Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Hospital for Laptops.

Unfortunately my most beloved, if not a little unstable, laptop has fallen ill.
For about a month or two now there's been something a little off with the screen, and a few days ago it decided it had enough and completely gave up on me, so I've been without a proper computer for a little while.

My laptop is now over at the computer hospital having surgery done, and I have no idea when I will be getting it back.
Shouldn't be too long though.

Until then I'm stuck with a very, very, old laptop my dad had a good few years ago. (I think he got it when Windows XP was still fairly young...)

This laptop lets me go on the internet so I can manage to check my email and check all my daily websites and such, but it isn't really up to much else, so I wont be able to get any real work done until I get my laptop back.

I can draw, but I have no way to scan and upload the drawings I do.

So I'm a little lost without my laptop, and until I get it back there will be no more drawings to upload, or progress made on my games...

Fun times...
Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Marble Hornets Desktop

For those who don't already do so, you should watch Marble Hornets.
It's an amazing horror show on YouTube about the Slender Man and it is genuinely one of the better horror shows/films I have seen in a long time.
It's been going for quite some time now and there's a lot of goodness there for people who haven't seen it before!

I'm just making this post so so I have a place to put this desktop background I made from the latest episode.


Seriously though, everybody should watch Marble Hornets.
Monday, 5 September 2011

Platformer Progress!


I have made a few decisions about the platformer I am working on, in terms of elements I want to experiment with.

I think that I have got a good grasp of building the gameplay much quicker than I expected, and at this point it is seeming almost easy, though I still do have my limitations.

What this means however, is that I feel I can experiment a little more with some things I was considering putting off for a later game.

I have already stated that I don't want to put a huge amount of detail in to the story this time around, but I do think it would be good to experiment with what I can put in to the game.

I have spent many years of my life studying animation, and I am interested to see how well I can implement animations in to the games I make, maybe as cut-scenes of some kind.

If I can pull it off in some way, I find the possibilities for having animated sections in future games could be very exciting!

I am going to do a few tests and see how things turn out, and hopefully all will go as smoothly as the rest of the game has been going so far!

p.s: I'm still stuck on a name for the small character you play as...
I'm thinking maybe Pip?

Effective Horror Webcomic

I have been a huge fan of Horror for a long time now, but very few things really scare me.

Many things make me jump, but I'm one of those people that don't consider a jump to be a real scare.
I love films and games that get you paranoid.
Where you have a real sense of dread as you continue to watch/play.

I really believe that the very best horror is achieved when you take full advantage of the medium you are using to create a sense of unease within the one experiencing it.

It is very common knowledge that H.P.Lovecraft wrote very few details, at least for the most part, on the creatures in his books.
We very rarely had a good understanding of what they looked like, and even less often did we understand them or there motives.
And though it seems to have been somewhat of a joke that you never know what Lovecraftian monsters really look like, it is that very element that makes his books so effective as horrors.
The fear gained from reading his books doesn't come from the knowledge that there is a monster there doing horrible things.
It is the lack of knowledge about what the monster is, and why it is doing said horrible things.
This is something that can not be achieved so effectively in any medium other than written books.
The lack of any visual aid means that your mind has to fill the gaps, and it does so with something much more personal and much more tailored to your own dislikes and fears.
For this reason, Lovecraftian games, comics or films will never truly capture the same feel as the original books.
At least, it would take an incredibly clever man to pull it off.

A lot of games make good use of the medium to create a sense of dread within the player.
The often mentioned Eternal Darkness is a brilliant example, using fake glitches and other similar things that could only occur within a video game to create a sense of unease.
Many horror games try and put a lot of detail in to getting you to forget you are playing a game.
Sometimes its best to do the complete opposite, to make it very obvious to the player that they are playing a game, and then to use that to your advantage.
A more recent example of this, and one that took me by surprise, was Batman Arkham Asylum which I played through recently.
There is a section part way through the game where Batman is being effected by Scarecrow's fear gas, and it seems as though the game has crashed and re-started.
This comes out of nowhere and is an incredibly good example of taking advantage of the medium to create an effective horror atmosphere.

For a long time I have been wanting to see a really effective horror comic, as comics and graphic novels are another passion of mine, but I have never read a horror comic that really gained my attention, or even registered as a horror to me.

Today my friend linked me to a webcomic, that is the first example of using the given medium to take advantage of the reader.

Please do follow the link and read the comic before continuing to read this post:
http://comic.naver.com/webtoon/detail.nhn?titleId=350217&no=20&weekday=tue

Webcomic's are really a very unique, and relatively un-tampered media.
There are a lot of possibilities that have yet to be attempted or even conceived yet, and that could lead to many very effective horror elements.

As a comic is traditionally still images, or "Sequential Art", adding completely unexpected animated elements, especially with audio, is an excellent way to create a sense of unease in the reader.
It breaks the rules of a comic, adding elements that aren't traditionally supposed to be there.

I really wish that I could understand this comic, as I would love to read it.
But for now I am just happy to know that somebody is really making good use of the medium.

I hope that I get to see many more unique and interesting ways of taking advantages of comics to create effective horror similar to this in the future.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My Platformer!

Here are a few screenshot's of the game I'm working on at the moment!


As some of you may know, I have a real passion for storytelling, as well as illustration and animation.

As gaming is easily my most beloved medium it has long been my dream to tell a story of my own through games, and as you can see, Quong did little to scratch that particular itch.

This new game is inching me closer to that goal!


This new game, currently un-named, is a platformer!
And it will have a story, though not much of one.

My main goal at the moment is plainly learning what I can do with my limited abilities, seeing what is possible and finding new ways to create fun and interesting gameplay, so the storytelling element will have to suffer slightly until I have a firm grounding with what I'm doing.
I can however dip my toes in a bit, not only with storytelling but with the illustration and animation side this time around.
Pretty much all of the movements in Quong were programmed, and there was nothing much to illustrate.


I've had a few people test out the first few levels and so far they all seemed to really enjoy it!

One thing in particular seems to be all of them were very fond of the player character, who I'm still debating over in terms of names.


I think before I finish the full game I may actually release a sample, or demo, so that I can get a few more opinions and have a chance to tweak a little bit before I release the finished game.

This is all probably getting a bit ahead of myself, there is still a lot of work to get done before I even think about releasing it, but I hope everyone likes the look of the game so far and will check it out when its done!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Quong!

So for a little while now I've been teaching myself how to make games.
I've always been able to make fairly simple flash games, but gaming is a true passion of mine and its something I've always wanted to explore more.
Unfortunately I am absolutely dreadful at coding.

In any case, I've been experimenting and I have just finished my first ever non-flash game!

The game is called Quong, and its fairly simple in premise.
The game is similar to Pong.
You control 4 paddles, one on each side of the screen, with a ball bouncing in the middle.
You control the movements of the paddles with your mouse, and each time you hit the ball you gain a point.
Each time the ball leaves the screen you lose a life.
Each 25 points a new ball is added until your juggling 4 balls at once.
I think the game is quite addicting!
It's definitely a good way to waste a little bit of time!

If you want to download the game, just click the "Quong" button at the top of the screen, or click right here!

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!
You can leave a comment on the game's page, on this post or contact me via twitter!
You can also email me at Ben@MindDump.co.uk!

Have fun Quonging!