PROJECT LIFE DEVELOPMENT BLOG
iOS - MAY 30, 2012
Nobe speaking. It's getting pretty hot in Tokyo now! In spite of that, work continues on.
As the team finishes up our plans for showing PROJECT LIFE at E3, I've also begun looking into the iOS version of the game.
The main change to be made for that version is, of course, the control system. PROJECT LIFE was designed with a game pad in mind, while iOS devices utilize touch screens.
That means having to somehow figure out how to replicate the stick controls on a touch panel.
After doing a bit of research, we ended up using the "Mobile Input Zone" class (this is programming jargon) to add a virtual joystick into the iOS version. This allowed us to run the game on iPad using the same controls as the PC version. Unreal Engine is quite useful and convenient for tasks like this.
One thing I do have to admit is that, personally, replicating a stick on a touch panel can be quite difficult. Holding an iPad for a long period of time tires my arms as well. To make the iOS version of PROJECT LIFE as enjoyable as the control pad version, we need to think about how to create an effective, yet easy-to-use control scheme. Aside from the game's controls, the most effective approach to take for development would be to reorient the game's resources for iOS once the PC version has been completed.
Well, back to work for me! Thanks for reading!
E3? EXCITING. AIRPLANES? NOT SO MUCH. - May 17, 2012
Kanno here. Long time no see. How's everyone doing? Personally, I'm very excited because I've been chosen by the company to attend E3 in early June!
What's not as exciting is the long airplane ride: I have a fear of riding airplanes, so thinking about that has my stomach in knots.
As of late, the team's been hard at work in getting PROJECT LIFE running on the iOS and other hardware. This task requires us to make some changes to the game so we don't break anything in the process, visual or otherwise. And thanks to Unreal Engine, bringing the game over to the iPhone is actually a simple task... Speaking of the iPhone, I've owned one for awhile, but I'm not too savvy in using it. Whenever I get a phone call, I panic and try to remember how to use the thing! (What a bummer...)
Anyway, once that's done, I plan on joining the level designers and continuing from there.
I also just realized that the team is already into the second half of phase 2 of PROJECT LIFE. This came faster than I anticipated. However, I will continue to work hard so that we can soon move onto phase 3!
Until next time!
PHASE 2: COMMENCING - May 10, 2012
Hi everyone! This is my first blog entry, so I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Nakamura, a designer for PROJECT LIFE.
Well, I'm usually a game designer, but for PROJECT LIFE, I've been participating as a planner and level designer.
With that said, I've got exciting news: the team has decided on what the next step for PROJECT LIFE will be! We've received plenty of valuable feedback for the game recently, so we're going to take that feedback, work it into the game, and then bring PROJECT LIFE to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) from June 5 to 7 in Los Angeles. It won't be presented on the actual show floor, but we're hoping to show the title to people interested in seeing what PROJECT LIFE is about. With less than a month left before E3, the second phase of this project is well underway! Please look forward to more updates about the title in the near future!
PHASE 1: COMPLETE - May 1, 2012
Nobe here. It's been awhile since I've updated because the team's been busy rushing to get the first phase of this project complete. We also traveled to Kyoto, Japan the other day in order to pay a visit to
Q Games and Hexa Drive, whose staff we asked to try out PROJECT LIFE. We're very happy they played the game and gave us their thoughts
even though they were very busy with their own schedules.
We'll definitely use their feedback in order to make our game even better.
It's actually pretty unusual in the games industry to have people at other companies play through a game while it's in development. It personally doesn't bother me to let others try a game I'm making during development. This happens to be an original game for LAND HO, so it's important that we gather the opinions of well-respected game creators and use them to our advantage in creating a great game.
And with that, I'm now wondering what the second phase of this project will turn out to be...
TIME FLIES - Apr. 13, 2012
Hello again. This is Kanno. Time is flying very quickly. I just realized that this project began about 2 months ago already. In that time, development has progressed and everything is starting to come together.
Right now, I'm concentrating on refining the game's level design in order to make the game more entertaining and interesting.
We recently added a background designer to our team. He's been working hard to make the game look even more beautiful. When playing the game and moving the protagonist throughout the level, the background will begin to blur and the protagonist will constantly shape shift. We still have some work to do in order to refine the look of the game and get all the kinks sorted out. We have just one week left to go...
THE PROGRAMMING SIDE - Apr. 4, 2012
Hi everyone. This is Nobe. Today, I'd like to talk about the development side of PROJECT LIFE.
The scale of the project is quite small; so small in fact, that I'm currently the sole programmer working on it.
Even though development is supposed to be easier thanks to Unreal Engine, it's personally my first time using it, so I have quite a bit to learn as well. The engine is usually used for blockbuster, triple-A titles that have top-notch graphics, animation, physics, AI, networking and other capabilities. Therefore, it's quite a task to get a grasp of everything about Unreal Engine, but it's a good learning experience. Once you get a grasp of how the thing actually works, you can start making things simply by running Unreal Editor GUI - even if you're not a programmer. My goal for the moment is to implement multiplayer functionality into PROJECT LIFE. Gamers have come to expect multiplayer from games, so this is something I'm looking to get done.
Here's a new picture of the game. I'll be sure to talk more about the programming side in future entries, so please check back for more!
NOT SEA URCHINS - Mar. 29, 2012
Kanno here. Today, I'm going to talk about some more enemies since we've been focusing on that lately.
These round, blue, sea urchin-like enemies normally float around the environmnts without a care in the world, but they break apart once attacked by your character.
However, in keeping with the theme of the game, since the enemy breaks apart into many fragments, the cost comes in the form of your character's health.
To be successful, you will have to ignore this enemy to a certain extent, yet you can't forget about having to defend yourself at the same time. During those situations in which you have to decide whether to go for an attack or try to struggle through these enemies, a clever strategy will make all the difference.
AIM CAREFULLY! - Mar. 21, 2012
Nobe here! I'll keep this entry a bit short today, but have a peek at the new enemy design below. If you aim at and and a shot straight onto its head, watch as it breaks apart into many pieces.
This enemy can be quite a nuissance, so it's best to try to take it out with the strategy detailed in the previous entry about the swarm's red formation. Remember that
attacking enemies constantly also drains health, so this will play an important role in your strategy.
KABOOM - Mar. 12, 2012
Kanno here. How's everything going?
Today, I'm going to tell you about what happens to the protagonist as it loses health. As its health gradually depletes, it also starts to lose the swarms it has gathered. As a result, the playable character becomes smaller and smaller, which in turn makes it harder to succeed in the game.
The jellyfish-shaped enemies were created by a rookie designer at our company. The jellyfish are a lot more vicious than they appear and can definitely deal some damage to the playable character if you're not careful.
You can also see that the color of the characters is changing. When the character is red, it indicates that it is losing life forms. When the character is blue, it is in a healthier state. However, with this transform, you can end up wiping out quite a few enemies.
As you can see in the image, there's an explosion going on. Of course, the explosion means blowing a lot of enemies up, but this also reduces the number of swarms on your character, so this move should not be abused. Otherwise, you may end up killing your own character by mistake. Think wisely before using it!
Until next time!
THE ENEMIES - Mar. 8, 2012
Hey everyone, this is Nobe.
What I have to show you today are the game's enemies. Without a good number of enemies, the game might become pretty boring, so we placed a good number of them on the map, as you can see in the image below.
This is how the action looks when you pan the camera out a bit.
The enemies resemble little pollen microbes. I actually really dislike pollen, so I'll personally feel satisfied taking all of them down... Actually, I take that back. I shouldn't forget that killing enemies also depletes the health of the protagonist, so I need to be careful not to get carried away.
STILL NAMELESS - Mar. 2, 2012
Hey everyone. I'm Kanno, a designer for this project. Today, I'm here to introduce the "protagonist" of PROJECT LIFE.
We talked about it for a little bit in the previous entry, but this blue sphere represents a swarm
composed of an uncountable number of particles.
It's shaped like a tadpole, and there are tons of them swimming through the environment. There are
hundreds of million of particles within this sphereical object.
The objective is to defeat enemies utilizing a special attack force comprised of all these living
things in order to protect the swarm.
As you can see in the image above, the small spheres are lined up to form an attack unit.
The purple spheres are placeholder designs for enemies. Hopefully, we can show you more final designs later on.
The blue spheres will decrease in number if you're careless in your attack positioning.
There are times when it's important to ignore enemies and try to make it to the goal.
Also, depending on how the "protagonist" swims through the environment, the shape of the swarm will also change. And with that shape-shifting ability is an altered attack pattern. The details on how this works are still a secret, but we'll tell you more about this next time!
DEVELOPMENT: COMMENCE! - Feb. 27, 2012
Hi. I'm Nobe, a programmer at LAND HO.
PROJECT LIFE is the code name for a game that was thought up by a group of young programmers at LAND HO, a game developer in Tokyo that has provided us with some degree of creative freedom in carrying out this project. We don't have a lot of details to share at this point, but the game will use Unreal Engine. We're hoping to develop a sample prototype in about 2 months (5 man months). What's PROJECT LIFE going to be about? It's going to be a top-down shooter that takes place in a kind of world like that shown in the prototype image below:
In this world will you do battle. Looks cool, right? The goal of the game isn't to continuously
do battle, but to go through the level and make it to the goal at the end.
The blue sphere in the center of the screen is you, the player. The sphere is formed by a countless number of living objects. The jellyfish-like objects around the screen are the game's enemies. As you can see from the image, the player doesn't have any weapons. You'll be moving through out the screen instead.
One of the game's main points is the fact that the player loses life the more it does battle with enemies. The second important point is that you may also notice the faint red and blue zones present on the screen. When you're in the red zone, your life will gradually decrease. Simply charging toward the end goal isn't going to work in this game. When you defeat enemies, the red zones will morph into blue zones. Your mission is to make it to the goal while managing the above gameplay conditions.
That's all we can say for now. We'll keep you updated on the development of PROJECT LIFE as it progresses, so please be sure to check back soon for more information!