GDC 2018

As I’m writing this, I just came back from my long trip in both San Francisco, with the main purpose to attend the Game Developers Conference.

This is my second year in a row for me attending GDC, the first time was really fun with loads to do, and I got to explore San Francisco. This time around, I did have a little experience and could had a good idea of where to go, but that didn’t mean there were some changes that threw me off. The main one being that the North and South Moscone Halls were being rennovated, so they looked like a construction site. The buildings were still explorable, but it was quite a contrast to last year. A section of the Yerba Buena Park above the North Hall was closed off as part of the rennovation.

As with last year, there are several sessions, talks and workshops going on during all five days along with the Expo Halls, Day of the Devs and Indie Megabooth, however this year also had the GDC Theater. The theater shows a lot of documentaries about game development, specifically the indie scenes around the world. However I didn’t go to that many talks, I had an Expo Plus badge, meaning I was limited to Sponsored, Career and Advocacy sessions, and some don’t interest me while others clashed with other things going on at GDC.

The Expo Halls are separated into indie game development (which includes Alt.Ctrl GDC, Train Jam and the IGF Pavilion) and major companies + middleware. There were a lot of games to try out, and several companies were giving out freebies. For me the best freebie was an Xbox One Game Controller from the Microsoft stand!

Finally, there are plenty of opportunities to meet with game developers. GDC had over 30,000 people in attendence, so it’s always overwhelming, but most of the people tend to be sociable and there are plenty of meetups and afterparties to get to talk to people. Even as an introvert I managed to talk to game developers from around the world, from Indie to AAA and got a load of business cards in the process!

After checking out many of the indie games, I’m tempted to try out a new visual style. I’m used to pixel art in my games but I feel as though more can be done instead of simple low resolution designs. It might also be fun to try some more expressive designs as well.

New Years Update

It has now been one full week of 2017, and a lot of people (including myself) have slowly gotten back to work. Since Gemstone Keeper has been getting close to release, I’ve started work as soon as we can to get stuff done.

Before I get into Gemstone Keeper, I worked on a little game for Ludum Dare 37 where the player is stuck in a porta-loo balancing in the air. That game was Danger: Mondays, and after two weeks of voting the results are in. The results for this Ludum Dare were definitely beyond my expectations. While the amount of submissions for the compo were smaller compared to past years (901 compared to 1117 at LD35), that doesn’t devalue the fact that Danger: Mondays achieved a rank just a few places shy of Top 25 in the Humour category of all categories.


Reading all the comments, I was glad people found the concept amusing, but I’m completely grateful at the how well I did this time around. Thank you to everyone who voted during the day. Apologies for not posting about Ludum Dare any sooner, but I was working on a bigger game.

To be a bit more descriptive, Boss Rush will have the player beating all five bosses as fast as possible, they are able to set the stats and weapons of their explorer before hand and they regain some of their health after defeating each boss.

Score mode allows the player to go through the caverns, and like the daily run mode, will try and get the highest score possible by collecting as many gemstones and materials as they can on a single run. This time however, the player is free to set the seed they want, which will effect all aspects of the game from the levels, player stats, which weapon they have and which items they’ll have at the start.

One of the benefits of working on these game modes (from a developer’s perspective) is that we go through all the main game modes again to not only ensure they work through both the main game mode and these smaller game modes, but to find any bugs or issues that was missed out the first few times.

Another update we’ve done is on the gemstones themselves, namely how they are rendered. Originally, the Gemstone Geometry was generated using a Gemstone Mesh Generator that was developed at PROCJAM, and then rendered using a custom software approach using SFML (you can read a comprehensive write up of this on my websites in part 1 and part 2). However, over the last week of December, it was decided that it was time to update this for performance and to improve quality by changing the rendering process to an OpenGL Hardware render approach.

Below you can see the difference, on the left is the software approach, and the right is the new hardware approach:

This weekend I’ve been playing around with post-process effects, as it would be nice to have some visual effects that would appear through the entire game, although it would be possible for the player to disable certain effects if that want to. To pull this off, the framework now has a multipass post processing system where it’s possible to disable certain effects.

This allows us to apply multiple post process effects at once, and allows us to add the options we need to allow players to enable/disable certain ones.

CRT Shader

Bloom Shader

This is only a small sample of what is being planned, leading up to Gemstone Keeper’s release on March 31st 2017. I’ll also be attending London Gaming & Anime Con in early February and GDC in San Francisco later in the month, however the latter will just be as an attendee.

Here’s to 2017 being a successful year for many people!

University Finished

Hey everyone, sorry it’s been a while, but for the last few months I have been incredibly busy with University work, plus I have had some technical difficulties which I’ll explain further later on. However, the good news is that it’s all finished!

That’s right, all of my remaining assignments, which includes one mobile game written in MonoGame, one PC game developed in Unreal Engine 4 with a full game development team of artists, designers and other programmers, my thesis on Procedural Content Generation to Create Levels in Games, and the combination of a Procedural Level Generator, Procedural Level Editor, and 2D Tilemap Shooter which makes up my dissertaion artefact, were all finished in time to make up my full University degree!

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