Eat. Sleep. Indie. is a small game development team founded by myself (Al Ridley) and my daughter (Zoey). With more than a decade's worth of game development & testing experience, we recently combined our efforts as Lead Developer & Lead Play-tester to help bring Creative Storm's title Age of Gladiators II to Steam. We have both been holding controllers and sitting at keyboards since we were old enough to hold up our heads, and we bring that passion for gaming and a keen dedication to any project we work on.
I have over 2 decades worth of experience as a freelance programmer and almost 10 years experience with Unity and game development. I began my freelance career programming data-driven web applications using Coldfusion & PHP, and following over a decade of success, I decided to cash in all my chips and begin a life-long dream of developing video games for a living.
Work over the last several years has ranged from having a small part in games - setting up Steam SDK, building multiplayer frameworks, etc. - to Lead Developer for Creative Storm Entertainment's sequel Age of Gladiators II. The development team was small and so my responsibilities were numerous, ranging from rigging character models to programming AI for the arena.
The first thing I want to share that was completed prior to my recent social media and devlog hiatus is an alternate firing mode for the rocket launcher; or, more accurately, an alternate type of ammo. This new rocket consists of five fireworks which, after a short distance, separate from one another and fly off on their own random trajectory. Any fireworks that collide with an obstacle or zombie cause an explosion similar to the original rocket, and any that reach a specific altitude explode into a burst of color mid-air.
Don't let her small frame or single-digit age fool you; Zoey is a pro at finding gameplay bugs. Possessing a knack for attempting to do things in ways that most others wouldn't, her contributions to the work at ESI have been paramount in ensuring a top-quality game is delivered.
Her love of video games began before the age of 2 when she would join me at my desk, grab the mouse and wander the world of Revery. Since then she has helped prepare several projects for release, including a children's book about the Forbidden City in China and receiving her first game development credit with the release of Age of Gladiators II.
For those of you who have visited this devlog in the past, you can likely see why it is I haven't posted any updates to my zombie shooter in a while. With my new portfolio site up and live, and everything I own that isn't used on a regular basis boxed and ready to go, I am very excited to be well on my way to moving back out West and continuing my freelance gamedev career through the 2020's.
Felt like trying out a new weapon this afternoon. I'm still back-and-forth on whether I will have melee weapons as an option in this game, but it's always fun to test things out since you never know where inspiration can come from.
The other night I had gone through the ridiculously-long list of asset store packages that I have purchased over the years to see if there were any I had forgotten about that could be leveraged in this project. That hunt is what led to my inclusion of the compass system, and I had forgotten that I'd also imported a dynamic bone package with the intention of using it for hairstyles. After work tonight I opted for some quick Blender work to wrap up my day, and I have now created two simple rigs for the above hairstyles. I will likely leverage this system more in the future, but this is the first time I have used this particular package since learning how to create simple rigs in Blender, so I am pretty happy that I got everything to come together without much fuss at all.
I set up an electric scooter using my vehicle system during my lunch break today and it turned out better than I thought it would given the short amount of time I had.
Today was a long day full of meetings and it's looking like my free time to work on this as much as I've been able to recently will soon be coming to a close in favor of freelance work. I managed to get a few things in place between bouncing from Discord to Zoom to Skype, and wanted to share before I close up the home office early; with contract work being very likely in the next day or two, I am going to take a break from game development before I end up burning myself out just before starting a new project.
This latest gameplay footage is a culmination of everything that's been done these past few weeks, which includes the new day/night cycle, character equipment and armor, weapon mods, and even the first in-game achievement.
It's the first chance I've had to work on my zombie shooter in a week, and I decided to create some simplified zombies to see to exactly how many of them my pathfinding setup can handle if I kept the basic concepts for killing them in place. I was able to spawn 600 capsule "zombies" and play the game with no issues while maintaining 60 FPS consistently, which gives me a lot of hope going forward since the largest performance hit by far is currently the number of skinned mesh renderers on screen at any given time. My current max while maintaining 60 FPS on my dev machine is around 200 if post-processing and real-time shadows are enabled using the standard render pipeline; in other words there are still numerous ways for me to make this project more performant as I progress.
I figured I'd share a longer gameplay video of the day/night cycle while I am waiting for my lunch to finish heating up. Nothing new here, just an extended version of what was posted after my dev session last night. I have a feeling that this feature is going to be in the final version, so I can at least progress forward with confidence that time spent on polishing it up won't be time that's wasted.
It was a quiet, rainy day here today, so I decided to maintain momentum from yesterday and began work on the day/night cycle I had been putting off since I first tested out the flashlight earlier this month. This is a modified version of the day/night cycle I had created for an RPG concept a while back, and although it needed some serious tweaking to get it in place and working for a third-person view (versus the original top-down view), I feel like it was worth the effort. This video features a short, 2-minute cycle so that I could record a quick a video before bed, but it's pretty close to how the final version would look if it does end up making the cut.
My current side project, Apolycalypse is a third-person zombie shooter with a focus on dismembering the undead. With 30 playable characters, gun mods that can be combined into thousands of combinations, and a slew of different zombie types, this project makes full use of the physics engine to produce some body-part-flying mayhem.