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Archive for July 15th, 2013

More his story, randomness and tutorials related to the learning of video game creation.

More his story, randomness and tutorials related to the learning of video game creation.

Morrowind-coverA few years ago I decided for a reason I have since forgotten to give up on being an animator and film director and decided to go to university. I never finished high school. I left when I was 16 to study animation in Auckland. Luckily in New Zealand one is able to gain entrance to University once they turn 20 if they do not have the required qualifications usually needed from high school. At the time I was obsessed with playing a couple of the Elder Scrolls games – Morrowind and Oblivion had just been released. These games really got to me. The depth of the world and the freedom was something that I had never experienced before. Then I discovered the Mod community which led me in even deeper. At the time there were many discussions about how to bring the world of Morrowind into the Oblivion game (which has since been done I believe) and I began digging around in the level editor and discovered how to bring the assets in. I began thinking of what I could do with this new found knowledge and made a failed attempt to create my own story based mod.

Anyway during this experience I became interested in the idea of learning computer science and so that’s what I enrolled in at Auckland University. It didn’t last long but I managed to complete the 101 course and so had my first experience programming. I enjoyed it a lot. We made a bunch of small games and I found programming itself a lot like a puzzle game whereby manipulating various  phrases you could make all kinds of cool things happen.

Now back to the present. My brief stint at Uni gave me a leg up now when I was starting to learn to code again. The basic concepts of how it works were still there so learning the language (Lua) was not completely alien. As I began to type it felt good like a fond memory and I began learning the language as quickly as a three year old. Although, what I’ve learned so far is just the basics.

This is what I have so far… ready for the app store right? My progress so far. I have my character (blue box) with controls working (swipe up = jump, swipe down = slide, swipe forward = attack), there is a random level generator, a “focus” bar that decreases over time and triggers a game over when it runs out. There are a few objects – blue orbs add focus, red ones decrease it. The red blocks are obstacles you must attack to pass through. There is also alot of collision stuff in there to make it so you have to slide to get through tunnels and so you can’t slide through obstacles etc.

Well that’s all I’ve got for now. Below are a couple of tutorials I completed to learn some of what I implemented above. Definitely worth doing if you are new to programming and learning corona.

Tutorials

Mobile tuts+: Corona SDK – Build and Endless Runner From Scratch!
Corona SDK – Game Tutorial

 

15 July, 20130 comments
History and SDKs

History and SDKs

It kind of happened suddenly. I was busy working on comic pages at my desk listening to indie game dev podcast when the host mentioned an SDK (software development kit, I had to look it up) named Corona. Enthusiastically he commented that ANYONE could make a game with it and perhaps a successful one at that. I’ve been doing comics for a while but knew that it is becoming more and more and niche medium and that if I was going to do them, they would have to be digital. There have been many different ways of doing digital comics but none of them felt quite right for what I was interested in doing. At some point I started listening to podcasts and watching videos of people making games and slowly the idea began to creep up on me. Here was a medium that used pictures and required interactivity where the only limit on what you can do is your imagination.

I’ve been a gamer my whole life since playing ‘Shufflepuck Cafe’ on my Nanna’s Amiga. Another early memory was playing ‘Jill of the Jungle’ off an assortment of floppy disks. I remember playing Doom, Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem 3D on friends PCs whenever I got the chance. My dad would occasionally bring back games from over-seas travels such as Myst, Grim Fandango and MechWarrior. On weekends it would be Final Fantasy, Resident Evil and Tony Hawk once the Playstation came out.

I’ve toyed with the idea of making my own art in most mediums, film, music, comics, novels, but never considered making a game before. Games alway seemed like they just showed up from the aether, handed down by the gods of entertainment. When I got older it was obvious they required a tonne of technical skill, a lot of money and a lot of people.

Well, those days have changed. It is an incredible time to be making games right now. The tools available allow small teams and even individuals to create their own games without needing to be rocket scientists. And not only on the development side but the market for games today is ravenous. People cannot get enough of games and now more people than ever can and want to access them. Suddenly making a game seems like the most obvious thing to do.

corona2_GzOLbIAfter looking at the various development kits available such as Unity,  Cocos 2dx, Love, Gamesalad, GameMaker and Stencyl, it turned out that the one I had heard of originally, ‘Corona‘ was the right fit for me. It is cross platform for iOS and Android, has a built in Box2D physics engine and uses a simple language known as LUA. I was interested in learning to program so wanted an SDK that would allow me to learn which knocked out the ‘drag and drop’ engines like game salad. I also knew I wanted to go 2D so I could easily create the art myself so that ruled out Unity which is a 3D engine. After the last couple of months of learning in my spare time I’ve started to get the hang of Lua coding and started putting the foundation of my game together.

In the next post I will talk about how I began learning the basics of coding and making games and how I decided on what kind of game to make first.

Peace!

CZG