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March 11, 2008

Awesome Game

Writing about web page http://www.gamemakergames.com/?a=view&id=907

Jumper 2 is a very well made 2D platformer. It’s a game I’ve been playing for nearly a year now and I haven’t got bored of it. It has to be the only game where you can die 6735 times and still want to come back for more.
The learning curve is excellent and the levels are really well designed. I think it would be worth checking it out as a masterclass of how to make a game simple but fun, and even if you don’t stick with it I think a lot can be learnt from the game.
It’s so good, I even made a facebook group – http://warwick.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2363717729


February 22, 2008

48 Hour Competition February 2008

Writing about web page http://www.warwickgamedesign.co.uk/resources/view/competitions/48hour/feb2008

On the weekend of the 9th February we held another of our famed 48 hour game development competitions.  The idea is simple - teams of people begin at 6pm on the Friday evening and have 48 hours in which to create a game from scratch.  To provide inspiration, each of the games has to be based on a specific theme, this term's theme was transport.  The games are available on this page! We had a lot of fun making them, we hope you have fun playing them!


Teams making gamesCompetitions like this are a very social event, we hire out a room for the weekend and everyone joins in with a team of people.  It's interesting to see how the other teams are progressing throughout the competition and to share ideas on design and improvements. 

Discussing C++It's also a great way to learn about making games, for many people in the society the first chance they got to build a complete game was at one of these competitions.  We have books and resources available for people to learn from, and it's not just for programmers!  There are books on game art and a graphics tablet for people who want to try their hand at artwork, and sound and music equipment and software for the more musically inclined.  All these different skills are useful if not essential when putting a game together. 

Take a look at the games we made and tell us what you think!  Next week the judges from Rareware and FreeStyleGames will be giving us their thoughts, and we'll be awarding a ton of prizes provided by:

The Game Creators

Vivendi Games

Introversion


February 02, 2008

3D Modelling Workshop

Sam ran a very helpful workshop on 3d modelling last Wednesday. We used Blender3D because it is free and is also very powerful. You can download it here : Blender3D

We went through the basics, creating the polygons for the model, then texturing it and some people did a bit of animation too. Here is my initial attempt at making a spaceship:
First Attempt

I then added some more polygons and started doing the texture mapping:
UV Mapping in Blender

I did eventually get to make a texture for it, but for some reason it won’t map to the model on my home computer so you will not be able to see it in all its glory. The help sheet for this is available here: Resources

Give it a go!


January 22, 2008

New Year

There hasn’t been any posts for a while since the guy who normally did them finished uni and left the society, I’m going to start posting updates as to what the society is getting up to, so watch this space.


July 09, 2007

Game Demonstrations Event 2, Tuesday 19th June: a write up

by Jim Miles

One big difference about the game demonstrations event this time around is that now I’m Events Officer for the society. In practice, it’s not a big difference at all, but it’s nice to point it out and look all important.

This was really a 3 in 1 VGDSoc event, combining three things that have been promised for a while: another game demonstrations session, a video games quiz, and a barbecue. It took place at Bob Merrison’s awesome house again, in Kenilworth.

Bryan and TEAM PIRATE (Jon, Ricky, Dunk, and me) turned up at Bob’s house first and had a solid hour or so to mess about with the Xbox 360 (including our game Pirate Sea Battle) before Steve, Ali, Nic, Sam, Andrew, Jenny and Kieren arrived.

We started out with round one of the quiz that I made, which you can download here, then it was Ali up first to show off a game, none other than the awesome NiGHTs into Dreams (1996) on the Sega Saturn.

Woo I am NiGHTs a strange man alien person
The title screen

The plot of NiGHTs concerns two children who have nightmares which hold them back from achieving their goals (one wants to be a basketball player and the other a singer) but each night they go into a dreamworld where Mr NiGHTs (the purple, Twi’lek-like chap) collects stars and pearls, and flies through rings. It’s a beautiful, unique gameworld which is graphically 3D but has 2D gameplay, weaving around the themed levels. We saw one of the first levels set in a standard Green Hill Zone-like grass and hill area but then later Ali showed us an impressive snow level. The bosses we saw were the iconic “Puffy” – a round ball-like female who must be grabbed and launched through walls – and “Clawz” – a cat who lives in a strange circular structure with fireworks which must be flown into before he can be beaten. NiGHTs is an interesting game because it came out at a time when many titles were still following the conventions of the 16-bit and PC 3D era, but was itself entirely original, with a completely new style of plot and gameplay. This is some of the best linking, score attack gaming ever produced.

Link as many pearls stars and hoops together as you can
I want to get away; I want to flyyyyy away.

Next was the music round of the quiz, which I was particularly pleased with. You can check out the music below – there are ten excerpts of game soundtracks in there, to be identified:

NOW, WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?

It was me to show a game after that: the excellent, difficult, and highly-collectable Radiant Silvergun (1998). Radiant Silvergun is a scrolling shoot ‘em up from high quality game developer Treasure. It came out three years before Ikaruga and is much more complicated than that game, as well as being much more difficult. While Ikaruga was being developed it was known as the sequel to Radiant Silvergun, which is about right. At the event I described Radiant Silvergun as the Tristram Shandy of scrolling shoot ‘em ups for its sophistication and awareness of the genre it belongs to, to the extent of gross parody of its peers. In Radiant Silvergun there are bosses which serve as both fun challenges but also are, in themselves, whole references to other iconic scrolling shooters. For example, the boss pictured here has weapons mirroring the three main weapon types available in R-Type.

BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS
Me being well skilful

A delightful touch is that with each boss there are three pieces of advice under the heading “BE ATTITUDE FOR GAINS”. These three bits of advice are cryptic at best, incomprehensible at worst. In the pictured boss the three attitudes for gains are:
Anxious for return
Gamely fight
Tender hearts

Another boss later in the game has the following attitudes for gains:
Brave for enter bosom
Placate to animal
Wild camera

It’s crazy. You can read more of the attitudes for gains on the FAQ here. There are far too many details and subtleties in Radiant Silvergun to go into detail here (and anyway, I feel like, having made the Ikaruga comparison, I’ve already done my job) but one thing I would just like to mention is that there are several little dogs hidden about the levels which you uncover with a particular weapon, locked on specific pieces of scenery. These dogs give a little “woof woof” and reward the player with points. Very nice.

After Radiant Silvergun it was time was the third round of the quiz (see here): more questions. Each set of questions was divided into about equal amounts of easy, medium and hard, with one true or false Miyamoto question in each medium set and one Final Fantasy question in each hard set, just for a bit of a fun pattern.

Thats my hand on the right holding questions
Bob Merrison ponders a question of pen-suck-worthy difficulty.

BRYAN GALE was next, showing We Love Katamari (2005) on the Playstation 2. A game where you roll a ball around, attaching objects and making the ball larger and larger (and able to pick up larger objects), Katamari is a unique title with a beautiful art style that is knowingly cartoon-like. The game attracted a lot of attention and oohing and ahhing from those assembled, as the ball grew to laughably absurd sizes.

ORIGAMI
The levels are requests from fans of the original game, such as this blue elephant.

Katamari is often cited by developers as an example of a truly original game, and its creator Keita Takahashi has got a reputation as the game designer’s game designer, a darling of the industry, outspoken in his criticisms of the current direction of the medium. The attention is warranted, as Katamari has an interestingly environmental approach to gameplay, with amusing little incongruences such as the way that the people in the game seem to be relatively unbothered by their world being neatly cleaned up by this huge rolling ball – Katamari may seem silly, but it makes you THINK. More pretentious writers than me (they do exist) have even gushed about how the game permits an eco-friendly interpretation.

Bally roll roll roll
Roll the bally ball ball roll.

After Bryan’s fun demonstration of Katamari we had the fourth round of the quiz (the second special round), which I had been really excited about, and talking up for at least a week. Probably the best way to explain this round is to post a picture first:

Kick punch its all in the mind
“Woah man, where’s Parappa’s ears?”

On a forum I post on, we had a couple of weeks where we would do our own MS Paint interpretations of game screenshots then post them up for people to guess. This round in the quiz was a collection of 35 or so of these screenshot interpretations which I had printed out for people to pass around and try to guess.

I really loved that round of the quiz, and I think other people did too – especially the screenshot from Dizzy.

I was the next person to show a game after this, because the Playstation 2 was already set up, and my second game to show was Frequency (2002), a Playstation 2 game. I wanted to show this because it was the first rhythm action game made by Harmonix, long before Guitar Hero. As we play Guitar Hero a lot at socials, it seemed like a good idea to show people what the company started out with, as it’s an interesting insight into how Guitar Hero crystallised.

In Frequency you use the shoulder buttons to make sounds, as symbols approach the foreground, just like the notes on frets in Guitar Hero. However, the sounds are incredibly varied, with drum beats, synths, guitars, and even vocal lines mapped onto lines of on-screen symbols. What is so elegant about Frequency is how a channel of a track “sticks” after you have played two bars perfectly, and you can move onto another channel, building up the song gradually from the component parts (a range of drums, vocals, guitars, etc.). The game really opened my ears to how music is constructed, and I found it changed how I listened to music, picking out the individual instruments more meaningfully than I had before.


You can play spot the difference with this and the Radiant Silvergun picture above (clue: look at the table)

And here’s a bonus, an interpretive screenshot of the game.

We had the final round of the quiz (here), then Ali showed the independently produced PC shmup Platypus (2005). This demonstration was special because of the sheer amount that Ali knows about the production of the game. One classic anecdote concerned the creator’s house burning down and him having to build huge parts of the game from scratch. Now, it’s irritating having to build parts of a game from nothing at the best of times, but when your game is Platypus, where every object is painstakingly constructed from plasticine, captured on film, and animated into the game, the experience must be impossibly painful. To the creator’s credit, he turned out a brilliant shmup, which uses the mouse control in a sensitive way, breaking out of the 8 way directional control standard of traditional shmups and giving a new sense of bullet dodging finesse. If you want to know more about this game, I suggest you discuss it with Ali over a pint – his enthusiasm for Platypus is unbounded, and he’ll do a much better job of explaining it than I could here.

Bob is the only one looking at the camera
Clockwise from bottom left: Bryan, Ricky, Steve (sneezing?), Dunk (why the clenched fists?), Nic, Bob (the only one looking at the camera), me (“that’s not the right answer, lol”), Ali (must. concentrate. on. game.).

You can see what the game looks like in the mirror above Bob’s head.

Platypus was the last game demonstration, but there was still one more thing… The quiz answers! People wanted to know how they’d done, and everyone seemed particularly keen on finding out what the tracks were in the music round. We went through it together with each team (of two) marking another team’s answers. You can see the answers here, if you’ve been playing along at home.

And the winners were… Bryan and Sam. So well done.

The demonstrations session was over, the quiz was over, we’d had delicious barbecued food throughout, and Jenny had brought some yummy home-baked cakes, but there was one last thing which no meet since the 8th December would be complete without…

NINTENDO WII

SteveM has a halo
I’m a little teapot, etc.

You can read about the first Game Demonstrations event here.


March 13, 2007

Panel discussion with Rare re–scheduled for this week

rare-logo-001_tn.jpgWe're very pleased to announce that on Thursday 15th March (week 10), Warwick Video Game Design Society will host an interactive panel discussion with three programmers from Rare; creators of Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power and of course Goldeneye. The discussion will feature Nick Burton, an expert on graphical effects programming, as well as Kieran D'Archambaud and (maybe) Steven Horsburgh - AI programmers responsible for Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo.

There is no particular theme for the discussion but expect it to focus on the technical aspects of graphics and AI in modern game development, as well as some discussion of the games industry in general and the directions it is heading in. We anticipate that the guys will bring along an XBox 360 so they can demonstrate some of the things that are talked about. It should be a really interesting session, so please come along if you're free! 

The event takes place at 1-3pm on Thursday 15th March in Meeting room 4/5 in Union North.  Don't feel any obligation to stay for the whole thing, but it should be really interesting!

You may also be interested to know that the Rare guys are giving guest lectures earlier in the day: Nick will be presenting "Real Time Graphics for Games: A Primer" for the 3rd year Computer Graphics module at 9am in L3.  Kieran and Steven are presenting "Smoke & Mirrors - the True Art of Game AI" for the 3rd year AI module at 10am in H0.52.  Everyone is welcome, not just those taking the modules.

Hope to see everyone there on Thursday!


February 25, 2007

Panel Discussion with Rare next week: CANCELLED

Follow-up to Panel Discussion with Rare next week from The Video Game Design Society

Unfortunately Nick Burton and the guys from Rare have had to pull out of tommorow’s panel discussion due to tight deadline constraints. They’re planning to come to Warwick at some point next term instead, so we will re-organise the event then. Sorry for any disappointment.


February 22, 2007

Panel Discussion with Rare next week

rare-logo-001_tn.jpgWe're very pleased to announce that on Monday 26th of February (week 8), Warwick Video Game Design Society will host an interactive panel discussion with three programmers from Rare; creators of Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power and of course Goldeneye. The discussion will feature Nick Burton, an expert on graphical effects programming, as well as the two AI programmers responsible for Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo.

There is no particular theme for the discussion but expect it to focus on the technical aspects of graphics and AI in modern game development, as well as some discussion of the games industry in general and the directions it is heading in. We anticipate that the guys will bring along an XBox 360 so they can demonstrate some of the things that are talked about. It should be a really interesting session, so please come along if you're free! 

The event takes place at 1pm on Monday 26th of February in room B2.13/14 (off of the science concourse, just along from L3). We expect it to last around an hour.

You may also be interested to know that Nick is giving a talk for the third year Computer Graphics module earlier in the day at 10am in MS0.1. Everyone is welcome, not just those taking the module.

Hope to see everyone there on Monday!

Kameo


December 04, 2006

Wii Launch Social 8th December

Following our end of term shenanigans at Wingwah’s on monday, this friday we will be having a Wii launch party in B213/4 from 7:00pm till midnight.

There should be about 4 Wii’s, as well as the usual complement of consoles and DS’s, and Phil’s PSP ;)

This will be the last WVGDSoc event of the calendar year, and your first chance to play the Wii console in the UK.

We will be having a few tournaments with prizes for the winners, wii tennis/boxing etc.

I look forward to seeing you there

Nico Waller
President


October 15, 2006

Console gaming social! (Wednesday week 3)

It’s the first gaming social of the year! We’ll be playing Guitar Hero, Donkey Konga and SingStar among other things. If you’re able to bring a console, games or a TV then please respond in this forum thread.

It’ll take place on Wednesday week 3 from 7pm to 12am in B213-4 (see the forum/calendar for a map).


October 09, 2006

VGDSoc Games CD 2006

Today we finished distributing our 2006 Games CD around campus. We managed to get copies to nearly every first year kitchen (we’ve handed out close to 1000 in total), so if you’re a fresher and you haven’t got your hands on one, ask around a bit and you’ll likely be able to find someone who did. If you still can’t find a copy, your last chance will be at our meeting this Monday (7pm, Union North, Meeting Room 2).

The games on the CD are all also available to download from our website. You can watch the videos of our games below, though of course we’d prefer you to take the time to play them.



Thanks to our sponsors Armadillo Run, Autodesk, The Game Creators, OPM Response Ltd., and the Transatlantic Publishers Group for funding this project.


October 04, 2006

Welcome Freshers!

Writing about web page http://www.warwickgamedesign.co.uk

Today’s freshers’ fair has gone extremely well for VGDSoc, over 150 leaflets were handed out!

If you missed us then don’t worry we’ll be back on Friday with more leaflets and another chance to win a brand new video game!

You can also catch us at our first meeting to meet the freshers at 7:00pm meeting room 2, in the Union North building. If you don’t know where this is, send us an e-mail and we’ll give you a map. If you have some idea of the part you would like to play in the game generation process, we can begin to plan how to spend our budget to best support you.

Wednesday 11th will see a talk by Volatile Games about the making of “Reservoir Dogs”, as soon as the venue is confirmed we’ll post it up on the website. This is open to any university member, you don’t have to be affiliated to the society.

If by some huge stroke of bad luck you are busy during all of these periods don’t worry, we will soon be canvassing for members throughout the university and distributing our promotional CD which contains the games we have made this year along with some “behind the scenes” extras.

In short… You can’t escape us, and you shouldn’t try.

Happy gaming.


May 25, 2006

Amoeba

Writing about web page http://www.warwickgamedesign.co.uk/releases/Amoeba

Amoeba

Our first game to tie in with WSAF is out and available to play at http://www.warwickgamedesign.co.uk/releases/Amoeba. Enjoy!

Following it in a few weeks will be Splat!, where you'll find out what on Earth is going on with the rabbit costume…


May 01, 2006

Games Development day at Leeds Uni

The Leeds Video Games Development society has organised a games development day. Anyone is welcome to attend. although bookings do have to be made beforehand.

The day is on Wednesday 17th May 2006, from 10:00am to 5:00pm
in Leeds University Union's Conference Auditorium

"{Games++}" will have competitons, keynote speakers, game playing and free food. Speakers from Rare and Creative North will be talking about how to get into the games industry and mobile games development.

If members of the society would like to go, they can contact me through the usual channels

Nico Waller


April 30, 2006

The Making of Splat! – A 6–part Documentary

Writing about web page http://www.warwickgamedesign.co.uk/

As part of a collaboration with Warwick Students Arts Festival the Video Game Design Society spent a few hours today filming some footage for our upcoming game to tie in with the event.

I went along and participated, and also shot a crude Making Of…, which you can see below:

Video at YouTube

Credits:

  • Bryan Gale (Treasurer) as Director
  • Jonathan Gover (Publicity Officer) as a karate bunny and cinematographer
  • Nico Waller (President) as an English-style Ryu
  • Helen Ryan as a Chun-Li style character

It’s nothing if not funny. Unfortunately I missed former President myself and former former President Dan Lawrence doing E. Honda and Bruce Forsyth/Megaman style characters, but when the game comes out in around 4 weeks time you’ll be able to see it!

VGDSoc

Bunny suit!

March 05, 2006

Grid Wars

Writing about web page http://www.incitti.com/Blitz/

Geometry Wars

When the Xbox 360 launched in December, I don't think anyone really knew what would be the best launch title on it. People had talked about Project Gotham Racing, about PD:Zero, but when the Video Game Design Society got a sneak peak of the 360 in November, I don't think any of us thought that would be the case.

This is because we got our hands on a retro beauty called Geometry Wars, that's available for something in the order of £4.50 from Xbox Live Arcade, and I think every Xbox 360 owner I've spoken too freely admits that they've spent at least as much time on Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved than any other game (and I wasn't that impressed when I played PD:Zero anyway…)

Anyway, I digress. What's really been burning the candles in the Society the past week or so has been Grid Wars, a clone of Geometry Wars written for the PC by Mark Incitti. It's pretty faithful to the original (although slightly easier until you turn the difficulty up, and it has a few different things such as powerups and spawn points for those nasty shapes) and it's frigging awesome if you have a dual analogue pad (or an Xbox 360 pad to just plug straight into your PC). It also runs surprisingly quickly, considering how pretty it looks. It's not quite as beautiful as the original, mainly because it's written in BlitzMax, I'm guessing, but it's pretty good.

And it's bloody competitive… The Geometry Wars veterans get 1mil+ on their first go, yet I'm still proud of the 870000-odd I just acheived…


January 30, 2006

Interested in designing games?

Logo

Are you interested in designing video games? Whether it be for a living, or just for a laugh, or even if you're just interested in playing games, then we might just have something to brighten up your Monday evening.

As a society, we design (and play…) video games from the ground up, including the concepts, programming, artwork, sound effects, music and scripts – and you don't necessarily need to be able to do any of these to be able to learn, of course. We also provide a lot of resources for members, access to local game companies for tours, talks and whole days where you can come in and spend a day inside a games company and work alongside professionals to improve your skills.

If you're interested, then come along to Meeting Room 2 (in Union North, through the doors to the right of Costcutter, up both flights of stairs then along the corridor on the right) at 7pm tonight (or any Monday) and you can find out more information.


January 16, 2006

Getting into the games industry

There are a number of ways to get into games design. The best way is to build up a portfolio of work and submit it to a number of games companies, who may take you on for an interview. A lot of companies want experience, but some companies will take on good applicants wo have a good portfolio.

The qualifications you'll need depend on which area you're interested in – obviously the qualifications needed to become an artist are different to those required to be a programmer. This is written on the assumption that you want to become a programmer – if you want to be an artist, a script writer, or an audio engineer, then the links at the bottom of this post may be of more help.

Programming-wise, you might not like to hear it but you're probably gonna need maths in there. Most of the members of the Video Game Design Society are doing a degree in computer science, which gives some experience of programming, and (in our course at least) some experience of working in a team on a large-ish project. It also involves yet more maths…

One thing that the Warwick Computer Science degree doesn't have is anything to do with C++, which is the language most games are written in. You'll almost certainly need to learn that, and then create a nice shiny demo cd to give to potential employers along with a CV.

Our sponsors, Blitz Games gave us a number of info sheets on working for Blitz, and here they are:

Warning, each of these files is a 2mb PDF file. It is strongly suggested that you right click them and "Save target as..." or "Save link as..." and read them locally

Many thanks to Phillip Oliver and Simon Smith who came down to give a talk to us and gave us the leaflets. Hopefully we will also be able to distribute the presentation that they gave.

Resources

Some content abridged from Nick Forrington


December 06, 2005

Photos

If you're so inclined, you can see some photos of events we've been to or held ourselves. That would make you a stalker, I'm guessing, or some kind of robot, but you're lovely either way.

Photos of the Retro Ball this weekend (congratulations to our members who won third place in the RetroGames competition, enjoy your Nintendo DS!) will come shortly :)


November 17, 2005

"Inclusive Games Design" Seminar TODAY

Warwick Video Game Design SocietyBlitz Games

"Inclusive Games Design" - A seminar held by Blitz Games


Thursday 17th November (Week 8), 6.00pm, PS1.28 (Physical Sciences Building)


FREE entry - All students and academics invited

Kaye Elling, Creative Manager for Blitz Games, is coming in today to give a seminar on Inclusive Games Design. She will give a talk and lead a discussion about how to design games that have an appeal beyond the typical demographic of videogame players – with a particular focus on the design issues they faced when creating their popular games based around the Bratz brand. The event will be held at 6pm in PS1.28 (the Physical Sciences building) and everyone is welcome – VGDsoc member or not.

If you don't know where PS1.28 is then you're in luck – nobody else does either. So we'll be putting up numerous signs in the vicinity to direct you, probably from the bottom of the steps outside the library – or look for the parade of excited people wading in around 5 to 6.

The Blitz Games logo is a registered trademark of Blitz Games Ltd.

Warwick Video Game Design Society