the online ramblings of a generally confused game designer

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And on the second day.. he uploaded even more

Here is some more artwork from the game.. please note that this and the last post represent pre-production, and are therefore open to crit, and to change...

This first one is of the boy from the back and side.. orthographic images as I try and get a handle on his physical form. Still needs thinking though, as he is a bit on the podgy side.

These two pages feature more hand tests, and a full body drawing

A concept pic for the flying machine minigame...

And finally a sketch of the character leaning from a branch.. kinda heroic I think :)

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

media, media everywhere!

ok.. well I now have a working scanner.. so...

mmmm, leaf prints (from old school potato stamps.. a fun evening :)) looking to possibly use this print style on actual assets in game

the cat (acrylic on canvas) very sharp forms which contrasts with...

the boy (acrylic on canvas) soft S curves

a concept image for the canon mini game (pencil, then wacom painting)

the boy hanging (pencil again) trying to work out the 3D form of the character, and almost getting it

hand study (pencil) a more focused attempt to work out how the character's hands work

leg study (pencil) same again, they're too long though

wiggle board mini game concept (pencil) notable for the back lighting style that i'm currently toying with

flash render of the character.. using the doohickey for making a less 'flash' looking character which i mentioned before. still needs work
.......more to come

Monday, October 16, 2006

Psychonauts.. mmmm

Yep, well, still waiting on getting artwork for Reunion onto the blog, thanks to the aforementioned missing usb cable.. I am going to go buy one in a minute to replace it. I've been sketching, painting and generally messing around on the game this week, also trying to put together a graphics filter doohickey for flash that will give the game a more textured style.. examples will of course, appear here. I've also signed up a sound engineer and musician for Reunion.. so the sound side of things is now definitely covered.

In my spare time I've been playing Psychonauts. Found it really cheap in a shop last week and haven't been able to put it down. Beautiful design, incredible writing and fantastic gameplay. If you can ever get your hands on a copy then do it... you will be pleased you did.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Well, here it is.. the handout from my pitch for my next game.. Reunion. No pictures yet... as I've lost the usb cable for my scanner :)


I will be developing a Flash 8 game for PC and Mac

Over-riding goal to expand upon Visiting Day, while learning lessons from the development of that game. Of course Reunion is a new game, and nothing in my last game is considered sacred.

I will produce a small and well refined game, aiming at something like fifteen minutes of solid gameplay.


The boy's cat has climbed to the top of a tree. The boy wants to save her. He must ascend the tree in order to reach her.

The tree has been inhabited over the years by a number of children, for that reason it is full of eccentric and exciting inventions to interact with.

The exploration and climbing of the tree (using the directional pad) will be combined with the use of these inventions (via mouse gestures) will form the interaction model of the game.

The aesthetic of the game will use basic shapes and colour combinations. In order to extend the visual style of Visiting Day I have been exploring acrylic and print making techniques. Whether these experiments will simply inform the resulting vector based graphics, or form the basis of a painterly artistic style in the final game remains to be decided.

Lessons learnt from Visiting Day

The language barrier – Key elements of Visiting Day are displayed in the form of text, making the game less popular overseas. Thankfully I have run across blogs which translate some of the menu text and have alternative instructions.

The importance of focused pre-production – I want to know exactly how the game will work, and what will be possible before typing the first line of code. Muddled design goals and impositions led to a longer than necessary dev time for my last game.

Simplicity – The minigames which work best in Visiting Day are those which are immediately understood. Confusion and Difficulty are two very different things, and I will hopefully cut out the first all together.

Design goals of Reunion

A game without language – story, control tips and player stats will be represented pictographically.

The game will combine simple directional pad controls with a mouse gesture input system.

The game will be visually engaging and beautiful, a hero's tale told with emotion

The game will designed as a fun experience for casual players. I want everyone who starts the game to have the capacity to complete it.

Breakdown of the mouse gesture system
Helicopter example

The player walks up to the helicopter with the directional pad, and presses up. This causes the character to climb into the helicopter.

A graphic will be displayed showing that a circular mouse motion is required, The player will then learn that doing so causes the helicopter to lift off.

Another image would then show that the helicopter can be steered by moving the circles being made to the left or right.

Upon reaching goal the player disembarks, returning to conventional directional pad movement.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The rush is over

Well, weekends without the internet are definitely an interesting experience, I have been painting a couple of canvases for my game pitch (these will be scanned for the thursday post, promise) and have generally had a blog and youTube less three days.

Anyway.. this is just a mini post to let people know about the reception Visiting Day got, as the entry figures seem to be waining.

I've logged roughly a thousand playthroughs of the game, and that's not counting the psp online play mode, which my stats software can't trace. 350 of the playthroughs logged were downloads of the gamepack, which means my game is now residing on 350 PSPs, which I consider a big deal. That's probably all the buzz for the game for now though, so back to concept art for Tree methinks, before my ego really inflates

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fame, but a distinct lack of fortune

Hello all, I'm back, and I'm very sorry for leaving you all for a week.. needless to say, it's been a bit busy. Today's post is going to be a bit of a catchup for me as well as you, so bear with me as I try to cover everything...

Visiting Day
So, I like made this game.. it's about kids and aliens and stuff... can't remember if I've mentioned it here at all. Well, last Thursday I released it.. and no one played it. Well, no one who didn't either know me personally or read the ever insightful and skillfully written gnome's lair. So I took matters into my own hands, firing off a couple of emails to websites I thought might like the game. In the last 24 hours 1000 people have played the game, and I hope they enjoyed it :)

I'm still waiting on the music, but it will arrive eventually. Thanks to Chentzilla the game will be featuring on the cover of an upcomming Russian games magazine, and a very kind lecturer is handing out those postcards I showed you before at the London Games Summit right now. So hopefully this is not the last post I'll make on the game :)

Some of the lovely sites that have featured my game...

... I'll post any other sites I find it on

Mutton Jeff
Every now and again a job comes along which is fun, scary, interesting and cute all at the same time... usually I have more time though :) A flash site for a really cool Welsh design studio.. - Me creating a site from their designs.. a great gig

Well, what do you know, suddenly I'm done on Visiting Day, looking for a new game to develop. Luckilly my degree requires me to build a cool game for a July completion date, so I can make something bigger, and better. Now till christmas will be spent on pre-production, and then a mad four month crunch to actually make the bloody thing.

Obviously I want to build on the success of Visiting Day, and make something addictive, beautiful and above all fun. The game will be officially pitched next thursday, and I think thats the best time to do it here aswell, as I'll have a finalized (ish) story, game design and maybe a little preliminary art. More to come, as this blog slowly but surely moves to focus on the development of the game, which for now at least, will be known as 'tree'

As I still don't have access to the internet at home, the next post will be on Monday, see you then