Blog

Overhauling the UI

As part of our continuing work on Domino Daydreams, I went back and looked at the part of the project I’ve worked hardest on since its inception –  The User Interface.

Without doubt this is one of the most important features for any kind of building or crafting game, and like so many things in game development: You only can tell it’s done well when you don’t notice it.

The original UI we crafted was functional, not pretty and the obvious result of a 48 hour game jam.  Having had time to work on this since we have developed a new UI system that will hopefully be more intuitive and a little prettier on the eye.Radial1

This should debut with our “State Of Play” build which will come out on 06/04/2017, to coincide with Domino Daydreams being brought to State of Play in DIT, Dublin the day before hand.

Having more screen real estate should allow you, the player a much better view of your creation without being cluttered up with buttons all the time.  Be sure to let us know your thoughts!

radial2

Water Effect Test

As part of our first level, the Zen garden we are adding in some props to help fill out the area. The first of which is a nice Zen water feature, below is some of the final tests i was running to find just the right effect to show off the custom models and add in some visual effect while keeping performance overheads low. Enjoy.

Alpha Build – Lets play

Thanks to the lads over at Alco Irish Gamers on YouTube for the honest and sometimes brutal truth. We gave them an alpha copy of the game to try out and they decided to make a lets play of it. Obviously this is proof of concept game play and is not the finished product by a long shot but if your interested to see where we started from by all means take a look.

Once again thanks for the support and we promise to have a super relaxing title for you very soon.

The background!

So…. where to begin…. well from the start I guess.

We all started out together in college, I was working nights doing a job that I once loved but now hated, I was looking to do something more with my life and then, through the jigs and reels found out that a college in town was teaching game development. Boom!  I was there, I had played games on and off for most of my life but seeing as I couldn’t code or draw to save my life, I was content to leave game development behind me as a pipe dream, and I very nearly did, But I though “If you don’t go for it now you never will”, so I did.

We were all in the same class, a part time class, we all worked and needed to pay the bills so full time just wouldn’t work for us.

Turns out to be the best thing for all of us. The problem about going to college full time is the burn out, you keep thinking you have all the time in the world to do your stuff, but you don’t. You think there’s plenty of time, but there isn’t, before you know it boom! its gone and your in a blind panic looking for anything you can scrape together.

But we were different, we didn’t have that luxury, we had 40 plus hour weeks under our belts before we opened a laptop or a book, we ran on a concoction of  90% Starbucks and 20% cigarettes, that’s what it takes just to retain any information after such a long day. If your not putting in 110% your doing yourself a dis service never mind the 5 other people that are putting their grades in your twitching, caffeine riddled hands.

So you get stuck in and you find that what you can do in part time hours, with that sort of pressure, is remarkable. You start to see the benefits of team work over personal glory. You produce games and demos that make your closest rivals jealous, but you share your techniques because if your rivals are better you have to be better still.

But something incredible comes from it, you find people that you can work with very quickly, you drop the dead weights and stream line your development on this project then for the next project you bring in another person or two that you hope will work. If they don’t you drop them too. But after a while, after a few broken , barely playable games you find a team that works, a team that can stand side by side over a project and say without falter, that they put everything they could into it, and you believe them, you can see it in the detail they put into the job assigned to them, and the 4 am time stamp on the email they sent you with the next piece of the game.

it takes time to get to that stage and before you realize it your time in college is up, you have some new skills, new friends and new goals to achieve. But as Jeff Goldblum points out “Life, uh, finds a way..”and in this case it finds a way to make it harder to make games.

Over the years we have worked on different projects, with different members of the team, but as with life things some how always got in the way, we could never seem to get everyone back into a project at the same time. some games failed before they even began. But always in the back of your mind you think back to the days when you just clicked with your team mates, the days where just as you realize you need that model or artwork right there and them, BOOM! your artist has it ready. not because their the quickest pen in the world but because they can read you, and know their job well enough to know exactly what to do next.

So after being apart for the best part of 2 years, we got together for this years global game jam, an event we have been doing every year since we started college. But this year was different because this year we were all there, not some or most, ALL! and this time with some new additions to boot. One of the newcomers is an audio mastermind, I have always said that audio is a massive part of games and should never be left till last so I am ecstatic to have him on board from the very beginning and a new 2D/3D artist that can hold her own in a dogfight, and produced fantastic pieces in short time frames.

Its been too long coming but this time round all the pieces are in place, now its time to march forward as a team once again. Watch this space!