I’m Back!

I’ve been busy for the last months on getting a start in the industry, which also means having a job. Now, my contract has ended and it’s time to return and start taking care of this website, which I’ve completely neglected over the last 3 months.

To start, over the course of this week I will update the portfolio with the games that I have worked on and have been published.

And how come I started doing it now? Well, my contract has ended, in good terms, nothing bad, so it is time to find the next step in my career.

Going Digitally

With a new muse, I set about to a difficult task: research on the muses likes and dislikes, create a paper prototype and then create a digital prototype, all in 10 days. Researching was easy: just sit down and talk to your muse a couple of time, finding out what her likes and dislikes are. The hard part is when it comes to put those ideas to paper.

I had a stroke of luck though, I must say. Around that same period I had decided to make all kinds of different prototypes that I would use in a sort of repository so that if I would need one mechanic, I would know where to get it from, without resorting to google and trying to adapt some foreign code. While working on a prototype for a platformer side scrolling controller, my muse was around the same room I was in, and noticing me working on that, told me that she found it quite interesting and that she likes how it is as an idea. I took that to consideration and decided to expand on that prototype and add basic enemies and collectibles and an ending.
I had her try it to which her feedback was that this kind of prototype was exactly what she wanted.

I was then in some sort of Limbo: should I do a paper-prototype if I already have a digital prototype that fits my muse’s needs or not? Asking the lecturer, he told me that it would be OK. There would not be a great need to develop a paper prototype if the digital one already fulfills the right functions, thus I went digital with it.

Thus, I want to say: “Thank you, Unity”. It is so simple and friendly to work with, even though its bugs can be pretty nasty sometimes. It is unity’s rapid prototyping capabilities that enabled me to build a digital prototype faster than I did a paper one and I was also able to test it on my muse without explaining the muse and acting as a gamemaster, in a way letting my muse believe that there is no random or alea element in her play, giving her feel like the rules are there to help, making the game more of a agon play.

For the basic prototype that I handed in I had just used Unity’s primitives, but on further instances I had added models created in 3Ds Max and music created using Ableton Live, though I did try some classical music.


Muse do’s and dont’s.

So I have a muse. Had. Have again.

I guess when the course started I did not take the whole muse situation seriously, but it was a very important lesson, nonetheless. What was very important was my underestimation of how you much interaction you need with a potential muse. Sure, it is possible to have a muse that is far away, but that involves a lot more work and that is mainly due to the types of communication available. Having access to all three forms of communication: verbal, non-verbal and paraverbal is most important in such a case where you want to get as much information out of your muse as possible. This led me to have to drop my muse and change it quickly.

The process was not easy. It was like being in a comfort zone and being forced to take initiative and change the current equilibrium. Something that had to be done, not that was wanted to be done.

The end result is not bad though, in my opinion. Which led me to develop a couple of do’s and don’t when having a muse:
1. Communicate. A LOT! If watching your muse sleep helps you, do it, but the best way you can learn things about your muse is by talking a lot to her, which leads me to…
2. Spend time with your muse. The more time spent together, the more you know about your muse through both indirect and direct methods. This is closely tied to…
3. Have a muse which is close by. This may be more optional than the previous ones but it does make the job very easy. The accessibility to all three forms of communication should be noted.
4. Don’t treat the muse as a co-designer or a patient. There is a great difference between them. Don’t let the muse have complete creative freedom, let her come with her likes and dislikes and then give feedback over the prototypes on what she likes and dislikes.

5. Test, feedback, develop and repeat. Always test, always use the feedback given for developing further and try to use it in a structured form. This could make the muse feel more comfortable because she feels like she is being listened to, while you are happy that you get feedback for your work which is a good trade-off.

Keep those in mind, and you should do fine.

The Prototype

Prototyping for UxP, is pretty much complete to me. All that I want to do is add some more assets and probably 1-2 more levels but I’m going to write more on that over the next couple of then. I will be writing on the process of finding a muse with all of its challenges, how data was gathered and how making the prototype took place.

You can try the prototype HERE. If you can’t figure out, just click where HERE is written in bold.

More information on the development so far to come, followed by posts on further production. If the final prototype has good feedback, I will continue development.

EDIT  Works now.

Homo superior

What wonderful times we live in. What should this post be about? Oh, there is so much to talk about. We’re humans. If we don’t have trouble we make our trouble. We’re humans. If we have something that annoys us we ignore it until we can’t ignore it anymore, then we kill it. We’re humans. Or are we? At what point did we stop being humans and start being dolls? Puppets? Little plush teddy bears with screws on their backs. They go through their same routine. They are happy. They do whatever they want, or whatever it is they think they want. What is it that they truly want? Do they know? Do you know? Do you know what you really want? Are you sure of it? So sure you would spend a long time fighting for it? Wait, wait, i’m hitting a soft spot here. Fighting for it? We never fight for anything. We are too comfy. The comfy generation I might call it. Do you want a good life? You’re not working for it, you’re expecting it. You’re expecting getting into some cheap little scheme to get you enough money to waste way on alcohol, tobacco, sex and drugs. That’s what it’s all about. The high life. Living the life. Living the good life. Living by your own rules. Not caring what society wants even though society makes the rules we all go by. If we dress differently we need society’s approval to be accepted. If we cross the street on a red light we need the right approval. It’s all about society regulating us. What happens when society turns to comfortable anarchy. Everybody does whatever they want. Land of the free remember? But who  actually knows what they want? Better said, who actually fights for what they want? We are selfish bored bastards spending more time going on Facebook, looking over pictures of the opposite sex than actually getting into contact with them, forming bonds. Forming new worlds. Your world is the world defined by everything you know. For the moment, dear reader, I am in your world. My whereabouts may or may not be since they might be a picture or a simple part of your imagination. When we connect, we make a new world. We make our world. The world created between us. There is no one universe, this is a multiverse. Everybody has his own universe around him. That’s also what showcases another very noticeable aspect about ourselves: egotism. When was the last time you actually called somebody just to say thank you. The last time you sent a postcard to someone to thank or to remind them how special they are to you. The last time you helped somebody get their luggage off the bus because it was too heavy. The last time you actually stopped and called someone to help a perfect stranger who was lost. We are these creatures. Creatures of gossip and hate. Of pride and envy. Of egotism. Egotism. There is nothing that flows more in the veins of humans than egotism. If it’s not yours, you just don’t care. If it can’t help you, you don’t care. Humans. All in all god’s creation? For we are more imperfect than the worst possible definition. We are horrible in our own ways. Can we be wondrous? Can we be “a piece of work” as written within the pages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Can we actually cut the chains of comfort? Can you risk abandoning watching tv or sitting on the computer to do some exercise each day? Can you risk working hard to make something for yourself instead of wasting away, making mother nature feel sorry to even have created you? Can you get up your feet and get so involved that you don’t feel tiredness anymore, but the thrill? The thrill of being busy and having your closest ones admire you for the things you do? Can you dear reader? Can you be the example of Nietzsche? Can you be homo superior? The one who fights for his ideals and for his ability to be comfortable whenever he calls upon it? Can you?