Catching Up On Work

The last couple of weeks were rough as I went through growing pains in my new job. Now I’m able to resume somewhat normal hours of commitment to game development again, which is sitting at around 50 hours per week.



I spent a few minutes playing with fonts and manipulating them into something that has the right character to represent the feel of the game. I’m not a typography or graphic design expert but I’ve put to use what little I do know from my time in architecture studies. A thick, bold font and some sharp angles along with a subtle gradient gives it the aggression, strength, and imposing feeling I want players to get from the game’s protagonist whom I’ll call for now the “avian alien.”



As I began texturing the space marine, I was at a bit of a loss for how to tackle the color scheme. Instead of fiddling around in Photoshop I decided to have some fun and create a new piece of concept art to help me figure it out faster and in greater detail. Then I’d have an easier time texturing with something to reference.

With the color scheme, I tried going for something more realistic by drawing inspiration from what actual space suits look like – primarily white with variation in color coming from the material itself. Like any design made for entertainment, of course I can’t discount some level of “just make it look cool” in the details, but I like things to lean towards grounded and functional. I think most sci-fi designs in movies and games are overdone with unnecessary clutter and detail.


Screenshot (123)

Didn’t get around to filling in color for the marine texture but I did finish roughly sketching in the detail lines that I need to start creating normal details via Ndo. This is the starting point of my current texture pipeline (I’m thrilled to integrate Ddo into it real soon). Much faster than modeling out a super detailed mesh and baking down from it. I’ll use high res models for organic objects, but I don’t bother with that on hard-surface stuff.

Guns. Lots of Guns.

Screenshot (118)

Screenshot (117)

These are very rough 3D block outs of human weapons. All pretty much standard fair. There will be 2 more sets of weapons that represent 2 different alien technologies – those of the bird aliens and those of the insect aliens. These will be fairly interesting and fun to come up with!

The insect aliens are new addition to the game. They were, again, inspired by real-life events just as the bird alien was inspired by a bird’s nest in my front yard. This time the influence came from a flea infestation in my new apartment, thanks to my roommate’s fucking cat.

They are relentless, hardened survivors that come back no matter what I throw at them. Then I came up with the idea to put another alien race in the game that share those very characteristics to pose as formidable enemies. Concept art for these creatures will be forthcoming.

Poseable Marine

marine poses

This past week I finished rigging and uv mapping the space marine. Maya’s new update brought with it a feature I’m in love with: Quick Rig. It makes setting up your character joints and controls so easy and fast! This was the one step in the video game character creation process that I least enjoyed and was weakest at so imagine my delight upon learning about this new feature.

As you see, I started blocking in colors but it was done in a minute and will require a bit of iteration and experimentation. I just got the Quixel Suite package on a huge discount yesterday so I’m looking forward to implementing it into my art pipeline and see a huge injection of quality in my texture work.

Space Marine 3D Model Completed

Despite only having a few hours a day here and there during the past week to work on the space marine 3D model, I managed to finish the first pass at the geometry. It is now ready for an initial pass at rigging and animation. Textures are to come later once all problems with the mesh are identified in-engine.

marine model gray

marine model wire

Very low poly – just under 3k triangles!

I’m going to try to fit more hours into development per week as I get a better sense of how to balance my energy and time between work, fitness, development, and social life. A lesson I learned from developing Deadweight is that sacrificing everything aspect of your life and devoting all your time on development is a major drain on motivation in the long run. And when you run out of motivation, progress comes to a snail’s pace.

I need to adhere to a routine that makes me a happy, well-rounded person. Otherwise, it will become difficult to enjoy the process of making games. Instead, it’ll be tempting to rush to the finish line in order to get it over with – not a good place to be creatively. That’s what happened with Deadweight. I was running on fumes and rushed the release, cutting 75% of the content in the process. The result was a game that fell well below its potential.

This time, I will manage my energy more carefully so that I feel great at all times. I want to invest as much time in development as The Nest needs to be truly great.

Space Marine 3D Model Underway

Some major life changes took place in the last few weeks. I moved, got a PT job, a new city, a new roommate, a new chapter in my life. The best part? I didn’t know any of this was going to happen a month ago.

I’m settled in now and recently resumed work on The Nest. Here’s screens of a rough 3D model in progress for the space marine. Nice and chunky!

marine rough 3d

The Nest Concept Art

I spent the last couple of days making concept art for both the protagonist and enemy of The Nest. Here’s a look at the alien parent who players will control to guard its brood while fending off space marines. You can see the bird influence making its way into the alien’s design.



As for the space marine design – being the lazy developer that I am – I opted to give them different weapons and skins in place of having unique models for each enemy type. That will give the game the variety it needs while neatly minimizing my workload.

This is all the concept art I will need for now. The space hangar can look like whatever – something I could easily figure out on the go with repeating textures, tiled geometry, and kit bashing. I will now move on to the 3D production phase of development.

Next Game Is Called THE NEST

After several days of brainstorming, I’ve finally settled on what will be my next game. It’s called The Nest. Here’s the “design document” I’ll be working off of.


The Nest is similar to Deadweight in that you shoot through relentless waves of enemies but this time you play as a mother alien protecting a brood of rather ugly, helpless little aliens. An end game can be reached by successfully nurturing them to adulthood, at which point the human spaceship where the game takes place is overrun by the half a dozen adult aliens you just finished raising.

My inspiration came from a bird’s nest in a small tree on my front yard. Every time I went outside I was able to watch adorable baby birds grow rapidly in a matter of weeks before leaving the nest. I was impressed by the mother’s tireless efforts to feed them and even more impressed by the speed at which baby birds can grow – roughly 4 to 5 weeks. It was a fascinating thing to witness.

I intend to release the game sometime this year and post weekly updates on the game’s progress or bimonthly posts at the very least. This is going to be great fun!

On To A New Project!

It’s no secret that Deadweight was not even a modest financial success. That much you can tell just by the small number of reviews on its Steam store page. That’s fine. The only assumption I made going into launch was that I will earn some amount greater than $0 (which was correct). I’m actually amazed I shipped anything at all. A year ago I had no clue how to code.

I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” with the industry or the indie games landscape. I don’t think there’s any issues with discoverability on Steam. In fact, I think that the current landscape for indie games is nothing short of utopian. I also believe that I got exactly the level of success or lack of it as I deserved.

Things which I did not see before launching Deadweight I see clearly now. I see the glaring issues with DW’s marketing, let alone things that were wrong with the game itself. Right now these may simply be theories in my head but I’m certain that I could produce a different outcome with the changes I’m going to make to my approach on the next game.

Ah, the next game! Now’s a fun time when I brainstorm a bunch of ideas and choose where to narrow down. I’ve been trashing a lot lately, from this idea to that and I’m getting real close to deciding what this new game is going to be.

With a little discipline I may be able to post regular updates on its progress here. That is, after all, kinda the point of this blog.

DW Devblog 1

It’s been one week since Deadweight’s release on Steam and I just updated the game build with a small patch. This brings Deadweight to version 1.01. The contents of this update are:

traffic light on drop chute

  • Added slider to adjust the global game volume in the settings menu.
  • New barrels are dropped only when the one on the pad is removed to prevent stacking and physics wonkiness.
  • Turret targeting laser turns green when a player is detected standing in front of it.
  • Fixed bug where enemy ragdoll, on rare occasions, floats in the air after being blown sky high from an explosion.
  • Invisible wall in place at the elevator entrances to prevent barrels from being placed inside elevators. No cheating!
  • Widened enemy collision box to prevent players from accidentally climbing them like stairs during close proximity.
  • Enemies now look directly down into the camera when the player death screen is on instead of gazing above at the wall or ceiling.
  • Fixed bug where shooting a barrel just as it’s released while still inside the drop chute stops anymore barrels from dropping.
  • Added a few more layout variations to the random arena generation pool.
  • Added a “traffic light” signal on the drop chute to indicate when a barrel is about to be dropped.
  • Fixed other minor bugs.