An existing panda runner

April 25, 2012 - 9:06 am

Lately, I have been getting visits from search engines under the keyword “panda run”. It got me a little curious as my game is still in development and is relatively unknown to the non-gamedev world. After a little searching I found out that there is actually an existing game on the Google Play marketplace called “Panda Run“.

 
Our games are somewhat similar but there are differences. “Panda Run” is clearly derived from “Temple Run” which is evident from the controls and the randomly generated levels. It was something I considered before but decided against as my influences lies more from Crash Bandicoot.

This discovery got me concerned though. Particularly, with the name of my game. Will the similarities in name affect my visibility in the marketplace? There’s a possibility that the other game will be mistaken as mine and might affect its credibility.

I might get a new name before release maybe somewhere along the lines of “Penny and Bobo” named after the main protagonists. Although that too may pose some problems especially on the name-recall front.

Whatever the case, this requires a lot of thought. I shall post my decision here soon. For now, it’s time to finish this game!

 

Run, Panda, Run Devlog – Week 5, 6 and 7

April 20, 2012 - 10:42 am

I’ve been a little busy this past week due to other commitments. I wasn’t able to follow my timetable to the letter but things are still moving forward.

This week’s recap combines all the changes from week 5 to 7.

 

Here are some screenshots showing the evolution of the environmental design from sketch to concept art to in-game.

Here are the finished tasks in list form:

  • Added a countdown timer
  • Added more test levels
  • Added a level completed area
  • Added a level select screen
  • Players can now finish a level and move on to the next one
  • Made level creation and editing easier using prefabs
  • Face changing fixes
  • New environment concept
  • Created new environment models
  • Optimization changes
  • Fixed bugs
  • Deployed a development build for browsers

For next week, I might concentrate on adding new models and textures to the test level I’ve made. If I have the time, I might work on new obstacles as well.

The missing week 5 recap and my development timetable

April 11, 2012 - 8:37 pm

Just a quick update.

I didn’t have the time to post the week 5 recap for Run, Panda, Run as I was out-of-town during the Holy Week. To bring the balance back to the universe I will be squeezing the missed recap onto week 6. This means that you can expect one long video this coming Saturday.

I also took the time to plot out a timetable for the project to see what tasks are left to work on. I’ve only done this now because prior to this week I didn’t have a good grasp of the amount of work involved on the project.

Month 2

Week 5 ( the week with the missing recap )

  • Level changing
  • Face changing

Week 6 ( the week with the long video to expect )

  • Obstacles and other objects
  • Obstacle collisions

Week 7 ( the week where I will try to dabble with game analytics )

  • Analytics
  • Menus

Week 8 ( the week where the world will come alive )

  • Backgrounds
  • Story

Month 3

Week 9 ( the week for playtesters )

  • Polish
  • GUI
  • Bug fixes
  • Playtesting

Week 10 ( the week where we add music! )

  • Obstacles and other objects
  • Backgrounds
  • Music
  • Sound effects

Week 11 ( The week where there are two more weeks left! Eek! )

  • Optimization
  • Cutscenes

Week 12 ( The week where I can’t wait to have this game shipped! )

  • Polish
  • Final playtesting

So looking at the table above we can assume that I can have the game released by the first week of June.

Great. We now have a game plan!

Posted under: Blog Post Run Panda Run

Run, Panda, Run Devlog – Week 4

March 31, 2012 - 5:31 am

It’s already been a month! I just need to keep this pace up and this game would be finished in no time!

This week I’ve gone back to concentrating on art assets. Check out the video below for the changes:

Here are the finished tasks in list form:

  • Reduced the polygon count of the character models
  • Characters can now change their facial expressions
  • Added sliding animation to both Panda and Penny
  • Created brick floor texture for the flooring of the level
  • Removed all pointlights to increase performance
  • (Lots of ) Additional performance tweaks

For next week I will work on collectable items and the different menus for the game.

As always, feel free to comment below. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Run, Panda, Run Game Devlog – Week 3

March 24, 2012 - 11:46 pm

To see if my game would work on mobiles, I decided to concentrate on mobile deployment for this week.

The big problems that I encountered this week was the very slow loading times when changing between scenes and that frame rates differ from one device to another ( Samsung Galaxy S is around 30-35 fps but on Samsung Galaxy Tab the frame rates were halved ).  It’s a good thing that I encountered them early as it would guide my decisions for optimization in the future.

Here’s the devlog video for Week 3:

Here are the finished tasks in list form:

  • Tested game to Samsung Galaxy S and Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Added mobile controls
  • Mobile controls now work even in the Unity editor
  • Sprinting gradually increases speed
  • Sliding is now brought back
  • Added a menu scene
  • Fixed bug where two simultaneous touches affects the camera in a weird way
  • Added picked up items GUI
  • Picked up objects are respawned when the player dies
  • Changed the camera position in reverse mode
  • Added blob shadow projector
  • Fixed bug where camera isn’t turning anymore after respawn

For next week I shall be reducing the polygons on my character models and work on a new background and obstacle models.

As always, feel free to comment below. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Run, Panda, Run – Week 2

March 17, 2012 - 1:46 pm

For this week I concentrated on making the assets for the game. Since I am fairly new to 3D modeling and animation, most of the week was spent learning through the help of tutorials and a lot of trial and error. In spite of the headaches, I really enjoyed it.

 

Here’s a list of all the finished tasks for this week:

  • Created and added Panda model with running and jumping animations
  • Created amd Added Penny model with running and jumping animations
  • Fixed tearing problems with the imported models
  • Added animation handlers for the imported models
  • Added abunatuib syncing for objects
  • Some minor code fixes and optimization

For next week I’ll go back to coding the engine and if time permits, test out the game on a mobile phone.

For comments, feel free to leave them below.

Meet Penny the Panda

March 13, 2012 - 9:16 am

Since last week was all about getting the basic engine stuff done for Run Panda Run, this week I decided to mix things up by working on the art assets.

It took me a day to learn the ropes with Blender 3D. And after a couple of tries I finally ended up with something that I’m happy with ( Check out the older versions of Penny the Panda at the bottom of the page for some giggles ).

I decided to go with a cutesy-look inspired by the game Costume Quest since I am also targeting the kids and female demographics. I might do a few changes in the future but I like it as it is.

All of this won’t be possible without the super awesome 3D modeling and animation software called Blender3D. It’s easy to use, powerful, and best of all FREE! For those who are interested in learning I suggest checking out the tutorials over at Blender Cookie.

Below is a view of Penny from the back. I’ve added a zipper to remind the players that she is just wearing a costume.

Here are the previous versions of Penny the Panda.

Penny the Serial killer
 
Penny the Panda after she got lost in a fastfood kitchen
As always, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, like us on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!

My criteria for a good camera rig

March 11, 2012 - 11:46 pm

Since my latest game development project is all about avoiding obstacles, a lot of thought has been placed on the camera view.

My criteria are as follows (arranged from most important to the least):

Balance between visibility, clutter and challenge – The player must be able to see the obstacles up ahead clearly. If the level needs to be challenging, proper care should be observed when designing the level as to not build up visual clutter. Also, we want the player to worry about the immediate obstacles and not all of those preceding it.

Character must be visible from head to toe – The important thing is to let the player see their feet on the ground. This helps in judging the player’s distance from objects and with the timing when jumping. Placing a blob shadow below the player also helps.

Proper camera turning – Since the camera is on-rails, the player must be able to traverse the course without worrying about the camera. It must move smoothly and precisely when it is needed.

The picture below shows the camera turning behavior in normal mode.

As seen above, the player acts as the trigger that rotates the camera.

Next we have the camera behavior on “Reverse Mode”. The old version still uses the player as the trigger but because of this, the camera is already out of the obstacle which makes things confusing.

The new camera behavior fixes this problem by having a turn handler, which triggers the turning keeping the camera in the middle of the track at all times.

Smart camera – Cameras should also not go through walls. It is distracting and doesn’t look right. The camera should be able to navigate it’s way through obstacles making sure that no object is obstructing the camera’s view.

Must not waste any space – Since the game is also targeted towards mobile platforms, every space counts! The first iteration has wasted a lot of space as seen below:

Surroundings must be visible  – Since the surroundings also help with the player experience, they need to be visible as well.

For more information about my latest game, go here.

Run, Panda, Run – Week 1

March 10, 2012 - 5:37 am

(This game was previously called Riding Mr. Panda)

I always feel motivated every time I start a new project. Knowing this, I decided to push myself and get a lot done before the enthusiasm starts to fade out. Looking at my progress, I’d say I did a good job as most of the basic stuff are already finished.

Here are the latest updates in list form:

  • Imported Penelope assets as placeholder
  • Camera view tweaks
  • Continuous sliding under low-ceiling obstacles
  • Obstacle collisions
  • Player spawning and checkpoints
  • Improved camera turning in reverse mode
  • Fixed camera movement on slopes in reverse mode
  • Lots of tweaks and performance improvements

For this coming week I will be focusing on learning how to create 3D models. I hope this doesn’t take long.

 

Working on a new game: Riding Mr. Panda

March 5, 2012 - 11:34 am

( This game is now called “Run, Panda, Run!”)

After a weekend of tinkering with Unity3D, I am now ready to use what I have learned.

While I am eager to create the next Portal or Mass Effect, I decided to go with something simple and easy. I also wanted something that has an established game mechanic so I can concentrate more on development than game design.

After a lot of thought, I decided to create something similar to the game mode in Crash Bandicoot 3 where you control Coco riding a tiger along the Great Wall of China.

To those who can’t remember, perhaps the video below can help jog your memory:

Simple? Check. Easy to do? Check. Fun? Check. Gentlemen, we now have a new project!

While I am going to copy the mechanics of the game, I will be doing the art, story, and music from scratch. So yeah, instead of a bandicoot riding a tiger, we will go with a baby riding a cute and fat panda. Props to my girlfriend for the idea.

My objectives for this project are as follows:

  • Finish the game in less than 3 Months
  • Have it working on the desktop, browser and mobile devices
  • Learn how to model in 3D
  • Create a simple music to go along with the game
  • Log the progress of the project on this blog every week
  • Monetize the game

 

So what have I done so far? Well…

Riding Mr. Panda Devlog: Week 0

It took me a whole day before I got the basics of the game down.

Here are the stuff that I have finished:

 

  • Basic character movement
  • Basic actions (Jump, Slide and Run)
  • Basic camera behavior
  • Sample Level
  • 3 gameplay modes ( Normal, Time Trial and Reverse modes)

 

Check out the video below to see the updates:

Goodluck to me!

Posted under: Devlogs Run Panda Run Videos