Monday, April 1, 2013

The Extremely Dark Reef

A lot of people have complained that The Dark Reef is too easy. Apparently, you have way too much hair on your chest for sissy little games like mine.

Also, the name is totally wrong, as it is not that dark at all. 

Also also, why can you, the third person viewer, see the targeting reticle? That doesn't make any damned sense. You don't see a reticle everywhere just because you have a gun. 

Lastly, and this is a big one, the story really, really gets in the way. Too much waiting around in the menus, reading stuff. Just let me go play the game already! Don't coddle me, I'm not a baby, I know ASDF does stuff. I can figure out click to shoot. DUH.

Well I wanted you to know that after some consideration, I have decided to create a test version of the game just for you. And yes, it's free. 


The Extremely Dark Reef is exactly like episode 2 of The Dark Reef with a few exceptions. 

1) Much harder. SO STOP YOUR BITCHING. 
2) No lighting except on your Nautilus, and where appropriate. But the rest of the game IS BLACK.
3) No targeting reticle AT ALL
4) No start or end menus AT ALL
5) No help menu AT ALL
7) IT'S TOO HARDCORE FOR YOU. So go back to playing tiddlywinks if you're scared now.

Mac version:

Windows version:

So there. I hope you're happy.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Episode 2: Novskorad

The goal here was to ship a *weekly* updated game, and right off the start, I missed by one week.

That's okay though, I'll be caught up in a few days.

I had to refine my asset pipeline a little. What that means is that creating quality 3D (and other) assets normally takes a long time. I don't have a long time. I have a very small amount of time. So I have to have this down to a *science*.

I now have a really, really slick system for adding dialog, waypoints, and general in-game concepts. And I also have a really simple and efficient AI that handles badguy behaviors. Coupled together, you get the really fun dynamic found in Episode 2 of The Dark Reef.

I hope you have as much fun playing it as I have.

This episode is named Novskorad because I swear that's what one level of Apache Strike was called. This is my homage level to that game, which I spent probably a month of my life playing, on my Mac.

If you ever played it, you'll recognize some of the same themes here. They'll show up again in other levels as well, but this one in particular, with the city of storage containers, is a lot like that game in parts.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Your textures are bad and you should feel bad

I'm constantly walking a line between what I see as something that might take the user out of the experience and something that is just necessary in a game. This kind of thing (see picture below) is exactly what I mean. Repeating textures. Everywhere. This is a screenshot from the new game Aliens: Colonial Marines. The guys who made this game are not amateurs.

See that shit? But the reality is that you just can't have a million different textures all over the place. At some point, the player's brain says, "close enough, I get it, it's a wall with some lights."

...I just wish my brain would say that.

Because it doesn't. It says, "Look at that crap. Clearly, the gamer will stop playing in disgust."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Magic EPS Number

The fastest, and most accurate way to get a clean UV Map in Photoshop is to export it from LightWave first, import it, and work with that. It will be perfect.

But you'll need this magic number, or you'll end up typing the new size by hand. Yes, I'm lazy. You are too, and you know it.

So if you're exporting your UV map as an EPS, export it at 7.12 inches. That's 512 pixels.

There, I just saved you some seconds.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to draw the end of a line

I just realized that if you don't kill off the last two enemies at the end of the game, nothing happens.

I mean, nothing at all happens.

The game never finishes. That's not great.

So I guess it's one more change for the demo version, and another post for that. Sheesh.

Also, episode 2.0 is nearly done.


Don't Trust Your Eyes

I always knew Macs' gamma setting was higher than the PC gamma setting.

But I never really thought about it until today, when I realized that my old 'n busted Mac, which I built most of this game on, had a bad video card, too. And that meant that what I saw as 'spooky and a little dark' was just 'extremely dark and boring' to everyone else.

Here's a picture. The one on the right is the machine I built it on.

Yeah... pretty big difference. So I bumped the values up across the board for the game.
I hope everyone loves them.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

One guy, Lightwave and Unity.

The Dark Reef is an action/adventure game set at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

It's comprised of 12 chapters, with around 5 episodes per chapter. 
So that's... like 50 levels. Wait, 60. 

It's 60 levels. And it's being made in real time by me. 

I want to stress that this game is *not* the creation of a team of people. I don't even have an 'art guy'.  It's just one guy, me. Chilton Webb. I have a copy of LightWave3D and a copy of Unity3D. And I'm using them to tell a story.

See, I had an idea for a cool sci-fi story a few years ago,
and tried writing it down. Man, did that suck.

I tried making a graphic novel. It turns out I can't draw so well.

And I even tried to make a CG based movie. But I have a laptop.
Just rendering would take all my time.

And none of those got me results even close to what I wanted the
reader/viewer/user to experience.

But a game... that's the stuff. I can make a freakin' awesome game.

And that's what I did.

This game is basically that story, and I'm not sure if that story
would be possible through any other medium.

So what took me so long to start? The problem, looking back on it,
was that I didn't have these two critical pieces of the puzzle,
LightWave3D and Unity3D. But now, between the two, I can make
damned near anything. So I made my story.

This blog will be a behind-the-scenes look at how these two work
together so perfectly, and generally how the game is progressing.

I have to point out that knowing I'm committing to weekly updates,
and knowing that I have no problem making this claim at all, means
I have a massive amount of faith in both products and their futures.

If you have LightWave3D, you need to check out Unity3D.

If you have Unity3D, you need to check out LightWave3D.

And if you haven't done so already, go grab a copy of my game!

Even better, grab a copy and SUBSCRIBE,
so you can get all the awesome updates!

-Chilton Webb