Head Level Designer of Flaming Brain Studios. And I am a Newb!

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Triangle Game Conference Day 1 & 2

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Day One:

We woke up at 8am this morning with a total of four hours of sleep (more like 7 for me because I slept in the back of the car). We ate some stale continental breakfast and headed off for the conference in the cool North Carolina morning weather.

We started the conference off with with Monetizing Your Flash Games. This talk was surprisingly good. The speaker was some 15 year old who made $45,000 last year. This was followed by Winning a Contract, which didn't have much to do with "winning" a contract. But, the talk did have a lot of great tips when you try to make a Facebook / other casual game.

We then went to a panel sessions about Getting Into the Game Industry. This was the highlight of the day. It had big name devs from Insomniac, Epic, EA, and a few others. I took a page worth of notes on what the experts said to do.

The day slowed down after the panel talk. The Indie Game on a Shoe String Budget was alright. It should have been called "My Personal Life Story" of the speaker. The Level Design Using UDK was a bust. We left after just 15 minutes. It was geared more towards people who knew nothing about what the Unreal Engine / UDK was.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a lot better. The conference isn't a let down, but it's not what I expected. On the bright side, Raleigh is beautiful. I would love to live here, minus all the pollen. Staying with Adam and Ian is proving to be hilarious also. If anything, we will get a few more business cards passed out, but I don't think we will gain a sponsorship.

Day Two:

We decided to sleep in an extra hour today, since there was no talk we wanted to listen to during the first session. The first talk we went to was another panel discussion called "The Future of the FPS." This made the whole conference worthwhile. I really loved this talk because this was one that was actually full of BIG names from the industry. There was a producer from Epic, the co-founder of Red Storm (Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six), a designer from Insomniac, and another that I can't remember. They talked about where the industry was headed with the FPS, where it's been, and what makes a good FPS.

The next talk we went to was a keynote talk from a guy who has worked on every Vin Diesel movie / game. This was awesome because he wrote the script for The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. In case you don't know, this was one of the few games that got the whole movie to game right. He was a hilarious speaker and actually knew what he was talking about. He gave a lot of insight into what the writing industry is like for games.

The final talk of the day was a current features talk on the Unreal Engine. They are coming out with some epically (no pun intended) content. Epic showed some examples of texture painting before going into the real ingenious stuff. They are coming out with a spline tool that will allow for easy cables and vines (this is amazing). They are also coming out with an "auto city" tool. Basically, you put a volume into the level and set some attributes, and you get a full building.

Right now, we are in a hotel halfway between Raleigh and home. The tire on my car was deathly close to exploding due to the tire wearing down to the steel. Luckily, Adam had to pee and we found it when we pulled over. My AAA card got us a deal and we're in a king size room for half the price :)

Overall, this conference was good, but not great. It is on the line on if we would come back to it next year or not. We learned some good things from it, but it wasn't what we exactly expected. Hopefully next year we will be able to go to something like the GDC out of California.

Thanks for reading,

Level One Update 3/31/2010

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Well, it's been a while since I have updated my blogs. It's been crunch time with the TGC (Triangle Game Conference) just around the corner. I put in a lot of time this weekend / week on level one. It's no where near finished, but I added some things to make it seem more like the concept art and not just an empty hallway. Check out the pictures.

I used everything that Plugh and the videos have taught me so far. There is no good lighting in the level yet, except for the "sunlight," the rest of it is subject to change.

All of the textures in the hallways will most likely be final. The textures in the main landing area are god-awful and will change. The columns are just place holders for the time being.

I redesigned the whole layout of the landing area. The idea of the walkway was cool, but falling off of it was annoying, and it just didn't make much sense. How would you store things quickly? What if something or someone fell? I think it will make for better combat too.

The reason the sun is showing in is because I haven't added the sliding blast doors to the top yet. What will happen is when the player walks into the room (most likely when he hits the stairs) the doors will open and the player will see the drop-ship fly in and land. The doors will then close and you'll find out what happens after that when you play the game. ;)

I want the lighting in the hallways to be well lit, but kind of dark too. That way, when the player enters the main landing area, they will be astonished when the bright light of the planets sun shines in.

Hopefully, sometime this week, I will do a workshop with Plugh over TeamViewer and he'll teach me some more things and critique my level.

Thanks for reading!


Level Designer Updates

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Good news everyone, we have added a new level designer! His name is Neil and he lives in the UK (that makes it 21 international members now). You can check out his work here at Plugh.co.uk. He has won several awards for his levels, and will be a great addition to the team. If you've played ut3, you've probably played one of his levels. Check out his moddb page at Moddb.com.

Level two is now being developed by him (a load off of my shoulders) which means that I can focus more on getting level one ready for the conference. He's only been working on it for a week, but it's pretty kick-ass so far. He's experienced, so he's been helping me out with editor things. We look forward to seeing great things from him.

Keep checking back for updates!


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Flaming Brain Studio's first podcast on Praetorian Defiance is now out. Check it out here: Moddb.com This is our first try at a podcast, so give us a little bit of a break... If you have any idea on things that we could add or content we need to talk about, give us a comment. Thanks for checking us out!

Triangle Game Conference

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This just in... Flaming Brain Studios will be heading to the Triangle Game Conference in Raleigh, NC. In case you didn't know, the TGC is an event for indie game developers to gain information from people in "the business." Adam, Ian, and I will be representing for Flaming Brain. The trip will take over 18 hours there and back and over $150 in gas, but it's worth it. When we are at the actual event. I'll update a blog after every night detailing what exactly went on during the day. We're getting special shirts made for this even, so look for the guys in the black polos :D We will be taking a lot of pictures, and we'll either post them on our respective pages, or the Flaming Brain pages. If you're going to be at the conference let me know!

Level Two

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The plan for level two is now done! Adam, Ian, and I laid out the design which will be about 6 minutes or so of play time (give or take). This level will be the second and final level included in the beta. Right now, all we have done is the simple layout on paper. I'll get started on this tonight as well as some more UDK videos. I'll post pictures of the level as soon as it's in a picture worthy state. The ending to level 2 should be pretty epic. The events that occur in the level should be very Michael Bay / James Cameron worthy. We'll be throwing all the skills that we have at these first two levels to get the project into a betaworthy stage.

Level one right now has it's first texture applied to it. It looks pretty good, but it can still use some work. The props for level one are currently under design too. When the props are done and laid out, I will post some more pictures, but for now it's pretty much the same.

Weekly Update 2

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Hi all,

This week is going to turn out to be another productive week. Adam, Arturo, and I have set the plans in motion for some concept art for the first level. Meanwhile, I will be learning how to make seamless textures! This sounds like a fun thing to start learning because every level is going to need it. Hopefully, by the end of this week I can have some textures applied to the first level. During spring break, I will work on it as much as I can too. Maybe, by the time I get back, it'll be time to start adding meshes to it. I'll continue to update throughout the week on the level!

**Edit: Update Mar. 3rd**

Well, I just got done creating my first texture in MapZone. I never knew that it took that much work to create a texture. I have a lot more respect for people that have mastered it. Also, Adam sent me a texture to play around with in UDK based on the concept art. I would post pictures, but it doesn't look that great right now with a blue / white checkered ceiling. When I get a floor / roof texture I'll put something up... Until then I'll be working on making my own textures and coming up with a plan for level two. Check back for an update on level two and pictures for level one!

Level One Update

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Today was a pretty successful day. Adam, Brad, Ian and I worked on the final design for level one (there have been several). I am pretty excited to get rolling on this, it's going to display a lot of tools in the engine and a lot of our skills as designers. I would post a picture of what it's going to look like, but I am a noob and I don't own a digital camera. I'm going to get started on it tonight after I finish the Kismet videos. I'll keep everyone updated throughout the design process with pictures and what not. Thanks for reading!

**Update 2/23/2010 2 am**
I got to working on the design of the first level and kept it as true to the design as humanly possible. Adam wanted epic when they first come out of the corridor, so I hope this is epic. Of course, it's just the skeleton of the level (no textures, lighting, or meshes) but I think it's turning out to be pretty cool! The pictures are in the image gallery now (Adam hasn't updated to Feb 2010 UDK... noob).

**Update 2/23/2010 10pm**
The skeleton for the level is complete! It took around 7 hours to complete. I can't wait to start adding some textures to this level (that will be the next step).

Keep checking back everyday for updates.

Weekly Update 1

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So after a month or two of slacking off and not doing my job, Adam decided to kick me in the butt and it got me going. This week I have caught up on a lot of videos, and will continue to do more in this upcoming week. So far, I have made a simple level (harder than it seems) and a level with terrain in it (I'll post pictures of what they look like). This coming week, I'll start the new video set with Kismet and Cinematics. Hopefully by next Sunday, I'll have all the tools I need to get going on the Praetorian Defiance levels. Also, I would like to say thanks to 3dbuzz for coming up with such a great set of videos!

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