Friday, September 30, 2011

School Video Game Projects: Segways & Moon Rovers

Well, right now, the difficulty curve for my gaming college is slightly escalating though I'm doing fine ATM.  I'm working on my second team game for this semester.  We're using the Unity engine.  It's due next Tuesday.  Hopefully, we don't have to sprint to the finish line :(

I like this team I'm working with.  A week ago, I had to attend a class while the rest of my team discussed what the game would be about.  I show up and sure enough, they say "You like moving vehicles, right?" and I'm like, "Pschyeah," and he's like "Cool, check this game out..."

The first idea we had for a game was called "Segway Samurai."  The idea is you play as some nerdy white-collar Taiwanese dude (dressed like a Geek Squad guy, I presume) who's really bored with his life.  He rides to work on a Segway while wearing a helmet and kneepads.  Then he finds an antique samurai sword that he keeps because nerds love swords & stuff.

However, this sword belonged to one of his ancient ancestors and so it talks to him in strange gibberish.  He needs to free-roam around the city collecting scrolls that reveal parts of the story and give him clues.  Whilst this is happening, our hero must fight ninjas on Ninja motorcycles and ghosts all while riding his Segway.  Then at the end, he fights "The Baron," a wealthy 19th century Englishman who likes collecting valuable antiques like the samurai sword our hero wields.  He also rides a unicycle and challenges you to a jousting contest (EDIT: he uses his cane).

The whole idea for the game made me rofl so hard.  However, the next day, I went to the group meeting and everyone ditched the idea due to technical limitations or something like that.  Oh well...

Now we are working on a new game.  You control a six-wheel space APC-like vehicle (an AI robot that needs to get home to his owner...something like that) as you drive around on the Moon looking for clues as to what happened in this former mining colony.  There's hills, valleys, a city, meteor showers, etc. The handling on this thing feels like something out of San Francisco's all floppy and crazy and stuff. 

Right now, I'm in charge of the car handling.  Well duh, that's my expertise.  I have little knowledge of the story being told at the moment.  I'm not a "story guy," remember?  Remember, Unity implements moving vehicles rather easily so it's just a matter of setting all the car parameters.  Seriously, this is Gran Turismo stuff we're getting into like mass, center of mass, damping, spring length, torque/RPMs, etc.  Read this hough-jazz PDF on the gritty details on creating/handling a vehicle.

WOW, at the same time I was typing this paragraph, I saw a mid-sized spider crawl on my bed near my arm.  So I threw the laptop down and smashed it to pieces with my mousepad.

Oh, and one more thing at school.  We have to make a game in Assembly.  These are assignments that we must do individually.  Use the 68000K Assembly IDE and make a game with a cannon shooting balls at moving targets.  Should be lots of fun.  While I could spit out a game like this in C++ or Java in no time, Assembly is much more tedious.  It's like building a house out of Jenga blocks.  Or recreating the Mona Lisa using a box of Crayola crayons and a sheet of printer paper.  But it's okay, because fixed point hexadecimal is fun!

And now you know why EVERYBODY wants to be a game producer, NOT a game programmer.

But really, the purpose behind Assembly is that it's the most "pure" form of code in that it runs closest to the microprocessor and hence is the "quickest" (it uses those elusive registers which are as valuable as gold).  Of course, it's much harder to discern and it's nearly impossible to make games post-1985 with just Assembly code alone (check out the Pac-man code).  Assembly is most necessary if you want to deal with hardware programming.  I'm pretty sure Yu Suzuki could take on any Assembly challenge.  If he can do it, then I should too..........

Will talk about Daytona 2 next time.  Also if you like Team Fortress 2 and sh-mups, check out this free downloadable game, it's rather interesting.


  1. Assembly programming is your key to the ultimate system power!

  2. If you can program in Assembly, you can program in ANY language. Well, maybe not COBOL, that's a real pain...