Where’s the February Game?

Well, here’s what happened…

Excuses

I was given a school assignment that took up nearly every waking moment of my time. This lasted for about a week or so at the beginning of the month.

After that, I spent a lot of time writing music for a friend’s game. More on that in a bit. This took up nearly a week.

Then, I assumed my schoolwork would continue to be as time-consuming and difficult as the first week. Well… it wasn’t, and we kept having snow days. Instead of trying to squeeze in a game for One Game a Month, I figured I wouldn’t have time and that school would pick up again.

Well, it didn’t. Right when I was about to start working on a game, I got asked to play guitar in a wedding. I accepted, thinking it wouldn’t take up much time. I was wrong. It took up a ton of time.

The point is, I did not make my own game for February because I assumed from the beginning that I would not have enough time to do so.

I Made Something for the Kinect…

I told myself that I would use some project I made for school, and I could still do that. In one of my classes, we had to work with the Kinect. It was really stupid and I sort of hate the Kinect. I did make a game though:

dumb

You stand in front of the Kinect and wave your arms around until the stupid thing recognizes you. Once it does, there are two cursors that follow your left hand and your right hand. They will say ‘N’ ‘S’ ‘E’ or ‘W’ on them. These represent the cardinal directions.

You will see a red ball bouncing back and forth. When the ball hits a square that is labelled with N, S, E, or W, it will immediately change direction to whatever the tile was. Hit an N tile? The ball will go up. W tile? It’ll go left. The ball also bounces off the walls in the opposite direction it was going.

The object of the game is to place the directional tiles in the path of the ball so that it hits the bright yellow tile. When it does, you win. Woop-de-freakin-do.

These are the kind of things you can make with the Kinect. Did I mention that I hate this device?

I’ve Started Working with UDK (Unreal Development Kit)

In a couple classes I’m taking, we’ve been working with the Unreal Engine. It’s been fun and I’ve learned a good deal. I have created a simple level, designed for typical multiplayer shooter action.

level

I’ve been learning how to work with Kismet (scripting) and Matinee (cutscene creator)


kismetmatinee

I’ve also been doing some work with Unrealscript and Scaleform. Nothing too cool to show from that yet. I will have a week to make pretty much anything I want in Unreal, starting in a couple days. Maybe that will be worth showing, though I don’t like “advertising” a project that I have to make closed source and that is not cross-platform.

I Made Some Music I’m Proud of

You can listen to the music as I talk about it! Here you are:

A friend of mine remastered an older project of his. I wound up writing all the music for it, and we also collaborated on ideas and such. He did all of the programming, art, and sound effects. I just wrote the music and contributed ideas. I’ll be counting this as my February entry for One Game a Month, though.

The music was a blast to make. Each song has a very unique and expressive style.

“Three Notes and It’s a Deal” was a particularly fun one to write. When I thought about the level it appears in, I kept thinking “Las Vegas in the 40’s”. What you hear is the end result. If you are wondering, the name of the song comes from what you do in-game. You need to find 3 coins and give them to a guy who will then give you something that lets you continue on your “quest”. The name of the song is sort of a “jazz slang” way to describe that situation.

I also quite like “World of Wonder”. I can totally chill out to it.

You can download the game here: Humphrey’s Tiny Adventure: Remastered Download

In the End

So, at least I wasn’t just sitting around being a bum. I’ve been constantly working on game-related things, and I did, in fact, make a game (though it was dumb).

For March, I will be assuming that I will in fact have time to make a 1GAM game, so do expect something from me then!

Why make one game a month?

A few hours before 2013, my friend and indie game dev partner Jake Albano, convinced me to participate in One Game a Month.

One Game a Month (1GAM) is simply a challenge to game developers to successfully finish a game at least once every month in a year.

Since I began programming, there would be regretfully long amounts of time where I never saw a single line of code.  This was usually between semesters of school. Whenever I did finally get back to coding, I had to spend precious time re-learning concepts, which slowed my development process and my growth as a programmer.

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I’ve begun learning about indie game developers and their journey to “success”. Indie Game: The Movie and talks by Ed McMillen, Jonathan Blow, and Wolfire Games (3 of my most admired developers) have really taught me lessons in career and design as well as provided loads of inspiration. What is blindingly obvious is that, if you want to be an indie game developer, you need to WANT to be an indie game developer.

Though I fear what may or may not come with choosing to pursue independent game development as my living, and though I have personal things I need to wrestle with for this, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Too many things have aligned and gone right, too many great people have come my way, too much of it feels right, and I have too much fun with it to go anywhere else.

All of this and One Game a Month is where I am and what I am doing to get myself in gear and jumpstart my portfolio and my career. The future will be tough and will demand an inhuman amount of work, but with my friends and my incredibly supportive family, it also looks brilliantly bright.