shawn's blog

Planning for the next month

Posted in Music, OriGamInc, Other, Tone Def, Unity by Shawn on March 19, 2012

So, my laptop’s screen is definitely broken. Pretty good timing too, I guess. The last time I had laptop issues, the deadline to the IGF was quickly approaching. I was out a laptop for a good week, which meant I couldn’t do a lot of programming.

This time, the deadline for IndieCade is coming. What are the plans for IndieCade? Well, I hope to submit two games, Mr. Condyle’s Escape and Tone Def. So, the problem is, I have two games to work on, can’t work on them full time, and have no laptop. Still, that doesn’t mean that I can’t do other things, in regards to planning, designing, organizing and more. After I get my laptop back, I do plan to, as they say, ‘kick it in high gear’, I think. That means I’ll have a lot more content to share, on the design front, as well as other aspects.

By mid next week, I hope to be in full swing with my music production. In the mail, coming my way, is a new Midi Controller that I plan to use with Reason, my current DAW. Rather, I should say ‘first’ Midi Controller. All of my work with Reason has been me using my mouse and keyboard. That doesn’t mean that I’ve haven’t been able to make music that I’m unhappy with. All it means is that I should be able to make music faster, which I’m looking forward to. Hopefully, later on this week, or early next week, I should have some new musical pieces that I can share via the blog/soundcloud. For now, I’m going to continue working on a cheaper borrowed, non midi keyboard, to help me get ideas out of my head. Also, I purchased the sheet music book for various Legend of Zelda Songs.

In terms of designing, there’s a lot that still needs to be done. The part that does make me a bit upset is that I can design some things, and put them into my game, then update them based on how they appear in game. I’ll have to do some waiting before I can see my ideas and plans in production. Each time I get a free chance, I muck about in my Redmine, doing a lot of organizing. The way I work is in 2-week iterations. I assign myself a number of task that I think I’ll be able to complete within the two week timeline. More often than not, I bite off more than I can chew, which is okay for now, since I’m my own boss. But, setting these goals and iteration time periods help me keep track of what I’m doing, how long it takes for me to accomplish a task, and helps me form a nice timeline of production. It also helps me figure out where something went wrong, and who to blame it on (I can only blame it on myself….).

In terms of actual planning, I have outlined what’s needed for Tone Def, thing the player will actually see. More instruments, more instrument effects, and new level types. Also, interesting light shows (more on that in a future post, hopefully). There’s more work behind the scenes that need to be done also. I recently starting to make more and more custom editors, and there are a few other thing that would work better for me if I had a few custom inspectors in this Unity project. Such as the aforementioned light show. I’ve been thinking about going into some detail regarding some of the editor scripting. I’m still on the fence about it, since most of the time I start writing a blog update, I delete it. This is actually the third time I’ve tried to write this particular one.

But that’s it for now, before I go ahead a delete this one. I’m hoping to move at a better pace, and have something good before the IndieCade submission date. I’ve gotten some feedback from others regarding Tone Def, and it seems like other people don’t think it’s terrible!

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We’re timing you…

Posted in MCE by Shawn on November 29, 2011

There really isn’t a “We” as this is just me. But “I’m timing you” sounds a bit creepier than “We’re timing you”. At least, it makes me feel less creepy. And that’s what’s important.

Of course, I’m really talking about Mr. Condyle’s Escape. Right now, for the demo, there are two level types. Goal levels, where you must reach the goal, and Survival levels, where you must survive until time runs out. So, it seems like it makes sense to add in a third level, which is a combination of the two. A Timed Goal Level.

A flag and a stopwatch? Clever! (not really)

The level type is simple. Reach the goal before time runs out. At first, this may seem weird, especially in such a fixed game. It may make more sense if you had direct control over the main character, where your direct move allows you to increase/lower your chances of success. This was the main factor to why I kept it out of the game for so long. I actually included this type of level within my code, but never implemented it in design until recently. But after thinking about it, and just mocking up levels, I decided to take the leap. Whether this is a good decision or not is not known.

The level in its most basic form has the player choosing moves they feel would be the best, as most levels do. However, in these levels, players must pick the most optimal solution, as opposed to the other level types. During any given Goal level, you could pause for a number of times, and still complete the level. Of course, your move count will increase dramatically, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you don’t really need to be move conscious. That changes a bit more with a Survival level, and even more so with a Timed Goal level.  It’s pretty much “Choose the best path, or lose”. And think of the stressful interesting situations you can be placed into. Let’s say the level you are in happens to contain Active Bombs (bombs that start ticking as soon as you enter the level regardless of whether you press play or not), then you’ll need to make the best decision quickly/right on time, depending on where the bomb is.

Quick note about Active Bombs. Just because they go off right away doesn’t mean one has to rush. Rather, they’re more about timing rather than rushing. You know this bomb will go off after ‘x’ seconds. However, when do you press the play button? Do you press play as soon as you can, or do you press play when the bomb is about to explode? Questions!

To bring that back into the whole Timed Goal aspect, this game actually gets a bit more complicated than I thought it would. You may have a timed goal level, where you need to make the right choices quickly, before that bomb blows up and destroys your path. Or, you may need to wait 5 seconds before you set out on your goal in a Goal Level with an Active Bomb. (Active Bombs add a whole new element).

Oh, and finally, there’s a new simple object, which I’ve neglected for some reason. It’s a simple switch. And it has the power to activate/deactivate certain objects, pieces of the level. There are a few level mockups for this switch, which should make the game a bit more difficult than it already is.

But that’s it for now.

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OriGamInc is back! And it came with a game!

Posted in OriGamInc by Shawn on August 25, 2011

Well, it never left. Don’t want to read on? Go there now!

I just stopped paying attention to it to really focus on game development. However these last four days were spent restructuring the website, much of it on the back end, making it much easier for me to manage. There’s some php changes, navigation changes, and it is now being versioned by Git. I also set up a way to conduct test.Which is better.

Much better.

Seriously, before, I was just messing around with the main page whenever I felt like it. I would change the production site, and if someone was currently on it, the same page would change about 15 times in a minute. Pretty unprofessional.

And guess what’s announced? MCE! Don’t know what MCE is? Go to this page right now! Exciting stuff?

This is MCE

All this work went into OriGamInc mostly because I sill plan to start an independent game studio. And this is where all of that work will go. It’s a very simple site, partially my work, with the blog handled by WordPress. It is intended to be simple, easy to read, and direct. Also, I don’t have a ton of html/css skills, nor do I want to pursue that at this point in time. Of course, I’ll continue to update this blog. This is still more of a personal blog, but it has become about 85% about my game development .

However, I’ll be getting back to that later on this week. I have some new music that I’d added to the game, and it works out nicely! Also, I finished writing all of the music scripts that I need to manage within the game!Excellent, right? Now all I need to do is actually continue writing the music. Maybe I’ll post some snippets of that music script later on that week. But who really wants to read my code?

But that’s it for now! Yay for OriGamInc? Oh, and if you don’t haven’t played the game yet go here to download a copy! ( To download a window’s copy, you can use this link, for a mac, this one. Please note, the game (at the moment) looks/runs best on a window’s PC with a 16:9 display.)

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Demo v1.545/End of Iteration 6

Posted in MCE, Unity by Shawn on August 22, 2011

So I have a playable demo! And you can play! You’ll need to ask fiercely, as it’s quite a difficult process making the demo available for all to play. So, I figured I should make it just as hard to get the game. Make sense?

Not really. All you really need to do is click on one of these links:

Download for Windows!

Download for Mac!

Or if you’re on the super top secret list of people, then you have already received an email with links to game. If you’re not on the list (there are a few people who should be, but I’ve lost their email address….), then click on one of those links above. If you want to be on the special updates list, let me know.

And it also looks like this current iteration is over. I managed to get up to 18 task for the 6th iteration, finishing all but 2, both of them art related. This upcoming iteration will focus on some more level building and some more artwork. I want to add more traps as well, but I haven’t really thought of new traps yet. It would be cool to put things in that didn’t make sense in terms of gameplay (I actually just thought of one right now!), but since this isn’t your traditional puzzle/platform game, I can’t simply include anything and everything. I can still do a lot though!

Also, I want to start putting in the game music. I have a few scripts that manage my game music, but I’m not currently using them, nor am I using the music that I have created thus far. By the end of this iteration, this should hopefully change.

I also plan to use this iteration to address any feedback that I get! The next time I release a build will probably be a while from now. World one is not finished, and that is a milestone that I want to reach before I even think about including additional levels. Actually, I would rather finish half of world two before I put out another demo. That may be a bit from now. It all depends on how much time I have to work, and if they ever decided to add more hours to a normal day.

But that’s it for now! If you play and have feedback, let me know via comments/email/contact page/skywriting/telegram/sing-o-gram/encrypted message!

And if you do play, thanks.

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