Category: Games

Hyperkinetic Studios

Collective Mass Radio #16: Rich Bisso of Hyperkinetic Studios

As always, check out the rest of the blog as well as the other Collective Mass Radio podcasts on the site. A huge shout out to Rich Bisso and Hyperkinetic Studios for taking the time to talk to me and check out their work at http://www.hyperkineticstudios.com. Rich has been an avid supporter of the game creators community since I met him. He has always been super friendly and helpful to all who cross his path and consistently throws the best GDC parties ever!

 




Notespace Beat

Notespace, the incredible journey!

As many of you know, I have been working with Alexis Brandow, who is owner of Amorse Inc. on a great product, called Notespace Beat. Notespace is an interactive musical activity book for kids. Its a very different vision for mobile and its jammed full of content. Its first a storybook, with each page being its own interactive puzzle packed with unique little experiences. Secondly, its a bunch of mini games, all of them different. The experience revolves around musical concepts, some of them classical like scale and intonation and some, not so classical like LFO waves. Thirdly, Notespace is virtual instruments. Currently it has a mix machine and a synth with 40+ different synth instruments. Like I said, jam packed full of content. The game also sports a musical album, by musical artist Bosko, that the players can win and download. The album is pretty dope just as a stand alone but he worked with us through out the project, adding touches here and tracks there.

The first thing we knew going in to this is that it would be a tough sell. Its a tablet only game on musical concepts with the main protagonists being non stereotypical female roles… not quite the game selling formula everyone is used to. We weren’t trying to make any kind of statement on gender but Alexis did want female role models that weren’t a-typical. She didn’t want super girly girls and she didn’t want its antithesis, super tom boy tomb raiders. She wanted roll models…




Kindle Fire HDX and Unity

Unity and the Kindle Fire HDX… a Christmas story!

As most of you know, I have been working on my wife’s game, Notespace, for the last year. It has been an epic adventure filled with joy and peril but treacherous waters of publishing on Android. You can avoid a lot of the problems by publishing multiple builds per texture compression but every now and then you get those sharp rocks that come out of no where. And that, for me, was the mysterious crashing on Kindle Fire HDX devices.

Now before I move on, for those that don’t already know, Android devices use an array of GPU’s where as iOS devices only use one (Power VR). This generally does not affect you in anyway except when it comes to texture compression that has alpha. Unity’s default Android compression setting is ETC 1/ RGBA16. What that means is that it will compress power of 2 textures with no alpha as ETC 1 (an older OpenGL format) and will set compressed textures with alpha to RGBA 16. On average, RGBA16 will be at least double the size as your compressed texture so it has the ability of sending your GPU memory usage over the edge. That being said, I have not actually seen that happen on a device but that kinda means nothing on Android with a gazillion devices on the market. Whats more important is that 16 bit textures can look really bad, especially if you have a lot of gradient work. So there is 2 ways around it. 1) Build a custom shader for your compressed images with alpha…




Collective Mass Radio #14: Camouflaj

As always, check out the rest of the blog as well as the other Collective Mass Radio podcasts on the site. Big thank you to the guys from Camouflaj for taking the time. Hopefully we will be able to do a better recording in the studio sometime. Make sure to check out their truly jaw dropping game, République and to support them on every social media channel you can get your hands on. You can find them on twitter at @Camouflaj and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CamouflajLLC. You can find their game, République, on the iOS App Store or Google Play. They just made it onto Amazon App Store too! (Read the article)

 




Collective Mass Radio #12

As always, check out the rest of the blog as well as the other Collective Mass Radio podcasts on the site. Huge thank you to the guys from Fract OSC for a great chat, it was really good to hear about both the ups and the downs. I hope that other indie game devs will hear your comment about scope and designing around technical limitations. Go visit the Fract site and buy the game NOW! It is a great experience with stunning shader work! Follow Fract on twitter at @FRACTgame, Richard at @phosfiend and Henk at @henkboom.




Collective Mass Radio #11

As always, check out the rest of the blog as well as the other Collective Mass Radio podcasts on the site. You can follow Team Triple Slash at @TeamTripleslash and Paige Ashlynn at @p_ashlynn. Also, go get Magnetic by Nature as soon as ya possibly can!




Collective Mass Radio #9

As always, check out the rest of the blog as well as the other Collective Mass Radio podcasts on the site. You can follow Tic Toc Games on Twitter at @TicTocGames and give them all your monies for their Kickstarter, The Adventures of Pip.




Collective Mass Radio #7

As always, check out the rest of the blog as well as the other Collective Mass Radio podcasts on the site. You can follow Steve on Twitter at @SpinWing and check out Tasty Poison Games at http://www.tastypoisongames.com. Make sure to go to the Tom Sparks Kick Starter and support your indies!




Game Jam to Shipped Game

After this year’s global game jam, I wanted to share some experiences about shipping games to encourage first timers to get their games out there. First thing you need to understand is that you are not near to done. Our industry usually thinks in terms of features but this is misleading. We think “Camera system, it works… Done!”, but what we really we need to ask is “is this feature shippable?”. And in there lies the rub, what is shippable to you?

Game jams are rapid prototyping sessions. They are hugely valuable to determine if you are heading down the right track. They help to find the fun fast, so you know the general direction you will be taking on your game creation voyage. If your prototype is not fun to you, its probably not a good idea to pursue it. I am speaking from the heart here, spending may hours of time I will never get back trying to make something that is not inherently fun, fun. If you have a choice, and as indies you do, don’t to it if your prototype is not fun right now.

Once you have the fun, its time to do time estimates. It does not matter if you schedule or you scrum, you still need to estimate time. If you are new to scheduling, once you are done, double your time! I mean it. As developers, we are hugely optimistic and love what we do and sometimes we forget the bad times. Shit happens……