Game Project 001 – Cyrano: Against the One-Hundred – Research, Paris Map, 1630

A map of Paris in 1630

Map of Paris, 1630

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Game Project 001 – Cyrano: Against the One-Hundred – More Inspiration

La tour et la porte de Nesle Paris   by Pieter Wouwerman

La tour et la porte de Nesle Paris by Pieter Wouwerman

And this is the final destination of our protagonist,  the Porte de Nesle, Paris  in a painting by by Pieter Wouwerman.

Could be fun to model 😀

Game Project 001 – Cyrano: Against the One-Hundred – Initial Thoughts

Rapier Guard

Image by Arutemu via Flickr

So, what do I know about this first game. Well, it is:

  • turn-based.
  • camera constrained to 8 iso views and a top down
  • single player against AI opponents.
  • player character plays in the role of Cyrano deBergerac
  • multiple scenes representing archetypal areas in “Renaissance Paris”
  • each stage has one or more AI controlled opponents
  • thugs get increasingly difficult as you get closer to the ultimate goal
  • Officer and Noble Class stage bosses
  • Player character improves after each scene
  • Depending on difficulty level selected player will
    • restart at the current scene(ie rally and sally)
    • restart at the latest stage (ie retreat and assault anew
    • restart from start of game (ie player death)
  • After achieving victory they are directed to the main game and site.

I reckon that’s enough to be getting on with.

Game Project 001 – Cyrano: Against the One-Hundred – Inspiration

Cyrano: Against the One-Hundred.

Ah, derring do! Flashing blades, witty repartee, and panache by the hat-full.  It is 1639 and you step into the boots of Cyrano de Bergerac, duellist, soldier, and poet extraordinaire,  on the eve of his legendary battle through the streets and alleys of Paris against one-hundred thugs …

Lucien Guitry as Cyrano deBergerac 1903 by Henri Matisse

 
CYRANO: Ligniere! What's wrong with him ?

CUIGY: He wants you. 

BRISSAILLE: He's afraid to go home. 

CYRANO: Why? 

LIGNIERE: This letter! hundred against one that's me
I'm the one all because of a little song.
A Good song. Hundred men, waiting, understand?
Porte de Nesle way home Might be dangerous
Would you permit me spend the night with you

CYRANO: A hundred is that all? You are going home!
Take that lantern!
Forward march! I say!
I'll be the man to-night that sees you home.
You others follow I want an audience! 

CUIGY: A hundred against one! 

CYRANO: Those are the odds to-night! 

LE BRET: But why help this drunkard here? 

THE SOUBRETTE:  But why against one poor poet, a hundred men? 

CYRANO: March! And you gentlemen, 
remember now, no rescue! Let me fight alone!
Alone, with glory fluttering over me,
alone as Lucifer at war with heaven!
Remember no one lifts a hand to help!
Ready there? One ... two ... three!
Porter, the doors!
To the Porte de Nesle! 

(He turns back for a moment to the Soubrette}
Did you not ask, my dear, why against one
Singer they send a hundred swords? 

{Quietly, drawing his own sword) Because
They know this one man for a friend of mine !

The First Five Days: A PC dies, Unity kicks my ass, Google+ shows me a way, and staying in touch with my InnerNoob

It’s been and interesting few days.

First, my trusty old PC finally died. I think it might have committed suicide rather than live on in the shadow of my new iMac. Unfortunately all my file archives are on drives in the PC.  So, I’ve ordered a piece of kit I’ve been putting off for quite a while, a Drobo S 5-bay Drive Array . I am looking forward to having a computer independent storage solution.  I also priced out a self-build i7 monster as a replacement for my ex-parrot.: i7 processor, 24 gig of ram, 3x nVidia vid cards, über case, color laser printer, LCD TV as a large monitor. Comes to just over 55,000 dkk. A bit pricy at the moment, and the Drobo will do most of what i want the PC for at the moment anyway. The death of the PC meant that most of the work I’d planned to do this week toward my first game project didn’t get done.  I have a set of models from DAZ and a set of sound effects I’d planned on making into Unity3d packages, but they are on the drives in the PC. Oh well.

I did do a lot of reading and watching of Unity3d materials. I tried using the Unity site, but was quickly overwhelmed. I tried a straight Google search with the same result. Then I posted a plea to the Stream at Google+ and found the #Unity3d circle there. If you aren’t on G+ and want to learn Unity I can not recommend G+ enough. Another useful tag is #Unity3dBeginner, if you want a way of talking to fellow beginners. The kind folks  on G+  pointed out  +Will Goldstone’s excellent  video tutorials at www.Unity3dStudent.com.  These videos should be required viewing for  anyone new to Unity3d. Short, sweet, and informative, these videos did more for my understanding of Unity3d than all my previous readings.  Will has included the code used in each tutorial on the page that contains the lesson so there is no need to search the video if all you need is a reminder of the code. Excellent beginners resource.

Part of Will’s method is to include challenges using what was taught in the tutorials. I was quite excited to see what I could do with my newfound knowledge. The first  challenge consists of shooting a cube at a wall and having the wall disappear when the cube hits it.

I typed in the code, created the game objects, created the prefab and hit play. Got an “instantiate is not pointing to an object” error and could not get it to go away, even restarting from scratch. So, I decided to step  back and just recreate each lesson as presented in the tuts. Got to collision detection and though it seemed to work for the first two collisions, no subsequent collisions were reported in the console. I posted to G+ and wracked my brain trying to explain this very odd behavior. I thought about putting a static hit counter into the routine but I didn’t want to overcomplicate it and I was being lazy. It cost me a whole day. I finally got frustrated enough to go into the Unity3d IRC Channel (irc.freenode.net and join #unity3d) and ask there. It turns out the console defaults to “collapsed”  and so only showed 4 messages of many. Like I say, I am in touch with my #InnerNoob.

So all in all a satisfying if somewhat frustrating week of Unity3d learning.

Welcome to the Unity (3d) Field.

Well, as the tagline says, after almost 35 years I am finally going to embrace my childhood dream and start making computer games. Just saying that still causes a slightly queasy feeling, as though I am doing something vaguely dirty. I hear my Grandmother saying “Video games are a waste of time and money;  no one will ever be successful through video games.  Do something real.” Mind you, it _was_ 1978 so she might be forgiven thinking so but the younger me, impressionable and desperate for guidance, bought into the lie wholesale.

See, 1978 was a bit of a magical year for me. I found Science Fiction and Fantasy literature.  I found wargames and role playing games.  I found computer games. I found Rock and Roll. I found marijuana. I found sex.  Yup, 1978 was a pretty killer year all things considered. Well, except for the stifling my dreams part.

People used to gather around tables, armed with a mountain of snacks, prodigious amounts of the soft drink of choice, and desire to create mayhem with a group of friends on a regular basis.

There were grognard games, and beer and pretzel games. A cornucopia of dice, markers, chits, pieces, tokens, cards, boards, figures, and screens to satisfy every tactile taste or fetish. Rule books, source books, magazines, addendum, errata, and expansions provide enough fodder for an army of archivists and the rules contained therein are enough to keep every lawyer in Hell busy for eternity. All without a single microchip.

We shared in the creation of epic fantasies, brutal squad combat, the cutthroat world of the Robber Barons, were fighter pilots in the First World War, manned starships in the Man Kzin wars, lamented the loss of our clone brothers while serving the great Computer, ran secret societies to rule the world from the shadows, commuted to the death in the aftermath of the Gas Wars…

I miss those games.  Far too often in this marketing driven world we see computer games named after some of our favourite games of all time only to find that there should be a preview line: Title Stolen From. With few exceptions these marketing driven creations are pale shadows of the greatness their title was stolen from. It’s just a really cool buzzword with some street cred from old school gamers wrapping another flash and mirrors crap video game.

I am going to try to Innovate Through Renovation. As I learn to use the Unity 3d engine I will be unabashedly exploiting the games we used to pay.  They are the games I want  to play even now.  At first it will be clones; over time it will develop into wholly home grown game systems integrating the very best of extant game systems.

I am incredibly  excited.

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