Friday, November 25, 2011

Dev - Update 7.1


The New Logo. :D

...and short list of new ideas to be implemented over the next 3 weeks (will be updated with progress):

Aesthetic/Design

  • Lily will be gaining the ability to crawl! [Complete, but not animated]
  • Fewer enemies, more environmental hazards
  • Enemies will drop items and some will respawn while you are away
  • Weather (Rain, Lightning Storms, Snow)
  • Typewriter/Auto-formatting message system :D
Behind the Scenes

  • Redoing system for enemy and map item placement (prior system involved remembering pixel locations...not fun). Now it will be more visual.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dev - Update 7

Well, if there's one thing I can say, it's that Senior year of High School definitely hasn't been as easy as I was hoping it to be! Regardless, after a full 2.5 month break of development on Project CAS, I'm honestly prepared to get back into business.

Back in business!
I'm not going to lie when I say I'm almost out of time to complete this game though, so there are some pretty substantial changes that I've decided to make to the game to make development go more quickly. None of these things will fundamentally change the way the game is played, but it will definitely be a little different from the original plans of action.

I'll detail the new ideas soon, and feedback will definitely be helpful and welcome, but I'm somewhat late into what will be my first video game project, so I think things will mostly remain as they've been designed! I wouldn't expect a demo anymore; I'll probably just complete the game and release the completed version within the next few months. We'll see how it goes.

A couple of aesthetic changes that I'm working on designing include the Start-Menu HUD and the Message System. I hope to incorporate faces into the message system and to use the pictures to show emotions of key characters, Lily specifically! Other than that, most of the things will remain as they are and just expanded. Expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

P.S -- http://blueskybleu.tumblr.com/post/11108929005/city-across-the-sky-early-music-ideas-cas (CAS MUSIC WIP)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dev - Update 6.5

Conceptual for the new HUD
Jesus, I haven't updated in a long time. It's been almost a month and I really don't have much to show for it. I'm honestly not sure how much I've gotten done since my last update (I don't know where I was back then), but the demo is coming a long decently, though not precisely as I would like it to be. Making video games is rather difficult, more difficult than I maybe anticipated; though I plan to complete this game even if it doesn't turn out exactly as I intended.

Some things I'm working on right now.

  • Redoing HUD
  • Redoing Message System for "typewriter" style text and small emotion portraits
  • Finishing up the first "dungeon" for the demo -- it's rather short (BUT INFINITELY ANNOYING TO MAKE #newcoder)
  • Fixing up Enemy AI (one of the AI's is so broken right now. Lool)
    • I've actually decided against the original style of AI I had before, where every AI was made of just attributes and specific walk patterns. :| I'm just going to code AI for each enemy individually because I really messed up compartmentalizing the parts. Haha, I'm not incredible at coding yet I guess.
  • Preparing to complete details on a few maps.
    • Town, Forest, Ruins, and actually completely map a few in-between maps
  • [Jack] Finishing up some sprites
  • [Jack] Preparing the music


Not much to say other than I plan to have the game done by January and that it's becoming more art-game-esque than I would like simply because of a lack of time to finish. The game itself actually needs to be done by December if I want time to actually promote it correctly, but we'll see what goes on. Expect greatness (and a completed game sometime), Ryan Huggins~

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dev - Update 6


Just a change in environment
So, I've been working with my Co-Artist (I'm pretty much the Co-Artist now actually), Jack Yeates to get the art done so I can focus on mapping and cutscenes. It didn't initially go too well (laziness and time off for vacation), but not we are hopefully back on track and looking at a private release demo by mid September (if you are on the private release list, expect a few bugs that I'm still working out). All in all though, development is going very, very smoothly. The game is looking great, running smooth at 30 FPS, with no major hiccups and the gameplay is remaining simple as I had hoped. The core of the game is its exploration and story, so the combat is very simple. Literal run and gun, with a few tricks thrown in here and there. Some of the AI patterns are pretty difficult to avoid, though, there are only about 3 or 4 variations of enemy AI spread through about 20 designed enemies. You can expect at least 1 boss and about 2 hours of gameplay if you rush through the plot, maybe more if you explore everywhere. 

I'm glad that this blog is finally getting a few views and people are actually commenting now that I've shown screenshots and progress. The game will ultimately be released on a pay-what-you-want basis, though to prevent people getting annoyed at credit card problems (like I tend to, being a teenager), it will essentially be donate if you want, or download if you don't want, to system. :P ALL PROCEEDS WILL EITHER GO TO JACK YEATES AS PAYMENT FOR HIS SERVICES OR TO A CHARITY FOR A DEGENERATIVE DISEASE THAT MOST RESEMBLES LILY'S. I'm quite honestly not interested in money with Project CAS. I hope that, despite the simplicity of the story, that the prose will raise awareness of degenerative diseases and essentially, the struggles that people, specifically (in the case of CAS) parents, with these diseases go through. Of course, the plot is exaggerated for effect, but I do believe that the premise will remain intact while the player plays. 

Trying to keep the good parts of the maps secret. :P There's MUCH more to explore than this.
Honestly, it's about time I stop pretending that the game isn't an art game. Project CAS is an art game, but less-so than many of the other art-games out there. CAS is an artistic game with a definite goal and direction. The story is focused, but there will be many, many secrets to be told for those who explore and continue to play games developed by myself and Jack, because ultimately, they will all tie together. 

I hope that you guys will enjoy and support our efforts with Project CAS and I'm really trying hard to craft something that people will like as my first game. Expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dev - Update 5.9

Because I hadn't been updating anything for awhile (due to waiting on some art assets), here is another screenshot of one of the semi-animated enemies in the game.

I'm trying my best to take the worst possible screenshots actually. :P (Very serious)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dev - Update 5

Alright, so while this won't be the largest update I've ever made, it's still pretty substantial. I've been working hard on a lot of mapping (and I just started coding enemy AI again) and now I think I have enough content to warrant releasing three screenshots of the new tiles.

I'm really proud of the new tiles honestly! These are the grasslands!
The black NPCs are placeholder! This is a dark forest.
These are just two of 16 different environments that you can explore! [Grasslands]
So far, we have done about 3 of the 16 different areas, though, the Grasslands and Dark Forest are very large, whereas a few of the other areas are a little smaller by comparison. The game itself (I'm hoping) will be very short; you can complete the main story in what I'll estimate to be about 2 hours, though exploration will probably multiply that by several times...there's a lot more than meets the eye with Project CAS.

It should also be told that these are raw screenshots, directly from the game (as it is right now), though, I plan to add some effects to the maps, like weather effects and other...artistic additions to make the maps prettier and more dynamic. The first and third screenshot are from the same section of map (ie: there are no transitions between them, just more mapping beauty. That particular section is around 4000x1000 in size...and there are tons of areas that large already mapped! I personally think that the game is coming along greatly, these maps aren't even my favorite ones!!

Anyway, I'll guestimate the amount of time spent on the game (by ONLY me) at around 60 - 70 days (complete days (so about 1560 hours)) of time spent in development spanned across about 8 months. Most of the time was spent learning to code and making art though, I'd say a good 600 hours was spent coding/learning and about 400 hours so far making art and making the maps. Imagine if you add in how much time Jack spent making music and doing tiles/concepts...it probably brings the total up into 2200 hours of development. YES, games take a long time to make! Especially if you are a NEWBIE like me. But it's satisfying to no end seeing everything coming together. Expect greatness (and a completed game in about 4 to 5 months). Ryan Huggins~

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dev - Update 4.9

Well, we are heavily into the development of CAS now; in fact, I've been spending almost the entirety of my days mapping the two islands of CAS out. Jack has been spending as much time as he can on making the tiles, so that I can continue mapping, but he goes on vacation on Monday. He will be gone for a little more than a week, during this time, I hope to finish mapping Lily's town (if I get the tiles :P) and finishing mapping the rest of the grasslands/forest locales.

This 4.9 update comes just to say that I'm still alive and working. In the 5.0 update (probably on Wednesday), I'll be releasing some screenshots and new story information. :D

EDIT - Decided to add two pieces of new concept art
This is one concept of the Mountains by Jack

This is a quick concept of night time by Jack.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dev - Update 4.5

Yay for more concept art...and trains!
This is a midway update just to let you guys know what I'm up to. I'm actually done writing everything in the engine now except for some extra enemy AI (I've written two types of enemy AI). The game is coming along smoothly and I'm working on the introduction and tutorial right this very moment. I'll be working on some graphics stuff with Jack Yeates (Musician and Co-Artist/Spriter) and all the while, I'll be improving upon the cutscene engine I wrote for the game.

The game has taken on a simplistic approach to cutscenes and I'm trying to have gameplay follow suit. Everything left now is just designing levels and cutscenes/finishing up all the tiles and art assets. I bought a giant whiteboard for level designing and I plan to utilize it to the best of my ability. The game is coming along very smoothly and it's exciting to see your first game come together. Expect some great things in the next couple of Development Updates. :D

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dev - Update 4

Yay for concept art~ By Ryan Huggins

Let's start ONCE again, with what's gotten done in the last week.

  • Completed Start-Menu HUD
  • Shop-Menu HUD
  • Weather system (either dynamic or static)
  • Choices in the Message System
  • Animated levels (Animated background, foregrounds, water, grass, etc)
  • Animated anything really...(ART Stuff)
  • Variable Wall Scaling (where the type of terrain affects if/how you can grab onto it)
  • More or less Enemy AI is incomplete (stupid) <-- saving this for last
  • And the most important facet... De-generative gameplay focus (will be completed when all enemy AI is done...TONS of balancing will be required. ugh) Everything but balancing is done
  • [NEW] Cutscene control engine D:
This picture is probably more representative of what's gotten done this week.
This has been an relatively productive week, with me getting more or less everything I've wanted done, plus a little bit more. Drawing on the notion of updated art that I brought up last week, I don't have anything new to show you guys. Besides a few more concepts at least. These are the several level concepts we have done.
This was an idea for an interior of CAS. By Ryan Huggins.

Another interior concept (the first one actually). By Ryan Huggins
This is the concept to outside of a factory type place. By Ryan Huggins

This is the grasslands concept piece. By Jack Yeates
This is the same piece, just at a different time. By Jack Yeates
The next work just was an idea for the characters. Castiel (left) and Lily (right). Castiel is an "angel", or he claims to be; Lily doesn't believe him at all. The wing there is metaphorical and conceptual. :P The other concept piece is the very first picture on the blog post.  
This was a quick concept piece of Lily and Castiel. By Jack Yeates

Other than all of this art and coding and such, I haven't been doing much else. I haven't been sleeping much; struggling to finish the rest of the engine before July starts. :P I'm coming close, and with help from a bunch of great people (outside of Siifour) everything is coming together nicely. I really do hope that the work pays off in the end and that the game makes a small sum of money for the charities and all the people out there with some sort of degenerative disease!

I'm aiming for a large update in the next week or two. So, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dev - Update 3

So, let's begin with what has gotten done in the last week and a half.

  • Completed Start-Menu HUD
  • Shop-Menu HUD
  • Weather system (either dynamic or static)
  • Choices in the Message System
  • Animated levels (Animated background, foregrounds, water, grass, etc)
  • Animated anything really...(ART Stuff)
  • Variable Wall Scaling (where the type of terrain affects if/how you can grab onto it)
  • More or less Enemy AI is incomplete (stupid) <-- saving this for last
  • A system to control what dialogue/items are assigned to specific objects (Proving to be difficult)
  • And the most important facet... De-generative gameplay focus (will be completed when all enemy AI is done...TONS of balancing will be required. ugh)
  • [NEW] Cutscene control engine D:
Yep. I've been doing tons and tons of work since I last updated. :| In all seriousness, Siifour Studios has been working pretty hard for the last couple of days. To attest for this, I will be linking to several things this week. In other news, I'm done with just about everything that needs to be done, except the stuff on that list, which, besides the newly added cutscene engine, aren't very important at this time.

Over the weekend, Nekomage (my composer and co-artist) and I have been doing a lot of art. CAS's art is going to be updated really soon now that the base engine has been laid out. It's been a productive two days and here are some pictures to prove it :D

This one is by Nekomage

This one is by me
There are two more currently at my deviantArt ( http://siifour.deviantart.com/ ) and about 20 more to come. I hope to get around 3 to 4 done every day or so after exams end. There's a lot more artistic stuff going on in the background, but you'll soon see the real update with the in-game graphics--which are beautiful. Sadly, I want to keep them on the down low for a few more weeks while we get everything done and looking nice. A possible teaser video is in the works.

Oh, and also--
Lily's body has been updated. :D 
An extremely loose and "revealing" teaser of the new graphics...if you can see her. She doesn't show up well against the old backgrounds. Anyway! Besides this stuff, not much has gone on. So, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Time Spent --> Creative 12+ hours (Also, the time spent marker will be returning now)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dev - Update 2.1

Enjoy this quick video teaser of Project CAS. :D


It's me depicting how basic non-combat works. :D Combat will be the next video. Haha.

It should now be noted that this video is essentially completely outdated. The mechanics do still work in a similar manner, but the graphics have been redone and gameplay refined somewhat.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dev - Update 2

Current status of the message system.

Alright then, welcome to the closest thing to a major development update I can include here for the next few weeks or so. That picture at the heading is what I've got of the message system so far. The message boxes can be scaled up or down to accommodate the particular type of text being displayed (with important text (not correctly dictated in the above picture) being displayed in larger boxes. What is left to be done is incorporate a system where choices can actually be made, because right now, it can only display relatively static information.

Other than this, something very important has been added into the game; a new method of creative combat that may or may not take the place of traditional combat. A simple overview of this system is that Lily, the player character has control over what is now will be 4 deployable items (currently 3 of these are mostly coded, but not animated). These items all are deployed in an identical matter but have 4 specific effects on the enemy and the environment. In using these items in specific ways and combinations, the player can do things like slightly manipulate the environment or push enemies right off the map into oblivion. There will be several methods of utilizing these items, and in conjunction with the regular base weapon (4 different weapons that act similarly), there are many possibilities for avoiding or completely annihilating enemies.

What hasn't been done yet is located in the following list.
  • Completed Start-Menu HUD
  • Shop-Menu HUD
  • Weather system (either dynamic or static)
  • Choices in the Message System
  • Animated levels (Animated background, foregrounds, water, grass, etc)
  • Animated anything really...(ART Stuff)
  • Variable Wall Scaling (where the type of terrain affects if/how you can grab onto it)
  • More or less Enemy AI is incomplete (stupid) <-- saving this for last
  • A system to control what dialogue/items are assigned to specific objects (Proving to be difficult)
  • And the most important facet... De-generative gameplay focus (will be completed when all enemy AI is done...TONS of balancing will be required. ugh) 
What HAS been completed
  • Movement/Basic Wall Scaling
  • Collision checking
  • Fall Damage and Stress Implementation
  • Player-based combat (minus 1 weapon and 1 of weapon-type items)
  • Cover System/Basic Stealth system
  • About half of the Start-Menu HUD
  • Title Screen HUD and system
  • Portion of the Message System
  • Moving platforms
  • VERY basic enemy AI (1 of about 20 :P)
  • Some other behind the scenes stuff :D

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dev - Update 1

Title Screen (MAP) :D

Alright, so guess what; pre-production is finally over for Project CAS and I am now moving on into that beautiful thing we game developers like to call, production, or the development period. With the entire story outlined, most of the weapons designed, all of the characters developed and the locations...located, I can enter the process of actually creating game content. Finally, right?

A couple of things will be changing due to this. Since production goes a lot slower than pre-production in small development teams (or is that just me?), I will begin updating as frequently as possible, but with no dedicated time schedule. I will continue to update at least once every two weeks to let you guys know that I'm still here and to detail the other projects that I am working on (usually involving Acrophilia). I should also probably state that my rants will probably be ending here as I have less and less time to actually come up with posts to make. The review thing will be starting up again (after failing miserably) and I will try to maintain as many content updates as I possibly can across every project I have. Until then, take a look at Project CAS's HUD (and some other WIP stuff) :D

HUD (Finalized version is in Title Screen)


Message Box - Mock Up (Working on font and size)

Monday, April 18, 2011

SPRING BREAK!!!

Monday; April 18th, 2011


Today is technically the beginning of my Spring Break. I'm not happy about that because it already feels like it's over... Weird. But in that regard, I don't have any updates for today. I hope to release some really nice stuff soon though! Have a great week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 15

Friday; April 11th, 2011


Not much to say this week either; I am working feverishly on Project CAS. I hope to get some promotional stuff developed soon. And expect a reflection paper by next Wednesday!


Project CAS - It feels like I'm getting lazy on the blog, but I'm not; seriously, I'm finally getting into the coding for CAS and it feels fantastic. Actually, as I write this, I'm preparing to code in the stats for all of the enemies in the game. Right now, I haven't coded any of the AI, but damage works and the player can actually attack enemies. They may not react yet, or well, attack back or anything, but it's becoming more of a game now. Anyway, I've decided to dedicate about 2 hours every night to working on CAS because it's about time I kick game development into gear and get some type of content so I can actually call Project CAS a game without talking a whole bunch of BS. Anyway, it shouldn't be long now before I can get a technical video out showing off some of the gameplay. :D


Acrophilia - Nothing here. Faction filming begins next week. New members. Etc. Same old, same old. :\


Project Duo - Hohoho! A new project has arisen? Nah, this is a web comic project that has finally come to fruition and will go into some major development over the next couple of months. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be dedicated to Project Duo and I'll try to make a post about development every single type I get something done. Soon enough, the comic will be released and, you know, you'll get to see and I won't have to talk! 


ANYWAY, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 14

Monday; April 4th, 2011


So today will be a ridiculously short post since I don't have anything to say at this very moment. I did however, just do all of my homework for the week so I can have more free time to work on CAS. :D 


Project CAS - Currently, I'm working on designing all of the enemies and working out their base stats and battle patterns. I've come up with about 30 possible enemies, though that number will probably go up by about 7 or decrease by about 5 by the end of things. I've also come up with a checklist and finished about 2 of the 40 or so things that needs to be done before a playable version of the engine is finished. I also have found a few people who will be alpha testing the game, so expect a mostly bug free experience when the game ends up being released. Anyway, it's my birthday on Wednesday, so maybe expect some sort of birthday themed update. :)


Acrophilia - Not much new on this front. We got a new member. He seems promising and he's fitting in VERY nicely. Additionally, I attacked one of our members for being an ass to another member. It's all good though, I believe everything is forgiven. 


The cool thing is Faction is going into production soon. So within the next month or so expect Acrophilia's first short film guys!!! Anyways, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Week 13 (Delayed)

Friday; April 1st, 2011


So, while waiting for my patent on the domination of the planet, I decided that I should wait until the first of April to make this post so that everything would return to a monthly schedule (due to February kind of messing stuff up with its dumb, actual 4 week month. OTL). But anyway, it turns out I’m loving life lately; I have gotten quite a lot done and Project CAS is actually shaping up with gameplay. Granted, right now some things are definitely sub-par, but I’m very glad with some of the results I am getting and the systems I have been designing; more on that later though! In my personal life, I have been rather bored with school and making minor progress with parkour. It seems like my life revolves around what I want to do for a living; it’s a great feeling, but it turns out that I have a lot of spare time that I still haven’t dedicated to something. It’s more or less my lazing around and doing nothing time though. Man, I remember the days where I would just come home and immediately get to work on my games… How times change; I'm trying to get back into the habit though.

Project CAS - This week I got quite a bit done on CAS. Probably some of the most work on the engine I've gotten done in awhile. I've decided that working on only the art wasn't exactly making a game so I've decided to work on the engine again. In fact, I've actually created a small checklist that I'm going to print out with all of the engine basics and specifics that I want to get done. So far, it turns out I have a loooooot to do, but it all looks like it will be fun things to code and I have the basic ideas of how to do everything worked out in my head. This weekend I want to get some stuff coded out and maybe an few interior maps designed. I plan to design a small map where I can test out everything I need. :D Based on what I've designed on paper, I like where CAS is going as a game, but as we all know it's not what you design, it's what you make.

Acrophilia - We haven't been doing much filming honestly. On the parkour end of things, a few of us can backflip now (myself and Colin) and now we are working on things like the gainer and the webster. Sooner than later, I hope, we will have a lot of new stuff for our first decent parkour video. :D

But anyway, that's all for now. Expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week 12 - Quick Analysis



Plants vs. Zombies – Plants vs. Zombies is probably the cutest of tower defense—no, the cutest of any games involving zombies on the market. However, considering the game’s massive popularity I’m barely even going to review it; I’m just going to rant. The game has been out for quite awhile now and it has gone through a plethora of console and handheld iterations that have bolstered its popularity from, “Oh, this is cool” to, “OMG, Plants vs Zombies is teh l33tness!!1one” and has garnered it some relatively favorable reviews around the internet. My personal opinion of this game is not much different (the game is great), however the one thing I could never do was keep on playing after I got used to the game’s design and overall mood. Sure, protecting my lawn from the cute, sometimes weird, and even downright epic zombies (Michael Jackson anyone?) was fun for awhile and that made the game more than worth playing, but soon enough that urgency to protect your home dissipates and you, if you are anything like me, are left asking, “Oh, more zombies…and more plants? Fantastic! </sarcasm>”

I think that part of the problem comes from the extremely large number of plants you can unlock to play the game and the rest come from nowhere, because they probably don’t exist. Initially, when the game is still showing you the ropes and your repertoire of plants is small and concise, the game feels strategic, but doesn’t overwhelm you as a player with too much choice. Of course, some (read: most) people will argue that the large number of plants gives the game variety and replay value, I disagree; I think that too many plants gives the player something called “too much choice and too little direction” and can make it a hassle, or even a bother, to choose plants for different battles, especially because these plants aren’t organized into some kind of groups. There are just a ton of plants. This is a detriment usually exclusive to RPG and/or Adventure games, but I believe it applies to Plants vs. Zombies because every strategy games should have some sort of strategic direction. Regardless, I’m not suggesting that we take away variation from the game, but I believe that some plants should be removed, or simply, the interface should be upgraded so that the plants are organized into categories to make it easier for the player to figure out what plants they want to use to fight off the impending zombie invasion. (7.5/10)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week 12

Monday; March 21th, 2011

It's incredible how many weeks have gone by so far! Twelve in fact; that's like...84 days and I don't really have anything to show for it; it's saddening... Regardless, I do have a lot of inspiration going for me this week. My little schedule is going to afford me massive amounts of time to actually get things done; now all that's left is actually sticking to it. I just scheduled some legitimate daily meetings with the various people I work with (Marcus - Siifour Co-Founder and Alex - Project Duo), so hopefully that will keep all of us actually active on our individual projects. It also turns out that I'm running out of time to get CAS seriously going; I need a technical demo out by Summer to show progress and I only have what, 5 level designs? Alas, I wish I was a little better at programming, so coding the engine wouldn't be so much of a drag. Ugh...I also have to actually purchase a domain name sometime soon...and design some sort of website...and make a Twitter account... Tons and tons of things to do it seems.

It also so happens that I'm incredibly broke right now. We are going to have to figure out how to pool a large sum of money together to get everything I want to do, done.

Project CAS - On the development edge of things, I've almost completed another level concept, bringing the grand total up to 5 complete concepts. I'll probably finish it tomorrow during school so I can get work started on another one after I get Page 3 of Project Duo outlined and whatnot. I'm working on the final draft of the detailed gameplay/story draft right now actually; I'm probably going to stop with the outlining when that's done and just get all the art done (at least for the first Arc (there are 4 arcs)). Other than that, I'm hoping to utilize a few pieces of paper and maybe a wiki to design/detail all of the weapons, enemies, and important locations more thoroughly. I'm going to have a ton of fun, but at the same time, I really, REALLY, want to get the gameplay coded. We'll see what happens.

Acrophilia - This weekend was extremely productive for us at Acrophilia. A few of us went to a place called Hill's Gymnastics in Gaithersburg, MD and for the first time we learned tricks in a professional environment. A few of us got slightly injured (ankles are slightly sore/damaged), but nothing serious; and on the flip side, most of us can back flip now. We are seriously making some progress, it's really great and I'm rather happy. Filming-wise, we are working on a short recycling video project to warm up for our first big project, Faction. Faction is a short-film about a transporter who questions the morality of his latest mission and decides to take matters into his own hands for the first time in a long time. The plot itself is rather simple, but hopefully, the story, and the artistic vision will pull through and we'll make something nice! We plan to start filming for that during our Spring Break in April. 

Speaking of April, my birthday is coming up. April 6th. Considering I'm still a young boy (16 going on 17), I'm hoping my mom will buy me a new camcorder since Acrophilia is in desperate need of a new one. I'm also looking forward to seeing what our documentary will be like. :p But anyway, see you next week and expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 11

Monday; March 14th, 2011


So, I'm totally back on track with CAS and just about everything else in my life. I've got a loose schedule going and it seems to be working out. Monday, Wednesday, Friday are for training with Acrophilia; Tuesday and Thursdays are dedicated rest days (during which I will be drawing pages for Project Duo (a web comic idea); Saturdays are whatever or filming; and Sunday will be another parkour/filming day. Project CAS gets worked on in whatever spare time I have and during school when I'm not doing anything; I tend to have tons of spare time on the weekends so lots of work will get done. It turns out that bringing my laptop to school everyday has been one of the greatest ideas of my known existence; I've gotten most of my recent CAS work done at school... But anyway...


If you guys have noticed, I have begun to update every few days with a "Quick Analysis", or review-style, post. I plan to get around 100 or so of these done throughout the year. I should also make note of the impending CAS reflection that I need to do during this week or the next. These are to up the post content and hopefully attract more viewers in the long run, but we will see. If you happen to stumble across this blog and like what you see, show it to some of your friends, I'm really trying to up traffic here, but I don't have the physical ability to vigorously advertise this blog. >>' Thank you!


Project CAS -- As for development, I've gotten about 60% of the underground city level design done and am going to begin prepping for another level design soon. I honestly don't like to program, so I am seriously procrastinating on actually working on the engine, but when all the art is more or less finished, I'll have no choice but to program it, so I might as well get that all out of the way as quickly as possible. I've designed the very first level of the game on paper, so I may go and make that as well, if I do finish it and program everything the way I want it, I'll upload a video in the near future. :D Oh, and sorry about the lack of pictures, I'll explain that in a second.


Acrophilia - Acrophilia has grown to 11 members and we have about 3 or 4 other people who seem interested in joining. If you are a traceur who lives in the Washington, DC area around Rockville and Germantown, leave a comment, or send me a message and we can set up a time when you can meet with Acrophilia and teach us some stuff... There ARE 11 of us and most of us know how to fight rather, so if you are like, a rapist, don't bother coming. On a brighter note, we began filming a new video this weekend with the theme: Recycling. It is a 3 part video that I hope will be rather fantastic in the end. We also have about 8 video ideas for a small series we are planning to film every Saturday. When we start that I will throw some posts up.


As for the lack of drawings and conceptual art for CAS, I've been preoccupied drawing the storyboards for Acrophilia's short film, Faction, starring yours truly, Ryan Huggins, and directed by myself and James Liu (a co-founder of Acrophilia (and our cameraman). Storyboards are a lot more time consuming to draw than I had been led to believe, but it's okay, I have about 4 weeks before we start filming that video and we have a lot of training and whatnot to do anyway. Hopefully our (nonexistent) budget will be okay by the time we have to buy assets and pay for props though. :P Oh, we actually got filmed for part of our school's IB Film class' documentary on us. It's not very flattering because today we were incredibly sore from yesterday's workout, but it'll be great if they come back for more...exciting clips of us doing what we do best (sitting and lingering).


But anyway, see you next week and expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 10 - Quick Analysis 2


Battleheart – Battleheart comes from the developers of “OMG! Ninjas”, a platform game in what I perceived as the style of the also recent Castle Crashers from Behemoth. Battleheart, unlike Mika Mobile’s former game, can be defined as an RPG, but at the same time it’s also very similar to a simple Action RTS game; you control from 1 (min) to 4 (max) characters (though, there are quite a few others than you can swap in and out of your party) who must strategically use skills and avoid or engage enemies in order to survive the waves of enemies that plague each map. The game starts off rather simple with two major characters (a cleric and a knight) and the game quickly opens up, allowing you to purchase the services of other classes: barbarians, more knights, bards, mages, and rogues. However, if all you did was fight monsters through the “story’s” 20+ levels, this app would be a rather uninteresting and boring arena romp, very similar to many other games on the Apple App Store. To remedy this, Mika Mobile’s Battleheart boasts a robust skill tree system and a very large variety of items of varying rarities to collect and equip (and sell for money).

Every class has around 10 or so skills that are unlocked as the character levels up: every five levels, the characters gain 2 new skills, but the twist is only one skill can be equipped at a time. This allows for great variety in technique and gameplay because you can focus a character on the passive end of his skills for one battle, then switch him/her to a full on attack character for another, more aggressive battle. The range of skills is rather astounding and the only thing I think the game is missing is the ability to improve your characters skills based on what skills are used in battle, of course, that is more of a personal preference than an honest-to-god problem. The items provide a fantastic incentive to keep on playing because you are consistently hoping to find or discover new items in either the unlockable arena battles/field battles or at the Market, where items change after every battle. In the end, Battleheart is a really fun RPG/RTS hybrid that hits some of the simpler aspects of the video game on the head and thus creates an experience worth buying. (8.5/10)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Week 10 - Quick Analysis


Castle Crashers – The Behemoth is one of the most loved indie studios across the indie game design-scape; mostly because of the extravagant, yet pleasing, design of their projects, and of course because of how ridiculously fun their games, and even their blog posts, are. Funded independently by Tom Fulp (owner of Newgrounds) and Dan Paladin, their games of prestige are such as Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, and it turns out that Castle Crashers is one of my favorite games on all of the XBLA. Castle Crashers begins as an initially ordinary side scrolling, platformer, beat-‘em-up that has you playing as one of 4 knights trying to save his kingdom and ultimately the princesses along the way. The major allure of Castle Crashers comes from the smooth animations, varied environments, and crisp gameplay. The game never spends too much time in one environment and the fun of combat, though repetitive, remains fresh due to the lack of repetitive level design (all levels are hand drawn and enemies are just plain fun to kill). The game isn’t perfect obviously though and most of the problems are spawned from the repetitiveness of the genre; the game is fun as hell for the first run-through, though after you find some of the nicer weapons and unlock all of your combos the game loses some of its appeal.

In all seriousness, Castle Crashers would just be a decent game without one key augment: music. The music of Castle Crashers almost instantly became one of my most beloved soundtracks for a video game; ever. The music comes from Newground’s audio zone that allows any and all members of the community to compose and upload their own audio creations. Now, while the vast majority of these songs are ridiculously bad, there are also a ton of fantastic songs floating around; the Behemoth utilized Tom Fulp’s massive influence at Newgrounds to choose some great songs from artists like Waterflame and ParagonX9 (a personal favorite) to create a multi-style, flowing, upbeat soundtrack that literally makes the game. There were times that I was only still playing the game to listen to some of the great music and destroy waves of enemies to the amazing beats. In fact, I beat the game on the first pick-up in about 8 hours. In the end, Castle Crashers is an above average game with a ridiculous level of fun and entertainment value, and while the game lacks replay value, the first play-through will definitely leave you extremely satisfied. (8.5/10)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week 10 (Skipped)

Tuesday; March 8th, 2011


Sorry guys, I had a busy week this week. I spent most of my time working on non-CAS related subjects, though we have made way on the first official Acrophilia video and we may start filming it soon.


No Updates this week D:


But, check out this CAS screenshot I never showed you guys. :D 

But anyway, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Time Spent --> None :(

Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 9

Monday; February 28th, 2011

So, now I'm officially two months into the development of Project CAS and this blog. I'm not going to BS anyone, I slacked off this week for no reason, I really just didn't feel like doing anything. The only thing I did for CAS was write a few pages of the dialogue script for the GDD, and that's all. I promise, to myself, via this blog, that I will finish about 40% of the script by this Sunday. In addition to that, I actually have been in the mood to draw lately, so I'm more than likely going to pick up my pencil and draw a good bit of character, enemy, and location designs this week. Look forward to some art stuffs.

In other news, Acrophilia has just begun work on our first serious video production. All I will say for now is that it is a video about recycling; based on what you know about Acrophilia from the last post I'll let you decide what that entails. We spent a good hour or two just deciding on the flow of the video and we plan to spend around, 2 weeks running through everything so it's perfect for filming. Usually we just film everything in one day, and we would have done that with this video, but it's kinda rainy and wet around, so we decided to just practice until the sun comes out and stays out :D. Additionally, Acrophilia is getting some love from the community lately as we tend to practice at a local and public library and art center and people have been seeing us do what we do. A few families and other traceurs from outside of town have actually stopped by to ask for pointers or give us pointers; it is a very exhilarating feeling knowing that people can learn from us even though we are so new. 

Look for us at the Black Rock Community Art Center in Germantown, MD at various times throughout the week (usually Saturday and Sunday) and we occasionally take practices to the streets. I'll post it up here if we are ever hosting an event of some sort. :P

Regardless, it's about time I actually get to work on something with content so look forward to the first official Acrophilia video and possibly some CAS concept art work (and even some art work from another secret project I'm collaborating on). It turns out I'm a really busy guy >>'. Anyway, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Time Spent CAS (Creativity) --> Less than 1 hour
Time Spent Acrophilia (Action) --> 5 hours
Time Spent Total --> 6 hours


P.S -- I'm going to separate the hours into their various CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) connotations from now on to make it easier for me, and the IB peeps, later on.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Week 8 - Quick Analysis

Epic.


Canabalt – Every once in awhile a game comes out that changes the entire landscape of indie game design and inspires a completely new style of play and possibly innovation; that day is not today, and this particular game has been out for more than a year. Canabalt is a game about one thing, survival. Story? What story? Art? Tiled in a way you don’t ever even notice? Music? You mean that one great song looped over and over?  Gameplay? And that’s essentially where things get more complicated than they appear. </sarcasm>

You control a single character; he is unnamed and he has no established goal. Adam Atomic, the game’s designer (and essentially everything else sans music) gives you one button to play the game, and control is actually rather simple. You press a button (or touch your screen) to jump and avoid falling into endless abysses and/or running right into a wall and dying. A quick analysis of the actual gameplay shows that the game is really very simple; you jump at varying heights over and over and over until you ultimately fail…and you will fail, it’s inevitable, the game is rather hard. However, the game is so dreadfully simple that it draws you back in regardless of how many times you die. Overall, Canabalt is just a game made for people; people who aren’t looking for an extremely involved experience, yet one that is fun. That is what games are all about: fun and Canabalt nails it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 8

Monday; February 21th, 2011

Today marks the 8th week of my game's development and the unofficial 2nd month of Project CAS. But let me cut straight to the chase; with the prototype of CAS almost 30% complete, I can honestly say that I'm working extremely slowly on this project due to the lack of a GDD (game design document) and so I've decided to put actual content development on hold for a short period (think about a month or less) while I completely write the document. A game design document is usually around 40 or so typed pages in length for one of my projects, so it does take quite a bit of work to write. I will be uploading the complete design document sometime after the full release of Project CAS (for proof of it existing). Currently, the document is about 8 written pages.

 But just to keep you appeased with something, let me show you some extremely early progress on a level concept: the underground of a city I've designed.
In other, more content driven news, during this brief period of nothingness, I will be updating the blog on a possibly daily to bi-daily basis with short reviews of indie games, TV series, and even small articles about *entertainment design. I also hope to include a few extracts from progress on the design of Project CAS. Anyway, I say *entertainment design because I am getting very interested in film-making and the design of screenplays. In addition to working on Project CAS here at project-cas.blogspot.com I will also start informing you on the status of several small film projects my film/parkour group Acrophilia are working on.

Acrophilia is a group I unofficially started back in November with a few friends who, like myself, had an interest in free-running and parkour. Together, we started practicing every couple of days in a rather unorganized and disjointed way until starting this Wednesday, we start practicing officially under my own leadership. In addition to parkour, Acrophilia is a group of comedians and actors who make videos, currently for the morning announcements at my school, but soon on Youtube and other social film sites. Sometime during the week I will begin uploading our earlier projects to my CAS project Youtube account so that my viewers can watch them. Anyway, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~

Time Spent --> Less than 1 hour

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 7 (Valentine's Day)

Monday; February 14th, 2011


-Today's post will focus on the blog as opposed to the game itself-
So, let's begin with me stating how little I got done this week (based on what I wanted to get done), at least on a visual scale. Busy, busy, busy is all I can really say; my other school related projects have been sucking up my time, and with the temperature finally starting to increase I'll be spending far more time outside for the Action part of my CAS requirements. That said, soon the official domain for CAS will be purchased and this blog will cease being an exclusively game centric blog (hopefully that will boost up viewer appeal). My goals for this blog are to associate it with a Youtube channel for my school and non-school related videos, my deviantArt for artsy stuff, indie/commercial game articles (both original and links from other prominent (and not so prominent) game design blogs, and of course, Project CAS itself. Moreover, some of my other projects aren't getting enough love...so this blog will be soon focusing slightly on them as well.


I'm dedicating this week, and more than likely next week to finishing what I started so far on CAS (what I posted about last week), but then I'm taking a minor break to focus on promoting the blog and getting a steady base of new viewers and subscribers. Look forward to a plethora of new kinds of content updates including reviews of existing games (indie and commercial), analysis on films and video game content, and even videos written, filmed, and edited by yours truly!


Regardless, on a Project CAS note, I have completed the story outline and I am currently writing the script. It should be done within the next two weeks or so. After that I plan to draw/develop the flow charts for the game's gameplay flow and story direction; only then can I finally actually work on the playable version of the game. ANYWAY, expect greatness. Ryan Huggins~


[EDIT] Check out our Valentine's Day video btw. Top 7 of the day over at deviantArt. Circulate moar! http://browse.deviantart.com/film/?order=11#/d39lj7x !!


Time Spent --> 1 hour

Monday, February 7, 2011

Week 6

Monday; February 7th, 2011 (Technically Tuesday)

[EDIT] So, I was sick yesterday, hence the one day late update, but I'm good enough to write a blog post now! Anyway, today marks the official beginning of Month 2 of Project CAS' development. Honestly though, not an incredible amount of new artistic creations or content has been created, but what I have been doing, is working on the storyline and plot. I actually plan to finish the plot outline tonight after I record some vocals for a "music" video at school. Regardless, the update today will be rather brief.

The story to CAS so far is rather involved as far as the platform genre goes and I have introduced a new character, Cactier. Cactier is the main antagonist of the game's plot, though he remains rather obscure for a fairly long period of time. I don't want to reveal many details (he and Lily have a specific type of bond with each other), but I will have some concept art of him, as well as of Aster, up within the next week or two. It is even more likely however, that I will have a preview of a non-natural location finished and uploaded soon.

Much of this week has been dedicated to my illness (a week-long headache) and because of that I haven't been able to focus on Project CAS all that hard. The story IS coming along beautifully and it should be outlined completely by tomorrow night, if not tonight. When the outline is done, I plan to write a nice teaser synopsis and maybe even make a short story based trailer with custom music from Jack Yeates. My plans for this week include...
  • Finishing the story outline 
  • Beginning the official typed GDD (soon to be on a wiki of some sort)
  • Buy/secure the official domain name for this blog/to be website
  • Complete one new location design (WIP)
  • Draw Cactier and Aster concepts
  • Code the basics of a combat engine and modify current movement engine to allow for more diverse collision checks
  • Sleep a lot...
Anyway, that's really all I have to say for today. Wish me luck with my busy schedule! Goodnight followers and random viewers. SUBSCRIBE! :D

Time Spent --> 3 hours

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week 5

Sunday; January 30th, 2011
 
So the second month of development will officially begin today. I hope you enjoyed the first of several teasers I plan to make, I realize that just about nothing was animated, but I assure you that will change. This first teaser was just to show progress on map design and how Lily controls so far. I honestly haven't done any coding in awhile so maybe this coming week I'll upgrade something in the engine and talk about it. However, I've been rather focused on getting the artistic end of Project CAS done before the end of the the third month of development; so for the duration of Month Two I will be focusing on art. Speaking of art, I have a surprise...

Say hello to Lily and Castiel; two of the major characters of Project CAS! Check Week 1 if you don't know who these characters are yet. This is the first of many conceptual art pieces for CAS, so expect to be seeing some legit art updates in the coming weeks. Other than this piece of work here, let me just say that if I thought I got a lot of work done last week, I was lying, because this week I have gotten almost too much work done. I have gotten two very large (2400 x 480 and 1888 x 464) level concepts completed and have even received a bit more music from Jack Yeates. In that vein, I plan to keep artistic updates (at least in-game ones) more secretive from this point onward. I will keep you updated on exactly what I'm getting done however and maybe from time to time I'll give you guys a screenie, but for now, until more gameplay content gets complete, I think I will be keeping things closer to the chest.
 
Secrets aside, this week I completed the Grasslands location concept (it is now part Jungle) and I've completed the concept for a City environment (and said city is beautiful btw). The name of the city is a surprise for now, but it will be revealed in due time (it is one of the three cities in the game). Design wise, I have decided on designing approximately 16 locations to be explored in CAS, each location will be comprised of sectors and each sector is going to be about the size of the larger scale mock-ups I made note of earlier; there will be a minimum of 4 sectors per location and a maximum of around 15, so expect some rather large locations to explore. It takes me about 7 hours to design and map a sector, so I have a lot of work ahead of me, it's going to be great fun however. I haven't decided on the exact locations yet, but here are a few that are set in stone...
  • Jungle/Grassland
    • Jungle clearings
    • Lakes
    • Animal praires
  • Cavern
    • Small caves
    • Mountains
  • City 1 (Urban Tech City)
    • Target City (I'll explain what that means another day :P)
  • City 2 (Submerged City)
    • Underwater base
  • Dark/Night Forest
    • Haunted forest
  • Cruiser
    • Boat
Of those six locations, there are many sub-locations with their own smaller sectors, so Project CAS is going to be rather large. Think around 200 sectors or so in size. I hope to have all of the art done within a few months, but since nothing is tiled and everything is hand drawn, it may take longer, especially if I'm going to be coding in between all of that spriting (and updating the blog, living, and other stuff...). But overall, I am very much enjoying creating this game thus far, considering I have never sprited a game from scratch or created all of the content (besides music) this experience is rather fantastic; complete with learning and everything! Yay.

Goals for next week? Get the entire story outlined and come up with all the locations (and names thereof) that will be explored. Expect greatness. Ryan Huggins ~

Total Time --> 12 hours