Hedgefield Quarterly Review 2020.1

Hedgefield quarterly review

Hello and welcome, to the first Hedgefield Quarterly Review.

As the name implies, this will be a place for me to take stock of what I’ve accomplished in the past three months, and share it with you. It’s a nice middle road between a handful of tweets, and a yearly review, which I tried to do last year but resulted in an OVERWHELMING Google Doc that I haven’t dared look at since. The plan is to write these as a bookend to the close of each financial quarter, a good a time as any to look back and see whether I made any duckets (or not).

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How to back up your game project with GIT (for free)

Talking to indie devs, the topic of backing up game projects often comes up. They know they should, but they don’t know how or it seems too complicated. I was there too, but since I started using GIT, I never want to live without it. So I thought I’d write a GITting started guide (sorry). This isn’t by any means the way to do it, it’s just what I’ve found to work best for me.

August 2019 update: wrote a new and easier workflow with screenshots now that Github offers free private repos too.

STEP 0: …What the hell is GIT?

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The gamedev tricks I used to make Coyote

While making the Coyote remake in Unity, I had to make some interesting game design decisions. I figured you might enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at some of these details.

Coyote was originally a fully 2D game, but for the remake I found the perfect asset package to build the town with instead of redrawing everything. I knew I would have otherwise never made the one-week-deadline of the Remake Jam. But a switch from 2D to 3D comes with its own unique set of challenges:

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Minimal Raider released

Happy new year! I’m starting 2019 off right with the release of a small game I worked on at the end of 2018: Minimal Raider, my submission for the #tombraiderjam on itch.io.

I’ve always been a fan of the Tomb Raider franchise, so I had to seize this opportunity to play with the formula. And I learned a lot doing so, as this is my first fully 3D third-person game. (It doesn’t even use Adventure Creator!)

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2018 recap

2018 has been a funny one. Even though it’s technically been a quiet year for Hedgefield lots has happened still.

Intern

For starters, I had my first intern! Kim Leunen from the HKU asked if she could intern with me for a few months, so every week we sat down and spent the day making games.

It was really refreshing to work with someone from the game world again. And like me, Kim started from illustration and now wanted to tell interactive stories, so our design vision was very similar.

We wrote a new concept from the ashes of Black Feather Forest, and built a prototype for her girlscout forest adventure game (a recurring theme in my career by now). I look forward to seeing what she creates.

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Back out West

This week is Remake Jam on itch.io, which brought me back to my first (finished) game project, Coyote. I’ve been wanting to make a sequel to that for ages, but I’ve got enough games I need to finish first. But in the context of this jam, I thought it might be fun to rebuild the original in Unity, using everything I’ve learned since 2011. I’m not sure I can pull it off in one week, but it’s already been fun to rebuild the town in 3D (using this great asset store package) and recreating the intro. I’m excited to work on this further.

Ocean Boy, the investigation of why I like stories at sea

I realized recently that I have a fascination for the ocean.

It felt like it came out of nowhere, but when I traced it back, it was surprised to find that it’s been something in the back of my mind for a very long time. Check this out:

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The House On Holland Hill v2

A year ago, I released The House On Holland Hill, a short narrative game built during Wizard Jam 4. In keeping with tradition, I’m now releasing version 2 of this game, on the eve of Wizard Jam 6.

 

THOHH was never meant to become a highly-polished game, but I found myself still thinking about it after I released it. So a few weeks ago I decided to work on a few upgrades to make it feel less like a prototype.

Here’s what’s new:

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Released: The House on Holland Hill

After two weeks of intermittent development, I finished my gamejam game (late) last sunday! I’ve polished up a few bits since then, and aside from the save system that doesn’t work yet, it’s become a pretty solid offering. And more tweaks and polish are probably coming in the next few weeks.

You can download the game from https://hedgefield.itch.io/hollandhill. Let me know what you thought of it if you play it!

Live from the Wizard Jam front, episode #2

Hey there! This is my second missive from the WJ4 front – read the first one here.

I spent last weekend finalizing the geometry so I could turn it into a prefab and use it across all scenes. It mostly came down to adding some final furniture and building out the surrounding terrain and forest. About halfway through, I realized I was putting way too much effort into it, and it served its purpose just fine the way it was. So I packaged it all up and finally started the first story scene.

screenshot_13

Unfortunately, it turned out that Adventure Creator was not 100% foolproof in turning everything into a prefab. The common interactions (opening and closing all the doors in the house etc) were especially dire; they turned up blank after being imported into a new scene, so I had to go into each of the associated objects in a new scene and hook them back up. Not great. Lost a lot of time troubleshooting that. But in the end I had a basic scene that I could duplicate, a sort of prefab if you will, so at least I could now set it and forget it.

Mid-week I finally had some time to dedicate to the game again and I set up the first scene’s logic, which went pretty quickly. That offered some hope for the remaining days. I got started on character sprites too. I wanted to try a more detailed style with thinner lines, like Californium, but in the interest of time I went with my go-to art style. I’ll fix that in post, as they say.

stairsapproach

Once I got them in the game and had a few expressions to play with, things really started to come together. I also made a menu that displays which delivery you are embarking on, like the splash screen for the days in Firewatch. Then it was just a matter of knocking out more scenes and more character sprites. Which I did on friday.

screenshot_16

I skipped after-hour drinks at the office to get into THE ZONE, and by midnight I had set up about half of the game. Granted, those scenes were the easiest to make and contain very little pithy gameplay, but it was nice to be able to punch those out real quick. I might still make the sunday night deadline with something half decent! It doesn’t help that there are a national holiday and a concert in-between me and that moment though, but oh well…