Archive for February, 2006

And the Project, Part 3

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

And the legend continues.

I\'m thinking of something round Yes you are... or so *you* think.

Now, a spider would make a rather cool game character. Especially in a game about swinging. So I toyed with some designs, keeping in mind a sphere’ish geometric character, as shown in the collision diagram above. The following are some results of that early concept work.

Err, okay. That could work... err.

My, what a big head you have!

OMG LOLZ! Yes, I am a private investigator.

And a new one for good measure.

Bluh! I\'m going to suck!!.. your bluud!

But despite the abundance of designs, I was running into a sort of dilemma coming up with some easy ways to make the character functional. Continued in part 4.

And the Project, Part 2

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

And now, part 2. This part I’ll call…

Spiderphobia

(versus the more correct Arachnophobia. Correctness is wrong)

Spiders, spiders, and more spiders. So the game concept I decided to toy with is one I like to call “The Spider”. The concept itself is most similar to the rope platformer Umihara Kawase, a slick game a former employee introduced me to (thanks Gary). In indie land, the closest similar game to that would be Wik. Unlike these games, “The Spider” concept is one more about staying elevated, and not touching the ground. With that, you move around in the game with multiple ropes.

So with that in mind, I started hacking together a control prototype with the new PuffBOMB engine, and some interesting things came out of it.

Round and Experimentation

At first I started experimenting with having the scenery act extremely sticky, and created a dense several sphere surrounded sphere character. Dropping them on a sloped surface, despite it’s stickyness, made these nice squishy objects that rolled smoothly down hills. Gish like, almost. Then within a couple minutes of work, I made this in to a control scheme.

At this point, I brought my brother on to the project. For him, he was looking for a job, and I was realizing that I was going to need help to get this project done any time soon. So after some discussion and fast food bribery, I had myself an assistant.

The game’s rendering code at this time was using plain old 2D Allegro, and with enough objects being drawn at the same time, it was starting to show. So our first order of business was to port the graphics code over to AllegroGL (OpenGL, with Allegro handling input, audio, and all non graphic things). After that was out of the way, Richard was on the task of setting things up so we could build static level content in Blender. So, an exporter and bare bones renderer later, we had 3D scenery in a 2D game.

Early 3D Scenery, and rope work

I continued with some rope experiments. The first being an awful stick to an old position scheme. As a useful game mechanic, not a chance. The only plus about this one was it could nicely show off wrapping ropes around scenery, by sticking yourself and walking off an edge.

The next variation was the more expected and actually decent one, ballistics. Aim and shoot. A shot flies out, and sticks to the scenery. Nice.

Evolved Rope Action

With this in there, things controlled great. With an analog stick to aim, things flowed. And with two ropes to support you, you could make some really fantastic and smooth moves around a map.

Two are better than One

So yes, ropes are a go. At this point, the game seems to move and flow like a Wik with two tongues. Being a bit of an artist, my next big concern was how the character would look.

Artistically, and given how I’d like it to control, the spider as a character has it’s problems. So, after a short debate, the spider game character was ditched. However, since the control scheme it still vaguely spider like, we’ve kept “The Spider” name as our working title, until we have a final name. Now, what the character has become… in part 3.

And the Project, Part 1

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

And now, what’s been going on.

Lovely critters, arent they?

As mentioned previously, things started out as my long overdue PuffBOMB remake. So, a physics engine was built, based on what I’d learned from various tech demo’s (which I’ll post at a later date). And it did cool stuff.

Hamsters and balloons perhaps?

Good ‘ol verlet physics action. What you can see above is “characters” composed of spheres (circles), connected by springs. Cool stuff. The 3 circle thang is a potential collision model for the PuffBOMB hamster, and the Balloon like thing is exactly that. So, there’s a bunch of fun static collision for them to whack in to, as well as each other.

And not to be out done, some moving stackable polygons as well.

Mostly stackable

Their collision is still a tad buggy at the moment, and I neglected to take a better shot than this, but I’ll be back on that soon.

At this point, I got thinking how I should be able to make a fine enough game with the sphere cluster objects above and static collision, so I continued on.

With the 360 launch on the horizon, I’d been feeling the inspiration to pull together something for Xbox Live Arcade. The only problem, is PuffBOMB as a game in my opinion doesn’t really suit a gamepad. After a bunch of reflection and all that, I made the tough decision to put the remake *back* on hold, and to dig in to my bin of game concepts I’d like to make. This time, one that’d take advantage of a gamepad.

So what happened? This post has grown quite image intensive, so I’m cutting it off right here. Let the tags be your tease. Stay tuned for part 2.

Google knows…

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

One way to know if you’re established on the net.

Google Knows...

I can’t even remember what it used to recommend instead of Sykhronics, but I’m glad to have finally made an impact. Woo. :D

Welcome to Sykoland

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Makes you think... or not.And here we are. Hopefully, it’s the start of a more regular practice. You’ve probably read the brief Manifesto to the right. This was written some 9 months ago. And now, since things are a tad more orderly, it’s time to expand on that.

Sykhronics, pronounced “psi-cron-icks”. A branding of Mike Kasprzak’s independent game works. Established in 1998, replacing my older branding Gamma Flare Games. After bouncing around the gracious hosting of a few friends, I acquired the “dot com” in 2000. Sykhronics served my purposes as a portfolio site to nab me a job in the game industry, and did so in late 1999.

After some time at Sandbox Studios, who was later bought by Digital Illusions, then leaving to help a friend establish Big Blue Bubble in 2004, mid 2005 seemed like the right time to get started on my own thang. I used to joke about “retiring” at 25. In a way, I did.

Sykhronics Entertainment. Still a branding, but now also a legal Canadian company. A sole proprietorship owned and operated by Mike Kasprzak, registered in late 2005. Fancy biz license and everything.

Wow, all professional like.

Check out that slick $4 Walmart frame. Now that’s professionalism at it’s finest.

The big plan behind Sykhronics Entertainment is different than what I’ve done in the past. Rather than the big studio atmosphere, with dozens of team members and projects, it’s more simple. An independent game developer, small and collaborative, in many ways similar to the crew behind a collaborative music project, or an indie comic. So while the team may dramatically change from project to project, when I’m in a significant role, you’ll see Sykhronics brandings.

What started as a remake of PuffBOMB, a small team is currently working on the untitled debut game for Sykhronics Entertainment. The current collaborators are:

Mike Kasprzak of course, being the founder with significant programming roles on 8 published titles for Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance and Playstation out there. And also, a hit freeware game PuffBOMB, that may have encouraged this whole prospect of actually pulling something like this off. Currently doing code and art, and other tasks to be determined.

Richard Kasprzak, yes, Mike’s younger brother. He’s previously worked on a few mobile phone games, and worked with Mike way back when on several released and unreleased Gamma Flare Games projects. Currently doing code and tools, and other tasks to be determined.

Currently, we’re operating as indie as you can get, from my parents basement. I did a fine job building and furnishing my studio here during my time working for others, so it’d be a shame not to use it. ;)

And that’s Sykhronics today. Next up, the project.

Alright chums, lets do this…

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

It\'s just crazy enough to workFebruary the 1st. I’m mere minutes away from missing this chance to post and make the first of this month, yet I prevail. Ha ha!

Hopefully, I’m finally getting my act together. We’re already a month in to 2006, and really I haven’t had much to show. It seems I’ve been in a less than ideal situation up until recently. It’s resolution was equally as not so idealistic, so excuse me as I be vague, until the day we all look back and laugh about it. Har har. And as much as I *love* big vaporware plans, I plan not to be one. So here we are, starting the month out right.

I’m in the middle of writing up a little introduction as to what is going on around here in Sykoland. So yes, in fact, I’m just delaying you with insightful commentary as I type amazing things, and better grasp what’s really going on. Boy do I have some fly tales of developin’ to be’all tellin’ youz ’bout soon. Yee!

Last waste post, I promise. ;)