Weekly Game Jams

I’m gonna attempt to make a game a week starting tomorrow which will give me a chance to do some experiments that I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time.

It will start by me (or hopefully “us”, with your collaboration) planning what I want to do on the first day, Saturday,

Hopefully games (if they can be called “game”-s, let’s see!) will feature different aspects and challenges based on what I try to achieve (or not!) from technical to design to art and I may or may not reveal those.

This can also act as a guiding light for the next project, who knows? 🙂

I don’t know for how long I can keep up with it, certainly it will not be notoriously “Perfect”, but better to have a plan.

I’ll post the results and short post-mortems here and maybe some thoughts on mid-week as well? Let’s see.

If you are interested to help by any way, tag along! Either by sharing an idea, helping with the code, design, etc. All is welcome.

And have a great year!

P.S. I’ve changed the theme of the blog from black to white, so let the change begin!

Status update

It’s been a while since my last post here, about 3 months. Worth noting that the lack of a message is a message itself.

First of all, Rot Gut’s status.

We’ve developed a multiplayer version of Rot Gut (lost the count, is it 4th time?) and tested with a lot of peers and feedbacks have been great. It has game modes, destructible environments and all that cool stuff that I wanted to do for so long and could not do in previous games. So that’s great there.

Then we’ve decided to add online multiplayer and it’s been my worst nightmare so far. I’ve dabbled with a lot of networking techs from UNet, to Photon, to Forge, to uLink, to etc just to find out none of these work out for us.

Each of them has a problem in it’s core that prevents us to develop our game on it.

This project introduces challenge after challenge from it’s start and this online networking has been the hardest that I’ve faced my whole life. Truly a beast that doesn’t want to get tamed, no matter how hard I try.

On the bright side, if there is any, I’ve learned much about networking and multiplayer and it’s been adventurous on that side.

Personally speaking, my depression got worse and I’ve been changing meds and none of them worked out so far. It’s very hard to be alone, deal with depression (among other things) and face a project that is hardest you’ve faced so far and there is no guarantee that would even make a single buck.

I find myself more and more trying to escape this craziness called “Indie Game Dev” and before it gets even more late to find a “job” that pays. But I can’t. I simply love it so much and spent so much time to just be able to leave it be. Maybe it’s the right choice.

I’ve used to thinking of quitting before but the frequency has gotten so much higher than before. And it’s not good.

That’s all for now I think.

Weekly report.

Past week was somewhat amazing. First it was fourth LIMITED ACCESS festival and I attended most of it and it was pure joy. Especially Tuesday that there were several audio experimental performances and one of them by Elemun was mind blowing, both it’s visuals and audio/music.

Beside that, I dusted off my Ableton Live’s old projects and played with it to remember what I had learned last year. Live is one of softwares that I truly appreciate and one of the fine pinnacles of both software and hardware engineering. I’ll continue learning Live for the next few weeks and hopefully can make some tunes. I uploaded some of my older experiments here.

Last Thursday was first session of my Scripting Class course. I always enjoyed teaching back in the University but I always wanted to make examples by addressing video games but academic space is not that familiar with games and thus I had to suppress that desire but now that I’m teaching at a game development institute, I, metaphorically, feel at home. I really liked the class and I was proud to see my pupils know well-enough about basic, but important nevertheless, concepts such as variables, functions and flow of a program.

Since these students are the very ones that I was privileged to hold their Digital Game Design class the previous semester, they know general usage of Game Maker with drag and drop and now with learning scripting and GML, they can get unleashed.

I basically am teaching them programming in disguise of scripting as I believe any good game designer should know programming and also if you know programming, doing scripts is a piece of cake. Key thing is show them applications of the abstract concepts of programming to keep them interested and enthusiastic. Just a little to quench their thirst! You can download slideshows of this class from course’s blog.

As I’ve not received my MacBook, STILL, I’m forced to work with Corona on Windows and as I described in my previous posts, Corona’s tools are not at their best potential here, the opposite from Mac state. So I’m in constant back and forth with developers of several thirdparty Corona IDE’s such as ZeroBrane Studio and Glider (previously known as CIDER) in order to make them better. I’ll post reviews of such IDE’s in near future when I get enough experience utilizing them.

That’s it for now.

Another week with Lua while drinking Corona [SDK].

For the past week, I continued working on my casual game with CoronaSDK but most of the time was actually spent on learning more Lua in depth and I’ve been liking it very much. Lua is a [seemingly] simple language to learn, heck it’s a dynamic language and it’s almost hard to shoot yourself in the foot, with a Shotgun or so, easily but mastering is something else because it’s just when you read about it in depth that it shows it’s true self.

It’s a very powerful language, I like the dynamic features of it a lot. As most of my experience was with Compiled languages, such as C-family languages, even though I made a complete game with Flash, which uses ActionScript3 and is a dynamic language, I’m still learning new things with Lua because I don’t have to dabble with Flash and can utilize a much more development environment. I had experience with Python as well on Garshasp video game on my technical art parts but I can bravely say that I’m just finding out about true powers of a dynamic language now that I’m thinking to utilize it to boost performance as best as I can since I’m developing on mobile (iOS/Android) here.

One of the most interesting topics is doing OOP in Lua where there are several debates on how to do so and most of them valid because it relates on the platform that you are actually coding and developing on.

Not this kind of Corona of course! 😀

So it’s been a good journey so far but it doesn’t leave me unwilling to wish for working with Corona and that is lack of tools on Windows. Since Corona is mostly used for iOS/Android developers, most of them guys have Mac computers so most of the development environments that exists for Corona, at least good ones, are in Mac. (got my Southern English joke there? :D). And since I’m STILL yet to get my hungry paws on my MacBook Pro, I had to check every possible configuration available on Windows and I can safely say that none of them worked for me. Don’t get me wrong, Corona is a great SDK but you need a proper IDE to be able to code productively for it and none of the Windows solutions are competent enough. Another aspect is the level editor that is simply hard to find and I don’t like any of solutions here as well. There are far better solutions on Mac like Game Helper toolset but I’m yet to try them but they seem and look great.

So I’m continuing my journey with Corona and Lua and will report back here.

I also got some emails regarding Unity for 2D. I tried to reply them as best that I can but I’m also writing a post about it in extent so stay tuned.

As of this week, my courses at Iran National Game Development Institute (IranGDI) resumes and I’m very looking forward to meet my pupils again, as well as new ones that I’m looking forward to meet. I’ll be teaching Digital Game Design along with my best friend, great colleague and a great artist, Hossein Hosseinian, along with that I will hold Scripting Class to extend journey of students of past semester to learn how to write scripts (along with way more stuff!) and extend their abilities with Game Maker that hopefully they can apply on any other engine as well. It’s still in talks but it’s highly likely that I’ll be holding a class called Game Psychology which I’ll talk about psychology of games in general and try to tie video game there. It will be for first semester of University of Video Games that just started to work and I’m very passionate about.

So that’s it for now!