Since I haven’t posted anything in a while and I just made an interesting discovery, I decided to continue with another autobiographical post. The discovery I made was a simple game creator for the creation of raycasting-based games (think: Wolfenstein 3D). It is aptly titled Raycasting Game Maker. I have a very nostalgic view of this kind of aesthetic and you will soon know why – if you continue reading, of course.

It’s not all Fun and Games

As I already outlined in the last post, this website’s “about” page and possibly many more times, I have always had an interest in creating things, mostly audiovisual digital media, that is. My interest or, at least, my success in game creation possibly precedes my interest in CGI and filmmaking. The reason for that, once again, was the arrival of new software. The Pie in the Sky 3D Game Creation System was a (somewhat) easy-to-use game creation tool, that was able to output the aforementioned raycasting graphics. When I first saw the advertising for that software in a mailorder catalogue, I was about 12 years old. Around the same time I also acquired Clickteam’s Klik & Play, which made it possible to create simple 2D games and applications.

Using both tools I created several, actual, finished games, that are still somewhat decent, especially since people are nowadays used to a retro graphics style, thanks to the rise of Indie games. Unfortunately the constant development of technology was not so forgiving: On my 64-bit Windows 7 PC I am unable to execute any of the Klik & Play games I created. The 3D GCS games are DOS-based and they still work to some degree with an emulator like DOSBox. They crash a lot, however.

A pretty impressive temple...

A pretty impressive temple…

Being shot by a stationary gun...

Being shot by a stationary gun…

Shooting dudes in the face...

Shooting dudes in the face…

I had a lot of fun with both game creators. I adapted a lot of stuff from other media into the games I created. For example, I was a big fan of the movie Stargate and the Stargate TV series, so I created a FPS set in that universe, including the typical weapons of the show at that point (I think only the first or first two seasons had aired in Germany yet). I also recreated the “Gate Room” – but other than that it remained one of my unfinished projects. Other more experimental projects suffered the same fate, like a “Godzilla”-simulator where you could stomp on small people and buildings – all within the bounds of the first person shooter engine of the 3D GCS. In Klik & Play I created a platformer which had slow-motion bullet time, inspired by Max Payne (the supposed protagonist was at one point actually called “Dax Frame”). I also created a competitive two-player god simulation, inspired by Black & White, as well as a quiz game for a school project.

These were the golden days. In years past I have tried and tried unsuccessfully to move into full 3D. In 2000 or 2001 I first bought the 3D Game Studio by Conitec. The engine version at that point was called “A4″ and other than a few tests I never got anything finished. Years later I had become a little more proficient in programming and after some more successful tests with “A4″ bought a used “A6″-version. I managed to get even more impressive tests running, but finally gave up. To make it short: I just suck at programming. Also, better graphics usually mean a lot more work in the creation of artwork and that also did not really fit my one-man production style. The pictures below are from a first-person shooter, which was also supposed to include some aspects of a simulation game. I however never even managed to get the enemy AI to shoot at me. They did shoot when they detected the player, but because I horribly suck at math they did not actually aim at the player at all, unless he was standing at a very particular angle. Damn vectors…

A mining shaft...

A mining shaft…

Some machinery.

Some machinery.

Evil cybernetic enemy (dead).

Evil cybernetic enemy (dead).

Coming full circle, my interest in the creation of games has risen again. Partly aided by an initiative for game studies at my university, I have found myself intrigued by the possibilites of the medium. However, my first tries were – again – nothing more than tests and dry runs. Using Scirra Construct (a tool akin to Klik & Play, just a lot more sophisticated and modern) I tried my best to come up with interesting game ideas. At the time of writing this, my new hope is the creation of a very retro first person shooter, which I think, plays into my strengths and makes it easier to create something fun playing. I was never much of a platform gamer, for example, so why would I start by creating a platform game? I have a lot more experience creating these retro shooters, so this is something I would love to do. The Raycasting Game Maker is most likely a bit too limited for my ideas, however. Therefore my future in game design still seems somewhat foggy…