertaining but not really a game)

I'm still going to make games and I will still be writing this blog. Heck, these adventures will hopefully help my game development work.

The first thing I'm going to be working with is making a "toy" app. I'll blog about that as I go.

Peace, love, and a much-needed break,

- Henry

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Idea of a Compact Game

Lately, I've been thinking about the idea of compact design as it applies to games. I'd like to share some thoughts about that.

What makes a game compact?


First, I'd like to define what I mean by compact.

In general, a compact game either has very limited content (for example, only a few levels) or procedural content. The graphical and audio assets are sufficient for the concept but not excessive. (minimalist styling is a good way to do this, but not the only way) Gameplay mechanics are few and very distinct.

Why bother with this idea?

In this age of increasingly elaborate AAA games, games with compact premises are often an idea that is ignored by developers. Many small and independent developers use this idea, but oftentimes they are using a recycled premise such as a "match 3" game or an arena shooter.

I feel that applying the idea of compactness to game design is valuable, especially when concerning an innovative or original premise, but also when concerning a more conventional game.

Compact games cost less to develop but can deliver just as much fun to the player. It's an established fact, I believe, that the money that is sunk into developing a game only does so much for the end popularity of the game. Outside of a hardcore demographic which demands elaborate games with photo-realistic graphics and complex gameplay, many players would rather have a game that they can play easily.

I'm not saying complex games are bad!

I'm sure that some would assume from what I'm saying that I consider complex and elaborate games to be bad or somehow inferior to more compact designs.

That's not what I'm saying!

I'm aware that many people who might read this article would interpret this idea as being an attack on high-budget, sophisticated, and large games.

Many complex games are popular, and that's for a reason; many people enjoy them. However, what I mean to say is that compact designs are worth exploring because they can be developed more easily and at a lower cost while still delivering a good product. The fact that Starcraft and Civilization are popular is a testament to the fact that complexity can work. However, simplicity can work, too, and is often neglected.

I have a few more things to say.

I will be exploring the idea of simplicity in design in future posts, as well as discussing other design ideas.

Also, I've made a new year's resolution: I will try to post at least three times per week. You have my word.

Peace, love, and elegant solutions,

- Henry

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Apologies for Broken Promises

To anyone who may have read this, I'm ready to apologize for promises that I've broken. It's a habit that I'm trying to break.

I'm not going to talk too much about what I'm doing until it's done and ready. It's going to take some effort to do that.

I've got something that I'm working on, but I'll share more when it's ready.

Peace, love, and forward movement,
- Henry

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Code Paintings - An Update and Some Thoughts

Wow, haven't posted in a while!

Well, I've thought a bit about code paintings, and I've come to some conclusions.

First, the strictness of the presentation that I had in mind was misguided, and that the spirit of the idea should lead it.

The single game state and strictly required drop-down menus weren't necessarily the way for me to go. Defining it that tightly wasn't really the best approach.

Second, this isn't the only type of game that I want to make. I'm starting work on an action RPG that will take a very long time to complete; I'll be using code paintings as side projects so that I can take a break from working on that larger project.

I'm going to post updates on these projects on my other blog. That includes both the action RPG and any code paintings that I make.

Peace, love, and busy days,
   - Henry

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Purpose for This Blog

Well, having resurrected my other blog, I have decided that this blog will be philosophical. I will discuss my thoughts about games, game design, and sometimes techniques or algorithms that I find.

I want to start with an idea that I had about the direction I'd like to take as a developer. I want to make peaceful games.

It's not out of a sense of pacifism, since I'm not a pacifist. It's not because violent games cause violent behavior, since the jury's still out on that.

It's because peaceful scenes and themes fascinate me. I think that the traditional violent concepts in games aren't the only way to do things and that games can be relaxing and calming as well.

I want to clarify something, though. I don't believe that violent games are necessarily bad or harmful, but that they aren't the only kind of games that can be fun. I'm not saying that hard games are bad, either. They're great and I also enjoy them. But easy games can be fun, too.

My point in this is simple. Games that are peaceful and relaxing can be very fun even though they don't carry much challenge or a strong conflict.

With that being said, my games will tend toward being peaceful for the time being. I want the player to relax while playing my games.

My other blog (yay cross-promoting!) will have more on these games as I work on them.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ludum Dare - Right Near the End of Day 1

Well, the first day of Ludum Dare #21 is almost over for me.

Sorry I didn't post earlier (when the compo began) but I was tired.

So, here's my ten-second idea for a game:
  1. You are a dude in a room (good start, huh?)
  2. You have to escape from the room
  3. You don't have very much time; you have to move quickly
  4. There is stuff in your way
The title is Hazard. I'm expecting to have basic platforming gameplay and a handful of rooms at a bare minimum.

I will probably eventually pick this up again after the compo ends.

Today, I got a few things done. I have a bunch of boilerplate as well as a player model with a full animation skeleton and a cruddy hand-painted texture.

Here's a render of the model:

Peace, love, and sufficient rest,

--- Henry

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts About Ludum Dare #21

Ludum Dare #21 begins tomorrow night. I'm very excited for this one. I know what I want to do for it, I have a solid strategy, and I have the tools lined up for it.

Unstoppable.

I'm probably going to do a platformer or a top-down game unless the theme strikes me otherwise.

It will use procedural content if that proves to be workable for the theme, otherwise it will be, well, a prototype.

If I can shoehorn my current platformer into the theme, I'll toss what I have of it and use Ludum Dare to prototype it.

Tomorrow, I'm probably going to play my DS, hang out in IRC, and probably post on here once or twice with plans or thoughts.

Peace, love, and the drive to compete,

--- Henry