Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A noobs journey into DnD...

A few days ago I agreed to take part in a DnD game. So this is a documentation of, well, how it went and whether I learn anything related to game design from the experience!

I've heard stories of many a game developer participating in DnD (The id teams lengthy game mentioned in the book "Masters of doom" for example!) so I hope participating will give me an opportunity to participate in a different style of gaming that may even result in learning about game design from a different angle. So I grabbed my battleaxe and dove right in!

The basics

The first meeting was pretty light the GM (a seasoned DnD veteran and experienced game designer) gave us the run down of how things work, expanding on the details he had given to us on the Facebook event page. Our IRL (in real life) party consists of myself, a game development tools QA tester with zero experience points in my DnD stat. A producer who also has zero experience. A lead QA tester with previous DnD experience and a lead environment artist also with previous experience. So a good mix!

Last week we had our first meeting, we discussed possible races, the race of the character you play, typically humans, orcs, elves, dwarfs etc. The roles, tanks - the players who soak up the damage, damage dealers - pretty self explanatory and healers - your standard battlefield fantasy paramedics. And then the specific classes. Anyone who has played a RPG or MMO and even certain modem day FPS's will be familiar with classes. A class determines the players strengths and weaknesses. For example a rogue and a ranger are both damage dealers but they are separate classes that have different abilities within the damage dealer role, which is great when it comes to multiplayer games as it gives each player a feeling of uniqueness and lets them feel that they are actively contributing to the game, something that would be difficult to achieve if every player had exactly the same abilities. MMOs and RPGs play heavily on this mechanic often with specific classes required to overcome certain situation, a very handy tool for games designers.

Thus my currently nameless Dwarf Fighter was born! To take up the role of our parties Tank.

One thing I did notice about the initial character creation is that compared to games, the creation is much more focussed on abilities, roles and party balance than aesthetics that tend to be the focus in games, a benefit of games as a medium perhaps? The process is not dissimilar to creating a group or raid for a high level dungeon in an MMO. Would this be something that could be incorporated into character creation in games more? more role and class customization?

For now that's all! Next time we continue with character creation and dig deeper into stats!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Twitter highlights from Develop 2012

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the Develop Conference in Brighton this year, but I did manage to keep up to date on Twitter to some extent!

So here are a collection of some of the great tweets that were made during the conference! I've tried to be as accurate with credit as possible, but some of these may be re-tweets or quotes from talks. Anyway it's the content itself that really matters! Hope you find something useful in there :)

"Enter awards. Takes time but it's worth it" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Your players first experience of the game has to be a good one" - David Wood @DaveTheMusical

"You have to be part of the dialogue and engaged with the community from the outset. Listen to them. Respond" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Prominence on a site is hugely important. If there's a new games list, be prepared to capitalise on your time there" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Use Analytics. Get to know your users and what they are doing" - Brian Balow @Flackboy

"Play testing from the outset is critical - don't keep pushing it back" - RT by David Wood @DaveTheMusical. Original Tweet by @grmcall

"Your game is out. What now? If your game is out - you're too late..." - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Talk to people. Talk to people EARLY. Reach out to the press. Pubishers look online. A lot of coverage will help you" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Be creative. You apply creativity to your games. Do the same for your marketing" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Subtle themes can create an emotional investment on a subconscious level" - David Wood @DaveTheMusical

"It doesn't matter how polished your game is - you need to be able to explain in one sentence why it's remarkable" - Zoya Street @rupazero

"You're much more likely to fade into obscurity than to offend anyone" - Zoya Street @rupazero

"Indies need to be personalities, it's something we can do more easily than the big studios" - Adam Russel @AdamSRussell

"Just by being an indie, you are already a cause for people to believe in, you have an interesting story"  - Zoya Street @rupazero

"Aladdin for Mega Drive was made in 4 months?! Jesus. One of my fav games of the era. Colour me impressed" - Tristan Clark @TristanClark

"Don't wait until after release to promote your game - generate interest in time for release" - Zoya Street @rupazero

"If you want your game to succeed, you have to be excited. If you can't be genuinely hyped, then why should anyone else be?" - David Wood @DaveTheMusical

"Put your art on as many photo/image sharing sites as possible. Tag, Tag, Tag, EVERYTHING. That's what Semantic web is" - Rohith Bhat @rohithbhat

"Image is important as is networking in marketing: pay special attention to your game blurb, or you run the risk of obscurity" - David Wood @DaveTheMusical

"Use social media, but be careful. Maintain a sense of humour, spend time and be honest" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Try and make your press releases funny. Try NOT to make them look like spam"  - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Talk to the games press - they're lovely. They like games too" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"It's not about competition. It's about relationships. People give work to people, not portfolios" - Ella Romanos - Zoya Street @rupazero

"Marketing for indies: build a communications cycle. Regular content and contact with audience" - Zoya Street @rupazero

"Get your idea out - as soon as you possibly can. Tell people..." - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"Get your game out, get people talking about it. Get people passionate about it" - Brian Baglow @Flackboy

"If looking for funding, the *idea* should be the 3rd point in your pitch deck. People care more about who their dealing with" - Kate Booth @KatBoo

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Making some trees!

Last night Jase got in touch with me with some finished tree models, we decided to get the textures on and get them in engine.

A maya shot, complete with texturing problem!

No Alpha :(

Alpha with dodgy edge :(

wahd out textur and no lighting built :(

Lighting built, almost there!

And some grass!


and done :D

Let us know what you think we love to get feedback!

oh and we also have a website (although I've been told by my good friend Max Jensch that a single page with a couple of links on is not a website) sorry max! www.fatpancake.com

Monday, 9 July 2012

UDK snow & Fat Pancake!

I've been busy doing lots of level design, kismet and documentation for this game I've suddenly found myself making. Then I got distracted by environment art which led me to making some snow.

It's a particle affect in UDk set to spread quite a distance and I've doubled up a few of them. Hopefully it won't be too taxing on resources! I am pretty happy with it.

Check out this video and have a look for yourself!

There is a few of us making this game now and we decided we need some sort of name to go by, I've had the name "fat pancake" floating about in my head for a while and decided to go with that. Jase put together a logo and here we are! We even managed to get a website sorted, nothing much there yet but you can find it at www.fatpancake.com

Thursday, 10 May 2012


adding more props, decided to stick with the snow theme, also some shots of what the 2 Ollies have been up to!

Preliminary character concepts by Ollie E

Ollie L's modular archway (@OllieLudgrove)

Me experimenting with the archway!

and some shots of how stuffs looking.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Some more screen shots of today's work

Adding more assets and playing with colours. Spent most of today working on foliage! (and watching game of thrones!) I think I prefer the snowy version.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Screenshots and stuff.

I'm quite tired so no big description. This is what I've been doing today! Early days yet. With Ollie L Making rocks.