Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back To Work

Merry Christmas to all!

Well, sorry that I am a bit late with it as I went out home for it and had no internet access for about a week. But now I am back to work.

I've been polishing 20 levels in the last couple months and have only 3 left to go. Once that is done, I will be on the "home-run" stretch of developing Silas. Yes, the light at the end of the tunnel.:)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goodbye Fakebook!

I thought I'd post on how I just left Facebook after using it for about 4 years. At first it was pretty cool and a good way to keep track of people, know of parties, and meet others, especially for the single guy. But after a while it started to consume alot of my time, and I always too busy anyways. Besides, I was wondering why I had to hear it was snowing outside by someone else before I even looked. Plus the tons of other useless status updates on there. And on top of that, it always had a "fake" feel to it, out of the 260 freinds on there I only kept up with a few in real life. So I asked myself, what was the point? Why do I need to slave myself to reading pointless status updates, making my own, and all the other crap on there.

So the time-sink is gone, last night I deleted my Facebook. I am enjoying my extra half hour/hour a day of extra time, and my life has become that much more simple. :)

The Silas page is still up as I made a dummy profile. Other than that, everyone can contact me on here, or the forums, or email.

To anyone else considering the same thing, here is a site with tons of people who left it too, their reasons summarize my experience:

And now a picture in the spirit of Freedom!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blast Yo Cannon In Silas

I always liked cannons. They look cool, are heavy, and will kick butt easily. Cannons used to be one of the most feared weapons on the battlefield. So I just had to put one in Silas.

I decided early on that I wanted there to be no aim assistance for the cannon. Instead, you have to rely on your wits and judgment to hit people. However, just one cannon ball can destroy a kart, so it is quite powerful in experienced hands. You can rotate the cannon head, and shoot either metal balls or slime balls. The metal is tough and will penetrate upon impact. Whereas the slime will stick to the ground and eventually fall apart.

You can see the cannon in action in the video below:

Also note in the above video a brand new level called "Barrel Cove". It is an ocean paradise. Each team claims it's own pirate ship as it's own. You must defend your flag within the ship and infiltrate the others. Classic CTF done water style.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Preorder Silas Today!

Silas is now available for preorder for only $9.99 at the official website!

I have always been fueled by passion.
I guess you can say my biggest idols are Blizzard, Nintendo, ID, and Valve. This is because they didn't release games until they were polished and done. So here I am 7 years from starting the game, finally nearing completion. It's been a long journey, but Silas became a huge game with tons of great content. I am nearly done crafting the levels, characters, weapons, and experience for your gaming pleasure. That's why I am proud to announce that Silas is available for Preorder! I plan to release the game in March of 2011.

Reasons to Preorder:

- Only $9.99
- Gain access to the beta in the end of January!
- Instantly download the amazing 27 Song Original Soundtrack done by Loudcore
- Help support the little guy
- Be first in line to play the game upon release in March 2011.
- After the game releases I will support it fully with map packs and many updates
- The gods of Silas will smile upon thee.

Preorder Silas Today! Just click the link below and then click on the "Buy Now" button:

If you never heard of Silas before, and are wonder what the heck it's all about. I can sum it up in a few words. Flight, Combat, Racing. It's for the PC and will offer you many hours of fun. I've added a rundown of it's key features below. However, you can also visit the Official website for all the information.

Key Features:

- Online, LAN, and Offline gameplay
- No DRM
- 20 levels
- 18 weapons each with 2 different functions(feels like 30+ weapons)
- 27 song original soundtrack
- 13 characters
- 10+ different modes(Grand Prix, CTF, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Survival, Pipe Snatch, Online Racing, Mercenary, Time Trail, ect.)
- 24 Achievements
- Plus a bunch of other really cool stuff(Cheats, Museum mode, ect.)
- Roughly 10 hrs of fresh singleplayer gameplay, infinite hours of addictive Online gameplay

Early Gameplay Trailer:

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to let me know what you think. I aim to make Silas one of the best PC games around, so please help support it by tracking, spreading the word, and pre-ordering!

Track This Game on ModDB

Follow Silas at these Sites:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bought DKCR

Currently am playing my way through Donkey Kong Country Returns. And I must say that I am extremely satisfied. It has to be one of the hardest plat-formers I ever played, or possibly the hardest. Which is great since I always loved the difficulty of the original DKC games.

I'm starting world 5 now, and can say that the fourth world kicked my ass many times. I probably lost about 40 lives between the mine cart and barrel blast level alone.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys plat-formers!

Lighting Drifters Plane

I thought I would show everybody how I light the levels in Silas. Before getting started, I model and test the levels to ensure they play really well. Once the models are finalized, the lighting process starts.

Step 1: I place these little yellow lights in 3ds Max. They are omni area lights.

As you may notice, they all have yellow rings around them. This shows me their lighting radius. Past the yellow ring, the light dissipates. You can also choose the color, set how bright they are, and change the shadowing properties. However, in step1 I mainly focus on placing ambient lights that do not produce shadows.

Step 2: Add the lights to the entire level. And set up the shadow lights. These are the lights which produce the shadows for indoor levels. In outdoor levels, I would barely use any lights at all but rather just one main sun.

Step 3: Render and ensure the brightness levels are appropriate. Usually I lower the environment ambiance as whole for a space level like this. I also put lots of small little ambiance lights instead of just one huge one.  In the pictures below, you can the see the 3ds Max renders:

Step 4: Once I am happy with the lighting it's time to export. First I must bake all the lightmaps using a function called "Render To Texture". I then store these lightmaps in a folder on my computer. After this, I re-export the models with thier second uv-coordinates and combine them in another modeling program for final game use.

Step 5: Play and make sure lighting is correct in the game engine:

I hope everyone enjoyed this small lighting tutorial. If you would like more details send me a message and I will try and help you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Silas needs your vote!

Alot of work has been put into Silas over the years. And I hope that you can vote to help ensure a greater future for it!

I could really really use the help of getting into the Top50 in terms of a calling card for digital distribution. As I hope that many players can enjoy Silas, I would like to eventually get on some distribution services. In order to do that, I need your help and support. Silas is a great game with tons of cool content and weapons. And your one vote will really help!

Here is some simple steps to vote for Silas:

1. Register for an ModDB/IndieDB account

2. Sign in your profile

3. Click the "Vote For This Indie" button near the top of our profile, you can find the link below:

Indie of the Year Awards

Please don't vote without an account or without signing in - Guest votes aren't as valuable in the competition.

Thanks so much for your time and support. :)

Track This Game on ModDB

Follow Silas at these Sites:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Step 1. Get Glider Upgrade. Step 2. Fly around and locate opponents. Step 3. Kill them all.

Developing flight in Silas was a really fun and amazing time! I first thought of adding flight into the game about 6 years ago. Many games had flight at that point, but I wanted to do something different. I wanted the player to instantly transform from the ground to flight, and I wanted it to be very fun and easy to control. I also wanted it to contain cool weapons. The glider upgrade was born!

Originally I wanted to add something that looked like a straight up glider with wings made of cloth. But as the game took a sci-fi edge, it ended moving towards a metallic look. It also had to look good on all the different characters I have in the game. I settled on a metallic wing body that snaps onto the kart.

Eventually the weapons were added. A chain-gun to kill those in the air easily. And the ability to drop bombs for killing those on the ground. This was inspired by carpet bombing.

Flight adds an entirely new dynamic to the multiplayer in Silas. Because of flight, turret mode was thought of and implemented! This allows the players on the ground to kill those in the air. Many strategies are available because of the ground-air and air-air dynamics.

You can find the video showcasing the glider below:

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to let me know what you think. I aim to make Silas one of the best PC games around, so please help support it by tracking, spreading the word, and pre-ordering!

Track This Game on ModDB

Follow Silas at these Sites:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brick by Brick

Today I started polishing all the art in the levels of Silas. The reason I am doing this is to make it so all the art is consistent across every level, and each level looks as good as the other. I decided to do all the battle arena's first and then move on to the race tracks. By the time I am done, all the levels will be finalized and ready to showcase. There are 20 levels in all.

This is the floor map of the level I am currently working on, it's called Royal Tomb:

I believe it will take between 2-3 days of work to polish each level.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Driving Techniques In Silas

When I started developing Silas I wanted the movement to be fast and tight. I also wanted to add some unique features like strafing to the kart genre.

My first attempt at movement was using physics. At the time I would simply use wheel constraints and the such to make a kart. This did not work due to the fact that the kart did not handle well enough under great speeds. And I also didn't like how colliding with another player would completely throw you off in a race.

My second attempt was still by using physics, but using forces to guide it. This really sucked though since it felt like a frictionless game and it was even harder to control. Eventually I realized I had to hard-code everything.

So a few years into development, here I was completely coding the movement from scratch. This worked quite well, first I put in the basics, then the hill movement, then the suspension and jumping. The suspension and how jumps worked was actually the hardest and gave me the most trouble. But after many months or work I got it down nearly perfect. It was fast, frantic and tight. This is exactly what I needed.

I would say the most inspiration came from a couple of titles, Mario Kart DS and the original Unreal Tournament. As I always thought these games had really tight movement.

Here are some movement features that make Silas different:

- There are two powerslide levels, blue and purple. Blue takes less time and is less powerful whearas purple is very powerful but hard to get.
- You can strafe easily
- By powersliding and hitting the brake you can turn very sharply
- There are things called jump-pads which launch you in the air
- Two types of ground turbo boosts
- Certain sections of the air have gravity modifiers

Here are some classic kart staples that are in Silas:

- Each character has it's own weight/acceleration/top speed/powersliding/weapons ratio
- You can go forward, backward, turn, powerslide, and hit ramps with ease
- Torque on hills
- Independent suspension on the wheels, which will spring the kart up depending on how high of a jump it has
- Hitting a wall will slow you down a bit and bounce you off
- Hitting another character will help or hurt you more depending on the weight ratio

Here is a youtube video showcasing the movement:

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to let me know what you think. I aim to make Silas one of the best PC games around, so please help support it by tracking, spreading the word, and pre-ordering!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Theres a rumble in the jungle!

I don't know about you guys, but while I am working I am anxiously waiting for the return of one of my favorite video game franchises ever - Donkey Kong Country!

I had always loved this 2d side scrolling series so much. Mostly because It's difficulty and more mature direction were right up my alley. Or maybe it's because its one of the first few games I owned as a child, and I wrapped the shit out of it. Either way, it's gonna rock, cause retro studios is doing the remake which is primed for release the 21st of this month!

The classic SUPERNES game:

Donkey Kong Country Returns:

Probably my favorite of the series was the second one released - Diddy's Kong Quest. But they were all super and formed Rare into a developer I always admired from a young age. They knew how to make a great game, with collectibles, mounting difficulty, style, and sweet music.

Now let's all celebrate with a classic song!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great Support

After posting the new video, it was great to see how many people checked it out in a day! Just want to say thanks, and I will definitely be making many more videos and features to explain all the cool stuff offered in Silas.

Today I am working on finishing the missions 2-6 in the Mercenary mode. The last mission will be a boss battle. I still gotta figured out what it will be about. Now that the structure is in, these missions should piece together quite quickly.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shooting The Rocket Launcher In Silas

I uploaded a video today showcasing the Rocket Launcher in Silas. I want this to be a part of a video series I will be doing on the weapons and their cool functions. Every weapon in Silas has 2 functions, but the Rocket Launcher is special and has 3. Silas has 18 weapons in all.

You can see it in action here:

As you can see from the above videjavascript:void(0)o - the rocket launcher kicks some serious ass.

Rocket Launcher Details:

- First function shoots rockets
- Secondary uses laser guided system to control the trajectories
- Second function shoots torpedos
- Secondary uses laser guided system to control the torpedos

- Damage is area based, meaning one explosion can hurt multiple people at once
- Damage is a high typically takes only a few rockets to kill someone
- Rocket launcher is best against ground targets
- Rocket launcher is decent against air targets, however, you must have a good aim for this

Track This Game on ModDB

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fight and challenge missions in the Mercenary Mode!

Mercenary mode is a new thing that I'm adding to Silas. It is basically comprised of a bunch of missions in which you can gain different scores in. You progress through a series of levels and worlds. Below you can see how this is setup in the menu:

You can earn up to 100 credits in each mission! So basically I choose this over a 5 star rating scale and the such since it is more dynamic. The better you do in the mission and the quicker you get it done the more credits you will earn.

Your total credits can then be posted in an online leaderboard I will be making soon. So you can see how well you compare to others. At the end of each world there is a boss battle or sorts. Once you unlock a mission, the next one is made available.

In this screenshot you can see the first mission which is really easy. It's basically fetch 5 Item Cells before the time runs out. I just put this in tonight.

If you have any ideas for future missions let me know! I want to make the difficulty escalate with each world. The cool thing about Silas is that there are many weapons to choose from, so in some missions you will kill creatures. In others you can fly around, ect.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finished submitting Silas to both IGF and IGC

Wheeeeewwwwww! It sure was alot of work to get 2 different demos done for 2 major contests. I really hope to place as a finalist on either of them as that would be a big break for me. I actually entered the IGF last year, but Silas was really unfinished back then and was littered with bugs everywhere. It was pretty cool though since they actually got back and commented on what they thought needed some changes.

For the layman, the IGF is a contest that this year has just under 400 entries and about 25 finalist positions in a bunch of different catagories. If I were to win, I'd snatch a couple tickets to the GDC and get some exposure which would be great! As for the IGC, it is all about 2 categories, one for people with industry experience, and the other for the guys like myself who never worked at any companies. It has 6 finalist spots for each, and I assume has as many entries as the IGF.

I think I got a better shot at winning or placing in the IGC though as I wont have to compete with all those guys with multiple games under their belts. After all, Silas is my first ever title and I'm just a young guy. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome to my Silas Blog

Hey everyone,

It's William Sworin here and I created this blog to allow you all to follow the development of my game Silas. I hope to update it once every couple days and may even stray from development now and then. I hope everyone likes the blog and please let me know about any thoughts you may have on the game.