Instead of posting “new screen shots” without any context to base them, I wanted to set the record straight on what the hell I’m up to. Basically, I’m working to get back into the video game business. Remember that context intertwined throughout this manic blog will help you understand where I’m coming from. And I am working to get back into the game biz by creating a few (yea er.. few) new IP’s. Yeah, I said IP and I know that’s maybe an unnecessarily unnecessary legal type of word. But the reason I say that is the characters and story are cool enough that I think they are multi-genre type of properties. So, even though they are in my computer at the moment, and may not go beyond my demo reel – they are new IPs. Thank you.
So, the first is a title called “RED 3030“. This title is a tower defense game that I am hoping will be skewed towards a “strategy game”. The scope of the game changed quite a lot since its inception – but you have to remember I only revitalized my gaming biz career aspirations in December 2013, and came up with the type of game (Tower Defense aka TD) I wanted to make in January when I started learning Unity 3D.
Here’s a recent screen shot of Map 1 with our protagonist “RNGR” killing an alien “Runner”, cause I generally enjoy pictures of Mechs blasting aliens to bits more than words describing Mechs blasting aliens to bits :
Watching all the Unity 3D tutorials and reading every single Gamasutra feature on “How to Design a Video Game by Thinking About Designing a Video Game, Wayyyy Too Much”, I thought to myself, “People are saying your first game will suck! People say your first game will suck! And everyone seems to be making some crappy endless runner!! SWEEEET. I wanna make one of thos….. wait. Hell no I don’t”
I know I’m not the first to say it, but I don’t WANT my first game to suck. In fact, it won’t suck. But just in case, I’m starting 3 games.
Another thing, let’s be clear – I am not technical. I am not analytical (when it comes to music and video games). For example, I don’t use a midi synthesizer to compute a melodic rhapsody using integers with the square root of blah blah. I understand that people work in different ways and I’m smart enough to know a team of all us weirdos make the world go round, but I’m usually the one spinning the globe. I’m much more into feeling the game story, utilizing kernels of inspiration, imagining the experience in my skull, and directing it into existence. Quickly. This is one of my great strengths as a music producer.
Naturally, I wanted to make my TD game a “2D” game – cause what better way to make a game in Unity 3D?? In all seriousness, most people familiar with Unity know they now have a robust toolset for 2D as well. But originally my idea for what’s now known as RED 3030 wasn’t specced due to technological limitations (which there were many.. like.. my brain.. the fact I didn’t know C#, Unity, 3D Studio Max… yeah THAT kind of stuff), but its scope was based on my desire to re-create a sci-fi version of Square’s TD game, Crystal Defenders.
I loved Crystal Defenders- reading player reviews for the game shows that some younger folks hate the dated old school RPG graphics. But it wasn’t about that for me. This game is all about beating your high score and finding new ways to conquer the maps. I truly feel the game is incredibly addictive even after you beat it – in that old timey, puzzle, OCD kind of way. To me, that kind of game play transcends the wrinkles on my butt. So, the idea was to recreate the game in the same manner – creating pixel art on my own. This was more than possible. I tested some out and was having success. But that seemed like a lot of work for a one-man-team such as myself.
So, pretty much right after I wrote my BEAUTIFUL 32 page game doc, I changed my mind and thought I should render out various angles of 3D models for each attack “animation”. This was of course after I created an excel database (cough cough, pivot table) with ALL the data from Crystal Defenders, which they provide for each Tower and Creep throughout the game. As someone who isn’t analytical in that way, I figured this might be a good way to help provide balance and quicker testing. Cute idea, right?
It didn’t matter though – I think I made the final decision to go 3D during one particularly grueling crap, whilst playing Sentinel 3, which is a sci-fi TD game. I thought the game was cool – and it ran fast on mobile devices. I wondered, “Is this 3D? It looks 2D! Could 3D run so smooth though?” So I emailed the developers. And sure enough it was 3D models that had been rendered in 2D via multiple animation PNG shots to give a nice “animated” feel, but again with those rather rad models the basis for the art.
I’m not going to go too in depth about how I started messing with some 3D models and A* system in Unity 3D. But, the bottom line is after consulting with Andrew Claussen, who is helping with some C# for the game, I decided finally on 3D with a “nearly top down view” camera view. This would enable quicker art (Not having to render each Tower, Creep, etc) and having the camera and animations do the dirty work.
I bet you thought this Word Press blog was all game screenshots. No way. I plan to bore you lots. So, I’m going to continue next time with more about what has been going on since January. I have learned a lot during this time – and have some advice to hand down on everything from 3D Studio Max, to Video Game Degrees, all the way to my favorite places to get donuts in the Twin Cities. Cause I love doughnuts. So, I’m sure you’ll come back to read more about my exciting trials and tribulations in video game development and donut eating.
-The Vidja Gamer