Since I have some experience with planning in games, I wanted to have a look at the techniques used. After some digging I thought I’d put together a brief summary of what I learnt.
At the convention were game exhibitors, distributors, artists, musicians, hardware and software vendors. Every major publisher was present namely Microsoft, Sony, Capcom, Konami, 2K and Ubisoft. A fine collection of folks.
Speaking of such Lara Croft was there. We didn’t hit it off…
Since Lara was kind enough to spared my life. I had the chance to try lots of upcoming games including Battleborn, Assassins Creed Syndicate, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Street Fighter V, as well as getting some goodies.
Aside from that there was loads to do. Busting out some moves at the Just Dance open stage, rocking out at the guitar hero stand, grooving to the DJ Academy tunez, immersing oneself in the variety of virtual reality technologies demos, to trying out delectable game themed caramel sweets. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
On top of all that I met Yoshinori Ono!
If I’m in the Middle East this time next year I’ll be back.
Black and White is where my interest in A.I. in games started. (A little context) Black and White is a god game designed and created by Lionhead Studios under the directive of Peter Molyneaux. In Black and White you are a god born of the prayers of people, free to do whatever you please through the islands of the game.
In your journeys you are eventually given a creature. A tiny little thing, it behaves just like a child – curious yet inexperienced and frightened of the big bad world. Similar to a child you can teach it, it will then think and act based on what was taught by you. Invest enough time and your creature can become your ultimate agent. It was a fascinating example of A.I. in games.
Black and White’s Artificial Intelligence was designed and implement by Richard Evans, and in my opinion it was the creature feature in particular that elevated the experience of certain aspects of the game. Employing sophisticated A.I techniques, it gave deeper meaning to your relationship with the creature, you felt responsible for it (well at least I did) having to train and look after it while it grew up.
Notable features related to the creature included:
- Leashes – Which gave the player some behavioral control of the creature.
- Creature Combat – Where creatures would fight autonomously when not commanded by the player.
A battle from Black and White: Creatures Isle. The Crocodile is controlled entirely by the game.
- The gameplay is focused on the interaction with a large AI creature which can learn from examples, and takes reward and punishment.
- The design integrates artificial life within the context of a strategy game.
- The engine uses a solid AI architecture, rooted in cognitive science, known as belief-desire-intention (BDI).
- Machine learning techniques such as decision trees and neural networks are used with great success.
If you are interested in learning more about the innards of Black and Whites creature A.I. then check out this great paper by James Wexler.
Thrillseeker is a game jam submission on the theme “You Are Your Own Worst Enemy” designed and created by my friend Sangseo Lee and I. The core mechanic of the game is that whilst flying close to passing asteroids gives you a higher score, doing so greatly increases your chance of crashing. It’s like Burnout in that the player is rewarded for high risk game play.
White blood cells play a vital role for our health, without them we’d be easy pickings to the likes of even the common cold. Play a moment in the life of a white blood cell and battle against an ever growing hordes of viruses and protect the red blood cells to keep your heart beating. Even better, do it with a friend! Happy hunting!
Immunity is a coop game that I worked on with Sangseo Lee, for the Global Game Jam 2013 at Edinburgh. It took second place in the local competition and was noted by the judges for best design. At the moment it’s written in Java using the Slick framework and can run on Windows, Linux, Mac and Solaris. Check it out at the Global Game Jam website here!
Writing a good, feature rich platformer engine takes a lot of work. Building a simple platformer engine is considered a case of ‘reinventing the wheel’. So it makes sense why some choose to find a pre-built engine to plug in to their game.
The trouble with this can be:
- Getting it plugged in.
- Figuring out how it works.
- Finding it doesn’t do exactly what you what.
Seeing as the feature needs for a game I’m building are simple. I instead decided to learn the basics then build such an engine in Game Maker. For now, I’ll briefly run through the resources that helped me build a major part of what I’ve implemented. Collision detection.
Implementing collision detection can be a head ache if your new to ‘game physics’. So to help you on your way here is a good video by Shaun Spaulding which gives an in-depth look into how to create a platformer in Game Maker. I’d recommend watching the whole thing, in particular where he explains the basic concept of collisions at about 22:30.
The system he describes is basically a method of checking several pixels ahead per frame. If a situation arises where two objects intersect, move the moving object to a point where they are next to each other but not intersecting. This is the method I choose; there are many many ways of doing it.
So I’ve decided to start creating a game (about time). This isn’t the first game I’ve made, but it will be the first time I’ll try to document my design process through this blog.
Here are some important questions that I’ll need to answer:
- What kind of game do you want to make?
- What will be your major design concepts/mechanics?
- How are you going to build it?
- What are you doing for art?
- What are you doing for sound?
These five questions I think are the beginning of a good place to start for a project. Now you may not have the answers to them from the get go, and heck they will probably change throughout the projects life cyle, but giving them some thought is a must.