Side Projects

I finally cut all my side projects and reduce them to only two.

First, VR Demo project because all the cool people doing it 🙂
VR Demo is a new project and I’m doing it because I need something that people might talk about, help me grow my network here.
So I thought I might make a game about London.
And VR is the most talked topic nowadays amongst indie developers, advertising agencies and around.
VR game about London might be a hot topic.
And what do I remember when I think about London?
Every day, every person who lives in or visits London hops in one of the carriers under London and takes their own journey with a carriage full of Londoners.
I made my research in Reddit and all internet is full of jokes about making eye contact at London Underground. Most of the entry-level VR games are about shooting things with the reticle, like duck hunting, zombie hunting etc. So I decided to make a similar game but not hunting, avoiding.
So this game “Avoiding Eye Contact at London Underground That Needs A Name” started.

Look at them! They are fighting for the empty seat.

Sadly when I update Unity(5.6.1f1) and GVR SDK (1.50.0) new bugs prevent me from continuing. I don’t want to downgrade or trying to find temporary fixes. I’ll move on with my other side project until next stable version.

So I’ll continue with the “Project about shot’em up while avoiding like river raid but in 3D with a story and series of plots”
I wrote a basic level editor, some physics on flying airplane and two or three different type of camera controllers.
I’m obsessed with playing this game, I can’t even continue writing more code whenever I open project I kept playing and playing, trying to find a good camera angle, fine tune death physics etc.

I was the programmer and sometimes the designer of the game or app for most of my projects but with those side projects I’m drawing the art and all other things myself.
 It might seem fun but It’s much more a stressful and hard process than it should be.
Coder art was all I did in my entire career and I sent them to art directors as a boxes, place holders, rectangles filled with full of saturated colours to make them question the existence of life and colour.
Now I’m trying to find tune in the final art style, colour palette, proportions of characters and environment, space and feel of a game.

This is a new thing to learn and takes time.
Now I’m in the process of deciding the right angle of camera. If this was not a 3D game but isometric I could take a calculator and give art team some ideas about the possible angles and pitfalls etc. But with 3D, concerns and challenges changes. I need to find the angle that looks good.
This is one of the problems I face, I can not define a proper solution for “looking good”.
What other people are doing is a good place to start a research.
In my findings a path dependency is noticeable about the right angle and “looking good”. People find it good looking when they see what they are used to. But being conservative about the style can’t help distinguish me out of the crowd. So I might need find much older things to get inspired.
Second and most important thing about right angle is finding the most enjoyable and playable one.
How much further should the player see, should left right axis be always visible or scrollable, what would the players’ avatars size be?
With that last question we loop back to the proportions decisions. Should I change the proportions or zoom a little etc.
I found struggling for art is harder than struggling for software development because answers are more blurry than the other. Yes I might find hard to find the right software pattern to use, right optimisation methods, good planing etc but with art decisions it is hard because it maybe impossible to measure the outcome of a choice that’s been made. Of course there are A/B tests, play tests, player groups, soft launch etc.
But outcomes and test results all become visible at later stages of development.

In the beginning there is only courage to go forward and accept countless failures.