If you are in Brussels this friday…

…then you have the opportunity to come and enjoy an evening of Belgian-brewed games at the Schrödinger’s Cat bar!

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Starting at 21:00, on the 15th of May, you will be able to enjoy a video-game centered evening, during which Get Well Soon! will be playable, and we will be there to present it to you and have a chat or a drink!

And Domiverse, the local multiplayer arena game by Haunted Tie (with help from one of us for the music) will be playable as well! You can find all the info on the Facebook page of the event[FR]. Looking forward to meeting you there!

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Get Well Soon! at the Made in Asia 2015!

Hey folks! It has been a while since we have given real signs of life, but it is because we have been very much focused on a couple of events for the beginning of the year!

We will write more about that, but we were at the ScreenShake Festival to show our game to other Belgian developers early last month, and this month, we are going to be showing Get Well Soon! at the Made in Asia convention in Brussels!

We will be there from Friday to Sunday (March 13th to 15th) with the game at the BIGA (Belgian Independent Game Association) booth.

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4 comments » | Events, Get Well Soon!

So, we took part in Ludum Dare again

Remember the Ludum Dare ? It’s the game-making challenge that takes place every few months that we already did a bunch of times. That’s even where Get Well Soon was born!

Well last weekend, we participated once again (yup, thus the previous “We’re in!” post), and here’s what came out of it.

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See the clever pun? Yeaaah, we get crazy like that.

A Maze in Space is a puzzle game where your mission is to avoid at all cost Harvey the Robot who’s intent on buzzing your precious little character’s head off. And while you do that, you have to gather as many shining stars as possible to boost your score. How? by rotating the spaceship and making rooms fall off and be replaced by new ones.

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Comment » | Ludum Dare

LD31: we’re in!

Except for a hurried half-participation to Last August LD, this will be our first LD since the one which saw Get Well Soon! born, LD27.

But here we go, we are back for the LD31 Jam!

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Comment » | Ludum Dare

Brighton Indie Dev Day

It has now been four years that GSM Productions went to Brighton for the Indie Dev Day of the Develop conference.

Each year, we feel our presence to be more “legit” than the year before. And, last month, for the first time, we went with an actual game in development (Get Well Soon!, but do we really have to remind you that?). From the outside, that detail looks relatively insignificant, but it made a lot for our state of mind.

indieday_2014

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Come on in! It’s #indieDevHour!

Hey all, how about something a little different this time around? Being indie game developers is all well and good, but it would be a rather dull affair without the whole indie dev community! Since we started making games, we had the pleasure to meet and interact with a whole bunch of other developers, see a host of great game still being made, and generally have a pretty good time!

Lately, one of our members, Grungi, has been particularly excited about an event held weekly in said developer community. The name of that event is #indieDevHour, and, if you had not figured it out already, is held on Twitter. Each Wednesday, at 7PM UK time, developers start sharing on Twitter, appending the hashtag #indieDevHour to their tweets, and get involved in all kinds of conversations. It has proven to be a very effective, relaxed, and easy way to give and receive feedback on your current project, pick the brain of other teams, and generally hang out and have a good time.

indiedevhour

Think of it as getting together in a bar with like-minded people and showing each others what you have been working on and generally catch up. All from the convenience of your chair or couch!

What sets #indieDevHour apart from many other Twitter events like, for example, #ScreenshotSaturday, is the sense of community the hosts (Sllayt3r, LunaRose13 and Cheeky Sprite Studio) have managed to impart to it. They have managed to foster a really inviting atmosphere, and many great conversations, as in real back-and-forth, not just people spamming links, are always just a tweet away. And the fun does not stop at the end of the designated hour! A Skype group chat has been created and is run by Sllayt3r for chatting with other indie devs, and people are sharing news, questions and feedback with the hashtag all throughout the week now!

Of course, your first #indieDevHour might feel a little crazy, given the sheer volume of tweets and the branching nature of Twitter conversations, but hang in there! With a good Twitter client like Tweetdeck, there is nothing you cannot overcome!

So, see you next Wednesday, 7PM UK time?

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The tools of the trade #2 – Blender

Blender, what’s that?

Blender. Do we still have to present this tool? Yeah? Ok.

Blender is a free and Open source 3D graphics and animation software. For newbies, that means it allows us to create objects and characters you’ll later find in our games.

Moreover, it is multiplatfom! Cherry on top: it is coded in Python.

Knowing this, those who know us won’t be surprise that we use this software.

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GWS monster, LD version

Only dark spot: the interface.

Until Blender 2.5, the user interface was ascetic. You had to know the key shortcuts quite well to create anything.

This problem was thankfully solved in the latest versions. And keyboard freaks may rest assured: they shortcuts still works, they are just less necessary.

For connoisseurs, the 3D motor itself endured lots of critics in the past. However, Blender fixed it since, especially with Cycle, a motor which calculate the image from a technique called ray tracing. It allowed us to make some pretty things…

Bastien, graduation work in 3D, first year, theme “Chessgame” – First tests with Cycle

Of course, for the games, this requires a bit too much performance. We usually use the basic 3D motor.

Let’s roll up our sleeves!

As those who follow the blog already know, three years ago, Christel, Batien and Thomas followed a 3D training in the near Institut de formation supérieure.

Interesting fact: the cursus was planned to be give in 3D Studio Max, another development software. However, we pressed the teacher to give us the lesson on Blender in parallel with the other students. It worked so well that now, the lesson is actually given in Blender! We don’t feel sorry at all.

We followed this training two years in a row, dragging ourselves to the class on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn to learn 3D modelling and Blender.

Bastien even went back for a 3rd year (and dragged Joan along, yeah, remember, she participated with us to Ludum Dare 24).

Christel, 3D graduation work, second year, theme “reproduce an image” – Does it ring a bell?

A training, what for?

Something specific about 3D modelling is that it’s another world. Anyone who ever opened a 3D software to “see how it looks” did notice: start from scratch, without training nor tutorial, is pretty hard.

Thinking in vertex, side, face and node, or understand what is a normal require some time. But once this step is done, Blender becomes accessible, thank to its new interface and its possibilities.

An example? The transformers, which allows to calculate automatically a serie of aligned object thank to the array, or to work symmetrically with the mirror.

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Some armchairs from “Get Well Soon!” – they used the Array before being compiled

Interactivity!

Moreover, and it’s a major asset, Blender interfaces perfectly with Unity 3D (see our previous post). Translation: Unity3D interprets easily the native Blender format (the .blend files). We just have to add our models’ files in our project for them to be accessible.

Seriously, we just have to drag & drop the objects for them to appear. It’s like magic!

GSM projects using Blender

Well, all our 3D ones!

OUT OF HERE

GSM Productions’ first serious try or a 3D game… during a Ludum Dare, of course! The Ludum Dare 20. The graphisms were mainly basic cubes and cylinders, but still.

The several objects from the game were modelized and textured in Blender, in an old, infernal-like interface version. A Python plugin written by a community member exported them to one of the formats used by Panda3D (that we used before starting to work with Unity3D).

Player 2, Start! (LD24)

Not only level 3 was entirely modelized in Blender, but we established the colliders and placed the monsters and all elements of the game in Blender before exporting to Panda3D.

Considering it was a platformer in which 3 level out of 5 were in 2D, it was not our most intelligent choice (but we’ve been working on that).

Christel : “Thankfully, I got better…”

The characters were modelized in Maya by a friend designer who helped us in that adventure: Jonas.

Get Well Soon! (LD27)

Of course we were going to talk about our little baby. The full Ludum dare version was modelized by Christel in Blender (she was telling you she’d gotten better…). The animation as well had been done on Blender, by Bastien.

In the following versions (that you still can find on FrenchCows), the majority of the objects is still done on Blender. Dimitri, who helped us a LOT especially with the characters, uses his own tools.

gws1

(Alright, alright, GSM Productions’ next game won’t have any “!” in its title…)

In short?

In conclusion, Blender is a powerful, reachable tool on a technical point of view, free, Open source and multiplatform. What else?

Comment » | 3D, Tools

Get Well Soon, going steady

After a little revision of the website (thank you Pascale!), we’re back with the latest news.

Get well soon!… soon!

As planned, the beginning of the year was all about Get Well Soon. We’ve had one workshop every two weeks, loads of discussions, plenty of work done from home… and we’re close to the end!

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General status

  • Scenario: almost complete
  • Texts: almost complete
  • Modelisation: almost complete
  • Textures: ongoing
  • Animation: to do
  • Music: ongoing
  • Sounds : to integrate
  • Dialogs : almost complete
  • Voice acting : ongoing
  • Development / environment (doors, monster logic, etc.) : almost complete
  • Cutscenes implementation : ongoing
  • Other scenario tools’ implementation (files, keys, closed doors, etc.) : to do

Some additional features

  • Awakening cutscene when you start a new game
  • The torch now can be off/on using ‘F’ key
  • Lamps have been placed in the corridor (on, off, sizzling)
  • Game icon added
  • Reset button added in the options menu
  • A few bugs fixed
  • A lot of new models, including:
    • Fidge
    • Indoor cycling
    • Conveyor belt
    • Espaliers
    • Convenient
    • Magazines
  • The monster is back!
  • To sum things up : a lot of work done but still a lot to do. Wish us luck!

Ludum dare

After FrenchCows took the big decision to disable the “pack” products to increase their “season” interest, our deadline was pushed back from three months to six. In consequence, we worked even more on Get Well Soon to make the game that much more interesting. The side effect being that we didn’t have the chance to participate to any more Ludum dare. We hope to finish in time to register to the Ludum dare of August. To be confirmed…

However, what we can already tell you is, next time, we will participate as.. two separate teams, which means we’ll develop two different games! That will give us a pleasant change and add some challenge… just because we can!

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Tools of the trade #1 – Unity3D

At GSM Productions, we like experimentations. If follows that, since our first little games all the way to Get Well Soon!, we have never ceased to try out new methods and new tools. But it would seem that, recently, our wild search has started to change into more of a “toolset consolidation”. This is why we have decided to write a small series of articles presenting our various tools. If you are a developer wanting to learn about the motivations of other devs or simply curious about the tools used to makes video games, tag along!

The most fundamental choice for a game developer is about the “game engine”. These days, it is very uncommon for anyone to start coding a game from scratch. It might lead to total control about the code, the complexity of today’s computers as well as those of current games makes it much more complicated a task than it was before. Between all the options available to us, we went with a very popular choice for independent developers : Unity 3D.

Unity Editor Screenshot

The Unity3D editor as we work on Get Well Soon!

One of the pros of Unity3D is that it offers a free version with very reasonable limitations, giving you a very solid set of functionalities. What’s more, Unity3D is a cross-platform engine. You can export your games to desktop computers (Windows, MacOS or Linux), web browsers, Android, iOS… And with the proper licenses, even to consoles! The only drawback is that the Unity3D editor is not available under Linux (yet? :p), but what can you do…

Unity3D export options

Some of Unity3D’s supported platforms

Besides cost and cross-platform considerations, Unity3D works under a paradigm that really helps us: every object is of a generic type (GameObject) to which are attached any number of “components”. These components can be a 3D model representing an object, or a script describing the logic behind something, a sound effect…

This extremely modular approach encourages the creation of reusable, self-contained components. It is a generally beneficial way of looking at things, but it is even better to have tools that enforces it.

A look at some components in an object

A look at some components in an object

Since we adopted Unity3D, our development process has taken a new scope. The transition from a bunch of tools needing quite a bit of groundwork to get them working together to a platform integrating most steps, including direct import of 3D assets, images and other textures, changed quite a few things for us.

We always stay on the lookout for new development tools, but at the present time, Unity3D is without a doubt the best environment for the type of games we are making. We may have taken our sweet time to get there, but boy, is it a great feeling!

If you want to learn more about Unity3D : http://unity3D.com

1 comment » | 3D, Tools

2014, here we go!

Sweet 2013

2013 was made of :

  • Ludum Dare competitions which boosted the team
  • the start of Get Well Soon!, our first game sold online
  • some abandoned projects (to make room for the new ones)
  • a few challenges accepted… and sometimes achieved
  • the discovery of new tools, which we loved!

But also :

  • 11 posts (against 3 in 2012)
  • a communication directed at you, with a continuous presence on social networks
  • and, of course, our participation to the FrenchCows initiative!

Looking behind us,  lots of our objectives were reached, despite a great deal of time yet again stolen by our day’s work. We can be proud of ourselves.

Let’s roll up our sleeves for 2014!

After so many challenges met in 2013 (and some still ongoing), we’ll have to work really hard for what follows!

The main objective, of course, is still to finish our first game actually sold online, Get Well Soon!.
This past few months, we started to have regular meetings and dedicated workshop-days, which we plan to maintain, as we realized working together motivates us a lot. Because let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to get back home from work to start working again on your own… even if we love it!

Once Get Well Soon! will be done, we’ll start a marketing phase, which we are total newbies at. But we hope to learn a lot.
Then… we’ll still have LOADS of projects waiting for us to work on!

Get Well Soon! the latest news

Instead of participating to this December’s Ludum Dare, GSM Productions dedicated the weekend to Get Well Soon!. We had the help of Dimitri, 3D specialist and good friend of the team.

Friends making a video game ?!? After trying different types of industries, like advertising, movies or entertainment, I HAD to try that new challenge ! Eyes looking more and more like screens as the hours go by, orgies of junk food, lack of sleep and cheap humor … gosh, how I missed all these ! And what a pleasure to bring my contribution to Get Well Soon!

And we did achieve a lot through the weekend!

outside
monster

You’ll note that the first level design is finished and the outside environment well advanced! The doors and windows are in place as well as the outdoors stairs. Textures have been done (not all definitive, but we’re working on it). Lots of objects have been modeled (and there are still many more).

room

From a more practical point of view, the mouse’s cursor is now hidden in-game and the main menu is completely over with, with the possibility to go back to it and then resume the game. The options now allow you to choose your keys and to determine the cursor’s sensitivity.

menu

Since we publish each week an updated version on FrenchCows (we will never encourage you enough to join this friendly community), the version’s number is now visible in the main menu.

And, to French-speakers’ delight, you can now choose your language!

Finally, talking about gameplay, the character cannot jump anymore and is carrying a torch. Moreover, the turn-based movement is back, a bit modified to match its application to the scenario… and monsters can open the doors.

We hope to present all of this to you soon! In the meantime, for the curious who want to follow the game’s evolution, we’re waiting for you on FrenchCows! ;)

Comment » | General, Get Well Soon!, Ludum Dare

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