Friday, 26 April 2013

Joel Burgess: Skyrim's Modular Level Design - GDC 2013

Joel Burgess: Skyrim's Modular Level Design - GDC 2013 Transcrip...: Skyrim’s Modular Approach to Level Design Originally presented @ Level Design in a Day, GDC 2013 Co-Authored and Co-Presented w/Nate Pu...

So, I've not updated this thing in a while, I enjoyed this article so much, that I'm going to do the Tumblr thing and repost this!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Something For the Weekend

Finishing up progress for the weekend, here's a quick look at the animation editor I've been working on. It's almost feature complete (barring a few minor things like editing the Z component of the animations, which will in fact be 3D) and it's been an interesting task, designing such a specialised tool.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

2.5D XNA RPG Engine - Some Technical Details

I keep getting questions regarding some of the more technical aspects of my 2.5D shading implementation in my earlier YouTube videos like this one, so I want to dedicate an entry here to explaining a little bit what's going on behind the scenes there and fielding questions.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Game Accessibility Guidelines

I saw this just now over at RPS and I'm bookmarking it here for myself as much as for other developers following this blog. Gaming Accessibility Guidelines is a project to create a simple source of reference for designers, in order to help ensure that the game can be used by people with any of wide range of impairments and handicaps as comfortably as possible.

This isn't something that affects me, or even anyone I know personally, but from a design standpoint I find it nonetheless pretty staggering, just the extent to which a lot of the really basic needs for accessibility are ignored in so many games (including, but not limited to remappable controls and colourblind options).

Part of the trouble, I imagine, is that for a designer a lot of these barriers for entry for other people, are pretty invisible if they haven't had to cope with them themselves. Moreover, even if one consciously recognises the need to focus on the accessibility of their controls and mechanics, it's not an easy task to identify what needs to be fixed and how to fix it.

So that's where GAG looks like it's pretty awesome as it offers just that. I'm hoping that it finds its way into most designers' bookmarks very quickly indeed.

Monday, 3 September 2012

YouTube Demos!

After a few more busy days of work, I've finished enough of the editing interface at last that I've got something to show for it. Not much in terms of animation yet, but the stage is set in a basic sort of sense.

First up is a general usage video that shows off the pretty graphicses, followed by a more in-depth peek under the hood, which shows off what's making it tick, to some extent, for those of you into that. Bear with me though - not only are the assets quite rough just in terms of the whole scene being much closer to a draft than a finished project in terms of assets, but also the lightmaps were rendered at some very unforgivingly low-quality settings.

Enough to get a feel for the engine, but not representative of any kind of final-ish quality, is what I'm saying here.

The editor interface here is mostly showing off some simple tools for creating dynamic, realistic-looking lighting within the given constraints (low barrier for entry, no custom shaders etc. in order to be compliant with the XNA 'Reach' profile). This is the first time I've worked extensively with WinForms and creating an interface of this sort has been interesting.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Editor Interface

It's been quite a while since the last update, mostly because a lot of my work has been on the backend side of things. While I expected that I'd get the main rendering code set up in a few days and I'd be able to post a few screenshots of the current test scenes running in-game fairly quickly, a few technical complications with XNA's stock shaders meant this was easier said than done.

As a result, I had to get a lot deeper into the engine's ontology than I expected to at this stage, just so I can sort through different parts of the scene and be able to get them rendering properly. In turn, that meant actually getting to work on the level-editing interface, which I decided to try and cobble together out of WinForms.

So good in-game shots still aren't quite there yet as I have plenty more interface still left to do, but we're getting there:

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A New Library

After a little hiatus, here's the final Photoshop-based visualisation. The scene itself will probably get a few more detail passes and some clean-up, but it's a good start and is now starting to reach a pretty good representation of what the game itself would look like. It's also now at a state where I can begin working on the engine code itself, starting to implement the rendering elements, camera, and editor interface with these assets.