Friday, May 27, 2011

Game Development

Consistency is the mark of a good blog. So, I'm going to write everything that's happened recently, and have the blog post the next installment of it on 1-week intervals.

I (Todd) spent a bit of time depressed this summer. I lost my job. Losing my job meant losing a lot of stability in my life--emotionally and financially.

When life gives you lemons. . . design a combustible lemon and burn life's house down (at least I think that's how the saying goes).

So, I decided to work. I chose to work--even though I wasn't getting paid for it. I decided to start working, in earnest, on a video game concept I had come up with a while back. I picked up a copy of Unreal Development Kit, and got started. At first, video game programming seemed out of my depth. I knew 3D math (vector calculus) and I knew quite a bit about programming and computers.

It wasn't too far into the project (I think about day 3) that I realized I lacked a very crucial skill associated with video game design: art. I have never painted--and my experience in graphical design didn't extend beyond stick figures. How on earth would I, an non-artistic technical guru, make a video game.

I quickly found out that video games don't just require art work, they require some of the best designed and most intricate artwork which mankind has ever conceived of. Drawing was an asset here, 3D modeling another asset. The only assets I had were an understanding of Gimp and Blender.

It was like being in a machine shop, and knowing how to work all the tools--but being expected to make a complete car from nothing but the steel and aluminum in front of you.

With that, I got started on it! Gimp became a powerful ally in the war against my lack of creativity. I spent hours upon hours agonizing over every little detail trying to make my in-game graphics look believable. It took a while, but I discovered where my niche lies. I can put real-world art into a game environment. I realized that to make explosions, I was starting with internet-found photos of campfires and tweaking them until they looked like an actual burst of flame.

To my delight, Dani owns an HD digital camera, and I live next to some mountains. We took a weekend and I took about 13 Gigs worth of pictures of everything you could imagine. Adapting those into the game environment made a very believable and realistic texture setting.

At that, half of my big problem was solved, so I started chipping away at what I deemed to be the smaller problem--which was programming the code.

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....