Tuesday, January 5, 2021

SECRET KEEP: Building a Castle (sketches & plans)

I've been doing a bunch of sketching and planning for SECRET KEEP.  

I thought I'd post a handful of these things here.  :D


Warming up my drawing hand with some sketches of items from The Black Cauldron (Disney, 1985).


Sketching some items from The Sword in the Stone (Disney, 1963).  

Trying out Charcoal Pencils for the first time!  Nice blacks, and a cool sketchy feel, but needs fixative!  :)



A little castle sketch from an interesting picture I found on the internet.



And a watercolor sketch of the king's castle in Daventry!  :D




A sketch of how an arrow loop looks from outside the castle (left) and inside the castle (right).



Thinking about how the user interface and interactivity will work.





It's finally time to knuckle down and actually come up with the layout of my castle for SECRET KEEP.

This task was bewildering me for a while because a castle is a complicated thing, and I want the location to feel grounded and real, and so I got sidetracked for quite some time just studying up about castle, and actually trying to understand all the main parts of a castle, where they are, and how they work.

I started to list out the elements that were important to me, that I wanted to include.



I decided to have six floors in total, including 3 above ground, and 2 below ground, and a tower.  The player won't know about all of these locations to begin with, and will learn more about the hidden parts of the castle, and how to access them, as they continue to explore the space and learn more about the story and characters that inhabit the castle.


I then started to translate those lists of rooms into actual floor layouts on another piece of paper.  It was good to use A3 paper for a lot of this work, to keep connected ideas on one page.  (I usually work on much smaller A5 pages when throwing down ideas, as I can carry an A5 clipboard around with me at all times).


Thinking more specifically about the spaces that would be important to the player, and where the game would start, around the kitchen, the garden and the great hall.


Once I had a sense of the rooms I wanted to include, I did a quick sketch on a small piece of paper, from side-on cross-section.


And finally, I ended up with a rough multi-floor plan of the entire keep of the castle, the crux of my game SECRET KEEP.  

I've just roughed out the position of each room, and now feel ready to start actually building the space in my Unity project.



A close up of the tower top room.



Now I'm ready to start actually building the castle in Unity!


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Alex Duran: Object Systems, Immersive Sims

In 2016, I posted up some slides from a Doug Church talk about Object Systems (with examples from Thief) from around 2003 or so.

I've now found another good talk called "Building Object Systems" by Alex Duran from GDC 2003, who worked at Looking Glass and Ion Storm, working on the Thief and Deus Ex games.

The talk is focussed on his experience writing the object system for Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2, and it is largely based on the earlier Thief Object System (work done by people such as Marc LeBlanc and Doug Church).

The AUDIO can be found here on the GDC Vault.  I would definitely recommend listening to that.

The SLIDES that accompany the talk can be found here.

I found it hard to find the slides for the talk, so I thought I'd share them here as an easier way for anyone else to find them.



Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MUZTEK Base Game: v1.2 (Unity Foundation Project)

 This is the "MUZTEK Base Game" v1.2!

I have added a basic SAVE & LOAD system, which saves and loads the gamestate to a file.

It will save the exact game state of all entities in the level, like a traditional Quick Save & Quick Load system in a shooter game.

This will probably be the last update on the MUZTEK Base Game for a while, as it does all the core things I wanted this project to do, for now. You can download the MUZTEK Base Game v1.2 project for Unity here.

Here's a video talking about the updated version.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Will Wright's great GDC talks

Here are a few of Will Wright's fantastic GDC talks. 

I find his thinking really inspiring.


Will Wright's Design Plunder  (GDC 2001)


And here are the slides that go with the talk.



Will Wright's Dynamics for Designers (GDC 2003)



Will Wright's Classic Postmortem for Raid on Bungling Bay (GDC 2011)

Sunday, November 1, 2020

MUZTEK Base Game: v1.1 (Unity Foundation Project)

This is the "MUZTEK Base Game" v1.1!

I have added Audio Option Sliders, which are saved & loaded to PlayerPrefs. You can download the MUZTEK Base Game v1.1 project for Unity here.

Here's a video talking about the updated version.

Friday, October 30, 2020

MUZTEK Base Game: v1.0 (Unity Foundation Project)

I've started building a Unity Foundation Project called MUZTEK Base Game.

This will form the foundation of my own next game, "Secret Keep", but I also wanted to build something simple, generic and light that could form a solid basis for anyone to use as a Unity project!

You can download the MUZTEK Base Game v1.0 here.

I made a video to explain what's in it, and how the parts work.

This is just an early release (which I wanted to share with a friend of mine!), but still has a few more things to add, such as Options Volume Sliders, and ideally a simple Save & Load System.

But I figure it's ready now, the way it is, so feel free to give it a spin.  :)

Note: This version was built in Unity 2018.4.9 LTS.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Al Lowe - Interview about King's Quest 3, Black Cauldron, and the early Sierra years

I got the chance to have a wonderful chat with Al Lowe about the early days of his game development career, and the early years at Sierra.

I was excited to chat with him about some of my favorite games: King's Quest 3 and The Black Cauldron.


Al Lowe's links

allowe.com on the web  (including CyberJoke 3000™!)

@allowe on Twitter


Books about Sierra History

The Sierra Adventure by Shawn Mills

Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings by Ken Williams