Game Making Blooper: Nasud’s Bloody Scooting

I mentioned it on our Facebook page, but in case you don’t follow us on there here’s the story…

You see, I’d just wanted to give everyone an idea of how making games works sometimes.
One of the changes we’ve made for Monster: DC is a minor visual one, but it was important to us.
After the final boss battle we had wanted the boss to wander away from the battle wounded, leaving a trail of blood behind him. But we hadn’t had enough time to get the blood trail to work properly before the original release date.
We’ve implemented it now for the Director’s Cut, but when we were doing it I’d had some trouble getting it to work right.
So, I made an empty chamber to test the feature in. This was attempt #8, and it gave us the information we needed to make things work. However it had its own humorous bug to tweak out, too.

Just one of the many implementations we’ve had to debug.


Game Release: A Desperate Mother’s Love

As I’ve been mentioning on social media for a while now, we have submitted a game for the IGMC 2015 contest.  The game is a prequel to the one we released for the WAG Challenge, In Over Their Heads.  BTW, you can watch about a minute of the opening in a Let’s Play style video, being played by a Jupiter Hadley.

The IGMC game is called A Desperate Mother’s Love.  The story follows Roy, the detective from In Over Their Heads, earlier in his career when he is hired by a Hispanic woman to recover her kidnapped daughter.  A pretty simple job, just trade the ransom money for the girl.  But there’s a catch!  The mother borrowed the money from the mafia and can’t pay it back, so Roy has to get the girl…then track the kidnapper and get back the money.

Roy decides to hire some help, but in 1930 USA the only people he can find willing to work for the limited pay he’s offering is an unemployed university graduate, Angie, and a down-on-her-luck former socialite, Vonnie.  Roy quickly begins to realize that there’s more to the story than he’s being told.

With two endings an a few branching decisions in between, there’s some replay value, just like In Over Their Heads.  The game’s available for download from the contest site that I’ll link to again, for good measure, and of course it’s available for free.

A couple of our favorite voice actors returned to help out on this project, Cary and Sara, whom you may remember as Yachiro and the Narrator from the Audio Trailer for the first story in Escort.

If you feel up to it, go to the contest page and give us a vote (requires registering an account), play the game a bit, and comment on it a bit.



BTW, the anniversary was good.  We went for a little dinner cruise on the river.  The food was good, the sights were see-worthy (haha, get it?), and the company was spectacular!

In Over Their Heads Released For Wag Challenge!

Remember all the comments we made about the Wag Challenge this past month?  Well we entered it and are awaiting the judging process now.  If you’re interested in seeing what we managed to accomplish in a month’s time of game-making, take a gander on right here.  The game is called In Over Their Heads.


The game is a bit of a 1930s detective story and plays about 10-20 minutes.  There are 4 branches through the game that culminate in one of two different endings; a good ending and a bad one.  Don’t worry, if you get the bad one the ending credits have a subtle (subtle like a hammer to the skull) clue about how to get the better ending.

Hope you folks enjoy it!


Wag Challenge: In Over Their Heads

Remember the game that the Wife kept mentioning all month for why I was so scarce around here?  Well that was the Write A Game Challenge put on by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).  The goal was to make a game in 30 days, that centered on writing.  Only the writing will be judged for the game.  You were supposed to match a theme, too; the theme being “Down The Rabbit Hole”.  The game’s goal was to be 10-20 minutes long.

I dragged out an old game idea I’d toyed with but never been able to make into anything about a 1930’s detective who gets caught up in an occult plot to summon demons and such.  I figured that was a pretty good interpretation of going down the rabbit hole.  The challenge also had three sub-themes that you could try to weave into the story: Mistaken Identity, Empathy, and Birth.  I really didn’t utilize much of the sub-themes, although you could argue the demon summoning could be construed as ‘Birth’.

Anyway, the game is called In Over Their Heads.  It’s about a twenty minute play through, maybe a little less if you find the book quickly in the shop.  It’s got multiple endings and a few interactive choices in its short play time.  It is also free and you can pick it up by clicking on the title picture below.

So if you’re interested in checking it out, give it a shot.



A Wild Trailer Appears!

I made a pretty rough version of a trailer for Monster: Director’s Cut.  And I figured that since I haven’t said much about it on the site, here, (been talking about it pretty regularly on our Facebook page) I’d put the trailer up here.

Basically it is the original game, Monster.  But it’s going to be fully voiced, the combat system will have a few adjustments, and we’re planning to put Developer’s Commentary into it, in case you’ve ever been curious as to what we do.

So, without further ado…here’s the trailer:


Dynasty Heroes Developer Commentary Part 3 Is Up!

Like the title suggests, part 3 of our developer commentary is up.  Check it out…


Nic3Ntertainment Presents: Monster!

Well, I had hoped to get the first video of Monster’s Developer Commentary up and viewable before we released the game, but you fine folks have been waiting long enough.  And I figured I’m not going to get anything accomplished this week because of my birthday, anyway (and the first legitimate day off I’ve had in about a month, no less), so I figured I’d just go ahead and give Monster a birthday release.


Monster is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl, Mora, who was abandoned by her abusive father at the age of ten.  She is a Summoner, a person with the ability to reach into the spirit realm and manifest creatures of mythology, such as Minotaurs, Genies, Nymphs, and Dryads, to do her bidding.

When the century-long peace on her home continent shatters with the western kingdom of Zapad invading Mora’s home kingdom of Stredni, Mora realizes that her status as a Summoner, which has made her an outcast her entire life, will now make her a beloved hero!  She gathers up a crew of powerful creatures and heads out to stop the invasion and put an end to Zapad’s plans for war.

But with every corpse she casually passes by, she gets one step closer to the truth.  In the end you, the player, must decide who or what really is a Monster.


It’s free, so click on the tab at the top of page labeled Monster, or just click on the title image in this post to go to GameJolt and download it.  It’s a JRPG-style game filled with humor, sorrow, loss, and it has a female protagonist to boot.

Monster is a game about a young woman, created by a young woman (my wife, Mimi).  So give it a try and enjoy the story, the fully voiced scenes in the last half of the game, and play through to the ending.

Thanks for coming, and thanks for playing!


Game Dev: Character Development for Parody

Now that Dynasty Heroes has been released I figured I’d do another of these Game Development posts.  This time we’ll be talking about some of the things I touched on in my Developer Commentary videos on YouTube.  One of the things that we worked on a lot for this project was the character development.  As with any parody, we were working with established characters, in this case from Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).

Dealing with any parody of RTK, though, is a pro/con situation because there are already so many different takes on the original.  Look at our main character, Xuande, and all of his different characterizations, alone:

Picture based on the original story:

Xuande, painted during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Xuande, painted during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

For reference, this is what we went with for Xuande:


So…how did we get from the Tang dynasty painting to Dynasty Heroes’ version of Xuande?

Well, the first thing we had to do was simplify the names.  You see, in China everyone has a thousand and one frickin’ names!  Our main character’s real name is 劉備.  But unless you actually read Traditional Chinese characters, that means nothing to you.  So you translate it to English, called Romanization; and you’ve got a dozen different ways to Romanize the name.  Liu Pei, Lou Pei, Liu Bei, etc.  We always go with the Hanyu Pinyin style, by the way.  So that would be Liu Bei, and since Asian cultures put the family name first, that equates to Bei of the Liu family.

But Liu Bei also several other names; his courtesy name is Liu Xuande, or just Xuande.  His posthumous name was Zhaolie.  As king he was known by his title, Hanzhong-wang (King of Hanzhong), his posthumous title was Shuhan Zhaolie Huangdi (Zhaolie, the Emperor of Shu-Han), or even by the title of Xianzhu (First Sovereign).

So as you can see, it can get kind of difficult in remembering even who you’re writing.  So our first step was to simplify the names.  We decided everyone would be known by their Courtesy Names.  This simplified the names to a single name, instead of two names for each character, and gave a bit more room for uniqueness.  You figure that even Mimi can’t always remember the difference between Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan, but Yuanrang and Miaocai are a lot easier to tell apart.

With all the names figured out we then had to determine what influences we would parody and how we would turn the character into our own.  We’ve been talking about Xuande, so let’s continue to look at his progress.  There are several versions we could draw from…


Originally the story began as a straight, legitimate story, but after the script was started we decided to switch everything to a parody.  As a result we decided that somebody in the parody had to not be in on the joke; that was Xuande.  He was written to specifically be the straight man of the joke.  So we decided that making him physically look out of place would be funny, so we decided to dress him anachronistically by putting him in Heian era Japanese clothing.  This parodies two things:

1. The fact that a lot of Americans don’t realize that Japan and China have different cultures.

2. The fact that the straight man is so out of place in the story of the joke, so he’s incredibly out of place in his clothing.  He lives around 200, China; his clothes come from around 900, Japan.

Another point we took was that KOEI has been basing their renditions of Xuande (Liu Bei) on the younger years of his life, lately, making him more youthful and androgynous.  So we made him a bishy pretty-boy.  We also wanted him to have kind of an annoyed look.  And, ultimately, we wind up with this…



BTW, Developer Commentary Video Part 2 is up, as well.

NIC3NTERTAINMENT Pesents: Dynasty Heroes!

All right folks, not only is it official that the wife and I are now running our own game development company called NIC3NTERTAINMENT, but we are finally able to put up the first of our two projects to be released: Dynasty Heroes!


As mentioned before, it is free, so give it a download and play it.  You can find it, along with the cast and crew behind it, by clicking on the page tab at the top of the page labeled Dynasty Heroes.  Or if you can’t wait, clicking on that picture will take you to the free mediafire download.

We also have a ‘Let’s Play’ on our YouTube channel that discusses some of the hidden references and in-jokes of the game, along with some developer commentary recorded by yours truly.

So give the game a quick once-through, or a two- or three-through since there are multiple endings, head over to the DickJutsu Youtube Channel to watch some commentary, and make sure to share our work, and comment on it in the Dynasty Heroes page.  It’s a quick play, being about an hour in length.


Hey, you can’t beat a free game, right?

Game Dev: Title Screens

Since we’re all patiently waiting for me to finish the touch-up work on Dynasty Heroes and Monster, I figured I would let you all in on one of the processes of Game Development that I like to call:

Temporary Art Assets!


These are files that you use in place of finished art in the game.  Then you just name the finished art, when it’s completed, the same thing and upload it into your development program or library folder (depending on what program or coding you’re using), and ta-da, it magically replaces the temporary assets.

To give you a step-by-step, uhh, -ish example of how this works, I’ll walk you through how I did the Dynasty Heroes Title Screen.  First we started off with a picture of the title screen that we wanted to pay homage to, the background for the character select screen of the old arcade game Dynasty Wars.


Pretty nifty, right?  So we size that to our needs and throw a pretty generic title on it, then call it DH-Title.png (for Dynasty Heroes Title Screen, get it?).  We wind up with this in our game when it goes out to testers:


Pretty simple, right?  The title is green, because that’s the main character’s associated color.  The reason the title in Chinese is on the right is in homage to Koei’s Dynasty Warriors series, which always had the pictographic characters for the Japanese title (Shin Sangoku Musou) on the right side of its titles.  By the way, the Chinese characters are Chao Dai Ying Xiong.  So we’ve got a pretty nifty looking title screen, albeit a little rough-looking, for all of about 30 minutes of work, maybe less.

But it’s still a copyrighted image, so we can’t actually use what we’ve made.  But we have a good idea of what we want.  In the original picture we have, from left to right, the equivalents of our characters Yide, Xuande, Yunchang, Zilong, and a character that won’t appear in our game, Kongming; but Kongming was, historically, an advisor to Xuande so Bogui takes his place in our game.

And none of that last line made any sense to you, because you haven’t played it yet and don’t know who anybody is.  Uhh, moving on…

We then hire an artist to make us some real art, that artist happened to the same one who made all of our battle art, Rich Graysonn.  And in case we have to release without Rich’s art, since we were on a deadline originally, we made a new set with the art we had gotten from our portrait artist, Sketoart (Farid).  And by we, I totally mean I threw them all in GiMP and made, well, this…


Is it just me, or does Yide (the guy in the red cap) look like he’s shyly hiding behind Xuande (the guy in the front)?

We then made up a new title panel and put that over top of the picture to arrive at this terrifying destination (along with some spacing reassignments):


Now instead of Yide hiding, it’s Bogui (the older guy in orange) hiding.

And there we have it, we have a temporary art asset that, worst case scenario, we can use if the game has to ‘ship’ (a figurative term, since there are no physical copies of the game).  But remember, that our deadline issue is solved (bleh), so we had more than enough time to get all of our art assets from our artist friend(s).  Rich made us this:


Not quite a perfect homage, but it gets the point across and still has a similar motif to it.  With a base we have our artist a few more fine touches to it and we get this dandy picture…



So now we have a cool picture with an awesome fire effect.  But we still need it to say what we’re playing.  So we throw together a title panel, that really doesn’t do the professional artist’s work justice I admit, and we wind up with our final version of the title screen!


We then rename that picture as DH-Title.png and put it in the folder with all of our game’s art assets, effectively replacing the second picture, which had already replaced the original picture that we couldn’t use for copyright reasons.  And ta-da, we have a title screen.

We did the same thing for all of the character portraits.  The villain, Zhongying, was actually the first portrait to be finished.  So we just made a dozen copies of his portrait and renamed each copy as one of the other characters’ names.  Then when each of the other characters, in turn, had their portraits finished by Farid we just resized them and replaced the original portrait of Zhongying with the new picture.

This meant that we didn’t have to wait for the art to be finished before we could continue the development.  And that’s what Temporary Art Assets in game development are really for.

Hopefully my next post will be announcing the game’s release, right?  Either way, I’ll try to make a few more posts about the development process.  And as we work on our next project, Possession, I’ll try to somewhat regular updates and insights on how we make it.