Indie Game Dev - Creative Reflective Journal
After Completing my studies at Falmouth University, studying Game Development: Art, I thought it would be best for me to continue on the Indie Master’s Course at Falmouth. I will be using this website as a log of my process and creative decisions with experimental projects.
Update - 23 Nov 2022
Rapid Idiation (The Rework) - Week 2 of 2
This week I decided to focus on branding myself as an indie game dev. I have now started up my studio Sam Claydon Games ltd and I wanted to showcase the startup with a new logo. I had some renditions of the colour scheme but I ended up on one I was very happy with.
I felt the colours pop a lot more in my new colour scheme and I want the logo to be clean and professional. I then updated my socials to look uniform and I think it has elevated the design of my platforms and looks fun and engaging.
Update - 9 Nov 2022
Rapid Idiation (The Rework) - Week 1 of 2
I was so happy with the success of releasing ‘The Calcium Crusader in Boogietown’ and with it finished and being put on itch.io, I started to get back to my main game project Snow Way Back. The theme of the two week Rapid Idiation is remake and re-work and I think this would be a perfect time to get back onto my main game project.
To rework the game I wanted to focus on the shader I have used in the past. It makes everything pixelated and unique but having the pixelation can lose detail and doesn’t look appealing on Youtube. I thought this would be the best thing to re-work and alter to my liking.
The two images side by side shows my new approach to the blue colour palette. I have made everything brighter and I am leaning toward the whites more. In comparison it is evident that the new way I am using the shader looks cleaner and would be more appropriate for the future of my game.
It is a big step to change the way the shader works. Finding that particular colour palette that not only suits the game but also looks visually appealing for a wider audience is the direction that I want to go in. I have shown this game off in the past at Gamescom 2022 and also on this site too https://www.therookies.co/projects/36298
Update - 2 Nov 2022
Rapid Ideation Week 2 of 2
The Calcium Crusader in Boogietown is out!!!
At the start of October I set myself a goal to create and release a game for Halloween of this year. It was such a fun way to experiment with ideas and I believe will help me in future projects. The game is a randomly generated platformer set in a world that has been converted into a disco.
Come and check it out, I have been hard at work this month trying to make this strange and fun game a reality!
Update - 19 Oct 2022
Rapid Ideation Week 1 of 2
I have been set to create something game-related to a theme within 2 weeks. I will be using the theme as my inspiration for my current project. But depending on the theme I might be inspired to create something new…
Here is the theme of our Rapid Ideation for the 2 weeks of work. I wanted to focus it on my Halloween game ‘The Calcium Crusader in Boogietown’ and use it as inspiration for my game. The Dexit card shown is the chosen theme of the Rapid Ideation and in my mind this card represents mechanics. I believe that this card represents how the game is played and how characters traverse around the game.
I have already changed the speed and health of the larger enemy but I think I can push it further. The game’s main mechanic is random generation, so I want to improve this even further by randomly generating enemy placements in each chunk. I have also been working on random generation of NPC’s dialogue. This random generation gives the player a fresh start of each game and makes every playthrough unique.
Here you can see the random generation in action. Here are 3 different playthroughs with a different map generated each time. I have also been working on the art of each map and I am very happy with the new direction it is going in.
Update - 10 Oct 2022
New Enemies and Improved Visuals
This week I have been focusing on different enemies for different stages of my game. “The Calcium Crusader in Boogietown” takes place in a world converted into a disco so I want to represent the enemies as monster’s who love to dance! I want the characters to wear disco clothing and I am taking big inspiration from the 70's and 80’s.
The first enemy I created is called the Disco Demon. They attack by striking the iconic Saturday Night Fever pose and it swipes the player, damaging them. These enemies come in two forms, one smaller, easy to defeat, one larger and are a lot harder to stop. I have also been creating visual indications as to when they will attack. The glasses on the enemy shine and flash right before they attack.
I am also in the works of creating a bigger boss enemy that will be a surprise for the player. The game is randomly generated and I want the enemy placement to reflect that too. This boss enemy will be a lot bigger than other enemies and will have a large amount of health. This enemy is inspired by the Afro hairstyles used in the 70’s and 80’s.
I have also been working on improving the overall look of the game. Here is a screenshot of the lighting in the randomly generated part of the game. I am really happy with the direction of the art so far.
Update - 5 Oct 2022
Game Jams and Prototyping
Today I will be discussing my Halloween project and my creation process in relation to Game Jams and Prototyping my games. I have been hard at work with my game and the randomly generated maps that are within it. I hope you enjoy looking through my latest update!
I have participated in lots of game jams as I find it such a fun experience to try and test out ideas. It is also a project you can work on without any consequences and is just a good time to try and finish something for the end deadline.
When I prototype, I really try to gravitate toward the genre of game I want to create and make sure that is the project I want to do. Because once you make that decision to create a game in a game jam, it is very hard to change that idea mid way through and start again. Game jams often have themes which help my brain to come up with fun ideas and concepts for games.
I found love for game jams about 3 years ago when I discovered a games program called GB Studio. It runs like a Gameboy and all the games created on it are restricted to the resolution of the Gameboy. I had such a fun time participating in game jams in this program as it helped me out with its visual scripting.
Here is one of the games I worked on as a 48 hour game jam for the Global Game Jam in January 2021. The theme for this jam was lost and found so I decided to create a game about a detective that finds missing people.
When I prototype my projects, I normally start by creating a moodboard on paper and work from there. I come up with the concept and possible outcomes of my game to take into the development process.
My skeleton game has come a long way and I have been using paper sketch planning. I have been creating the randomly generated rooms on paper so that I can use them in engine. It allows me to test out ideas and not rely on the rooms if I want to scrap some of the designs or add new ones. For my new enemy type, I have been creating quick sketch drawings of them and it allows me to test out colours and designs to use within the game.
I have also been working on the title of my Halloween project…. The Calcium Crusader in Boogietown!
I have been using Wireflow to plan out my website and make it as concise and straightforward as possible. I will be working on my website throughout next week and using this to plan and prototype will help so much. This was my first time using Wireflow and I am a fan of how it works and I can see myself using it for my website in the near future.
I will finish by pitching my little Halloween game ‘The Calcium Crusader in Boogietown’:
"Get ready for the disco-pocalypse in this randomly generated 2D platformer that I solo developed. This game is only going to be in development for a month with the aim to release it for Halloween this year!
You play as the Calcium Crusader, a skeleton that has been dead for hundreds of years, brought back to life from a bolt of lighting. But something is wrong (or incredibly right) the whole world has been converted into a disco leaving everyone to dance to the death!"
Update - 27 Sep 2022
Project Grim - Random Generation
This week I have been revisiting an idea I had back in April, Project Grim. It is a randomly generated 2D platformer in which you play as a skeleton. In this game you don’t have a sword, instead you detach your arm and use it as your weapon. I am using this project as a way to experiment and release a project for Halloween. This also gives me a little time away from Snow Way Back to come back to it with fresh eyes in November. I find that it stops me burning out and also keeps me creating the games I love to create!
As someone who has suffered from burnout in the past, it gives me the ability to try new things and come back to the main project refreshed and ready to go.
TO START with I created room jigsaw pieces on some grid paper which allowed me to visualise the levels and how I could format them in the game. I then got to work on a simplified version of those rooms digitally which I can use later for collision.
I THEN brought those maps into Unity and followed a tutorial to randomly pick an object in the Hierarchy to display. I created all rooms as prefabs, each with their own lighting and collision so I can easily adapt them in the future.
I WILL now focus on the rooms themselves and create some more refined art. I will be using Tiled to create tile maps for these levels.
Update - 23 Sep 2022
Today I was working on creating a website that showcased all of my games. I am really trying to make it visually appealing and represent and reflect the games that are on show. I want to create a hub for people to see my games and have easy access to all of them from one website.
Here is where I am at. I believe that it looks professional and does represent each game well. I will now just work on the sub pages and the home page.
Update - 22 Sep 2022
What are your aspirations for after graduation?
I want to be able to finish this course with a catalog of new and unique game demos. I want to start up my own company as a solo developer and showcase my work to the world. So building up a library of projects would be an ideal way of marketing myself as a solo game developer.
What skills and competencies do you bring with you into your postgraduate studies?
I am a determined and passionate creator. If I have a game idea that I want to make, I go out and create it. I am skilled in 3D art but I am getting to grips with the programming side of creating too.
What skills and competencies do you need to improve upon in order to achieve your aspirations?
My main struggle is the programming side of creating. Coming from an art background, it hasn’t been my main passion to code. I hope by the end of this year, I will be more adapt to the programming side of game creation.
What do you need to create in order to evidence your skillset?
I will be creating many different prototypes and demos by the end of this course. I will be showcasing them on my itch.io page and hopefully gaining an audience this way. I will also be creating a website to showcase every demo when I complete them. This will allow people to look back and see my creation process on each project.
How can you optimise your journey through the course to ensure you achieve the desired results?
I will be using Milanote to plan my days and work on each project as they come. They might be in the form of demos or prototypes but I am aiming for my time management to be a key factor in getting them completed for each weekly webinar that rolls around.
Here is an overview of my game development so far and where I wish to be once I finish my Master’s Degree.