Calendar December 15, 2011 01:03

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End of First Semester of Graduate School

So today marks the day that I'm finally done with my first semester of Graduate School, and it has been the busiest that I've ever been. I still have some homework to turn in, but classes are over and today we presented our last prototypes.

I'm really proud of what we accomplished, and I think that this was the best game that i was a part of the whole semester.

Everyone really liked what we did and, as usual, everyone was really impressed on what Dan was able to achieve mostly on his own (I mean in terms of coding).

There are a few things that I wish we couldn't had more time to work on the project, but we still did a very good job.

This will be the last entry for this semester, and i can't wait for the start of the next semester where we will have a chance to pitch a game idea and have 2 games picked for the class to work on over the course of the next 2 semester. I already have an idea which is similar to the game I pitched last year in my undergrad capstone class, but I've made some improvements this time around which I hope will be enough to make it interesting for people to want to vote for it.

We are all suppose to submit a game design document this weekend, so I will see if I can post something over winter break. That is all for the foreseeable future, thanks for reading.

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Calendar December 14, 2011 04:10

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Prototype 4 Done

So I'm done with everything that I need to do for Prototype 4, and I'm glad that its finally done. I had a ton of 3D assets for this project, and I think that they turned out.

It was a little challenging because I had to model a bunch of different object that I had done before. One thing twas that I had to make a whole level in a 3D model as well as a boat, a fish, and a bunch of other stuff. Here is a render of the final scene that I put together using a bunch of the assets that I made for the intro screen.

I think it came out decent at the end. I will try to make one more post after the presentation tomorrow. That's it for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar December 13, 2011 02:20

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Almost Done

So over the weekend, I got my act together and I managed to complete all of the art necessary for our fishing game.

They may not look that complicated, but it took me a while to do all the art myself, its actually one of the things that I actually don't like about the program. In the teams that we are placed, its always one producer, two engineers, and one artist. I shouldn't complain since Sterling has made a lot of the art for the HUD, but I just don't like it because if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have been able to get everything done by this next thursday.

Now the only thing that I have to do by tomorrow night is putting together a little scene in maya off all the assets I created and then getting a little render for the title screen. Then if I'm lucky, I may animate the scene so that it moves. But Dan said that he was going to look into it a little and see if it would work since he also wants to add some special lighting to make it look like time is progressing in the title screen.

Hopefully I will finish everything on time, so that I can finally get some decent sleep. That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar December 4, 2011 16:25

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Fish Model Done

I'm not sure how the code for our game is coming along, but I'm now done modeling a fish for our game.

I also laid out the UVs for the model this morning with the help of Jorge.I'm now in the process of texturing the model.

I've also been working on a fishing rod, and I think it looks decent so far. I still need to work on it a couple hours more.

After I'm done with the fishing rod, I will focus on getting some animations for the fish since it can be time consuming.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar November 21, 2011 17:17

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Prototype 4

So today we got introduced to our next client and what we are expected to do over the last 4 weeks of the semester.

This project is going to focus on a new piece of hardware being developed at the University of Utah. Essentially is a new type of controller, much like the current Xbox 360 controller but different. We are still not sure how much we can write about it on our project blogs, so for now I won't go into details of what it is and how its different than current controllers. I'll just refer to it as "The Controller".

So inorder for the people developing The Controller to know what it can and can't do, they want us to develop a game that will focus on the new mechanism of The Controller. They want us to make the game to showcase all the cool features of The Controller and that it can make a game much more enjoyable thanks to the its cool new features.

Dan came up with cool idea, and we are calling it Feelin' Fishy. Its going to be a fishing game, but you aren't going to be able to see the fish under the water. There is going to be a way that we are going to let the player know when they have a bite and you will have to pull the fish to you.

For now, Dan is going to set up the framework for the game and I'm going to make some really simple models in Maya for place holder while I get caught up on my other classes. I will eventually have to make a skybox and whatnot, but that is not for at least another week.

That is all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar November 18, 2011 15:58

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Prototype 3 Done

I haven't done any blog entries for this project, and I feel kind of bad. But we did a great job.

We presented our project on Wednesday to the Museum and they loved it.

I don't know if I wrote any details about our project before, but it changed a bit since then.

Originally we wanted to make icons of cities for people to shoot at, but we eventually decided to go a little more abstract. I ended up making a duck target like in many traditional shooting galleries. Then we put a banner around the duck with the name of a city around it. This is to make a point that this game is about Utah.

There is a lot more detailed information about our project at the project blog and our game is now on display at the Utah Museum of Natural History.

We still need to clean up a bit to improve the experience, but that shouldn't take too long. For now, we don't know what else we will be doing until Monday when we find out what we will be doing next.

Thanks for reading.

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Calendar October 31, 2011 00:10

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Prototype 3 is Underway

So I haven't posted anything since we presented our 2nd prototype. The presentation went really well, thanks to Josh's awesome presentation skills.

We got some good feedback, like we needed to make sure that the circuits looked a little more complicated and that it had to make sense on how it all works. I thought that the layout I made would get the idea across that it was a bomb and that everything was connected, but I guess it needs to be a little more clear.

I still don't know if any of the prototypes that we showed will actually get deployed to the Mechanical Engineering students like we were told at the beginning of the project.

Since then, we've started on our next prototype. This time our client is the Utah Museum of Natural History. They just finished building a new building for the museum and they are in the process of getting all the exhibits ready for when they officially open their doors to the public. But they have one problem, one of the exhibits that they had wasn't working the way that they had hoped.

The exhibit is called Futures (or something like that) and it has to do with technology and the future of Utah. They want to have a short game in that exhibit that will teach the visitors about how Utah will be impacted by its doubling of the population in the next 40 years and what we will have to do to manage all of our resources.

The game that they have right now has all that information, but its too wordy, too long, and really confusing. So we were called to try and save the exhibit.

We have to incorporate as much information about water conservation into our game, but it has to be a short game (about 2-4 minute play) that will be fun and teach something to the visitor about the future of Utah.

My team this time consists of: Brandon Karratti as the producer, Jorge Elola & Pace Sims as engineers, and Christine Olinquevitch & I as artist.

I'm so happy that there is another artist in my team this time, it means that I won't fall behind like on the other 2 projects because there is too much art to do and I have to do all of it.

So for our game, Pace got the original idea of coming up with a game that you have to "shoot" your resources to parts of Utah that need it the most. While making sure that you keep everyone happy and keep track of your limited resourced. We hope that this will make it easy to understand and fun to play for children and adults.

We are going to make this game using flash, I'm still not sure how all the technical stuff will work but I can leave that stuff to Pace and Jorge to figure out. In the meantime, Christine and I have to come up with some placeholder art so that the engineers can start to put stuff in place since we only have 3 weeks before the museum opens.

If we succeed over the other team (there is only 2 teams working for the UMNH this time, everyone else is working for another client on a different project) we will have our game shown on the exhibit.

I will have to brush up on Flash, but I don't think that it will be too hard since Christine is a graphic design major (or something like that). :)

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar October 19, 2011 19:49

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Prototype 2 Presentation Today

So the time to present our second prototype has come.

Overall, it went really well. Our game really emphasized that it was going to be used for educational purposes and we managed to get our idea across of how it would look once it was finished.

It was still a little confusing for some people, but they managed to get the idea in the end and gave us some input on how we could make it look better.

One of the things that someone said that really got burned in my head is that the assets have to scaled up, never down until you have had time to experiment with them. This was because the grid for our game was really big compared to the size of the circuit/problem on the board. So basically the cells needed to be bigger to allow the player a more clear view of the art and it also gives us more room to work with.

Finally, I don't know if any of the games will actually be used/fully developed but it was a nice experience getting to work for a client.

After all the presentations, they told us a little about our next project. Apparently there are a few people that will be flying in from a company that is looking to expand but don't have much experience with games. We weren't really told what we were going to do, so will have to wait until next week to find out.

In the meantime that is all, thanks for reading.

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Calendar October 17, 2011 15:33

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End of Fall Break

So over fall break I worked on a bunch of stuff, and I still didn't manage to get everything done that I was suppose to.

I manage to do the following things: a new game board, title screen, icons, and some text for the buttons of the title screen.

Most of the art work that I made was done in maya and then I just rendered it and tweaked it in photoshop.

Here is the new title screen:

Bomb Defuser is just a working title for now, and it will most likely change.

I still have a bunch of stuff I need to work on before the presentation on Wednesday, thanks for reading.

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Calendar October 2, 2011 20:13

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Simple Layout

I've made some progress in the art needed for our game. A while ago I posted some really crappy "art" for our game. 

Well, I think that I've at least made some improvement. Here is what I have so far, and keep in mind that I'm not done yet.

So that is the general layout of our game. We have our main grid in the center, then our tool box to the left and a box that will provide hints, tips, and the game state at the bottom. I'm trying to do something simular to what Bioshock did with their hacking mini-game. I'm planning on adding more stuff to the background to make it more interesting. But it the meantime, this gives something to the programmers to work with.

The red things at the side of the grids are suppose to be wires. I don't know I think I did a good job, but please let me know if they don't look right. For this project, I'm going to try and focus on the layout and the art of the layout as our "one sliver" of good art for this prototype.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar September 26, 2011 17:38

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Prototype 2 Coming Along

So today we were suppose to get another visit from our client since he came up with a few ideas to improve our games over the weekend. But he never showed up, so for the meantime we continue to work.

Our group sat down and talked about some specifics of our game. We talked about how the game is going to be laid out, and how we are going to do it. For now, we will stick to the "bomb diffuse" idea that we have and I've altered an image that I found on the internet to be our bomb for the game. I made the fuse longer and straight so that Felix and Derek can use it as a timer for the player.

The idea is that we won't so how much time the player has left to solve the puzzle, but the length of the fuse will sort of tell him how long he has before the bomb explodes. This will add some tension and hopefully get the whole "bomb diffusing" idea across to the player.

Josh will be helping me with the icons and I will try to focus on the layout to make it look as good as possible. This will be our "one sliver" of final art on how the game will look if it were ever to be developed beyond this prototype.

Here is the image that I reworked for our prototype:

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar September 21, 2011 19:38

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So today Josh presented our idea to the client and overall it went well. They seemed to like it and we are going ahead with it.

We sat down and decided on what tasks each of us was going to work on to get a solid version of the game by next week on Thursday. After that, we will polish and add more levels if we have time.

In the meantime I have to work on better art than what I submitted yesterday. One thing that we added is that since we need a some reason to motivate the player, we decided with defusing bombs. So for now, the idea is that there will be a bomb with a lit fuse and it will move slowly. Once the fuse reaches the end, it will blow up if the student didn't finish the circuit in time.

So to start out, I will be working on the bomb. I will also be working on some tiles and icons for the game.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar September 21, 2011 01:53

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Stuff For Circuit Mockup

So like I said before, we are going with a circuit mockup for tomorrows presentations and I had to make some quick icons and 2 grids for the game idea that we have. A few of them I just grabbed from the internet and resized them.

 Here is my stuff:

So as you can see, all the images are really simple and it's just to get the idea across. Some of them I make, but its just easier to adjust images for this mockup.

I also emailed all my stuff to Josh and I can't wait to see what he will come up with for tomorrows presentation.

In the meantime, that's all. Thanks for reading.

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Calendar September 19, 2011 23:16

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Prototype 2

So today we found out what we are going to do for the next prototype, we are going to work on a game to teach core concepts of Mechanical Engineering to incoming freshmen.

At first it was kind of hard to try and come up with something because what the client told us was so broad and didn't really narrow anything down to try and focus us in a particular direction.

So after our team sat down and talked about different possibilities for a game, we decided to stick to a game that would teach students about circuits. Felix (we are in a new team now, which is: Josh as producer, Felix & Derek as engineers, and myself as artis) found a game that is really fun that shows the player simple concepts of a circuit board. 

Here is the game that Felix found:

We are going to take this game and make the player think a bit more than just trying to figure out a puzzle. We are going to try and make it so the students will have to try and think about what they've learned in class and try to apply it to the game to solve the puzzle.

Felix was also saying that they (the engineers) might even be able to make it so that the level design will be done through text files. This will make it so that once everything is set into place, anyone can design a level for the game and then have a student solve for the problem.

I have to come up with some quick art assets for a concept UI and icons that will represt: a light bulb, a power switch, wire, battery, and a resistor. I will have to get this done by tomorrow night so that we have a mockup ready by Wednesday when we pitch our games.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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Calendar September 14, 2011 18:02

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First Prototype Finished

So today was when we had to present the prototype that we have been working on for the last two weeks.

It went a lot better than I thought it would, but we still had some feedback that made me reflect on some things.

For example:

  • Since this is an internal prototype, we can use existing material and modify it to suit the needs of our game. I tried to make original art, and got "marked down" for it because none of the art was close to finalized.
I had a few more things that I was going to write for my list, but I can't seem to remember them right now.

Also, we were told some details about our next game.

This time around, we are going to make a game for incoming freshman students in the Mechanical Engineering department. The games that we make here will be deployed to students to try and get them interested in Mechanical Engineering and teach them core Mechanical Engineering concepts.

I'm still not sure what the last part means, but we will find out more information on Monday.

I'm already in a new team, and this time the producers were in charged of putting together their own team. The only catch is that everyone in the team hasn't worked together in the last game. So this is an entire new team.

We will be using XNA for the next game, but I'm not too concerned since Felix is the same team I am and he has experience working in XNA.

Other than that, we are not required to but we can do some research over the weekend. I think I might ask a few questions to one of my cousins in California who is now a sophomore mechanical engineer, and see what it is that he had to know before starting and if there is anything that he didn't know, how did he go about learning all the necessary information.

That's all for now, thanks for reading.

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