Our special guest this week was Jill Murray, author of several novels and a writer on “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation”. She talked to us about her origins and experiences as a games writer. Jill has been in the industry for about two years. Despite her love of games, being a writer for videogames was something that never crossed her mind until she returned from a disappointing research trip and realised, “Hey, someone actually writes for these games!” Switching gears from writing novels, she did some studying on her own for a while until she eventually scored a contract with Ubisoft.
Jill explained that a writer assists in a game’s conception, and remains throughout the game’s development. The writer works with everyone from the game designers to cinematics to the producer to make sure the story goes as smoothly as possible. Most of the work is in planning and communication — the actual writing can sometimes be less time-consuming!
Also, here’s a random interesting article about interactive narration from the irrepressible Ernest Adams: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6039/the_designers_notebook_sandbox_.php
Art & Sound
By now you’re probably working on filling in some of the art and choosing some sort of sound to set the rhythm of your game. If you’ve got your prototype working you definitely want to start on some of the polish to round out some of those rough edges. If you’re still having trouble with your prototype consider taking an hour’s break to switch gears and do something fun! When you come back and your mind’s at ease, consider one of two approaches: 1) take small, baby steps. Accomplish the smallest possible thing and then move on! 2) change or simplify your idea! Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew — the only solution is to spit some of that out.
If you’re looking to make your own art, graphics tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, or even one solely for pixel art (see below) can come in handy. If you’re inexperienced with pixel art, while it looks simple pixel art does take a long time and requires a lot of patience. If you’re inexperienced with art altogether there are lots of different options out there. You can choose to use free assets, use a stick figure or doodle art style, cut out photographs, or go with minamalist shapes to represent your game’s art.
We’ve gathered together a pretty hefty list of resources. If you know of any others feel free to link us to them!
- Pyxel Edit, pixel art and tileset creation tool,
- Tiled Map Editor, general purpose 2D tiled map editor
- ASEPRITE, animated sprite editor and pixel art tool
- Wings 3D, 3D modeler (no animation)
- Graphics Gale, tool for animation, spriting and pixel art
Tutorials & Reading:
- Pixel Art – Illustrator http://vimeo.com/3867117
- Good & Bad Practices in Creating Pixel Art http://www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11299
Your homework this week is to continue working on your game! There’s only 2 more sessions left and it’s up to you to take the reigns and develop your game further. Be realistic. Think about what can you do in the remaining time. Is this thing I’m stuck on really all that important? Can I simplify this game goal and expand on it later when I have more time? Don’t be afraid to scrap your idea and start over. Or even switch tools. It happens and you just may be happier with your second try.
Don’t hesitate to send us any questions, ask for feedback, or bounce ideas. We love your e-mails and tweets! We are: email@example.com or @pixellesmtl