Cosmotecture

A more serious look at video games

Posts tagged game development

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Free cross-platform game dev tools

So I’m working on a humble yet personally ambitious game that I plan on releasing for the OUYA. However, it’s not exactly commercially ambitious, so it didn’t warrant me purchasing an early-model developer version or anything like that, heh. Anyway, thought I’d share a list of tools I’m using or will be using (subject to change):

  • @Gideros Studio (SDK+IDE) — this is the game engine I decided on. As of now, you can write games for iOS and Android (they’re working on a runner for Mac and Windows). You script/code your games in Lua (the engine API is Lua), and you can write & use libraries in Java, C/C++, and Objective C if desired. Should be fairly trivial to get a Gideros game running on OUYA since it’s Android
  • Lua (open source lightweight multi-paradigm programming language) — the game scripting language of choice these days. A small and elegant language.
  • ZeroBrane Studio (open source IDE/code editor) — designed to work with Gideros (and other game frameworks). Also: Lua debugging, live coding, as well as a ton of other features modern IDEs have.
  • +Sublime Text 2 (text/code editor) — superior text editor with tons of programming support. I’m using it mainly to outline ideas for this project, as a kind of scratch pad.
  • Tiled (open source 2D tilemap editor) — create levels or maps for your 2D game using ‘tiles’. Lets you define custom properties for tilesets, layers, and objects. Can export your map data as .lua code!
  • TiledAsWorldEditor (open source code library [for Gideros]) — allows the aforementioned Tiled to be used as a more proper level editor for Gideros. It does this by translating your custom object shapes on your Tiled maps (polygons and polylines) into Box2D entities in the game. Box2D is the physics engine Gideros SDK uses
  • *#TNT Animator Studio (sprite animation editor [for Gideros]) — create variable speed animations out of sets of similar images. Animations are time-based so that they run the same speed on different platforms
  • TNT Particles Engine (code library [for Gideros]) — define and create particle effects (sparks, smoke, etc)
  • SunVox (chiptune music tracker) — I actually don’t know much about chiptune creation, but I really like them and I’m gonna teach myself for this project. Tool of choice subject to change.
  • Inkscape (open source vector art editor) — create and mold resolution-independent objects into shapes via mathematical primitives!
  • GIMP (open source raster art editor) — define the location and color composition of pixels with a variety of tools and filters
  • TiddlyWiki (open source personal wiki) — write down notes/ideas and cross-reference them in a quick wiki style—all in a self-contained, self-modifying HTML file

* = source provided after optional donation.
+ = not exactly free, but there is an unlimited trial time with all features available. The software seems to ask you to buy the program after x number of document saves.
@ = there are paid versions of Gideros. With the free (community) version, there is a forced Gideros splash screen before the game is launched. Other than that, it’s the same as the paid versions (indie or professional).
# = not available on Linux 

Note on GIMP for Mac: Version 2.8 is now a native Mac app, but from my experience, it is kind of laggy and generally glitched. So I’m sticking with version 2.6.2, which relies on the  X11/XQuartz GUI system.

Filed under game development gamedev programming game dev

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As I’ve always said we are experimenting with things, and only if they are good enough will we put them in the game…When you are trying to innovate, the path is not always clear and these things take time.
Ken Levine, in a phone call to Kotaku today. Sources are reporting a bit of a lack of focus for Bioshock Infinite, the scrapping of multiplayer components, and the hiring of the director of production at Epic Games, Rod Fergusson, to aid in completing the game. Also, this quote could equally apply to The Last Guardian, no? [source article]

Filed under bioshock infinite gaming video games ken levine game development

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They Were Laid Off From Their Game Company. Now They Want To Change The Way We Play

Steam Bandits: Outpost is a casual game, but it’s not a Facebook game. It will be free-to-play, but not exploitative. It will have microtransactions, but it won’t keep you jailed until you spend money on them. And it definitely won’t ask you to spam your friends with notifications.

"That is not playing together with a friend," Fader said. "That is just bugging the shit out of them… I’m calling us the anti-Facebook game company. That model just needs to die a horrible death."

Interesting article on Jason Fader and other ex-Obsidian Entertainment employees, who are embarking on an ambitious, multi-game project whose interactive potentials are fundamentally woven together. Steam Bandits: Outpost is one of three games of differing genres being developed simultaneously that take place in the same world.

Filed under gaming video games game development jason fader obsidian entertainment iocaine studios

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The Making Of: Bioshock
How chaos, a literary classic and insane ambition came together to create an iconic underwater shooter.

Ken Levine has had better nights. It’s February 2007, and the creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games is standing behind a one-way mirror in an office in downtown Boston. He’s watching a bunch of gamers play a hands-on build of his latest game, BioShock. It’s depressing.
The crowd on the other side of the glass is jeering. They don’t just dislike the game, they’re viciously mocking it: ‘Who’s that Australian idiot talking in your ear? Why are these zombies wandering about this place? Why are those robots flying at us? It’s all really stupid.’
“It was pretty depressing,” Levine recalls, speaking to us recently in Irrational’s office in Quincy, just to the south of Boston, Massachusetts. “The guy who managed the focus group came up to us afterwards. It was like the doctor telling you you’ve got two weeks to live. He was saying, ‘Yep, you guys are kind of fucked.’”

The Making Of: Bioshock

How chaos, a literary classic and insane ambition came together to create an iconic underwater shooter.

Ken Levine has had better nights. It’s February 2007, and the creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games is standing behind a one-way mirror in an office in downtown Boston. He’s watching a bunch of gamers play a hands-on build of his latest game, BioShock. It’s depressing.

The crowd on the other side of the glass is jeering. They don’t just dislike the game, they’re viciously mocking it: ‘Who’s that Australian idiot talking in your ear? Why are these zombies wandering about this place? Why are those robots flying at us? It’s all really stupid.’

“It was pretty depressing,” Levine recalls, speaking to us recently in Irrational’s office in Quincy, just to the south of Boston, Massachusetts. “The guy who managed the focus group came up to us afterwards. It was like the doctor telling you you’ve got two weeks to live. He was saying, ‘Yep, you guys are kind of fucked.’”

Filed under bioshock gaming video games ken levine game development

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Yes, Book of Memories fits into the canon: it follows rules and chronology established in the past games. We don’t alter existing character details, we don’t violate the fundamental universe rules, and we don’t give anybody enormous boobs.

That said, BoM isn’t required reading in order to understand the next core installment. Nor is top-down action RPG gameplay the new direction of the series. Resident Evil does this sort of thing all the time and nobody bats an eye, but it seems a difficult concept for people to process when it says “Silent Hill” on the box. If it helps, try this: BoM is a spinoff title that takes place in the canon Silent Hill universe.

BoM Producer Tomm Hulett, my interview December 2011 (via chemiro)

Tomm Hulett doesn’t get it. Konami doesn’t get it. It’s not so much about the details of SH canon, but the presentation. SH has always been about presentation, about atmosphere. Hulett displays his full misunderstanding by comparing SH to Resident Evil above. Of course nobody bats an eye when Resident Evil goes off on tangents. Resident Evil has always had this unfocused identity from the beginning; it’s a mashup of all kinds of influences, resulting in a kind of incongruent overall experience. I mean, look at Resident Evil now with RE6, and how much it is like some over-engineered Hollywood action movie. Silent Hill started out with a stronger core vision and philosophy and carried it through from game to game. It’s in this kind of consistent differentiation and SH’s devotion to cerebral atmosphere that grew its fan base. You want a deft example of how to carry over the essence of a series from game to game? How about Metroid Prime for the Gamecube? Metroid jumped from 2D to a 3D first-person perspective virtually seamlessly, maintaining, translating, removing, and adding things in satisfying fashion. That, in essence, is the kind of imaginative yet faithful leap SH needs to be making from game to game. Nintendo messed up—as you may have noticed—when they strayed too far with Metroid: Other M.

(via silenthaven)

Filed under silent hill resident evil tomm hulett konami game development

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Architecture in The Witness

It seems Jonathan Blow is collaborating with architecture firms in designing and laying out structures in The Witness’s game world. This is a good read regardless if you care about the game. Sounds like he is taking environmentally embedded narrative seriously and to the extreme.

The island reminds me a lot of Lost’s island, and how the successive inhabitants—through time—created, destroyed and modified portions of it to suit their needs and reflect their thinking. Now, if Blow can somehow make this consciously embedded narrative more than a fancy ingredient to spice up the experience—make it consistent and mesh with the other elements and themes of the game—then he will have truly achieved something here.

Filed under narrative architecture game design game development the witness jonathan blow lost

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GameMaker on Raspberry Pi

Looks like YoYo Games, the guys behind the popular GameMaker video game development software, are working on porting it over to Linux, which will allow Raspberry Pi users one option to make games.

Raspberry Pi, as you may know, is an ultra-low cost ($25-$35), portable computer the size of a credit card. While it will be used by computer enthusiasts far and wide, one of the primary objectives behind the foundation responsible for Raspberry Pi is to make it appealing for educational purposes—particularly the computer sciences. What future education in computer science is complete without significant exposure to game development, right?

(Source: yoyogames.com)

Filed under game development gamemaker raspberry pi tech computers computer science linux

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The Man Behind Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian

There’s a common joke about the game industry being filled with failed movie directors looking to tell their stories where there’s less competition. But in Ueda’s case, he says he’s actually more of a failed painter. “Growing up, I wanted to become a modern artist,” he says, “but I found I wouldn’t be able to support myself, so I switched my careers.”

Whether that’s accurate or modesty — something tells me he could make a living as an artist in 2011 — Ueda says he played a lot of games as a child, starting out a Mega Drive [Genesis] owner, and that Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. convinced him games were special. “It was the first game where I felt there was a world beyond what you could see on the screen,” he says. “Up until then, you just kind of thought it ended with whatever you saw, but with Mario it felt like the world extended beyond that.”

In case you haven’t read it, here’s a nice, lengthy cover story on Fumito Ueda from 1UP.

Filed under fumito ueda ico shadow of the colossus the last guardian game development ps2 ps3 video games

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Report: Ueda leaves Sony

Hmm, this is most interesting indeed. I wonder what happened here — if this turns out to be true. Ueda is, of course, the director of the upcoming The Last Guardian, and the mastermind of the much-beloved prior titles Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. He is, however, reportedly freelancing with Sony to finish The Last Guardian. Upon completion, the source speculates that Ueda will work on more personal projects. Maybe he forms a small yet awesome indie outfit?

Still, this news is kinda shocking. I’ll be following this…

(Source: eurogamer.net)

Filed under fumito ueda video games the last guardian game development gaming ps3