Saturday, April 5, 2014

You CAN Make a Game!

One of the things I am often amused at is when folks hear I create games on the side, and seem to think that puts me just one step below a rocket scientist. I'm not complaining about getting a little respect, but I think a lot of folks don't realize that the essential tools to creating games are not centered around art and programming, but around story telling and logical thinking.

To make my point a bit clearer, if you haven't already done so, download the Unity3d free version. Install the package. Then put aside about 4 hours to watch and walk through their "Roll a ball" tutorial videos:

http://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/projects/roll-a-ball

When you're done, you should have something that looks a bit like:


You are probably thinking "Sure, but that's not really a game." And indeed I suspect that even as a free game you'd get very little attention. But what may surprise you is how little more it would take to get you to the first level of a game. Starting with this, it took me about two hours to get to the following:


And there was virtually NO programming required to get from the top picture to the bottom. Simply adding some components and free assets, and then playing with placement. You now have something that would be a good first level for a "real" game.

If you look through the Unity Asset store, you will even see starter projects that will let you just tweak and extend engines to easily create car games, adventure games, and more. For a weekend and a couple hundred dollars of assets, or a week or two if you want to do it all yourself, you could have your first simple game ready to go.

It's not likely going to let you create a title that will compete with the AAA releases out there, but it will be enough to help you see how to build something that might.

So if you've had a game idea and thought, "I'd like to create a game, but it would be too hard because I'm not good at X" - well, now you know that shouldn't stop you. Start digging, and let's see what you can come up with!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

What I'm Up To...

Haven't had much to post here for a while. Alta,Texas had a great first few weeks, but was not quite as financially successful as hoped. Which meant the game I was originally planning to finish later in 2013 got shelved. Mainly because I came up with a design I knew I couldn't execute by myself, and that seemed ok when I thought I would have a budget to cover my additional needs.

Instead, I have been working on a somewhat more "immersive" project using Unity to try and give you a VN that's a bit more like a first person shooter crossed with a VN. IOW, you are literally exploring the environment, working through the puzzles as well as interacting with the other characters. I am working with a fairly large "cast" so that is causing some time delays as well.

Nothing really to show as yet, but did want folks to know that while the going is slow, I am still going :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

How the Games you Play affect the Games you Write

While I haven't played all the games in the Civilization series (2, 3, and now 5 and 5 with G&K), I have found that the strategy and "4x" aspect of the series is rubbing off on my planning for the next game I'm working on.

Specifically I am taking things up a notch to go from more of a classic VN to something that is more of a cross between an Adventure game and a Dating Sim. So there will be the planning of your essential resource (your time) to try and raise certain stats (to win the girl or guy you choose), and the partnership you achieve will unlock one of the Adventure paths you are then able to solve. Which should encourage folks to solve multiple paths to unlock the final path that requires several of the other paths to have been solved first. I'm trying to come up with something that isn't too gimmicky to explain how you are able to do that, but I'm sure I'll find something.

Of course the idea here is that if you aren't sure what you should write next, maybe you should take a look at a couple of your favorite games and see if there is some way to do a fresh combination of some of the features from each.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Final Score - Microsoft 0, NaweGR Games 0

As the silence may have clued you in, even with several MS engineers trying to help, it was not possible to get Alta, Texas through the MS Store approval process. No matter how detailed the walkthrough, or how much help was offered by myself or the folks from MS who had contacted me, it still kept coming back to trying to get folks who do not use English as their native tongue to try and understand a game where reading was almost entirely the point.

I'm out my fee to be part of the Windows Store developer account, and I am only comforted by the fact that folks who have apps in the store keep telling me how little they are making. IOW, it's not like getting in would have made THAT much difference to my bottom line.

Time to turn my attention to an Android port methinks.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alta, Texas - Desktop Version - For Windows, Mac OS/X, and Linux

Full/Paid Versions of Alta, Texas

Purchase for Linux        

Purchase for Mac 

Purchase for Windows


Alta, Texas is a Visual Novel/Game about the fictional town of the same name, and the University situated there. Explore the town, meet some of your fellow students and other citizens, and maybe even fall in love! A few screenshots are below:

Your Childhood Friend
The Local Cafe
Your School
The University Cafeteria
The Local Bookstore
And the Mysterious Art Student



























Purchase for Linux             

Purchase for Mac              

Purchase for Windows



Download is approximately 100 MB. Please make sure your data or internet plan allows for large downloads!

If you are unsure about your compatibility, PLEASE try the demo version first:
http://nawegr.blogspot.com/2013/01/alta-texas-demo-version-for-windows-mac.html

If the demo runs, you should have no issues running the full version.


If you like the game, help me by sharing it.

  • Make some noise: tell your friends or anyone you think might be interested in “Alta, Texas”.
  • Use the share buttons in social media if you feel like it.
  • A few sincere words: I am always trying to improve. I'm always interested in receiving your opinions and will take them into account for future projects.


System Requirements:

Windows -

  • 1366 x 768 Resolution or Higher (may run on lower resolutions but not guaranteed)
  • Windows 7 or 8 (may run on Vista but not guaranteed)
  • 2 GB of RAM

Macintosh -

  • 1366 x 768 Resolution or Higher (may run on lower resolutions but not guaranteed)
  • OS/X 10.4 or Higher (may run on 10.3.9 but not guaranteed)

Linux -

  • 1366 x 768 Resolution or Higher (may run on lower resolutions but not guaranteed)
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • Distributions - Has been tested on the latest Versions of Ubuntu and Mint. May work on others.

Alta, Texas - Demo Version for Windows, Mac OS/X, and Linux

Demo Versions of Alta, Texas

Alta, Texas is a Visual Novel/Game about the fictional town of the same name, and the University situated there. Explore the town, meet some of your fellow students and other citizens, and maybe even fall in love! A few screenshots are below:

Your Childhood Friend
The Local Cafe
Your School
The University Cafeteria
The Local Bookstore
And the Mysterious Art Student


























Download the Free Demo from any of these links:

Linux Demo (MediaFire)       Linux Demo (Ge.tt)
Mac Demo (MediaFire)          Mac Demo (Ge.tt)
Windows Demo (MediaFire)  Windows Demo (Ge.tt)


Please note that by default both the Music and the Voice volumes are set to MAX. That may make it harder to hear some of the voices. Go to the Preferences and play with the sliders to find the combination that works best on your system.

System Requirements:

Windows -

  • 1366 x 768 Resolution or Higher (may run on lower resolutions but not guaranteed)
  • Windows 7 or 8 (may run on Vista but not guaranteed)
  • 2 GB of RAM

Macintosh -

  • 1366 x 768 Resolution or Higher (may run on lower resolutions but not guaranteed)
  • OS/X 10.4 or Higher (may run on 10.3.9 but not guaranteed)

Linux -

  • 1366 x 768 Resolution or Higher (may run on lower resolutions but not guaranteed)
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • Distributions - Has been tested on the latest Versions of Ubuntu and Mint. May work on others.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It was freezing early this week in SA - In related news...

While I still don't hold a Magic Ticket, it was rather a cold day in Texas last week, and some folks from MS did reach out to me to try and work through the Windows Store issues. Without getting into the testing issue, they did agree that except for one small item that normally wouldn't have kept something from being approved, they couldn't find anything wrong with the app as it stood. Not a full apology, but as much as I can reasonably expect.

More to the point, they did give me some suggestions that should not only help get the app through the store review process this next time, but that I feel are actual improvements to the game. So I am making those changes, and hope to have good news to report in about a week or so on both the App and the Desktop front.

The two versions of the game will still be a little different. The app version will be a little shorter, and will not have a couple UI items that are more appropriate for a desktop game. The Desktop version will not have a full Win 8 UI, since it is designed to run on Win 7 as well. I will also have a "demo" version of the Desktop game that covers the first 25% as a free trial, while the app store will only have the full version. Given the differences in how the stores are setup, I think that makes sense as well. There will probably be a slight price difference driven more by the content difference than the other items.

Just wanted to make sure I was keeping folks up to date so that it isn't too big a surprise when I finally get the releases out there :-)