The Island: Skyworld
After several months of planning and building we finally finished our game Skyworld. The team was made out of 4 members with there own specialized tasks. The game is made for the DreamBuildPlay contest hosted by XNA and the XBOX 360.
The gameplay video url can be found lower
A part of the Synopsis:
Skyworld. Home to thousands of floating islands and warring factions. These islands are resourceful, rich in gold veins and other natural resources. When these resources run out, factions move on to other islands.
But what if they encounter another faction that has already occupied the island?
Choose between two factions, the modern Industrials or the thundering Cloudsurfers, and lead them to victory! Become the ultimate ruler over Skyworld by smashing anyone who stands in your way with unstoppable armies consisting of units that can destroy entire islands!
This game is a real time strategy game. Therefore it is very important that the player can navigate and do everything with a minimal amount of input. This makes the game fast paced and very easy to handle. To further increase the simplicity the player is able to form fleets consisting of several units. This makes it possible to select and manage loads of units at the same time.
The player starts with an island where he has his headquarters. As the game progresses the player can build new buildings and accumulate resources to build an army. The player can send his units to other islands to capture and colonize them. The opposing factions will try to do the same so it does't take long before conflict arises. When either of the factions does't control any more islands, the game ends and the other factions wins.
A gameplay video:
The island was made for the motion competition hosted by irrlicht. I made this with Maarten and we finished 3rd! Its compleetly opensource. The game is featuring an island with two trains who drive circles. while driving the balance changes and the player has to take action and restore the balance by placing balloons.
In 2011 we decided to do a remake of the Island game which is named The Island: Balance Remake.
How did I Do it?
I started by brainstorming on a piece of paper and with a good breakfast (soup and bread). The brainstorming resulted in a large web of words and lines. Afterwards I started to scrape all unrelated words and lines until a small part was left. From the readable words I picked the best and started sketching. The concept ended up being:
The player is stranded in an unknown world (other dimension?) and needs to get away before he dies from starvation. While doing so he should try to contact others while being annoyed by robots/drones.
The sketching brings us to the game design. I started with a simple sketch and made it into a 3d design tool. The sketch ended up with showing a dessert with a crash landed space ship. The main objective got: Activate the beacon (middle of image). But the question remained, how did the player get there? To solve this, the player does't know either, she just wakes up. To give the game more feel about the strange place I created two separate environments. The player would wake up in her own bedroom and once she gets outside the room, there is no hallway but a dessert. So the level and setting where done, the only thing left was the robots and drones. Trying to keep it simple I choose a floating sphere like drone who float somewhere around. It was time to think about the technical design. I worked in C++ using the tool Irrlicht and Irrklang. So I opend Visio and started to place the objects I had: Drones, Level, Beacon, Player and the scene itself. It resulted in this: Ofcourse, much is changed during the game development, but note, this is a useful “work to” point. I ended up with:
- Player must survive (he always survives)
- Player must activate the beacon
- Player must keep the drones away by picking them up and throwing them away
- The beacon is activated by clicking on the launch button.
I started to develop the things I sketched and put them together into a simple game. The prototype was done before the 18 hour mark. The prototype seemed good but lacked a bit of humor and feeling. One of the results of the prototype showed that the game lacked humor and that one machine to activate was too easy to handle. The extra things I planned for the game itself became:
- The beacon can be activated after the power generator is activated, activate by clicking on the launch button.
- The power generator is activated by clicking on the launch button.
- The Drones make a noice when picked up
- The Drones receive damage after being thrown, after which they move slower and start to smoke
- Adding more subtitles and “ particles! “
A very important step! Think about how to test your game before you finish it! I used Visual studio so I was able to do variable manipulation, but, otherwise I would have added cheats. Make sure you can easily test your game on bugs. Watching a story over and over again is awful, settings states and recompiling is bad, real bad. So, make a plan, how do I test the start, middle and end? (without replaying the game every time). I just manipulated the games variables with the Visual studio debugger, changing enumerations and time variables.
On 22:00 CET I started with the game. The first things added where voices and sounds to the drones, a background music track and recorded some sounds for the power generator. How did I record the sound for the generator? Well, quite easy, taking my microphone and putting it behind my computers fans, lowered the pitch and lowered the speed and viola! Done. In the prototype, the bedroom and spaceship were left without detail, it was awful. The ship had to look broken, to do this I first modeled the ship and when that was finished I broke it. Cutting holes, lines and adding more panels. The advantage of doing so is that you have a good looking ship. Breaking it and adding debris is a much easier process. When the new models where done, I just replaced them in the prototype. The same detailing process is done for the drones, power generator, debris, terrain and the music track.
I kept track of 2 folders, one for debugging and one for the release and I setup special defines for the debug and release. Once a debug version was bug free I tried the Release version in the release folder. The source code was placed inside a separate folder. At the end, I was capable of just clicking the source and release folder for archiving them. On monday 02:40 CET ( 20 minutes before the deadline) I submitted my work. Barley before the site went down! Got lucky ;) Time used: 32 hours Sleep: 15 hours Tools:Autodesk 3dsmax, Adobe Illustrator, paintToolSai, Audicity, Anvil Studio, Visual Studio 2010, D3d MeshViewer, Irrlicht and Irrklang.
Tips and do's:
- Set up 2 folders, one for a clean release test, one quite clean for debugging.
- Write down the games basics and rules,
- Sketch the technical design
- Build a simple prototype on which you can later improve the games visuals.
- Take regular breaks! Work 60~90 minutes with a small break, like: running through your house, going outside for 10 minutes, they improves your motivation and precision!
- Always make sure to write it down, it makes it easier to decide if its possible
- Chat on the IRC channel with others, use your time and chat later, in small breaks or afterwards.
- Sleep less, when you have less sleep it will lower your creativity, bug tracking and other skills.
My game can be found here. Thank you for reading the “How Did I Do it”. Sketch the technical design
Ludumdare, Count me in!
This will be my first ludumdare! I'm plan on using the following tools:
OS of choice: Windows 7
Graphics Library of choice: Irrlicht
Audio library of choice: Irrklang.
3D Graphics: 3dsMax
2D Graphics: Photoshop/Illustrator Have a great Ludum Dare everyone!
After some years using irrlicht and following its community the irrlicht team has given me the task as a forum moderator. My task is mainly keeping the competition forum running. Which mostly means keeping the the monthly screenshot competition running. http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/
Two weeks ago I saw the complete series for Lain. (Official title: Serial Experiment Lain) Its an experimental series about philosophical subjects, like god, internet, consciouses and more subjects. The story is realy good with good twists and turns. So basically a fan art made by me in less than tow hours. First version done yesterday evening around 01:00... and improved it today around 09:30.
Some updates regarding the Island: Balance remake. Well this is the first time I used the title... Anyway some screenshots from the Station and Docks sector. The two screenshots show the same area, after playing sometime there will be new buildings and they improve which alters the wanted balance for the island. Since the last update I added a full trigger / rule / event support system. With it I can trigger every event I can dream off. Beside the trigger system I added also a highscore list. The test version can be found at: http://www.skyworldgame.eu/#page=HighScores
This was a practice for facial expressions, it resulted in a ninja like girl. Time needed for this doodle: 12 minutes with 2 sketches.
This weeks progress so far is the integration of shadow maps into the Skyworld and some feedback menus for the player. Please note: black objects are't finished models, they miss some additional textures.
Welcome to the 4th post in the past 2 months. The progress so far is with integrating shadow maps into skyworld. Please note: black objects are't finished models, they miss some additional textures.
A new preview with improvements over the last few nights. Notice the improved grass and moving 3d clouds in the background. They're still look cubic from several view angles but its improving.
In my last blog I wrote about improved graphics, so, later on I decided to improve some old demo's and I came accros the old TheIsland physics demo. This is the new look (still in development):
Last weekend I came across several old tech demo's I made sometime ago. Some of these techniques are already implented in some of my applications like Skyworld and Mythorgia. Techniques visbile in these screenshots: Dynamic rivers, grass, grass LOD, terrain LOD, moving clouds and the dynamic terrain skin using a combination shaders with several types of splatting.
Last week I saw Arthur and the revenge of Maltazar and it got me inspired to draw the princess in a fighting pose. The sad thing though... in that movie she ai't a tough girl though.
Last night I made this sketch. Originally I was working on a sketch for a game which I'm making but it ended making this sketch! :p It took me around 15 to 20 minutes, Enjoy. Drawn with SAI tool and Wacom Cintiq board. The Astro boy characters on this picture are from the newest movie.
Some experiment with colors and lines. This piece took me 2 hours.
Cut it out!
A fast Doodle I made, hope you like it The girl in the picture is my character April.
Ann, a gothic girl
Before new year I made a sketch of this girl, last week I decided to make it in 3d. So I started with making two reference images for her, her front and side. And used both as blueprint in my 3d tool. Time it took: - 3 hours modelling - 2 hours uv mapping - 0.5 hours making the reference images The result with some uv mappings:
2 new art pieces