The Plan

My current game design / programming project involves creating a very simple, barebones RPG.  It’s important for me to go through the entire game development process, start to finish.  That’s why I’m not going to create anything too complex.

I made a simple video game, Retro Space, a few years ago.  For that project , I used the Game Maker engine.  I’ve decided that I want a more robust engine and after looking at Torque 2D and Unity I’ve made my decision.  Since I have some experience with the old Torque 2D, that’s the direction I was originally leaning. Continue reading The Plan

Workshop Review: The Chained Realms

Last night’s Game Creation Workshop focused on creating a new, unique setting. Next session will focus on game mechanics. Here are the basic notes that I took last night:


Pre-Steam Punk, Alchemists/Da Vinci Tech, Alternate History, Start of the Age of Enlightenment, Low Magic Level


After the destruction of the ancient planet, clusters of asteroids float in Ether-space. Many are chained together to form Feudal-Style City States.

5 Hero Paths
Alchemy – Prepare potions with components and Ether

Holy Magic – Pray for divine miracles and gifts

Gadgetry – Create fantastical devices

Conjurers – Pull the Ether to create substances

Ether Fighters – Use the Ether directly to enhance their physical prowess


People can walk along the chains; it is a very long journey or pilgrimage.

Caravans often travel along the chains as well. There are dangerous bandits along the way.

Space ships (Da Vinci inspired sail ships) can travel much faster but are expensive to use.

Long voyage ships can travel between clusters of asteroids, but they are very cost prohibitive to use.

The Ether

The Ether is a nebula-like cloud surrounding all of the asteroids. The Ether is phosphorescent and glows brighter during “day” cycles. Some planets are in are pockets where the Ether is particularly thin and only experience “twilight” brightness, never full daylight. Others are in thicker parts of the ether and never experience a true “night”.

Pirates vs Ninjas – Post Workshop Thoughts


Creating a game, even a rules light one, can take a lot of time and patience. By following a few of the guidelines that we learned at this latest workshop, I think the process can be smoother, faster, more fun and still provide great results. I’m going to briefly list the positive outcome of our game creation activity that as a group we completed at the end of the workshop.

Step 1: Figure out the setting.

Chris brought a bunch of comics from an artist that had given permission for us to use his world as our setting. This saved us a bunch of brainstorming effort. We went through the short comics to glean information about the setting. Taking notes was very important for this step! Here is what we came up with. Continue reading Pirates vs Ninjas – Post Workshop Thoughts

The Wild Garden – Game Design Concept

A classic platformer would be a fun and interesting game to create. This style of game can be casual and played for an hour or two at a time or played more seriously to ‘finish’ the game.

Character Concepts

Rose – the gardener with the gift! Rose is taming The Wild Garden while searing for her lost younger sister, Lily. At her disposal is an arsenal of gardening tools. Rose is a capable gardener but will advance in her skills as she clears the garden of its many weeds and harmful critters. Rose feels that she is responsible for Lily and worries that her sister will get into trouble or become upset at being alone and lost.

Lily – the lost sister. Lily loves flowers and has surely wandered off while smelling the many blooms in The Wild Garden. She enjoys the outdoors, but will eventually realize that it is getting late out and start looking for her older sister. Lily is untrained in the ways of a gardener and will need Rose’s help to escape The Wild Garden.

Mole – the evil destroyer. Mole and his army of nocturnal scavengers run The Wild Garden Underground. The weeds and other hazards of the garden are important to their organization’s defenses. Mole will order his critters out into The Wild Garden to take care of the pesky gardener, Rose. Mole considers his lackeys to be vital to his organization but he is not above sending them in on a hopeless mission to serve as a distraction.

Making Games on Your Own: Solo Development – The Viable Option

Professional games are polished. They have been programmed well, given a pleasing aesthetic and are fun to play. Even small, casual games can take months for a team of developers to create. How can a solo developer crank out interesting games without taking years to do so? By using the right tools to save time and effort, planning a realistically achievable game and by sticking to the tried and true basics of game design, it is possible for a single developer to independently create interesting games or other large-scale projects in a relatively short amount of time.

Creating games to show off in a portfolio is a crucial step for prospective game programmers and designers. According to E. Adams, who has been in the game development industry since 1989 and is now a game development consultant, it is best to have a game or project that has been completed independently for an impressive portfolio. “Nowadays, it’s imperative that you have a demo or portfolio when you go to a job interview for a creative position. Experienced developers have published games they can refer to, but as a newcomer, you need to take something along to show you’ve got what it takes” (Adams 2003). Continue reading Making Games on Your Own: Solo Development – The Viable Option

Why I Should Have Made A Back-Up

I ran across a little game I made for my game design class: Retro Space. Unfortunately all that I have is the executable file. The artwork files and other assets are long gone. I made this little game using YoYo Game’s engine, GameMaker. I made all of the artwork (forgive me!). A few friends played it a bit. The music loop’s rights were purchased. It was fast and dirty making this game – I only had a month to make it while working a full time job and doing my regular weekly homework. Shortly after I had turned in my assignment, the HD on my laptop went out. Now that the assets are all gone, if I want to re-make the game properly I have to start from scratch.

Retro Space

Here it is in all of it’s retro glory. Retro-space is a side-scrolling arcade game. There are 3 short levels and 2 difficulty settings. Download It Here!

Not so long ago, in an arcade down the street, space was filled with a vicious onslaught of aliens bent on galactic domination. Relive the excitement of alien invasion style games! In Retro Space waves of aliens threaten our existence and it is your duty to protect all life, as we know it, from ceasing to exist. Go to Retro Space, meet interesting aliens and shoot them.

Game Play Information
The player loses when they have no more ships to fly. Running into planets, asteroids and enemy spacecraft cost the player ships. Some enemies also fire weapons at the player’s ship, costing the player’s ship hull strength. When a ship has no more hull strength it is destroyed. Blasting away pesky asteroids grants the player 1 point. Destroying an enemy craft gives the player 10 points. Defeating an enemy boss at the end of a level gives the player 100 points.

Player Controls
Arrow Keys: Control ships movement up, down, right and left
Space Bar: Fire the ships lasers
Left Mouse Click: Move to the next screen between levels

Game Design Challenge: The Letter

The Challenge, from
Come up with a concept for the game The Letter.
Assignment Details

Though paper letters aren’t such a big part of our lives anymore, they were once of tremendous significance. Email, Twitter, blogs, instant messaging, cell phones, and Facebook have all drawn us closer, but there was a time when momentous information would come in a letter; information that could change the course of someone’s life.

This design challenge deals with such a letter. Continue reading Game Design Challenge: The Letter

The Colony – SciFi MUD Concept

Genre: Sci-Fi
Setting: Ancient Colony on Mars
Type: PVP Faction
Concept: Humans vs Robots

Long ago, Humans left their polluted and frozen world behind. They traveled to their terra-formed neighbor, Mars. Early Mars Humans hid from vicious radiation storms in simple caves. Small settlements had long been since been established and the planet’s atmosphere and water table partially restored. The mineral rich soil combined with the water to form hazardous pools of acid and foul swamps. The human spirit survived this harsh new home and embraced it.

Deep beneith the mucky surface of Mars, caverns filled with ancient technology wait to be re-discovered. Long-forgotten robots with corroded circuits and broken parts lay abandoned in the first settlement caves. Abandoned and trapped for centuries, the now sentient beings await a time for revenge upon their creators and imprisioners.

This is a good concept. Here are the benefits of going with this Mud idea: Continue reading The Colony – SciFi MUD Concept

The Never-ending Project – MUD Design

mud3MUDs are a niche gaming community that I fell in love with back in the late late 90’s. These text-only games have been the corner-stone of online gaming communities for many years. My interest began with a little-know MUD called Age of the Throne. It’s set in 17th Century Paris. If you love Dumas’ books, a MUD designed around this theme is a fantastic idea. After playing the game for a few years, some major flaws could no longer be ignored. I quit the game that had been my 2nd life and walked away. I have been coming up with ideas for MUDs ever since.

I ran a small mud called Athens for well over a year. It was always in development and there were only a few of us working on it. We used a code-base called Dawn of Time. It’s a bloated and sloppy mess that many different programmers have edited and added to but we were able to form it into our vision of a Greek Fantasy MUD. We even won a little award with it – MUD Magic’s Game of the Month. Continue reading The Never-ending Project – MUD Design