Hypercity

This is a render I took in my spare times. The models are from the City Pack that I have created for hyper casual games that we are currently developing in the studio. We have already used this pack or at least a part of it in multiple games since I created it. The detail of the models are little bit much for hyper casuals in my opinion, however I have to enjoy what I am doing right?

I named it hypercity. It is where the poor Stickman’s, hard working laborers of many hyper casual games, live. I feel like stickman’s are about to revolt against us for this inhumanly working conditions.

Since I have been in gaming industry for a while I almost forgot how to take renders. For almost 6 years I have worked on game engines. It caused lots of work to recall how to render in 3Ds Max.

3D Printed models for PS4 and Xbox controllers

I was already spending a lot time on my workstation but after the lockdown I am spending even more time here. It became a total mess after using the same room 90% of the time. So I started to planning my desk and workstation to keep it tidier and cleaner. When it comes to the controller and headset that I use daily, I wanted to place them where I could easily reach but also not occupy any room on the table. It would be the best if I could hang them somewhere. The holes on the side of my computer would be the best spot. I search online to find any product for my needs but it appeared that all I could find is stands for headsets and ugly charging stations for the controllers. I also would have buy two of them since I have one Dualshock4 and one Xbox controller.

Eventually I decided to 3D print my own stands. I measured the holes on my computer case and top front surface and designed the stands that could fit controllers and headset in 3Ds Max. The result was even better than how I imagined.

After printing I placed them to the exact places and screwed them. They are pretty strong and useful. Also it was the cheapest solution.

Game Design Master Programme/ Done

This year I finished the Game Design Master Programme that I attended in Bahcesehir University, aka. BUG. It was a pretty neat two and a half year full with interesting courses, seminars and game jams. I was always glad to be in the university network. It is actually working really well. I can count more than a dozen of studios or development team that have been started up in the university. It is not only a place where people make academic research, they can also prepare themself to the industry there.

Writing a thesis is a must for the graduation for this programme. When I was thinking about my thesis subject before then, Ghost Of Tshushima was announced with a teaser video. It really amazed me because I found it very similar to the martial arts that I have practicing, Kendo and Iaido, for years. I was also playing Sekiro and Nioh. Eventually, I have decided to work on Japanese Martial arts used in video games in my thesis. With the help of the highest level practitioners, we made an evaluation of the martial arts in video games. Unfortunately I could not include Ghost of Tsushima into my thesis due to its release date did not fit my schedule. However Sekiro and Nioh was perfect picks for this research.

3D Graphics & Animation class at Istanbul Bilgi University

I was invited to give a lecture in İstanbul Bilgi University for one semester in Video Game Design Bachelor programme. I was asked to create a schedule and content for the class. I created a schedule with modeling, texturing and animating for games. The final result was a VR shooting game that each student created the environment, enemy and the pistol asset.

It took 14 weeks to finish all the work to create the game. Final results were pretty good. Even though they do not have enough modeling experience to create the assets, they made a very good job on that. There are some screenshots in the gallery below.

Nomad: Using Google Sheets to prototype the game

We are working on a new mobile title as we currently call, Nomad. We observed that the number of mobile strategy games on the mobile markets are too few. After hundereds hours of playing Civilization, Total War and Settlers of Catan, we decided to design a good strategy game on mobile.

Before talking about our prototype in Google Sheets, I would like to speak of the game briefly.

Nomad, as its name tells, is a game about nomadic tribes. It is a hexagon tile based, resource management, turn-based mobile strategy game. Instead of settlement games such as Civilization or lets say Catan, players are mobile. They can move their settlements according to their needs. This mobile settlements gathers the resources from the occupied hexagon tiles. Resources, food, wood, stone, iron and gold, can be used to carve totem heads which give certain or unique advantages to the player.

Basically, players place or move totems on tiles, gather resources from occupied tiles, extend their tribe, enhance totems with totem heads and overcome the enemies.

Nomad Game Animated Tile

However we had no experience about adjusting the game balance in such games. So we started to conceptualize the game by mixing a few board games. It really helped out to see how the game works, where are the main problems and how can we solve them.

When things get complicated on board we decided to move the idea into digital. But we still tried to avoid work on Unity. Because using Unity before the game design takes its final shape might lead us into trouble later. At least it might cost us weeks of work if we start to create actual game before overcoming the design problems. Unity is a very efficient tool for prototyping the gameplay, but for balancing the resources, using Google Sheets became the most efficient way for us.

So we divided the design into parts. For the MVP, we decided to have a small game map for at least 2 players. Players should be able to gather resources, move the totems, place new totems and carve the basic totem heads to enhance.

While there are no random map generator algorythm yet, we manually adjust the resources that will be seen on tiles. Tile resources sheet can be seen below. Each number in tiles column represents a tile in game map. Others are resources that will be seen on tiles.

The sheet above generates a game map as can be seen below. The resources are represented by the icons. It is nice to watch how the map is built.

We can simulate placing totems or moving them in Totem sheet. In that sheet we are able to place totem heads as well. As you can see below, the numbers in totem column represents each totem. The numbers in player column tells which player owns which totem. 4 head columns is for which totem heads applied to which totem. Check boxes in active column are for placing a totem into the game. Occupy column tells which totem occupies which tile. This is used for moving totems as well.

The variables above are written to the game map when the place totems button is pressed. As you can see below, the colors represents a totem and texts on tiles are for totem heads.

In the constant sheet, we adjust the game constants such as resources, map size, totem heads requests and their effects. As it can be seen below map ganerator takes the constants from this sheet. Even though most of the unique totem head effects are ready, their resource requirements are empty, since they will not appear in the MVP.

The game is actually played in the game sheet. It is where players can see their resources. According to their resources they can place a new totem or they can create new totem head to enhance their totems. Player also can end the game turn by pressing end turn button in this sheet. Game sheet can be seen in the picture below.

Game design and game balance is actually going very well with this small prototype. We will update this tool until the game can be played seamlessly. We will make changes on design according to the test that we will make. We will start to create the actual game if the design works and it give us fun.

There is another prototype we did a couple moths ago. However in this case the design did not work well and it did not satisfy us, so we stopped to work on it. We have clearly seen the efficiency of a detailed prototype in this project. This prototype was created in python.

I created this post to introduce our approach for adjusting game balance with google sheets. I am sure google sheets or microsoft excel are already used in game development to calculate economics. However we have a working prototype with all working core mechanics that we can play remote places on google drive.

 

 

Mobile Game Attempts

After leaving Flamingo I have finally found some time to spare. I decided to use that time to improve my skills on mobile games, especially programming them. Also I had some time to learn the business of mobile games and finding contacts in the industry.

I have always stay distant to the mobile game industry. I still believe that it is over dependent to the market and the customers. We can rarely see some works that I could say creative or aesthetically pleasing. There are for sure reasons behind this situation like lack of technical sufficiency, avarage lifetime of a game, game production costs and duration etc.. However, the industry is growing really quick, especially the hyper-casual games made an insane impact on it, eventually hyper-casuals became a business model that cannot be ignored. In addition to that most of the time I have worked on Virtual Reality games. I do not have the right to stay distant to mobile games.

Quick, Flags!

As a first solo project I decided to find the simplest idea that comes to mind. I wanted to create a trivia game with just two options that is about world flags. In this project I tried to avoid any art asset to be created by me. All I wanted to do was programming and art direction. Flags was a good idea for me because there are many flag packs that can be found online and free. While I was wandering in Unity Assetstore I come across to WavySprite asset by Andii. It is looking gorgeous and almost tailored for my game. I have finished the game with minor help from my brother in a reasonable duration with reasonable effort and published on iOS and Android.

I am pretty satisfied with the final result. It became a beautifully looking minimalist trivia game.

Diesel Express Mobile

I was thinking about this idea since developing the game on VR. It is an extremely arcade game that could look good in pixel art and 2D side scrolling too. Nonetheless Diesel Express VR idea became more solid when I looked at the games like Western Express. I actually wanted to place this arcade game inside the VR game itself. It would be a nice feature that the player can use an arcade machine to play the games arcade version on VR. However we thought that it will take much time and we just did not include it to the game. Just after the Quick, Flags! production had finished, I started to work on this game. I did not have almost any experience on pixel art before. I just started to recreate the assets in Diesel Express VR in pixel art style.

I wanted to be loyal to the VR version but since the programming and art assets are reasonably easier to create I wanted to add even more features. So I added a map like the one in the VR game with more cities to go. All the cities are unique just like the VR game.

Player can also buy and use a large variety of weapons and new skins.

The game has been published on IOS and Android. It was a great experience for me. I have learned a lot from them.

Flush The Poop!

This idea came from my brother and I really interested in it. It has a nice humor I think. As a poop, player try to swim against the tide. My brother was working on area effect features in Unity. Later, we rebranded the game with poop theme. However its humor led this project to a very unpredictable situation when publishing. IOS found the poop content inconvenient for the market and refused it to be published. We could publish it only in Android.

I am really satisfied with the result of Flush the Poop! It is looking like just how it should look. Even though I did not do the programming of this game, It was so fun and informative for me.

These three games were the baby steps for me to involve mobile game development.

Bilge Adam – Beşiktaş Vodafone Park Game Design Summer Class

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Between this July and August, we made a Game Design Class for highschool juniors. It was a great way to spend holidays for them. Amazing experience for us as well. It was a 3 weeks long program. We taught how to make a 2D game, a VR shooter game, motion graphics and video editing.

I explained basics of game art. We created a mobile game similar to Flappy Bird with Unity. In the course students created their own game design by changing minor things in Flappy Bird Design, they created their own stories, character designs, backgrounds, user interface and even their game trailer for market. Students had no design background but they learned everything rapidly. In my opinion most of their designs were even above industry standarts in the end of the class.

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Cem explained game programming with Unity3D by using Bolt plugin. We chose Bolt because its node-based interface would be easier to understand for students rather than C# programming.

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After the 2D game, Gökhan explained 3D modeling in 3Ds Max. Students created their own pistols for a VR Shooter game. The game was based on one of our studios VR experience, Medieval VR.

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Here they are proudly presented their games to their parents and gain the certificates from Bilge Adam.

Results were amazing. I believe that the students have revealed their creativity. I would really like to see some of them in gaming industry in the future.