Project Bacon Level Design Prototyping, and other updates

I’ve been sick recently, and though that has sucked a LOT, it has given me time to work on project Bacon while I’ve been stuck at home (thank God for laptops so I can code in bed).

We’ve also put out more episodes of the podcast, we’re up to episode 10. Check it out at

Ok, so on to the bacon! I’ve made a ton of improvements, but let’s get the boring bits out of the way first — I’ve made a ton of optimizations to the code, so the whole thing runs a lot faster. I also … Continue reading

E3 2011: Skylanders!

So far this is my favorite E3 hands-on preview:”

And this is my favorite part:

Until today, the phrase “game with toy tie-in” would have sent me running in the other direction. Especially if a publisher as avaricious as Activision were involved. Having played Skylanders, however, its clear that they’ve come up with a product that would have thrown eight-year-old me into paroxysms of joy. Discussing the game’s potential with my colleagues, I decided that I learned a valuable lesson today: Things that appear evil aren’t always actually evil.

YAY! They got … Continue reading

Combat Prototype: A “failed” experiment in weapon design

I thought it might be interesting to show a work-in-progress experiment I was doing with the players’ weapons.

I’m working first on what I call the “indirect” weapon. The basic idea is that it’s not supposed to be about getting guys right in front of you, but rather you can use it in some unorthodox way to kill enemies that a straight-ahead gun type weapon just won’t do.

My first idea was to make something like a grenade. You shoot it out and it has a big area of effect explosion that damages everything inside it. The idea was it … Continue reading

The Great Wet North

As you may (or may not) know, I’m in Canada this week (Quebec, specifically), for work. It’s raining (not snowing) — about 37 degrees farenheight during the night and 42-ish during the day. All in all not as cold as I expected, but fairly wet.

It’s been an interesting trip so far. The flights were fairly tame, especially given my recent experiences. I did get on a tiny midget plane to get from Detroit to Canada, though, and that was interesting.

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Project Bacon: X

This time I made a number of behind the scenes changes. I put the lights, the map, and the radar into some nice systems so they’re easy for me to use now.

I also improved the radar so that it shows enemy blips.

Finally, and most obviously, the enemy will now follow you around the level.

This was a huge deal, since I had to go in and fix my duct-taped-together A* implementation and then repurpose it for use in this context.

I got it up and running pretty quickly at first, but quickly discovered it was WAAAAY to … Continue reading

My last 7 Days

Long story short: 7 days, 7 airplanes, 6 airports, Wrestlemania, an awesome sandwich, and some work.

Long story long:

So last monday I went on a trip for work to Albany, New York. I flew over the FREAKING GRAND CANYON!!

I got to work with the gang over at Vicarious Visions, which was fun, and then we came back.

My flight was scheduled to leave Albany, New York at about 1:30pm. It was delayed till 4:30pm, but that was … Continue reading

Project Bacon IX

Just a couple of extras this time:

1) I added darkness and lighting. The player carries a light around, and all the bullets you shoot have little lights on them.

2) I added a minimap and a overlay-map. The minimap is up by default. If you hit “SPACE” or “M” it’ll bring up the overlay map.

3) There’s an enemy in the lower right corner of the map. You can shoot him and he’ll take damage (he’s got about 15 HP, each bullet does 1 damage).

I’m gonna need to do some cleanups on all these new systems (they’re huge … Continue reading

Questions: Part I


First off, I want to apologize in case this article (and any others that follow it) doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about game design and the more I’ve thought about it, the more it seems to me that there are some underlying principles that tie all the various aspects of design together (level design, enemy design, system design, story design, etc).

I don’t know how deep I can get into it in one, or even several, blog posts but it occurred to me to try to get these down in writing. I’m … Continue reading

A thing I made: Part II

I’ve been working on improving the “Thing I made” from my previous post.

I’ve added the ability to create rooms (with a bunch more sliders) as well as automatically generated doors that connect the rooms with the rest of the dungeon. The doors are indicated by green lines on walls instead of black lines.

I’ve also added the ability to tweak a bunch more values via sliders. Check it out!

There are still some kinks to work out (you can still make some dungeons that have isolated areas, for example).

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What I’ve been working on for the past year and a half!

As the article mentions, there will be more info coming tomorrow, but I just couldn’t wait:

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.

When the game is running, players can put an action figure on a plastic “portal” or stand and watch the toys appear on their TV, and the toy becomes a moving character in the game for the player to control…

… Once a character’s toy is put on the portal and enters the game, as a player collects gold or levels-up his character or upgrades a weapon, that character’s improved abilities are saved in the toy’s memory. Players can … Continue reading