They don’t make bugs like bunny anymore/..

Deep Quest

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »
The main screen
The main screen

Deep Quest is a casual RTS game set in an undersea environment. The humble Abyssians wage war against the evil Gorlons in a fight for survival. It features tonnes of unique units, beautiful underwater maps, and an engaging storyline.

There are 10 different missions in which you aid the Abyssians in overcoming the challenges that face them. Each time, you get promoted in rank, and get access to more powerful units and structures.

The project began with only an artist (a very talented one, I might add), the designer and myself as the programmer. This lasted for about 6 months as we brought the project to its alpha stage (i.e. full base engine with runnable, scriptable missions and in-game cinematics). Following this, the code was handed over to Nexgen’s able in-house development team for a further 6 months of polishing and tweaking. During this time, I only had to go back for one week towards the end to help iron out the few remaining bugs.

The game itself was built in C++, using the opensource Ogre3D engine. Missions and unit AI were scripted using Lua, and audio was done via OpenAL. Overall, pretty simple tools.

This game is available on Yahoo. You can get a free trial here.

Some RTS gameplay

Some RTS gameplay


Flatworld

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »

Yes, so I tried to build an MMORPG. Don’t laugh. It wasn’t my money! It’s more a case of “If you don’t try, you don’t know”, and since I was getting paid pretty well, why not?

The beginning was rough. Why? Because there were only two relatively experienced game programmers on the team. Robin Tan from Envisage Reality, and myself. The others were either traditional application developers or interns. Also, we were using a beta version of the Truevision engine, and that certainly did not help keep things running smoothly.

The concept behind the game was simple. We were making a Maple Story clone, except with a bit more of a serious theme and a more complex skill system. Also, rather than being completely 2D, we’d be having 3D characters running about in a 2D world. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

When I was first hired, it was just to do the networking. Swell! Well, after that was more or less in place, everybody else was still struggling, so I picked up the physics to do. And then I did the animation system. Which culminated in the scripting system. Then having tinkered enough on the server side, I refactored the client’s graphics system.

So after nine months of hard labour, we had the semblance of a base engine up and running, after which the boss created a sample level. It wasn’t fun. Sure, we had crappy placeholder graphics, but the game design itself just didn’t take off. We persisted for a bit, trying to make something out of nothing, but it was not forthcoming.

Eventually the project was put on permanent hiatus, and that was it. But hey, at least I got to work on an MMO!


Cacani

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »

This is a web-based application that allows users to easily create animations and send them to their friends via email or MMS. The web interface was developed in J2ME by a company called MC3 while the back end was based on proprietary technology developed by Nanyang Technological University. My sole responsibility in this project was project management. It was showcased in E3 2006 by Nexgen Studio.


Mobile Phone Trivia Game

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »

A J2ME trivia game which downloads questions from a central server. This was done for Nexgen Studio. Questions can be input directly via a web interface. Work included the J2ME midlet, PHP scripts, MYSQL database setup, porting to several phone models and setting up of the web page.

This was probably my first freelance project, even though it was done for the company that I had just departed from.


Elven Legends

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »
Title Screen

Title Screen

Elven Legends is a multi-player action RPG for mobile phones. It features multiplayer combat, various differnt maps, different races, spells, weapons, etc.

There are actually 3 completely different versions of this project. The first was a prototype. A single elf, on a medium sized map, and another elf NPC that is patrolling the area. You can use your spells and weapons to defeat this NPC and claim victory. Pretty simple stuff. All written in J2ME by me, with an intern artist.

The second version was built on Symbian, and made use of Nokia’s SIP technology. We didn’t really hope to sell this, as it would only run on Nokia phones. But Nokia funded the development, so no complaints there. It was really meant as a showpiece to show what SIP is capable of.

The main menu

The main menu

It featured full peer-to-peer multiplayer play, through bluetooth as well as through SIP. We had an editor written in Visual basic which allows you to customize character classes, their abilities, spells, animations, etc. It also let you create and change items. We used Mappy as a map editor for our tiled terrain. It was actually pretty fun to play even if I do say so myself.

We flew up to Hong Kong to show this off at one of the Nokia conventions. Met a lot of telcos and distributors there too. It was one of only two games there that featured SIP (and the other had “technical issues”, so yay us!). It was written in Symbian C++, something I hope never to do again. The team comprised a designer, artist, me and a junior programmer. We also had some assistance from Nokia techs. All this took about 3 months or so.

The third version is a multiplayer cross-platform (PC and mobile) client-server arena-based game with RPG elements. I had completely nothing to do with the development of this one, other than as the odd tester now and then. It was all the hard work of the Nexgen team. Kudos to them. It is expected to launch sometime soon. It is in beta now, and you can find out more here. There are also a couple of YouTube flicks flying around.


GolfMaster 2005

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »
Golfmaster 2005

Golfmaster 2005

The toughest of projects are usually the best of learning experiences. I guess that can be said for this game. We were so green back then that we failed to properly control the project. This brought us no end of suffering.

It started off as a 2D top-down game for mobile phones. Players hit the golf ball, it travels around, and lands on the rough, green, sandtrap or whatever. The design doc was written out, the client okayed it, and we went to work. It was pretty cool work. We even had randomly generated golf courses so that every hole would be different.

Taking a swing

Taking a swing

When the client saw our first prototype, he was not happy. He threw us a copy of Tiger Woods Golf, and said he wanted one like that! So how do you make Tiger Woods Golf on a shoestirng budget like ours? Fake it of course! Boldly, we slapped images in, pulling off every cheap hack in the book.

Finding the course

Finding the course

You can’t do that without cost of course. I did issue the warning that it would never run on the smaller phones, but by that time, there was nowhere to go but forward. And so it came to be as it is. And when it came time to port to the smaller handsets, somebody was contracted to do it (I hazard to guess it would be a rewrite of most of it). I had already moved on to another project, having wasted too much time on this one.

And so the game was taken by the client, and we never heard any news of it again. Only years later did we find that it was released into the wild. You can download a copy here, but I wouldn’t call it the “most advanced mobile golf game”. It seems some changes have been made to it since I saw it last as the power meter looks different, but it still basically looks the same.


Mobile Comics

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »

I wrote a simple J2ME application that downloads comic frames from a central server and allows them to view them on their 2G phones. This may not sound like a lot today, but in those days, the cost of GPRS bandwidth was quite high. Also, the capacity of the Series 40 phones was quite limited. Only a measly 64kB for the whole program and all its assets. The repository space available was equally miserable.

This was to be used in conjunction with a local publishing house. Unfortunately, the deal fell through and it didn’t see the light of day.


Kia Rally

Posted: November 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | No Comments »
Kia Rally

Kia Rally

Kia Rally was a racing game that was specially made for Kia Motors when I was in full employ of Nexgen Studio. It was to be featured in their motor show held at Ngee Ann City, featuring their Sorento and other lines of cars.
The whole production took place in an amazing three weeks! (well, for me anyway. The artist had an extra week) There were only three people on the team. A 3D artist, a designer cum 2D artist, and a programmer (yours truly!).

We made use of the Torque Engine to develop this game. Since it was to be installed in a booth, we didn’t have to worry about any issues relating to installation or hardware compatibility. The game was controlled by a Logitech racing wheel (can’t recall the model), that came with foot pedals.

It featured both an “Indy” style racing track, as well as a dirt track. There were three different models of cars… okay, it was the same model with different textures. It also featured a high score feature, which Kia used to award free gifts to players who came to try it out.

Unfortunately, this game is not available for release. Even if it were, you would not be able to play it well without the necessary hardware. It served its purpose, and then we moved on…


Hello world!

Posted: November 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Soapbox | No Comments »

Hi folks! I’m currently migrating my website to WordPress. So please bear with me while I push my old articles and stuff over here. Hopefully, with the better ease of updating, I’ll be more motivated to put stuff up here!