Vikings & the Dragon's Claw game is going well and we have most of the animations done. Today we are going to publish some preview of the walking animations. Motion Builder is our weapon of choice regarding animations in all of our games. For this model we used skeleton with 23 bones. There are not much details, for example, we didn't need finger bones because model is going to be small on the scene. Also we used one bone for each foot. Eyes are currently not being animated but we are going to add those to animations in final version. In the video below there are two versions of basic walking and one with waving which is supposed to play randomly. Other animations which are not shown in the video are axe throwing, lighting dynamite, vertical and horizontal digging, standing still (stopping other vikings from passing through), jumping and floating.
In the next week we will show some basic level concept.
This post is about modern game design and modern tendency to keep AAA titles short linear and easy. They say it is good for a game to have tutorial because it will bring more different people to buy it. I think that is OK too but they should pay attention to hard core gamers who want many hours of gameplay (not just 4-5h like most of the titles) and want games to have very hard challenges. In Portal 2 you are being instructed at the beginning to look up or down - is that really necessary??? If a person needs to be told stuff like those, that person, with all due respect, shouldn't play games like that. Don't get me wrong, Portal 2 is great game and it gets pretty nice puzzles latter on, but some things are annoying. Another example is new Max Payne 3. It is painfully linear, shorter than previous parts and pretty much easier. Half of the game are cutscenes. It is like playing a movie which can be good or bad thing. On the other hand, tutorial is not so boring like in Portal.
I played original Tomb Raider few days ago - you start the game with empty HUD and after 30 seconds you get attacked by 5 dogs. I needed about minute to learn basic controls and to progress through the level. And I wont go in details how long the game actually is.
The point is, they should pay attention to game length and difficulty and try to keep satisfied both amateurs and hard core gamers.
As you have might read last week (if you weren't lazy :P) we have announced new project Vikings & the Dragon's Claw. We will start to show some of the graphics by showing 3D model which is going to be rendered into sprites for main character(s). There were some discussions and concepts about how the character should look like and it is decided to be cartoon-styled little fat guy with axes and shields. Model has about 30000 faces (it is not optimized because it will be rendered into sprites), no uv maps and it will be rendered using toon shader. Even though model has some details, it will be very small on the screen so most of details are not going to be visible. Size of characters will be about the size of fingerprint and the game, as you know, is going to be for iPad. Animations are currently being done and we will publish here some of them soon. We will try and make several short cartoon films to serve as teasers with viking in a leading role.
It is been awhile since we published our last project T.E.C. 3001 so we are happy to announce that we are near finish of our new title Vikings & the Dragon's Claw. It is cute little lemmings-like game for iPad with fluid gameplay. It represents improvement of original idea with some throwing axes, smashing catapults, big boss fights and other combat stuff. There are still basic elements like explosions, digging, floating etc.
Storyline is in basics like this: you are helping bunch of Vikings to find their stolen valuable item - the ancient dragon's claw. Their king sent them to check every castle in the North Lands. Ways to the castles are going to be hard and only smart and brave vikings will succeed.
In a next few weeks you can expect some things like models, concept art, animation, screenshots. In the middle of August there will be detailed announcement (release date, level numbers, abilities, bosses etc.). Also follow the game updates on facebook and twitter.
Game development is creating new worlds. It is supposed to give player experience which he cannot have in reality. Player needs to be dragged into your imaginary world and needs to play by your rules. But also while he spends time playing your masterpiece he should enjoy and relax. He should not have feeling of wasted time and he should not ask himself "on what did I just spent 2 hours?". World of games can be simple but also unimaginably complex, so we (as game developers) have to find balance between necessary and unnecessary, easy and difficult, pleasant and unpleasant. That is not easy task.
Probably the biggest limitation for us is our own imagination. Every game is result of someone's imagination. It defines virtual world, characters, quests, graphics, and set of rules given to the player. He is guided by those rules and he uses them to communicate with your virtual world. We can get inspiration from different sources like music, movies, books, dreams, real world situations.
For us it all comes down to imagination. After you work your idea on paper all you have to do is "little bit" of coding and you will win your players hearts.
Finally our first blog post.
It should represend our announcement that we are going to write here about XNA Game Studio, Unity3D, independent game develompent in general and casual life topics.
After several projects in XNA we decided to work with Unity3D too. Even though several months have passed since we published T.E.C. 3001 we weren't wasting time - we worked on several projects for other companies. It started as an agreement with one foreign company for which we were supposed to outsource several games, but that didn't turned out well.
We think XNA is great but because of other projects and our personal interest we wanted to work with Unity3D too. Other reason for our migration to Unity3D is low visibility and access to Xbox Live Indie games. We are very pleased how T.E.C. 3001 did on Xbox marketplace but there were many people saying "where is this game?", "I can't find this on my Xbox" or "I can't find Xbox Indie Games". This explains alot.
Does this mean that we are finished with XNA? No, we will certanly work with it in future but we want to spread to other platforms as well.
For all those who work in XNA, it will be very easy for you to learn Unity3D. We were scared that we are going to need time to learn it but we actually learned basics from 2 or 3 tutorials and started to work with it like we were born with it. For now Unity works like a charm.
Our future steps will be publishing T.E.C. 3001 on Desura and work on a new project for iPad. For all interested we are going to write here about development of it very soon.