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Global Game Jam 2018

Having spent the past 2 months working on both the Microcosm Framework and Super Blasty Blasty V2, I felt that I needed a bit of a change of pace and decided to join in with #GlobalGameJam2018. This was the perfect opportunity to put the framework into action with a fresh project that could be far smaller scope than Super Blasty Blasty V2. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any time on the Friday or Saturday to take part but I wasn’t ready to let that stop me taking part, so on Sunday morning, I set myself a challenge to get something built and “released” in 12 hours.

Needless to say, this was a bit ambitious. But I did it! My initial plan had been to get a fully polished release on the Google Play Store in these 12 hours, looking back this was a ridiculous goal. The version I quote unquote released was far from polished, but it was functional on Android devices and had some great features, mostly thanks to the Microcosm Framework doing its job exceptionally well in saving me development time.

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Looking Back At Bob’s Space Crusade

Bob’s Space Crusade was the first game I ever published, it was released on Kongregate, on the 30th of December 2011. It was my first project using Unity3D and it served as a great learning experience in actually getting something out there to be played by the world. It was by no means a masterpiece but the character (who I still have plans to resurrect in future projects) and core mechanic was great. This post will talk about how Bob was originally brought to life and the process that was behind that.

Going into this project I had a single focus, keep things simple. I didn’t want a spiralling list of features that could never be achieved, I just wanted a core mechanic that was fun and simple. This was for a couple of reasons, the main being I didn’t have enough experience to actually finish a large expansive project. The main goal of the project was to finish it, which I did. In hindsight, I would say the scope was too restrictive, the project in its initial state didn’t play particularly well and would have benefitted greatly from an increased development time.

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Classic Game Design: Resident Evil

One of the greatest games to have ever been produced is, without doubt, the original Resident Evil, it pioneered the survival horror genre and became a must have hit on the PS1. The series may have strayed far away from these humble beginnings but there are a lot of lessons that modern game developers could learn from taking a step back and reanalyzing it, or rather the remake that was released on the GameCube. The remake is the version of the game that has been modernized with HD textures for current generation consoles and for good reason, it has aged fantastically well.

Whilst the visuals may have received a few upgrades the core mechanics at the heart of the game remain the same, the central plot is unchanged and even the sometimes shaky dialogue is all still there, for better or for worse. This article will try to look at 3 of the great design decisions they made to really help amplify this game into a true horror experience and how game designers could learn from these features.

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Microcosm Twitter Bot

I set a goal for #30DayDev January to create a Twitter bot, there weren’t many requirements beyond that it had to retweet people using the hashtag. I can say that after the first week of January I have achieved that goal and released DevMicrocosm into the wild. It followed my rough plan for the project, using Python and Tweepy. This combination of language and library reaffirmed my expectation that it would be quick to develop and deploy.

Due to the Python being able to test commands directly in the terminal, it led to some fantastic opportunities to rapidly prototype some ideas, one of these was to use fully fledged configurations for multiple hashtags. This means that there is no need to redeploy the application every time you want to update what hashtags are being retweeted, you can simply change the config file and the next time the python file is run it’ll use the updated settings.

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#30DayDev January

Sometime during 2016, I helped my friend Liam Twose found the hashtag #30DayDev and push it to become of the most widely used game development hashtags on Twitter with a huge number of people actively taking part and even more people seeing the content being developed by the hashtags ever-increasing reach. However, throughout 2017 activity wained as algorithms on hashtags were changed and focus was directed elsewhere into other endeavours. We decided it would be a good thing for the game development community at large to try and revive the hashtag going into the new year and this is what this post will cover, my plan of action for the first #30DayDev of 2018.

This month will be the first month I’ve gone into with a solid plan of how to tackle #30DayDev pretty much since its inception. I’m not solely focusing on game development this month with some time being dedicated to trying to help revive the hashtag as well. I’m essentially splitting my 30 days into 3 tasks; Twitter Bot, Super Blasty Blasty V2 and knowledge sharing. Between these 3 tasks, I think I should be able to learn a fair few new things as well as produce some quality content.

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