Melbourne International Games Week 2017

Each year Melbourne International Games Week  takes place over the October/November period, this week is comprised of many events, but structured around three main one, Unity Unite, GCAP (Game Connect Asia Pacific) and PAX Aus.

With a mix of major industry and consumer events, attending MIGW can prove to be a fantastic opportunity for learning and networking.

However, there is a bit of a barrier, attending any  one of these events can be costly, attending all of them on an indie budget can prove to be extremely hard.

There are a number of options though.
The first of which is volunteering, most of the events put out a call for volunteers, this is a fantastic way of attending the events as you usually work in shifts and get time to attend talks and network with people, volunteering is usually looked well upon when applying for industry events as well.

The second option is applying for scholarships and grants.
There are a number of scholarships available for most events in the games industry, some through the individual events themselves, such as GCAP assist, and others through external foundations such as the IGDA Scholars program.

This year I opted to apply for the IGDA scholarship to attend the entirety of MIGW17, and to my great pleasure I was chosen along with 7 other people from around the world to receive the scholarship.
Along with tickets to the major events the scholarship also paired us with an industry mentor each for the week as well as organised Q&A lunches with various studio heads and industry members.

I was paired with Joshua Sanderson, formerly of Half Brick and co founder of Team Shifty, a pairing I was extremely happy with and learnt a great deal from.

Of the many experiences and connections made over the MIGW scholarship, the one that really stands out is that of spending time with and becoming friends with the other scholars, learning about their experience in pursuing game development in other parts of the world, their experiences and ideas with diversity within the industry and just getting to be around these amazing people was an incredible experience and I will cherish the friendships I made due to the scholarship forever.

I’ll leave this post here as somewhat of an intro and do a a post on each other major events themselves.

I would like to thank the IGDA foundation for providing such a great opportunity to those of us that are just entering the industry and I hope that the program continues on and helps many more budding devs int the future.


Cap’n Cat update 2

So, Captain Cat has come to fair way, over the last couple weeks. more assets have been added and a lot of stability issues and refinements have gone in.
There is now a cute ocean for Captain cat to explore!


So, as usual, I’m going to talk about an issue I ran into getting to this point.
So obviously one of the biggest changes is the environment that’s been added, this proved to be a bit of a headache, unfortunately.
I was told that I was to do a repeating, parallaxing background, which is simple enough and would have looked pretty cool, however, when the art was delivered from the artists it was a single image which did not tile, the designer decided to make some modifications to try and salvage it so we could still use the asset.

In short, no matter how we altered it, it really did not work at all and the artists were unable to redo the asset as they had moved on to another project.

Since the original asset looked good I decided to use it and find another way of conveying movement.
I had a peek at some of the other unused assets and come up with a solution, I made a bubble machine!
Having bubbles rise up from the bottom and move toward the right of the screen along with the ground moving provided the illusion of movement and added a bit of charm that I think looks pretty good.
I still may add a little bit rocking or bobbing to the sub to give it a little more life.

Captain Cat Update

last I talked about Cap’n Cat it was mostly just a proof of concept, and a lot of things hadn’t really been to fleshed out and there was a lot of things still to be done to actually have a proper concept.
So many many brainstorming sessions, a half-baked design document and a doubling in the size of the team, we now have a much clearer goal and some exciting concepts in the works.

Here is a little peek at what it looks like now

So that’s looking pretty good, Now I’m going to talk about how I failed at something but found a different solution.

Spawn Boxes
So the main dilemma the Captain faces on their subaquatic adventure is leaks springing in the hull of the submarine, So to handle this I started building a 2D polygon class, simple enough, it’s essentially just a list of vector2s that contains the position of each vertex.
One of the functions of the class would be to find a random position within the polygon and return it and create a leak at that position.

To achieve this I looked into barycentric coordinates.
This required breaking down the polygon into triangles, weighting each of these triangles, since they would be different sizes, and then find a random position from within one of those triangles based on weight and number of triangles.

So after spending a little too long working on trying to get that to work I reconsidered the problem and just decided to use quads since its simple enough to return a point from within a quad and for the current use its all I really need, so I did that and the spawn boxes became simple to implement.

I am going to continue my work on barycentric coordinate systems if only out of interest, however, I am sure it may come in handy with shader development possibly?