4e5 Results

I know they were posted ages ago, but I figure it is about time I give my opinions on how it all went now that the dust has settled :)

So yea, 13th place wasn’t too hot considering there were only 23 entries and 3 were disqualified. However, it wasn’t a total bust.

I really enjoyed working with Rim and Jon. We had some good times when we were all working together and even though the final product wasn’t nearly final enough, work continues to make the game what it should have been :)

Faith was/is my first ever game of any difficulty (I’ve only ever made simple stuff like Pong and Tetris before Faith). I have always favoured demo’s over complete games (whether they be graphics or physics related) so I guess that was a large part of my downfall. Right from the start I was aiming to put in nice pixel effects and impressive ragdoll physics without any real concern for content or gameplay. I still feel what we produced was pretty impressive but I guess gameplay really should have come first ;)

Another thing I learned was how reluctant people are to install the latest DirectX runtimes let alone the PhysX runtimes and the .NET Framework. This was a real dampener for me because they are some of the most fun to work with things I have ever used. However, in the interests of a larger userbase, the little project I am working on at the moment is back in DirectX with C++ (more on this later when I have some pretty screenshots)

Finally, the Dream Build Play contest went live today and I am going to enter. It won’t be with Faith but a new (more modest) game, but again I’ll have to leave you in suspense as I’m not ready to talk about this either yet (very Hush-Hush and all) ;)

This new contest has me a lot more excited than 4e5 as the stakes are higher, I can work with the tools I love (except for PhysX unfortunately) and I won’t have to warp my ideas to suit required elements. 4e5’s elements were very restrictive in my opinion, far more so than 4e4’s and the lack of entries is probably a testament to that ;)

All the best,

Richard

Faith Portmorten Part 1

I figure it is about time I wrote a little about the game I worked on for the GameDev.net’s Four Elements Contest (4e5). The reason for doing this is partly to serve as a log of the mistakes I made and, by looking back, I can learn from what went wrong (and what went right) and maybe somebody else reading will find something of interest in here too :)

So here goes….
Back in May 2006 I had been working with Managed DirectX for quite a while and had various little graphics and physics demo’s lying about. I had been working with Doom 3’s model and map formats and was going to use them to create a game. Quite soon after the 4 Elements contest was announced …it seemed like the perfect opportunity to really make something that I could use as a show-piece for my portfolio (which I hope will get me into the games industry in the new year). So I announced my intent to enter the competition and rushed head first into coding.

I had plans for all kinds of cool ‘cutting edge’ tech that none of the other games would have, giving me the “Wow! Factor”, but I had absolutely zero plans for content and was hoping that when I had pretty things to show-off, I would easily find some artists through GameDev’s Help Wanted forum. I did have a good idea for a game though that really made use of the elements (this game I still plan to make some day). This was almost definitely foolishness on my part to think such a plan could come together, but I did see sense before it was too late :)

Not that long after, I was contacted by a fellow Managed DirectX programmer who was looking to pool resources. Instead of working against each other, we could combine and make something truly amazing. I was hesitant at first because the competition had just begun and I was still quite confident I could do it all alone …and I quite liked my own game idea and didn’t want to compromise. However, I had a serious think about it and the prospect of working with other people who were Managed DirectX programmers started to seem quite appealing. This was also definitely helped by the team already having two artists in place and ready to work. So I threw aside my own plans and joined with the MDXInfo.com crew. The team at this stage was supposedly 3 Programmers and 2 Artists ;)

More soon….

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