Sunday, July 2, 2017

49. The Dream Build Play Game Development Competition is Back!!!

       My wish has been granted! The Dream Build Play Competition has returned. Only this time, you are not bound by the XNA Framework. Whether you are a “noob” or a veteran, all game developers are welcome. Over a year ago, on my FAQ page on question number sixteen; I proposed that Microsoft should revive the Dream Build Play competition for independent developers for the Xbox One platform. This strategy would help Microsoft gain more support from indies out there making games. This time, the competition is open to all developers, working solo or in teams up to seven people. As an added bonus, developers can use whatever tool, engine, framework or even their own engine.  The only requirement is that is must target the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform.

       The Microsoft Dream Build Play 2017 Challenge starts on June 27, 2017, and ends on December 31, 2017. Microsoft Corporation will post the names of the winning Teams online at The list will remain posted for one month after the challenge. For more in-depth information you can also head over to Simon Jackson’s blog or his article on codeproject.  Also, to learn more about the competition’s humble beginnings, you can read more about it on the Dream Build Play’s Wikipedia page. Microsoft will reward four grand prizes of $225,000. Just like the good old days, Microsoft has divided the prizes up into four winners based on category. There is one grand prize per category just to be clear. Check out the prizes numbered below. 

  1. Cloud-Powered game - $100,000
  2. USD PC game - $ 50,000
  3. Mixed Reality game - $50,000 
  4. Console game - $25,000

Game Entry Requirements 
  • Game Title
  • Windows Store ID: Entry must be submitted and approved in the store but does not need to be publicly available.
  • Game Description: Up to a maximum of 2,000 characters. If pre-existing source code is incorporated into the Game, then this pre-existing source code must be clearly identified in the Game Description and must not infringe on any third-party rights, and must be used in accordance with all applicable licensing and use Official Rules;
  • Game Icon: .jpg format. Cannot exceed a maximum file size of 2MB.
  • Screen Shots – five (5): In .jpg format, which captures the play and style of the Game as accurately as possible and contains no unfinished artwork or graphical artifacts? Each screenshot cannot exceed a maximum file size of 2MB.
  • Game Video: Depicts the Game’s functionality and gameplay
  • Hosted on a publicly accessible, no password protected website. Game video is subject to the Official Rules of use mandated by the website where hosted.
  • Business Plan: Description of your plans on how you’d get your project to market. Up to a maximum of 6,000 characters.

       Also, provides various downloads and code samples to help you jumpstart your own Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and desktop apps. Thinking about entering? Then check out the following links posted below to apply. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

48. CodePlex is Shutting Down


       CodePlex is shutting down after nearly 11 years since it launched in 2006. This is sad news for me because a tremendous amount of XNA resources are found on CodePlex and many of my links on my XNA Survival Kit page references to them. I was also able to convert some projects over to MonoGame. So now, I will be working on moving the kit’s links over to my studio’s Indie DB downloads page along with many others. For developers utilizing CodePlex, the news is not entirely bad since many open source projects being shared have migrated over to GitHub. CodePlex has migrated over to GitHub as well. CodePlex will be shutting down completely on December 15, 2017; so I don’t have a lot of time left to gather as much resources as I need from the site. You can find more information here in this blog post.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

47. Art Assets, Projects & More Updates

      Lately, I have been working on quite a bit so in this next blog post, I thought I'd share. Currently I am working on selling T-shirts and creating my online shop. Who is ready for Steel Wear?!! I've also been creating more armor pieces and helmets for character customization. . 

Buzz Lightyear
      The first three screenshots below were captured in-game. This particular set of armor is inspired from Buzz Lightyear, however it is not actually Buzz Lightyear. A simple lighting effect was applied to the light sky-blue ares of the model using the BasicEffect in XNA and MonoGame to make it appear glowing.

Back Bottom View

Desert Tank Train

Custom Indy Car Concept

Indy Car Monster Truck Concept

F1 Hot Rod Concept
      Below are some work-in-progress screenshots of my F1 Hot Rod 3D model. I drew inspiration from the Beck Kustoms F132 hot rod which is also playable in Need for Speed 2015. This model I made has my own touch to it. The spoiler is mounted to twin mini-jet engines in the back. The tires came from one of my 3D monster truck models.

Concept Moon Buggy Rover


Grave Digger
      Below are some screenshots of the monster truck Grave Digger in which I modeled just for fun as fan art. I used the rollcage of one of my earlier 3D monster truck models as the basis. The tire wheels were modeled in SketchUp. I then exported them and imported them into Autodesk Maya 2013 for further touch-up. Then I took pictures of an actual truck tire for texture reference and after creating a UV layout, I then assigned them to a material and applied them to the model. Texturing models has been a long process since I have to find free textures and take pictures for references. To speed things up, I recently acquired a program called Substance Painter. Substance Painter will allow me to paint textures directly on to the model. Its a great program and was used in games such as Horizon Zero Dawn. The textures of the vehicle's body will be removed in-game due to copyright of-course. I will either re-texture the vehicle's body or not give it any.

Bad to the bone for over 30 car is safe against Grave Digger!

MonoGame FPS Starter Kit
      Next up is a screenshot of a basic map I am working on for the first-person shooter starter kit in I am creating MonoGame. This was simply an earlier design and just a start. The map will most likely change and evolve over time.  

      This screenshot above is a work-in-progress sniper gun model. The design is inspired by a nerf gun my friends and I had. 

Race Car Starter Kit
       I've been working on a stater kit to help people jump start their race car game. Here are some work-in-progress screenshots below. 

I've made some minor changes to the main website for Steel Cyclone Studios so far. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

46. Character Armor Customization Part 1

       After accomplish attaching skinned and non-skinned models to the marine, I was able to add armor customization. In the screenshot above, I added a jet-pack and armor inspired by Captain America to the marine. Now players can change the marine's helmet, chest piece, shoulder pieces, thigh pieces, knees, shins, boots, gauntlets and backpacks. Backpacks are divided into 3 categories: wings, jet-packs and capes. There will also be a section called Presets with armor put together prior. The Captain America armor along with his shield is a preset I created for fun. As much fun as character customization is, modeling and creating all the different individual pieces that players can choose from has been very time consuming. So far, I am pleased with the results. This is update is just the beginning so for Part 2, I plan on putting a video together to show the customization in-game. Also, MonoGame 3.6 released not too long ago and is available for download. It was also announced that MonoGame is coming to Nintendo Switch which is awesome! Now developers dedicated to bringing the joys of XNA 4.0 across different platforms have more options thanks to MonoGame. The first titles created in MonoGame will be Matt Thorson's Tower Fall and Celeste & Concerned Ape's Stardew Valley with multiplayer. 

       For the most part, I modeled the helmet SketchUp and then I later exported it and imported the model Autodesk Maya 2013. Next I modeled my headphones in SketchUp to use as the ear protection for the helmet to give it a unique look. After exporting it and importing it in Maya, I changed the color of the ear pieces, deleted the top  part and scaled it down to size it correctly. This gave the helmet a more "tight-fit" appearance. The headphones were modeled to not only serve at the helmet's ear protection but also to establish a communications link. In the screenshot below, I added a microphone on the left earpiece. 

Captain America's Helmet Model Side View

       Thanks for reading and I look forward to posting my next update. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

45. Blood Splatter Test in Starship Troopers?

       This is based off the starter-kit by Hardworker Game Studios which is outdated. I have updated it and re-programmed it in my game engine built upon the XNA 4.0 and MonoGame Fraweworks with the added blood-splatter. It runs on Windows 7, 8 and 10. This program also can run on other platforms supported by MonoGame. The models are simply just a placeholder. This is the beginnings of the AI which is set to simply wander for now. Bounding spheres are attached to the bones of the enemy models for hit detection. The bullets are rendering in a ray-cast. So when the ray intersects the bounding spheres, blood is emitted. Soon, I plan to change it to where the bullets are actual 3D models that will intersect the bounding spheres of the enemies. I have also added audio for the gun-fire. Later I plan to add my physics engine and the animated mutant spider beast models. I did not add my physics engine just yet because the terrain was outdated and I didn't want the player as well as the enemies falling infinitely. Once my physics engine is added, the hit detection will be far more accurate. Hopefully I will have the real-time fur effect implemented on the animated spider beast model soon.

1.Basic Rendering system with basic effect.
2. Particle System.
3. Basic object management.
4. The XNA Terrain Library is outdated so I will add my own terrain from my game engine later
5. The Cyclone Game Engine's XNAnimation Library
6. Anti aliasing 4X
7. Gun-Fire Sound Effect