Category Archive: Completed

I Am Bread – Mobile

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‘I am Bread’ is the latest quirky adventure from the creators of ‘Surgeon Simulator’, Bossa Studios. This isn’t the best thing since sliced bread . . . it is sliced bread!

Mashable – ‘After years of waiting, we can be Bread’
Touch Arcade – ‘Feels like the pinnacle of all humanity’s accomplishments’
Wired – ‘I am Bread is the strangest game you will play this year’
9/10 – Steam
Metro – ‘Slice of Heaven’
Destructoid – ‘I Am Bread is just delightful’
MTV – ‘Best Carbs’

You are bread! Your mission, become toast! Take on all hazards to deliciousness as you head on an adventure across 8 levels taking bread from its natural confine in the kitchen, throughout the house and then venture outside into the garden and beyond. Look out for the floor and any other unsavoury obstacles that could harm your tastiness as you seek out the means to achieve bread’s ultimate goal.

Using the unique control system, designed from the ground up for iOS, you can bring the slice to life and take it on an incredible adventure. With you in control, this bread will be boldly going where no bread has gone before!

Personal Notes

In this project we worked with the team at Bossa Studios to convert their game from a PC release into a premium iOS application. This work was later used in the release of I Am Bread on Android

As most of the new gameplay development was done internally at Bossa, my primary role was improving the UI performance for mobile by trimming unused elements and temporarily disabling sections depending on what was currently visible on screen. In addition, I also helped to prototype some internal touch controls to assist in development and provided support for the rest of the team by spending time understanding and learning the structure of the project and details of the game itself acting as a knowledge base.

This project was done using Unity 5 and implemented on iOS. In addition, the game also features my smiling face on the credits screen.

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Race Team Manager

 

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In Race Team Manager you live the life of an up-and-coming team boss across various racing categories. Work your way up from the junior leagues to the pinnacle of motor sport and become a championship winning team!

RACE DAY
Featuring all the best parts of a traditional racing game, overtakes, spectacular crashes, pit stops and blocks are all fully interactive using the latest cutting edge graphics and special effects. As team manager it’s also your job to call strategy from the pit wall, instructing when and how hard to push the car and strategically call the optimum moment to pit.

MANAGEMENT
Outside of Race Day you decide when and how to upgrade your car, and manage your driver and mechanic relationships. You’ll also need to sign sponsorship deals and ensure your team hits their targets. Build up enough reserves to go racing at the highest level and invest in your facility to boost on track performance.

EXPERIENCE
Gameplay is short burst and immediate, but there’s more than enough here to keep you coming back for months. Whether you’ve got a couple of minutes or hours to spare there are races to be won and management decisions to be made. Will you focus on the car, your team, the sponsors or your facility? As long as you’re winning you can run your team as you see fit!

Personal Notes

On my second project at BigBit, I worked on two major areas of the game.

The first was assisting in designing and then implementing a new minigame to add to the race day. Creating the refueling minigame from start to finishing involved working closely with the lead designer and artist to create gameplay and then add it to the game. The second was overhauling the event selection UI to include new features and new events added in Update 2.0.

This project was done using Unity and implemented on both iOS and Android.

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Legal

Race Team Manager is the property of BigBit Ltd.

Hollyoaks the Game: The Mystery of Nana’s Missing Pearls

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Become the newest resident of Hollyoaks village!

Make friends, unlock new locations and get texts, pics and voicemail from your fave ‘Oaksy characters.

Breakfast with Sienna, jogging with Ziggy, searching for Jack’s lederhosen, and ghost-hunting with Tom… it’s all in a day’s work! But keep your wits about you, because not everything’s as it seems in the village. There’s a thief on the loose and with Nana’s pearls missing, the residents will turn to you for help.

Was it sly Sienna or the villainous Trevor? Your new BFF Ste, or the glamorous Maxine? Or perhaps it was someone from beyond the (densely-populated) Hollyoaks grave?!

As the mystery deepens and those closest to you become suspects, you’ll find yourself in a race against time to work out who the real culprit is.

Have you got what it takes?

Personal Notes

This contract work for Channel 4 was my first project working for BigBit. I joined the project as a programmer doing various general tasks to assist in the final few weeks, with a particular focus on working with the sound designer implementing the last bits of audio and updating earlier clips. I also did various smaller tasks such as working with artists and designers to tweak the UI and bug fix the game in order to prepare it for release on iOS and Android.

On a technical level, this work was done using Unity and tested on multiple iOS and Android devices.

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Legal Note

All visual elements of this project belong to Channel 4.

W.A.M.

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W.A.M. (or Whack A Mole) is a simple 2D games prototype developed in my first term on the MProf course at Abertay.

The brief was to produce a simple game demo designed to be played on a mobile device based around three titles (“Impact”, “The Few” and “A New Day”). Our design was based around Impact and we created  a Whack A Mole game featuring multiple different types of mole, a scoring system with music and assets created in house for the game. The control scheme is entirely tap based, designed to be quick to pick up and play.

The project was implemented primarily in Marmalade 6.2 using C++ and the IwGame Engine available here, especially utilising the XML setup functionality in IwGame. The game has been tested on Android phones and tablets and shows the controls to be ideal in their intended environment. Feedback from classmates and tutors has been positive.

In order to continue development, the game is currently being converted to Unity from Marmalade due to licensing.

The Team

Art: Mustafa Cetiner

Design: Sean Winston

Programming: Michael Charge

Sound: Anthony Sheridan

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Source code may be available September 2014 pending the conclusion of the MProf program.

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Final Year Project

Final Year Project

As part of the final year of  my BSc Computing degree, I did a personal project to utilise the skills I had learned over the previous years.

My project was entitled “Assessing the suitability of the Google Nexus 7 for games development“.

The project was split into two parts.

  1. Part 1 investigated the Nexus 7 device and the Android Operating system with an eye towards using it as a gameplay platform. This resulted in the creation of the Nexus 7 Workbench application, a simple tool used to showcase some of the technologies and capabilities the device can use such as camera and GPS support.
  2. Part 2 compared and contrasted the differences in developing the same game for the Android platform in two different ways. The methods selected were using the Android SDK and using YoYo Game’s GameMaker Studio application to develop a simple memory game using the same art assets across both development platforms.

Part 1 went in-depth with the hardware of the device. Thanks to the use of various sources such as iFixit and hardware reviews, the individual capabilities of each part of the hardware as well as the reason behind some of the design choices were analysed, experimented with and explained. The final product created for this section was a small app created using Java in the Android SDK that used multiple facets of the hardware such as the camera, the GPS and the suite of sensors available.

Part 2 looked at two different methods of creating games for the Android platform. This was done by using the same basic game (a simple memory game) and creating it using different software packages. Originally the project was going to utilise Unity as one of the two but due to an issue with getting the licenses required to push to Android platforms, GameMaker Studio was used instead. It presents a different challenge to the Android SDK and contrasts its designer/scripting focus against the Android SDK’s programmer focus.

Deliverables

The project delivered three things:

  1. The Android Workbench application
  2. A memory game created for the Android platform using both GameMaker Studio and the Android SDK
  3. A dissertation presenting my findings and showing my methods

My source code and dissertation is available on BitBucket at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/final-year-project

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Games Software Development

 

Launcher Image for Navy Game - More Images Coming soon

The brief for this project was to produce a gameplay demo (in some ways a prototype) to a certain specification and using a selected theme. It was to be done in C# and Microsoft’s XNA, a very useful addition to the C# language. The primary focus of the demo is the gameplay rather than any of the other aspects.

I selected to make a vehicle simulation game based around the concept of speed and exploration. Rather than creating the usual driving game through a world, mine is focused on the tasks of a Coast Guard helicopter. In the game, you need to fly round an area of sea, scanning the various ships in order to find any carrying suspicious cargo. This is done by simply hovering near them for a period of time

The game was primarily designed and written to be a highly customisable two player challenge style game, with the players competing with each other for the fastest time. This customisability was accomplished by a launcher tool (coded in Silverlight) with various options that could be tweaked such as number of ship, number of opponents and even the if the game was in two player mode. In the game itself, the helicopter is controlled by an Xbox 360 controller and allows a full range of movement. Ships are scanned by hovering close to them and once all ships have been scanned, the game over screen is displayed including the total time.

Overall, I was happy with this demo. There are a lot of things that could have been improved if I had had more time such as the overall level of polish in the presentation department. I am most disappointed with the animation code as I was unable to get the rotor blades to turn. However, I successfully used XNA, Windows Forms and Silverlight in the same project and made a playable demo.

For this assignment, I received a first (73%) with my tutor applauding the launcher tool, split screen mode and control system.

Controls

Right Stick – controls your heading

Left Stick – controls movement (including strafing)

Left and Right Shoulder Buttons – adjust height

Back – Exits game (Player 1 only)

Downloads

Both compiled and source versions can be found on BitBucket at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/navygame-prototype

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Network Programming Projects

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As part of my BSc Computing course at Teesside University, I did two modules that covered networking programming in a chat room with avatars enviroment while utilising Java. These built upon each other and so have been merged into a single project page.

Part 1

In we were briefed to produce a Java TCP/UDP chat server. Before the project started we were provided an interface.

The chat client combined both text chat along with a 2D avatar. Chat messages were location dependant, unless commands such as /shout or /whisper were used. In addition, the server had a hierarchy to it, keeping track of owners and moderators with their own special powers such as setting new mods or silencing users.

Overall I enjoyed programming in Java – it provides a great platform to develop network enabled and multithreaded applications with a very friendly language.

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Part 2

In my final year, I took part in a second module using Java to create networked applications. The improvement over the last project was the requirement to be entirely non-blocking and to use another language to as an optional component. By using a framework created for the project by my tutors, I created an alternative to blocking TCP module included as well as adding UDP and limited SSL functionality. For the alternative languages, I used a Java based implementation of Python called Jython to allow me to call Python implementations of TCP and UDP and fulfil that requirement. This is due to Python’s quick and easy syntax.

Overall this project was very useful in teaching how to deal with large projects and granted some limited experience in Python

Download

Both projects’ source code is available on Bitbucket at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/networking-projects

Mobile Games Programming

For my Mobile Games Programming module, the programming component was to create a game based utilising mobile technologies such as Bluetooth and motion controls to play a multiplayer game around Wild West gun-slinging.

For mine, I decided to do a top trumps style game, where players select a hand of cards representing different Wild Western characters. Once selected, players would move the phone in a gun-slinging motion to set readiness. I used Cocos2d for the display of the ingame menus as well as for the sound effects.

Overall I was quite proud of my game. Although I could have done more in terms of using the motion controls and more work could have gone into the art, I thoroughly enjoyed developing for the iOS platform despite some of the oddities of pushing builds to device.

Download

[warning]Due to being developed on iOS, a compiled version is currently unavailable. However, the source code is linked to below. It can not be tested on solely via the simulator due to its Bluetooth requirements.[/warning]

Source code is avaiable on BitBucket at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/cowboygame

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Geeks.co.uk

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In the Summer of 2009, I began writing for a startup website called Geeks.co.uk after one of their editors saw the writing on my blog (How NOT To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb). In total, I wrote several articles for the site before I stopped writing due to a lack of time in January 2010.

Most are still available at the site but due to a site overhaul conducted since I left some have been removed. Many of these have been saved and can be found my blog at this page