Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why the Steam Box is going to be Awesome

Steam Box is the new "Console" being developed by Valve and from what i hear it sounds like Its going to be awesome.The steam box is going to be open to third party customization. Im not exactly sure why but that just sounds awesome to me. The idea that somone can have just a really pimped out version of somthing that everyone has is cool. I also think it is awesome that the standard box is going to come with 8 hdmi ports allowing for up to 8 player local play. Also Gabe Newell is discarding their current method of selecting indie games for market and he is opening it up entirely to indie developers. Meaning that there are going to be cheap indie games galore. It also means more opportunity for me. The only concern i have is that valves version of steam box is only going to run linux. I'm not exactly sure what that entails for developers. But Yeah that is why the steam box is going to be Epic.
Jon out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Things That Surprised Me About the Gaming Industry

I have learned a lot since I started the gaming program at Matc but many of the things that I learned about the  gaming industry in general really surprised me when I first learned about them. In high school I was very enthusiastic about films and film production and lately I've been thinking and comparing the two industries in my head vigorously. I feel like coming from a school of thought that searches for a deeper meaning and looks for ways to express the feelings of one person is what causes this confusion.

In my film classes and in all other school experiences in general using other peoples work and using it to supplement your own work was a very touchy matter. Teachers encouraged students to quote external sources. How ever they must give credit to the person even if they are long dead. Teachers wanted you to come up with your own ideas entirely on your own. The way of thinking seemed to be that you should come up with all your ideas on your own and in return you will receive 100% of the credit for your ideas.

In the Matc program it would seem that team work is a huge focus. Any ideas that you come up with are free to use by anyone else and any they come up with you are free to use or modify in any way. For example if you need a script  that applies jumping to a character I would be entirely acceptable to go online and copy and paste a script without giving any credit to the original creator.

The mentality  of  film makers seems to be that only one person is responsible for the success of the movie: The director. The director is made out to be the only person that makes the movie even though he really isnt because there must have been at least a few other people involved. Yet the Director gets all the credit and all the blame if something goes wrong. The mentality of game devs is that everyone is in a project together and credit is split equally among everyone who worked on the project. When some body is talking about who created a movie its always a single person that is referenced. For example somone would say "James Cameron made Avatar." even though plenty of people worked to make Avatar what it is. When somone is talking about games It is always the studio that is referenced. If the studio cannot be remembered the creator is still referenced as they. For Example nobody would say "Gabe Newell made Portal 2" even though Gabe Newell might have lead the making of the game he is not credited as the sole creator.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Experience at the Global Game Jam 2013

For those of you who are not aware of the Global Game Jam, The GGJ is a global event where small teams assemble across the planet with the goal to create a video game within 48 hours. This was an event that I, Jon Harwood participated in, in the year 2013. With only minimal knowledge of the unity engine and no experiences in C# I walked into MATC Main building. I was paired with 8 other people who had same knowlege as me. I learned a lot during this event i learned how invaluable it was to learn how to code. I learned that copying and pasting scripts that others had written does not count as plagerism. I learned what a good team lead should be like because my team's lead, Dane was fantastic at leading us and with out him I don't think our game would have been nearly as good. I think the most important thing that I learned was how a team should behave. Constant communication is a necessity. Establishing a proper vocabulary is also incredibly important. For example in the game that we made for GGJ we established differences between different visual assets. Instead of someone saying "I am sending the pictures over to you." they would say "I 
am sending the Icons over to you" It was also important to specify which means they would send the file. I also learned that the unity 3d engine is terrible for trying to make 2d sprite based games. At the end of the 48 days we stunk to high heaven but we had modified and existing tower defense with its own paths textures and models. I was hardly competition for any of the other groups but I felt good about it and it received high praise since we essentially had no prior experience. A few days later I was checked in on a let's play channel that I fancy called the Yogscast. There most recent lets play featured a game called Surgeon Simulator. This game was made at the 2013 game jam and it was a strange experience to watch a bunch of internet celebrities that ive had no contact with, reference and event that I participated in.

Jon out