Tag Archive for: game development

Adaptive Game Music: Introduction

20 Oct
October 20, 2012

Imagine this scenario in your favorite shooter game: Your player is battling through a bright and dreary multiplayer map against her friends. She takes refuge in the second floor of a building, accompanied by urgent music with a sound of morbid intensity.

This music is an orchestral arrangement of strings, horns, and drums playing in your player’s headphones. There are no enemies in sight–for now. As she stops and crouches at the dimly-lit window, the music subtly lulls to a less urgent volume. Your player dawns her sniper rifle, settling into the shadow of the windowsill. She knows the other team is coming, and her position is perfect.

When she looks down her scope, the mix of the music shifts slowly, until almost all she hears is the rumbling drums beating along to the rhythmic sound of her character’s breathing. She aims directly at a corner of the only building the enemy has for cover.

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Imagining Microsoft’s Next Generation of Games

01 Jul
July 1, 2012

A few days go I walked into the Starbucks by my house, hoping to find a nice seat in a corner and get some work done. When I stepped into the pleasantly fragrant lobby and looked up, however, my hopes were crushed.

The place was packed, every table and chair accounted for, minus a few tiny seats at a bar table too small to fit my laptop. As I walked over to get in line (begrudgingly stink-eyeing the people who occupied all three of my favorite spots) I noticed something peculiar:

A lot of folks had tablets.

In fact, there were only a few people in the entire lobby not using tablets. I observed lots of iPads, a good representation of Kindle Fires and other e-readers; as far as I could tell, everyone else at least had a smartphone. Walking through the lobby after ordering my drink, I peeked discretely at the screens I passed. Some folks were gaming, others reading Facebook; many had their earphones in, watching netflixhuloutube or whatever.

Interesting, I thought as I walked across the street to a different, less crowded Starbucks. The tablet craze is here to stay.

Are laptops doomed to be replaced by tablets and smartphones? That’s a pretty safe bet. Yet, I sense a bigger shift in the wind: a convergence that will define an entirely new generation of video games. It all comes down to Microsoft…

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Certain about Seattle!

13 Jun
June 13, 2012

Gretchen (aka FutureWife) and I decided to head into the wonderful town of Frederick and get some work done at the unusually comfortable grocery store called Wegmans. They have fast internet and a coffee bar here, stay open until midnight, and there’s lots of seats laid out in a nice little set of rooms pretty far away from the “grocery” part of the store.

Woah! We just watched two skinny, heavily tattooed individuals with very red necks cruise by our table on one of those motorized carts meant for handicapped customers. Huh, one gentleman chose to sit in the basket. This day’s fantastic already.

Anyway. Red necked individuals misusing grocery store equipment have nothing to do with the upcoming discussion. Or, perhaps, they do. I’m here to talk about moving to Seattle, Washington. That’s 2715 miles away from these amateur comedians, which I take as a pretty bold tally mark under the “Pros” column. Seattle: 1. Maryland: 0.

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Games Industry Mentor, Career Advice, and Programming 101.

04 Jun
June 4, 2012

Launching this blog has been an extremely educational experience. I wanted to post a quick update to discuss where I sit today, what I’ve been learning recently, and what I’m feeling called to do next.

During the process of writing my first couple posts, I’ve talked a lot about passion. Passion not just for video games, but music, art, storytelling; subjects that took over my heart, disciplines I spent countless hours developing. Yet everything seemed to come back to games in all the work I did. I imagined orchestral scores reminiscent of Martin O’Donnell’s work in Halo (it’s on iTunes if you want to experience some hardcore nostalgia). Actually, my first adventures into photoshop and the 3D modeling world were to make my own mods for Halo PC. Every avenue of the arts I explored somehow led me back to games.

That was no coincidence. I was meant to be heading towards a career in games, using all the facets of passion I’d discovered in high school to develop games. In my last post, I described exactly what my dream job would look like. While my interest in making games certainly includes the art and design side of the process, what really fascinates me is game-play. I realized in my research that my dream of developing game-play aspects, especially in a senior position, would never come into fruition unless I learned to code. Programming and the prospect of trying to learn it had never really set me on fire. Suddenly, in the context of coding elements like artificial intelligence and game-play mechanics, that’s changed. Explosively.

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Dream Job Description

02 Jun
June 2, 2012

“Okay, Chuck.” you say. “I get it. You think you’re talented, or whatever. So what exactly would your ‘dream job’ be called?”

Please, please. Call me Charlie.

There are hundreds of different roles within a typical modern day game studio, and like some kind of jerk on the internet, I haven’t been very specific thus far. I should really point out that Game Design and Game Development describe two very different disciplines within video game creation, even though both are used interchangeably to describe making games. In my humble little brain-dictionary, Design is done by the “art department,” and Development is done mostly by programmers. Designers figure out what the game will look like, developers make the game work and play the way it should. This may sound like silly semantics (and a little alliteration?), but I’ve chosen to make these distinctions because the gap between both disciplines is widening, and requirements for each are becoming more specialized. In fact, many universities now offer separate degrees for design and development.

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