Game Jam : Emergence

Three weeks ago I took part in a game jam in Paris. Organized by several association, it was the first time I assisted a game jam physically, and not in a distance. I participated to several LudumDare, but it was always through the net.

Being with several other people in the same room all working on a video game is really different. As you know that other people are also struggling hard trying to make something, anything. It is a boost in motivation.

The theme was : Emergence. (Some more information here) I found this quite challenging, and I teamed up with another developer and with started working on some kind of RTS. The main idea was to have an army in which you control only the officers, and the common soldier only follow simple orders the player can gave them at their creation. For exemple : if the soldier on my right is a swordsman, then I walk behind him.

In the end, we weren’t able to create something playable. But it was fun nevertheless. I will probably do it again next time. Hoping this time to to better :D

Here is the link toward the official website of the main organizer of this game jam.

Rumors of war – Post mortem

According to my deadline, the development of the project Rumors Of War is now ended.

Rumors of war is a visual novel set in a post-apocalyptic world. It is in the same universe as Dark Horse, Dead City. (I made a trailer for it)

Intended from the start to be a short project, the main objective was to get back into the Unreal Engine and try new stuff. At the same time, my brother, who is a student in graphic design, wanted to work on a video game in order to gain some experience. So I proposed working on a visual novel together.

In order to not be stuck in the infinite mud of unfinished project, we agreed to start working on the first act of the game, and if it goes well, going onto the next act. The deadline was set to the 3rd of may, and we started around the first week of March. Leaving us a little less than a month to do something.


In the end, it didn’t go very well, the characters designs were not ready in time, I spent too much time on creating placeholders for the characters, I also wasted a lot of time making some 3D level in order to replace the 2D background.

But, my objectives were mostly completed. Regarding the programming, I had something functional, and I could go back into the blueprint (Unreal Engine scripting tool). As a bonus I wrote some texts for my characters. It was fun.

How does it works?

It is simply based on an integer going up each time the player push a key. Depending on this integer, a switch would launch the different events. Here what an event looks like :


A first node set the correct sprites, then the text is selected from the data table and the final node display the text on the screen.

To display the different sprites I simply used a camera and 2 sprites (one for the character on the left, the other on the right), each sprites are modified following the progress of the player on the event. I am not using any animation. I have a sprite for each emotion (angry, smile, talk, talk with a smile, etc…) and for each event I set the correct sprite at the correct slot.



Did you write all the text directly in the editor?

Nope, Unreal Engine comes with a nice features : the data tables. They are some kind of structured array who can extract data from a csv file. First I created in C++ the structure I needed for my script. 

Then I wrote the csv file with the name of the id of the text, the text, actor and mood.


I created a new data table based on the csv file.

And In order to get the data, the native function : GetDataTableRow give a StoryData, a special array containing all the information from one row of the csv file. It can be extracted and used as a normal array.


Apart from reading in a csv file, what did you learn?
Saving and loading! It was the hardest part. Usualy I push the saving system to the end of a development, but this time I wondered how to handle it with the unreal engine. There is still some confusion, but I managed to save and load a character progression through the event (Well, it was only saving an Integer, but it is a start :) )


Anything non-programming?

Absolutely! I think it was one of my better planned work. I was intended to work with several people, so I tried to set up a good work environment.

I worked in sprint. Each sunday I would set my goal for the next week. At the end of the week/sprint I go through what worked, what didn’t and then I plan the next week depending on that. I used Trello organize the task. This is a good tool easy to use and to read.

I also wrote a lot of documentation on googledrive, about the lore, the characters, the script, etc…


In conclusion :

Project state : Dropped – Programing objective complete
Skills acquired :

  • Sprites : extracting sprites from a texture, manipulation.
  • Save/Load system
  • Datatable : creating dataTable using csv files, manipulation

It was a nice project, even though the result is not here, I’m quite happy :D

WeekOfAwesome – Entry 01

In a precedent article I said that I am part of the GameDev community. And not long ago a Gamejam was announced! I took this opportunity to ask Armand, a friend also fond of video game development, to join me on this trip. This jam will last an entire week, and the theme is :

Toys are alive!

David : Midnight GMT + 5… It’s 18h over there right?
Armand : It’s the other way around. And you also have to add another hour.
D. : Oh. So 6. Like 6 in the morning?
A. : Yes.
D. : …

Early morning, next day.

Computer : bip…twuuuuuh. Didum!
D.: And the theme is…
A. by mail : Hey! Did you see the theme?
D. : I did.
A. by mail : So, inspired?
D. : Just let me go to work, wake myself on the way, and I will send you by mail some ideas.

Evening, still the same day.

At the end of the day, we had the base concept done. We settled on a puzzle/strategy game. There are part of toys falling out of a flying factory in the sky and the player as to get those part to create toys. As soon as a toy is ready he go straight to the attack of the enemy base.

This is, at least, the base of the concept. There is some twists, like the possibility to create different toys by using different parts, or creating some kind of spell cards, etc…

There is still a lot of issue to answer first, but for now…Prototyping time!

A. : Assembled toys. Can we have Flying T-Rex with a bazooka?
D. : ..We’ll see what we can do about that.

Two characters

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how a character is defined. There is the way s/he looks, how s/he act, her/his thoughts, etc… But more important is her or his link to other characters.

It struck me in games like the Last of Us with the synergy between Elie and Joel, or in Portal (1 and 2).

I based one of my project on this idea. Characters having a synergy between them, acting on their own because they care or hate another character. This project was a tactical RPG with modern firearm. And like the series of Valkyria Chronicles, enemy could shoot you if you enter their field of view.

As I was designing this, I imagined a young girl, crouched behind a crate. In front of her an enemy’s machine gun ready to shoot him. But the player didn’t saw the machine gun and he recklessly send one of his marksman, a young boy right in front of the machine gun. But the moment he is about to be shot, the young girld grab him and pull him under cover! She has no action point left, it’s not her turn, and yet she acted. Because she cared about the young boy.

I really wanted to implement this mechanism, but what is more frustrating that a soldier who doesn’t listen to orders? If it seems fun, engaging, it may be just annoying gameplay wise.

But still, I’d really love to put it in a game someday.