Saturday, February 28, 2009


I decided I want to do something other than just games, but also something will help mAdd Imagee achieve my goals.
So, in beforehand here's the list of things I want to achieve in my life:
-work at valve
-work at/for Pixar
-get a first job
-get married and have at least one son and one daughter
-Make the greatest game ever (or at least a game that will win the Game of the Year award)
...and finally after I've had my fun being awesome:
-Become a teacher at a good university, and pass on my knowledge to other people, helping them to get even better than I was.
-Die for someone I love (the last one preferably at the end >. < )

7 things to do before I die, not a big list but not easy as well. If there's ever an advice I can give to someone it is this: Create goals for your life. Even if you don't accomplish them you'll go farther than if you had none.

So in the meantime I plan on creating few things on my own that will help me in the future.
It's not a secret so I'll share it with you:
Let's start with something small
that's not so bad! And yet it will help me learning Quaternions which I'll need later!

Ok, now something more ambitious!
Now that's more like it! I'll still have to create a program to create the models, which although not listed, is still part of this project.

Ok, this one's a real leap forwards
It's starting to get interesting! especially 8 and 10, which are also a part of the next project:

Now THAT's advanced. It will be the first time I'll attempt making something this complex. By the time I'll start that project I'm hoping to have a model editor ready, and a working basic animation editor. it's gonna be quite difficult to create those 4, but it'll be worth it, because if I do them, that'll mean I'm prepared for the future, and have done a good share of work to prove it, and to show my potential employers.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I'll be posting updates on this blog as I work through these projects.

Projects update

Okay, I decided to update this blog because it has fallen into forgetfulness recently.

First of all I'm pausing my 48 hour game project. The reason? I still don't have a collision system ready. My biggest problem I keep running into is how do I incorporate collisions into the game entities like players, projectiles or triggers?
I think I have a solution for this, so I'm currently changing the collision management code to fix it.

TTL2 (and a little life ramblings): nothing to report, I'm kind of depressed now since my dad has lost his job and now it's up to me to get one as soon as possible, but I still have to get my scholarship at the UNI to pay for the first semester, and I have to get documents for my dad, since he'll be trying to enter a orchestra here in Portugal. (but even if he starts working again it will NOT be his dream job, and the payment would be 550 Euro max).

Drawings: Hm... the funny thing about this blog is that the actual "art" section is never updated.... and apparently I'm not going to change that soon.

Life ramblings: see TTL2 paragraph.

The new TF2 update is out since Wednesday, it's cool running around with the new weapons. it's even cooler to pick up a baseball and knock someone out from 50 meters away, and enjoy the sight as he's being ripped to shreds by your teammates. Also the spy is updated... now I'm feeling kind of neutral about this one... You have the incredibly quick backstab, and now you can see the enemy stats when you're disguised, which is all awesome, but at the same time valve wrecked the backstabbing.... seriously, I remember even before the first backstab "fix" came out, it was great, you could run around backstabbing everyone. You still had a very hard time getting behind enemy lines, but once there, you were sure you could get some well deserved kills especially on those damn cowardly snipers. Then valve fixed the backstab and so the backstab range, and angle tolerance have gotten smaller. Over time we got used to it. Couple of updates later (I mean now), you are lucky you'll backstab a heavy standing right in font of you!!! he's got the biggest back, and your backstabs don't count because you are slightly to the left! So what if he's facing away from you, you're right behind him, the right backstab animation plays, he's not moving, and you hear the "tcht" which means you hit him? You're still not in those 2.5 degrees that MAKE FOR HIS FRIKKIN BACK.
So I sent a mail to Valve, hoping they'll read it in about 5 years, and fix the bug.
Oh, by the way, you can't backstab snipers that are close to wall either. Which means all that trouble that you have to go through getting near that sniper is wasted. Of course it's a lot less trouble getting behind the enemy lines now that you can see their stats, and you can recharge the cloak with ammo, so that's why I don't wine about it anymore.

eh... I don't have much more to say here... wait! I got!
Randy Pausch: it... it's very good

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Forest Cancelled

Yeah, that's pretty much it. I went to and went up to the IRC channel, and in the chat they asked me if the game was even fun..... no it isn't. They've helped me to reach a definitive decision, and abandon this project.
At least I've learned a few things from this:
First set the gameplay mechanics, only then think about the game itself
Don't do the graphics, and don't even think about them before you finish the mechanics.
If it's boring to play, just leave it, it's not worth it, if it's just annoying, but not boring, then there still might be hope to make it better from player input.
Everything has to be interconnected in a certain way. But at the same time robust. The game engine must work as a whole.

An a secondary note: my dad has lost his job, and he couldn't get into any new one, which means we'll have to go back to Poland because he can't sustain us here. (I just received the message as I was writing this post).
Eh.... I really would prefer to stay in cozy Portugal...

I guess this is all for now...

Sunday, February 22, 2009


yeah.... the title pretty much explains my condition now =_=
not as bad as when I don't have time, not as good when I have time, but want to do something....
I've got 5 free days, and I can't get myself to do ANYTHING!
It's not programmers block, it's not artistic block, it's frikkin LIMBO, and I can't do anything about it. As soon as I start doing anything purposeful I get distracted easier than a dog passing through a meat shop.
I never have JUST enough time!!! I either have too little, and I can't DO anything, or I have too much, and I get into the damn limbo mode!
Damn procanistration...
well... I'll maybe update this blog later when I've got some actual news.
See ya!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Forest 18 Hours Update

Hi again!
I'm happy to announce that I've achieved the Milestone I've set for myself in the last update.
In this demo/Alpha release you can see some of the tech I've promissed:
1-Layered display. It's a 2D Game in a 3D World. You have background layer, Player layer, Monster layer and foreground layer. doing it in layers allows me not to worry about Alpha blending depth related problems, and I can have everything organized.
2-One enemy, although he doesn't do much... he's just standing there... maybe he's tired?
Okay, I admit, you can't interact with him, but that's because I still haven't completed the 2D collisions engine.
3-All the entities in the game already have a loadFrom() function which allows every entity to be loaded from a file after creation. But the loading function still isn't implemented.

As promised, you can download the demo here

simply extract it to a separate folder and run ElPoho.exe
You can't do much, but still I wanted to show you my progress :3
I'll maybe update the TTL section this week, I'm gonna start making the Antlion Guard model when I get the time.

So, without further ado I'm saying farewell!

Next "The Forest" milestone/update:
-Finish the 2D collisions and implement them in the game
-basic AI for the enemies
-another enemy
-Level and Config loading (so far everything has been hardcoded).
And I guess that's it.

ps: in case you didn't notice that "here" was a link.
here's another one:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Forest

So, as promised I'm posting an update on how the game is coming along.
After a rough 12 hours of developing it, the player can now walk, jump, and change shape.
it's not much, but I spent most of that time trying to create a particle system for it, which sadly didn't work, mainly because the system I wrote earlier was written for a 3D camera, and here the camera is facing only in one direction. I don't know why it doesn't work, it should since in another project I did it worked perfectly. Never mind that, another most of the time was spent on drawings, and not on actually making them as on choosing the style, and the details.
Here's the promo poster:
The game is about a soul, trapped in a mysterious forest (I know, it's so cliche it's sad). Something in the forest is changing all the animals into monsters, you don't know what it is, but you know that you must stop it. As you step deeper into the forest you notice that you've been split in half. Good and Evil. As white/good, you cannot harm enemies, but you can transform them back to their original forms, which means you'll have to outsmart them and lure them into the healing portals. As red/evil, you can kill the enemies, be it directly with claws, or by setting up traps.
So what does this gives to player?
Different games.
For Poyo Adventure, I plan on creating something I call a Story Tree. Even if the game is pretty linear itself, your actions define which path you'll take, and therefore even different storylines can be created.
I don't want to spoil too much, but I plan to make some of the enemies vital in a certain way. depending on which enemies you save, and which you'll kill you may be opening a new path and closing another, that way you can play the same game, and reach two different, even completely unrelated endings. You'll be playing through levels you haven't even seen before, or thought of when you played the first time.

Now for the technical stuff.
It's a 2D side scrolling game. I don't know in which genre it would fit because that'll depend on how the player plays. The player will be able to avoid most of the enemies, like in a standard platformer, outsmart them, fight them directly, or place traps in appropriate places.
But here's the thing: Even though it's 2D side scrolling game, I plan on using the 3D space.
here's a basic level layout:
As you can see even though the graphics and all the action is happening in 2D, the world itself will be 3 Dimensional, allowing that way to create layers. In here we have 4 basic layers.
1-The ground/platforms, it's normal always perpendicular to the camera normal, it'll represent the space on which the player will be able to stand on.
2-the background, here you can see the trees, but it can contain more layers, that are further away from the camera.
3-the player and enemy layer, that's where all the action will take place that can actually affect the player.
4- the foreground, bushes, grass, and anything else that doesn't obstructs the view too much, but adds to the view.

Of course all the layers will follow a set of rules.
Background and foreground layers will mostly be gray, and have lower resolution images to fake depth of field. They cannot create visual clutter, but at the same time must set the right mood.
Gameplay layer will use either brighter tones, or Red. Yes, I plan on making the whole game in shades of gray and red, by that I can not only maintain visual cleanliness, but also make the separate parts of the gameplay stand out. For example, enemies are red, cleansed ones are white. The player itself will be white or red, depending on his stance.

Engine Features:
2D collisions using 2D static models (no rotation, and no flexible models so far) for collision detection.
Loadable maps.
Out of screen testing, AKA if it's not on the screen, don't draw it.
Basic AI.

Art Direction:
The objects will be drawings made in photoshop using my Wacom Tablet, they'll have rough, sketchy edges, and overflowing colour.
Here are some of them I've done so far:

Some player poses:
And some plants:
The plants will be a bit darker in the game.

In general what I'm looking for the mood is abandonment, alienation and mystery.

Music: far I've got no idea if I'll add any sounds at all, since I don't know how to use any music software, nor I have any instruments I can play on (I can play piano, but I don't have one, and my dad took my keyboard to Poland).
But I would gladly accept help from anyone that has experience in making music. Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to pay though.... and it kinda would ruin the game being developed by one person idea.

Final note:
I don't expect that I finish this game on time, there's still a long way to go, and only 35 hours allowed left.
Next time I update on the development I should have a small demo ready, with a test level which should contain the layered display, one enemy, and the ability to interact with it. Still, I don't suppose the level loading will be ready, nor the AI will be active. I'll post the demo here when that time comes.

That's enough for today, I gotta go sleep.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One week, One game...

...or at least something similar. I noticed that my programming vibe has been going downhill since the start of the year, and I wasn't able to do a single thing about it.
So after reading a while, browsing and thinking, I decided to start a small project on my own:
For a month, I'll make one game every week, a week being 47 working hours.
I'll have to make a game, from start to finish, in those 47 hours.
I'll try finishing one game per actual week, but since I've got classes, and most of my free time I'm spending in university (most of my free time is between classes and I live 20 KM from uni), it'll mean that it'll take around one and a half week for each game. I might post one game earlier than another but meh.... I'll see.
My hopes for this project are to create one noteworthy game that'll be fun to play, to get better at programming and game making in particular, I'm especially interested in creating a better game engine, and improving my development pipeline. All my games will be bowered by the same API/Game Engine El_Poho, Yes, I know the name sucks, and I especially know what Raiki thinks about it, well deal with it! I got used to that name, and even came to like it in my own way so I'll stick with it.
Basically what it gives me is this:
input/Event API->SDL
Graphic API->SDL+OpenGL for 3D
States API->my own creation
Particle Engine->my own creation

So it's more like a wrapper forADL and openGL than an actual game engine, but I plan on expanding it in the future. So far I plan:
-Map support
-Model support
-Sounds with openAL
-Config loading and saving
-Command line
-3D model based collisions
-2D model based collisions

Well... that's all for now.
I'll come back today afternoon to show you how is my first 7 day game coming along, with 12 hours of development.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TTL update

Ok. since my friend Raiki will probably kill me if I don't show any interest in TTL, and kill me even more if we don't finish it this month, I'll be posting updates on the TTL development here. (As a co-creator of TTL I think I can do updates without his permission, but I'll still have to talk with him).
So far the entire 1/3 of the "Two Thirds Life" is done.... um... no, I don't mean half , I really mean 1/3.
This means that all the chapters up to the Black Mesa East are ready, and all that's left are some minor enhancements, and fixes we'll do after I finish the models for the movie.
Ok, since we've been delaying endlessly the release of TTL I feel obliged to give you some screens from the movie, but since I'm only in charge of the models I can only post those models here.
ok, so Here are three of them:
Barnacle:the first model I did for TTL a very long time ago.
Ichty: The element of surprise *gasp* :O

Antlion: horribly difficult to animate,I'll make a simpler model to use when he's further away from the camera.

On a side note these models have outlines which will be erased in the final stage of making TTL.

That's all for now! Check out my blog tomorrow, I'm planning to put on another update when I get back from UNI. I'll talk about a new game Idea I have, and already started working on it.

PS: I hate blogger for their stupid super narrow writing space. I've got like 400 unused pixels to the left and right!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Programming and stuff

Okay, Lately I've been programming more than usual (which means I've been programming at all). Funny thing is: I normally do things I shouldn't.
When I have to program (like on programming classes) I don't, I do something completely irrelevant. Now, that I should be making stuff for Two Thirds Life, which is finished in it's 80%, lacking only models and SFX which I am responsible for, I'm programming!
I must find a way to make me want to work on the models again... I mean... I want to, but some higher force is stopping me from it every time I walk to the pc to do some serious modeling and animations. Probably the fact that I'm this houses errand boy doesn't helps either. Any thing that has to be done, be it from cutting wood to burn, to getting the papers for the car or from my father's work it's me that has to do this... Yeah.. the elder sons have it rough...
But anyway. My finals are finished!!! I have whole 3 days of vacation....left..... SHIIITTTT.
I hate university more than I hated school =_=
Not only I have more responsibilities as the elder son, I also have more work to do but I have to STUDY!! Can you believe that? I've ran through the entire school almost without studying, only before finals, and now I have to study almost every day when I have classes.... I should have gone to an art class, at least that's a couple hundred formulas less...

I started modding HL2 it's pretty fun watching the effects of your work (YES! I can finally kill allies!! HAHA!). But I also learned a good handful of things I plan to bring to my own engine. i've ran into a couple of problems with my GUI system earlier and I had to scrap the whole Frames, windows and Layout Managers section. I have no Idea what was wrong with all that but meh... I'll make another one later. Right now I must focus on making the game engine a game engine, so far it's just a graphic and input/output engine.

I've made new concept art for my game few days ago:

It's a Jumper. A spider-looking biomechanic (it means it's been a biologic creature but was enhanced with technology). You'll be either fighting these or alongside these. I can't say much more because:
a) I don't want to spoil
b) I still haven't figured out the complete story and pacing, only general things.

I have two more concepts here, first it's the Poyo Adventure logo:

And If I ever make a game company (even if it's just two people) This will be it's logo:

Yup, "Cat in a Box Studio" will be the name of my yet inexistent Game Studio.
I came up with the logo on my math class (I think), I remembered one those cardboard boxes and I decided to draw one to see if I could get it right... and then I decided to stick a face on it for some reason. The face is from a cat I sometimes draw:

Ok that's all for now.
See you later!