Ludum Dare 20

I’ve had a busy spring. Once LEGO Clone Wars was done, we dived straight into helping to finish LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, so the crunch just rolled on into that project. Damn those immovable movie release dates. But Pirates is all done and dusted now, and I’m looking forward to playing that with Evie (LEGO zombies not too scary).

I’ve taken the Easter week off and spent some much-needed time with the family, and it just so happened that the weekend before returning to work is Ludum Dare – the increasingly popular 48 hour solo game dev contest. It would be rude not to.

Voting on this contest’s theme is down to the final 20, and I’ve got ideas for a half-dozen or so of ’em. Spent the last few evenings learning the basics of several new skills: rigging, animating, composing…feeling more-or-less ready now, but I doubt that’ll last long.

EDIT, TWO MONTHS LATER: I forgot to update my own blog. My entry was “Lonely Fortress” – check out some of the winners, there were several brilliant games produced in this contest.

Also check out my trivia post over on the Ludum Dare site, which has some anecdotes about the weekend.

Wrapping up LEGO Clone Wars

The big crunch to finish LEGO Star Wars III: the Clone Wars is almost over. All the critical stuff seems good and solid, and we’re down to mopping up occasional glitches in what has turned out to be Traveller’s Tales’ biggest game ever. I’m told it takes the QA team about 26 hours to complete a 100% playthrough, and these are guys who’ve been playing it full-time for months already. There is a LOT of cool content. I’ll post a reminder when it’s in the shops…

And with that, I have a little spare time again…most of which I plan to spend with my sorely neglected family – but once my little girl is in bed and my wife is roaming the Mojave Wasteland picking off Fiends with her sniper rifle, I can spare some time for my own little side projects.

I’ve spent a few pleasant evenings getting to grips with Blender and Unity3D recently, and it feels good to be creating stuff of my own again. I’ve got a couple of little web projects I’m developing just for practice, and a handful of more ambitious ideas that tie in with the world of Voidships. Looking forward to a very creative year…

LEGO Indiana Jones 2 released today

This is the latest game that I worked on, in a limited capacity – I did some of the boss levels, which we haven’t done before in a LEGO game…not on this scale, anyway. This game is the first outing for our new split-screen tech, which I think is brilliant. It’s also got vastly improved vehicle physics, and a nifty level editor. One of the early reviews criticises the editor for not allowing you to make levels that look like the ones ingame, which made me laugh…and grind my teeth, metaphorically speaking. Some people still seem to think game development is a breeze and we spend all our time just playing around.

See what the press think overall at MetaCritic. Not many reviews up yet but that will change. The Guardian gave it 5 stars, so I hope that one gets included. I suspect we’ll get the usual mixture of “Meh” from the hardcore gamers and “Woot!” from the casual sector.

I’m certainly enjoying it, perhaps because I wasn’t on the project from the very beginning. There’s loads of levels I didn’t play myself during development, and the cutscenes keep making me laugh out loud. Definitely one to be proud of.