May 05 2010

XNA Development Continues

Published by at 8:33 pm
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Game development on our new XNA Xbox 360 game has continued in recent weeks. We’ve been getting together after work on Wednesdays so that’s at least a dedicated day for development and whenever we have spare time in the evening during the week. We also of course brainstorm at lunch about it. So far we’ve re-assembled the team again and it’s got some good steam.

Victor Laurence aka “CyberVic” – Executive Producer / Lead Developer
Victor Hermenzie aka “Voctor” – Executive Creative Director
Kerin Dimeler-Laurence aka “PDXYarnHo” – 2D Vector Artist
Dave aka “DaveUK” – Soundtrack
Robin aka “Hat the Red”- Writer
Aric aka “Baldun” – Developer

Voctor is working on the Game Design Document and doing quite well. He already has all the skills laid out for the classes (something like 144 unique skills) and built out the 3 tech trees for each class in diagram form. I’ve been doing well development wise. Taken the game from a simple fly around and shoot other player ships game to a game where there is dynamic random “spawning’ asteroids that are destructible, enemy ships spawning and attacking nearest player ships with basic fly strait at you attack AI, a shield and hull indicator on the HUD, a current target name/shield/hull indicator on the hud, an experience system, a skill system with togglable active skill with cooldown indicated on the HUD, and finally a reworking of the basic flight / shooting engine with a speed boost system for player ships.

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Feb 18 2010

Leadership

Every once and a while I like to reflect on what I enjoy most about what I do. It’s kind of interesting to look through all of my experiences, previous self reflections, and currently where I am in my life, career, etc. Most of all I think about my experiences and which of those experiences I get the most fulfillment from, whether they are technical, managerial, or leadership oriented. Of all of my experiences in both personal and professional, I think that I enjoy any kind of managerial / leadership position where I’m helping a team build and perform. Mostly, I love supporting others.

Leading a strike team of developers on CPWeb over a 6 month process to resolve security flaws in a decade old web product. My time as an alpha medic, representing the players of Tabula Rasa, communicating to the developers on how they could improve the class. My experiences as a Admin / Developer / GM of Obsidian, helping shape a world for other players to enjoy. The ongoing saga of and all that guild has meant to me, leading a community of players who have like minded, respectful, play style. My attempts to start a leadership resource website for MMO leaders, giving them resources to learn how to be better leaders and write articles on leadership styles and techniques and my conversation with John Kotter about the idea and his support of the concept. All the volunteer work I’ve done to help small business, organizing volunteer efforts for work, and helping provide feedback to how we can improve our respect for remote colleges in a globalized corporation. My time as a manager of software development, both improving my product, managing a small team of developers, and all while making vast improvements to the product and customer delight. My attempts at leading an independent game studio to develop an XBox 360 title with a team of people spanning the globe from the UK, to the east and west coast of the US. If you really want to boil it down, my role as a healer in an MMO is because I enjoy being in that supportive role, helping others succeed.

All of these accomplishments I’m deeply proud of. All of these accomplishments have a central theme: they involve leadership and supporting others.

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Mar 08 2009

XNA Project team gathered

Published by at 2:42 pm
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1 director / coder, 2 additional coders, 1 story writer, 2 artists, 1 musician, and 4 testers / contributors

Sent out a big email today to everyone who has shown interest in being part of the game. Of all the people I hope is still onboard is DaveUK, the musician. He was on board before and helped write a few pieces of music and I think is a must have. I did some research today on XBox Live to see what kind of competition we have out there for inde JRPG games and there was nothing. In fact the whole Role Playing category is empty beside a side scroller action RPG and a game which is an all out scam. Hopefully we can develop this thing in our spare time and make some decent cash off of it. Talked with Robin, the story writer and we talked about putting up a project website somewhere to ensure continuous collaboration on the project. At some point too, I need to figure out how we’re going to break up the ownership of the IP, whether we all will own it or just Kerrie and I will under an assumed publishing company and then pay the team appropriately if/when we make money. I’m not really sure how it will go down, but it’s things to think of up front to make sure that we’re protected if this thing takes off.

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Mar 07 2009

The Long Ride Home

Published by at 11:21 pm
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Jersey shore, lighthouse, tradition, huge Philly airport, nice flight to MSP, nice Minniapolis airport, long flight to Portland, XNA brainstorming, drunk / meth head on the plane, getting home thanks to Dad, resting.

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Mar 01 2009

XNA Studio 3.0

Published by at 10:22 pm
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So apprently I’m a little behind the times (and busy as usual), but XNA studio 3.0 has been out for a while and on top of that they’ve ported and improved the RPG starter kit to XNA studio 3.0. One of the reasons I lost steam last time I tried to start up a game development project was because XNA was still in version 1.0, publishing games was still stupid complicated, and there wasn’t any good starter engines for creating RPG’s. So with XNA studio 3.0 and the RPG starter kit, I already have a great base engine for jumping in and making a great JRPG style game. Obviously I would take the engine and make a lot of tweaks to it, but it would be a fantastic starting point: http://creators.xna.com/en-US/starterki … layinggame . Also there are a lot of fantastic tools now to help build game maps, collision maps, and animation maps from sprites: http://xnafantasy.wordpress.com.

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Oct 19 2007

An interview with a gamer

An interview that Kevin Flick of Microsoft (aka Fhearl of HILYMI), conducted with me a few weeks back. He’s going to conduct a series of interviews with gamers for his blog with the sneaky and underhanded goal of helping to demonstrate that gaming is just like any other hobby we may engage in. The interview of me was the first of the series of interviews. He’s not to great with post production work, but it’s a greater interview. http://blogs.technet.com/immerse/archive/2007/10/19/gamer-interview-1-victor-f-laurence-aka-livistos-aka-soriathus.aspx

The interview itself covers my history in gaming and about half of it covers my leadership of the guild Hit it like you mean it. We really went into a lot of high level philosophical stuff in there and really put somethings I do for the guild in perspective. Sometimes I’m too humble about all the work I do.

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Aug 31 2007

What came of Bioshock & PAX 2007?

Published by at 9:20 am
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Brain juices flowing, that’s what!

After succefully surviving another session at DeVry with all A’s while going to PAX during final’s week and being inundated into gaming culture in a way I never have before, I’ve decided along with Vitor, Chindako, DaveUK, Kerrie, and Mike to make a game. I’ve got a good team pulled together, I’ve setup the project management resources, and *GASP* I bought a top of the line laptop for school and development. Vitor has a unique combat system in mind. Brian has the brains and contacts to work out a good story and get us published. DaveUK has unique sound. Kerrie has unqiue art. Mike is going to help with coding and focus testing. I have the project management skills to pull it all together (along with coding). We’ve got a game in mind and if it takes us 2 years to get it out of the door so be it, but we’re going to make a really awesome game.

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Feb 13 2007

Reading

Published by at 11:30 pm
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Did some more reading on the Garage Games Forums on Inde development and the industry as a whole. It’s kinda of neat because they have a whole section on “Game in a Day” which is dedicated to games people have written in a day. Makes me think of what kind of GID’s I want to develop to showcase my skills. I dunno, I think I might be more interested in coding some adventure game. It might take longer to code, but something longer term, something DND style. Something that takes me back to the 286 days of DND dungeons that were all about the adventure not the graphics. My brain is so filled with ideas I could sit back all day and just run the code through my head and not code anything at all and still feel like I’ve been productive. I think I might want to start putting my ideas on paper.

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Feb 12 2007

Finding one’s purpose

Today someone told me that instead of finding one’s purpose to figure out what you need to be doing find the purpose in what you’re doing, and if you can’t find the purpose then you’re not doing the right thing. So with that in mind, I went through a little exercise…

1. Ask Yourself “Who Am I?”

I’m a creator. In everything I’ve ever done my greatest joy comes from the creation of something. Whether it’s creating music, art, code, applications, communities, guilds, I’m a creator. I love creating something that changes people’s lives, either at work or at play.

2. Ask Yourself “What Do I Love To Do?”

Code. I’m a coder. Regardless of what I’ve done I’ve always looked for a software solution to make it even better. I strive on the creation through code or in some cases implementing other people’s code.

3. Ask Yourself “What Experiences In Life Were Really Fulfilling For Me?”

A. Creating Progressive Fitness’ software B. Creating Obsidian C. Creating HILYMI. To my knowledge the software I made over 8 years ago still to this day runs the business Progressive Fitness. Having created something that is running a business and changing lives is so fulfilling. The act of creating Obsidian was a very large process of not just creating a world, but a unique concept of a world (though based on UO), scripting monsters, loot tables, balancing economies, and launching that world and watching it grow. Creating HILYMI has been a large undertaking and continues to be a struggle but every small achievement is fulfilling in it’s own way as I see the guild grow and become a more cohesive community of friends/players.

4. Ask Yourself “What Is My Purpose In Life?”

I think I’m meant to be a game developer or a developer of some piece of software that changes people’s lives. I’m destined to be part of something big, something important. I’ve never failed in creating something I put my mind to. Maybe due to elements outside of my control I created something that didn’t succeed in the end, but I’ve always followed through with something even if I didn’t have the know-how before going into the project.

5. Ask Yourself “What Am I Afraid Of?”

What does this change mean to the long term affect on my life. Am I going to have to move? How is it going to affect my social life, my family life, my overall view and plans of the future? I do always have the nagging sensation in my mind, “can I do it”, but I need to remind myself I’ve never failed at something I put my mind to. Is all of this change worth it in the end and worth the sacrifice of the changes to my life and goals?

6. Ask Yourself “Who Can I Tell?”

I can tell anyone. My life is an open book. Can I tell my boss, I kind of did today which was weird and uncomfortable, but it is what it is. I can and have told my friends and family, of whom all are supportive.

7. Ask Yourself “How Do I Put My Purpose In Place?”

I’m going to start fulfilling my destiny. I’m going to school again at one of the top 5 colleges for game programming. I’ve got connection in my guild who can give me industry contacts and I can start building a network and networking with people in the industry and getting myself known. I plan on writing some sample games showing off my skills.

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Feb 06 2007

Game Development Day #5

Published by at 10:22 pm
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And thus end the overall functionality of the game is done. It’s actually a playable game now and if I must stay it’s got a decent difficult to it. I need to work on some of my code and make sure I’m not doing anything that’s memory intensive. It seems like it gets a little choppy at times but that might be because of the debugger. Overall I’m pretty pleased and looking forward to a few days off. When I pick it up next I’ll work on jumping code.

– Added HitBoxes to Megaman, Shots, and Eyeballs
– Added Collision code for hitboxes
– Killed eyeball on collision with bullet or Megaman
– Incremented kill count on bullet/eyeball collision
– Decreased life on eyeball/Megaman collision
– Paused music when pausing the game
– Corrected music looping bug
– Added a “score” system
– Killing an eyeball is 1 point, killing when it is attacking 5 points
– Added code so every so many kills of eyeballs you get a bonus life
– Added a survival timer and survival bonus
– If you don’t take damage for survival time, you get bonus
– Added “Bonus In” message at the top of the screen
– Converted all times from using GameLoop int increments to GameTime float values in seconds. That way timers can be in exact seconds
– Fixed “Bonus In” message to display in whole seconds till bonus
– Added “Game Over” message
– Added game reset code when starting again after a game over
– Added an increasing difficulty scale
– Added Level counter, goes up in level every time you survive for 30 seconds
– Tweaked the LevelUp scale and overall difficulty

Next on the todo list:
– Added jump animation
– Added jump physics & reaction to the A button
– Added jump shooting animation
– Added jump shoot code

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