DEVELOPMENT IS GOING WELL!
NO THE FLATHEAD IS NOT THE FINAL CHARACTER ITS JUST A PLACEHOLDER i'M USING TILL I GET THE REAL ART
(come on people use some common sense)
HI I M NEW HER U GUYZ SEM KO0L!!1!!1!11!!
Age 33, Male
Joined on 12/28/04
Posted by Glaiel-Gamer - April 22nd, 2009
Posted by Glaiel-Gamer - March 21st, 2009
GDC is this week.
If you're going you should go to this:
This will be my first time speaking in public
Posted by Glaiel-Gamer - March 8th, 2009
March 22nd: Flash Gaming Summit
Aether is up for an award
Please vote for it!
I will be attending so I'll finally get to meet YOU PEOPLE who I've always considered just null-terminated strings transmitted through the internet.
March 23-29: Game Developers Conference
I'm gonna be here too. I'm giving a small presentation, more details on that to come.
Posted by Glaiel-Gamer - February 25th, 2009
If you haven't played my most recent project, Closure, I strongly recommend that you go play it. This is the 3rd article I'm writing about the game, and it is on the subject of how to communicate fear.
Now, near the end of Closure's development cycle I started to show the finished product to more people. I had purposely made the game to have a creepy atmosphere, however I wasn't really trying to make a frightening game, just creepy. There's a difference here, in that "creepy" generally relates to a mood and an environment, while "frightening" manifests itself into conscious fear. Yet, some people playing my game said they freaked out at parts, or jumped, or on the edge of their seats- all effects of someone being truly scared rather than just creeped out.
Thinking about why this happened was an interesting experience too. It's a side effect of the mood we created in the game, not necessarily a conscious design choice. I thought about what other games and movies did to try to frighten people. Zombies, gore, screaming, lightning, shape shifting backgrounds, surprises, and somewhat random, loud noises. This stuff doesn't really effect me though. I don't know too many people who are scared of zombies anymore, and people learn to expect what's coming to them in a horror game, therefore you end up with a lot of people disappointed that the game didn't really cause them to be frightened, because their own mind imagined something much worse than the games actually had.
And herein lies the difference between the games that try to be frightening and the games that actually are frightening. Games that try to be frightening try too hard. They do all they can to spell out what people are to be afraid of, through the use of gore, zombies, screaming, and dialog. There's no room for imagination. "I wonder what's going to be around this corner... oh just another screaming zombie *blam* ok he's dead." That's not frightening, that's startling. People often confuse the two because often times fear can cause you to be startled over simple things.
My game, however (and I'm not saying that this is unique to my game or anything) leaves a lot open to interpretation. In addition, nothing eventful happens in my game. There's nothing to be afraid of if you look at it logically- no enemies, no consequence of death. All fear people feel is purely psychological, just like most real fears. People come into the game expecting the type of horror they're used to seeing, and when there is none their minds start imagining it for them. People jump because they think a bush is some demon, they keep thinking something could be following them, they fear something jumping out of the darkness to "get them". Yet none of this happens, and the longer it goes on not happening, the more the mind fears what could happen.
Not everyone gets scared, however the beauty in this is that if they aren't, they won't complain about it "not being scary" because that isn't the main point. I'd rather have a few people be genuinely freaked out than a lot of people complaining that it doesn't do it for them.
In terms of portraying emotions in a game, fear is probably one of the hardest to get right because everyone's been desensitized to gore and screaming. Sadness is probably the easiest, which is why you see so many artsy things have a sad and depressing story to them. Speaking of sad games, Aether was nominated for a Mochi award. I will be there, so wish me luck and good luck to everyone else nominated!
Posted by Glaiel-Gamer - February 8th, 2009
If you haven't played my most recent project, Closure, I strongly recommend that you go play it. This is the 2nd article I'm writing about the game, and it is on the subject of story and art games.
Now, the last console game I really played was Braid last august. It was great and changed the way I looked at games as a medium, and I wanted to create a game that manages to have a really interesting, well developed story and fun gameplay that can stand out on its own, but also provides a metaphor for overarching storyline ("art game" for lack of a better term). Luckily for me, like a week after I was done playing Braid, Edmund McMillen approached me and we began working on Aether. It was fun to work on a game that has meaning to it, and that combined with the influence of Braid sorta stuck me in the mood to make another "art game", of my design this time.
In the beginning of the development of Closure, I had planned to have a large focus on its story, and a lot of text and hidden text all over the place to tell it. I had notes written down for exactly what I would tell the player, what would be left open to interpretation, what the literal level of the story is and what the metaphorical layer of the story is. There was a lot of planning here, and a lot going on in my head about what it could become.
Yet, as the game developed itself, the gameplay aspect of it was emerging to be much more compelling than I originally thought it would be. The graphics and the loneliness of the game really began to set a very interesting mood, one a very fragile mood that could have easily been broken by the wrong text or content. Also, I stopped trying to make the level design fit the story, because I didn't want to impose unnecessary limitations on my designs.
Then it came time for me to write dialog for the game. The levels were done, and they were in the process of being decorated with environment stuff. As I tried to write dialog, I realized that I just can't do that. A couple of the dialog lines fit with the mood and the story and remain mysterious, but the vast majority were bad in one way or another. I scrapped it all, and write 10 short lines (in addition to tutorial stuff) to hide in the levels (and there they remain). They play out, if you read them all at once, like a very short conversation. Each line stands out on its own, while remaining part of the short conversation. This scattered text fit the game a lot better than a lot of cheesy text, and I think in the end, keeping the text to a minimum worked a lot better in this game than trying to go with my original plans.
The main story is still there, just told in a much different way, one that doesn't kill the mysterious, creepy mood that emerged during development. I've seen my fair share of games that try too hard to be "arty" that they lose track of the fact that they could have been a great game if they focused on the mechanic instead of the story. As you realize how interesting the gameplay mechanic is, the focus needs to shift from telling a compelling story to making a compelling game.
P.S. Thanks for the monthly 2nd Newgrounds!
Posted by Glaiel-Gamer - February 1st, 2009
If you haven't played my most recent project, Closure, I strongly recommend that you go play it. It is my personal favorite of the games I've created, and by far my most ambitious project to date (although now that I am in the process of moving on to a more advanced language, c++, I have an outlet for more ambitious games than I could ever dream of making in flash). Anyway, I will be writing a few articles on the development process of that game. More thought went into it than any project I've done in the past, partially because I can't think of any other games to compare its mechanic too (although I can definitely compare the end result to Portal and Braid), and partially because I had just finished a game which required the second most thought I've ever put into a game, Aether. I have a lot of things to say about the game that I just need to write down, so maybe you'll read them or maybe you won't, it just feels good to put my thoughts in writing rather than let them steep in my head with nowhere to go.
The process by which I came up with the idea for this game was very different from how I normally work. Normally, ideas tend to pop into my head randomly, and I'll write them down for later use or start working then and there. Not for this one. I saw some black and white art, and was playing around with Adobe Pixel Bender, wondering if I could make a filter that turns a full-color black and white. It looked kinda cool, and I wondered if I could make a game to fit with that graphics style. I said I didn't want to do a simple platformer where everything is dark. This is overused in games, and an unnecessary and painful restriction on what the player can and can't do. I always hated the dark parts of games. They were frustrating for the wrong reasons and I always wished those areas would be over fast. Somewhere around this train of thought the idea came to me to only let the player walk on what is currently visible. It wasn't the perfect idea at the time, and I filed it under "It's the best I have so far, so I'll do that unless I come up with something better." I'm glad I didn't come up with something "better."
The last big puzzle game I release (besides Aether, which was more of a story-based adventure than a puzzle) was Blockslide 2. Blockslide 2 was something I put too much work into. I wanted a massive variety of puzzles, however the only way to do that within the confines of the game was to make a massive number of blocks which all had unique interactions with all the other blocks. I made 150 levels for that game, yet most people never played past the 25 levels in the tutorial. It wasn't well received and I'm pretty sure the reason was because I overwhelmed people with the amount they had to know in order to get into the game and play it. I made it a goal to keep the number of objects in Closure you need to memorize to a minimal. There are essentially 5 types of objects to memorize. Orb (2 variations), Pedestal (2 variations), Key, Door, and No Drop Zone.
The name of the game, "Closure", came pretty early on. It comes from the Gestalt Law of Closure, which states, "The mind may experience elements it does not perceive through sensation, in order to complete a regular figure (that is, to increase regularity)." This is what your mind does when it fills in the blanks, which, ironically, is what I force your mind to NOT do when playing this game. Yet, the word "Closure" in itself has multiple more common meanings, which can all relate to this game in some way or another. It was pretty much the perfect title for the game, and I'm glad I found it so early on. When we made Aether, it was literally the day before release that we found "Aether" for the name.
This is the closure of the first article. You can expect a few more to come before I run out of stuff to say, and I hope that you get something out of them. The next article will have something a little more specific to make, and a point. Cya next time!