Monday, March 31, 2014

Game I Worked On - Jetpack Cat

A couple months ago I worked on a mobile game called Jetpack Cat for Make or Break Games.  Make or Break Games was founded and is led by Mike Leach who I taught with a couple summers back at ID Tech Camps.  It was a great experience to be able to work with Mike again and to be able to contribute to a mobile game.  Jetpack Cat is an arcade-style shooter that uses your phone's accelerometer to tilt the player side-to-side to avoid incoming enemy missiles.  It's a game anyone can get into and it has a lot of nice upgrades to get.

For the game, I worked on some sprite animations, effects, icons, buttons and the store interface.  Owen McRory created and designed Jetpack Cat along with the enemies and painted the beautiful illustrations that you fly past while playing the game in addition to creating icons and effects for the game.

You can download the game for Android now, for free, with no ads until the first major update, from the Google Play store link below.  iOS version is coming soon.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Art Contest - VG Remix - Mirror's Edge

A few months back, over the summer, I participated in an art contest sponsored by Polycount, my cg forum of choice, and Sketchfab.  From their website, "Sketchfab is a web service to publish, share and embed interactive 3D models online in real-time without plugin."  The contest was called VG Remix and the theme was to recreate or remix a favorite video game, build it very low poly, use small resolution textures and place it into Sketchfab in order to show off the capabilities of the website.  Since the website allows you to move around in 3D space to view a model just like you would in a 3D application, the scene is built or designed like a three-dimensional diorama.  I didn't place in the contest, but I enjoyed participating in it and I was flattered to be linked to in a PC Gamer article about the contest.  Next time I will try and spend less time modeling and laying out assets and more time on texturing.

If you click the cube icon in the first image above you can see Sketchfab in action and view my entry in the competition.  I definitely recommend viewing it in Full Screen.  If you would like to see some of the creation process in action you can view it on my Twitch stream here or on my Polycount thread for the competition.

Last but not least, my entry is based off of the game Mirror's Edge by Dice and published by EA.  I am a big fan of the art style and direction in the game.  The lighting, colors and textures are all really well done.  Dice has some world class artists and I am looking forward to checking out the sequel.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Game Jam Game I Worked On - Gravity Battle

This past Christmas I was lucky enough to be able to get an Oculus Rift and I have been doing some developing with it since then.  Once you try on the Rift it is truly an experience like none other and I definitely believe it will be "the next big thing".  John Carmack has something interesting things to say about it here in relation to the Oculus versus the next iteration of consoles and where he sees the Oculus going in the future. He puts things in perspective nicely.

So I had to take the Rift to the Global Game Jam.  It wasn't even a question for me.  The GGJ site I went to was at Montgomery County Community College where I teach and I got to work on the game above, Gravity Battle, with two of my former students, Mark Black and Daniel Andre who I thought did a great job on the game.  The Montco site all around was fantastic and Jason Wertz should be thanked for setting it up and taking care of everything.  One of the coolest parts of the weekend for me, there were many, was being able to introduce the Rift to so many people, 20-30, for the first time and getting to see their reaction to it. One woman felt compelled to bring in her husband to try on the Rift and I think the experience impacted Jason enough to look into getting a few Rifts for the Montco Computer Science Department.

As far as the game, it was a great learning experience for me in getting a player controller setup with certain physics or controller options and having it work with the Oculus.  I also got to design and try out an art style that has been in my head a bit since getting the Rift.  One of the issues with the Rift is that sometimes, if you focus, you can see the individual pixels on the screen.  Michael Abrash has a lot of interesting information on resolution and latency here.  What I attempted to do was to see if I couldn't help correct that problem by using a setting, space, where it would be fairly dark anyway and that way the image would come across cleaner and hopefully cause less motion sickness, which can be an issue when first starting out with the Oculus.  Hopefully, the attempt at zero gravity also helps ease new users into the virtual reality experience since you move very slowly in the game.  As a side bonus, the space setting fit in nicely with the GGJ theme, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

You can download and try out the game here.

You can leave some feedback on the game here or in the comments below.