Added labels to Arkham Horror card dividers

July 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm (Board games, Foamcore, Games) (, , , )


I finally bought a printer to make labels for my Arkham Horror: LCG custom dividers! I decided against using some of the full colour ones people have posted on boardgamegeek¬†to avoid draining my printer’s ink carts. I’m mostly just happy that it will speed up my set-up time for this game. Also, many thanks to¬†Scorpion0x17 on BGG for his work on the scenario icons. I’m missing most of the newer packs because he’s busy, but I’d have to roll my own if it weren’t for him.

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Insertable Foam Core Component Box

January 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm (Board games, Foamcore) (, , , , , , )


I’ve recently completed part 1 of my next foam core project; a component box that plugs into my first project (part 2 is just going to be a second box to sit beside the first). I designed it to be hingeless, use interlocking parts, and has a pull handle to slide the box out as well as open it. While I haven’t glued my original project yet, this one is held together using Gorilla Wood Glue. The lid of the box uses a slide & clip design via a piece of 1mm cardboard glued to the bottom of it.

I also cut some cardboard dividers for the first project; I just really like how they perfectly stack up ūüôā

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First foamcore project!

January 2, 2017 at 3:47 pm (Art, Board games, Foamcore, Sketches) (, , , , , )


Ever since I found out that foamcore exists, I’ve wished I’d known about it sooner. I used to build things out of cardboard and even plain foam, and even at the time I wished those materials had the same properties as foamcore. It is fantastic and easy to work with. Now, keep in mind that I only have a small amount of experience in carpentry, so I apologize if use the wrong term for something.

For my first project, I decided to build a box insert for storing cards from a board game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game. This is a game where they release expansions on a monthly basis, so there are a lot of cards, and a lot of things to organize. Unfortunately, the company that manufactures the game did a poor job on the box it game in. They’re known for having boxes only designed for transportation of the game and not storage, but this one is particularly bad.

For this project I bought a photo box from Michaels (meant to store ~1000 photos) as the outer casing. I made up some sketches and calculated sizes for all of the pieces. I can post my sketches and measurements if anybody is interested in producing one of these. The inside of the box measures 280mm by 189mm.

Now, one of the defining factors of this project is that I made interlocking pieces so that glue is not entirely necessary. I *do* intend on gluing it together eventually, but I’d like to see if I plan on modifying it later. Contrary to what you might think, this didn’t actually take long. I chose to not do a box joint as the foamcore might not be sturdy enough for it, and it would be very time-consuming to cut.

This design choice is “controversial” as most foamcore projects I’ve seen either use a butt-joint (just glue the pieces together), a mitre-joint (cut 45 degree angles and joint), or a lap-joint (cut a trench out of one pieces and insert the other piece). I haven’t attempted any of these joints in a project before, but after a few tests, I wasn’t entirely happy with them. The butt-joint is said to be strong, especially if you pin the pieces together, but I don’t like the idea of only depending on glue, and I don’t want to work with pins. The mitre-joint seemed like a good option, but I didn’t want to have to buy a special cutting tool, and it seemed like I’d be asking for mismatch problems with all the components I’d have to cut. Lastly, the lap-joint seemed like a decent option, but it is a big pain to slice 4mm cuts in 5mm foamcore¬†consistently. Cutting rabbits would also be very difficult as I’d need to chisel out the parts.

Additionally, I made finger slots on the ends of each channel so that it is easier to pull the cards out. I made decide later to cut semi-circles out of the slot (for style points), but right now they are rectangular slots.

ANYWAY! Here are some pictures of how the process went. It was really fun to work on, although my back hurts from hunching over my table to get a 90 degree cut angle.

EDIT: I added a last photo showing the core set of the Arkham Horror Card Game plus the first scenario pack inhabiting the box. I haven’t made dividers yet, and I was in the middle of setting up for a play-through last time I had the cards out, so there’s a random handful of cards in the center.

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Arkham Horror in Coloured Pencil

November 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm (Art, Board games, Colored Pencils) (, , , , )


This is my second attempt at using coloured pencils (Prisma Colors). It’s a picture of the cover art for the board game Arkham Horror. I’ve only casually been working on it while watching tv, so I have no idea how long it really took, but I spent more time on it than I should. Eventually, I got bored and realized I didn’t center it properly, so I stopped working on it. It is roughly 7″ by 4″ on mixed media paper.

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Video: Second demo for my game

April 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm (Game Development, Games, Processing, Programming, Video games) (, , , , )


I’ve finally gotten around to making a video recording of my new game demo! Part of my problem was finding a suitable video capture software suite. I ended up using Open Broadcaster Software, and it turned out fine; I WAS using KRUT, but it had issues with the audio capture.

Anyway, while recording it I ended up finding out that half of my rooms didn’t make it into the demo! I had an issue where a locked door led straight to the boss level. That kind of sucked. Here’s the video though:

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Update Mar 12, 2015: New game demo, mind palaces, and notebooks

March 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm (Game Development, Games, Processing, Thinking) (, , , , , , , , )


It’s been a while again since I’ve posted here, but I haven’t been idle in this period of time. I don’t think I can list all of the things I’ve been up to, but here are three things I’ve been up to:

New Game Demo

I’ve recently released (privately) a new demo for my game. It features brand new levels, mechanics, and storyline. I’ve even added new tilesets and original music for the levels. With the last demo, I was happy to have something playable that resembled a game and showed off some of the neat things I’ve built, but this time I think I’m actually content with it as a game. I’ve added some dialogue that needs a bit of polishing, but is roughly what I want it to be as well. I still need to post screenshots and a video, but I need a big chunk of time to do that still.

The first person to play-test it and give feedback made me pretty happy. It seems that they felt what I wanted them to feel and thought what I wanted them to think with respect to the storyline. They noticed some of the extra details I put into the levels (like the rain effect) as well. One thing I took away though, was that they didn’t use the camera mechanic at all. I think I might add some HUD cues and mechanics to encourage the usage of it.

 Mind Palace

I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time lately rebuilding my “Mind Palace”. This is a mental tool that utilizes the “Method of Loci” method for memorization. Essentially it’s a superior way to reliably remember things. It takes a bit of effort to set up and upkeep, but if done correctly, you can do wonderful things with it.

Before, I was building the hub structure of my palace based on something I had imagined. My problem was that I never fully constructed it; I wasn’t sure how big of a space I needed, so it deteriorated over time faster. I can still reference most of the rooms, but I didn’t solidify where everything was enough.

Also, I didn’t have enough connections to well-known places. Examples of these are houses I’ve previous lived in, These are useful as you can typically just imagine yourself moving through those places and then have your memories jump out at you. My next goal is to tie in more of those to my “hub area” so that I can jump from location to location without having to remember how many houses I’ve lived in. It probably would look like that hallway in one of the Matrix sequels that had all the doors leading to difference places.

 Notebooks

Soooo, it turns out I am a crazy person? I used to have decision issues when it would come to notebooks. I remember being in a store for 10 minutes trying to decide what colour I wanted to use for a notebook. I ended up just buying all of them so that I could decide in a non-public place. Recently, Target has gone out of business in Canada due to questionable decision making. The good part of this is that Moleskine notebooks have gone on sale; at the time I purchased them, the discount was 30% off. I rarely notice these going on sale, and since I’ve started using them almost exclusively, it seemed like a great idea! However, now I have a drawer full of different sizes of notebooks and my mind will only let me use certain notebooks for certain purposes. I’m happy to not have to go buy more for a while, but now I have to store a ton of notebooks…

 

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Zombie Mansion with shaders and post-processing

January 22, 2015 at 9:03 am (Game Development, Graphics, Java, Processing) (, , )


Update: Full project description here

I finally got around to retrofitting my older projects with the new hotness. I am now rendering the scenes with shader programs, which gives me a lot of nice options for how the scenes look. I can do lots of fancy stuff with them including doing neat things to the screen after the scene has been drawn. Here’s a quick example of one of the things I’ve already tried. It’s a ripple effect I applied to the screen; it looked awful, but I was getting 60 frames per second with it (which is good).

jan17_2015_screen effect gone wrong1

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Project: DarkWolf2D (2D Dungeon Crawler)

January 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm (Game Development, Games, Graphics, Java, Processing, Programming, Rant, Uncategorized, Video games) (, , , , , , , , )


Over the holidays, I had some time to upgrade the core¬†code for my game engine. I’ve upgraded the version of Processing that I use as well, which means I can use shaders for rendering along with some of the nicer JSON loading features. While I have a “version 2” of my engine working though, I haven’t yet retro-fitted it into my Zombie Mansion yet. This is coming in the future, but for “proof” that my code works, I’ve been putting together a small game based on a design I had in a dream. It’s the “basic” version of the idea, which means no multiplayer and no nice graphics.

The idea is for a dungeon crawler action game that takes ideas from the MOBA genre. I know how it sounds, but it’s actually a very basic idea and it’s already half built. It’s a player-vs-environment game right now where the player begins at level 1 for each dungeon and has to level up as they progress to bosses. The theme for it is an alternate history WW2 where the characters are different classes such as “US Medic”, “Russian Sniper”, or “French Resistance Fighter”. Each class has a basic attack and a list of abilities they can level up and use. I’m keeping the XP system as simple as I can (although I’ve never built one before), and I’m not using any items for the game right now.

For rendering, it’s a 2D game with no character animations; just a static side-shot image. This should keep the dev cycle pretty low for now. I also have a feature backlog that I’m considering making public, but for now I’ll only do that if I have anyone comment that they actually care to look at it. It’s a list of all the features that I plan on implementing (some are basic things like “add audio to the game”, and it functions as my “todo” list. As I build in features, I mark them as “Complete” and they shuffle to the bottom of the list for storage.

Edit: Added a screenshot. It’s very basic and you can’t really see anything worthwhile. Just showing that I can at least render the player in a level. I’ll make a video later.

First screenshot of DarkWolf2D

First screenshot of DarkWolf2D

 

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Markov Chains for Procedurally Generated Textures

October 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm (Computer Science, Game Development, Graphics, Processing, Programming) (, , , , , )


As anybody who’s spent time on this blog knows….well, anyway, I’ve spent a while working on my game on and off. One of the time consuming processes of this was to build textures and level details. All of the art from the screenshots was created by hand using classic MS Paint (not the new-fangled one that comes with Windows 7). One particularly tedious aspect was making bookshelf textures. I had to manual rearrange books and come up with different combinations of books that I thought would be “believable” by the player and not repetitive.

Well, here’s where my new project comes in! Last weekend I spent a few hours writing an algorithm that would generate shelves of books for me. Why is this interesting though? Couldn’t I have just randomized the books and called it a day? Well, the problem with strict randomization is that it looks ugly. It would just be a mish-mash of different coloured books, which is fine for a modern¬†bookstore but as my game takes place in the 1920’s-1940’s, it felt more appropriate to have a bit more organization. Essentially, in older libraries you would be more likely to find books that looked similar because of binding techniques of the days. You’d also find more books that were series of something that would have the same style of cover instead of just a colourful, different cover.

The goal for this project was to generate shelves that had clusters of books. To achieve this, I used a Markov Chain algorithm that would place each book on the shelf one at a time. Depending on the book it would place, it would favour specific types of books for the next book. There is still a randomized aspect to the algorithm, but it is more constrained depending on the state.

Below is a screenshot comparing some of the results of the algorithm to a strictly randomized approach. As you can see, both are somewhat random, but the shelf on the left shows more groupings of similar books.

Procedurally generated texture comparison

Procedurally generated texture comparison

 

 

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Aftermath of Zombie Mansion Alpha 1 Build

July 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm (Game Development, Games, Graphics, Java, JavaScript, Processing, Programming, Video games) (, , , , , , )


So at this point in time I’ve had multiple people play through my game demo. The results were actually better than I thought. I think only one person wasn’t able to run it (still not entire sure why, but that’s future Jake’s problem now). There were a couple major issues, but those were found and fixed as well. One of the bugs was that I didn’t include the assets for the 3D objects, so when the players entered the room with columns, the game crashed. There was also some scripting errors driven by not having necessary images wrapped up in the resources archive. Logging definitely helped out there.

The last major issue is unsolved, but lies with some code I threw together for the level selection screen. I think some of the click events aren’t going through, or it’s not loading the levels properly. I think this may have something to do with that particular tester running the game through a zip file though. I was shocked to find out that it worked period though.

I got some pretty decent feedback from one tester in particular though. He gave not only bug reports, etc, but opinions on controls, aesthetics, and game flow as well. Most of those things were explained away as “placeholder” stuff, but still; it was useful information to know what a tester/player is thinking when they see that stuff. When I show most people my game, I need comments like “looks neat and retro” or “I like the camera spin feature”, but not enough people pay attention to tiny details.

Anyway, that’s the update. I haven’t had free time to cut a second build or to work on new levels or anything.

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