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From Game Developer to Game Designer

Hello readers!!!
Well, its my life, i think its going in a little different direction now.

What? Am I happy with it?
Umm….. i can’t say anything about it now because its not changed, its still same but I think it is taking turn now. And, my expectations are very high and positive, and let’s just hope and pray that I get good from it.

What was it before?
I first got personal computer when I was 14 years old. After learning some basis, I moved to learn Adobe Flash. At that time, it was known as Macromedia Flash. I was using version 5. I kept learning and getting more and more motivated to this field. I wanted to create an animated movie and for this goal, i kept learning it. Then, i reached in university where i started my graduation. I was doing grad in Communication system engineering but I wasn’t sure about it. I couldn’t get interest in it, I just hated it and avoided it so much and 3 years passed. While this time, I was moved to Android already, and was developing Android apps. Then, in final year at a cafe table with few rough papers and pen inked blue, a hot cup of tea half empty, cricket commentary voice in background,  washing dish and waiter service light noise, with my 2 partners, I decided to develop a game for Android devices. And through tough decision, tough routine in last year, emotional ups down, motivation of positive people, making fun of negative people, mid-night oil burn, sleeping on chair with head on table, I with my team finally created a game. And during this whole phase, I was very motivated to game development. I thought of making my future as Game Developer, and i am right now doing job as Game Developer.
So, I am Game Developer In these good days.

So, what happened then ?
Then? Yeah then, then my one coworker in my office gives me 2 seasons of IGN – The Next Boss. Its a reality show started 2 years ago. The concept of show is to choose best person suitable for game industry and give him /her title of The Next Game Boss along with some cash prize and other benefits like super computers, paid software license like Unity 3D pro version, and Adobe license to use their software for free. It was so much learning and fun in the show that i can’t say in words. Season 1 was on creating a playable game in less than a week, while season 3 was to select best game of different indie game designers working in their homes, garages, office etc to make next big hit in game industry. The show was on Unity 3D. Everything thing shown and developed was on Unity 3D. The judges were well reputed game industry people. For example, in season 2, there was a judge who was Game Designer, Game Producer, of hit games like God of War series, Twisted Metal series and so on. That’s where from I got attracted to being Game designer instead of game Developer.

Oh, you want to be game designer?
Yep, that’s what I am trying to say. I mean look at any game designer. He keeps all developers, musicians, artists, manager, story and script writers on track and motivate them all to get in line and move them on same track. I just loved the role in game industry and thinking of being game designer.

What did you do then?
Well, i started looking for to  understand meaning of Game Designer, so downloaded a book on game designing and still reading it. And, I am learning lots of new things and this time I am applying this knowledge on my Cut on One game and designing its game concept and so on. When i finish my book reading, I will write about it on this blog,  and when i finish cut on one game designing, i will write about how i applied my knowledge to design a game.

okay that sounds great
Well, for a while i am focusing on game designing. Even, I am looking for doing masters in Game designing probably from Full Sail University, North America.

That’s wrap call
I think its a lot for today. Thanks for reading. Looking forward for great feedback and comments and suggestions….. more will me coming soon, keep reading GamyGuru. Thanks

Regards,
Wajahat Karim
GamyGuru

Inside The Game – Types of Games

Hey Guys!!! I know you were waiting for the next post on the series. Its been a while I was busy for some days. So, today I am writing about the different types of games as fourth part of Inside The Game series. For those, who are not familiar with Inside The Game series, this series will provide the articles and tutorials related to mechanisms and architectures of the game. Also, in this series, you will learn to think like a game developer. Now, if you have not read the last part of this series, please click here to read it. I am summarizing the last part here for those who have not read. In the last part, we discussed some basic concepts behind a game development like game engine, graphics engine, and the game itself.

As we have talked lot about the graphics, gameplay, game engines etc, but we have not talked much about the game. In this article, we will talk about the games especially types of the games. One thing  must be noted here is that types of games are not the genres of the games, which are found generally in game industry. Rather, types of the games in this article are from development perspective, means what kind of architectures are used in different types of game at time of coding or programming. However, the most types discussed in this article are related to the game genres as well. So, let’s not talk about the post scripts of the article more :P. Let’s talk about the original stuff of Inside The Game series here. So, types of the games…. umm… that’s quite difficult topic to be explained in just a single page. So, lets’ start from the text-based games.

Text-based Games or Text Adventures

Really!!!! Text based games? That sounds weird… right. I know. But back in 1976, when there was almost no concept of video games, there introduced the most first game, and that game was a text-based game. We are living in 20th century, so I don’t think that anyone might played the text-based game. Let me share you a text-based game here:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Gamexcb2/395273

Well! I completed the game and won it. Hint is read the instructions on the side of the game, that will guide you through the game. Well! text based games are the games which uses text characters instead of computer games. These games were the very common games in era of 1970 to 1990. However, even today, these types of games are being played on the internet, but in a different form known as Multi-User Dungeon (MUD). So, about the architecture of these games, these games are very easy in development. There are various reasons behind its low level of difficulty. Some of which included are like gameplay, that user can interact with the game only through text so gameplay factor is relying on the text only, no computer graphics or game art to impress the user and so on. All a developer has to do to create a state machine, and then just implement it using if-else blocks and finish it on compare and do basis. Following figures are the examples of text-based game.

   

Card, Logic, or Board Games

Well! Now I don’t think that anyone wants explanation about these games. You know or might have played in your awesome childhood the logic or board games like Spades, Chess, Ludo, or Monopoly etc.

So, from programming point of view, these games are quite simple. These types of games maintain an array for values, and all the game is stored in these values. And those values are updated on basis of game rules, for example the chess rules. We will come to this maintaining value factor in details later at time of implementation. For now, I will only say that the factor which differs one chess from another chess is graphics or game art. However, the inner coding is same in each board game and the board is stored in array, and then the game development is all about how you manage and display that array.

Arcade Style Games

Ahan….. Umm…. Arcade style? Well! what do you say about arcade style? Umm….. thinking, thinking… Ummmmmm…… still thinking…… Oh forget it… I will tell you about arcade style then. The most games we play are counted in arcade games. Well, its a very big category of games. Well, what is the arcade style game. Well, I can’t define arcade game, because there are so much arcade games that you just can’t say whether any game is arcade or not. But, hey! don’t you worry, I got some  examples to show you about arcade game style games.

Space Invaders (left) and Snake Game (right) are two examples of arcade games. From programming perspective, well, I can’t tell you the architecture, because it depends on the game itself. For example, you can store all the data of space invaders in an array and display it and modify the values like on/off to show the alive/dead status of any plan. However, in case of snake game, its just snake and food to maintain and rest is upto display and graphics. Platform / Side Scrolling Games Oh….. Wow… Platform games… I used to play platform games in my childhood a lot. Now, these games are somehow scrolling games, which can be constantly scrolling or controlled by the user. The scrolling can be vertical or horizontal. In case of horizontal scrolling, gravity and clouds factor also becomes functional, however in vertical scrolling, it becomes some sort of space or gravity in down scrolling as something is falling. Examples include Mario, Sonic Hedgehog, Space Invaders, Nokia Bounce, 1945 etc. Please note that Space Invaders is also included in Platform games, however this was already included in Arcade games. So, the games can have multiple categories. Now, from programming perspective, these games can be managed with different architectures depending on the game developer. What I follow and recommend is to treat these games like board games, just with scrolling and long board, and rest is same. I will post a tutorial on platform games later at time of implementation.

Action / Racing Games

Well, like arcade games, action games are also in unlimited numbers. I think except board some board games, you can count every game in action game category. Well we can’t say the architectures of the game, because it depends on the game itself. The examples of action games include Street Fighter, Need For Speed etc. I guess these games are your favorite games. 🙂

Strategy Games

Strategy games…. They are exactly like as they sound by saying strategy games. So, in these games, user is given an open and independent environment to make a decision, and is required to make strategy to achieve the game goal. Sounds realistic or cool…. 🙂 I know…. I am a big fan of the strategy games, even the game we made on large scale was a also strategy game. Well, I will tell you about the game later. So, Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, or Stronghold Crusader are examples of the strategy games.

From programming perspective, these type of games can be managed like a board game. Its all about displaying and computer graphics. However, what differs these games from the board games is detail of the game. For example, in chess games you have got details upto 64 (8×8) squares, however in these games the more details you provide, the more access and control you provide the user, the more strategical missions you provide to the user, the better game it will be. But, handling and managing so much details through programming becomes very difficult and time consumptive. And, the very important factor in these games is gameplay. For example, you provide lot of details, and gameplay becomes very difficult due to details, then that game is not useful. However, if you provide the details to the user, you better think about the gameplay first, because it is the core factor behind the game.

First Person Shooter (FPS) / Third Person Shooter (TPS)

Phewwww……. Finally, here comes the most wanted category, First Person / Third Person Shooter games. Well! these type of the games are played very lot especially on Console, XBOX, PlayStation3, and computers as well. Wait a second here before we move forward, I think I am forgetting something here. Umm….. Oh Yeah… 🙂 I remembered it. The difference between First Person and Third Person is of the camera view. In FPS, user is the first person and seeing the game world from first person perspective, however in TPS, user is the third person and seeing the world from third person perspective. For example, Counter Strike is first person. You hold the gun, you shoot the enemies. It means you are the first person. But in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, player character/hero shoots the enemies, character/hero holds the gun, and you (the user) is watching both parties (enemies and the player), so user here becomes the third person.

  

From programming perspective, these games work on 2D basis, these are just rendered and displayed in 3D. You can manage the game data like strategy or board games, all you have to change is the method to display the data on the screen.

Role Playing Game (RPG)

Hold on!!!!! I know you probably are thinking that how much types I am going to write in just a single article. Well, you will be glad to know that this type is last in the article. Role Playing Games (RPG), I think few of you have heard this title or word. But, don’t you worry, because words might be new but story is same old. In these games, users are given a role, and they are asked to play the role, and the game will take turns on basis of your role and character in the game. For example, Mafia Wars, even GTA: Vice City are RPG games. Let’s take the example of GTA. You are a street thug, who have to complete missions and contracts given and earn some money for betterment of your life. So, now you (user of game) are not a player anymore, you have got a role and you are now street thug in case of GTA. This is how RPG games work. From programming perspective, it depends on the game. But the most important factor in these games is the gameplay. You have to provide the gameplay in such way that user must feel that he is not user anymore. Well! about graphics, if user feels the role, then it doesn’t matter that you make 3D action graphics (GTA Vice City) or just buttons to shoot or take action in imagination (Mafia Wars).

Summary

In a nutshell, we discussed different game types in this article. In the next article, I will explain tile based architecture, which can be used in these types of the games. To read the next part, click here. I hope that you like the series, and I would love to hear from your side. You can give your valuable comments, suggestions, and improvements you would like to see in the blog. Thanks for reading the article…. 🙂

Microsoft released “on{X} – An Android Application” to automate everything.

As this is 21st century, and its age of smart phones and world wide web. So, in this era of technology, everything is being automated. If we see from perspective of smart phones, then Android is mostly used smart phone in the globe. Millions of applications have been developed for Android devices. Automation applications like task schedulers, smart applications are also available on the Google Play or previously called Android Market. And in the list of those automation application developers, Microsoft has also been included. Yes! you heard it right. Microsoft has launched an Android application, which automates your phone and activities. The application is essentially free and an extensible version of the Tasker for Android. on{X} lets you control and extend the capabilities of your Android phone using a JavaScript API to remotely program it”, and it includes “recipes” to start with, just like the popular site If This Then That (http://ifttt.com/). To use the application, you have to log-in using FacebookTechCrunch calls it “The Coolest Thing to Happen to Android” http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/05/onx/.

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