Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

Freedom of expression (Concept arts, pt2)

If there is one reason why I’m so excited about Quasr (sign-up for alpha-II) and it’s not the gameplay, it would be the community that we are building. For instance, the art community. The freedom of being able to express my creative views while developing this game is well, freeing. In this article, I present some of sample concepts that we drew that might actually end up in the game. The fact is, any art can end up in the game on the cards if the community likes it and votes for it.

faggot-face

By Moy

Codenamed “the faggot-face” during development for his idiocy in looking, the Digital Slayer was drawn with realistic outlook and accurate proportion in mind. The style that I was to attain here is the realist approach so I tend to make sure all the lighting and shading are reflected correctly. As such, I need to make sure all the details are being refined down to the minuscule bit.

Personally, I prefer speedpainting than realist-painting as any artist can tell you paintstakingly coloring in detail can be very time-consuming. Thanks to painting, I discovered that my attention span is somewhat limited (comparatively to other artists in general) which is why I just can’t wait to lay down every single damn detail on the canvas in as short a time as possible.

So I did this in about 3 hours time.

queen bitch of irritation

By Moy

Not very impressive, I’d say after comparing my stuff to the true masters like the much respected Craig Mullins or sparth and the people in sijun (as they are the ones who popularised the genre in digital painting afterall.) Take a look at the two drawings above: I believe that they both “feel” differently; but, they deliver almost the same amount of impact and feel. However, the first painting took me 3-4 times longer than the second one. Speedpainting, in short is a visual artform when the artist would try to deliver the the “feel” and details (or rather the illusion of details) of a 30 hours painting in 30 minutes.

Coming back to our topic today. So far, if you are a keen reader of our blog, you would notice no-wing, rene and my drawing style are all very different from one another.

Take a look at Rene’s latest masterpiece depicting a race of an alien girl.

alien chick

By Rene

Cute, isn’t she?

Rene’s style has always been inspired by the Japanese manga or anime (nowadays who wouldn’t?) and I think he did a darn good job being a manga-artist. Now, wouldn’t it be a waste if we couldn’t fit her into our game world just because our setting is realistic or cartoonish? Furthermore, that would go aganist all we are trying to preach about user-generated contents. So no, we are taking her abroad the mothership no matter what.

Anyone who has a drip of creativity can join us and have a seat in our ship. So tighten your seatbelt and together we will embark on a journey into a world created by yourself and others.

Related entries:

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January 30, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr, Quasr Art, Quasr Concept, Sharing | 5 Comments

You pray Encepharon?

This incident happened a few days ago, and I didn’t really pay much heed to it until it really back when Slade and I were discussing about marketing the game.

It was like this. So I stopped by my favorite comic store as I headed back to Cyberjaya from home (I had to go back to help my mum do some typing and data entry), and I chatted a bit with the store owner before I left. The owner was a Chinese woman, probably in her mid-fifties. I’ve been quite a regular for the past five years or so, and I told her quite a lot of stuff about me. So I was telling her about this cool online card game we’re developing, and it was then the problem struck.

“What’s the game called?” She asked.

“Enc…” It hit me for a moment that no matter how slow I pronounce the word, a person who never spoke much English just couldn’t pronounce Encephalon. Not that she doesn’t know much English, but I’ve never heard her speak English and I just assumed so. In any case, the question just struck.

How are non-English speakers going to pronounce Encephalon?

“你要玩Encephalon吗?”

“一緒にエンセファロンを遊ぼう?”

“Voulez-vous jouer Encephalon?”

(Pardon my foreign languages, I just used Babelfish.)

Do they sound right? It’s a subject worth studying into, but I just cannot imagine a person inviting another person to play our game in another language. It appears that we’re in need of a better name. Any suggestions?

January 28, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Design, Quasr Concept | 12 Comments

Encephalon in Production : Day 3

27th January 2007

Things we moving at a slow pace. Iris was working on the web design. Slade and Nowing are still discussing about the job specification for all the programmers for tomorrow’s general meeting. Mostly, everyone were just figuring out what to be conversed tomorrow.

After the gathering of all the members of Encephalon project, things will progress at a faster speed. That’s all for today. I’ll update more after the meeting tomorrow.

Stay tune for more news on Encephalon production.

January 28, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr Production | 2 Comments

IGDA Malaysia Meeting Report Link

You can check out the meeting report by Hilmy, coordinator of the Malaysian chapter of International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

January 28, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon | Leave a comment

Encephalon in Production : Day 2

26th January 2007

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to inform all the viewers that we are at ease of how the production phase is progressing. Encephalon is evolving from a mere trading card game to become a world class platform for user with web 2.0 features.

Apparently, I woke up at 2pm after a short sleep. I was ‘summoned’ by Jarod to a meeting attended by Slade and eMoysh which was later joined by Nowing. It was more to discussion on internal issue and less of production related topic. The meeting ended at 3:40pm. Everybody were on their task of the day. Nowing was completing his card list for eMoysh to come up with a sketches of the related card specification. This went on for about two hours until 5:40pm. At 6pm, Slade, Iris and Nowing had to attend a meeting with the International Games Developers Association (IGDA).

In the office were only Hikmat, eMoysh and I. eMoysh was sleeping after completing his artwork for that day. I found myself briefing Hikmat about what is needed from the web designing team in general. However, the both of us were hungry and we ended up having dinner at Oldtown cafe in Cyberjaya. We discussed the matter over dinner and got to know more about him. When we got back, I set up a meeting for Hikmat, Sufiyan (lead programmer) and Fauzi (web programmer) on CampFire. Over the online meeting, I had Sufiyan to explain the rough idea of the task meant for Hikmat and Fauzi because they had very little understanding towards our project. However, everyone were quite satisfied with Sufiyan’s plan for them. It went on from 9:30pm to 11:15pm. It was hard to tell that if the meeting successfully came up to a conclusion since Fauzi and Hikmat would like to know in detail what actually they are suppose to do. In order to solve this problem, we planned a general meeting on Sunday,28th of January 2007 for everyone in the company.

Nowing, Slade and Iris came back late at 11:30pm. Slade had another appointment with one of the company shareholder. I was having a discussion with the others on what was conversed in the IGDA meeting. At 12am sharp, everyone look exhausted after a long day especially Slade. So, I went on calling all the other members of the company to inform them about Sunday’s meeting. I suppose there was no other significant event happened after that. Now, I started to fill in my personal time with my own things.

Pretty much that was the events that happened yesterday. I will try to update as soon as possible to allow the viewers to see what happens in a day to a games developing company. Signing out, Rosh.

Related links,

Encephalon in Production : The Beginning by Myself.

Encephalon toward beta launch by Myself again.

Funding Options in Malaysia by Slade

January 27, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Quasr Production, Web Gaming 2.0 | Leave a comment

Encephalon in Production : The Beginning

Thursday, 26th Jan 2007

The most interesting day for me, as everything went almost according to plan. Woke up late around 1pm. Sufiyan (our lead programmer), Slade and eMoysh were at the cafe discussing about the game architecture. Ordered a drink and joined them. It was more like allocating task for everyone on that table. eMoysh, I had him to polish his sketches a little before dinner. Slade and I went on to the Sun Technology’s JTrend laboratory to join Iris and Hikmat (both our web designers) to discuss on what kind of specification needed for web design. Later on, Sufiyan joined us in the lab to further his understanding on the game play before have the main software architecture. Nowing was explaining the gameplay with full of passion. This went on for about an hour or more. Slade briefly stated all the task need to be completed by the team at the end of today.

After a long discussion, Slade and I went on to check on Hikmat and Iris to find out what they have come up with. Slade had high expectations as usual. He wanted more of the web designing team. At around 5pm, we went back to the office to use our own computer because JTrend lab were using Solaris as OS and we wanted to access a flash site of a possible hire. Fifteen minutes later, I called up “Leng” (Slade called him as Flash Guru) to arrange a meeting with him and the team. He was in class and he sounds polite at the other end of the phone. He’s between 18 and 20 (if u wanna know). He lives quite a distance from our office. So, we decided to guide him to a place nearby Cyberjaya with the easiest method of transportation. Leng found his way to the Putrajaya Station while we were in Alamanda eating (our late breakfast + lunch + dinner) and got lost along the way in Putrajaya. That allowed me to have a good chat with Sufiyan, Yoga and Hikmat along the way. Got to know them better and I like their progress. Rumors told me that Nowing was overjoyed with a particular song which was playing in his car at that moment. That made them missed a turning and Sufiyan was following Nowing. All of us were lost on Putrajaya Highway. At last, we apologized to Leng and brought him back to the office.

The new Flash cum PHP programmer looks calm with his smile carved on his face. Slade changed places with Yoga( our Programmer) between 2 cars. This is for Leng to blend in with the Web Designer’s Team (Iris & Hikmat) and Yoga. As we reached office, I had to send Yoga back home (Cyberia Condominium) because it was already end of her working hours (7pm). I saw Sufiyan, Slade and Iris were having a meeting privately. Got in the office, Hikmat was figuring out the possible design of the web application. eMoysh was sleep when he was suppose to complete his sketches I demanded from him in the morning. Nowing gave Leng the every aspect of the Game Design and Game Play in detail.

I had a stomachache. Went on to the washroom and solved most of issues there. As I got back from the sanctuary, eMoysh was explaining to Leng the Game Setting in detail and show some of his latest artwork. “Leng was like ‘waaaaaa’ in silent”, said Slade. I was browsing through our new Flash Guru’s website. It looks fabulous. Nowing was completing the Card List while eMoysh was preaching about game setting to Leng. There was a discussion between Hikmat and Iris before Hikmat had to go back. It’s the lead programmer’s turn to have a talk with Leng. They had a talk on how to use his talented abilities to come out with the most relevant and desired Software Architecture. All three of them decided on the languages to be used for each section. Slade was telling me how relief he was while talking to Leng. At around 10:30pm, I manage to get hold of Fauzi (our Web Programmer) to be online. We went into CampFire to arrange a online conference between Fauzi,Iris, Slade and Sufiyan .

Basically, the meeting was postponed to Friday, 26th Jan 2007. I sent Iris back to her hostel when we saw her sleeping in the office looking exhausted. Since Leng haven’t had his dinner, Sufiyan, eMoysh, Leng and I went to Hassan (a mamak restaurant in CYberjaya). In there, we continued our discussion on current issues and share some interesting thoughts on various top. Slade and Nowing was busy with their unfinished business. At 1:30am sharp, got back to the office; Nowing almost completed his card list while Slade was snoring on the floor, sleeping. Even eMoysh completed his sketches later on and went on to play World Of Warcraft : Burning Crusade.

I shall call it a productive day. Yet, today will be the beginning of the actual production day. Although there is more details for what happened yesterday, I wouldn’t want to put everything into words. It might takes up 3 pages. More updates coming up. Stay tuned.

Regards.

Related Links,

Encephalon towards beta launch by Me

Concept Arts Pt 1 by eMoysh

Concepting Encephalon by Nowing

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Entrepreneurship, Game Development, Quasr Production, Sharing, Web Gaming 2.0, Working Environment | 1 Comment

Encephalon towards beta launch

Random report for the bloggers at 5:24am

We are at constant pace racing towards the beta launch of Encephalon. Everyone in this company is curious and excited about how project Encephalon is going to fare on its launching day. Recently, Slade has been restless and full of plans for the production days. Nowing seems to be calm and has unlimited resources to produce articles for this blog. However, eMoysh posted a wonderful display of his artistic work after a long period of time. Currently, all of us are resting for 4 hours before we begin our daily task again. Our lead programmer,Sufiyan is busy assigning task for his programming team members. Everyone is striving hard in order to produce the best version of Encephalon to be anticipated by the whole world.

Slade is resting now with less worries on his mind. Last night, his mother and siblings were here to show their support to his project and brought some great food for his colleagues. Feeling motivated, he went berserk(over-excited) and posted a new article How to activate your creative state. We were laughing about eMoysh writing a legal-document-lookalike article with some Concept Arts which he edited and made it look awesome. Thus, the progress is moving towards the right direction. I wrote this article for those who are eager to know about what’s happening in project Encephalon.

There still questions in our mind about Encephalon, for example:

How the public is gonna accept Encephalon?

Will it be fun for them or educational(strategy-wise)?

Well, I hope to get more feedback from all the bloggers on what they think about the project and what are the expectations for the beta launch version of Encephalon.

Till then, I’m signing off to continue my journey in wonderland. My eyes feels like exploding. Take care and await our primal destination – the beta launch of Encephalon. More updates ahead.

Related post:

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Working Environment | 10 Comments

Ever paid RM60 for a piece of cardboard?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

That’s how much the above card costs on the first day the set was released (or more appropriately, ‘pre-released’). RM60 is slightly more than US$17.

Looks so cool, doesn’t it? One big black ball sucking up dead bodies. The bigger version looks even better.

To non-Magic (or more collectively, non-trading-card-game) players, seventeen bucks is a lot to pay for a piece of cardboard five inches tall and three inches wide. But that’s not the maximum amount of cash people are willing to shell out for a card. The holofoil Charizard of the Pokémon Trading Card Game reportedly sold for US$120 at its peak. Magic’s signature card, Black Lotus, is hitting four-digit sums on EBay.

Looking at online games, people are willing to pay for virtual cash and items, and for people to grind their characters. In short, people are willing to pay for games for seemingly trivial items that lose their value when brought out of context.

The trick of marketing products and services in games is to make said context as non-game-ish as possible. (I couldn’t find a better word)

Products in games are nothing much like, say, celebrity merchandise or stamps (The hobby of kings, the king of hobbies. Right.). People who aren’t into the hobby just don’t see its worth. A game company can try to pull people into playing their game. This is most often seen in roadshows and promotions in shopping malls, where the company gives out free trial CDs and other freebies in hopes that the receiver of said freebies woudl actually go home, install it, play it unti lthe free trial expires and proceeds to play the game. It’s largely a hit-or-miss process, much like traditional TV advertisements.

Coming back about the game’s context, what ‘traditional’ marketing does is they try to pull consumers into the context. In this sense, the barrier between real life and the game world still exists, hence there are terms like hardcore geeks and ‘otakus’, where they are so into a game that they are disconnected from the real world.

On the other hand, some companies expand the context into real life, blurring the barier between reality and game. This is otherwise known as viral marketing, where users of a product or service subconsciously ‘infect’ other people to use the product or service. In this sense, the context isn’t about the game, but of its players, and subsequently the player’s friends, and friend’s friends, and so on.

For a game, it’s even easier to spread the context by providing some non-game services to players other than just the game itself. MMORPGs sell by promoting the community as well as the game; Magic: the Gathering doesn’t just offer a hobby, but a career; XBox Live Arcade provides a platform for developers to sell their games and players to compete for scores. These are some other services a game could offer for a player before they decide to spend money on it.

Related links:
The Idea Virus by Seth Godin, a book on spreading the context.
Web Gaming 2.0, how Hatchlings is doing it.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Game Development, Game Industry, Trading Card Game, Web Gaming 2.0 | 1 Comment

How to activate your creative state

We work in a creative industry so the more often you get into a creative state, the faster you produce good inspired work. In the commercial world, like the Games / Entertainment industry, you need to be creative to be competitive. Innovation, thinking-out-side-the-box, thinking-inside-and-outside-of-the-box, and other related buzz words means that you have to be in your creative state when you want it.

Many times we find it frustrated that we cannot get into that state. You want to start coding a game but you do not know where to start. You have to create a 100 pieces of detailed visual illustrations by a weekend but don’t even know to start on the first one. You have to find a new game idea but the only thing that come out of your head is how WOW will kick your game’s ass when it comes out. It had happened to me and you. It sucks. In this article, I will attempt to share my experience of entering a state of creative flow consciously, when you want it.

A Clear Intent

Know what you REALLY WANT and then WHY you want it. Repeat until you really know your intent. Remember not to limit yourself with negative thoughts.  Having a clear intent will help you get into a state of flow. To be in a state of flow, you need to link your conscious and subconscious mind together. They need to be in harmony.

Your clear intent can be anything you want to accomplish. It can be “How do I beat my opponent in WarCraft III?”, What do I want to do with my life?” and yes even “How do I get my small team to create 100 pieces of detailed visual illustration by a week?”.

Motivation

After having a clear intent you need motivation. You must have that burning desire.

It is natural for you to do what you like to do. In many cases, people in situations where they have “no choice” trick their mind to like what they have to do. People choose to work in jobs that they can have maximum creative output. Sometimes that means being your own boss. Besides the love of games, this is a primary motivation for Hatchlings Games co-founders, no.wing and Jarod and I to venture into game development.

How do you get that burning desire? Through your imagination. Imagine yourself to be in the position to do what you want to do. Imagine that you are the director of X movie, if you are the game designer / producer of X game.

Basically, imagine that you are truly responsible for that thing thing you intended. No one is your supervisor, boss or lead. You are the only person who is responsible for what you intent to do. It could be something big or small, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is you must have motivation.

Just Do It

After you have a clear intent and motivation, let it sink in for a while and then start doing whatever you want to do. Action begets motivation. Just doing it (Sorry Nike for using your decades-old motto) starts up your subconscious brain. Often you will get into the state of flow soon after doing it.

If you follow the first step (have a clear intent), your heart will be true. When your heart is true, you will do the true task that your heart desires. Doing that true task is fundamental to creativity. As someone or some civilization I can’t remember said, know thy self. That consciousness and self-awareness is truly important for creative work.

The more self-aware you are, the easier for you to enter the state of self-unawareness, the state of creative flow.

Play

You must not be afraid to play. To play with your ideas. Life is a game. Hmm, I just mentioned a life metaphor. How you look at life (your life metaphor) is very important for setting directions and having a life vision. For anybody who wants to be in a creative state frequently, the best metaphor you can have is: Life is a Game – you are its main character and its Director. The Director in you will want the main character to win. Winning is a strong motivation, only if you know how to Play.

Physical Discomfort

My experience tells me that physical discomfort prevents me from entering into a creative state often enough. You have to be in optimal physical condition for creativity. When you enter that state of creative flow, you often lose yourself. That is you do not remember how you are feeling. That makes you sit with a bad posture, smoke more ciggies, skip food, and do other health degenerating things.

All this will makes it harder for you to enter to the state of creative flow the next time you want it. You will find that it gets harder each time.

What I suggest is that every time you are not in the creative state and you do not need to accomplish anything creative urgently, just take a break – go for a meal, a jog, a gym session, a swim, or just sleep.

Keep Practicing

The act of consciously entering a state of creative flow is a skill. Like all skills it requires practice. Adapt the above guidelines to your situation. Constantly intent to be flow, practice it, you will realize that your conscious mind can switch your subconscious mind on and off, at your will.

Related Posts:

Not-So Related Game Design Articles:

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Education | 4 Comments

Concept arts, pt 1

Just imaine…

Red Mecha

 

 

…you can create your own artworks…

Male Alien

 

…and let other people use them for the cards to play.

All Concepts by Rene

Sign-up for Quasr Alpha.

Related Posts:

 

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Encephalon, Quasr Art, Quasr Concept, Sharing | 4 Comments