Trending News

View All
August 28, 2019 Off

The Best Humidifier for a Large Room

By Anthony M. Gomez

Lack of humidity can be an actual problem that may seem too hard to ignore or forget. When the room runs out of moisture, then you can face a lot of issues such as dry skin, colds and much more....

July 12, 2018 0

How Does Animation Work?

By Anthony M. Gomez

    With the advancement of technology, the entertainment and business world has been transformed into something very new and...

March 6, 2009 Off

Designing for Left Handed on the DS

By Anthony M. Gomez

This post is an extension of the comment I’ve posted on Patrick Moran’s blog concerning his first tip for DS...

Must Read

View All
March 5, 2009 Off

Castle Crashers Review

By Anthony M. Gomez

I just finished Castle Crashers (normal mode) and I’m starting right now the “insane mode”. OH YEAH! Just like Alien Hominid, I found the game extremely refreshing and action based...

Featured Articles

View All
July 12, 2018 0

How Does Animation Work?

By Anthony M. Gomez

    With the advancement of technology, the entertainment and business world has been transformed into something very new and different from the ancient world. In entertainment, both music and...

Blog Highlights

The Best Humidifier for a Large Room

Lack of humidity can be an actual problem that may seem too hard to ignore or forget. When the room runs out of moisture, then you can face a lot of issues such as dry skin, colds and much more. So buying a humidifier only seems fair for a household that believes in comfort. But as humidifiers can be in a variety of shapes and options, people might be confused about their preferences, especially when it comes to a large room. So, to help you out, we have made a list of the top humidifiers on the market that is best suited for a large room.

1. Elechomes

When it comes to machines that are visually stunning both in appearance and performance, there are very few brands in the market that can compete against this model. The device comes with three settings that are both cold mist and warm. It uses ultrasonic to run most of its functions and hence maintains the essence of durability. The tank is large enough to run for an entire night, keeping you relaxed at all times. Remote control comes handy during any situation, as it works efficiently.

 

2. URPOWER

Climate and seasons are significant factors that you need to keep in mind while purchasing a humidifier. If the situation does not permit, then you should go for a dehumidifier. On that note, here are some of the best dehumidifier brands in the market. Once you have made the right option between the two, considering the URPOWER machine is the right choice. Comes with an auto-shutoff feature and a large tank so that you will be relaxed throughout your sleep. Affordable pricing ensures that you get what you deserve.

3. Honeywell

This humidifier is the essential one to suit all your needs and demands at the same time. The machine is powerful to ensure that it stays on for 36 hours with one filling as the twin tanks make it easy to fill. It fits well into large spaces as reliability comes into the corner. Whether all such features make it the best humidifier for large room online is an interesting question. But factors such as noise and replacement of fans are hurdles to that question.

4. LEVOIT

The machine comes with an ultrasensitive touch screen that you can use to navigate securely. The remote control feature is not new but is extremely reliable and comfortable as it can be operated from a distance of 16 feet. It works effectively and can be classified as the quietest humidifier in the market. Automated functioning is another factor which can be considered while purchasing this machine. On the negative side, the display might be a little distracting if you wish to get a good night’s sleep.

How Does Animation Work?

 

 

With the advancement of technology, the entertainment and business world has been transformed into something very new and different from the ancient world. In entertainment, both music and movies have seen tremendous changes as content creators try to reach every audience. Evidence of this move is the introduction of animated movies and music videos. Since children, as well as a number of adults, love watching cartoons, many movies have been created with cartoon characters.

 

In businesses, product promotion has also taken the animation path with the aim of attracting the attention of potential buyers. Most of the products promoted through animation are consumables for children. Watching funny image transitions raise children’s interest in a certain product thus boosting sales. So, what is animation?

 

Animation can be described merely as a simulated motion created by displaying a series of images and frames. Unlike films, animations involve compiling independent pictures to form a continuous motion illusion. One is likely to ask how animation works. Well, before being displayed as a final animated item, a series of processes take place on the animation. To create an animation, one needs computer animation software; this can either be 3D Max or any other software capable of handling 3D animation works.

 

With the computer, one generates a sequence of still images. These images give an illusion of motion through a three-dimensional space when played. The animation software generates a set of parameters that guide the display and movement of elements along the axes. With the animator, a location for the camera is established, this defines the angle at which the animated object will be viewed. The source of light is also determined. After all the parameters are set, rendering is then done.

 

Rendering is the process by which the time taken for the ball to move from one point to another is calculated as well as the appearance of the frames from the camera’s point of view. In the end, what is seen is a series of still images being displayed in a sequence and at a very fast frequency, this can be up to 25 frames per second.

(Don’t let a bad cold keep you away from working, check our best medicine for nasal congestion)

However, contrary to what many people believe, a computer does not perform the animation by itself. In animation, a computer is just a tool like any other. It is an individual that comes up with all the required images and sounds and content.

 

Designing for Left Handed on the DS

This post is an extension of the comment I’ve posted on Patrick Moran’s blog concerning his first tip for DS design and its pen ability.

I’d like to talk a little bit more about the inaccuracy, in certain games, to detect left-handed created shapes (and in some games very simple shapes).

As designer and left-handed, it frustrates me that a game forces me to draw a circle clockwise and to see that it is not able to detect it when I draw it counter-clockwise (which I’m quite used to). I’m left handed and it means that I also take my stylus in my left hand and whenever a game asks me to drawn a letter or a symbol I usually try to draw it like I always used to draw or write. Even if the stylus is not really a pen, users tend to think it works the same way.

LEFT HANDED IN GAMES
Many games have such drawing issues. Lost Magic is one of those because of its complex symbols.

For a left handed guy it is easier for me to start drawing from left to right than right to left.

Another big problem in Lost Magic is that the left handed guy that I am cannot create a shape with the stylus and press the left trigger at the same time. As far as I remember this was one core mechanism of the game (unless I didn’t check that there’s an options to change this but I’m pretty sure there is none).

How hard is it to draw symbols with your right hand when you’re left handed ?

I spotted the same problem in Brain Training mainly on letters and numbers. It is a shame that such a big hit and state of the art game in shape recognition cannot differentiate a nine made starting from the bottom from the one starting with two O.

Brain Training has problems to detect 9 and 8 and other letters.
7 should be made the english way.

A game requiring speed and accuracy should detect
clockwise and counter-clockwise circles.

CONCLUSIONS
As a conclusion if you plan to develop on the DS using some kind of shape recognition, I highly recommend that you playtest your game with left handed people to see how your game behave.

The best way to solve the “shape” problem is to be able to detect shapes in any creation order (if technically possible). As a reminder, the challenge for the player is not to draw lines but to create a letter or a symbol (which can be a combination of many shapes). In this case, he should be rewarded for the goal and not for the way he achieved it.

Other solutions include designing your game with very simple shapes (lines basically) and detect each shapes individually or to ease the shape detection.

As a designer you have to design your interface and controls taking into consideration that players use this digital pen as a pen (they have one hand fully occupied) and while having this pen in one hand, they cannot trigger any other buttons.

If you plan to trigger multiple buttons while using the stylus, consider putting an option for the player to map buttons in a different way. Brain Training is a good example of such option where the player can choose to draw on the left or the right screen.

Urban Race Project

As promised today I’m going to talk about Urban Race, a project started 2 months ago by the now closed studios Elsewhere Entertainment (10Tacle Studios Belgium). Screenshots and more recently videos have been posted on gametrailers.com and other websites so I guess I can comment on the project a little bit to give it more context. We started Urban Race project end of April, considering the financial crisis 10tacle AG was, Yves Grolet, our CEO, decided to gather key people of the company and to talk about a B plan.

The B plan was to create a smaller and simpler project taking advantage of the technology we created for Totems. We wanted to take the best of what we developed in those two years and create a funnier setting and an overall “over the top” game. The idea was a light and humorous tone mixed with an instant action based gameplay. There we came up with a quirky racing style game, a mix between Mario Kart, Burnout and Assassin Creed. Not to say that the team found the game concept refreshing. Taking into account the situation we were, this can be considered as a miracle.

The business model we planned for this project was to release it on Steam and, like TF2, have regularly updates with new content such as levels, characters and items.
Here is the pitch of the project; it’s coming straight up from the game concept document I wrote:

“In a contemporary, humorous, violent and quirky universe, sportsmen are dueling in a new kind of discipline called “Urban Racing”. It is a blend between Parkour, a fluid, efficient and acrobatic physical discipline, and aggressive and violent takedowns of opponents using the environment and handy weapons. In takedowns, the more the opponent is humiliated, the better. Races take place in urban environments mixing various styles (industrial, city, ruins). The first player to end the race is the winner. There is only one rule: pain but no blood.“

ur_screenshot_011.png

To talk a little bit about the ambitions we had for the project, everything was created around the idea of “having fun with friends”. For example we planned to create a game mode where players are able to throw grannies on the path so they kiss other players. If you get caught by the granny you lose. We had more than 15 game modes as fun as this one.

Here is the video posted on gametrailers, this is a 2 months work pitch video intended to be released for potential publishers or editors only. It was never planned to be released for the public.

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/38222.html

Talking about the video, I’d like to comment it a little bit. The big jump over the bar is just a collision bug making the character flying away, this is not the proper behavior, this has been fixed but I don’t know why the person who did the video kept that bug! It just looks ridiculous.

People on the internet complained about the animations, that they were not very fluid etc. I agree that some animations are still stiff because we were in the middle of changing the animations for something more realistic. Nearly all Totems animations tree was planned to be changed for this project. But again to show the potential of the title we used some of Totems animations and blending between the two styles didn’t always work.

Another problem people complained is the speed. When the player uses adrenaline, he boosts his speed (in the video it is when you see the blur effect). It was just still an early gameplay mechanic prototype.The running animation was the same as the normal run but played twice as fast which creates, I agree, a goofy look. But when you develop a game, the very first steps is to show that the game has potential, that it corresponds to a funny experience and that core mechanics are working well. That’s what we did with this run, it is there just to test an adrenaline rush mechanic, see if it works and gives more depth to the game. Of course it was planned to change the animation in the following weeks.

Other people complained about the lack of realism of some animations, that Mirror Edge was better etc. For me it is simply because we don’t want to be as realistic as ME, it is not the same game, the same goals. Except bugs, we have an “over the top” philosophy for this game. This has been chosen to maximize fun factors, remove realism constraints and to justify the Chihuaha and other crazy items you can use in the game.

I hope that it makes things clear about the progress of the game and what was this video about. Hey by the way, talking about the Chihuahua it was our game’s mascot. For us the Chihuahua was like the homing missile in Mario Kart, thrown in the air, seek and bite some asses, hahaha.

Chihuahua, Urban Race Mascot

Anyway I don’t know what will happen with the UR licence. Let’s hope a very rich publisher/editor will fund the project. Wait and see.

Posted in Game industry | 4 Comments »
Aug 8
10Tacle Belgium is no more
brankrupt1.jpg

After the plane crash there are several dismantled corpses lying here and there. In those corpses you can find two of the projects I’ve been working on since 2 years as Lead Designer. What is the name of those two projects? Totems and Urban Race.

I hope I’ll be able to show some stuff about the amazing things we’ve been doing lately before deciding to close the studios.

Totems as you may already know is an action adventure game featuring amazing parkour and stunts like you can find in Assassin Creed or Prince or Persia plus an extra shamanic and magical part that don’t exists in other games of the genre. We were at the VSD stage when the studios closed and more recently the project was paused due to the financial crisis 10Tacle AG suffered as well as some delay in the production of the project. The new CEO and more over the investors wanted to invest more into online games and online worlds.

The second project was Urban Race, it is a spin-off project that the company initiated three months ago as an attempt to get some cash in more rapidly than with Totems (which was way too far from completion). Urban Race is a game that uses the SESS system, the same movement and environment recognition system which is used behind Totems. It is a mid scaled multiplayer parkour game set in a violent universe. I hope I’ll be able to publish some screenshots and gameplay in the next few days to show you the project.

So what’s the situation today? All employees at Elsewhere Entertainment have 2 and half of unpaid salary and are waiting with little hope to see that money. Of course everybody’s looking for a new job. I just feel very sad to see so much talent and efforts wasted, those projects had the potential to be successful products.

I would like to take the time to send a message to my fellow talented colleagues out there to let them know that it was a pleasure to work with them, that I spent three happy years at EE and more over I’ll always remember the work environment which was just a great time. I’m pretty much sure we’ll meet soon enough under clearer skies. Good luck to all of you.

As you’ve guessed I’m now looking for a job as Lead/Senior Game Designer. Feel free to contact me if my profile interests you.

Castle Crashers Review

I just finished Castle Crashers (normal mode) and I’m starting right now the “insane mode”. OH YEAH!

Just like Alien Hominid, I found the game extremely refreshing and action based with a pinch of retro difficulty that makes this game a very coin-op experience. Here is my review of the game (very personal and more intended for game developers).

WHERE THIS GAME IS DAMN GOOD!

– Keep the good, trash the rest: From my point of view, the Behemoth created a small revolution in the 2D beat’em all genre. Amongst all mechanics the game features, I’d like to comment a little bit on the air attack control and block system which I think are really different from what we’ve seen so far in the genre.

1°) Air Attack Control (ACC) (SPOILER): probably the ultimate technique to defeat monsters and, logically, the game. In fact it is a mechanic inherited directly from Alien Hominid and (this message is intended to Castle Crashers developers) it was a right choice! This game mechanic lets the player stay at the same height in the air as long as he hits an enemy. While in the air the player has the ability to move free and attack with his character (it doesn’t lose height as long as he hits enemies). If the character gets hit, it falls.

Castle Crasher Air Control System

This unique mechanic of Alien Hominid lets players avoid ground attacks more easily. In Castle Crashers, combined with uppercut attacks, you can literally fly around the screen agglomerating all the enemies and creating deadly chains. Even if it creates a little goofy look for the characters, this is really empowering for advanced players.

2°) Block system: one addition they made to “classics” is the ability to block attacks without losing health (remember Wonderboy 3 or Zelda?). This mechanic is rarely useful in the game but when it’s used it is for good reasons. For example you’re when stuck with 10 or more monsters on your back in an arena or against a boss or a monster throwing projectiles at you.

Wndery Boy 3 Adventures

Even if it is a good system it is a very risky mechanic to add in this genre because it can create an unbalanced gameplay and lead to a wrong experience (too much blocking instead of attacking). But it is not the case here. I still see a possible improvement to their system: the ability to block in the air. By the way, I’m asking myself if the visuals drove this idea to be integrated…

– Mixed genres: From my point of view Castle Crashers mixes genres with no complexes and that’s cool. You can find a pretty much advanced loot system for chests and opponents. The leveling system which is borrowed directly from RPGs or the pet system coming straight from WoW for example (it is not the first one to do it though). This is simply refreshing, elegant and not cumbersome.

Castle Crashers Loot System

– Humor, 8-bit music theme and tons of collectibles (SPOILER): You can collect tons of stuff in CC: weapons, animals’ orbs, characters. The game features very retro 8-bit style music which I personally like. Oh by the way, my girlfriend found the music very cheap, in this industry you can never make everyone happy. And there is humor everywhere and not the kind of humor you need to be native speaker to understand (maybe the scene where the does shi* frightened by a giant cat is not the brightest scene, but it made my laugh). You can also kick some Aliens’ asses from “Alien Hominid” and if you played the game you’ll meet an old friend.

Though to myself: This industry is really too serious, I found myself laughing at my console like I did with the good old Monkey Island and alike back in the 90s days. It would be very cool to create a good game genre parody (The Behemoth keep working guys this is really cool).

– Golden Axe fanboys! You can find a lot of winks to the cult beat’em all game, Golden Axe:

1°) First you can find rides that you can mount and use (a doe, a kind of crocodile, a lama, a horse). The significant differences between GA and CC are that you can use mounts as long as you want (until the next level) and you can choose between short sword attacks to create devastating air-combos or to use long range animal attacks.

Golden Axe Rides

2°) Secondly there’s this small creature which tries to steal bags of gold that monsters drops from time to time. Of course this creature is reminiscent from the goblins you can find when you rest in Golden Axe.

Golden Axe Filthy Goblins!

3°) You find in CC classics beat’em all games mechanics such as the roll in or jump attack when enemies just got down, a traitorous short or long range back attack when you’re beating an enemy, throw attacks and multiple opponents hits. 2D is so cool.

WHAT IS BAD (or could be improved)?

– All you can eat: I just found the all you can eat mini game very disappointing because it is simply useless. Not very fun it just some good track and field old gameplay, nothing more nothing less. There is not even something interesting to unlock unless a multiplayer achievement. Behemoth, you can do better than that. For example unlock a hidden passage behind the castle to defeat all the bosses in a single level? Production wise, it is not very time consuming comparatively to the rest of the game.

– Arenas: You can find in the game many battle arenas where the player fights successive and bigger waves of the same kind of monsters, which is really where the real difficulty in this game is. The price when you have beaten all the monsters? Unlock a new playable character. That’s cool but you don’t earn experience points. Just like any level why didn’t the same as to be different? It would be very interesting to kill count and give some XP if the player succeed in the arena.

– No Multiplayer Coordinated Actions (MCA): Cadillac Dinosaurs had this extraordinary feature where players are able to execute synchronized and powerful attacks (when you’re playing with two players or more at the same time). Triggering those attacks is very simple both players had to be at the same position and had to wait for a while, blinking characters showed when the coordinated action was available.This lacks in Castle Crashers especially when the multiplayer features are at the center of the game.

Cadillac Dinosaurs

– No castle crashing! Damn I thought that I could use to destroy some castle walls or fortresses using a catapult, or with my “super power sandwich mode”. But nothing of this, the only things that you have to break or crash are a bunch of crystals (near the final boss) or a front door. Sad, I’ll have to extinguish my thirst of destruction somewhere else.

Recent Posts

Urban Race Project

March 5, 2009 Off