Game Design – part 1

The Journey Begins!

If you’re wondering why I’ve started a blog, well, there are several reasons:
1) To keep myself in check as to what the procedure is for developing a video game from concept to actually playing the game.
2) Devise a “textbook” (or a “cookbook”) for myself in the event I may have to do this again.  Plus, if any of this is helpful to anyone out there interested in Game Design.
3) Writing is a discipline.  I hope to continue to hone my skills.
4) To get other contributors who have either been through the paces, are going through them, or are contemplating the journey ahead to join in and offer their knowledge to the rest of us.
5) To post information on other areas of the Digital TechScape.  My background is in Mass Communication, Digital Media, Graphic Design and Information Technology.

Game Design from the point of view of illustrating concepts and designs is not new to me. However, from the point of view of actually building the game is where I am completely out of my element. I enjoy playing games when I get the opportunity, but to create a game never crossed my radar – until recently.

I’ve been exploring and testing the power house software known as Blender.  For those of you who may not know, Blender is an open source software – in other ways, FREE to download.  It is cross-platform compatible, meaning, you can download it to a PC, Mac and Linux computer.  Blender is both a 3D animation program and a 3D game engine for designing, creating, testing and publishing video games.
The programming language behind Blender is Python.  Programmers have written libraries of python scripts for you to download and use.  These scripts allow you do a variety of tasks and expand the features and functionalities of Blender.  Do you need to know python?  It certainly won’t hurt, but Blender is designed to function well with or without you having a programming background.
In my quest to explore the realm of game design, I’ve come across an important aspect that cannot be overlooked – the Game Design Documents.  It’s clear that if the game designers/developers do not have the information needed to create the game documented, then components to the game (some of which may be vital) may be left out.
Over the course of the next few months, I am going to post Blender Resources covering Tutorials, Plug-Ins, Python Scripts, Game Design Documentation and much more for both Blender 2.49b and Blender 2.5 – as well as an update on how my progress is going on my own project(s).

In the event, you’re thinking about getting involved in game design, here are some tools to help you get started.  The list below is by no means a complete list, just a good “jump-on” point to get a general overview of the software and its capabilities.
Download Blender:
Blender 2.5 (Alpha 1*)

*Although 2.5 is the newest version, it is still in Alpha mode.  This means that there are some bugs in the system and there maybe certain features that may appear on the screen but have not yet been fully developed or tested.  Bottom line is that for many, Blender 2.5 may not be ready for prime time.
I will be working with Blender 2.49b, but I will be experimenting and orientating myself to Blender 2.5.
Python (For those who want to learn to program):
-PyCon (Python Convention) just took place in Atlanta, Georgia
Details on the PyCon site

Free Python Scripts for Blender:
Alien HelpDesk (Scripts for 2.4x & 2.5x)
SWiK (More Scripts)

Game Design Documentation:

I hope this gives you a taste of what to expect from this blog.  Yes, there will be other entries involving other technology just to break things up a bit.  But Blender will be a part of me for the next few months.

Keep your eyes open (or subscribe) to get the latest on my journey into 3D!

Til next time…you’ve been Teknolized!

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