Using this fancy new tumblr app for the windows phone, hopefully will be about to blog more on the run. Just starting to get off the ground with the new feature that I am working on, and I am trying hard to learn the way of the tester at Microsoft. Lots of feedback on my test design spec ( which is great!) and almost ready to start writing some automated code. Pretty exciting stuff for me :-)
So it’s been a whirlwind couple of months. I have gotten engaged to a beautiful woman, started working at Microsoft, and finally started feeling adjusted to life in Seattle.
I have joined Microsoft working on the Windows Phone as a SDET, meaning I get to test all of the cool new features of the new operating system. I have been using a Windows Phone instead of my iPhone 4 for the last month, and I can honestly say I could not see myself leaving the platform. Additionally, I have begun some development on some WP7 apps and ports of my games from Xbox to the phone.
It is an exciting time to be at Microsoft, and the culture here definitely reflects that. Morale is high here, and everyone strongly believes that we have a product that will succeed not only in the US markets, but also oversees. I am very excited for the future of not just WP7, but for Microsoft products in general. Hopefully, I will be able to find the time to update this dev blog with my own personal app development.
So the last semester has been pretty hectic, with three classes at NYU (including my capstone in Advanced Databases), working part time at Noise Marketing as a QA analyst, and tutoring on the side. But I have finally graduated from NYU, and that means that I will have time to focus more on games while I begin the push for a full-time employment.
Currently, I hope to get things moving with the release of FMJ to the XBLIG marketplace this week. Very excited to see my game on the store. More updates to come!
Briefly, here is the current status of Fun Metal Jacket:
- All players now have crosshairs that are contolled by the right thumbstick. Instead of shooting as soon as the thumbstick is pushed in a direction, the right trigger must be pressed to fire your gun.
- To throw a grenade, the left stick is pressed and then released. The longer the trigger is pressed, the further the ‘nade will go.
These two changes are a bit of a depart from what has been the shooting mechanic for almost the entire life of the game. Did a bit of play-testing and it seemed to work as a mechanic, but will have to continue to gather more feedback.
So up until this point, we have have used art by the great Kathy Yu, who went from zero Photoshop knowledge to semi-expert in only 6 weeks! Now that the game design workshop has ended, we thought it would be cool to add my artist friend Kevin Carew-Bynoe to the team. Kathy will remain on the team as a project-manager and producer role.
Kevin is a dedicated artist, and he has begun sketch work on the new assets. The following few posts will be the sketches Kevin has done so far.
Looking forward to the new art direction!
Adding more and more guns.
Currently, shotguns (limited range, 5 bullets shot, 30 damage per shot, spread of about 35°) and grenades (explode after a set range, can be thrown over obstacles, with about 75 damage in a radius smaller than bombs) have been implemented.
Next up I want to include turrets that require time to build up but then fire automatically.
The other thing we wanted to add was to have these power weapons have a limited ammunition, possibly with the option to select a starting power weapon before the game begins.
Twitter user @ertayshashko was having the same problem with collision detection in XNA that I was having a few weeks back, so I thought I’d try help out with my solution.
This solution is for a circle and a polygon, so the it remains highly extensible if you want to add complex polygons (although convex polygons might give you problems).
The collision detection works as follows:
Hope this was useful!
Now that the game design workshop is done, I want to work on a couple of new features. I don’t have too much time before school starts up again, but this is where I want to be focusing my hobby programming effort (I also need to find a job, but that is a different part of the brain).
First up is bots. Right now, FMJ is a great game when you have 4 players. However, it does not live up to my standard of fun when played with just 1 or 2 players. How to solve this (without online multiplayer support, which is planned) problem? Computer bots playing the missing players.
Thanks to Mattia’s suggestion, I intend to implement A* pathfinding. There are few tutorials I have begun to read over, and it does not seem to difficult.
Will update as bots become more of a reality.
Other future features include:
This summer, I have been taking two classes at NYU: a Game Design Workshop, which produced Fun Metal Jacket, and a class called Designing Social Platforms, taught by John Kuiphoff.
All of these subjects I had previous knowledge of, but where I learned the most was the most effective and cohesive ways to combine all of these technologies.
I am currently finishing up the prototype of my social network, PortfolioQuest. I wanted to design a social network where the portfolio was the focus. Intended for creative types, I want the site to promote the sharing of creative works, the discovery of other talent, and enable networking in a clear manner. All of this I put under the veil of a Quest, complete with plans of experience gain (xp), a leveling system, as well as unlockables and meta-games.
It was an ambitious project for such a small time period, but it has come a long way in a short time. I am excited to keep working on it even after the class ends, but I know school work has a way of taking priority. Hopefully it will exist in some form or fashion publicly, and I look forward to sharing it when it is ready.