Gurus of Games Panel at Hybrid Worlds

22 November, 2015 - Luke Molnar

This week I headed to Hybrid Worlds where I sit-in on the Gurus of Games Panel, I get to see a ton of VR demonstrations, and I have my first VR experience.

Ok, so it's finally happened, I've tried an Oculus and it was pretty amazing. I won't bore you with the pros and cons of VR as it stands today because we all already know. Alex Stevens and Garth Robertson from Organic Humans did a presentation on their game Montas, a survival horror virtual-reality game. I unfortunately didn't get a chance to give that particular game a go, I did get to see someone else try it out. It's pretty and well polished. The developers spent a lot of time making the players head movements mimic the in game characters head. I tend to agree with them when they say that this is important when developing for VR in order to give the player the full emersion experience. They also touched on VR in the multiplayer space, and how body language adds a huge dynamic to player-to-player interaction. Alex and Garth also made interesting notes about environment spaces and how to design for VR. Basically, putting players in large environments with large objects, such as towering trees where detail is placed out of the players comfortable field of view, unnecessarily is bad practice, but by the same token, not to create a series of compact rooms as claustrophobia is a serious issue for some players.

After the Montas presentation and the other VR game demos, the main panel event started and was recorded with 360 degree digital cameras for your VR viewing pleasure. The panel members were composed of various game developers, two of which were ex-employees of Half-Brick, a Brisbane mobile game development company famous for titles such as Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, and my personal favourite, Fish out of Water.

The kick-off topic was about building your world. Typically for story driven games, building the world lore in which the players are placed is very important. It gives the player reason and meaning to everything they do and motivates them to continue playing. Creating great lore for your video game's universe can be as much of an achievement as creating the game itself.

The Gurus (panel members) discussed many interesting topics, one of which was 'What is it like being a game developer in Brisbane, or Australia in General?'. Many panel members had different views on this ranging from the subject of weather, to a metaphoric desert were only the fittest survive. Most members believed Brisbane isn't the hotspot of the world for large game companies, but we do produce great indie developers and have a very friendly community of which I am proud to be a part of.


Developer Diary #3

17 November, 2015 - Luke Molnar

A productive week it has been. I've implemented git into my Zombie Jack project. If you've not heard of git, it is a version control system and it's made my life a heck of a lot easier and organised. If your working with Unity and would like some tips on using git, I recommend this site. How to Prepare a Unity Project for GIT. Alternatively you can give me a shout and I can share with you all that I know. Another tool I highly recommend is Atom. A code editor built on the Chrome engine. It plays nicely with Unity and git, and is absolutely beautiful to use.

A new respawning system has been introduced into Zombie Jack, in the process throwing out the dusty old system. Sometimes it's necessary to rewrite old code. I've tried to make the new system faster and less distracting. I want the players to not be frustrated by death and be able to jump back into the fight without feeling defeated.

The next area I'll begin expanding on is weapons and power-ups. This has long been in need of improvement. The mistake I made on the first rendition was making it too complicated and realistic. I'm going to redesign it to be less of a mental chore and more thoughtless fun!

This weekend I'll be heading to the Gurus of Games panel at Hybrid Worlds where I'll get to meet the makers of Montas, a virtual reality survival horror. Alex Stevens and Garth Robertson of Organic Humans will be discussing their experience with using the Unreal Engine to create virtual reality games. It looks very exciting and I really hoping I get a chance to experience it hands on. If your in Brisbane on the 22nd of November, definitely come check it out. More information here: Game Tech Brisbane Meetup page.

Note, next week I'll be heading to Chicago on a business trip, meaning I most likely won't get much time to work on game development. But things should resume as per usual the following week.

And lastly, I wanted to say to all the people of Paris that our thoughts and hearts are with you during this horrific time.


Meetup with Witch Beam

09 November, 2015 - Luke Molnar

I've just arrived home from a late night out at the Brisbane Unity and Game Developers meet up. If you've never been to one of these things before, I highly recommended. It was really exciting to meet new people, both game developers and game enthusiast.

Witch Beam, the team behind the successful twin-stick shooter Assault Android Cactus gave a detailed presentation on their experiences with game development, the processes they took, and even the mistakes they made. It was very inspiring and educational. Not only that, but the game looks amazing.

Because Zombie Jack has similar game elements to Assault Android Cactus, it was really interesting and reassuring to hear the team talk about the mechanics that they original had in the game and then changed or removed. For instance the buying / shop system in-between levels and waves, which I also original had in Zombie Jack but later removed.

The game is available now on steam and currently has 'Very Positive' reviews. A demo is available if you want to check it out.

Yes, lots of great tips and advice, thank you again Witch Beam, and to all the people that setup the Unity Developers meet up. I will definitely be attending future events.

View Assault Android Cactus Steam page


Developer Diary #2

02 November, 2015 - Luke Molnar

Hope you all had a spooky Halloween, personally my favourite time of the year. I unfortunately spent my Halloween with food poisoning, which in turn put a little bit of a halt on game dev time, but I did get a few minutes to sketch Jack as a pumpkin (see previous post).

Lists, lists and more lists. I've put a project plan together outlining all items that need completing before a public alpha / beta can be released, ranging from sound effects and level design, to improving weapon systems and AI timing.

Most of this week's work has been spent on improving already in place systems such as the AI spawners and path mapping. The aim this week is to complete some core features such as an easier menu experience, player level migration, and if theirs time I'll begin prettying-up the first level.

Motivation is key to great game development, and while I love working on Zombie Jack, I really love it when people share their interest. Please help spread the word, share this page with your friends, or comment below. You can reach me on Twitter @RustboxGames or Facebook here.


Happy Halloween

31 October, 2015 - Luke Molnar

Zombie Jack-O-Lantern just wanted to wish you all a happy Halloween.