Monday, February 1, 2010

Gamma 4 ever

This weekend I ended a crunch to finish up my game that I made for kokoromi's gamma 4 showcase.

Wow, that was a grind! Looking at my last post, I mentioned that I was working on 4 prototypes at the time. This game was not one of them. I last-minute decided to enter, and 220 hours later I'm done!

The challenge was to create a 5 minute one-button game. I thought those were insane restrictions, and they are, but my mind was blown at how much you can do in that amount of time, with ONE button. It forced me to always be trimming the fat and often facilitated better solutions to gameplay problems than I would have devised without those restrictions.

I ended up making a game about life, and tried to depict the exhilaration of achieving long-term goals and the despair of failure. I tried to remain as abstract as possible so more people can identify with it even though we may not share ideals.

I'm excited to see all the entries. There were 154 this year! I have at least a 7 in 154 chance of going to GDC this year, and though improbable, it's still insanely exciting. "So you're saying there's a chance?" - Dumb and Dumber (amazing movie, by the way...)

I have to remain secretive so I don't blow any chances, if I had any, in winning. They want the games to be shown for the first time at the show floor so it's a surprise for everyone. In the meantime, here are a couple of non-spoiler screenshots.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


House sold, 3 months and 3000 miles later I'm in Florida making video games. I started an independent gaming company called pixelMEGA. That sounds fancy, but that only means I registered the business name, opened up a bank account and now I receive a bunch of junk mail from people wanting to sell me stuff for my business needs. That aside, I can't tell you how excited I am to be here doing what I'm doing.

My biggest priority in life is to leave a mark. I think we all crave to be more than the sum of our parts, to imprint something immortal in the minds of others when our body has long since turned to dust. Sculptors use stone, Pharoahs use pyramids, some people can do it with just a smile. Me? I want to change education.

When I was young I loved math, but sometime during high school pre-calculus I started to detest it. We learned obscure functions and time and again I would ask when I would use them in my lifetime. I never received a satisfactory answer. We learned them to pass the test and swiftly forget them. Now that I am making video games my love of math has returned. Video games are 100% math. Had I known this is high school my lover's quarrel with math would have never happened and who knows where our relationship would be today? There must be better ways to get young children interested in learning the right way. Learning for the thirst of knowledge rather than the passing of tests.

Independent games are my first step in that direction. I feel that video games and other forms of interactive art and entertainment are going to change how the next generation learns. Video games are one of the most influential forms of media in our time, just as TV is now and newspaper before it. Video games will probably be the biggest influence for many in the rising generation. I want to be a part of that.

I want to create deep, meaningful experiences as well as simple fun diversions. Eventually I hope that my games will embody both ends of the spectrum.

I have 4 game prototypes that I am currently working on. I am not quite sure which one I will end up focusing on to finish first, but I will make that decision once I am satisfied with the prototypes. Here are some development screenshots from two of them:

Catapult for Hire


They're not much to look at since they're still at the prototype stage, but the gameplay is coming together so they're actually fun to play. Once they're amazingly fun I will get some real art in there. is now live with nothing more than a logo, but soon... more! Much, much more! Thanks for dropping by, and please do have a cookie on the way out.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Space Girl

Here's an image I made in Illustrator this Labor Day Weekend to fill in some down time.

I'm learning some tricks that I am going to use in my new game.

Yet again I have changed priorities and the game I was working on with the vehicles is on hold to make way for a game idea I had that can be done much sooner. The new game is called Cloudee, and it will be awesome.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Convenient friends

Oh, hello blog! Been a while... how are you? Good, good. Me? Well, there is a lot going on, and some big changes are afoot! Here, I made you a picture to let you know I still care.

Love - Ty

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Intergalactic planetary

Just a quick update so I can feel like I'm making progress on some of these projects. First off, here is a walk cycle for a project that will be on UK televisions this summer. More on that later. Here is the first pass to start getting the weight down.

Secondly, my game is coming along great. Unity is an amazing tool and I'm very satisfied with the progress I'm making. It took only about a week to get the basic gameplay together. Of course the devil is in the details and there is a ton of work yet to do, but I was very surprised how easy it was to get so much done so fast. Refining the gameplay is one thing, but game assets are going to be the bulk of the work. I'll get some gameplay videos together and offically open my game company website once I have something decent to show, but for now here is a mockup for one of the vehicles in the game.

The colors are throwaway, I just wanted to get this little guy to look cool with the functionality I was going for. I call this one the bullfrog. It is mostly done and in-game now, and I have a cool toon shader that is looking great. I can't get enough of this stuff...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Egg Salad Sandwich

Here is the "finished" product. I would spend a few more weekends on this, but I need to simply take it as a learning experience and move on.

Unfortunately my short film is going on the back burner as I'm gearing up to start making some games for the web and eventually iPhone using Unity. I'm extremely ADD lately with all my different projects, but I think this is the best next step for me and definitely what I'm most excited about.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's all in the eyes

I work best around the house when something triggers an OCD episode. Some days I just want cereal. Realizing that none of the cereal bowls are clean and there are a sink full of dishes I go into a cleaning frenzy. After cleaning all the dishes, vacuuming the floor and taking out the trash I pour myself a bowlful of tasty empty calories. Why didn't I clean the house earlier? I didn't want cereal.

I'm finding that I work the same in all aspects of my life. I've been storyboarding my short film and fleshing out timing in the animatic, but I really got an itch to animate something. I started to animate a short 40 second acting sequence as an exercise. Now that I'm to the point of animating the face I realized I need a face rig proper to get more facial expression. Another week later and I've learned the ins and outs of building a face rig UI.

Having worked as a programmer for over 5 years now I've realized that I need to script in 3D more because that would be the next evolutionary step for me. Now that I understand Maxscript a whole new world has opened up. I told my wife it's as if I understand the Matrix.

Eye Rig Test

It's simple really, here's the expression to control the upper left eyelid:
brow_factor = brow * .16
angle = (-(top_lid*1.9)+70) +
((-(eye_ctrl_x - eye_ctrl_home_x)) * .03)

if (brow < 0) then angle -= brow_factor

if top_lid < -28 then
amax#(angle,40 - brow_factor),
The take away lesson is that Float Script controllers are the way to go. Forget Reaction Manager (if you know how write Maxscript), forget Wire Parameters and forget Float Expressions.