Category Archives: Video Games

Cross-platform Action RPG Controls

My Action RPG game Complex State will be playable on everything: gaming console,  smart tv, phones, tablets, and PC’s. Players will play together on tv consoles using gamepads in the living room… and continue grinding by themselves on their phones.

To achieve this I’ve been designing control systems for each type of platform to be as consistent as possible. This is what I’ve come up with.

The basic in game controls are movement and actions (ie. weapons). Movement is controlled with a joystick, arrows, or pathfinding to a selected spot on the map. On all systems the player is given 4 actions in the form of 4 weapons slots (could also  contain equipment, potions, magic). These correspond to the standard A, B, X, Y buttons on gamepad, or are toggled. Aiming ranged attacks works differently on different systems. NPC interaction will be initiated automatically by going close to an NPC.

Here’s an outline of the 3 platform control methods.

cs_controls_1

I’ve yet to find Action RPG controls on phones that I love. Originally I tried out more complex swipes and gestures, but they were difficult. Instead I’m simplifying phone controls to single-handed tapping. This will lift attack combo versatility compared to gamepad. Gameplay will have to address this somehow.

cs_controls_2

Keyboard and Mouse basically combines the other two control methods.

cs_controls_3

This is my solution to the problem of supporting a console action game on mobile. I don’t completely know yet how simplifying the controls to just four actions will affect game design.

Explore The Galaxy mobile game coming soon

The last couple weeks I’ve been working on the mobile game version of my solitaire 18 card game Explore The Galaxy. It will be released for phones and tablets and available in the iOS App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore.

Here’s some screenshots from today. The interface is not final. It gives immediate feedback on what skills you need to complete each location.

Work in progress

work in progress

The plan is for the game to be a proof of concept for mobile card games. I will also be making  larger, multiplayer FRESH Big Time game.

Blended map textures for Complex State

Today I’ve been working on the map textures for our Action-RPG Complex State.

The game is largely inspired by some of my favourite games, Zelda: A Link to the Past and the Baldur’s Gate. The game maps are built using a grid, so maps can be designed easily or created procedurally during play. However, player and NPC movement is free like Baldur’s Gate, not along the grid like Zelda. My goal with the map textures is for it to work like a simple 16-bit style RPG, but have a unique more realistic look. I’m doing this by random variations of each map grid texture and with blended edges.

complex01

This creates a varied texture for outside grass.

complex03

Today I am working on the look of the space station and space ships. It’s not quite finished.

complex02

I also just implemented how NPCs will talk, I am testing it by having them say “moving,” while moving in their API loop. The game will support couch multiplayer, trying to reproduce some of the funnest times I’ve had played Baldur’s Gate and more recently Diablo III with friends. One thing that always bugged us in those games — when one player talked to an NPC the dialogue took over the screen and paused everybody. In this game players will be able to walk around freely, and NPCs will respond with un-disruptive speech bubbles.

Complex State is a game we are working on, it’s an Action-RPG for tv consoles and mobile. The game has a sci-fi theme involving artificial characters.

I’ve been working on the logo and over all brand the last few days. Here is the work-in-progress logo:

complexstate_logo_01

Comet path in Hyperion

Hyperion is a larger game project I’ve been working on for years. I’ve partially implemented it on several platform at different points. Over the years my Dad has also doe a lot of work calculating the movements of planets and comets using Keplers and other rocket science.

My dad has recently gotten a procedural comet flying through the solar system using Unity3d.

hyperion_comet_1

This is our first project on Unity3D. Because Hyperion will be such an ambitious cross-platform 3D game, the powerful Unity3D looks like a great fit. Our first goal is a simpler planetary system sandbox game, the basic functionality of the much larger Hyperion game I’ve been working on.