Happy New Year!

Hey folks,

I know I haven’t posted in a long while, and I’m really sorry about that!

The past semester was pretty crazy, and I ended up spending most of my time at school, working on projects and assignments.  I know I’ve talked about the intensity of DigiPen before, but the second year definitely turns it up.  And just like anything else, if you want to be really good at something, you have to put in a huge amount of time.  My team probably averaged a little over 80 hours a week at school the past semester, so it’s definitely been taking up a lot of time.

On that note, I figured I should finally give you a taste of what we’ve been working on:

We’re currently calling it Giga Gravity Games, and it’s a four-player arena brawler where everyone fights in zero-G, sticking to the ground through magnetic boots.  I know I’ve mentioned the game to many of you before, but I thought I would give a you a brief refresher and show off some of what we’ve accomplished.

I’ve been responsible for the physics engine, which has been a huge challenge, and a great deal of fun.  All the action on screen is an emulation of real physics, which I’ve been very happy about.  You might notice as the video progresses that I demonstrate how the weapons give a kick (different amounts for different weapons), and can move the player around the screen.  Essentially, through the physics engine, all the objects have mass, momentum, and forces applied to them.  It took a lot of work to get it there, but I’m pretty proud of it.

Later in the video, the action heats up by having our super-intelligent AI system, dubbed Skynet, take over.  We’re, uh, still working out the kinks.  You can pretty much stand still against it and win.

Of course, its not really intended to be smart – it’s supposed to be a debugging tool, actually.  A job it has done quite well.  This project, as opposed to my previous projects, is a year-long job, and is also a much more complex game.  We’ve been required to build everything, including graphics, from the ground up.  My teammates, Zach Nawar, Greg Walls, Scott Nelson, and Zak Wilson have all done a great job, and we’re super excited about how the game is coming together.

And in case you’re still not impressed, you should know a lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes of this video, including but not limited to: a level editor that allowed us to build the area in the space of days, courtesy of Zach, a great art pipeline by Scott, gameplay and controls by Greg, and the brains of the Skynet and audio systems provided by Zak.  There is still a ton to do to make it anything really resembling a game, but we’ve playtested it a few times so far, and people have really enjoyed it, which has made the experience worthwhile.

So while it has been extremely time consuming, it certainly hasn’t been boring.  But it hasn’t given much time for writing, unfortunately.

That’s not to say I haven’t been writing – just not as much as I would like.  As many of you know, I had a piece published in the Wall Street Journal in November, which was definitely an unexpected and pleasant surprise.  But while I definitely enjoyed seeing it in print, it certainly made me want to spend more time writing again after the long semester.

Unfortunately, I was more than a little demotivated over the holidays, and spent more time eating than writing.  Actually, I think I spent more time eating than doing anything else.  When I wasn’t in a food coma of some sort, I was usually busy catching up with friends and family, which I was happy to have the chance to do.  I managed to catch up with a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in quite a while, so I really appreciated the break.

But enough about the past!  It’s a new year – welcome to 2015 everybody!  I hope that your year is starting out as great as mine, and that your resolutions are going well.  I myself have several resolutions on the table this year, including a goal to read and write more.  We’ll see if it happens, but so far, I think I’m on track!  I wish you all a Happy New Year, and look forward to seeing you soon!

Until next time!


One comment to Happy New Year!

  • Lisa Riddiough  says:

    Well done! I am not a gamer at all, but I am envisioning your gaming people loving it! And I always like reading your posts. You keep me motivated! All the best for 2015.

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