Kiddo strikes again

So, shortly before bedtime, my eldest asks to play our game, and how can I possibly say no to that??

So I plop him in the chair, strap on the Vive, hand him the controller and explain that I’m making a boss level – and as my official playtester, he tries things I never though of; like jumping and trying to scale the tower the boss creature is on.

After a bit more playtime, we go through the nighty-nite routine of teethbrushing, potty, tucking in and he drifts off to sleep.

In the morning – I’m plugging away at the game when he wanders in, sleepy-eyed and plops down at his sketchpad, just kinda doing his own thing until he asks me for the scissors, which I distractedly hand him and go back to trying to wrap my head around quaternions. Suddenly he’s by my side with this:

get on it.
here’s some more work for you…

and says, “Daddy, its a BOSS”

“Wait,” I ask, “do you want me to put this in the Boss level”

“Yep.” he replies, spins on his heel a full 360 and starts opening the flatbed scanner. Oh – he wants it NOW.

So I scan, crop, draw it out in Inkscape, pull it into Blender – extrude and texture – he finally loses interest when I start rigging it and is drifting off when I ask questions about it. Are those things sticking out supposed to be hands? Who is this? What is this?

He’s not very forthcoming with answers, so I’ll have to draw my own conclusions. But, its looking pretty sweet:

My busy life

So, in addition to dealing with 2 demanding kids, a cat with a sensitive stomach who barfs if you look at her cross-eyed, a wife with a new job and a 100+ year old house that can’t decide to fall apart piece by piece or collapse all at once – I also have old man duties, which entail fun things like giving all my blood to a surly nurse after starving myself for some 13 hours (on top of fasting for Ash Wednesday)

In my woozy blood drained delirium, I also manage to lose my car keys, right when I have to go pick my kid up from preschool AND I’ve been ignoring my intern, who is probably grateful I’m not overburdening her with tons of modelling¬† requests as she’s getting back into the swing of school and my poor houseplants who are debating crawling outside into the Hoth-like Ohio winter and taking their chances on their own. In the middle of all these fun dadding adventures – it occurs to me that I haven’t written a single sentence about the game in over a month.

I AM plugging away at it though. I’m still trying to get a full-fledged demo ready for release on Steam- including some sort of mini-boss battle that takes place after the player completes the mini quest and finds all 5 socks, rides the boat to the flower island and figures out all the ‘kaboings’ to get to the castle up top and enter its forboding gates…

until my kids give me a better name, this is ‘Launch-o’

So, I’m taking a photogrammetry experiment that I did – my youngest built a Lego tower and asked me to put it into the game – which I’ll oblige, until lawyers start pounding on my door with copyright notices and surly attitudes. I’m adding other elements that I’ve created, such as a cute ghost and floaty platforms and other neat things kiddo has drawn – but never had and real place in previous levels. One of which is the character above with a unusually large arm – I think I’ll have him throwing the glowing orbs at the player until 4 supports are jumped on and broken – then his tower will fall and the demo will end.

Which forces me back to thinking about my game mechanics – will there be damage? Player loses a life? How does my game provide a challenge if there is no penalty? When I do get any spare time, I’m trying to soak up as much game design theory and videos about level breakdown as I can.¬† It also help that my kids are heavily into Super Mario Galaxy on our old Wii console – they get to play, I get to study level design from a developers perspective. And it shows I’ve got a lot to learn.