Monday, December 14, 2015

RPGs and Playstation Experience

Hey guys! Been a while, and I have a lot of cool new stuff to share. I've been keeping busy with game development, 3D animation, drawings, and lots of traveling. I'll save some of the bigger news for my huge year-end post that will go up around New Year's. For this post, I'd like to concentrate on two exciting events that have happened recently: Playstation Experience and the release of RPGMaker MV.

So last week, I got to attend the second annual Playstation Experience in San Francisco. It's a huge gathering of all things Playstation and it was full of awesome game announcements, demos, displays, free goodies, and really excited people. It was a ton of fun and I would definitely love to go back again. As my friends and I described it, the convention almost felt like a mini-E3 that just focused on Sony stuff.

 The event was more consumer oriented than some of the past conventions I've went to, but I still got the chance to meet up with a bunch of fellow developers. I played the new Shadow of the Beast, which surprisingly was really faithful to the original (including some of my favorite songs from the old soundtrack!). I tried Severed (new game from Drinkbox) and was really pleased with how similar the visuals are to Guacamelee. I played Street Fighter 5 and King of Fighters 14, both of which felt like really solid additions to the franchises. (I even managed to win a match of KoF, time to go pro!). 

I also got to play the Uncharted 4 multiplayer which was neat. The booth was set up like a tropical oasis with multiple teams scattered throughout the area. I'm definitely more into the single player campaign than the MP though, so I also made sure to check out the panel with the mocap/voice actors. They went into a lot of detail on what things are like behind the scenes over at Naughty Dog, so that was a really cool experience.

But without a doubt, my favorite part of the convention was getting the chance to try out the Morpheus (or Playstation VR as it is now called). I've used a bunch of other headsets in the past, but none of them have given me quite as mind-blowing of an experience as the PS VR did. First off, you can comfortably use it wearing glasses! Personally, I think that is huge since taking off my glasses to use an Oculus always seems to dampen the experience for me.

Secondly, the sense of space is incredible. I played The London Heist which made use of two PS Move controllers instead of a standard Dualshock. To anyone who still remembers motion gaming as a Wii waggle-fest, let me tell you... this is miles ahead of that! I looked down at my hands with the headset and saw my character's hands. When I pulled the trigger on the controller, my character gripped his fingers. The relationship was one-to-one! There is a part in the demo where a character hands you a cell phone. You can't hear what he's saying until you physically put your hand up to your ear. It was just brilliant!

I know my words can't do it justice but this is something that I feel everyone needs to experience. I was still a little bit skeptical on VR but when you get the full experience with motion controls, it is completely unlike anything we've ever been exposed to before. I can't wait until this thing hits the market!

I could ramble on about the conference forever (in fact, we did over at Final Save Point), but I also want to get to some of the development stuff that I've been doing. A little over a month ago, the new version of RPG Maker officially launched. Named MV, for the first time ever this version supports custom resolutions, mobile/browser builds, and a ton of amazing features through the new plugin system. As you may or may not know, I've been obsessed with the program since RPGMaker 95 and it was what really got me into game development in the first place.

Although it's certainly not as beefy as a full engine like Unity, the program has always had a special place in my heart. And with the ability to go up to 1080p, I can finally develop professional quality games in it! So far I haven't created anything in MV that I intend to release commercially, but I have put together some interesting projects.

In addition to some sample projects to try out the engine, I've created a few games about The Nays. The first is a port of a game I started in VX Ace that can now realize its full potential in the more advanced RPG Maker. The game is about a small detective agency and it's a sequel to a game I made way back in RPGM2003. I'm taking advantage of the quest journal plugin to keep track of cases, and I've already begun work on a custom UI. It's probably my biggest ongoing project in the engine.

I also started up a goofy little baseball simulator called Biggert City Baseball. A long time ago, I used to have this electronic baseball toy that would simulate a baseball game by "spinning a wheel" and coming up with random outcomes when you press the button. I got the idea to recreate that in video game form using creatures that my sister and I designed as part of The Nays universe. I'm envisioning it as a sports/RPG hybrid where you play games of baseball, but in between you can wander around towns and increase your stats / recruit players.

I got really fired up about this and managed to program most of the core gameplay in a single day or two. When a batter comes to the plate, it cycles through a list of outcomes and stops on one when you hit the button. Depending on the batter's stats, they are more likely to get a certain type of hit (power hitter might have 5 frames to hit a homerun where a contact guy only sees it for 2 frames). I'm still tweaking the values, but technically you can play through an entire game and have most of your results displayed on screen somehow. I also drew up the entire field, so progress on this game is moving right along.

Overall, the RPG Maker MV release has been pretty amazing. I've been fairly active over on the official forums and it's been a lot of fun being so involved in the early development of the engine. If you're at all interested in game development and don't know where to start, this is a really great place to get your feet wet.

Anyways, this post is getting pretty long so I think I'll cut it off here. I have a lot more news that I want to share, but I'll save it for next time. I hope everyone enjoys the holidays. You can expect my next post some time in the next few weeks. Until then... Adios!

No comments:

Post a Comment