Project Updates

What Have I Been Doing?

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

 

I’ve been pretty quiet for the past three weeks after I cancelled Scrappy’s Shootout, which I stopped working on since the alpha demo release about four weeks ago. I’d like to make a post to simply show that I haven’t given up my dream hobby and passion of game development and that I’m simply prototyping ideas and taking things easy as I adjust to my new lifestyle as a college student. Honestly, I’m more passionate now than ever. But also much busier than before.

 

I took a short break from game development, about two weeks or so. I primarily did it to rest up, get used to my new environment, and figure out what went wrong with my past project. Like I said, I still love game development, and I’m more passionate about it than I was before. Lately I’ve been meeting up with some local game developers from the region its been extremely motivating. Whenever you’re online, on Discord, Reddit, the Unity forums, or whatever else, you can meet a limitless amount of game developers which you can talk to, share creations with, and what not to keep you motivated. Its an amazing resource to have. But there’s something special about meeting up with real life developers that’s inspiring in its own special way. Seeing them create their projects, even if they don’t look too impressive or polished, is amazing. You don’t feel alone in the constant battle of game development anymore and you have a more source of guidance and support if you need it. So my game development hobby is far from dead.

 

Currently I’m working on a new prototype. I’ve got a decent understanding as to what it may but I’m still fleshing out the features. I’m making sure to build the core foundation of the game first to ensure its an enjoyable concept. This project is also one I’m more passionate about with it being a part of a genre I’m a fan of and it relying on unique aspects that I find enjoyable to develop. The goal is to make sure I don’t make the same three critical mistakes I made during Scrappy’s Shootout to ensure this game doesn’t also die when I release the alpha demo. But one concern I have is the ambition of the project. I’m a naturally ambitious and idealistic person and that tends to get me in trouble with me finding myself biting off more than I can chew on an often basis. I don’t only do this with game development, I do this with most aspects of my daily life, but its most recognizable in the projects I develop. Because of this the scope and ambition of my projects remains as a constant hurdle for me. I’m trying to plan accordingly.

 

My last statement will be regarding my previous blog post. The fourth major mistake I failed to acknowledge was that I was pushing myself way too much. I told myself I’d have to release a devlog every two weeks, and in each devlog I wrote, I’d list features I was going to showcase in the next version. As a result I was giving myself deadlines and telling myself I “had to” complete whatever features I was working on. I’d panic about lack of or unimpressive content for the next devlog. It wasn’t healthy, it caused stress, lowered productivity, and made the entire process enjoyable. I was being burnt out by it. The primary reason why I did this was because I was concerned about creating and maintaining a following and that obviously failed. I was being naive. In my next project I’m going to just go with the flow. I’ll release devlogs for substancial changes, developments, or announcements. I won’t force myself to record progress at set time intervals. I intend to make quality content. That’s all I should worry about. Nothing more.

Advertisements

Why I’ve Canceled Development of Scrappy’s Shootout

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

Why I’ve Canceled Development of Scrappy’s Shootout

 

While working on Scrappy’s Shootout I learned a number of things, from technical skills to the process of project development. Prior to this project my 3D modeling skills were abysmal, to the point of where I couldn’t even make basic models. I learned how to create and manage a website and Twitter. And I learned how to distribute packages, write devlogs, and more. But more importantly I learned from the mistakes I made during the project, which ultimately turned out to be fatal. I’ve realized that Scrappy’s Shootout is not worth the trouble due to a number of errors made during both the planning and development phases which I’ll discuss now.

Major mistake #1: No passion

When beginning Scrappy’s Shootout I never had an honest reason to make the game in the first place beyond doing it for the sake of doing it. For a small project this mindset might be sustainable but for a project that will last four, five months like my game was going to take, it quickly becomes a daunting task. The reason why I started Scrappy’s Shootout was because my nephew was playing this game called “Assault Cube”, a free to play first-person-shooter (FPS) I found on Linux Mint’s software manager. He really enjoyed this title and I realized I wanted to make a game that he and others might enjoy. So, I thought “Well, I guess I’ll make an FPS then.” and that’s when the planning for Scrappy’s Shootout began. I don’t know much about FPS games and I rarely play them in my free time. I don’t know what makes them fun or boring, I don’t know the standards of the genre, I just don’t know how to make an FPS. So, I wasn’t passionate about the genre I was developing around. I didn’t have any creative mechanics, no story, or art style that I was passionate about representing either. So I was pretty much doing it for the sake of doing it, which ultimately lead to me not enjoying the game I was working on. So instead of enjoying my time working on Scrappy’s Shootout I began to get annoyed by every little bug, not understanding why I didn’t enjoy the gameplay, and I found that it started to become a source of stress in my life, not a way to wind down. This is not at all a sustainable model for game development and leads to burnout and failure.

Major mistake #2: Not prototyping

The second major mistake I made was in the work flow of the project. In game development they have this term called “minimum viable product” which is essentially a barebones prototype. You’re meant to develop the core mechanics of the game and then determine if you should continue to build upon and develop these mechanics because they deliver the experience you intended. This is exactly what I didn’t do. Instead, I started making 3D models, wrote announcements and devlogs, made a website, and countless other things. While yes, I was developing the mechanics of the game, I was also spending a majority of my time doing other things which should’ve been spent on mechanics. About two months of hard work later, I built a demo, and I realized one thing: it sucked. The game is, well, boring. Nothing really stood out with Scrappy’s Shootout to me, the game just felt bland, flavorless, the type of game you might download to play for 5 minutes to mess around then never open again.

This really tanked my confidence as a developer. Two months of work with little to show for it. Now, I’m afraid to start a new project, out of fear of something like this happening again. But it’s important to learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Remember, this could have all been avoided if I just did one thing: prototype.

Major mistake #3: Ambition

The last mistake I’ll discuss is ambition. I still believe that Scrappy’s Shootout, a game which I planned to include five custom maps, a multiplayer matchmaking system, AI, and more, is a very achievable project. But it was still ambitious nevertheless. Many regard being ambitious as a good trait to have for a person or project, and in some ways, it is, but in reality it’s a double edged sword. Scrappy’s Shootout was going to take a lot of time, a lot of work, and a lot of energy to complete. On top of college coursework, my social life, and the discouraging feeling of spending your time on a project which you felt like was a failure, continuing on Scrappy’s Shootout was going to be very difficult. I would be more burnt out by the end than I already was which could very well end my passion for game development as a whole. So, while an ambitious project can be very grand and impressive, beautiful and fun, you must not forget and underestimate the work that comes with that ambition, and trust me, you will, even while you’re consciously aware of this fact. It’s just a part of the process.

Summary

If there’s anything to take away from this, it’s this: Firstly, make sure the project you’re working has a proper source of passion behind it to avoid losing motivation to work like I did. Secondly, make sure the game will deliver your intended experience by developing a prototype to properly play test those mechanics before beginning that heavy development cycle of rigging models, creating sound effects, or writing tweets. Lastly, make sure that you will have the time, energy, and capabilities to actually complete your project and fulfill your ambitions to avoid being burnt out due to your self-expectations.

I’ll likely pick up a smaller and less ambitious project after this but until then I’m taking it easy. I’ve learned my lessons and I’m a bit apprehensive to feel that burn again, a burn I’m sure all developers feel at least once in their lives, regardless of the advice from others. But hopefully this post might make expectations a bit more realistic and that burn not as harsh.

(Devlog-4) Scrappy’s Shootout – Demo Release

ScrappysShootout

 

Finally Scrappy’s Shootout has reached a basic, playable state! In this devlog I’m going to cover what Scrappy’s Shootout is, what’s in the demo, feedback, and what’s in store for the future. Stay tuned!

 

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

 

What is Scrappy’s Shootout?

For those that are just tuning in Scrappy’s Shootout is a casual first person shooter with an emphasis on simplicity while delivering an enjoyable experience. There isn’t much that’s special about Scrappy’s Shootout other than its casual nature and family friendly atmosphere. While the demo isn’t a perfect representation of what I’m going for it is fairly close.

game

What’s In The Demo?

The game, in its current state, only has one map and one game mode in singleplayer. Multiplayer has not been implemented as of yet and three to four more maps for the game are planned alongside three more game modes: team deathmatch, capture the flag, and last man standing. The game does have controller support which you can find in the settings menu. Only one powerup, healthpacks, are in the game at the moment sadly. The bots in the game are basic and buggy, so be warned. The game will be better when facing others! There’s not much else. The game is relatively simple and you will see that for yourself when you launch the game.

Unity_2017-08-09_09-56-35

Feedback

The primary reason I’m releasing this demo is to receive one thing: feedback. Please give me feedback on the demo. What did you like about it? What’d you dislike? Did you experience any bugs? Have a suggestion? Send me an email to CardinalGameStudios@outlook.com or Tweet at me @CardinalGS! All feedback would be immensely appreciated.

You can download the current build from itch.io or from my website here.

 

What’s In Store For The Future

In the future I plan to release updated builds of the game I’m currently doing. I won’t have a set frequency of how often I update, I still plan to do bi-weekly devlogs, but releasing will likely be irregular due to the size of updates. For instance, if one devlog I do a bunch of work on art, develop a map, etc, I will release that as an update. If in another I begin work on a multiplayer system I wouldn’t due to that requiring far more time to develop and test.

If you wish to stay tuned you can follow me on Twitter or check in on my site every now and then. Don’t forget to give feedback! Stay tuned!

(Devlog-3) Two Week Roundup, Demo Date, AI & More

ScrappysShootout

Hey everyone! In the past weeks I accomplished a lot, from the design decisions like removing recoil, artistic improvements by adding UI sprites, and gameplay updates by establishing the core of the games AI. I said that if I made enough progress I’d be able to release a demo by this devlog but it seems like I’ve fallen a bit short. I have plenty of work to get done before the demo is released but I’m well on that track. My goal for the demo is to give a solid feel of what the gameplay will feel like so I can get plenty of insight and criticism on it. That way I can improve and make it better for the player!
My goal for a demo release is currently August the 15th.

 

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

Two Week Roundup

In the past two weeks, as I’ve already mentioned, I’ve added a few new features. Here’s a little run down of what those include, and I may include a short summary for some.

– Scrappy Bots

2017-08-09_10-01-25
A large chunk of the last two weeks was dedicated to developing and debugging the AI in the game. They have the basic patrol, attack, and flee patterns based on the situation given. They are still very basic and predictable but they will do for now.

– Some animation touchups

– FPS Arms & Animation

2017-08-09_09-47-21

– Created Singleplayer Match Setup

Devlog3pic2

– Updated UI sprites

Devlog3pic1

– Added healthpack powerup

2017-08-09_09-52-59

– Removed recoil

I implemented recoil in the game because I thought it was standard for FPS games to have them and it gave the firing mechanic a sense of feedback. I realized this was only distracting for the player and no other games really had it. This lead to me implementing the FPS arms and animations.

 

Demo To Do List

The following are things I still need to get done to get the demo ready:

– IK Player Torso Movement (For aiming)
– First Person HUD & Sprites
– Death sound and animation
– Death camera
– A bit of polish & tweaks

Once the demo is ready I will provide a download link and will definitely be open to feedback. I’d like to make this game as enjoyable of an experience as I possibly can. But after running this game over and over again tweaking and debugging the littlest of features, its hard to tell what might make the game fun.

More news will be released on August the 15th, hopefully with a playable demo! Follow me on Twitter @CardinalGS to stay updated on progress!

(Mini Project-Delivery Bot) What I Learned Making My First Game Jam Game

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

 

Making this Ludum Dare project was probably one of the harder projects I’ve done. No, not because its graphically impressive, or mechanically complex (I think those things are obvious when you first boot up the game), it was hard because of my own self confidence the the pressure I put upon myself starting this project. I went into Ludum Dare 39 having very high hopes. I did not expect to make a big game, but I expected to make a good game. I don’t feel like I’ve achieved that goal.

Logo

When it comes to creativity, don’t think of your limitations.

When I discovered the theme was “Running out of power” my heart sunk. This was one of the few themes I had no idea for and it just got chosen. Immediately I wanted to give up, because I sat there for two hours with a blank notepad document infront of me, rattling my brain for ideas. I had no ideas. I eventually caved and decided to just make an infinite runner, and a mediocre one at that.

Now, looking back on it, I could’ve made so many cool things if I didn’t worry about the expectations I was putting upon myself. What if I made an RC race car game? Perhaps a puzzle platformer? Maybe a sci-fi game where your gun had charges? Why not a turn-based Pokemon clone with a power mechanic added to that? I have so many ideas now and its because I’m not screaming to myself all of the qualifications I must meet. “It has to be fun, it has to be simple, and it has to be achievable.” I spent so much time thinking of that one sentence that I had just about none leftover to actually think of the idea for my game.

I think that’s the first lesson I learned working on this Ludum Dare project. If you let your creative side run free and write down all of those wacky ideas that come to your head, and then begin to strip down those ideas so it resembles a more basic, achievable counterpart, then you will have a much better time at the drawing board for any project you work on, not just a three day game jam like Ludum Dare.

DeliverybotScreenshot

Everyone is better than you, but that’s no excuse to give up.

When I finally began development of Delivery Bot I immediately felt the pain of feeling like your game will be mediocre at best. When developing the art all I could think was “This looks weird.”, “These colors are all off”, “How can I make this not look like a 3-year-old’s MS Paint creation?” This has always been a challenge of mine, this was not new But this, combined with developing and playtesting the mechanics of the game, made me feel very disappointed in what I had to present.

So, I made a mistake. I looked at other peoples progress so far, on Twitter, on the Ludum Dare website, and on some Discord servers. That did not help at all. At the time I took it much more personally than I should have. I viewed it in less of a “this is a bad project” kind of way, and in more of a “I’ll never make good games” kind of way. I didn’t even want to show my game to the world, I felt like a failure. I was downright embarrassed, perhaps even ashamed, of it by this point. And it made me think of my main project, Scrappy’s Shootout and how it will turn out, or if I’ll ever even finish it. I was seriously feeling discouraged by this point. I wanted to give up.

But I was determined not to give up, even if every fiber in my body was screaming at me to do so. I was tired of giving up, that’s pretty much all I’ve done in the past, and I have nothing to show for it. Sometimes you may hate your project, your job, your relationship, your life, or yourself, but giving up has never been a real option, because in all honesty, it gets nothing done. Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and push through the thick of it. Tell yourself it isn’t something you can do, its something you have to do. It’s not an option. Shipping a bad game is better than shipping no game at all. Completing a bad project, start to finish, gives you the experience you need to complete a good project, start to finish. Giving up does not give you that experience. This mentality applies to a lot of aspects to life, not just game development, and its helped me through a lot. If you push through, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Even if I hate still hate the game I made, I’m proud of what I learned as a result of it. Game development isn’t always fun. Neither is life. Sometimes it sucks. But as long as you stick around those enjoyable days will return. That is why giving up is not an option.

Delivery Bot

If you’d like to play Delivery Bot, you can visit its itch.io page here. In short, its just a little infinite runner where you must deliver mail for points and collect batteries to stay charged.

 

Check out my other posts to see information on my main project, Scrappy’s Shootout, a multiplayer FPS game with a focus on being family friendly and fun!

(Devlog-2) Scrappy’s Shootout: Animations, Controls, And More

Logo

In this second devlog of Scrappy’s Shootout I’m going to cover who Scrappy is, new content that has been added to the game, my plans for Ludum Dare, and what I plan to do in the next two weeks.

It’s been a productive two weeks and I’ve gotten a nice amount done. Here’s to another fruitful two weeks! If were lucky and things aren’t too challenging within the coming weeks then we may get to see a playable demo release in the next devlog!

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

 

Who Is Scrappy?

Scrappy is the main character in Scrappy’s Shooutout. Scrappy is who you play as in the game, and also who you play against. What? How does that work? Remember, Scrappy’s Shooutout is a simulation. So Scrappy is used to this! Scrappy is smart, but shy, so he doesn’t like to speak up, so you won’t be hearing much from him. He always wears his favorite brightly colored suit and helmet with color changing technology, which he calls the Scrappy Suit! Here’s a look:

preview

His weapon of choice is his laser gun, the Rei X, the best fully automatic laser rifle ever designed. Heres what that looks like, too:

preview

 

New Content

In the past two weeks we’ve added a couple additional features, designed two systems, and created some animations.

The first feature added was controller support! That’s correct. The game will have the option to use either the keyboard+mouse on the PC or a gaming controller! Here’s me testing it out:

contorller

Another feature added to the game was the ability to shoot with recoil! The shots in between are delayed and recoil is added to make it a bit more challenging to fire at one another. This may be subject to change.

In the game I’ve designed two new features: the advanced AI and the UI. The AI will be explained further in depth when it’s been implemented later on. Here’s a little look at the UI design. Remember, this is still early alpha!

preview

In the game I’ve implemented three new animations. I’ve added the idle, crouching idle, and shooting idle animations for the player. Here’s some gifs and screenshots of them in-game!

preview

shooting

crouch

 

 

What’s Next?

In the next update I’d like to deliver the following: AI pathfinding, AI algorithms, more animations, UI implementation, and more. If you’d like to be updated on daily progress and updates check my Twitter @CardinalGS

 

Ludum Dare

Cardinal Game Studios will be participating in Ludum Dare 39! Progress will be updated on Twitter (@CardinalGS) as development progresses. If all goes well the completed mini-game will be documented in a single devlog, along with a download link!

 

The third devlog for Scrappy’s Shootout will be released in two weeks. Stay tuned!

 

(Devlog-1) Project Announcement: Scrappy’s Shootout

Logo
Very early alpha logo

What is “Scrappy’s Shootout”?

Scrappy’s Shootout is a free to play multiplayer First Person Shooter being developed by Cardinal Game Studios with planned releases on a number of platforms. In Scrappy’s Shootout players are transported into a virtual world where they are to combat both one another and robots in an arena setting to see who’s the greatest of them all! Who is Scrappy? Scrappy is the main character of the game. He is the dude in the brightly colored suit and helmet. He is who you control whenever transported into the virtual world! That being said, it might be a bit strange to fight Scrappy, playing as Scrappy. But Scrappy is used to this. More information on Scrappy will be released later.

cardinal logo

Cardinal Game Studios

Twitter

Gameplay

The gameplay of Scrappy’s Shootout is intended to be a fast paced, simple, easy to pickup multiplayer first person shooter, with an emphasis on a more casual gaming community. The movement is designed to be quick to make the game more action oriented and engaging, rather than slow and tactical.
The controls and mechanics of Scrappy’s Shootout will remain rather traditional by FPS standards to make the game easier to understand for both children and casual gamers alike. Rather than bogging it down with gimmicks and quirks we decided to make Scrappy’s Shootout a simple, down-to-earth shooter meant to be enjoyed by an audience most often neglected by the genre. The game will feature power ups, three dimensional movement, and more. In other words, your standard gameplay.
The game features four game modes, each belonging to two categories: Team vs team play, and free for all play. The game modes included are team deathmatch, capture-the-flag, last-man-standing, and free-for-all. Players will have the choice to play these four game modes on five different maps, by choice of the match host.
The game also sports multiplayer play. Players will be able to create public or private rooms and will be able to decide the game mode, number of players, and the map type. Private rooms will be locked with a special PIN number created by the player. Additionally, the player can decide to fill their match with bots if they do not have enough players in the lobby, which will be filled via the match making system.
Lastly, for the gameplay, the game will support both controllers and keyboard+mouse combos on the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of the game.

Art

The general art style of Scrappy’s Shootout is meant to be rather cartoonish, silly, and colorful to make it as appealing to children as possible, and not an eye sore to any adults playing the game as well. Visually, the art is low poly with a toon shader applied to them to give off that simple, cartoonish feel that we’re going for. Here’s two examples from in-game models:

Dev1Pic
Dev1Pic

These are early alpha versions of the models and my be subject to change at a later date. But they do give a good feel of the art style.
The music and SFX in-game is intended to compliment both the visual nature of the game along with its gameplay. Upbeat and fast. There are currently no examples of any audio from the game. However, in later devlogs we will release more information on the state of the audio in our game.

Release information

Scrappy’s Shootout, upon release, will be entirely free to play, with no DLC, microtransactions, or ads in the game. The game is meant to be an enjoyable, hassle-free experience for the player.
Currently, Scrappy’s Shootout’s release date is unknown, but is planned for sometime during the Winter of 2017. The game is set to release on Windows, Mac, Linux, and the Amazon Fire TV (controller required). The Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire platforms will not be supported due to traditional FPS controls not porting well to the touch screen. More information will be released as development continues.

New Content

Here’s some screenshots of some stuff we’ve developed in the past week:
animation

We’ve rigged Scrappy and gave him a basic running animation

Dev1Pic

We’ve imported the first map into Unity and are hammering out any kinks