New Website!

•January 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’ve moved on to http://cysdev.appspot.com. It’s no longer a blog and more of a personal portfolio with a collection of all of my works. I’ve also completed 2 game projects “The Elite6” and “Allicia” in my previous semester. You can find them under “works”. Have a look!

A New Beginning

•July 28, 2012 • 2 Comments

It has certainly been a long long time since the last blog post, and to be perfectly honest, there was little to no progress at all. The same could be said for the past 2 years. College life was busy, and there’s simply no way for me to dedicate too much time and effort into making the game. I believe many indie developers out there can resonate with me – making games can be really stressful, especially when there is immense pressure to finish it. If you guys watched “Indie Game: The Movie“, you know what i’m talking about. As much as I wanted to complete it because I have already spent so much time on it, I just do not have the time and the interest to continue.

In other words, this project is discontinued.

That does not mean I am giving up on game development. The degree that i’m pursuing is game related after all. I’m also currently under a mentorship from Tecmo Koei, a great opportunity to see how game development works in a company setting. Mod Society started off as a pet project to teach myself how to use the xna framework, and to push myself to see how complex i can make the engine. I did learnt a lot working on it, and it was certainly time well spent. I can’t say for sure whether i would work on another indie title, but i would certainly continue making games.

Last but not least, i would like to offer a huge thanks to all the people who have supported my game thus far. Thank you 🙂

FREE

•July 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

The game is now freeware for PC! It is something that ive always been keeping in mind and just a couple of days ago, i arrived at this decision. Making the game freeware means that a greater audience will have access to it, and it also opens up new opportunities for creativity and tools that have left untouched due to copyright issues (imagine a fire flower as a weapon, for example). The decision certainly hasnt come easy, given the amount of time that has gone into its production, but if more people could play it and appreciate it, then i will definitely not regret it.

Wider Screen

•July 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

What better proof than to show a photo of it working on TV! The quality is regrettably bad though.

TV screen

You might notice that it doesnt fill up the entire screen. But the problem only exists because its a direct feed from the laptop, which somehow never fill up the entire screen when connected to the TV.

Embracing the new

•July 8, 2011 • 3 Comments

Its time for some good news for a change!

Seeing as i have almost finished done preparing for my 2nd year in university, i have some time left to work on the game. Remember when i said i was overly ambitious? i commit the same mistake again, but this time its for a good reason – the game is now in WIDESCREEN.

Perhaps its because all the TVs and computers at home have leapt to embrace the new trend. I find myself unable to tolerate 4:3 any longer. It even extends to the animes ive chosen to watch, a habit ive adopted rather recently. Making the change in the game was actually rather tedious – backdrops have to be lengthened, enemy spawnpoints amended, placement of objected shifted, and so on. But the payoff was rather great, if i say so myself.

More good news coming up in the next few days!

The reason for the lack of progress and how it all begins

•June 23, 2011 • 2 Comments

Even though there isnt many people who are interested in the project but for the few who are anticipating its arrival, i suppose i have some accounting to do (or rather, the entire year). As you would probably have realised, almost no work has been done recently. There are some tweaks and a couple of levels created, but nothing very substantial. There are a couple of reasons for this, which i think game developers are able to empathise with.

1. Lack of experience in level design.
I have to admit that i used to scoff at level designers, back before i actually started working on levels. I was never interested in level design, which explains why i often abandon projects after the engine is completed. I almost never went beyond the coding phase. Perhaps that’s why the only games ive actually finished are minigames.

To me, level designers simply use the engine the programmers painstakingly created and refined, and place tiles and enemies randomly. However, i cant be more wrong. A mario level may seem extremely simplistic, but underlying it is a whole lot of design choices. Placement of tiles and enemies need to be creative, so the players don’t feel that they are simply going through motions. It also has to offer just enough challenge for the players. I just cant make a level that seems fun, thus the amount of time that goes into this aspect.

2. Lack of confidence.
I was never a confident person, and this lack of confidence has somehow affected the project in more ways than one. Take the art of the game for instance, it certainly look better than anything that ive done thus far. However, when placed against other top-selling 2D indie games, it loses out. Any person who look at the screenshot of the game would not find it attractive enough to warrant a purchase.

There are indeed a couple of levels done, but since im the one playing it, I was unsure of my feelings. Am i really finding it fun because it really is, or am i not having fun but is only pretending to because it’s a product of my own creation? I always believe the latter. Therefore, i would sometime hesitate while i was making the game. Is the time spent really worth it in the end? and would the game even be fun once its done?

3. Simply too ambitious.
I was not planning to make it this ambitious, but as i develop the game, my ambition for the game grew to dangerous proportions. Part of it is because the game lacks planning, and mechanics are therefore not restricted to the design document (which of course may not be bad thing). The core mechanics alone (the modding mechanic) is ambitious enough, but playing other games further fuel that ambition. For instance, playing MGS : peace walker has inspired me to adopt a “base” mechanic in the game.

4. Lack of time.
This is undoubtedly the most important reason why the game was delayed so much. About 11 months ago, i started university, and education has taken up majority of my time. Pixel, the developer of the critically acclaimed Cave Story, spent his leisure time in college making the game. It’s indeed possible, but im the type who would spend all my time concentrating on studies – aka a “mugger”, in Singapore slang. Grades just matter to me more than the development of the game. It may be the important period of my life, one that would steer my career and opens up more opportunity in the future. Time wasted here cannot be given back.

In fact, i am concentrating on my studies even in this 2+ months of holidays in preparation for school. I’m that crazy.

 

Having given my reasons for the lack of progress, i will give a little story of how it all begins. It started with physics, yes PHYSICS. During the 6 months waiting for university, i wanted to use my knowledge of physics to create something interesting (i really love physics you see). I thought adding weight to bullets, altering speed and directions, could create some really cool effects.

Add that to a game that i was playing then, Borderlands. I did not even finish the game, but the promise of a great number of guns intrigued me. I thought a deep customisation option would be available for a game that focuses on gun variety, but i was immensely disappointed to learn that modifying the guns obtained was impossible. The game just throws you guns that are randomly generated.

Now wouldn’t it be perfect if you can obtain a great number of guns, and modify them in every way by adding modifiers like weight and speed? The amount of customisation options would be endless! And there it begins, an experiment with physics combined with a disappointment in Borderlands. The first prototype was created in Multimedia Fusion, and i managed to create a few guns and mods. While the experiment was a success, the special effects was horrible. Fire doesn’t look like fire, and ice doesn’t look like ice. Also, combining fire, ice and lightning create something that looks more messy than pretty. I almost ended it back then.

Then i started learning XNA, hopefully to learn some real game programming and get more control over my projects. Since some sprites were already created in the first prototype, i ported them over and started creating a platform engine. I was really just experimenting with XNA… but i can’t stop. I was in love. The amount of control given were perfect, and everything that happens on-screen is exactly what i expected them to be. Moreover, XNA allows the use of additive blending which greatly enhances the special effects which used to be really messy. I just had to continue and see where it takes me.

Then development begins even to this day…

Development Kit (sort of)

•May 5, 2011 • 12 Comments

Its holidays! 3 months long in fact. Now i have all the time i need for the game. Actually, the game has come to the point when only level designs are needed, which i initially thought to be the easy part. However, having designed a couple of levels during last holiday, i realised how difficult level design can be, and i didnt really enjoy making it.

Perhaps part of the reason is because the design of level is made in a program named “tilestudio”, which generates a bunch of coordinates in a text file which i can simply copy and paste into the game engine. Sounds simple, but actually not. Creating a level requires tons of trial and error, and copy and pasting again and again is no fun.

Therefore, by this holiday, i am going to create a level designer of sorts just for the game, partially to train my programming prowess (im taking a computing course in university, for those unaware :)), which will make the process of level design simpler. Also i can use some crowdsourcing to get some levels done :).