My background is a graphics programmer in film VFX and games. I got my start working at a virtual reality lab back when that was supposed to be the future. Honestly, I you'd have told me in 1995 that instead of running around the 'Snow Crash' style metaverse, we'd be planting virtual farms and communicating with 140 character tweets, I would have cried into the keyboard of my SGI Onyx.
I moved into the world of film VFX and animation working at Disney's now defunct Feature Animation Florida studio, working on crowds scenes and pipeline tools for "Mulan". At the turn of the millennium I moved out to Northern California to work on some crazy startup, and eventually ended up at Industrial Light and Magic. It was during this phase I discovered LD48, which appeals to both my short attention span and my love of insane time pressure.
After a few years of making software tools for artists there, I decided to try making games full time. I worked at EA Redwood Shores making tools for baking lightmaps for 'Bond: From Russia with Love', and on 'The Godfather', working on more lightmap baking and dynamic shadows on the 360. This was some of the most intense and fun experience I've had developing software, but ultimately was unsustainable.
I wanted to start a family and work regular hours, so I returned to VFX and was lucky enough to land a Tippett Studio, a close-knit group of true artisans in Berkeley, CA.
Recently, I've started making iPhone games as a little hobby business on the side. Check out www.tapnik.com for more details about my current projects.
This new interest in iPhone development led me to Smule, where I'm currently working to help blend music and games and explore the amazing possibilities of these new devices.
Ludum Dare (and similar contest) entries:
* LD15: Caverns -- Spaceship in a Cave
* LD14: Advancing Wall of Doom -- Glacier
* LD13: Roads -- Crossroads
* LD12: The Tower -- Moonbase Defense
* LD11: Minimalist -- Cowbell Hero
* LD10: Chain Reaction -- Jumping Chain Guy (barely started)
* LD8: Swarms -- Bugzapper
* LD7: Growth -- Kudzu Commander
* LD5: Random -- Buttonlands
* LD4: Infection -- Bad Food (2nd try)
* LD4: Infection -- BioWar (abandoned)
* LD3: Preparation -- Hannibal's Cannibals (lost the code)
* LD2: Construction/Destruction (Minor Theme: Sheep) -- Trans-Icelandic Express
* LD1: Guardian -- Zillagame (the game that started it all for me)
* LD0: Indirect Interaction (I didn't know about LD yet)
* MiniLD16: Constraints -- Moonsweeper
* MiniLD11: Sandbox -- The Wanderer
* MiniLD9: Audio/Sound -- JamClock
* Speedhack 2003 - Outlands (my first allegro game)
* LudumDare Halloween Hack 2003 - The Halloween Machine
* TINS2006 - Railroad Merchant aka Merchant of Venus
* TINS2007 - Headline Recycler
The code (it's quite a mess) for all of these can be found at my google code dump:
The Christopher Walken Award for Hilarity
Awarded by keeyai
on April 24, 2008
Papper says ...
Lots of potential, however I have to say it was too easy. Also, there was no incentive to building nodes since you can have an infinite number of towers on the first one. Really impressive for 48 hours though :)
Notch says ...
Weird graphical bugs on the towers. They seem to start spinning and scaling randomly with quite humorous results.
edwardoka says ...
Loads of potential here for fun. Controls are a bit unintuitive unfortunately, and the camera doesn't help.
drZool says ...
It was too easy, I had to hit C to try get some worthy opponents, but no. Placing of the cannons could've been strategic if it was better balanced. Selection of nodes was not optimal, I had to walk thorough a lot of nodes before I came to the one I wanted. With some more time I think this game will be fun!
Frimkron says ...
A more mouse-based control system was sorely needed and some crazy graphical bug with the gun towers made it unplayable in the end, sadly. The graphics were cool however.
Endurion says ...
With a bit more time this could be quite good. As it is it misses on a view parts:
The selecting of the nodes is unwieldy. The jumping about with the camera makes me loose the overview. There's also a view bugs with the cannon's. They started to shoot in the air, albeit still hitting the bugs.
More, different enemies :)
Codexus says ...
Nice but the controls are very unintuitive.
jolle says ...
Horrible controls. Otherwise mostly tower defense with a somewhat non-restricting restriction.
Graphics would have benefitted a lot from better/more high res ground texture.
pansapiens says ...
Really cool idea ... looks great in 3D ... +tech points. Fairly innovative take on this style of strategy. Good use of theme ... there were indeed towers in this game. I think with polish, and some extensions, this could become a really fun two-player RTS ... eg, apart from the stuff in your readme and obvious bugs ... I'd like to see visual cues to make tower selection and aiming a little easier, some more scary creatures. Not sure if creatures can destroy towers/tubes yet, but that would make sense too. In two player mode, each player could build a separate base which included "creature spawning towers" ... Blizzard better watch out, their Starcraft 2 launch could be overshadowed :)
My game eventually ended when the gun turrets grew and grew to engulf the base. I think there is a bug :) (I'm sure you knew that already ). No sound ?
Hamumu says ...
I would agree that this has a lot of potential, but doesn't work as is. The interface is an absolute nightmare, and there are a lot more bugs than the ones that are supposed to be attacking. But it's really an impressive construction. I actually have Moonbase Commander, it's a cool game.
keeyai says ...
Controls aren't great, but 3D is always fun. Huge amount of potential.
Deepflame says ...
Not a challenging game, and I managed to get a horrible graphics glitch :D One of my turrets became so big they occluded the screen.
Otherwise, a pretty interesting game, and it's nice to see 3D games. :)
Morre says ...
Awesome tower defense idea.
Very nice tower graphics - unfortunately, after a short while I couldn't see anything thanks to random texture planes leaning this way and that and covering my view.
I think the game might've been too easy, but I was actually too distracted by the graphics bugs to tell. It got unplayable after a while :/
I would've liked to try those two others concept of yours as well, they both sounded awesome. Especially the one in the all-new auction/action genre. :)
Sunday, August 17th, 2008 2:04 pm
Well, I’m back from spending last week in LA at the siggraph conference. Looking forward to playing all the entries.
Here’s a link to my timelapse video. Thanks to Daz for the ETL screencap program he posted, which I used to make this (plus ImageMagick to add timestamps).
A quick postmortem: I was using this compo as a chance to experiment with Ogre3D, so I didn’t expect to end up with something too polished, but i did hope it would be at least playable, which didnt quite happen.
What went right:
- Ogre particles — easy and they look great.
- Art assets. I tried to focus on the minimum that I would need, and they turned out pretty good.
- Learning Ogre. I learned a lot more this way than just reading docs would have taught me.
- Great theme. I had a lot of good ideas for this one (maybe too many).
What went wrong:
- Camera — I spent a lot of time messing with the camera. Afterwards, i realized I should have just went with a fixed close-to-overhead camera.
- Starting with ExampleApp was more trouble than it was worth. In the end, I wasted a bunch of time rearranging it.
- Too many ideas: The theme generated so many ideas for me, I kept changing my mind and adding things. I should have gone with a straight up tower defense.
- Too ambitious. Didn’t get first-playable until Sunday.
I posted a little list of tips on LD Survival, and ended up ignoring almost all of them. That’s okay, I had a great time and got a bunch of experience with Ogre3D.
A technical note: I was using Ogre’s OpenGL mode during development, and noticed at the last minute that the D3D mode was much faster. So the readme encourages you to use the D3D mode. However, I didn’t realize until afterwards that it blows up after a few minutes, so if you get everything flying off the screen, switch back to OGL. I probably forgot to initialize something.
Sunday, August 10th, 2008 6:43 pm
I learned a lot about Ogre, but I didn’t quite finish the game. It’s still sort of playable but don’t get your hopes up.
Here is the entry:
Moonbase Defense Final
Includes a cgl info file for the game launcher.. that thing is great.
Sunday, August 10th, 2008 2:42 pm
Well, it’s sort of playable. Not much though.
You can build a network of towers, they shoot the bugs, woo.. but right now there’s no win/lose and only the gun tower actually works.
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 8:15 pm
Holy crap! Ogre particles are freaking awesome.. Here’s two of my three planned weapons, the Fiddy Tower and the Flame tower (the third is the “missile tower”).
Looks like those bugs don’t stand a chance. Except there’s still no gameplay at all yet…
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 4:40 pm
I wasted a lot of time rearranging the Ogre tutorial app… but I’ve got towers and enemies.
Too bad they don’t do anything yet.. just sit there.
Saturday, August 9th, 2008 12:24 pm
I’m changing concepts yet again… my last idea didn’t make any sense.
Now my gameplay can be described as “Moonbase Commander” meets “Tower Defense”. Which should be pretty cool. So it’s yet another tower-defense game but different. If you’ve never played moonbase commander you should look for it.
I’m still learning to use Ogre so im not sure if I can pull it off but we’ll see.
I spent the morning mostly making some gun tower models and getting them into Ogre. Now I’m going to see if I can get something playable.
Friday, August 8th, 2008 11:39 pm
Ok, I have a totally different concept now. It is perhaps doable in the weekend. So here’s the first screenshot with some towers in it..
It’s going to be an auction/action game! And no.. that’s not a typo, it will have auction and action. Whee.
Friday, August 8th, 2008 9:32 pm
Ok, after prototyping with parts from a board game, and drawing some, erm… concept art… I have an idea. It’s not very well thought out yet.. but it’s something.
EDIT: I just came up with a completely different, much simpler, much better idea. So there will be no more rookery. Phew…
Friday, August 8th, 2008 6:44 pm
Here’s my desk but there’s someone in my chair! That’s Holly, my 5 month old daughter. And believe it or not, this is her second LD compo!!
good luck to everyone!
Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 10:22 am
Ok, I’ve managed to talk my five month old into letting me ignore her all weekend, and I’m all ready for a weekend of coding. I might be a little groggy during Siggraph next week but that’s the price of freedome!
Here’s my LD survival tips (mostly as a reminder to myself):
- Gameplay first. The first thing you write should be a blank screen. The second thing should be moving a dot around (or whatever equivalent is considering your genre). Once gameplay is in you’re constantly, subconsciously tuning it, even if you’re working on different parts of the project.
- 3D looks cooler, 2D is more fun. This rule has proven itself over and over for me. However, I’m going to ignore it yet again. I have an problem with polygon abuse.
- There is no such thing as temp art. I’ve never made any “temp art” that I actually replaced later during the contest. Whatever the first pass at any art you make will likely be the final one. So spend a few more minutes taking the temp art from “stick figure” to “merely disfigured”.
- Brute force everything. Optimization is for later.
- You can’t improve a game design by adding more stuff to it, only by simplifying. Even the most complicated games can be stripped down to a simple prototype that can be built in a weekend.
- “Friday night rule”. Pick your idea that you think you can get playable by the time you go to sleep friday night, and leave Saturday for polish, gfx, more levels, etc.. Pretend the contest ends Saturday night.
- Don’t be afraid to start over. My favorite of my LD entries (like “Bad Food” and “Cowbell Hero”) are games where I abandoned my original concept late Saturday and tried something different. My least favorites ones are ones where I kept slogging on a concept that I didn’t feel was working (“Hannibal’s Cannibals”,”Bugzapper”)
I’m trying something a little different this time around, I’m using this contest as a opportunity to learn the Ogre engine (I didn’t see it on the rules, but I think it’s allowed and I know people have used it in the past). So that kind of predisposes me to making a 3D game.
Good luck to everyone.