Wappy dog

by Niels Brouwers 9. November 2011 06:33

So, I noticed this trailer for wappy dog from Nintendo. It's like a Sony Aibo connected with your Nintendo DS. Cool idea, mixing reality with the virtual world. Skylanders is another game doing this. I am not sure if these games are really worth playing, but it is just another way of interfacing with your players. And that's cool!

It inspired me to draw this 'Appy Dog' which is a little further in the future from now. I imagined an iphone / android app that you can use to control your pet. Just plug in the two antenna's in your pet and off you go!

On to some Carter Jones progress, I finally fixed a weird nasty bug in the level drawing. Also the level 3 (background) graphics are nearly done, I still need to do a lot of variations and waterfall animations but it's getting there! I am also investigating other platforms as well, it seems that with a little effort (I am an optimist with estimations! ) I can port CJA to other platforms like IPhone and Android. But first it has to become an XBOX Live Indie - I need focus! And time, lots of it!

Last but not least, and something completely different: the Dutch Ice Carving Championship 2011 is coming up. I am participating again, so that will take up some time as well the next couple of weeks. I will keep you updated!

New level in progress

by Niels Brouwers 17. October 2011 03:15

Hopefully you didn't notice that I upgraded this website to a newer version of blogengine, it did happen however and actually it was pretty easy. The only thing that didn't work out of the box was the twitter feed, but I fixed that.

I have started on the third level graphics for Carter Jones, I still need to do the entire level 2 graphics but I am expecting those graphics to be a little easier to draw (level 2 takes place inside ...err... something - it's supposed to be a surprise). Level 3 is a real interesting level to draw, it takes Carter through the jungle to the temple where he will find what he was hired to look for. He will also find a lot more, here's a quick concept sketch I did today which will also satisfy all the halloween enthousiasts out there:


Excuse me sir, where can I find the toilet? Oh, right there huh? Thanks!

Ofcourse, when trying to post this entry I stumbled upon a blogengine.net error... fixed it, but it did catch me by surprise!

The value of good Level Design and the Tools for it

by Niels Brouwers 18. September 2011 03:36

Because I am enjoying myself so much whilst making Carter Jones, I decided to expand the animation tool with a level editor. This will enable me to quickly move around stuff (the background, but also the baddies etc.) in a level. Previously I was doing all that in the game itself, with a built in level-editor (and I was placing baddies through a manually edited xml file). That was not ideal, now it is just an easy to develop windows forms application so if I need some special function (like the roll that you see on the screenshot) then I can build it really easy.

This tool will grow in functionality and will greatly reducde the time to 'design' the levels. Designing levels is probably the hardest part in a game, if you mess up the design then the player will notice immediately and reject the game because it is no fun (it is probably just annoying or boring or somewhere lacking). So by enabling the design process outside of the game I hope to increase the quality and also the quantity of the levels. Level editing was kind of a chore before, now it is actually fun!


Wobbly lines in autumn

by Niels Brouwers 5. September 2011 07:40

I have totally optimized the code for Carter right now, there are no garbage collecter issues anymore and the drawing of the background is now completely done by the hardware - which is nice (hardware instancing is awesome)! Now I have to get back to designing the game and drawing graphics for it! I also managed to get some work done on the out-of-game level editor. This thing will make life a lot easier for me as it is a windows forms application containing the XNA display. It is actually integrated into the animtool I presented a couple of months earlier.

I did some quick sketches in Sketchbook just to see how some things come out. You can see the result below, I was totally not happy with the linework that I got when using Sketchbook. I have been trying out a couple of settings but so far, the lines are wobbly and totally unacceptable for me. In Photoshop I have found out the right settings to get the kind of linework that I want to achieve (pretty default actually) but in Sketchbook I can't seem to get it right. Such a shame, it is one of the coolest software around (and very affordable).

Anyway I wasn't happy with the inking but after painting and resizing it (about half the size) it looks kinda OK. I guess I'll be using Photoshop until I sort out the line thing... 

This is my version of the German Mechanic. (hint:movie reference!)

Picking it up again!

by Niels Brouwers 11. August 2011 07:16

The summer so far has been quite wet and well....disappointing really, at least considering the weather that we were treated with. No worries though, because that means plenty of time for inhouse activities, like ehh...well....drawing, programming, research, optimizing code, checking out some new gadgets (yay WP7). All very useful and everything, but I still need to get my game done!

So therefore, I am back on track getting things done, coding away on some really cool optimizations that you will love. Allright, allright, there is _some_ feature creep going on here, but that's really the fault of the awesome Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet that I have been playing.  You see, I want to surprise the player, give him a sense of scale in the world he enters when playing and that means that I want to be able to zoom in and out in the game. That required some refactoring of my code, but it is working now and it really adds to the gameplay.

I have also been drawing as much as possible lately. Sometimes you draw something and you go like...wow....that really looks cool, but more often than not lately I am not 100% satisfied and toss it away. It's like a search for the right tone and groove, if you get it right, it's awesome - if you don't, you know you need to keep searching. But, like some ancient Chinese saying goes (though I may have it totally wrong): sometimes it's not the destination you are after, but it is the journey itself. I like drawing, so I keep doing it.

Here's an example of something that I don't have a good use for (in my game) at the moment: