Pre-production and Production Introduction to BMC.

March 28, 2008

I had already spent alot of time making my IF before these blogs were assigned, but I figured I can still blog about Pre-Production aspects of parts of BMC (Black Mesa Chronicles, my IF) that are still in development as well as introduce everyone to what I’ve done so far.  My basic concept is Half-Life from another point of view, much like the GearBox Software expansions except mine is not a Half-Life mod, it’s coded in Inform 7.  It centers around the player who is a scientist that must escape from part of the Black Mesa Facility not shown in any Half-Life games or expansions.  Half-Life differed from many FPSs at the time by using scripted sequences instead of cut scenes.  The difference is that the player has control during these sequences, allowing for more realism and intensity.  This makes Inform 7 quite a suitable medium for my version, as one of it’s key features is that during it’s scenes the player can still remain in full control.  In fact the player’s choices during these scenes are going to be what determines the overall outcome of the game.  I am also incorporating sound effects, music, and pictures that make the player feel more like he/she is in the classic Half-Life environment.  This will hopefully make players familiar with first person shooters and/or Half-Life feel less alienated by the fact that they have much less control in aspects of first person shooters, along with more control along the lines of Inform capabilities.  I also plan to integrate a help system uniquely tailored to the capabilities of my game for players new to IF.

Flash 8: the holy grail of animation software, Part 2.

February 14, 2008

I remember way back when i first got into Flash. It was back in the MX days and the first year (I believe I was 14 then) was confusing as hell. Today, I make about two animations per month (I prefer not to make short tests). I’ve even helped out much more famous animators with things like 3D and sound effects (i.e. Terkoiz, Viggo, Miccool) most of which must be made and then imported to Flash. Although one thing that always irked me about flash was the lack of a built in autosave or other expanded file saving features. For example say you have a Flash X file on your computer but your computer doesn’t have Flash X. Your computer has Flash X-2. You have to get Flash X and Flash X-1 just to save to Flash X-2. this is because flash can only save back one previous version of it’s current installed version. In fact Flash is a combination of the words Future and Splash. The original Flash 1.0 was futuresplash before Macromedia bought it. Thanks to Andrew Kendall you can still download it here (it’s at the bottom of the page). It’s interesting how quickly Macromedia noticed this new amazing program. It didn’t even have a chance at a later version. Of course it was a barebones version of the flash we use today i still wonder how far the original company would have taken it.

Flash 8: the holy grail of animation software.

February 14, 2008

I’ve tried tons of animating software in my lifetime but none have ever been nearly as good as Macromedia Flash 8. Flash CS3 serves no real purpose for me as I don’t know how to code in AS3 ( AS2 is complicated enough, thank you) and that was the only real improvement besides a new layout which I find hinders animation progress for those of us who have been animating with the old designs in Flash MX to Flash 8. I’ve tried many other animation software, some built completely around movement joints (Pivot) some built around inverse kinematics (Anime Studio) even some that feel like a rebranded and much more complicated version of Flash 8 (Toon Boom Studio). But none of them surpass the flexibility of flash 8. AS2 is perfect for those who want to put simple yet effective preloaders into animations, and don’t need the increased speed of AS3. The interface allows easy use of all the tools and doesn’t hide some under others like CS3 does to save space. It has a lovely filter/blend set (which has not increased in AS3). And best of all, it’s not specialized. This means you can tween (have two key frames which Flash computes the movement between) and you can draw every frame individually as well (known as frame-by-frame animation). In fact flash is so easy to use that even when I was just begging I was able to make a five minute tweened animation in only three months ( which is amazing because at 30fps that’s 9000 frames, and it had nearly 500 layers).