April 23, 2017

This week I’d like to take a detailed look at the programming behind The Forbidden Arts when it comes to level design and structure.  I always enjoy sharing parts of our development in that I hope other developers can benefit from some of what we do.  Let me start off by explaining why I find this important.  I started writing code in 2011.  I spent my mornings and evenings traveling to/from my day job (doing accounting / clerical stuff) on BART (a local metro in the San Francisco Bay Area).  I realized I wanted to do more with my life and felt like making games could be something I’d really enjoy.  I knew it would be a lot of work to teach myself anything, but I was determined.  On BART I would read programming books every day, back forth, 5 days a week.  The ride took me an hour each way so I got about 2 hours of reading in every day.  After about 6 months of this I started writing code in X-Code, the development environment for Mac OS.  I couldn’t do anything fancy, and my code was...

April 16, 2017

Do you ever wonder what game developers are thinking about when they come up with the concepts for the characters, environments or mechanics?  One thing I’ve heard time and time again throughout my life is “Write what you know.”  This is a saying that doesn’t need to be taken literally, but rather as a generalization.  In my case, The Forbidden Arts is a representation of me.  It’s what I know, what I love and in many ways, what I’ve experienced.

When Shigeru Miaymoto created The Legend of Zelda series, a lot of the world he created was a representation of what he loved as a child, exploring the countryside of Japan.  J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, claims that the absence of any meaningful relationship with her father and the loss of her mother have been two of the most important influences on her writing.

The point is: stick to what you know and love.  When you create something without meaning, more than likely it will feel empty and dull.  When you have...

April 9, 2017

The past 2 days I’ve been working extensively on integrating the abilities for Phoenix, the main character of the The Forbidden Arts.  Phoenix is a pyromancer so it’s only fitting he has several different abilities to manipulate fire.  I thought it would be cool to show what goes on behind the scenes in game development and focus on animation events in relation to one of the abilities of the game called “Rain of Fire.” 

In the Forbidden Arts you have an action button (or key) that is used to trigger whatever the current active ability is.  The “Rain of Fire” ability allows Phoenix to summon a shower of meteors that causes massive damage to any enemies they hit, and can also cause damage to the environment that can be beneficial to the player.  Now let’s get to the fun part: seeing how this ability gets put together.  It’s a combination of a character animation, animation events attached to the specific animation, particle effects and code. 

Above is a screenshot...

April 3, 2017

How the player navigates a game world is very important in game design.  The 90s are long gone, and so are the days of creating expansive game worlds where players must set out on foot with no way of speeding up their travel besides a horse or using a potion to increase run speed.  Open-World games have done a lot right when it comes to traveling within a game’s world.  I’m going to reference two modern masterpieces that really do a great job with traveling and exploration: The Witcher 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  Both games are fantastic and I highly recommend playing them for both entertainment and/or honing your craft of game development, whatever that may be.  Each game focuses heavily on exploration, but I feel one game does a little better of a job than the other: Breath of The Wild.  In both games, once the player discovers a new area, they will then learn what places of interest are available within that area.  In the case of Witcher, discovering road maps, c...

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