Category Archive: In Progress

Skirmish Sangin

 

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SKIRMISH SANGIN is a tabletop skirmish game where players control opposing forces, either modern western military forces (ISAF) or insurgent militias that do battle everyday in the modern war for Afghanistan. Inside this book you will find:

  • Simple, fast combat rules that enable furious tabletop skirmish battles
  • Information and rules for creation of professional and insurgent forces
  • A full array of modern weapons and armour for both sides
  • Rules for off table support ranging from snipers to heavy weapon platoons, fast air and helicopters
  • A game that plays as easily with two people as it does for multi-player games.
  • A set of rules that provides an intense and compelling tabletop game regardless of whether you field four figures per side or forty.

One of my main hobbies outside of the video games industry is that of tabletop wargaming. As I started playing I found that Skirmish Sangin was my preffered ruleset. This was due to its level of detail yet also its speed of play, allowing for complex and exciting scenarios to be played out. As time went on, I started writing several small sets of rules and scenarios before posting them onto the Skirmish Sangin forums. One of these caught the eye of the head honcho at Radio Dishdash and so I have started to contribute by writing more scenarios in my free time.

So far several of the scenarios I have written have been released. These are:

Third Person Shooter Project

The damage zones outlined on the final model. The largest capsule is the model's collision mesh.

As two separate projects at university, I have been creating a series of demos to test out mechanic ideas for a potential third person shooter project. The overall idea was to bring realistic aspects of certain shooter games (such as location based damage and ballistics) into a touchscreen game. To assist in iteration, the demo was created in Unity, utilising its C# scripting as well as features such as Mecanim for character animation and its robust physics system.

Professional Specialisation

The Professional Specialisation aspect of the project was to focus on gameplay programming and the initial aims were split into three core parts:

  1. A basic third person cover sysytem
  2. Realistic ballistics with the aim of letting designers use real world values
  3. A location based damage system that can affect the player’s gameplay when they are injured.

These objectives went through a process – an investigation into how other games implement them, a rough idea on how they should work in code and then implementation. All three were successfully implemented in a prototype fashion.

  1. The cover system will look for a cover marked object, move the player to the cover position and force the player to crouch.
  2. Ballistics takes in values from real world weapons and outputs the correct kinetic energy. Rounds use a combination of raycast and physical collisions to both impart force and cause bullet effects on the health system from any distance.
  3. Each of the characters in the scene has a location sensitivity health system. This takes kinetic energy values, applies it to the hit location and then deals with the after effects such as knocking a character down or killing them.

 

The finished protoype can be played online at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6573563/DemoWebBuilder.html or below. Please note the cover mechanic has been disabled for web player

 

Further details of this projects development can be found here

Innovation Project

The Innovation Project module was based around taking an investigation from initial idea to its conclusion. I decided, to tie in with my third person shooter game, to look at a brief delivered by one of my tutors looking into third person controls in a 3D environment. I implemented to control schemes to compare a touch screen focused scheme with the standard soft joystick option used by many porting companies.

To test these scheme, I created a simple map and a timing utility to chart a players progression through the level. In addition to this, I also created an implementation of the shoot scene with touch screen controls.

As you can see in the image below, I got the final demo working and deployed successfully to both my Nexus 7 tablet and my HTC One phone.

2014-05-12 12.21.02

Further details of this project can be found here

Source Code

Source code for this project can be found on Bit Bucket at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/overwatch

 

Gnomes!

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Gnomes was a game produced in the final semester of the Abertay MProf project for Sony.  The project was to take a Unity prototype developed in semester two and convert it from Unity and PS Vita to the Playstation 4 while using the PhyreEngine framework. In the game, you play as two gnomes who, after stealing a removal van, are stealing items from an old ladies’s house. Players have to steal as much as they can and escape before the real removal van appears while also trying not to be revealed as Gnomes by the granny. This is made more difficult by the gnomes short stature, forcing them to stand on each others shoulders to maintain the illusion but causing them to be susceptible to over balancing, especially while carrying the loot.

On this project I was part of a 15 person team including artists, designers and other coders. I took the role of Gameplay programmer, focusing on the game implementation of the game’s core mechanics:

  • the player character’s balance
  • the ability to carry (and drop) objects
  • a box to ease the carrying of multiple objects

This required the use of the PhyreEngine’s built in tools (such as a component system) as well as talking with the designer to both gain the direction they wanted and be able to communicate the tools need to modify the created systems (such as a LUA script to control the balance and custom editor components for the steal-able items). In addition, several of my created systems overlapped with other parts of the game, requiring tight co-ordination with the rest of the team

In addition, I also helped in the implementation of the audio system, communicating with other programmers who had moved onto other tasks and projects and the audio designer himself. This utilised the FMOD framework to ease integration of the audio designer’s vision.

The game was demoed at Protoplay between the 7th and 10th of August 2014. During that time, the public seemed pleased with the game citing the art style and the difficult but humorous gameplay. In addition, we spent the following weeks to work on bug fixing and final improvements

Media

Video:

Images:

Legal Note

Please note all elements of this project, including images and video displayed on this page belong to Abertay University and Sony

 

A Clockwork Disaster

main_menu_background A Clockwork Disaster is a 2D puzzle platformer prototype developed in my second term on the MProf course at Abertay.

The brief was provided by Sony and was designed to target the Playstation Vita, utilising some of its key and unique features. After a short pre-production stage, we settled on a puzzle platformer design while using the hand painted artstyle produced by our artist. The key feature was the main character’s ability to adjust time – by using the front or rear touch screen, players are able to speed up and slow down time.

My responsibilities on the project were originally the creation of the time manipulation gameplay and the objects associated with it, the integration of the character’s animation and working with the audio designer on implementing the music and sound effects.

This project was implemented via Unity with the coding written in C#. We took advantage of Unity’s extensible nature and utilised the Sprites and Bones plugin to make the animation of the character faster and more streamlined than using a frame based system.

The Team

Art: Sam Heisler

Design: Charlie Reily, Gavin Stewart

Programming: Michael Charge, Stuart Martin

Sound: Ronan Quiqley

Media

Please note: All aspects of this project belongs to Abertay University.

UnderCurrent

UnderCurrentLogo

As part of my final year, I took part in the Advanced Games Development Module. This module is designed to introduce the various different disciplines (artists, animators, programmers, designers and sound designers) into working with each other to create a working game prototype within 7 months.

I was part of a team working with the Unreal Development Kit, a free version of the Unreal Engine 3. This was selected early in development by the design team as it was the platform they were most comfortable using. This meant that I had to learn UnrealScript as well as creating new gameplay systems.

For this module, I received a 1st. The game is being continued by elements of the team at Hammerhead Interactive.

Download

An executable of the latest build is available at https://share.oculusvr.com/app/undercurrent

Media

UPDATE: UnderCurrent has been making the rounds of various gaming sites after the release of our alpha gameplay video went up

Joystiq: UnderCurrent aims to bring deep sea exploration to Oculus Rift

Polygon: UnderCurrent uses Oculus Rift for a deep sea exploration simulation

PC Gamer: UnderCurrent bringing deep sea exploration to the Oculus Rift

VG247: Oculus Rift goes deep sea diving in UnderCurrent

NBC News: Explore the ocean floor with virtual reality

Alpha Gameplay Video

My main role was in writing a series of gameplay affecting fish that the player would interact with to change their speed or other properties. These are visible in the proof of concept video below.

Gameplay System Proof of Concept

Initial Proof of Concept

This Is My Joystick

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As a member of the writing staff for This Is My Joystick, I have written several reviews of various games on both Xbox 360 and PC. Reviews have ranged from AAA titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops to smaller indie titles such as Fate of the World. In addition, I have also written demo impressions and conducted an interview.

A complete list of articles I have written for This Is My Joystick is available here.