DragonHorsie :)

I took some days off, from the actual development of the dragon shooter. I think I needed that break, my head got already dizzy from trying to learn so much about coding and talking every day about my game ideas with my husband.
I still felt like doing some drawing today though, for the main Dragonlands game, was kinda hit by some kind of Inspiration I think XD

Dragonhorse

I also revisited my game document about dragonlands and noticed that it’s cluttered and full with ideas that I would like to sort into categories, like what is important, what I NEED to have ingame, what is just gimmicks and which things I would like to have, but are not necessary. Interestingly, while trying to clean up, I always get new ideas.
One feature I would like to have is a Tutorial system, that let’s you play the game with restrictions, kinda holding you by your hand, while you are getting to know the controls etc. And I thought it would be cool, if every player who is going through the tutorial, would be displayed as a child at first, until they either decide that they have learned enough and quit the tutorial, finish the tutorial or they have reached the skill “tutorial-cap” and in order to progress with skills one would need to “grow up”. This would not only make clear which players are newbies, but also make the game world more interesting in my opinion.
Also I was thinking again about it, how to make developing the game/content easier for me and I seem to always come back to it, that I need some form of Player contribution and NPC automations. So that they create quests based on what they need, as example create new swords. That players aswell as NPCs can use Billboards to spread the word about needing something. That can be forming a party, invite to a cities army or simply resource gathering for fueling the forge.
The possibilities could be endless, I just wonder how difficult it actually is to program that….

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Dragonlands GUI, where are my thoughts?

Most time of the day I’m just rolling ideas through my head. It’s a bad habit of mine. Unbelievable fruitful when it comes to creativity, but very hindering when it comes to the actual doing part.

So here one result of today’s mind storming. A very rough concept of a graphical Interface for Dragonlands.

DragonlandsGUI_s

and some other idea 🙂
the sleeping giant_s

Overcoming Anxiety and how I want to do things different

Hah! There it is again, for hours I’m thinking that I should just pick up the pencil and draw something. Whatever exactly it is, just something, to have something done, to feel like I have accomplished something, to feel better about myself, but then I get to the part of picking up the pen and my sketchbook, opening my reference folders and then…heavy anxiety strikes me. I don’t even know exactly what I’m so afraid of, that it’s paralyzing me in my steps. Maybe I’m setting my expectations too high, maybe I’m afraid that yesterday i did a good sketch and today I can’t continue that…or maybe I’m afraid I’m ruining the sketch from yesterday, because honestly, thats what I would like to do. I would like to just start sketching over ideas on that sketch, draw in scales, thinks about how the anatomy would need to be changed to turn it into a dragon, draw in horns, draw different head shapes, to get an idea of what I actually want as a dragon. Make some sketches with colors, see how far or close I actually want to stay to that “typical western fire breathing red dragon” or if I want something new. And then on top of all of that I feel like I should make sure that the dragon looks good from it’s back, because that will be main thing the player is seeing in that dragon shooting game. Theoretically I wouldn’t even need to build a whole dragon, just part of the wings, head and neck. As far as I have planned the game to be.
But I don’t like the idea of just building half a dragon.

So…when the anxiety stroke me, I suddenly started sorting my reference folders, because so far I just had a “dragonlands” folder, where everything went in, from game graphics, pictures of real rats, dinosaurs, anatomical examples of anthros, dragons and androgyn humans. Example of spells, clothes and architecture. Just about everything I think is somehow related to how I want dragonlands to be. So I cleaned it up…and then I started feeling bad that i did that even though I wanted to draw.

Screw you, brain!

I really don’t know how to deal with those things. I’m trying to get better at everything, but sometimes it just feels like too much. Heck, even thinking about it, that I don’t know when I will have accumulated enough experience to start an RTS/RPG/MMO. Who is making that treshold? How to know?
I hope to find answers to those questions on my journey. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to “just” start a blog, to “just” start making games, but I chose this path, because it’s my dream, because I want to do it and because I think it’s fullfilling me. I think, I still have a long way ahead of me.

I hope it’s not too confusing for anyone who is reading my blogs. Sometimes I’m writing blog entries while I’m working, so that I don’t have a huge bunch of stuff I have to write down in the evening, when I most likely would also forget some things that I wanted to talk about.
As example now, I actually managed to take that pencil into my hand again, turned on some music, pulled out my references and started sketching some dragon and dinosaur heads. I bluntly just copied them, trying to see patterns in how they are build, from headshape to scales, over different kinds of eyes, where are the eyes set in their heads?, where are horns attached, what purpose have some features? Like shells and spikes for defense or are some meant for offense etc. I’m having alot of thoughts going through my head while drawing, which then accumulates and creates a picture in my head of things I like.
And since I kept in the background of my head, that I want the dragon to look good from it’s backside, I tried to find some elements I can include that somehow make sense and are easy recognizable from a back view.
Then I’m also thinking, how friendly or evil do I want the dragon to look like? I think in this context it would actually make sense to NOT make the dragon evil, but instead go for a more humerous variant, so I can keep the model simple and make it easier for the player to relate to it. Since it’s NOT the enemy this time, the player should not hate the dragon in the best case XD
Maybe I could go for a dragon that has features of a bird like creature, to get a bit away from the normal western dragon and it also makes it easier to relate why it is hoarding gold underneath (like a crow). I could lean the whole concept into that, but then again, I wanted to have the game play in a cave with lot’s of entrances, I would need to find a good reason for that and why a bird like dragon would live in a cave.

So many questions 🙂 And yeah I like to just roll those thoughts through my head, because I’m interested in making my ideas in a way that they make sense. I don’t want to just go and say “here! That weird crazy thing there does not make sense? Oh well….because of MAGICX!” thats sometimes the feeling I get from alot of games to be honest. So I definitely don’t want to do that.

*note: those are mainly sketches from references I have collected, I do not own the original pictures

CIMG1394_s

Research, Dinosaurs and Time management!

I seriously don’t know what exactly I have to talk about. Today was quite “spread” again in terms of “all-over-the-place” with my projects. At least I can say I noticed in order to get some actual progress and not always get distracted with all kinds of “neat” things I would like to know, I need to start focus on one project. And my decision fell on a small dragon shooter. Last post I was already mentioning it plus the Billboard concept I did.

Yesterday I created a prototype inside unity that allows to shoot fireballs per left mouse click in the direction of the camera inclusive particles that leave a streak of fire particles depending on the direction the ball was shot.
I tried to find out how to move the camera per mouse movement, but I don’t yet understand how to use the standard asset packages from unity. Yeah I feel a bit stupid about that, since it “seems” to be just about unpacking some package folders. What can be so difficult about that?

So after trying around for some hours I took my sketchbook and google and started looking for references to create concepts for my dragon model.
I picked up exotic animals, dinosaurs and dragons from other artists and I’m still in the process of not only collecting those resources, but also drawing them. So far I only got one dinosaur on paper and I was already surprised that I could actually draw it. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever tried to draw a dinosaur, except maybe deep down in my childhood XD

raptor_sI hope I can draw some proper concepts of my dragon instead tomorrow. It’s really bugging me, that I get so rarely time nowadays to work in big blocks. Finding the time to not only get into subjects and learning and progressing in making an actual game while taking care of a baby that seems to have a grumpy streak since a few days :/ feels hardcore.
I wonder how other people are handling these kind of situations. But then I also hear rarely of indie developers that are having children. Most Indies I have heard of seem to not have much time even without children. So maybe I’m just crazy that I think after all those years, when I got a child that NOW I could start developing for sure 😛

Unity dabbling and some more concepts

For some reason I felt like obsessing with terrains today 🙂 I talked with a friend a bit about how I imagine Dragonlands world to function, map and area wise. So I came to the conclusion that I want to look up how easy or difficult it is to create terrain in unity and if I either want to go procedural or handmade or even both. I think a combination of both ways is probably the one which would create best outcome. Not sure if I’m even using the right terms here…
One thing I’m also very interested in is how do other games make terrains that seemlessly go into each other without loading the whole map when the player is only seeing a certain distance anyway. So I stumbled upon arrays and how to use them to stitch together terrains in unity 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOV-1kSXUek
I would really like to have a big map in my game with different climate zones and a way to make smaller areas that could be defined later for city placement etc. Aswell as defining those smaller regions for game purpose to define which areas are considered “lush” which ones are “barren lands” or “mountainous”, areas where dragons can settle and so on. There are alot of things that need to be planned in how the game should handle it and how the player can interact with it. And since I want to create a world thats playable as RPG and as RTS it would be nice if I could re-use as much as possible to decrease the amount of work I need to do, to realize this concept.

I wonder how hard it would be to create maps with just heightmaps created in photoshop. Definitely something I want to look in also.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlS–04W1dI&feature=youtu.be
Hehe, it’s for the UDK, but I’m pretty sure I can use it for unity also.

I think I need to increase my daily water and sugar input, Since I started working every day on learning new things I got regularly headaches. And I don’t even know what exactly to write down here either at the moment since most of what I do is just working through tutorials, while I try to grasp what is being told. Yeah it’s alot of work to do that, but it doesn’t feel like somethnig I should write down here in details. I already feel a bit bad about posting so many youtube videos. Even though it can probably help others also to learn a bit about game development, programming, design etc.

Oh well, here is another video 😀

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEtZUeVY9qk
And this guys videos are very informative for bloody beginners in unity and c# programming. I wished I would have had him as a teacher, back when I was still studying. I’m happy he uploaded those tutorials though 🙂 Yay for Internet 😀

And because of his video about shooting projectiles I got reminded of that mini game I wanted to create as a starting project before Dragonlands. It is some kind of dragon shooter, where the player sits on a hoard of treasure and has to protect it from incoming thiefs and knights that either try to steal the hoard or try to kill the dragon or both. I thought it would be a fun little game to play and probably very easy to prototype also, since it just needs a small amount of programming. I think the most difficult programming aspect could be, how the dragon head is supposed to turn directed towards the mouse.

Time for a very very crappy concept art :

dragonshooterconcept

Starflower…or however I’m gonna call this idea.

Last night I got an idea of what kind of game I could make out of the unity platformer tutorial, that I’m working on. The idea is very simple. You play a seed, that needs to get to a place to grow into a plant/flower, it is moving very slow on it’s own, but with the help of wind and water it can progress forward, towards it’s goal and overcome obstacles. These same elements will also be dangerous, when the weather is stormy or rainy. Your lifespan or the amount of time you can travel is dependent on how many of those little fluffy balls you have left on your seed (those balls are making it possible for the seed to move)

when hit by big raindrops you can loose some balls, when hit against a wall by too strong wind, you also loose a ball. I’m not sure yet if there should be any way of regaining those balls, on the other hand, it’s quite many lifes and it probably depends alot on the balance of the game how it feels, when playing :). But I already like the idea of using same game mechanics that make you progress faster in the game, equally dangerous and that the graphics could be very stylistic and beautiful. I probably should do some proper concepts for that, to capture the images in my head 🙂
Also it would be cool, if the game could work without any User Interface at all. It’s probably a challenge to do, programming wise, but aesthetically it would add so much immersion! Like everything friendly could be roundish and soft, while everything dangerous is hard and has sharp edges.

Damn. I have so many ideas in my head, how should I ever realize all of them?XD

However, I managed to draw a concept of this game idea and I think I like it 🙂 Would be probably also a good playground to try out special effects for games, since so far I haven’t done anything like that. And to try out how I can work with colors, since I usually work relatively dark, but with this game concept it would make sense to try bright and friendly colors 😀

flowerplatformer_style_2_s

mindrumbling and learning basics of making games

So I had quite some busy time, full with a newborn crying through the whole night, which really drove me nuts XD And on the other hand I had to follow an urge to do one of the unity tutorials on youtube and try to actually understand how C# works and a bit on how to use the interface of unity in a practical example.
Here the link to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbWK8bCAU2w
I just got to the second tutorial and I’m really mindblown, by how many things we see as “given” and are expecting every game to just have, how much one needs to do to even achieve a collision detection(I admit using raytracing is probably not the simplest method). My tiny cube is now just capable of falling and colliding on horizontal and vertical axis and I can use A and D to move it left and right. Thats it…and it felt like huge amount of code for just this simple functionality. And I probably understood only 50% of why things are working like they do. Or thats atleast what I hope how much I understood ;D

It’s a start and I want to say, that even though I’m afraid of taking on the challenge of learning programming, it is alot of fun! I can actually get lost (in a good sense) in writing code down. It’s just copying and trying to understand it, but I’m sure I will eventually write my own lines and are capable of pushing my ideas into reality soon.
I have no idea how much harder it will be to do it for 3D enviroment yet, but until then, maybe I will bring some 2D games to live 🙂 My head is full of ideas and maybe it’s a good approach, when I go and do some really small, easy to overview games on my own. I had done some games within my studies already, but I was always only doing a part of the game, doing alot of different roles for different semesters, but making my own game fully alone is probably a completely different experience. And who knows what exactly I will find out about myself when doing this 🙂