Health Bar Tutorial

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a very portable health bar. The more green it is, the more health you have, and the more red the bar is, the less health you have. This technique is fairly simple, and pretty easy to implement into your game. You will have something similar to this when you are complete:

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GameGuide Part 3: Design

Design of a videogame includes a lot of different parts. You must design the story, an artstyle, a storyboard, characters, levels, items and all of the features (such as AI) in your game. This will be one of the most difficult parts of making the game. This is mostly because this is what the entire game will be based off of what we do here. If we make a lot of errors
in the design, there is a small chance that you will have to go back to where the problem is and redesign it. To begin, we will first talk about the storyline.

Story/Artstyle

We have already discussed what you should include and exclude from your storyline, but now we’re going to talk a little about
how to get a decent art style from your story. First, read through your story and try to get a good picture (I usually try to make the story into a movie in my mind). If you’re having issues trying to get an artstyle for your game, then begin to think to yourself, “is this a horror game? Is it upbeat and happy? Is it full of violence, or is it a nice, fun arcade game?” By asking yourself what the game’s storyline is like, you can start making the artstyle. For instance, I want to make a nice, simple, happy little platformer. The artstyle will be colorful, and bodyparts and other proportions will be exaggerated if you were to go for colorful, and cartoony that is.

Storyboard 

Now that you have a basic storyline and artstyle, we can begin making a storyboard. But first, we need to learn what a
storyboard actually is. Well, to simplify it down, it is much like a comic book, but usually not as pretty looking. You take hundreds of little papers and draw different scenes on them. Then you arrange them in chronological order and start posting them on a board, so everyone can get a better picture of what the game will be like. Here’s a small storyboard for a Yogi Bear short:

In this storyboard,  Each part of the scene is sequential, and includes sounds to include and some dialogue, too. You can also add arrows to show where something should go (if moving). Really, it can be as organized as you want it. The more details you can include, the less that the development staff has to assume or ask about, which can save time, and also makes sure you get results you want to see.

Designing Characters

We have our story, an art style, and a storyboard. Now it is time to move to some of the more detailed designs. Have the artists create detailed sketches of the characters. Have a side sketch, a front, and a back sketch made. It wouldn’t hurt to add some sketches of your characters doing something rather than standing straight with their arms stretched outwards. Work on improving the character’s look, then have the sketch cleaned up and colored. This will give the modelers a really good idea of what to do with the models. Remember to do this for all of the characters (no matter how small they may be), so that modelers/animators can get a good feel for the characters.

Designing Levels 

Level design is something that can be quite tricky. You must fit the artstyle, and make it functional/accessible to the character as well. Your artists may want to draw many (and I mean many) sketches, including:  maps (arial views of the level), sketches of different parts from different angles, and anything else you can make sketches of. Again, you need to color them after all of the details have been established for the modelers/animators.

Designing Items

Item design can be as simple or complicated you want. Try to make the items feel like they fit in with the artstyle and feel
of the game. Get sketches, clean them up/keep them detailed, then color them. You starting to get the drift? This is basically what you should do for every single little thing in the game.

Designing the Features

Go through all of the little details and get a list of all of the things you want to include (Health bar, item inventory, ammo,
ability to upgrade items, talking to villigers, etc.). When you have a list of everything you’d like to see in the game, start
speaking to programmers about what they think could make, then write a list of what they can make for the game. Some
features are harder to program than others, so you need to be sure you have experienced programmers that can handle
most of what you throw at them. If they cannot do most of what you want, just try to do without those features and simplify your game to the programmer’s abilities.

What Next?

Well, there shouldn’t be much more to design, unless you have vehicles or anything that I have not talked about (which you should make detailed designs for everything), then you are ready to begin modeling and creating the game. This means that, yes, we are done with the main design process. You may see yourself going back and making slight changes to your original design, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

<<Planning   |  Index  |   Modeling>>

Basic Character Movement

In this tutorial, you will learn how to move your character around while having the camera follow behind. Do not pay attention to the graphics, as I am not showing how to make the graphics of a game, just merely showing you the basic concept. Read the rest of this entry »

How to get Realtime Text in Blender

I know many people keep asking how to make realtime text in Blender. The answer is quite simple.I will walk you through the steps of making text appear in realtime. Read the rest of this entry »

GameGuide Part 2: Planning

The first part of making any game is planning. The “planning stage” is where the storyline, basic character information, and the genre will be defined. We will begin by either writing a story, or choosing a genre.

When writing a story for your game, try to stay away from clichés when writing the story (such as having to save the princess from the evil guy’s tower), and try to go with something original or undone in the gaming world. Try to keep the story as vivid as possible, so that the words can easily translate into pictures for the designers. For instance, instead of “The old, man dirty on the corner looked at you angrily”, put: “The elderly, hagard man with the torn and grime-stained clothing stared fiercely with his piercing black eyes from the street corner.” Doesn’t the later give you more of a vision of how the old man on the corner would look like? Sure, it may be more writing on your part, but it is worthwhile in the long run. Another thing you should be sure to do is try to keep the story as fluid as possible. Don’t have a character die, and also at the same time, have a potion or something to help bring life back into the deceased, and have no ability to use it on that one character (which is what happened in Final Fantasy VII).

Here is a list of some of the biggest genres to choose from:

  • RPG (Role-playing game) – This genre allows you to play the role of a character in a very deep storyline. You run from one point to another, fighting off monsters, making yourself stronger, obtaining items & money, and learning new skills. There are usually more than one character involved in the battles.
  • MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) – This is the same as an RPG, but the difference is that many characters in the game are real people. There is also less of a storyline, and there is no end to the game (until you reach the highest level possible).
  • FPS (first-person shooter) – An FPS, or any other shooter, has a storyline (which is usually is not that complex), and the main objective is usually to kill any targets (or specific targets) and move to another point. Online shooters have a storyline, but that is kind of shoved out of the way for the online play, where you face off against countless others, instead of following the story. There’s also scroll-shooter, which is usually an aircraft flying, and enemies appear from different parts of the screen. You must kill or avoid them all and whatever they fire at you.
  • Platformer – This genre has you moving from one point to another, while you try to beat a clock, kill enemies (or avoid them), collect power-ups, rank up a score, and avoid objects all at the same time. The reasoning behind calling it a “platformer” is the constant use of platforms. Some are stationary, and do not move. Some are moving, and some fall from underneath your feet!
  • Strategy – This genre has you trying to do specific tasks, which requires that you have a good strategy. There are an infinity of strategies that you can use, but only some will lead you to win. There is a subgenre called “turn-based strategy”, which is even more difficult. It is played like chess. Each person can move once before having to switch turns with the enemy. They can also only move one piece at the same time.

Note: there are more genres than listed, but these are the biggest from what I can tell. For our example, we will be making a platformer. The camera will be animated to help reduce the amount of camera collision near 0 (I will, however show you the different types of cameras, and how to set them up :)).

Okay, now that we have a basic idea down on paper, we can begin the design process.

<<How the Pros Do it   |   Index   |   Design>>

GameGuide Part 1: How the Pros Do It

Summary: In this part, you will be introduced to what actual game developers put into making professional, commercial games. You will also be able to find some game engines based on the programming language used. Read the rest of this entry »