Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

Content Creation

With the Dream Build Play project “Complete,” I’ve turned my attention to a few items that will aid in the creation of not only Meir, but any future RPG I write. Content creation is a tricky subject, as the goal is to create something flexable enough to re-use in any RPG project, but dynamic enough and easy enough to use so if I had a few people working on any given project, they would know what to do.

Well me and a buddy from the shacknews chatty decided that he didn’t want to use TileStudio anymore, but wanted something more suited for his game.. so we started colaborating on an editor that would be built specifically for XNA games, but flexable enough to use in any project. Obviously this editor will have to support several major features of basic RPGs, but how in depth are we going to really go with this thing?

Create and edit tile maps? Basic feature, has to be included.
Exporting XML in the same style of the XNA Content Pipeline? Basic feature, has to be included.

but what about features like adding a “tile” to the texture, and having the map build the texture and exporting that to a PNG file? What about creating a system that can export to multi dimensional or single dimensional arrays based on the project needs? How about a dynamic XML system that lets the user edit how their XML should look, then hitting “Export XML” and having their XML formatted correctly? There are many many more ambitious goals we wish to include, and we’re thinking a bit larger scale then just these… but its pretty interesting to see what we could come up with. As always, I’ll keep everyone up to date on whats actually going on. 

So if you had to pick and choose a few “Must Have” features of a game editor, what would you want included?

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Meir available for download on Creators Club Beta

The Dream Build Play entry ‘Meir’ is now available on the Creators Club Beta for peer review. Official link to the Creators Club entry is: http://catalog.xna.com/gamedetails.aspx?releaseId=279

I am now on a mission to make substantial improvements to both the engine, technology, and adding the sub-systems that I could not impliment for the Dream Build Play competition. My goal is to have a working framework for my Role Playing Games, and then start working on assets such as quest creation / story / artwork. I figure the engine touchups and technology will take a month or two, but the rest will take longer, so I will probably be looking for either help or outright purchase assets (such as characters, tilesets, etc) from aspiring developers. But… until then, let me know what you guys think!

In order to download titles from the Creators Club Beta, you will need a premium membership. Feel free to leave feedback here or via email at: CraigGiles9@yahoo.com

Meir is an official Dream Build Play project

When I started this project, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a float, int, or double. I didn’t know how to program, and had no clue where to even begin on a project as complex as this… but here I am.

Typical combat screen in Meir

Typical combat screen in Meir

Obviously its not a complete game, nor is it as polished as it could be.. but its good enough to prove a point to myself. Good enough for me to say “I set a goal for myself and reached my deadline with a specific quality in mind, and I hit it.” Next step for me is going to be putting together a story, finishing everything I couldn’t get done for the demo, and working towards the Community Games. Until then, enjoy the promotional video we had to put together for the Dream Build Play competition.

For some reason, the video is currently not showing. Direct link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8n0fBt2t_8

I would like to give a few thanks.. because there were some people along the way that really pushed my goals forward. Most notably from the shack news community (http://www.shacknews.com/) People such as MitchWalker, RomSteady, and Mittense, DHAvatar, and everyone else on that crazy site.

I would also like to point out that the music for the demo was crafted by Delaric, and it is fine music indeed. Several people have contacted me wishing to help on a possible final version of the game and if you’re interested, all you have to do is shoot me an email. I would like to point out, however, that the final version of the game is a LONG… LONG way off. This i would consider, a very basic demo.. and the final version will be a full fledged RPG. You do the math :) But for now.. one milestone is down.. and thank you EVERYONE who helped along the way.

Codename ShackRPG has an official name!

With the nearing of the Dream Build Play deadline, and the completion of a pre-alpha build, I have taken the ShackRPG code name offline and given it an official title…

Meir

There are quite a few things left that still need touchups and some sub-systems that still need to be written, but for now.. the pre-alpha build is up and ready to be polished for the Dream Build Play competition. The only dilemma for me right now is do I add more content to the game? (Temporary storyline, more encounters, items, quests, maps, dungeons, etc) or do I polish what is already in there and give the Dream Build Play judges less content but a more fun experience?

For example;
– The battle engine is in, but only 90% complete (Magic is not implemented)
– The collision system is still “Loose” and I would really like to tighten that up and make it feel great.
– There are no special effects such as particles or explosions
– Dialog system, while crude, is in place. I would like to expand this to create a complete “Cut-Scene” system.

The Pre-Alpha (DBP build) has 3 main areas and a 1 room dungeon (4 maps), 1 major quest line, 8 or so weapons and armor, several music selections, several different monster encounters, and a few random scattered quests. Is this enough? Maybe… maybe not? The deadline is still in a few weeks so I have time to polish a bit and expand the demo a little.

Everything has been a great journey so far, learning how to program through this project was both a blessing and a curse.. but the engine work is almost complete and now the story is being written and content creation is falling into place. Within a week or two, I should have some screenshots and a “promotional video” of actual gameplay that must be submitted to the Dream Build Play site, so I’ll share them with everyone here as well.

So hang in there just a little while longer, and I’ll start leaking some tidbits on the game itself! :) With the demo nearing completion, it is time to set my sights on a full length game for the Community games. My deadline is Christmas, but we’ll see how things work out.