Thursday, May 28, 2009

Game Competition Update!
I don't think I've mentioned here I've been completing numerous side projects with a few classmates of mine at school. I'm having a great load of fun and learning a lot. Here's an update on what we're doing with the flash competition project we're doing.

We're wrapping up work on a flash game to be submitted into the third annual Westwood Game Competition; along with fellow team-mates and core Programmers, David Moss ( & Tom Lindeman ( The game is shaping up great! Art is starting to come in, after most of the structure has been in place for a little bit. The game is nearly feature complete, with a few revisioned features being put in, and a little bit of bug fixing left to go. Dave's working on animations and I'm working on some of those new features. Bug fixin' tomorrow!

Later guys!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fallout 3

It's not often I experience something I feel worth formalizing into a written piece to share with others but I've just recently spent sometime in the D.C. Wastes.
Fallout 3 is, in short, an incredible game thus far. Lots of quests, lots of slow-mo goodness. Lots of great voice-acting and nothing short of amazing visuals.

However, underneath it all I really do feel there's something much more worth experiencing. After playing Fallout 3 for 20+ hours I've grown to attach a certain feeling with it. The game is bleak, and even though it's very fun (there's that "f" word), it illustrates some incredibly sad things opposite it's caricatures of American pop-culture.

That's nothing new though, right? I mean the original fallouts were also about the destruction of entire worlds and they seemed to keep everything on the up and up. Well, in my opinion there's a few different things in the mix.

First of all, the play-style is incredibly different. Wandering around the wastes in third person view; managing ammo, attempting to discover new locations all as myself. It's really daunting, really scary, and kind of depressing seeing all these people barely scrape by.

Second of all, with today's graphics you really... empathize with the destruction. The visuals in the game are incredible, and incredibly sad. It's so much more poignant to see the wastes portrayed in such visceral definition.

Finally, I think writing plays a huge part in this. In the past, although the wastes have been a similar concept they've often times (at least in my opinion) had a lighter side to things. I could be misjudging due to my limited experience with the first two games but in Fallout 3 I've encountered more sad stories about families or people just trying to help humanity being slapped back down by the cruelty of fate and their government, than I could shake a stick at.

It's kind of moved me in a place that seems disturbed and slowly twisted. Bethesda, I commend you for making your own game out of an amazing, rich, and diverse world. I'm not sure if I'll be the same once I'm done experiencing all you've offered with this game.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

2nd Place Ain't Too bad Honey

Hey everyone :).
Now I feel slightly more rested than the last time I posted here (but only slightly ;P). I'm working part time over at 7 Studios as an Engineering Intern and going to class on every other day. They're in big-time crunch right now and I'm trying to help out but it's hard with school, haha. Still, I am super excited to be working at a real (fairly large) game company, livin' the dream.

--The cherry on top--
Tuesday was the pitch / presentation for the Second Annual Westwood Game Competition. I think we delivered a pretty good pitch, and the judges asked me to demo the game afterwards. I think that because of lack of tutorial menus / proper documentation they really were at a loss beforehand. However, they seemed really impressed after the demo, not only with the dynamic (original!) music that was presented, but also the vast amount of work that went into creating unique AIs that interacted with each other.

It's always cool to be in a competition and see other teams of people who've been working on games as well. I really enjoy interacting with people who have the same passions as I do.

Anyways, around 7pm the presentation started. The judges were Justin Lloyd, Voldi Way, Dave Kosak, and David Perry. All very cool people, and coincidentally I've had some sort of strange involvement with all of them in the past. xD
So the awards thing was rather long at around 2 hours, and many of the games won awards. My game: Harmony, was actually the first to win an award which was for "Best Use of Flash". I'm really proud of it because they went on to tell me what they meant by the award, which is that they were impressed by all of the RTS elements and all the music going dynamically. I really take that award to be sort of a Programmer's award, and it makes me proud to be recognized in such a way :).

More awards were given out: Best Pitch, Best Concept, and then a sort of reflective bit where the judges talked about their impressions of every game.

As the ceremony neared a close, it was revealed that there was to be 3 placing awards. My personal favorite game (other than my own) called 'Awesome' won 3rd place, Harmony won 2nd, and a game called 'Glide with the Wind' won 1st.

In my opinion, glide with the wind was actually fun and addictive, but also very simple and not very innovative (not that innovation is a rubric for greatness). Not exactly my kind of game, but I respect the judges choosing it.

In the end- I came back with a lot of feedback on how to make Harmony better, and quite a few people told me they loved the designs (which is a credit to Cameron!) and several people also told me they loved the music (which is a credit to Vincent!). Together, we made a really cool game that I want to continue to make better. I think we could have a chance of making something big out of it, but it's going to take a bit more work ;D.

Talk at you guys soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The wonders of crunch

Hey guys. I'm running on about 3 hours accumulative sleep for the past couple of days. I worked all last night in order to get my game as done as could be for the Second Annual Westwood Game Competition.

How do I feel?

Really freakin' tired. As for the game goes, I'm actually really proud of myself, and everyone who worked on the game. I think for 2 and a half months in a new language / development environment we did pretty freaking well.

My only real concerns at this point are with the path finding the game. Right now it's a bit glitchy and it actually really hinders gameplay. While I think the game is pretty fun, it needs a little bit more polish time to work out the movement code. One solution I came up with while working on the code was that I should use some sort of a graph / node system to determine which positions on the screen are occupied and handle collision response.

This is probably the opportune solution but I came up with it too late. It would probably take me about a week at least to gut all of my movement code, implement a graph system, and implement all new movement code based on the new system.

So here's the brightside-- While the game is finalized for the judges tomorrow at 4pm (and I'll be at my first day at work at a new company! :D), I don't see or talk to the judges for another week. I'm going to try and use this time to implement a new system. I'm really hoping that the path finding issues that are there won't inhibit players' (and the judges) ability to enjoy the game, but I intend on fixing it soon anyway so we'll see.

Alright, I've gone on for long enough. Here's the link to my page on the competition site!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm working on the second annual Westwood Game Competition now, and I'm going to give you a little taste of what I've been working on. This is one of the six creature designs I'll be using in the game. My brother did the animation, I did the actionscript. (Use the arrow keys to move the character around the screen! You might have to click on the swf so that it has focus)

I have a prototype mostly finished in XNA so shortly I will start to port logic over to Flash as the art is finished. I'm really excited about this project :).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kung Fu Game Work In Progress

Video of my Kung Fu Action game so far. Working on some basic gameplay elements, as I continue developing and polishing, I'll show you some more. I really hope to polish it up and get some real art in there.

Forgive the programmer art for now, please :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Programmer's Demo Reel

L: What makes a programmer, Mr. Lebowski? Is it.. knowing how to implement design choices?
Dude: Sure.. that and a keyboard.

I've cut together a sort of programmer's demo reel to show people while at GDC and further propagate the legend that is Corwin VanHook ;P. I think it turned out rather nicely. It drags in a couple of places but I think it's slightly justified by the fact that it is supposed to show technical prowess and not necessarily my artistic skills. We'll see when youtube gets it's act together and lets you view it. Let me know what you think!