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2012 February

Point Blank Rocket Launcher Fight

Written by my partner in crime on this project, Christian Paulsen:

After several hours of planning, we have the entire game planned out. As the post title suggests, it will be called Point Blank Rocket Launcher Fight. We had a long chat about how to foster or at least allow for creativity in a game, as well as the nature of games vs toys.

Minecraft provides an interesting example of player creativity. Even when you’re not playing in creative mode, it can be argued that Minecraft allows for some of the most creative gameplay around. Why is this the case in Minecraft, and not in other games? A variety of explanations exist, each with their pros and cons. One explanation we considered, though, is that Minecraft has no victory state. It has a failure state that you try to avoid (a boomer or arrow to the face), but you are free to avoid the failure state however you wish. With a well-defined victory state, it’s much harder to allow for such a wide degree of player behavior. Games like Deus Ex attempt to allow for a variety of player approaches, but even those are fairly limited.

We had this discussion because we want the game we’re making to encourage as much player creativity as possible. Nothing to show right now, but we hope to have some mockups and art to show tomorrow. Time to start coding in earnest!

Self-Imposed 48 Hour Challenge

Written by my partner in crime on this project, Christian Paulsen:

We’ve always wanted to participate in one of those 48-hour game development contests, but have never quite been able to get our schedules to coincide with one.  After missing a local contest just a week or so ago, we decided enough is enough, we’d simply do our own.

Strictly speaking, it won’t be a 48-hour challenge.  We’ll start this evening at around 5pm and continue until we decide to quit sometime Sunday evening.  We plan on actually sleeping tonight and tomorrow night, too.  Why?  Two reasons.  1)  Aging is cruel, and has reduced our capacity (and willingness) to pull repeated all-nighters.  2)  There’s plenty of evidence that people just don’t work at their best in a sleep-deprived state.  We are hoping that reduced quantity of work time will result in increased quality.  But we’ll see.

A couple of things have been determined in advance.  We’ll be using the Unity development platform, and we’re aiming at releasing it for iOS.  Whatever game we finish (assuming we finish it, it’s playable, and not a disaster) we will release for free on the App Store.  Hopefully, it will not suck.  Hopefully, it will be downloaded more than 3 times.  If it’s downloaded significantly more than 3 times, we would probably add on to it.  Again, we’ll see.

We’ll be updating the blog regularly throughout the process because we think it will be not only a valuable resource for ourselves, but potentially for others interested in game development, iOS development, and/or rapid development.  We’re also on twitter: @happygametime.

Very Honored to be Named as a 2012 IGDA Scholar

IGDA Scholarships

Yesterday, several calls kept popping up from a number I didn’t recognize. Thinking it was phishing or a card company, I ignored them and thought nothing more of it. After about the third call, a voice mail finally showed up in my list. When I listened to it, I just about had a heart attack. It was Gordon Bellamy, executive director of the IGDA. I was in the lab up at the University of Utah when I listened to it, and I immediately knew what it was regarding. Luckily, some of my classmates were there to celebrate.

I called Gordon back about a half hour later, and he asked me if I was familiar with Battlestar Galactica. He said, in the great search for the psylons, I was the 15th psylon to be found — the last person he got a hold of by phone. I have to admit, I had a small moment of reflective dread that if he hadn’t left a message, I’d have just been passed up. He told me I’d been named a 2012 IGDA Scholar, and was being given all that entailed — an All Access GDC Pass, entrance into the IGDA Scholars group, industry mentorship, and studio tours. It’s an incredible honor, and well worth the couple of days I put into the application. I’m incredibly excited for all the opportunities in store — can’t wait.