Game Development: How did I start making video games? (Part 6)

Welcome to your doom!

Previously on “HDISMVG” Part 5:

“I…greeted…an even greater abomination called college…But…I was…a gaming computer.”


I was introduced to a new program called Game Maker 8.1. It’s white interface with quirky icons like a red pac-man boggled my mind. I remember opening the application up, only to be greeted by a bizarre tutorial telling me how to make a game about clicking a clown. It made me a bit concerned for the mental health of the Yoyo games employee that created it.

Even though I felt a great amount of discomfort at the idea of catching a clown in a game, I proceeded to follow the tutorial. I didn’t really understand what I was doing, I just did what the tutorial told me to do. After continually going back and forth looking at the tutorial, I’d remember the MIDI song that would play while I clicked on the clown that moved around the screen.

At this point I was done making video games, I worked as hard as I could and got the recognition that I deserved. It got so crazy that it got to the point where I could make the worst game possible and yet my fans would adore everything I made. I sold so many copies that eventually Yoyo games had to owe me back money for using their application. Moving forward, nowadays I spend most of my time sipping pina coladas in my private cabana.

Oh right, sorry I got lost there for a second.

The game worked, I’d look at some other stuff they had like a platforming game like mario and a pac-man game of sorts. But something about mindlessly doing what someone else told me to do didn’t really teach me anything. Progress would slow down a bit, I wasn’t really sure what to do after following the tutorials.

It was only then, that I would google search my way to victory and find a book called The Game Maker’s Apprentice. This book is the sole reason I really took off with making games.

This book changed my life

While it is pretty out of date since it was focused towards gm 8.1. It contained some great explanations for game design and would allow you to create a handful of games that actually worked. But while I could have fallen into the same trap of just mindlessly following the tutorials in the book, this time I wanted to really try and at least hypothesize and understand why the tutorial was telling me to do certain things.

One of the games I made with Game Maker’s Apprentice.

Somethings I found that helped me to learn more effectively:

  • Try to make your own assets, trust me you will feel a greater sense of ownership and accomplishment even though you followed the tutorial.
  • Don’t just mindlessly do what they tell you to do in a tutorial, if they introduce a new concept to you, take a moment and really try to study what it is about, go online and just spend a couple seconds understanding it. If you don’t understand it, it’s possible you’ll be left behind in the dust unable to understand later stuff down the road.
  • Don’t make games about catching clowns.

Perhaps in a future blog post, I will go over some of these old games I made from the Game Maker’s Apprentice.

I will admit that it’s kind of lame that I would drop something like this to you, especially if you were interested in using the Game Maker’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, they’re so out of date that I don’t really think they’ll do newer revisions (and who knows Game Maker will eventually keep upgrading with more nonsense like Game Maker 3, and then Game Maker Remastered, Game Maker Ultimate, Game Maker Classic Revisited, Game Maker Modern Warfare, etc.). But despite that, there are so many free up to date tutorials nowadays that you can make some pretty great stuff.

One last thing before I go, I found that Open Source Projects are an amazing way to learn really fast. If you come across them, you can really study how they put the game together, how they programmed their systems like physics and so on. Doing little things like changing the sprites or sound effects are a great way to see how it works. But whatever you do, DON’T export the game out there as if you made it unless the creator gives you permission to do so (Seriously).

In the next post, I’ll give a quick rundown of useful stuff that I learned from this journey.

To be concluded…

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com

Game Development: How did I start making video games? (Part 5)

Howdy Howdy gang, Continuing from last time…

I graduated from the abomination of society known as high-school, only to be greeted by an even greater abomination called college. But aside from that, things were looking good, now that I was done with high-school, I would finally build a gaming computer.

Yes this is the same computer I still use to this day.

After struggling to finally get this thing to work, I’d be introduced to a whole new realm of gaming and software. During this time, I’d play games like Team Fortress 2, Fallout 3 and other really bad free to play shooters which I look back on and cringe at…well…I’ll explain in a bit.

As you may know, years ago I spent a lot of my time going to websites to play flash games and watch flash animations, which influenced me to want to create flash animations. Well during this time in college, I’d spend countless hours on youtube watching frag videos (also known as montages, xxxSnipezxxxNoscopezxxx APOCALYPSE epic movie or MLG swag moments). I think you can see the pattern here, seeing these frag videos made me really want to get into making montages.

And well, I’d use screen recording software and record myself playing games, then edit my amazing moments which would lead to me receiving death threats from 13 years olds online, awesome.

I’d learn to use After Effects to do eye popping effects which I look back on and really didn’t know how to put a leash on my desire to let loose and create. While I think the videos had questionable effects used, I think this was a necessary thing to have happen, because rampantly using different effects really did help me learn and led to me gaining the experience to use my video editing skills for actual work.

But wait, what happened to my animations? Well, this was sort of my dropping off point for flash animation. I still have a soft spot for flash anime.

A bit lacking in the weight of some actions but good nonetheless.

Some reason, I had this obsession with having a lot of frames. This was a scene from a scrapped animation called Cat vs Fly.

The animation was about a cat getting pestered by a house fly, and he would go through great lengths to kill it. based on a true story.

I was really into gaming, this was a joke animation about Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare. I think it would have Matrix antics and a Dragon Ball Z moment where a guy snipes multiple guys in a row, and the joke was it was a 5 year old who pulled it off.

The one below was probably the most ambitious one for me, of course, it never got finished, and honestly I don’t plan to finish it. Still some interesting ideas here and there.

Honestly there’s a lot of videos I made during this time, like…A LOT. I’m not going to go over them because they’re cringe worthy and just, not that great. (I mean that’s not completely true, there are some I’ve made that I still hold near and dear)

That was the most vertical slice post I could have made, because there is so much to show but honestly I think you get the idea. This point in my life was definitely one of dreams, curiosity and an outright ambitious desire to learn new skills. I didn’t really complete my ambitious projects, but I felt it would be good to show this avenue because well, as much as making frag videos may seem irrelevant to making actual games, they are, and they played an important part in the exploration of skills and lessons which would eventually lead to helping me learn to create games.

Oh, right we were supposed to talk about games. I’m sure you’re curious how I somehow got back into learning to try and actually make games this time.

During my sophomore year in college I met someone in the cafeteria named Michael, and I would rekindle my passion for making games with the software non-other than-…

Game Maker 8.1

To be continued…

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com

Game Development: How did I start making video games? (Part 4)

Howdy gang, just want to let you know that I do have a twitter, and I’ll be sharing some GIFs from a small project that I’m working on with my friends from Cincinatti, JollyCroutonMedia and AustinPandemic.

It’s called…FRANCHISE WARS, a strategy game where two franchises engage in an all out war to dominate the food industry…

Logo Designed by Clayton Belcher

Programming done by Austin Huebner

Art by Brandon Song-………..Smith…John Smith

Motion Capture by Team Xbox

I’ll keep you guys updated as we get it wrapped up.


So let’s continue on from last time…

So now that I’ve entered my later high school days, I knew I wanted to get better at my art and learn new things.

During this time of my life, I took classes for computer graphics, where I’d learn how to use Photoshop, Flash Animation and make maps in Unreal Tournament 2004. These classes were my favorites to go to. Being able to finally use programs to create digital artwork was so exciting.

Flash Animation!

Below I’ll share some flash animation stuff I did, think of this as if it were a really amateur digital museum. Enjoy!

Shape Tween, pretty basic stuff, I remember getting the start to morph was difficult to figure out. Not sure what's going on with the 'M'.

Shape Tween, pretty basic stuff, I remember getting the star to morph was difficult to figure out. Not sure what’s going on with the ‘M’.

This was fun, I the ghost bottom part was my favorite part to animate.

This was fun, bottom part of the ghost was my favorite part to animate.

We'd learn to turn the bike clip art into a symbol, and manipulate it so it'd do cool stuff like flips.

We would learn to turn the bike clip art into a symbol, and manipulate it so that it would do cool stuff like flips. (And stop on a dime, defying the laws of physics, yes it is intentional, it’s my poetic interpretation, there you can’t criticize the landing anymore.)

I'm not even sure why I made this, I think were simply were assigned to work with pixel art, but then I took it to a whole new level with a stick figure getting GTA'd.

I’m not even sure why I made this, I think were simply were assigned to work with pixel art, but then I took it to a whole new level with a stick figure getting GTA’d.

I believe I just reskinned this guy’s tutorial: http://www.gotoandplay.it/_articles/2007/04/skeletal_animation.php

FALCON PUNCH…nah

I did this very late in my senior year. Man the characters lack weight to their movements but I like how smooth it is.

This running boy...

This running boy…

Photoshop stuff!

Here are several graphics I made photoshop CS3 (Yeah that’s right, the golden age before Adobe got greedy with Creative Cloud).

I’d learn to work with photoshop’s layer effects to create purty graphix.

My old cellphone wallpaper graphic, feel free to use and boast about me so I can never fulfill the unrealistic expectations of others.

My old cellphone wallpaper graphic, feel free to use it and boast about me so I can never fulfill the unrealistic expectations of others.

Logo design, such glow, very wow.

We were assigned to do a collage of our favorite characters I think? (But really this was the dream Smash Bros 6 Cast.)

We were assigned to do a collage of our favorite characters I think? (But really this was the dream Smash Bros 6 Cast.)

BOOM

We would use the Clone Stamp tool to remove elements in an image (This is an animated GIF)

We would use the Clone Stamp tool to remove elements in an image (This is an animated GIF)

Diamond explosion

A great avatar, I think I will use this in the future…

The class had a small graphics tablet, what a quality drawing by a quality boy.

not great

Pop Arte

A real business, give them a call

I’m telling you, it IS real

Unreal 2004 Map

I unfortunately don’t have Unreal Tournament 2004 to see the map I created.

The Map file does exist…

This was a super ambitious final project map that 2 other guys and I collaborated on to create a large scale map. The premise was that it took place on a large beach cliff island with two opposing bases, but then you could go inside the bases to enter a giant tunnel that connected the two bases inside the mountain. The cliff was pretty high up so you would die if you fell off.

Vague recreation of the map, I'm pretty sure the actual map did not have trees and islands.

Vague recreation of how I remember the map looked, I’m pretty sure the actual map did not have trees and islands. (can click this image to see the larger size)

I have very fond memories of Unreal Tournament 2004, what a great time to be a real boy. (wat)

Later when I would graduate from High-school, I would finally experience having a new computer. After finally putting it together, a whole new realm was opened up to me (Actually to this day I still use the same computer to make my artwork.). I’d not only be able to play games like Team Fortress 2 and Fallout 3 at high settings without hiccups, but I’d learn about creating videos and further developing my music making.

To be continued…

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com