Tag Archives: Game Design

Development Tidbits!

High time for an update, methinks!

Non-Technical stuff

I have been demoing the game to more and more people, and I’ve been streamlining the feel of the game according to the feedback I’ve received so far. The design principle I’m trying to use is something you can call ‘layered complexity’. I’m making sure that the basic flight manoeuvres are easy to use; you can now perform broad banking turns using a single analogue stick, for example. Fancier stuff (for harsh turns, flips, barrel rolls) will be accessible by using the other controls, turning off assists, and using the basic controls in new ways. The crucial things is that you will have all those things available from the start, and you can explore them at your own pace.

I presented the game in playable form at Joint Venture: Check de Technique, which was an event in Amsterdam about games, audio and technology. Many people liked the basic control scheme, and noted that while it felt really solid, they also liked the sense of growing instability at high-speed manoeuvring. Jarno proposed hosting a playtest session in the AirRebels office soon, and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re in the neighbourhood of Rotterdam, let me know!

Also, wingman (which is what we call our courageous stick-figure) now has elbows, and he has gotten a tiny bit smarter. New video soon.

Technical Stuff

I’ve been working on the framework for the game, which consists (among other things) of:

  • Networking
  • Editing, saving/loading player settings
  • Game types
  • Event system
  • Runtime assembly loading (for mods!)

Networking is coming along slowly but surely. It’s requiring a lot more study than I thought beforehand, and I’m starting to understand why networking experts get paid so handsomely. I’ll get it done though, I’m sure of it.

The other major thing I’m trying now is loading .NET assemblies into the game live, as described here: http://eej.dk/angryant/general/tipsandtricks/downloading-the-hydra/. Long story short: That trick allows you to build mods for the game using normal Unity scripts. If everything works out I think I can make the workflow such that you can build a mod using the unity editor, compile your custom code using Visual C#, and tell the game to load your compiled mod at startup. How cool would that be huh? Now, I don’t think there has been a Unity game that uses this trick so I’m unaware of any caveats, but since this is coming from one of Unity’s own developers I recon it has serious potential.

That’s it so far, cheers!

Volo – The Story So Far

In this post I’ll detail the work I’ve done on the game so far.

When I started building this game about 8 months ago I had a couple of years of programming experience, but no extensive knowledge of physics or specific game-related technologies. Thus so far the development process has mostly consisted of learning a whole lot by study, and trial and error.

This is where I am right now:

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Volo – Introduction

Volo is a work-in-progress game about winguit flight. The word Volo means ‘I Fly’ in latin, which I’ve found to be a good working title.

Anyway, never seen or heard of a wingsuit? Then check out these videos:

Basically, a wingsuit allows you to glide graciously (read: shoot recklessly) through the air and cover considerable horizontal distance.  Better than falling straight down, no?

When wingsuits first entered the scene people used them to quickly move as far away from any obstacles as they could. Today though, thrill-seekers are attempting to hug mountains as close as they can. This discipline is called proximity flying, and it is currently the first focus of the game.

So far there have been few attempts to digitise base jumping and wingsuit flight. For me, the results either come short in an aesthetic sense (look and feel) or a severe lack of realism and depth. With this project I aim to make a sizeable step forward.

On this blog I will detail the design and development of the game and its technology. Stay tuned for updates!

Singularity – Introduction

Here’s a post I’ve written some time ago on the Unity forums, detailing my ideas for Singularity. In it I make some generalisations and definitely leave out a lot of details and subtleties, but it makes a nice introduction to what I’m doing.

The State of Game Audio

The traditional sample-based approach to game audio is old and dated.

Over the course of the last two decades, game graphics have evolved from bitmap sprites to near photo-realistic imagery running at a solid 60 frames per second. We have shaders, massively parallel calculations running on dedicated hardware, and much more. With today’s and tomorrow’s hardware you can literally trace a ray of light as it bounces from surface to surface (and even through them!) towards the camera, creating crystal clear pictures with ever-increasing fidelity.

Some of these developments are slowly starting to transfer to game audio, but not nearly enough! Games across the entire spectrum, from AAA to Indie, still resort to using ancient sample-based approaches for audio. Middleware packages such as WWise or FMOD offer real-time effects processing, which is a step forward, but they don’t offer you the possibility to create your own synthesis model and generate sound from scratch on-the-fly. Furthermore, these packages seem to be mostly aimed at AAA first-person-shooter titles, making it difficult to do something radically different with them. And lastly, only the latter of those packages is available for use if you are a small-time developer.

This inhibits development of game audio as a more integral part of game design. The result is that audio in most games is still mostly, and sometimes even literally, an afterthought. In my opinion game audio is at least 10 years behind on game graphics, both in terms of technological capabilities and their usage.

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