Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Learning Hammer

I've started learning Hammer. So far it's been fairly easy to pick up and there is a ton of info online, which is always helpful. After a little bit of fiddling around I've decided to try my hand at making a TF2 map. Here is my progress thus far:

Feedback, tips, and encouragement is of course always welcome!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Extra Life 2010

So I did the Extra Life charity this weekend a long with a bunch of friends and classmates. I did it a day early on Friday due to things going on over the weekend, but it was still a hell of a time. I wanted to start it off with something a little special, so I fired up an NES emulator and played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was never able to get past the level after the dam, so I wanted to finally beat it and be done with it. After putting in a few game genie codes I was ready to go and finally got to see all of the game.

After that I jumped into a personal favorite of mine, Day of Defeat: Source. I've sunk countless hours into this game, and on this occasion I dropped in another 8 hours. I got 3 more steam achievements out of it which was also pretty nice.

Then I hit up the Red Faction Battleground beta as Volition was having a server stress test. The game is quite fun if you're wondering and I recommend you pick it up when it comes out, along with Red Faction Armageddon, which I also have to assume will be fantastic.

Then it was on to Red Dead Redemption to do some co-op with some friends who were also participating in the Extra Life event. Four hours went by here pretty quick I must say.

Next I spent two and a half hours getting my ass handed to me by Resistance 2. That game is unforgiving. Got to do the Chicago level finally though, and there is a moment in it that just worked so well.

Of course the night wouldn't have been complete without some Halo: Reach, and I put five and a half hours into that one. I finished the campaign, got the "If they came to hear me beg" achievement (which took about an hour), and rocked some multiplayer. I also put a rather funny video up from that.

To bring it all home I finished by starting Batman: Arkham Asylum on hard, and also got pretty tore up in that. Might have been due to my severe tiredness though, we'll see when I get back to that.

All around it was a fun time and I can't wait to do it next year. Hope everyone else that participated had as much fun as I did, and thank you to everyone that supported us!

I raised a total of $212 and the team I was on ended up with a total of $571.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Charity Time

So I try and get into doing some kind of charity as often as possible. Some of you who know me may even remember last years Mustache Vs Cancer adventure:

And yes, as a matter of fact I do look that sexy all the time. It's quite a burden. However this year due to my wife's pleading, I will not be growing a stache for cancer research, but if you would like to please check it out here:

So this time I found something a little more my style called Extra Life. You sign up to play video games for 24 hours straight and people donate money to you to do so. The money goes to children's hospitals (you can even choose one in your area).

So if you'd like to donate and support me please go to the site here:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Further and Further

Happy to say I made some decent progress on the level today. A few hurdles were overcome and a few new ones popped up. So I'm just smoothing out what I can while I can. I got almost all of the second floor done today. I might change it around a bit to make it look a little better, but so far it's coming along nicely.

I should get a few screenshots tomorrow, and Saturday should see a fairly comprehensive "What I've got" video. For today though just one fairly random bit:

Just about 99% of everything I do starts out on paper at some point, so I thought it would be fun to put this up today instead of a shiny Unity screenshot. This was what I laid out this morning before I actually started moving more things around in Unity to help give myself a little bit more of a sense of space and direction. Worked well for the most part.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another Quick Update

So not much got added to my level today as I was working in some other areas. One thing I did get done though was adding rain with a particle system. Not sure if I'll keep it in, but I like the way it looks/turned out.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to Automatically Backup Your Game Saves With Dropbox

Valve recently came out with a service called Steam Cloud that automatically backs up your gamesaves and settings to a central server. This is a great tool if you're going to be playing games across several different PCs, or if you lose a hard drive for any reason. The only downside is it's not offered for a lot of games, but luckily there is an easy and free way to backup your game saves.

Step 1: Get Dropbox
The first thing you will need is a Dropbox account. They offer a free account that allows you up to 2 GB of space, which should be plenty for game saves, but if you'd like more they also offer a 50 GB option for $9.99/month and a 100 GB option for $19.99/month. It is available for PC and for Mac (at the moment the rest of this is for PC only, sorry I'll try and work it out for Mac users later if I can) and can be downloaded at

Step 2: Create a folder in your Dropbox folder for your game saves
Follow the instructions to install Dropbox, and once it's in and ready to go, you're going to want to create a folder for your game saves. To do this, go to your Dropbox folder; the default is in My Documents/My Dropbox Folder, but you might have put it elsewhere. Your Dropbox folder acts like a normal folder on your computer, so all you have to do is right-click and then go to New and then Folder. I named my folder Gamesaves, but you can really name it whatever you'd like.

Step 3: Get Dropbox Folder Sync
Now generally you have to add the files you want to upload to Dropbox, but someone put out a program that will allow you to sync folders across your computer to update in your Dropbox automatically. The program is called Dropbox Folder Sync and you can get it free by going here:

Click the link to download the program, and follow the instructions to install it.

Step 4: Set Dropbox Folder Sync to save to your gamesaves folder in your Dropbox.
For this step all you have to do is run the Dropbox Folder Sync program, click on the change settings icon when the program pops up, and select your gamesaves folder you created in your Dropbox.

Step 5: Find the location of the game save file you want to backup
This is the tricky part as different games use different places to put their game saves. One way to help make life a little easier is to use Windows search function. Go to search and type in the name of the game you are looking for, if any files come up right-click them and select Open File Location. This will open the folder that the file is located in. Then look for a folder that says saves, savedata, or gamesaves. This will generally be where they are at.

Another popular location for game saves is in your My Documents folder. Games that are here will sometimes be in a folder named after the games publisher, for instance THQ or Rockstar. You may also have a folder called My Games inside your My Documents folder, a lot of games will store their data here.

If you are still having trouble locating the game saves, try the forums at the game's official site. Most times if you ask politely, someone will help you and answer your question.

Step 6: Tell Dropbox Folder Sync to sync your game save with Dropbox
Now that you have found the folder that contains the game save you want to backup, just right-click the folder it's in and select Sync with Dropbox.

Congratulations! From now on any time your game save changes, it will automatically be uploaded to your Dropbox. Now if you want to jump back into a game from a different computer, just install Dropbox on that computer and grab your game saves out of your folder and you'll be able to pick up where you left off. You can always check to make sure they updated properly by going into your Dropbox folder and making sure your folder has a green circle with a check mark next to it like so.

Thanks for reading and hope this was helpful!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Press A to Donate

When I decided to start my quest to learn game design a number of questions from a number of people popped up. The most popular of course was, “You want to do what with you life?” The question that made me think the most though was, “How do I plan on being a benefit to the game industry?” Mind you I’m fairly early in my quest to become a game designer, but I don’t think it’s too early to start pondering a question like this, I mean if I can’t tell a prospective employer why they’d benefit from hiring me, chances are they’re not going to give much thought to passing me by.

So the easiest answer is obviously “I want to make great games. I want to create things on the highest level and deliver a truly unique experience.” That reads to me more like “I saw Grandma’s Boy once!” So how should I respond to that kind of question? The answer I came up with after a lot of thought is:

“I don’t want to make great games, I want to make games do great things.”

We’ve all done great things in games like won races, became a hero, and saved the world, but I think our princess is in another castle. We should stop looking to save the game world and start trying to save the real world; we just need to figure out how.

Things like Child’s Play have shown that when gamers come together they can do great things. Since 2003 they have raised over 5 million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America. Achievement Unlocked?

So how can games and the gaming industry match this? First let’s look at popular games, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which set a record by making 310 million dollars in 24 hours. Imagine if Activision had a program that shipped COD a week early to anyone who donated ten dollars or more to a certain charity. Imagine if any AAA title tried this and how much of an impact it could have on any number of world issues.

How about occasional downloadable content as a reward for charitable donations, or game tournaments with proceeds going to those in need? The methods are nearly limitless. As an industry it certainly isn’t something we’re obligated to do, but going into the industry it is definitely something I hope I can convince more people we should do.