development

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Matt Barton's picture

Dev Diary 007: Lowering Expectations

Space TaxiSpace TaxiAs you all know (this is the seventh installment, after all!), yours truly has been working on becoming a hobbyist indie game developer. It's an interesting and very enlightening project, and not just because I get to work with cool software and possibly make some cool games. The aspect that's been the most rewarding is realizing just how much work goes into making modern games. I'll definitely never play a game like L.A. Noire again and not have to pause a moment to think, "WOW. Somebody had to sit down and make every single 3D object in this game..." Somebody had to rig every animation, and somebody else had to script each behavior. The sheer enormity of the task pretty much takes your breath away when you really understand how much effort went into it. And let's not forget the producers, as well, who somehow have to bring all of this work together. It's no wonder the credits on a game can take upwards of an hour to scroll by!

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Dev Diary 005: Stumbling around Unity Scripting

Well, I definitely think I've left all the easy stuff behind me...Way behind me. Coming to Unity Scripting from Gamemaker is like jumping from addition to differential calculus. I'm pretty much forced to copy and paste code from samples. What's frustrating is that I *feel* like I understand the concepts, but for some reason when I try to apply them I get lost in a sea of look-alike names and subtle but critical distinctions between objects, classes, components, etc.

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Matt's Dev Diary 004: Lighting and Characters

Today I spent most of my time working with Blender. The first order of the day was to learn all about lighting. Blender has a dizzying amount of options for this, but I'm not even sure I'll need any of it so I didn't spend a lot of time here. UNITY has its own lighting system, and I'm not sure to what extent I'll be able to use lights I make in Blender anyway, but I figured the knowledge would be transferable in a general sense. In any case, it is fascinating (and addictive) to just experiment with all the lighting options and see how they affect shading and such. You can really get some nice shading effects with different kinds of lighting. Here's just an example:
Cube with LightsCube with Lights
The next chapter was on Character Animation, and the author pointed out two different people-making tools you can use. Both were free in terms of cost: Make Human and Daz Studio. While you can try to make humans from scratch, these tools essentially give you an interface similar to those seen in games like Skyrim where you can adjust and tweak your face, nose, etc. The exciting part is that you can export your creations into Blender. I may know next to nothing about modeling and animation, but even I can use these interfaces and my combat mode looks a helluva lot more feasible.

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Matt's Dev Diary 001: Starting Out

Well, I guess now is a good time to start jotting down some notes here. I doubt anyone will care to read it, but perhaps it could be fun. Who knows?

At any rate, I always like to think big when starting a game project and then scale down as it becomes clearer how much time, energy, and expense will be required to achieve my vision. However, I don't like to overthink things. You can get bogged down with extensive game design documents and such that just aren't necessary (IMO) until much later in the process, after you have a good understanding of what's feasible to actually implement.

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Matt Chat 129: A Chat with Graphics Guru Mark Soderwall

This week begins my interview series with Mark Soderwall, an awesome guy with 20+ years in the industry. His resume is huge, with jobs at Mindcraft, Atari, and LucasArts. He's worked on games NBA Live, the Terminator games, Demon Stone, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, just to name a few. Now he's devoted himself to training the next generation and inspiring indie developers with his Game Creators Vault. Enjoy!

If you haven't supported the show, don't be a scrooge! If you like these videos, please put a dollar in my stocking!. Come on, McDuck, it's Christmas! As always, you can download the MP4 for playback on your mobile device.

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Matt Chat 126: Jay Barnson on Dealing with Criticism

Hi, guys! I'm back this week with part 3 of my interview with Jay Barnson. This is probably my favorite segment, with some really heartfelt discussion about dealing with criticism and struggling on despite a lack of financial resources. There's also plenty of sight gags, including a special Skyrim book, a blistering "major site" review of Frayed Knights, and much more!

I'm up to 6,324 subscribers--still 676 left to go if I'm going to make my 7K by 2012 goal. Please help spread the word by posting this or other episodes on your favorite blog, forum, or social networking sites.
Download the video here: mattchat126.mp4.
Download the audio here: mattchat126.mp3.
As always, if you like what you see, consider setting up a subscription ($5 a month is most excellent) or one-time donation. The subscriptions work great; just set it and forget it, no need to bother with it again. And you can, of course, cancel at any time. $5 a month is nothing to you, but everything to me. :)

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Jeepney Jeepers: All-Original Retrogame from Myth Core Productions

Jeepney Jeepers: Multiball FTW!Jeepney Jeepers: Multiball FTW!Armchair Arcade is pleased to present Jeepney Jeepers, the all-new game from Myth Core Productions, designed and programmed by Matt Barton with comics and graphics by Elizabeth Barton.

Aliens have landed in southeast Asia, and the only thing standing between THEM and humanity is...one man and his jeepney. Are you brave, fast, and just plain dumb enough to snap on that space-age laser prototype and defend the earth? Of course you are! So get your butt in that jeepney, yup!

  • An homage to classics block-busting games like Arkanoid and Breakout but with a crazy twist!
  • Blow up blocks, roast the invaders, rescue your fellow humans and--above all else--get to the last level and take on the awesome might of THE GORFINATOR
  • Collect upgrades and unleash the unbelievable block-busting power of the five-pronged MULTIBALL
  • Bust that crit bubble for the amazing SUPERBALL
  • Bounce up them balls as much as YOU want, no more, no less
  • Feelin' lonely? Bust out those poor little refugees for fun, fame, and profits
  • Get the energy boost powerups and ram right through the blocks with your jeepney
  • Surrounded? Don't panic, make THEM panic with your amped up car horn
  • Twelve colorful levels with an awesome retro-arcade inspired boss fight
  • Compete with friends and family for the honor of the High Score table
  • Why ain't you playing this already?

Download this sweet mama right now!
JEEPNEY JEEPERS (version: 1.04b)

And if you enjoy playing this game, please leave us a comment below. It's man and womandatory.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt's Podcast #5: The Time Police (Design Project)

Hi, folks. I'm back this week with another podcast, this time discussing my game pitch for "The Time Police," a project I've been brainstorming and planning for some time. It still has a long ways to go, but I'm excited enough about the idea to want to make a podcast about it. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please let me know.

Download the podcast here.

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The Time Police (Working Towards a Pitch)

I've been working on this thing I'm calling a game pitch for a few weeks now and thought it was time to put it out there to see what people think of the general concept. In a nutshell, this is Deus Ex with Time Travel, Tactical Combat, and Disco Dancing. I've also made big changes to the way character creation, leveling, and dialog are handled.

It's not complete, but I think there's enough here for you to get the basic idea and see whether it sounds like something you'd be interested in playing. It's not totally original or super ambitious or anything, but for what it's worth I've tried to imagine the sort of game I'd most like to play and this is it.

Let me know what you like about it first, and then we can get down to what needs re-thinking.

Oh, I know for sure this is way, way beyond anything I'm personally capable of developing myself. The "dream scenario" is that we could get this to a real developer who can turn the dream into reality (without, let's hope, altering it beyond recognition).

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Matt Chat 113: Jonas Kyratzes on Politics and Indepedent Game Development

In the last part of my interview with indie designer Jonas Kyratzes, we discuss his latest projects, including Alphaland, Phenomenon 32, The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House of Desert Bridge, and You Shall Know the Truth. This last game is based on the Wikileaks controversy and leads Jonas into a sure-to-be-controversial discussion of politics in America and Europe.

Remember to check out Jonas' blog at http://www.jonas-kyratzes.net/

Download the mp4.

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