I'm a freshman student at the Art Institutes and I'm enrolled in the game art and design program. I specialize in science-fiction artwork, more specifically, vehicles (mostly spacecraft right now) at the moment. I plan to eventually create and release a space opera mmog set in a universe of my own creation. I'll be posting art related to that project to my personal gallery every once in a while.

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My Adventures in Game Design: Chapter 2

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Wow, a year since my last entry...

So, what's been going on in that year? Honestly, not as much as I would have preferred. It's very hard to design systems when you have no way to test and modify them, something I've had to learn the hard way. There has, however been some progress.

This progress has almost been entirely on the, rather narrow, subject of ships, their modularity, and the equipment that can be mounted on them. I also have (very) vague ideas of how the crafting, mining, and license system should work.

However, due to the difficulty (and my own lack of experience), I'm setting Project Nova, as it's now called, aside for the time being until I have more experience with game design and, more importantly, the cash with which to pay a programmer.

So that leaves the question of what do I do now?

I've decided to leave the digital realm entirely for the moment and create a tabletop miniatures game. This is for a couple reasons:

1 - There's no coding; the work consists entirely of writing, thinking, and some art. I can work on this entirely solo.

2 - It's easier and simpler to test and modify gameplay systems.

In addition to the switch in medium, there has been a LARGE reduction in ambition. Project Sun is designed to be played with 1 d6 dice and revolve around simple systems. As of the time of writing this, I'm probably about 35% to 40% done with the preliminary draft of the basic rules. After that comes play testing and iteration.

I'm not quite ready to share more than that, however.

My Adventures in Game Design: Chapter 1

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Before I go, I'd like to note that this is just ideas and talk, I don't have the ability or time to make this game for real right now.

Obviously the first thing to do before designing a game is to decide what kind of game I want. Because I absolutely love space games, and there aren't nearly enough of them on the market, I'll design one of those.

The game, which I'm calling by the working name "Star Control Online" (cheesy, I know), will be an MMOG set in space. The setting determines the look and feel of the game.

I've decided on the following list of features that I hope to implement:

Newtonian Physics
Seamless Travel
Modular Ships
Modular Components for Ships
Player Owned Space Stations
A Sandbox Environment
Open PvP

These wanted features will help me determine how to go about designing the game, determining the mechanics and even the look of the game.

Newtonian physics means no traditional dogfights, no space friction, no up and down. This mimics the way things work in space in real life.

Seamless travel means that the game has no sectors, and a player can travel anywhere within a solar system. The only loading screens would occur during travel between solar systems. However, this means that SCO can't use just any engine, and requires an engine capable of procedural generation, which aren't that common. If one can't be found, then this feature might have to be discarded.

Indy games often have trouble making enough content to have a good variety of it. If SCO's ships are modular, then that means that there can be more variation in ships with fewer models. Two players can be flying the same ship, but each player can have their ship equipped for a different use, with this shown by the fact that their ships look a bit different.

Modular components for ships allows for greater customization and specialization.

Player owned space stations allow players and player groups to claim territory.

A sandbox environment allows players to set their own goals and create their own stories, as well as following the storyline of the game.

Open PvP means that very few areas of the game are truly safe. This drives player interactions if done right. The problem comes from balancing it so that it doesn't turn into an EVE style fragfest.

Now that I know what I want to do, I have to figure out HOW to do it. This is the kicker.

My Adventures in Game Design: Introduction

TerranAmbassador Blog

Hello all. Before I bore you all with a dry, humorless rant taking place over several episodic blogs, I thought I'd introduce myself a little.

My name is Cameron d, and I'm a freshman year student at the Art Institutes Online. I'm enrolled in AIO's Game Art and Design course.

I specialize in making art assets (models, textures, etc.), and have about 2 years or so of experience doing do. I've contributed to a few games:

Infinity: The Quest for Earth
Miner Wars: 2081
Pioneer Space Sim
Vendetta Online

with varying degrees of success. My current specialization concerning art assets is sci-fi vehicles and spacecraft. I can both model and texture.

My goal for the future is to create and release an epic sandbox MMOG set within a sci-fi universe of my own creation.

Why am I writing this blog? This blog serves two purposes. I'll use it document my attempts to design a game and I thought it might be mildly amusing/informative/whatever for whoever reads it. That said, let's begin.

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