Thursday, March 27, 2008

Catching up

This morning I started the day by thinking of what was special about Thursday. I knew there was something that I was missing, but my tired brain eventually just accepted that Thursday was the day that I taught Japanese after work. Well, during work today since the teaching happens at work and I was working late. 9:30 PM rolls around and I remember that I need to post something!

So, the game maker is coming along nicely. The item-making section of it could be done in a few weeks depending on how much extra work I need to do at home and at work. On the plus side I needed to bring my laptop into work last week (Friday) so I was able to show my semi-functional game maker off to people at a professional gaming company. One person did complement it saying that it was easy to use and made sense. w00t! Peter didn't get to see it though since he had the day off because he had to work a lot of overtime recently. And he still manages to get some nice-looking artwork for Darkened Dreams too!

Fox assures me that I should get a map eventually.

So, remember when I kept saying my wife wasn't well so I had to take extra time to make dinner, clean up, take care of her, etc? It's morning sickness, I'm gonna be a daddy!

Last off, I've been playing ICO recently. I figured I'd mention it since Peter lists it as one of his top 10 games. I really like it. The atmosphere is wonderful and the puzzles are challenging without being too impossible. I'm not sure if it will make my top 10, since one of my rules for getting in is that I could play the game over and over again. Even with me now knowing most of the puzzles, I might just end up forgetting everything in a few months, so who knows. It might get up there after all. Next up, Shadow of the Colossus!

(Can you believe that I've never played these before?)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The best games EVER

Hi! No art updates today, but here's my all-time game favorites, and these are in order ;)

1 World of Warcraft (PC)
2 Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
3 Secret of Mana (SNES)
4 Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1)
5 Final Fantasy 9 (PS1)
6 Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 (PS2)
7 Dragon Quest 8 (PS2)
8 Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
9 Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)
10 ICO (PS2)

I like a bit of variety, but I certainly am a fan of Fantasy overall.

World of Warcraft is great because I play with friends, it's one of the few ways a married guy can get some time to play games with buddies every now and then.
Shadow of the Colossus I'd say is my model of perfection in games, as the game managed to present 18 hours of straight challenge without one bit of repetition. This game also has the best soundtrack of any.
Secret of Mana was my predecessor for Warcraft, it's the game I played with friends over and over before online gaming existed--love the art and story, too!
Final Fantasy Tactics has a ruleset and job system that allows you to replay the same game over and over in infinite ways, I love how you can always find new parties to assemble and new strategies are everywhere.
Final Fantasy 9 is gorgeous to look at. I love the characters and environments, I also love the writing, the characters are so well developed.
Dance Dance Revolution lets you get in the beat of music and after sitting at a computer all day, it often helps me get a necessary bit of body movement.
Dragon Quest 8 is the longest game besides World of Warcraft that has actually kept me entertained the entire time (92 hours). Many other rpg's I feel like I have to work hard to get through the dumb parts, but this one never got boring. A lot of that has to do with the enemies being presented in a kind of cute manner, they always did silly things when they attacked you. The music in this game is live orchestra, I can never play games with midi-music any more without cringing.
Zelda a Link to the Past has an amazing art style--When the Super Nintendo wouldn't support graphics like our current-gen systems, they found a way to make a super appealing style. The music was the best of any Zelda (there still aren't any live orchestrated ones :P ) And the gameplay was extremely fun, including the great puzzles.
Beyond Good and Evil-- If you've never heard of this game... poor you! Stumbled upon it by accident and I was totally blown away! This is a game that mixes so much variety into one game, there's never a dull moment! It also has a humorous tone to it that keeps it fun. The main character is a fun and attractive girl with a sense of humor.
ICO preceded Shadow of the Colossus, and is worth looking at just for that, but it's also got some fabulous puzzles. It's a bit short and the girl you have to escort through the enormous castle is a little hard to lead around sometimes, but the puzzles and stunning visuals will keep your brain on high attention the whole time. It has one of the best endings of any game, and it can teach you a little something about yourself.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Top 10 Games

To give you a bit of a feel of what games I like, here are my top 10 favorite games. Of course, it has to be a game that I've played before for it to make the list!

In no specific order:

1.) Morrowind (PC)
2.) Bionic Commando (NES)
3.) Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1)
4.) Pokemon Diamond (NDS)
5.) Secret of Mana (SNES)
6.) Heroes of Might and Magic IV (PC)
7.) Twisted Metal Black (PS2)
8.) Final Fantasy 6 (SNES)
9.) Final Fantasy 7 (PS1)
10.) Super Mario Brothers 3 (NES)

Runners up
Twisted Metal 2 (PS1)
Daggerfall (PC)
Super Metroid (SNES)
Mario 64 (N64)
Black and White (PC)
Tecmo's Deception (PS1)
Soul Caliber II (PS2)
Prince of Persia (PS2)

Lastly, my system of choice is the Nintendo DS.


P.S. Oh yeah, Darkened Dreams 2. Still working on it! More info next week.

P.P.S. I started writing in details for each game but it was taking forever. :P

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Art progress

Califer asked me to post something... about two months ago... so here it is!

Here are a few sample character combinations, of over 25,000 character combinations you will be able to customize.

Where did I get that number?

In Darkened Dreams 2 you'll get to make a male or female character. Each gender will have 20 hairstyles in 8 different colors, 6 different faces in 5 different skin colors, and 3 different starting outfits (determined by character class).

Some NPC's will be randomized, using the same art that you use to customize your character. You never know who you'll meet in the game.

I've made a lot of progress on the art for the characters. The jpg image posted above has just 4 of the combinations demonstrated. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Weeks like this . . .

Weeks like this make me glad that I don't have a publisher. I was able to break down some important things and learned a good deal about GUI programming, but since my wife wasn't feeling well I lost a lot of programming time. On the plus side I got a lot more meal-cooking practice. A few more and I might get a new level!

One of the big ugly things that slowed me down this week was trying to figure out how I could get item crafting to work well so I could know what kind of objects to make so I didn't have to redo it all later. I eventually decided to tone it down since it was getting really complicated. It's still going to be done in a way that you will be able to make items that are different, and even let you put in what your focus is. Do you want your new sword to be sharper or better balanced? Also, some items will be more useful for different points of the item. If the recipe asks for so many units of a metal, you can put in steel for more strength, or you could use gold, which would add to the beauty and value, but put nothing towards the toughness and sharpness.

Coming next, ingredients, ability books, and chapter 2 of my Japanese book!

Tune in next week for my Top 10 Games!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Game Maker is Go

I've learned a few important things from when I made Darkened Dreams.
Number 1: Make sure that the save file and other data storage doesn't make it a pain to add anything new.

Everything was hard-coded in. That meant that I had to write code for every single thing in the game. The maps were especially terrible, since I had to go through and fill in every single thing for every square. This included which directions you could travel in. This made maps take FOREVER to make and left them prone to error.

Now, I'm making a game-making program where I can make and store items, maps, npcs, monsters, etc. It slows things down a bit to start, but I am convinced that it will make things much faster and nicer in the end. Especially since it means that Peter or Fox could also make stuff for the game without having to learn programming.

The basic plan behind the Item Maker part of it is finished, I just need to put in the rest of the details for all the different item types.

Peter made a rough mockup of what the game may end up looking like. The top right corner of the game is the map (which is going to be very different). Below it is where bad guys appear. The player shows up full-size, and pets, summoned creatures and hero allies show up behind. Commands will not be issued through text anymore. This GUI will probably change as we think about it more and actually get the game working.