The Competitor

It was a subtle and long-term plot: the pencil sharpener contained a bomb that would be activated after approximately 327 hours of usage. This had been calculated, through years of  incredibly minute research, as exactly the time it takes for an intern to reach executive level.

It would be devastating; they wouldn’t know what hit them. And the Moist’n’Merry Ice Cream company would be ready to step in to dominate the frozen goods market.

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The Cat

Gertrude was a cat. It was a nice life; she had whiskers that let her feel and navigate the dark areas the larger, more vision-oriented creatures couldn’t.

Like right now, two of said creatures were fornicating in the corner of this dark chamber, unaware of the cat that had snuck through the drain pipe and was now listening, and judging.

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Gilgamesh the Conqueror

Gilgamesh the Conqueror

The town of Ryst lay in ruins; Gilgamesh stood in the ashes of the last city to stand against him. The country was his; there were no more challenges, nothing left to conquer; all that stood ahead was the drudgery of managing an empire.

He drew the rune crystal from his pocket and prepared the spell to turn back time. The world blurred as he returned to his childhood; What should he be this time? Perhaps a singer; he could define a new era of music. Or maybe be a merchant again and create an empire of currency.

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Killer – MiniStory Challenge

I’ve been wanting to improve my writing skills, so I’ve decided to challenge myself to write a couple short stories every week. Here’s my first entry:

Killer

Robert flipped open the heart locket showing him and his soon-to-be ex. Smiling, happy together. He closed it and leaned forward on the roof’s precipice, looking down his rifle’s scope. She was sitting 400 meters away with his old friend Mark. Smiling, happy together.

Safety off.

His cruiser’s radio buzzed, “Robert, there’s been a double homicide on 31st Street; can you check it out?”. He lifted the receiver and responded,”Roger that, on my way”. The receiver clacked down next to the radio. A streetlamp glinted off his police badge.

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InterSection Art Direction

[This is a repost of a post I had originally made on indieDB last year]

When I first started developing InterSection as a full game, I had no idea the art style would end up with the simplistic vector art style it has now.

I had originally made InterSection for Ludum Dare 30, where the ‘art style’ was blue and red blocks:

After I started working on it more, I figured I’d continue working with this style and just try to make it look better:

But people on the devlog kept saying they felt the worlds needed something to distinguish themselves more.

Somehow I got the idea to maybe have one world as dying and the other as young, with you trying to save your people by bringing them to the young world. So I put together some concept art which people liked a lot:

It presented an interesting story and was a hell of a lot better than whatever weird abstract route I was originally thinking of going. (one person commented they had expected it to go the ‘neon abstract geometry’ route, but liked this style a lot better).
But how was I going to convert this to 3d? I had very little knowledge of how to make 3d art, besides some simple modeling skills in Blender.
First I tried making a poly-heavy tileset:

but it was way to graphics intensive and just looked like floating chocolate bars.

I had seen some interesting art styles in the Art section of Tigsource, so I decided to try imitating this one that was becoming more common: unlit, flat-colored models. It looked good and I was able to make it easily.

People liked it, I liked it; it was a win.

Now for designing the main character. I had done a lot of sketching to try and figure out what I wanted the main character to look like.
Some speed paints when I was still designing the main character:

Then, I believe, I was looking at pinterest for ideas when I came across some pictures of Oriental-styled people :) that I liked a lot. I sketched the main character with some simplified clothes design, added the hair-style from the picture, etc. liked it a lot, and modeled/textured her:

Showed her to my feminist friend (just in case 😉 ), and she approved, so I was good to go .

This is what the game was looking like at this point:

Time to tackle the background.
I threw some textures around, added some particles, some colors, some bloom(of course), and ended up with something not bad:

I still need to add something to make the actual intersection point of the worlds look nice, but I haven’t been able to think of anything that would be interesting yet non-intrusive.

That’s all for now!

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Making AI’s that play games

For my Computer Science course we’re making AI’s that play a simplistic game called “The Robot Game” (two player strategy game, you can look it up, there’s a whole subreddit dedicated to it). Once we’ve finished our AIs we’ll pit them all against each other and see whose is the smartest.

Right before we were assigned this, I had discovered a page about machine learning in games (http://satirist.org/learn-game/). There was an interesting section(http://satirist.org/learn-game/systems/starcraft/) discussing the problem of making AI’s for StarCraft. Turns out, there are competitions where people make bots for StarCraft (the first one) and pit them against each other (On a side note, I also found out people make AI’s that speedrun games, thought that was cool). There are a plenty of challenges to making these AI’s, as StarCraft is a really complex game, but what caught my attention is that no bot has been made that can challenge a decently skilled human player.

This reminded me of Google’s DeepMind AI, which is currently about to take on the world-champion of Go (sort of the Chinese version of chess, if you don’t know what that is). It recently beat a professional Go player (the first time a computer had ever beaten a professional at Go), and it was trained using machine learning and neural networks.

I’m curious to see how machine learning will be used in the future for games. Right now, it’s not really necessary, as AI is pretty basic in most games, with simple state machines providing fun bots. But, in the future, games on the level of complexity of StarCraft might become more common, and developers will have to start experimenting with machine learning. I’m really looking forward to seeing where that will go.

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