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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Home stretch... maybe (Brian)

Seems like I'm in the home stretch. But its been a really hard process. Bug fixing trying to make the game work better has slown me down a bit and the iphone approval process takes about a week. So I'm pushing out the release of my game a tad. I'd really like to get this thing out since I have another game I want to focus on more with the other devs.

Another issue is file size. Most people have their ipods and iphones attached to wifi at some point or another but I'd really like Marty to be a game you can download when you're bored in the movie line. The limit for that though is 20 mb to download over a 3G connection and I don't think I can shave the game down to that since I have so many textures for the tutorial level panels. I don't have 20mb of textures but I'm not sure what's happening. I'm going to try some texture compression but it seems to come out looking a little ugly. I haven't tried it all yet though.

I have some bugs that just wont go away and its a hard thing to feel so close and be starting to get sick of looking at this thing. I've played the same 24 levels over and over. Hope it all works out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How it started - Frustration, Dedication, and 500 dollars (Brian)

Hey again. I thought I would take the time to explain my steps so far in how we got here. The average person does not have a lot of money to throw at game development and I'm not any different. I had to save for a bit but I am trying the most cost effective way that I can to get to creating and selling games.

So first things first is why did we even want to do this? Basically one day my friend Will (another developer I work with and now a part of White Box - Yay we're two strong!) and I were out to lunch talking about our frustrations in the development process. As each day passed we seemed to become more and more frustrated and ultimately, unhappy.

We had talked about trying to create our own iPhone game many times but so do lots of developers and honestly, it normally never works out. But Will and I shared a passion that seemed to keep creeping back up more and more. We seemed to always end up talking about wanting to do our own thing. Now, most developers are tied up at work or on and off in other projects outside of work but I had decided to free up some time and actually try to learn to program.

With that, I downloaded the free version of an engine called Unity. I suggest this to any one looking to try their hand at game development. It is very easy to use and user friendly all around. It has a great community and above all is one of the cheapest engines I have seen for producing indie games and ultimately publishing to things like iPhone or android. To simply try untiy and make games for web or pc is free.

So I had a simple idea in mind to learn to start programing. Trying to figure out little mechanics that could be used in a game here and there and banging my head against a wall every step of the way. But, with a lot of hard work and sticking to what I was trying to accomplish I started to see something form in what I was making. I had deleted projects, re-scripted, revised, and un-deleted a whole lot of work over time. But with the community and Unity Answers (remember that name) I was able to struggle through.

At that point I started making a small game that seemed to rapidly form into something real. It was a box moving across a screen and little balls that spawned when you clicked, but honestly, there was nothing more gratifying at the time.

I worked for months. Every single night and weekend was now dedicated to figuring out how to make this damn thing work. It was at this rough point I showed Will what I had been doing with my time. At that point it was a little far along for others to jump on but it showed that we could really try to make something.

After a few more weeks of programing and making art I had something that was very close to ready to go on an iPhone. (for testing and continued work not shipping) so then I made the purchase of Unity iPhone. this costs 400 dollars and is the largest purchase so far for all of this.

Now this is where I am very fortunate. My girl friend has supported me so much through all of this. Understanding the crazy time that needed to be put into it and she also happened to own a mac book that she no longer uses. (You need a mac book to push to iphone using unity iphone and Xtools) So that was at least a thousand dollars I did not need to spend maybe more. If it wasn't for that I would be publishing to web so the addition of a mac allowed more options.

About 3/4 of the way through creation of this project Will started seriously learning Unity too and we started dreaming up additional projects. We were really enjoying the creative freedom and the potential to create our own work. We kept at it and I kept burning away on my project.

More work and move forward in time to now. I have purchased Xtools and an apple developer package (99 dollars for a year and you get developer tools like Xtools to push to the app market etc.) I am working on the finishing touches of my first game Marty Mongoose and during the development of this game; Will, another for now nameless developer we work with, and myself have started a second project in Unity in an attempt to stagger game creation to get more titles out the door sooner and sharpen our skills. So we are no success yet and probably wont be for a long time. Though I could not be more happy to be on the edge of launching my own game and in the thick of creating a new group project from only three peoples dedication. So this is how we have gotten to this point and the desire to start an indie company. Frustration, dedication, and 500 dollars.


Unity - Free
Unity iPhone - $400.00
iPhone developer kit - $99.00 / yr

Good places to check out for programing help

Unity Answer
Any support site linked form the Unity3D site

Keep an eye out for Marty Mongoose in a few months! Thanks for stopping by to read!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

White Box - Baby Steps (Brian)

First off I want to thank anyone taking the time to read these blogs. I hope you find them informative and entertaining.

My name is Brian and I am an artist in the video games industry. It seems to be a common desire between game developers to pursue their dream of running a game company. But how do you start? Only the accomplished can truly tell you but so few do and the ones that give some insight seem to say the same thing. "I got start up money and took a huge risk" but that doesn't really fit for the average game developer or those aspiring to be such. Granted with great risk comes great reward but for most people in the mid range of employment, that is a luxury we can't find.

Let me clarify that I do love my current job. The game industry is an amazing relaxed place to work in comparison to regular jobs (or what we see as regular) and without it, I can't do what I am trying to do. But every one wants something more. That is why I'm creating White Box. An indie game development company that currently is almost laughable I call it that. But you have to start some place.

The point of White Box isn't just to make games, but to document the process, and share with anyone who wishes to see how we try to accomplish becoming a game developer. To learn from our mistakes or hopefully our achievements.

So please, keep checking back and follow how we try to accomplish something greater. We will share it with anyone who is looking. Hopefully we can all look back over these documents and where we have risen from. Welcome to White Box.