What Have I Been Doing (Second Edition)

May 28, 2013

“If you’re a hobbyist, don’t settle for simply being a more experienced beginner, nor a professional minus resources. Embrace the hobbyness, do something strange that beginners can’t and professionals won’t.”

From Connect Videogame Development to What You Are Passionate About

In spring 2011 I wrote an overview of projects I was involved with around that time, including MechStrike, Vision by Proxy: Second Edition, Torr of Thor, Relativity Runner and about a dozen others.

Since then two years have passed, so I figured it’s about time for me to prepare an update about what I’ve been doing since. My reason for writing this post is the same as the previous one: “When I browse a videogame development blog, I wonder what projects the author has done… it demonstrates whether a blogger practices what they preach.” The internet is full of opinions, especially about videogames and programming. I want to show that the views I represent on this blog are (a.) derived from a broad range of real development practice (b.) actively tried and tested in new projects for further refinement (and c.) processes and ideas suited to videogames at a scale applicable to and within reach of everyone: hobby, extracurricular, and other small team non-commercial contexts.

Here then are the game projects that I worked on over the past two years, along with my roles and level of involvement with each.

Ms Vision by Proxy

My Role(s): Programming, level lead
Level of Involvement: substantial

Play Ms Vision by Proxy

Joyride

My Role(s): Project lead, programmer, helped with level design, helped with art
Level of Involvement: substantial

Play Joyride (in-browser)



Believers Bedlam

My Role(s): Core engine programming, voice acting, helped with art and animation
Level of Involvement: substantial

Play Believers Bedlam

Freezing Solid

My Role(s): Project lead, programmer, helped with level design, helped with art
Level of Involvement: substantial

Play Freezing Solid (in-browser)



Zylatov Sisters

My Role(s): Project lead, programmer, helped with level design, helped with art
Level of Involvement: substantial

Play Zylatov Sisters (in-browser)



Bonus Hack/Mod* – Zylatov Sisters: Leafy Sea Dragon Edition

* My friend and fellow developer/researcher Kate Compton had a birthday recently. On that particular day she posted to Facebook an observation that videogames have too many space marines, and meanwhile she couldn’t find a single game in which she could play as a leafy sea dragon. As a tiny birthday present, I made a quick graphical alteration to Zylatov Sisters, replacing Anya Zylatov with a Leafy Sea Dragon.

Game-o-Matic

My Role(s): Editor/client engine, diagramming tool, and database programming (note: not game generation or content authoring), helped author intermediary file formats and overall program architecture
Level of Involvement: substantial

Try It (site, with full credits)

VGDev Fall 2011 – Spring 2013

To be clear, these VGDev projects are by no means “games by me” or anything of the sort. Many people worked on these – about 70 in total per school year, spread across around a dozen independently-run projects in that time, each with different project leads. I founded the organization, but that was now years ago, and I’m no longer even an officer in the club, just another active member. My involvement varied, from serving a central role in programming or design, on the other end of the spectrum to just pitching in temporarily to help with last minute needs for particle effects or sounds.

Although Joyride, Zylatov Sisters, and Freezing Solid, listed earlier, are also VGDev games, I separated those since I was the project lead for each of them, responsible for the original concept and team management, in addition to serving as lead programmer and lead designer. I contributed to these other assorted VGDev games in smaller supporting roles, and most of these games probably could have still come out recognizably similar had someone else been involved instead of me.

Here’s a short video of highlights from all VGDev projects developed this past school year:


Note that a subset of the VGDev games listed below were completed prior to Fall 2012, and those can be seen instead in the older VGDev highlights video (1:27).

Fragile
Project Lead: Peter Aquila
My Role(s): Puzzle design for several landmarks, addl. textures
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to play Fragile (+full credits)

Fanboy
Project Lead: Kelly Snyder
My Role(s): Gameplay Programmer (1 of 4), Clouds
Level of Involvement: medium

VGDev link to play Fanboy (+full credits)

TiBiDaBo
Project Lead: Paco Swift
My Role(s): Explosion particle effects
Level of Involvement: minor

VGDev link to play TiBiDaBo (+full credits)

Crystal Ball
Project Lead: Shane del Solar
My Role(s): Engine Programmer (1 of 3), Level Designer (1 of 4)
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to play Crystal Ball (+full credits)

Vectorverse
Project Lead: Peter Aquila
My Role(s): Addl. Level Design
Level of Involvement: medium

VGDev link to play Vectorverse (+full credits)

Black Oak Manor
Project Leads: Colton Spross and Josh Faubel
My Role(s): Room design (~8 rooms), UI icons for weapons
Level of Involvement: light/medium

VGDev link to play Black Oak Manor (+full credits)


Infection
Project Leads: James Liu and Dhruv Karunakaran
My Role(s): Helped with particles (first pass) and sound effects
Level of Involvement: light/medium

VGDev link to play Infection (+full credits)

Num Noms
Project Leads: Alissa Hartenbaum
My Role(s): Helped with theme art and iOS programming
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to Num Noms credits (game coming soon to App Store)

Attack of the Cubes
Project Lead: Matthew Guzdial
My Role(s): None on the actual project, but put together the video trailer (about)
Level of Involvement: trailer only

VGDev link to play Attack of the Cubes (+full credits)

Exxak
Project Lead: Hal Helms
My Role(s): Writing, Tile Art, and Level Design
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to play Exxak (+full credits)

Avenir Racing
Project Leads: Daniel Dias
My Role(s): Helped with camera code
Level of Involvement: minor

VGDev link to play Avenir Racing (+full credits)

Jetpack James
Project Lead: Andre Giron
My Role(s): Programming (1 of 4), All Art
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to play Jetpack James (+full credits)

Battle Boats
Project Lead: Vu Ha
My Role(s): Environment and Weapons Art
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to play Jetpack James (+full credits)

Ninjas Don’t Like Trains
Project Lead: Ozzie Smith
My Role(s): Assistance with questions about collision algoritms, file format (Special Thanks)
Level of Involvement: minor

VGDev link to play Ninjas Don’t Like Trains (+full credits)

Commie Car Combat
Project Lead: Colton Spross
My Role(s): Art, Level Design
Level of Involvement: substantial

VGDev link to play Commie Car Combat (+full credits)

—End of VGDev Project Section—

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza

My Role(s): Developed alone, as part of an existing pop art project
Level of Involvement: substantial-ish

I made a little trivia art “game” for DanzaDidIt.com. “Play” it

Super Push 64 (Web Port)

My Role(s): Everything except the buggy model and texture
Level of Involvement: substantial

Based on Carnegie Mellon’s buggy racing tradition. Read more about it or play it in-browser

Dreamwalker

My Role(s): Just present to help plan around or unblock technical hurdles*
Level of Involvement: barely

* Dreamwalker was a class project, and the professor wanted to ensure that each team had someone experienced with game programming, to help avoid losing time over technical issues. My main project team in the course made Believers Bedlam (listed earlier), however I filled a small supporting role for this other team as well since the class was running a bit short on experienced game programmers. This team succeeded though without really needing much help or input from me.

Get it from IndieDB

Kinect Gesture Recognizer for Research (not a game)

My Role(s): Programmer
Level of Involvement: substantial



Context video, showing and explaining an earlier prototype of my gesture recognition code:



Marker Fight

My Role(s): Concept, orchestrator, videos
Level of Involvement: substantial

About Marker Fighting



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One Comment

  1. […] experimental media class. Although every couple of years I put together a comprehensive listing of what I’ve been up to those are far too dense for most folks to digest, so I was excited about the opportunity to piece […]

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