Game development personal history

Old Joystick

Inspired by good music, some cigarettes, a perfect incense and a glass of late harvest sweet muscatel wine I gonna post a resume of my history in game development.

I got involved with games as everyone: playing. In 2001 I started to work with my brother at Ene Solutions Digital Design  coding little games for promotional purposes. Those games were coded using Macromedia Flash and Macromedia Director (now both are supported by Adobe). I’ve coded three dozens of games in 2 years, along the research of technologies and development of some institutional multimedias.

In middle of 2003 we started a small game project that was to end in six months. This project was an adaptation of an educational board game developed by a third party to an casual game, the aim was to use rendered images and Director to build the whole game. After the fourth month we had a fully functional game (and I’ve coded it alone), but it had serious performance issues. The two following months were just code optimization to make it work. After that time, the game was running in the 14 computers that we had in the company, including a Pentium 233MHz with 128 MB of ram. The problem was that the map took about five minutes to load. And amazingly (or following the Murphy’s law) it had problems on the client’s computer. Lingo is the most empirical programming language created by the mankind.

In the beginning of 2004 I started to code it using allegro for game controlling and OpenAL for audio. The game coding got stuck when the menus and other parts of GUI were being developed, and at this time the company began a little crisis. In the second quarter of that year I joined the Eleven Cells (R.I.P.) crew to help with a huge game called Kyros (you can see some screenshots at Frustaci’s site). The crew there helped to finish the game in three months using the PopCap’s SexyApp Framework, the team for this project was just me and Gilberto Veiga (damn! I lost his site link).

With the game polished and finished all the team started to research technologies to make the Kyros game. On that moment we chosen the Cipher Game Engine to make the game and our proof of concept was the creation of a e-business card using the engine, the intention was to distribute copies in E3. Its a pity that we finished the coding in the last day of the convention, and we had to integrate Ageia PhysiX (now its NVIDIA PhysiX) into the engine. The images were great, I had to code a exporter for Maya to the Cipher’s model format, supporting animations, bones, UV mapping, vertex animations, and a lot of other fancy stuff. The audio was produced by me and Rodolfo Rigo Calabrezi, but the team was really bored with the engine that had creepy performance and almost zero features.

Searching for other technologies we found the LithTech Jupiter Engine that was an affordable choice and had all the features that we needed. With the tons of features we had tons of confuse and undocumented code, but a little bit of “neuron over-clocking” solved our problems. We coded the main gameplay, the networking optimizations (for internet playing), the servers (lobby, store, profile, authentication and update servers), made the arts and got into closed beta. The game was 85% complete, we were missing just some content and fine tunning, but the hosting company sunk… and ElevenCells sunk with it hosting company. The project was lost and I was lost.

In the last months of ElevenCells work I made some freelance jobs for Abdução, for a nice platform game that they were developing. I delivered ODE integration with GameBryo, lipsync using MagPie for the same engine and a AI waypoint editor. I stopped to work for them when ElevenCells closed and I had to work at the other side of the city with corporate coding.

When I was working for corporations I started to create a Middleware integrating PopCap’s Framework with ODE and HGE’s particle editor. The name of this project is Sphi as a homage to my daughter. Unfortunately the Middleware was too big and it wasn’t that easy to use. After this Middleware I stopped with games until 2009 when I was in a hotel at Rio de Janeiro with nothing to do and a notebook. That was the beginning of my latest try… a little indie game conceived with a start, a middle and an end. For this little game I am using HGE and Chipmunk for 2D physics.

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