Sunday, 15 September 2013

Gamecraft 2013

Game Craft

Before I start talking about the two days and what happened I am going to give you a quick introduction to the whole thing...

What is Gamecraft 2013?
Gamecraft is an event that was held in Derry/Londonderry where game developers came from all over to spend 24 hours making a game based on a theme. The event started at 19:00 on Friday 13th September til 19:00 on Saturday 14th September 2013. Then the judging would begin on the games and awards would be awarded for creative and great games. The Theme would be announced at 19:00 on Friday.

The Event
I arrived at gamecraft at about 7pm, with my bag full of energy drinks and sugary foods I signed in and found my team. Our team was Troll inc, probably because we all came from troll inc, our team was comprised of 6 people, 5 of which currently work for troll inc and one which used to work for the company and came for the event. Our first problem was to find power for 3 mac minis and 3 macbooks. So we had to have a last minute run to a shop to get extension leads to create an unstable fire hazard under our desk. 

The theme was announced shortly after 7pm and the theme was;

"Reality becomes a prison to those who can't escape it"

So the 6 of us huddled around and started throwing ideas down onto the table for what we could make to fit the theme, admittedly some were not the best, but we were struggling with the theme for a while. We eventually figured out a game idea, but will get to that later.

The 24 hours were a long struggle to get through the night of the 6 that started only 2 stayed through the night to make the game. The night was a cross of huge changes and developments to our game, struggling to stay awake and fighting the pain of sitting down too long. As I walked around the room all you could see was any sofa long enough for a person to lie on would have a person struggling to sleep. I was also one of those struggling to sleep at about 5am.

After half an hour sleep, the sun finally rose again and some of our team returned, so we looked at what we had left to do and worked our way through the work. We even had a playable game we were happy with 3 hours before the end. So we cleaned it up and made it play smoothly.

We have a game!

Our game is is about our character who is in a mental hospital  who is living in a grim world, and he does not see a simpler way out of the his dull and dreary reality. The player needs to find ways to inflict damage on himself as these lighten up his world. So your objective is to escape your world and find a happier place, and the only way the character can think of doing this is by killing himself

The game was made in unity using C# Scripting and could be played with both a gamepad and with the keyboard.

The Judging Begins

After a long 24 hours and wanting a rest, we finally get one, we get to show our games off and play everyone else's. There were some great games out there and was impressed by some of the new stuff coming from the Wii U DevKit. There is a full list of the games made here

We did manage to get an award for our game and we were given a certificate and a gift code for the adventures of shuggy.

The Experience

The experience as a whole was really good, the group of people and the sponsors were all really friendly and happy to talk. The night of fighting sleep deprivation is an experience I don't want to repeat too often, but is one that I enjoyed. Living off of free food, energy drinks and coffee and then fighting going mad through the 24 hours was a wonderful experience and spending it with other like minded people made it even better. Being able to create a playable and now award winning game in 24 hours is a great feeling and one I would love to repeat. 

It was great to see Nintendo and Riot Games at gamecraft and speak to them, they were really friendly and welcoming even at the early hours of the morning, I really don't know how they stayed that happy and upbeat throughout the whole event. Both Nintendo and Riot games also gave away plenty of free stuff and that is always a good thing. 

You can play the game on this link

Frozen Fishy out.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Working at Troll Inc

I have been working at Troll inc now for 4 Weeks, so far its been really fun and enjoyable. my job title is as a Junior Programmer within the company and have been working mainly with the Unity3D engine. Over the last few weeks I have been testing, removing bugs and improving gameplay of a game to be released early next year. Its only a small project, but I have learnt so much already. I was thrown in the deep end from the beginning, but from then it has been an upward struggle and now I feel more comfortable and inspired than ever to start working independently and on my final year project...

I have a few final year project ideas (which I will not write about here, unless I dismiss them)

Beta Testers
Troll inc have just started accepting emails for people to be in a beta testing group, and I would be grateful if you could sign up and help us make the game great. The game is in an early stage at the moment, and with the interest and views of other people, we can make the game great.

Frozen Fishy out

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Whats Been Happening

Its been a long time since I created a new post for this blog, so i thought i would give a quick update what has been happening. I finished my 2nd year at uni, and am now working on my placement at a games company called Troll inc as a junior programmer ( ). I am into my third week of working for them and have been learning so much in such a short time.

I finally have stable internet in a house, I have been living in a house for 2 months waiting for my internet from virgin media, but was worth the wait, now I get a good 45MB/s, so can't complain too much about that.

My driving setup is taking shape, I have got a force feedback wheel and plenty of games that it supports, new ones and old.

I have seen the trailer for GTA V and the game looks amazing, will definitely be a release day purchase for me and will be many hours of gameplay in single player and online.

So now all my house sporting out is settled, I can sit back some more and relax, catch up with some games that I missed and get some serious work done

Frozen Fishy out.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Just a quick Update

Here is a quick update about my uni work up to this point, ask questions if you want to...

I am now halfway through my second semester of my second year at University, still on the hunt for placement. I did very well in my semester 1 modules, achieving an average of 83% over 4 modules.

Currently I am undergoing a project to create a short game prototype that could develop into an app for Android/iOS. The project will be complete in 8 weeks time and we will have a playable demo. My other modules are games graphics using DirectX 3D to create simple graphic demos and to understand the basics of drawing multiple vertices and an introduction to light graphics. My last module this semester is in algorithms, to help me get a further understanding of algorithms and data structures and how they can be used efficiently.

Frozen Fishy out.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Why Frozen Fishy?

I have not put a new post on this blog for a while now, so I thought I would return with a topic that a lot of people seem to want to know. I am warning you now that the story behind the name is not the most impressive.

You may have noticed that I end every post with Frozen Fishy out. And you may be wondering why, the simple reason is that, despite my name being on show clearly to all, my online name is Frozen Fishy in most cases. It is on Xbox LIVE, PSN and Steam, and a few other online games. The story behind the name itself is almost non existent.

I remember a time when people were told to never give away details online, and so for this reason I created a name that had no resemblance to me whatsoever, but one I liked, also i have never been a fan of numbers in the name as a way of leet speak, so would have to think of an original name that was available, and names that start with 'xX' in my opinion just look stupid.

So instead of going down the road of a hardcore gamer name like 'Dominator', I went for a casual name, one which wouldn't give off a bad idea to people I am playing with. So we chose to do animals, I remember trying a polar bear combination, then that developed to polar walrus, and then polar fishy. I thought the name  polar fishy was fun, so that one stuck for a while. But due to problems with internet connection another account was made for me, the name for this one was Frozen Fishy, very similar but a bit more fun. So since 5 years ago, when I created my first Xbox LIVE account I have been known by Frozen Fishy in most cases

Frozen Fishy out.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Physical or Digital games

Many people have different ideas about whether we will only have digital games in the future, with the ability to stream games online and no longer the need to leave the house or order online and wait to play the game. The only thing limiting how long to wait for you to play after purchase is your download speed, digital seems to be the way forward for a lot of people.

Although, there will always be the nostalgia and memories of receiving a box, with a manual and a physical disc. And the collection of games that you gather over time, filling shelves, boxes and more shelves with games.  For me, just seeing a list of the games that I own is not good enough, there will be no sense of how much and how vast the collection is.

A lot of high street stores are closing down as a result of new ways to get games, but this is not just because people are downloading games on their consoles or PCs, but because of online retailers, that means that anyone can order a game/product in the comfort of their own home and wait for it to come to them. This is all good, although, you do not have the same experience of walking through the shop at new releases and looking at the back of the boxes, testing the game on show and the whole experience of buying in store.

I am all for digital downloads, but I don’t want to see a world with only digital downloads available, as with the music industry at the moment, with iTunes taking a lot of the sales for artists, there is still music being produced on CD for people who prefer their music in this form.

Frozen Fishy out.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Favourite Device for playing Games

There are many different devices for playing games; Consoles, computers, handheld consoles and smartphones are the big players in the field. I have owned a few of each of these and have played games on many. My history of consoles dates back to the Playstation 1, whilst also playing on a SNES at a friend's house as a child, for PCs, I have always had one in the house and am now currently using a laptop for day-to-day use and gaming with friends while at uni. My earliest memories of games is that of the handheld nature with the original Game Boy, handheld always has a place in the gaming industry, as you can carry your game with you and does not cost a great deal. My least experienced field is the mobile phone games, despite spending many hours on various phones playing Doodle Jump and various other apps, most of these have been on the ever popular iPhone, so I lack experience with other mobile phones.

So, for my lack of experience and game time on a phone, I am going to rule that one out as not MY favourite device for playing games.

I have owned many handheld games consoles in my life, much of which still work, proving the quality of the hardware, and have spent many hours staring at the tiny screens, but with a handheld device you are not as immersed in the gaming experience. Even though the devices are amazing in their own way and have come a long way. They do not compare to PC and console gaming.

Based on my previous post I am going to skip ahead and decide which of the many device in the remaining field...

I will take into account the consoles I loved both past and present, mainly looking at N64, Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.

Firstly I am going to rule out Nintendo Wii, despite it being a great console, it is the one that is collecting a vast amount of dust at the moment, the novelty wears off and is difficult to play a serious game or one by yourself on the Wii.
Secondly, Gamecube, great console, great games but two come to mind, Mario Kart double dash and Super Smash Bros Melee. These two are great games but that doesn't make it my favourite console by a long mile.
Lets speed this up, i'm going to rule out PlayStation 3 for my lack of good gaming experiences compared to other consoles the N64 for only having a select few good games, 007 Goldeneye, Super Smash bros and Pokémon Stadium.

So we have Xbox 360 and Playstation 2. This choice for me is relatively easy, both these consoles you can have a great time with due to great game releases and a great console.
But I am going to pick Playstation 2, solely for the amount of good memories I had growing up playing on this console. Favourite game on this console was Time Splitters 2/Future Perfect (even getting insomniac award for 23 hours spent playing non stop) and Star Wars Battlefront 1/2
There were many great and ground breaking releases for the Playstation 2, which is why it is my favourite console for playing games.

Frozen Fishy out.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Console or PC Gaming

This question has been asked for many years now by many people, and everyone has there own favourite, some don't care what others think whilst some try to force it down our throats. I tend to be on the side where I will tell you what I think, but won't force opinions on anyone else
I am aware that the handheld market is becoming more relevant at this point in the industry, but I am going to ignore that and answer the question which is always asked.

For me, I have always really enjoyed playing on a console, it was always easier to play with siblings and friends on a console than a PC. Even though I have fond memories of both consoles and PC, I remember more successful endeavours on a console and being frustrated on the PC. One game comes to mind in particular. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, I remember two parts very well, even though the first level was amazing and I played it many times, I will always remember the frustration of trying to follow Jar Jar Binks and running around Mos Espa trying to figure out anything you can do.

For controls, I prefer controllers, the ability to have all the controls you need in a simple handheld device and the joysticks, adds smooth gameplay and no need for numerous shortcuts. I understand that there is fully customisable options on a PC, but I personally, as a gamer, do not always see the point in this.

For Spec, the more powerful machine at the moment is PC at a larger price, but that is not the point I am going to talk about. As there are many different aspects of a PC that can be bought and changed in the computer itself, it is difficult for a game to be released and not have a problem on a computer system. As the Xbox/PS3/Wii all have the same spec, games can be released in certainty that they will work, and if there is a problem, it will occur on all systems, meaning that it will be handled asap.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy playing on a PC and do so on a regular basis, but I do prefer a console as a more complete package, one which I can rely on, to sit back on my sofa, relax and enjoy the immersive experience that it offer, nothing beats that.

Frozen Fishy out.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Next Gen Gaming

It was rumoured earlier in the week, that the PS4 is soon to be announced, this has got me thinking again of what that will offer us. Firstly the answer to the question which has been asked for many years now, what will the new Xbox be called? We all have our opinions but who will be correct, my opinion, much to my brothers' denial, is the Xbox 360x2 or the x2 for short.

What more do we need?
When we think of the new generation I think of how blown away I was by the performance of the PS3 and Xbox 360, but I can't see how this impact can be had again. The hardware in the current consoles can be on par with a lot of PCs and only the high end can beat them. Saying that though, they also need to make it affordable to everyone.
There will be a blu-ray player in the Xbox, destroying all criticism it ever got, there will be new controllers, a new Playstation controller, dualshock 4? or will they incorporate quadshock for 'better immersion'? I doubt it, they have a product that works, why would they change it.
I believe the Xbox will stay a conservative shape (cuboid) as this seems to be their style where the Playstation will go for something a little more elaborate and more aesthetically appealing. I can see them making use of carbon fibre for the outer shell to make it more lightweight.

What don't we need?
Well we don't need to focus on just one audience, with more and more family/fitness games making a rise from kinect and ps move, I dont want to see a large focus on this on a base console, 'attachments' are fine, just don't ruin a great console for the niche hardcore players.
We do not need the console to be a really stupid shape, where it is impossible to store. I also feel that Xbox does not need to mention that rrod has been beaten, although this will show that they saw the problem and fixed it, it would remind players of what may have been a bad time for them.
We don't need a new online system and do not need to create new profiles to play online.

The most important thing for me will be that they make the best of the hardware and not the software, as proven by both the previous consoles, applications can be added with ease and have great quality, I do not want Sony and Microsoft selling consoles as a entertainment hub, more a gaming hub as the console should be, then the player can make it what they want.
I do have serious concerns that the whole entertainment promise may be too much and they don't create the greatest machine possible.

Frozen Fishy out.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

My 2012

2012 was my first year at university, so my first year of living away from home, all was good except for one thing. Internet speeds in university accommodation were absolutely useless, and they did not allow for steam or Xbox Live to be played, meaning the online game aspect of my life had to wait until the holidays.
On the good side of the year I went to my first gaming expo, first to Rezzed Indie Game Expo situated in Brighton where I fell in love with Qube and spent a good 3 hours of the day playing. Then in September I attended my first Eurogamer Expo going two days (Thursday and Friday) and enjoyed every moment of it and am expecting to go for the full 4 day weekend in 2013.
At Eurogamer I witnessed and experienced the Vesaro Racing Simulation Rig, which to say the least was amazing, and backed by Grid 2 (Game by Codemasters) it was a great experience that I would love to repeat but I don't have that kind of money.

In General 2012 was a good year for games and the start of me going to many expos in the future, maybe one year I will attend E3... Well there is always hope!

Frozen Fishy out.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

My Games of 2012

Well ok, its February now, and the list of games from 2012 that were good has been passed by many people, I still find it an interesting topic to talk about. This will be my first of many game related posts so i thought I would go for a basic topic, this will cover the games I loved and the games which surprised me.

Games I loved...
Lego Lord of the Rings was amazing, as with any lego game you play, with a silly sense of humour the game can be played very casually and is a good break from the other games available. This was the first lego game that i played where the characters could speak, and I do not feel it took anything away, more improved it. The only let down for this game was the achievement system where the second player would not get the story achievements as they used to, I believe that by doing this Tt games could deter a second player from participating, which is one of the great aspects of the game.
Trials Evolution the return of the trials games from RedLynx was very successful and made a huge improvement on already a great game, this game showed us that by giving the players access to the full creator mode, they can make masterpieces artistically and in gameplay, making the game never get old and boring, this is helped by the fact that there have been 2 DLCs for the game which will keep bringing the players back and keeping the game fresh.
Minecraft deserves a place on this list, even though many people would have picked this one, it is still a great game, and even though I played on the PC for a year by the point it came out, the release still got me excited and wanting to play. When Minecraft was first released, it was only the basic edition with none of the updates that the PC version had at the time, this made the Xbox version not seem new, but allowed me to enjoy playing as there was no need to worry about food.
Halo 4 was as much as expected, but still the expectations were fulfilled, making it a great game. With fantastic online play and cooperative campaign, it will always offer something to every player. And with the addition of Spartan Ops, they added a new side to the game, a campaign style mission where new episodes come out after release of the game, making sure to keep people playing. The aspect of releasing content soon after release of a game, can be taken negatively, but it is free so all is good.

Games that Surprised me...
There is one big surprise I want to mention
Spec Ops: The Line, I remember seeing the trailer to this game a couple of years ago at the VGAs, but then never seemed to be released, so it dropped off my radar of games to look out for, but after attending Rezzed Indie Game Expo, I was reassured with it being released, but the gameplay looked a bit linear. I received this game a couple of months ago, and was blown away by the story, the gameplay is traditional 3rd Person Shooter, so nothing new there. But the story, is really interesting, the first game I have played that got me really thinking about what I am doing and whether it is 'right'. I would reccommend this game to someone looking for a nice game with an in depth story to back it up.

Frozen Fishy out.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

What type of games do I play?

There are many different genres of games available, from action to sports and casual to hardcore, the spectrum has a game for everyone. So what games do I enjoy playing? There is one simple answer to this question...

Almost all games...
I write almost because I find that sport games do not offer a great single player experience and community is a key feature, and some lack respect towards new players and do not welcome them to the game(I am aware that trash talk is integral to online play).
For console gaming I find that I mainly play FPSs, Driving games or platformers. Of these genres, I am always attracted towards platformers as they have a basic structure, easy to get the basics figured out, buy hard to master. That is why games really appeal to me, everyone can pick up a controller and play a game, but it takes dedication and time to master it and be their best.
Of the genres my least experience within the field would be RTSs, as I have not played a wide variety of these games.

Whilst on the topic...
I will mention things I will cover at a later point about my opinions on gaming. I will talk about whether i prefer console gaming or PC gaming, and my favourite console and handheld portable device for both games available, the hardware and the memories with those devices.

Frozen Fishy out.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Why ‘Quest For Code’?

Everyone has been asked what their dream job would be at some point in their life... but even though I have not been asked that for over ten years now, it was 3 years ago when I finally found the answer. I wanted to work in the game industry, but where would I fit in, even though I have a fascination and with 3D modelling, I never felt this would be the job for me, I wanted more and to define a game. And so I decided to go down the programming route, I wouldn't blame you if it came into your mind that this is why I call this blog ‘Quest For Code’, but that is not the full reason.

Back to the topic of my dream job, OK, you know I want to be a programmer (I will specify in more detail in a later post), I would love to be part of a big company producing AAA titles on a regular basis and there is one that has always stood out to me. With games like; micro machines, Operation Flashpoint and Colin McRae DiRT, Codemasters is where I want to be. This company has always amazed me with their in depth attention to detail and ability to keep great gameplay in all their games.

I remember playing micro machines on the Game Boy, racing around the table dodging everything from plates, to knives to spilled food, although I was never really very good at the game, I still came back to it and always remember it. The DiRT series will always be a big part of my gaming experience, as long as there is a road waiting for me to charge down at breakneck speeds or crash in many spectacular ways, and all this just a few minutes away, I will be there.

So…. There it is, ‘Quest For Code’, is the journey that I will take to go from university student to working at Codemasters (my ultimate goal) and the challenges I am faced with and the jobs I go through on the way. I decided as this is a blog primarily about gaming, that I will make it my personal quest to get there.

Things I will talk about in upcoming posts
The type of programming I am interested in
Why I call myself Frozen Fishy

Frozen Fishy out.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

So....How do I start this blog thing?

OK, lets start with a bit about myself(I guess that's a good place to start), I am currently a 2nd year student at University of Ulster doing BEng Computer Games Development, and am on my 'Quest For Code' (which I will explain the name of at a later date).
Games always have been and always will be an integral part of my life. I remember clearly playing Super Mario Land on the Game Boy and Rayman on the Playstation at a young age. Since then I have been hooked on all things console. If there is a spare minute in my day I will be playing a game, whether turn on my Xbox and play for hours, or just play some Tetris, the enjoyment will always be there.
It was 3 years ago that I had started my A Levels and was time to choose a career path, and so I decided why not turn a lifelong hobby into a job, and so the Journey begun.......
(Wow that was really cheesy)

Current Update
I am working towards my degree, in search for placement for my 3rd year and will be developing my programming skills in C++ and Unity3D.
In this blog I will update on how my 'Quest For Code' is going and will post on games that I am playing and remember fondly. Most of which will be console games as I have little experience in the android/iOS field as I have never owned one of these products.

So lets start this thing with a basic to do list
To Do List
Buy an Android/iOS tablet.

Frozen Fishy out.