Code name Escape – Apple art

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Today I did some sketches of Apple. I wasn’t too happy with what I had before. She didn’t seem large enough. I think I’m quit happy with the drawing on the left and I might use it in game. Or maybe She needs to be drawn larger.

Drawing Apple has been a pain since I’m not use to drawing larger people. I want Apple to look large and believable large.  But I also wanted her to look nice. Finding clothing ideas for her was such a pain. I ended up going with a vintage style and cardigan. I feel like it’s important that Apple wouldn’t want to show off her arms.

Apple’s legs are probably the biggest pain. I’m use to drawing long thing legs like in sailor moon but for a chubby person their legs are normally short. Thank god all the game art will not be needed legs.

Visual novels and more!

This blog post was going to be about visual novels and similar games. But I can’t get my head around the information, these games a very similar and have their own differences which make them so hard to explain.

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So, visual novels are these games that came from Japan and mostly stay in japan (However you can get fan translations of games and some do get released outside Japan and then there’s the few made outside of Japan. You can actually buy a few games on steam). They are interactive stories that are told with pictures and blocks of text. Most of them use branching paths. But then you have games like dating sims, Bishoujo Games and Eroge.

These games all follow the same style. They normally use a resolution of 800×600. The top larger part of the window are for images while there’s a horizontally oriented rectangular box below for text. Characters are drawing in the anime/manga style. The stories are often told from first person. Popular games will often get turned into animes,  mangas and more.

A dating sim is short for dating simulation, typically you play as a male that is surrounded by female characters (you are in a harem), you pick one of the female characters and try and woe her over time. There are also dating sims where you play as a female surrounded by males.

Bishoujo Games are similar to dating sims, Bishoujo means pretty girl. In these games you are surrounded by pretty anime girls. I have no idea how this differs from dating sims, in fact I’d say Bishoujo games are like a sub group of dating sims. Because then you have Otome game (Otome meaning Maiden) which are aimed at females and is known as a revered harem, where the main character is female surrounded by males.

Eroge, which is an abbreviation of “erotic game” (So never say eroge game, because then you are just saying erotic game game). These are also known as Hentai (pervert) games. Which are like the adult version of dating sims,  once again I’d say these eroge are sub groups of dating sims.

For a long time I use to think visual novels = dating sims, but that’s not really the case.

There are games such as 999, Virtue’s Last Reward and phoenix wright which are all visual novels but not dating sims. These games are more action and puzzle and lack any love interests.

And then there’s something called “Raising sim” the goal is to improve another character via training and educating. Kinda like pet games. They are also known as “Life simulation game”. In some raising sims you need to train a girl into an idol or turn a girl into a queen… wot?

So that’s everything I seem to know about visual novels.

In my mind I think visual novels are like the “Family”, dating sims, raising sims, ect are like the Genus while Bishoujo, otome and eroge are like the Species of dating sims.

Still, this game genre can be a bit confusing.

PyWeek 17 – Moon

Pyweek is once again on! For those who don’t know pyweek is a bi-yearly game challenge where people attempt to make a game in python within a week. I haven’t taken part since 2009. I’ve always wanted to try pyweek again however I need to wait for my current programmer to level up a little bit more.

However, I do like to use pyweek as a design challenge. I might not be able to make a game on my own but it doesn’t stop me from trying to design a game around the theme. This pyweek’s theme is “Moon”.

So when it comes to deigning a game within a week you need to remember you have a week and only a week. So keep it simple stupid. It’s good to know what you can do. And if you are working with a programmer it’s good to know what they can do.

Next comes the theme. Like in iron chief the theme needs to be the key. It needs to tie the game together. Many ideas come from the theme of “moon”, space is the first thing that comes to mind.

But why limit yourself. If you can think up as many ideas as you can. Ideas also can come from anywhere.

From space I went back to earth and I though a game about shadows created from the moon. Which turned into a thief game. The moon became the rarest gem in the world and you using shadows needed to steal it. I stuck with this idea for most of the time. Trying to think how to improve it.

This morning I was on reddit (like always) I saw this photo of something called a Moon Jellyfish, these tiny Jelly fish that seem to glow. So This new idea was created.

Within the night you explore the ocean, avoiding enemies who will eat you. You search for other Jellyfish. You use moon beams to recharge your glow and you need to find all the other Jellyfish before the sun rises. And because I wouldn’t sleep I drew a few sketches of the game.

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I couldn’t really think of a way to win. I though maybe you needed to find yourself a mate but then the stupid hit me and I was like fuck it. You need to find all the jellyfish and have an awesome rave party.

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If you glowed in the dark why the hell would you NOT have a rave party?

Maybe one day I’ll have time to make this game. It might be a fun project for me and JB to do.

Baby programming

This is so far the most advance thing I have written to date. It’s got variables, if/else statements and a random function :O omgosh.

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So basically what’s happing in this code is that I have some cake. And I want to randomise if the cake is safe to eat or not. So I have a random function picking either 1 or 2. If it picks 1 the cake is safe to eat.

I also have these doors that are connected to the cake. So there’s a door titled safe and a door titled poisonous, now if the cake is safe you need to go though the safe door. For testing I’ve added these extra text so I know where the code is up too. This way I can make sure everything works fine.

Now that everything is working time to like gut it and place it into the game.

Big thanks to Jesse-face for helping me with the random function.

My problem with virtue’s last reward

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So I’ve been playing virtue’s last reward as research (and fun) while I’m enjoying the game I’m also a little annoyed with it. In order to progress though the game I need to backtrack and pick different choices.

The game branching is pretty amazing. At the start, the game will give me three choices to pick from, my choice turns into two which turns into another three.

To make things simple I’ll give a quick run down of the game. There are 9 people including yourself who are trapped in this locked warehouse building. Everyone is groups into colours and labelled solo or pair. There are these doors which need three players to open, so each pair has to team up with a solo player. You later need to vote to “Ally” or “Betray” the other person, ie. you are in a pair so you need to vote against the solo player you had teamed up with.

So for me my first play I picked to team up with Luna, and then I picked to Ally with her because I’m a nice person and didn’t want to hurt Luna’s feelings. In the second round the solo and pairs had been shuffled. I was originally paired with Phi but now I was paired with Alice.

With each action you take something different will happen.

However the game path you play eventually comes to an end and in order to proceed you “jump” to a past event.

The problem with this jump is that any actions or choices I do no longer effect me. On my second play though I and Phi teamed up with Alice who we later betrayed, I felt bad about it, so I jumped to “change” my vote.

While the game encourages this jumping, I no longer feel a connection for some characters. This has happened with Alice, after I betrayed her I jumped back and picked Ally only for her to betray me, same thing happened with Phi.

But there are characters I still like and I don’t want to betray. Take Luna for example. After Allying with her twice I came to a dead end and jumped back to the start of the game. In order to move forward with the plot I know I need to go down the path that makes me betray Luna. And I really don’t want to do that.

The game is fun, with each play more story is unlocked and I really want to know what is going on. Different choices I make also unlock different puzzles, however there are some story plots that keep repeating themselves and it’s getting a little old.

Anyways, while the game annoys me a little I’m still going to play it. It’s fun and has a good story >.> I just hope I can work everything out before I need to betray Luna.

Zero escape Virtue’s Last Reward

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I bought zero escape virtue’s last reward the other day. It’s for research. So if you see me playing my 3DS there’s a good chance I’m actually doing research.

For anyone who doesn’t known virtue’s last reward is a Japanese adventure puzzle game. Based around the prisoner’s dilemma.

I was told it’s similar to what I’ve been doing in honours so I needed to give it a play.

The game is made up of two parts. There’s the puzzle side where you are trapped in a room and you need to escape it which is a mini game towards the bigger game which is the ally or betray game (or AB game). The aim of the game is to get 9 points which you get during the ally or betray game. If you and your friend both vote for ally then you each get 2 points, however if one goes ally and the other goes betray, the betrayer gets 3 points while the ally looses 2. And if both people betray then no one gets any points.

I haven’t gotten very far, but my plan of action is to ally until someone betrays me, or ally until it’s almost game over and then backstab everyone.

I’m only up to the 3rd puzzle but I can see the similarities. But I believe I’ll be able to learn from virtue’s last reward and be able to make my game different enough so it doesn’t seem like a copy.

I hate you twine

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After having twine crash once me, I took about a day to get it back to where it was before. And then it crashed again. Thanks to my lack of spelling the script is saved in google docs, which I copy past into Twine. However setting up all the links and making it not look a spider’s web is the annoying part. Twine is just too unstable. After it crashed I reopen the program and it won’t let me load the file I was working on before. For some reason the crash cause the file to become unreadable.

So I’m done with twine. I’ll look for something else now, something that will run on mac, maybe I should re-learn python and use that.

PAX 2013 Friday

I’ve been asked to report about PAX.

For anyone who doesn’t know PAX stands for Penny Arcade Expo, Penny Arcade being the gaming webcomic. PAX has run for a few years over in the US but this is it’s first time in Australia and lucky for me it’s being hosted in Melbourne. As much as I’d want to if it was hosted else where in Australia I wouldn’t have been able to make it.

So today I woke up today at 7:30, took a shower, got JB to take his shower, got dressed and managed to get some coffee before having to head out to meet people at Flinders Street station. My friends, Austin and Vince were running a little late so instead of catching the 9:20 train to the showgrounds we ended up getting the 9:38, which actually left the station around 10, gg metro.

By the time we finally got to the showgrounds, gosh the line ride.

SONY DSC Here’s where we stood. The building to the left is the entrance, might not seem so bad but behind the trees there was a long snake form of a line which did a U turn and began to leek into the parking lot.

SONY DSCAnd then the second train arrived and the line grew and grew and grew to the point it reached the white building and began wrapping around the parking lot.

So after a while the line began to move. Once we entered they did a badge check and an age check, gave us a black wrist band and we were on our way. Honesty, I don’t understand why the line ride was so long if it was just age checking.

Sadly due to the length of the line ride we missed Story time with Ron Gilbert which was at 10:30am. However we did make it into a line for the Penny Arcade Q & A! Which was another line ride.

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Some cosplayers we saw while in the line ride waiting for the Penny Arcade Q & A, we stood in this tunnel for most of the wait, it got windy and cold.

The Penny Arcade Q & A was funny and pretty damn cool. However it did run over time and I ended up missing the “We Study Games Without Having to Make Them: Musings from PhD research students” panel. Very sad :(

Once the Q & A was over we headed over to the Expo hall, pretty much a mix of shopping stalls and like demo stalls.

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The expo hall was crazy busy, mostly since everyone else also had just came from the Q & A.

JB and I spent some time at the Nintendo booth. Had a go at the new sonic game, checked out street passes (so many street passes)

After a loop around we left the showgrounds and had some lunch at a fish and chip shop. Came back to the showgrounds in hopes to catch the Games Can Be Anything – Are We Seeing Enough Innovation or Not, and Why? panel but nope. By the time we got there the room was already full and we weren’t allowed in.

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So we headed to the big top and had a look around, lots of board games and some PC and random stalls. There was also the main PAX shop which had a huge ass check out line, JB and I made our way to the handheld area and found a bean bag and camped while we waited for Vince to do some shopping and Austin went on short walks.

At this stage we had kinda given up seeing anything we waited to see, most of the things we wanted to see we had missed and huge lines formed before all theatre doors.

After a while of lazing around in the handheld area we packed up camp and went back to the expo hall to do another loop around. Austin went home and Vince went off to see stuff while JB and I mooched around the Nintendo booth again. JB had a go at the new Super Mario 3D world on Wii U and played some The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds while I sat on some bean bags watching the Mario Kart 3DS tournament and checking my street passes.

Once Vince was done with his walking around we packed up our things and headed out before stopping at one more booth. Where JB and I bought some Pokémon gym pins. As we left the expo hall we were hit with a rush of bad weather.

We got home around 7, soaking wet. Tomorrow I’ll bring an umbrella.

Over all feels about PAX so far, while there were more rooms opened up there really was too many people. However unlike supernova or Manifest PAX actually had tents set up between buildings, which was nice but at times created traffic jams.

It was fun bumping into friends but so easy to get separated from friends and at time we’d see someone and just ever see them again, there was just so many people.

I think with some tweaking PAX could run a lot smoother however I’m worried it might not get another chance. I feel like other people also were sick of the line rides and not being able to get into the things they want. The weekend pass cost $115 (we bought ours pretty early). It’s so far the most expensive convention pass I’ve paid for which is upsetting to think I and others miss out on panels and talks simply because it’s already filled up.

Hopefully tomorrow is better since we still have our age wrist bag on.

Code name Escape

Ideally I want to make a game, most likely I’m going to end up with a choose your own adventure story. However I am not the strongest writer there is.

Escape is slowly coming a long. It’s still in that bizarre stage where it’s more crazy ideas than anything real. I’ll be using Twine for the time being. I really hope Escape has a puzzle game feel rather than a choose your own adventure. But there are a lot of choices to be made, and twine seems like the perfect tool.

Most of my puzzles are basic ideas, what the key elements are and solutions to the puzzle. But things in the middle are missing. I’m also trying to make sure that all NPCs have a reason to be there, have it so the player needs this item and it turns out a NPCs has that item. Make them feel part of the world. The thing I learnt from BioShock Infinite is that if the NPCs is helpful there’s a deeper connection.

I also like what Liar Game does, where everyone has a nickname rather than their real name, say there is a smoker among the NPCs, he could be addressed as “smokey” by the player and the other NPCs. Nicknames like these are easier to come up with then real names.

The big thing I really want in escape is to have it that your “team” carries on. Say you start off with a group of 10 including yourself and you only manage to escape with only 7 people. In the next room you end up in, I want it so you are in that room with those 7 people and not new ones. I’ll have to have a deeper look into Twine.

I’m trying to keep Escape as small as I can, maybe I should work on one room at a time, but ideas keep coming so I write them down.

We are back to school next week, but first PAX. I’m so excited.