Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bioshock Pinball Demo!

I decided to take the plunge and put up the current build of Bioshock Pinball in the portfolio. There will be some more work put into the game at the beginning of next semester (level design and audio hopefully!), but the bulk of my work has been completed, so I thought I'd show it off. Go check it out at my page!

Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm currently 400 pages deeps in Millington & Funge's AI text. Part of me wonders if I'll actually be able to apply it in my classes next semester (I hope so, then again Unity can be a tricky beast to work with sometimes...). In other news I'm not sure what I'll be working on anymore after February 1st hits (the day that my Flash project gets presented). Marie still wants to make an adventure game, which would be awesome, but I also need some stuff to try out my mettle at both AI and graphics. An IGF submission would be nice too...

Additionally, the version of Power Master that was used by the student test group back in November is now available on my portfolio at jonmoore.squarespace.com for Mac and PC. Go check it out!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


By the way, I nearly forgot! I have a web portfolio now that hosts my work (as well as access to this blog), at www.jonmoore.squarespace.com! Go check it out! The pinball table will hopefully have a demo posted soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fall Projects

Well, I just finished my finals so I actually have the time to blog a little. I've been working on a pinball machine for my portfolio this past semester. It started as a game-jam game and is coming along quite nicely, hopefully a playable build will be up soon. Power Master went into its beta test, and my work on it has largely come to a halt until a new batch of funding is acquired, but I might still put in some polish next semester while the GEL lab still has me as a free employee from the MSU Honors College.

Other hot news is the awesome competition that MSU's Spartasoft and University of Michigan's Wolverinesoft are competing in. Each team is making a game for Ford Credit, and the winning team gets an all expenses paid trip to GDC, which would be AWESOME. The only downside if that its in flash, but learning new things is still fun and insightful, even if my main interests are 3D graphics and AI.

Hopefully new games will be posted in the portfolio soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I don't hardly know what to say. Passage is in a whole different league of art game. It's 8 bit with a very narrow screen, and it's left me wondering if its going to leave me bummed out for the rest of the day.

Passage is essentially a depiction of life and the design has some very interesting implications. Early on you can meet the love of your life, but if you go exploring you can miss her and go through life without her. More amazingly you can go straight from beginning to end in a straight line if you never move down on the screen, just running through life as fast as you can. About halfway through the fact that you, and you lover if you found her, is obvious enough that you can't miss it anymore. It also becomes clear is that the characters position on the screen is moving steadily to the right, which gives a sense for the approaching end of life, even though you didn't notice it in the earlier part of the game. There's some very deep depictions of life in these design decisions.

The most shocking part of the game was when my lover died. It happens sudden and unexpectedly, and moving backwards won't bring her back, just as once you move to the right and age you stay that age even if you try to return to younger years. Furthermore, I had noticed that my lover had actually impeded my progress through the game because she increases the amount of space between the walls of the game that is required for both of you to slip through as you travel through life. Her presence also makes certain chests (which either sprout black dots that don't do anything for you or stars that add to your meaningless "score") unreachable. At first I was upset that the designer would depict love as such a hinderance, but a second thought made me consider if it was actually worse to have a lover to keep you from racing through life? Is a success that means nothing in the context of death worth more than love?

After my lover died I was more than a little bummed out by it, and I will admit I raced to the right as fast as I could to meet my own end, which wasn't as fast as previously because I could no longer walk as fast as I used to. Then I died, and it was over.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Camps

This week I both finished working at the MSU game design summer camps and hit level 80 in World of Warcraft. I think I'll talk about the camps and save WoW for another day. So the camps were pretty awesome and pretty exhausting at the same time. I worked as an instructor during the day and as a camp councilor in the evening. I have to say that the 2nd week went over a lot better than the first, mostly because those meddling music production campers couldn't keep themselves out of trouble during the first week.

As far as the games students are concerned, I was usually more impressed with their efforts in paper prototyping and brainstorming than their attempt at a digital game. Every group had at least 1 person that reverted back to youtube videos and playing flash games instead of working on the project. We also had one kid try to set up networking for his game, although he didn't head my warnings that we would limit the amount of help we'd give to him (we didn't want to get sucked in) and he also didn't actually want to look up what code does. He was more in the category of dragging scripts onto objects based off of their name as opposed to what the contents of the script actually were. That habit gets a developer no cookies. However, I believe a few of the builds featured the other player flickering, which means he got half-way to a working state (which is farther than I originally thought he'd make it). I think he managed to get it so that RPC calls were recognized, but state based calls weren't, so the game would only receive information if a player was performing an action such as jumping. Then again, I don't know that much about networking...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Updates... Finally

So yeah, been a while since I've updated my blog, and I really should more often. Anyways, Snowdrift (the title for the iPhone game I worked on), did not match up to Cabbage Quest's success when my team presented it at MSU's DMAT Showcase. In fact, we didn't have much of a presentation at all, because the corner of the room that we stood at to display the game didn't pick up the building's wireless internet, and there really isn't a way to display Unity iPhone games without it. In hindsight we should've shot a video and nixed an attempt to give a live demo. Anyways, I hope Snowdrift launches this summer. We're 95% done, but the team has been distracted by other projects now that the summer was hit.

Not to mention that Bert has distracted me with World of Warcraft. I started playing during finals week, and I'll try to remember to post a full review on here when I hit level 80. I also finished off Bioshock, which was delicious, and will soon be finished with Banjo-Kazooie, which is classic. To top all of that off, I found a copy of the hard-to-find Ogre Battle 64 at Fort Wayne's Disc Replay, which is quite the find.

Back in the land of game development, I finished Nvidia's book on CG, which was an excellent guide for a beginner. This week I started working on trying some of it out in Unity, and so far the results are looking promising, although working through Unity's ShaderLab code can be a bit of a pain due to lack of documentation.

Well I'm off for now, but hopefully this post will be the start of another trend of blogging for me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Cabbage Quest's poster won first place in its category!  It's exciting to have a little validation for something that I put so much work into. Also it looks like I might have an online portfolio sometime in the near future, which is both exciting and frightening at the same time.  Web design is a skill that I am lacking in.

Also, that iPhone game I've been working on is coming together.  I think I might get my own iPhone dev kit in a year or so.  Making games that are actually going to be released to the public is awesome!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cabbage Quest Alpha Build!

I've finished the alpha build of Cabbage Quest!  Complete with motor boats, shifty alligator fish, and explosives!  The 1 level demo has 3 main components: exploration, item collection, and a small puzzle involving the motor boat.  I'm presenting next week at UURAF.  Fun times.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I've been more than a little busy since my last blog post, but Spring Break is finally here!!! Although this just means that I'll be doing homework in a different city, but I'm glad its here.  I'm currently working on two games in addition to Cabbage Quest (formerly referred to as Manatee Quest), and I should have links to at least one of them shortly after break.  Technically one is already available in Bert's portfolio, but it still needs a little more polish.

Speaking of Bert, I helped form an LLC, and Bert is our manager.  Downhill Games LLC is now an official Michigan company, and we're working on a game to release on the iPhone.  This is all pretty exciting for me because its only my first year in college (then again it's pretty stressful too).

In other news, I saw The Watchmen last night.  I want to see it again in the near future.  It was beautiful, but I recommend reading the book first.

Finally, to anyone that actually reads this page, check out Kelsey's awesome artwork at: http:/and-sometimes-y.deviantart.com

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Anime? I don't know...

I've always had mixed feeling about anime and whether or not I like it or hate it.  My new roommate, Trusty, has been watching DVDs of IGPX and Full Metal Alchemist.  I've actually found myself enjoying IGPX, which is surprising to me because it exhibits a lot of the things that I hate about anime.  IGPX is plagued by poor dialogue, action scenes with sub-par cinematography, and some really corny scenes.  However, I do enjoy the characters and the plot to some degree, and its downfalls are usually fleeting and many scenes are actually well done.

Full Metal Alchemist has much better dialogue and cinematography, but I don't think I enjoy it nearly as much as IGPX.  I think it might be because I'm not a big fan of the characters.  The story revolves around a teenage boy and his quest to change his younger brother back into a normal human, as he has been turned into a living suit of armor.  The little brother apparently was 6 when the series started and is 10 in the DVDs Trusty was watching.  I feel like they chose to have a little boy as one of the protagonists, so that they could exhibit innocence and pacifism in a character.  I don't think that was necessary and I find myself finding the little boy annoying.
So, mixed feelings about both of those series.  However, there is one anime that I enjoy a lot.  I watched every episode of Trigun over the course of two weeks about a year and a half ago.  That series really impressed me.  The protagonist is a pacifist who is wrongfully wanted for blowing up a city with a reward of 60 billion dollars.  The dialogue is good, and I think the series has many strong themes running through it.  All in all, I've always felt that Trigun overcame many of the shortcomings of anime.

I'm thinking I might drop the 50 dollars for the first half of the Trigun series.  It's just that awesome.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Making fish, but Flash on Hold

I've made a lot of head way on Manatee Quest over the past week, but I haven't had access to Flash to work on the shootorial game that I started a couple of weeks ago.  The fish have several behaviors implemented, as I can currently make them swim in circles and spirals, stare at the player, and chase after the player.  However, I hope to create a chase behavior much more refined than my current one, so that I can have the fish follow behind the manatee but not get too close or have them bump into each other.
Also, Ive been going through some websites for my Story, Sound, and Motion class, and I think this one is really cool: www.wefeelfine.org.  It tracks occurrences of the phrase "I feel" in recent blog posts around the world, and can really be interesting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flash Games and Research Papers

I went back to Michigan State for my second semester a couple of days ago so I'll probably be updating my blog more often from here on out.  I'm working on my first independent Flash game by following Kongregate Lab's "Shootorial" series.  I'll try to post that when I'm done.  I also plan to use violent video games as my main topic for my political science class.  If anything interesting comes out of that I'll probably throw that up too.