Game Barcode: A Study of Colours in Games

This tutorial shows how to download videos from YouTube and to process their frames with Python; I have used this technique to create game barcode, an image created by sorting the colours in each frame of a particular video. You can see some of most intriguing here:

This tutorial is divided in four parts:

Continue reading

The UGC Dilemma: post-mortem of a level editor

It is undeniable that user generated content is getting more and more relevant for games. When a player has the power to create their own content , they engage with the game in a completely new way. But if you’re a developer, you should know that creating a proper level editor can be even more time consuming that creating the game itself. Giving players the chance to create content is not enough: it has to be fun. On top of that, level editors need to be intuitive, or players won’t be able to use them properly. The best solution is a trade off between giving players the power to create whatever they want, and the need to simplify it.

500px-Puzzle_Creator_initial_viewA perfect example of this is Valve’s Puzzle Creator, which beautifully captures the essence of Portal’s gameplay. There is no space for scripting or custom events, making most of the original levels from Portal impossible to replicate. Valve has made a very clear design choice: they add constraints, but in a way that guide players’ creativity.

This post go through some of the challenged I encountered while working on the level editor for 0RBITALIS, and how I solved them. I will show in the second part how the editor actually works.

Continue reading

“0RBITALIS” – DevLog #2 // GDC 2014

With its Steam release approaching, the coding on 0RBITALIS continues in San Fancisco. This week the game has been demoed at GDC 2014, in the alt.ctrl.GDC section. Yes, 0RBITALIS landed in an exhibition about alternative controllers. The game is playable with mouse and keyboard, although all the people who stopped by at my booth could have a glimpse of how to launch a space probe with its own, custom made controller: the MCMC. The decision to showcase the game at alt.ctrl.GDC has been taken quite late. The main reason is that Flash does not allow any easy way to communicate with the serial port, preventing me to attach the controller earlier. Luckily, I found an Adobe Native Extension for Arduino that is compatible with the Teensy 3.1 micro-controller I am using; that helped me a lot. No, seriously: a lot!

IMG_20140321_122134 Continue reading