E3 2013 has come and gone, and I still don’t know who it’s for

This site, like the site for the game I am working on Beatdowncity.com hasn’t been updated in a while, perhaps for good reason, perhaps because of poor planning, whatever.

I just posted about the stressful lead up to us showing at E3, here.

Having attended 4 E3s prior, in 2003, then in 2010,2011 and 2012, I was asking myself, who is E3 for?

It was a question I asked friends from my old work parent company Take Two as we got ready to take an early flight to LA for a crazy week that would probably end up a blur.

I had seen that there were going to be signings at the Atlus booth, one of the most niche companies around, and I knew who it was trying to attract, but I didn’t know why that niche would be at E3.

E3 is supposedly a trade show. One that is stacked with signings, gifts of varying quality and expensive booths dedicated to allowing people to play your games. But who would be playing these games?
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Posted in E3

GDC 2013 is here!

Welcome to my humble personal Dev blog site. I am Shawn, the founder, owner, lead artist, designer, blah blah blah from NuChallenger LLC. So if you arrived here from nuchallenger.com, I’m sorry this isn’t a single splash page with my giant logo directing you to visit other links for more info yet.

For now you can dig into this site to find game deconstructions, personal projects, and the humble beginnings of my current project, Treachery in Beatdown City. There is actually a dedicated site for that now, beatdowncity.com and will be the future go to place for all further info!

Developing Treachery in Beatdown City – 1st developer diary of sorts

First I wanted to show off this amazing art that my wife created for the female lead, Lisa. After initially designing her my wife went in and painstakingly created a beautiful color pencil & ink drawing of Lisa akin to the one of Brad, one of the two male leads, back in June.

I then went in and reduced her work to simplified pixel art for use in game for wherever it might go (thinking Character Select screen for now). That process was fairly tricky and required a lot of interpretation of the original art and ultimately picking what looked best in the harshness of 5 color pixels.

At this moment a lot of the game’s art is done, but there is a ton more to do. There are a lot of locales and characters in TiBC and we really don’t want the game to feel too “samey” so we’re trying to avoid simple palette swaps and the like.

Development of the game has been going well, especially in the last month or two. We had a prototype build running in Game Maker in October that gave us a lot of great feedback on what we needed to change, add, etc. from playtesting it a bunch. Thankfully the game was fun! Continue reading

GG Jamsterfuck 2013 NYC Hyper Edition Pt 2. The Aftermath Vol. 1

Last weekend was the Global Game Jam 2013. After much bemoaning and debating on my part during the week leading up to it I eventually had to relegate myself to the side lines. Despite my want to take part, a lot of key factors made me have to walk away and just sit it out. This first post is about the personal and professional factors with the next post centered around the more ideological reasons.

Waking up on Friday I felt the now all too familiar feeling of excessive sleep deprivation from the week of work prior. Working on my game project as a profession instead of an after work hobby has extended most of my days well into the night, far longer than before. It was upon awakening that I began to realize that the weekend before me would not include game jammin’.

It was more than a straight lack of sleep, of course, that was on my mind. The reality was that I’m just too busy with my job working on my game project as is. It’s become my life, and much like any game project, big or small, it keeps me from being with my family as much as I would like. That’s definitely a choice that I have made and it is a sacrifice that everyone around me has to deal with, but at the same time, am I seriously supposed to expect them to be fine with me actively choosing to engross myself even further in game development, this time as an aside from my current project? Doing so would be thoughtless and immature even if my family would have supported me, as they always do. Continue reading

Things I wrote last year that aren’t posted here

Hey, so happy 2013. I’m planning on writing a post about my experiences in 2012, but for now, here’s some writing that was published on the New York Game Critic’s Circle and Unwinnable last year.

A perhaps overly hyperbolic review of one of my favorite games of 2012, Darksiders 2.

How the Indie Half Lives, a post about my financial struggles around September 2012 just before heading out to Indiecade

A less academic, more outsider culture focused look at Practice, the NYU Game Design conference

A look at when Hitman Absolution lost my interest

Thanks for taking a look, and hopefully I can post more in 2013!

Global Game Jamsterfuck 2013 New York City Hyper Edition

Next weekend is the Global Game Jam 2013, an event that I have been looking forward to for pretty much the entirety of the last year. Despite all of the shit that has happened to me, events that have thrown me headfirst into running my own company and developing a big (yet small) game project, the itch to sit down and jam out a game over the weekend has stuck with me, and what better time than the best known (in the US at least) game jam, the Global Game Jam?

Game jams are cool, they get creative juices flowing and give pretty much anyone the opportunity to just jump in and make a game. As someone who worked primarily on videos at a game company, far away from the guts of the code, last year allowed me to jump in, help focus a team, come up with a game idea, work on art for the game and feel completely included in the design process.

Recently I have started to question participating in the jam, however. Continue reading

A new enemy: Evolution of the Prepster

A while back I had an idea for this kinda generic preppy looking enemy. Kinda like the epitome of the vacuous dude-bro bar hopping gentrification machine represented by Bradley Cooper’s character in a lot of movies. A pink polo and khakis seemed appropriate along with his hands up covering his face. So one day I spat out this terrible sketch you see and afterward that sketch turned into a piece of sprite art that I liked the idea of but wasn’t really happy with.

A couple of weeks ago I took another stab at the art while walking around Macy’s:

I think I did a much better job at expressing how I wanted him to look, adding examples, etc. and that new sketch in turn helped me re-envision how the prepster should look. I wanted him to look like a guy you wanted to hit, and I think the end result was fairly successful. Just shows that even if you have an existing style, creating sprite art from bad or no actual art can lead to creating something you won’t be happy with.