Monday, December 18, 2006
16/12/06 - Solar System Studios™ & Axion™ USA Today Solar System Studios™ has taken on work for a new title "Skate or Die®" which is being developed by Axion™ Studios in the USA. With the first skating title to ever come about on the MMO market. This is still very much under wraps and still alot to be done before any screen release.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Ive recently been asked by SEGA to go for an interview for there SEGA Racing Studios in Birmingham UK. They are the guys behind such titles as SEGA rally, and currently working on Next generation racing games for PS3 and Xbox360. Very exciting i know!
My interview is on the 19th December at there studios.
Here below is a few previews of what im taking into the interview with me. Enjoy
*Note Models are Work In Progress"
Friday, December 01, 2006
I have decided to look back into my history of the industry. Here below is a brief post of my gaming history also announced the Next Gen MMO Concept I’m working on (With Solar System Studios development team).
First StageFirst Stages were among the most popular, showing the community what I was made of, in 2003 I worked on a 2d RPG concept as a freeware on a 2d RPG Engine.
Mafia: Suited Men (Prototype)Mafia suited Men has to be one of my first “full game” although it wasn’t a full game as such but just a prototype but at least it was a modification for a change. I got to work on Pixel 2D art. Although I found this challenging and I still prefer 3D didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.
Download the 2d version of a test client of Suited men only one level(Click setup to install and enjoy)
With the first stage having a mild response of the public I then decided to leave Suited Men. Not for I didn’t have the technology but I would just be in the retro style of games. I wanted to push my Mafia Idea to current generation.
Now for the modding days. I decided to work on some current gen games but as a modder. Although this had some limitations I was able to learn in-depth detail on many game engines (structure, model structure, poly counts, level editing, scripting)
SAS: Codename Alpha Bravo 2 Zero (6 Man Project)
My First mod to hit the headlines. Designed for battlefield Vietnams Directx9 engine, SAS was there to offer quality realistic and fun gameplay for all players. What struck a lot of the public was our highly detailed models. The levels were fun to play and gameplay couldn’t get anymore SAS realistic.
Toywarz (One Man Project)
Probably one of the mods that not even a game has come into works. Toywarz would kick out the average Joe soldier and size them down into toy soldiers. Running around the house in teams, fighting against teddy bears and plastic army men. Toywarz was defiantly a big change to many Battlefield Vietnam Mods, over 1,000 downloads on fileplanet.com on release night. Toywarz is still an idea kept for actual full game, But this would be for the future.
A Jedi Order (One Man Project)
My big success, it was simple but effective. The day of release over 5,000 downloads. The next day the mod hit Fileplanet.com’s front page. So what was the fuss about? Well Star wars Battlefront released with no option to play as Jedi. Well A Jedi Order would not just allow you to play as Jedi, but also give you force powers to play around with. Elements of Gameplay were also added for more fun Star wars experience. A Jedi Order after weeks release and 10,000 downloads on fileplanet.com soon got an email off the PC Gamer Team wanting a small article in the PC Gamer magazine Issue 152 and placed on cover disc. Best thing with A Jedi Order this was a one man project by me.
It wouldn’t be long after my modding I would revisit the Mafia idea. Mafia Online was created April 2005. I started to work on its brief game treatment documentation and add all the ideas what many online games didn’t see to have at that time. Mafia Online would be the first true fully 3D Online Mafia Game, but that was to change as another project announced Goon World, this did not stop my concept but what did stop it continuing was Technology at that time I didn’t have the resources like I do now. So I kept Mafia Online’s Docs/Models/Sheets/Concepts for another day (When the technology was available)
Now lets get into the Big Designs. Now MMO’s are a designers biggest challenge. AWO (Ancient World Online) is my challenge in design and engine detail. AWO I have designed to be Next Generation from the Ground UP. The Design documentation is at a huge scale which shows how big AWO is designed to be.
I firstly started by myself using RC for a prototype of AWO with the MMO features. After I got a few lands up and running I started to run HUGE terrain projects one the public know is “Test Worlds” this would use the L3DT terrain generation system to create huge terrains in RC for AWO’s prototype.
After the prototype stage I gathered a team together, many of team members have heard of my name and seen my success’s. Some were from EA others from Acclaim and even some from Ageia. I had the best at my hands. We only aim to create the concept for AWO to present to a publisher but because of volunteer work it became more harder day by day. What I have learnt is money motivates people and if they aren’t getting paid they slack off.
AWO has only just reached visual demo phase and concept. We had some talks with BigWorld Tech party and have acquired there Evalu engine for AWO demo to be presented. BigWorld Tech offers the next generation technology for Big Commercial Developers. To be able to speak to them and actually get accepted was a great honour and using there tech was also an amazement.
Today I have some new level art to show off. Currently done using FPSC, i have tweaked the engine for better performance and detailed object texturing. Features now can be seen of, dynamic lghting, shader 2.0 support, soft shadowing, contrast and hue varient.
The FPSC engine is run on a low version of DirectX9 using the SDK i hope to port over to Directx9 new edition or even Directx10. As for now i will keep to level design and tweaking using FPI scripting.
I am temp working for Alternox Studios, Chigwell, Essex, UK. Who are at the present time working on a MMORPG using the RC2 engine. This game boast to be an indepth Medevil Tropical MMO. With all the fun in the sun. Graphics are current generation, supporting shader 2.0 and directx 9.
I have joinned the team as a Game Designer, but im more of a creative lead artist as i am designing the environments for the MMO, many levels consist of desert towns in sort of a close to close style.
Here are a few examples of the work being done:
About Realm Fighter 3D
"Realm Fighter is a 3D online game - a massive multiplayer adventure (MMORPG), with monsters to kill, quests to complete, and treasure to seek. You control your own character who will improve and become more powerful the more you play. This is a game where everything that happens isn't pre-determined. The possibilities of what you do in Realm Fighter are endless – the paths you take in the world are up to you, but one thing is for sure, it won't be easy! You have an ultimate mission to become ruler of the realm! But remember, dark secrets lurk in dark places…"
Response from the studio so far.
“Solar System Studios has helped us develop the impossible of a in depth Massive Multiplayer of massive proportion, also we are amazed by the professional quality of the models they have produced for us” Jonny, CEO Realm Fighter."
Most of the game play and features are still underwraps and are kept from the public. Realm Fighter will be the first Medieval MMO which has the tropical style to it.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Today is the future of the games industry and next generation of technology. Which means NEW ideas. I stress this as many game designers of all kinds be they Indie or commercial still seem to go along the lines of Fantasy or Sci-FI. There’s so much room for more than just these two. I do state there are MMO’s currently on the market which are unique. One in example is Second Life. I’m sure many of you have heard about it and how players generate real money from it from just building houses and online business’s. I’m talking about having Social + Game play meets as well as keeping the ongoing new experience. For the new experience to be given to a MMO we need to be thinking of something unique and not just Fantasy or Sci-fi. Examples of such as a Wild Western MMO were players can go back to the times of the Wild West. Certainly giving GUN and Call of Jurez and run for there money. I know i have seen on the realm crafter forums which currently supports indie developers and Bug MMO, were you are shrunken down to bug size.
Exceptional idea I must say. Ideas don’t have to be based on human characters, why not have cars? Planes? Ships even. I know a good MMO in production A Burning Sea which is a pirate MMO. Maybe Game Designers need to look into idea generation more. An Egyptian MMO “A Tale in the Desert” is a prime example of looking back into history for game design ideas. I think we need to broaden the horizon and I’m pleased to introduce Andrew the Lead game Designer from Axion. “ Andrew G: “As Mr Allsopp stated MMO’s need to look towards new ideas, I personally like the idea of a prehistoric MMO, fighting and owning dinos. Building small cave man villages and working together as a team. Yes I’m her from Cambridge today to talk to you about Team Work and Social ability in a MMO.
I myself are looking at Team Work within a MMO. Most MMO’s I know have this from the feature Guilds/Party group, but what if we needed another team mate to boost you up a wall in a MMO. Yes I have had a chance to glance into the future of MMO technology and a bit like splinter cell a MMO (Wont Spoil The Name Yet) will be offering that sort of technology. Getting back to our team work talk we can clearly see that many game designers allow some sort of interaction with other players but do they really have enough available. I will now hand you back to James who will talk you through the features and new experience with there title in development Ancient World Online.”
Okta, your right technology does hold us back but the that is hoping to change wit Realmcrafter/Multiverse/BigWorld(Indie Version).
Altair you talk of what’s in the games, categorising them is there genre, so we all no Anarchy online and SWG and Sci-Fi's and World Of Warcraft and Arch lord are Fantasy. That my friend is how the industry works which isn’t a mistake. Many designers need to think things over before they go o the full length of the MMO production. Most game designers come from strong backgrounds in the industry. This is were indie development comes into the cliche. Whats so popular about the MMO game genre anyway?
Why don’t small game developers go make FPS Games, RPG, RTS. Well the answer is everyone knows a MMO is for the professional of all designers and takes a lot of hard work and dedication for a successful mmo especially out of the Indie Industry. Here below are just some examples of MMO's you could go along for.
1. Zombie/Evil MMO - First Ever Scary MMO
2. Wild Wild West - Indians and Cowboys
3. Prehistoric MMO - My Personal Favourite
4. Mafia Online - Already in development but there’s only 2
5. World War 2 Online
6. War In Iraq
7. The Online Olympics - An Animators dream
8. Hunting MMO - Hunt Dear, Rabbits with friends
9. Africa Online
10.DrugLord Online - Build Farms, Battle Others, Become the richest
11.Rally Online - Characters don’t have to be humans
12.F1 Racer - Very popular within the racing culture
13.Atlantis - A mermaid MMO
14.Something Like Sims Online
16.Skater Online (Extreme Sports like Tony Hawks Games)
18.Assasin Online (Medieval)
19. Vampires, Werewolf’s - Like Buffy the vampire slayer
20. Pokémon Online - One brilliant GBA Game turned into Online
21. Pirate MMO
Just some ideas I jotted down last night. Its great to be able to come up with ideas but to develop things further takes an expert and able to go from Paper to Pixel the industry term of Game Design is a hard task. I for one are still in consultancy and are happy to give anyone help on there MMO if needed. I have plenty experience in the field and most of the time give talks around Game Design Classes in the UK and I have done 2 GDC Talks.
Well the idea was to: Go to a estate agent in a capital city, you buy a house deed, this appears in your inventory. You go to your chosen spot (although AWO will have rules for this) and you click drop and bingo you have your house. Then go out buy furniture etc Same with camping (from SWG) we will have something along these lines a small fire and chairs and tent to enjoy the AWO skies and environment. I deliberately crashed it (The Server) to see if the item would go away its still there
Although I know some of you could be saying well I know a few things that would make SWG much better, but as it stands what WAS (because of there new fps system) was great to play. Now they crashed and burnt and players leave as SWG adopted that fps system and easy Jedi path bounty hunter etc, Old SWG is the one for me hence why I play with SWGEMU software with a few other 100 people who prefer the old versions. Also a nifty thing is no paying.
Okay that’s a start I want to compare an RC design to SWG. My first love for the game was friends, as many mmos I’m sure all of you have met some awesome people on these online games. I enjoyed the concept of you can basically live out your own Star Wars life, I firstly can remember meeting with a small hunting guild and going hunting for Rancors and such on coronet.
Firstly we would get all our equipment together, go to the local market and buy some supplies for our hunting trip. We reach a small spot and set up camp talking about were each other are from etc. After awhile of getting to know each other we decide to go off and get hunting. Now lets stop there a brilliant experience so far, I was able to find a guild buy supplies then set up camp in what I though was a beautiful environment (the artist on the dev team have done great work).
Now the RC way. I’m not entirely sure if you can have the option at the moment to drop an item which sets up a camp in front of your eyes and you are able to interact with the chairs. But I’m sure it can be possible in pro. A guild system I can see is already in RC and advance features are sure to come along soon as RC matures. Right that was a small experience now lets get into the hard design of SWG.
The Skill Tree System was enjoyable, very time consuming but many players enjoyed it and the developers would to meaning longer the player spends more the money. Its system was to start off small and gradually gain big going through a three way choice system. You would need to complete all three choices to become a master in that skill. Something set out like this --------------------------Master Brawler Advance---------Two Handed Combat----Rifle skills Brawler II-----------------One Handed Combat----Grenade skills Brawler I------------------Basics of combat---------Pistol Skills -----------------------------Starting Off I’m sure RC is capable of something like that, a lot of scripting may be required. Now the combat system is really the same as many mmos and RC is getting around it. Meaning learning new skills and adding them to your bar at the bottom or some may be key mapped (probably possible in RC pro)
Questing is another RC is capable of, SWG may have some advance quest but with some knowledge of RC scripting I’m sure its possible. What I loved about SWG is you can own your own house, or if you’re an architect you could build your own house. My theory behind RC way is to go to a vendor (estate agent) buy a House Deed and then when you find your spot were you want your house you can drop it and bingo there’s your house. Although I think RC hits a sore spot there as dynamic terrain becomes a problem and also meaning the servers will probably have to run more or less 24/7. Lets move onto Spaceports. Now SWG allows the player to purchase a ticket to be able to travel from planet to planet. This would easily be possible. My theory would be. Have your avatar walk into a space port. Purchase a ticket to say example “Corent 9” Now the vendor gives the player the Corent 9 ticket, so if the player tries to access another shuttle gate he/she will be denied. Now you are in the waiting lounge or lobby. SWG had a nifty little timing system on there space shuttles which got annoying at times but kept things under control. Maybe RC will be able to have a timer set on the gate you wish to go through and when that timer hits its waiting point say 5 minutes the gate doors open and behind the gate is your shuttle waiting, the gate then waits 2 minutes then the doors close and timer starts back again. Now all you do to get from the planet your on is walk up to the space shuttle and there should be a warp which takes you to cornet.
So we actually avoid moving the shuttle as it stays there all the time, but its all controlled by a timer system on the gate. SWG one is nice as you can see the shuttle land from outside the shuttle-port but that would be getting a bit complex for my liking. Now lets go for Space. SWG is massive for its space flying. Now we kick into freelancer concept. With SWG planets and freelancer flying around in space. Meaning trading lanes, I don’t know how this would be possible in RC any help? Warp Gates to next solar system, Easy just use the warp option in RC editor Also landing on planets freelancer used 2 gates which are located outside the planet, you can approach one and it’ll open and you warp back down to the planet your entering (planets capital city).
My theory for RC would have the same thing but keep the gates open and so when you fly your ship into the gate you warp to the cities capital star port were your ships parked and your character is standing by it ready to roam that planet on foot/vehicle. Using vehicles like hover cars and tanks/jeeps etc would be just using mounts as you do like animals. In space you could also in RC easily have comets (make them as NPC’s) and worm holes can be a huge funnel model animated (rotating) and half way through a warp to a random sector of space Entering space stations I’ve seen are straight forward a space station in space you approach it warps you into the stations interior or as KevinMC in his ZOC game has clearly shown it can be down. Well that’s all I can think of at the moment I will be posting more soon. Any comments or additions would be great, thank you
Create an emitter, a swirling vortex or something, use a timer script then a warp script
Hey, I was wondering, this is the basic system we are using to Mask this MMORPG into a MMORTS how you say?
well this is my concept
1/ each player starts off with a HQ construction deed in there inventory.
2/ Player then goes into the lobby were there are 5 portals to different home worlds, we do suggest you choose your race home world.
3/ once there you can explore miles and miles of terrain and once you’ve found a perfect spot for your base you click your HQ deed and it appears on screen *okay so is number 3 possible, maybe if we set the HQ to a pet? once then you buy them u can put them in your inventory and get them back out.
4/ once you’ve built a HQ you can select from he HQ to build a barracks or resource refinery *The HQ will act like a SHOP so you can buy for example a barracks (maybe the barracks should be a pet) then you can place it and once your barracks is placed the barracks has its own shop to build units (now they are defiantly on the pets system)
Sunday, July 30, 2006
First Name: James
Last Name: Allsopp
Nationality: White British
1994 – 1999 – Severn Banks Primary School
1999 – 2005 – Whitecross School
2005 – 2006 – Wyedean Sixth Form Centre
Faramix Enterprise – July 2007 - Current
- Create detailed game documentation for the game
- Help polish off game documentation with lead designer
- Plot Game Flow Diagram & System
- Create Technical Trigger Layout Documents for Level Designers
- Create Style Sheets for Artists
- Create Front-End Work
- Help Out When Needed
I joined Faramix just after my contract ended with SEGA. I was contracted onto the Faramix team as a designer to help create documentation, game play flow diagrams, front-end work and also help direct their artists on level design. I’ve archived a lot with Faramix and brought in some new techniques helping the designers communicate with the artists, using style sheets is a good example. I’m currently helping them get their pitch demo up to speed and AAA title quality.
SEGA Racing Studios – March 2007 – July 2007
SEGA Rally (PC/XBOX360/PS3)
- Ability to consistently produce high quality models and texture work – delivering them on schedule.
- Taking direction from the Lead Environment Artist to produce environment artwork that is visually and functionally consistent with the rest of the game visuals.
- Create environment geometry using proprietary design tools.
- Furnish large game environments to designer specifications with buildings, props and features.
- Ability to review and constructively comment on other artists work – both in-house and outsourced.
- Work with other members of the team to provide balanced solutions to both technical and aesthetic related issues.
- Maintains a strong knowledge of innovative game production technologies and techniques
I joined SEGA just after my second year at collage, being the youngest to be taken on was a big praise in my dedication to get my foot in the door. My task given was to create environment art for there up coming title SEGA Rally Revo (PS3, Xbox360, PC) I quickly got to grips with the in-house tools and also the Dev Kits for PS3 & Xbox360. I worked on one track under a senior artist then progressed onto taking Screenshots to show at Media Events and to companies such as Microsoft, Sony and SEGA HQ.
Solar System Studios – April 01 – December 06
- Offering 3D Art Creation to Independent Developers/Small Companies
- Creating Commercial 3d Art Assets for MMORPGS
- Creating Design Documentation for Independent Developers
- Level Design for Independent Developers
- Game Design Consultancy for Independent Developers
- Create High End Design Documents & Production of Prototype’s
Solar System Studios was a small business I ran to start earning money while learning on the way. My main production was 3D Art assets for MMO’s. I have modelled sets of World Models for 6 clients and have very positive feedback .
“Without Solar System Studios service we wouldn’t be able to keep on schedule, Solar System Studios has helped us out a lot with excellent quality service” Jonny, CEO, Realm Fighter 3D
I closed Solar System Studios in December 06 when I got offered the job at SEGA Racing Studios.
Mod & Volunteer Work:
Ancient World Online – April 05 – September 06
AWO – Prototype (PC)
- Create extensive high end Concept & Game Design Documents
- Create Game Play Flow
- Create skill systems
- Create professions systems
- Create Item Sheets
- Maintain Good Communication between artists & programmers
- Help create high end pitch DEMO
- Create extensive MMO World Lore
- Maintain Games Vision
Ancient World Online was a high end MMO project I did with a few experienced friends. We had a team of 16 helping out to create AWO’s Prototype. My role was to make sure all the in-game systems where designed properly and the aesthetics of the game would suit the audience. Game play had to be simple but offer complex events. AWO’s team split in September 06 due to some of our members got into the Industry. Although AWO is still kept alive on my computer with all its documentation, Pre-visuals and Prototype.
A Jedi Order – April 06
A Jedi Order – Star wars Battlefront (PC)
- Add ability to play as JEDI
- Add FORCE powers
- Implement a new Game Play System
- Balance out JEDI & Normal Characters
A Jedi Order was just a small hobby project which I put myself to. It took me around a week to create it, although I didn’t know it would become a big success to me. Over 10,000 download on release night which was a Friday. Then week after had an offer to publish the mod in PC-Gamer Issue 152. Everyone could now enjoy Jedi in Star wars Battlefront.
Solar System Studios – Jan 01 – December 06
Mafia: Suited Men (PC)
- Create Concept Documentation to Support Design Idea
- Create Game Design Documentation
- Create Technical Design Documentation
- Create Pre-Visuals (Concept Art, 3D Models)
- Create Mock-Up
- Create Working Prototype using RC Engine
Mafia: Suited Men was a personal project of mine. I started off using a Game Boy type engine. The proceeded to forward the game into 3D. Mafia was defiantly a very big project to undertake. It was my decision to make a working prototype of Mafia Online. I only ended up keeping it as a document based concept and it never got to any sort of Alpha stage. It was a working prototype which I Enjoyed making for a hobby, to gain skill and experience in Design/Art/Programming.
ToyWarz – September 05 – October 05
ToyWarz – Battlefield Vietnam Engine (PC)
- Bring Something New to the Battlefield Modding Community/Gamers
- To create something purely base don my imagination
- Set challenges to overcome (1 Month Production Time)
- Design & Layout 2 Levels (Bedroom Warz & Full House War)
- Create & Animate Toy Characters
- Create & Texture Weapons
- Create & Texture Vehicles
- Script vehicles
- Script weapons
- Script Teams
- Script Online game modes and game play
Toywarz was a bit of fun. Something new and vibrant. Give a wooden toy soldier a rifle and let them pit against each other around a bedroom and full house levels supporting up to 60 players. Toywarz was defiantly a hit with players. Although on low end machines it would run a bit slow. The community grabbed this mod straight up and gave me a lot of credit. A Release was made to the community along with the Level Configuration files to allow the community to create other Toywarz maps.
SAS: CAB2Z – April 05 - September 05
SAS:CAB2Z – Battlefield Vietnam Engine (PC)
- Create a Mod using the Battlefield Vietnam Engine By EA
- Create a SAS directed mod
- Create a mod with face pace action and extensive game play
- Design a team work based system changing Battlefields Game Play
- Create Weapons & Characters
- Design 8 Levels which would include (Urban, Desert, Jungle) Maps
- Create New Game Play Modes for Online Play
SAS: CAB2Z was a big success on Art work. Many people would look to its weapons and characters as professional quality. It was once big step for me and my learning curve was very steep but like all my mods I got there in the end. The mod gave me a lot of publicity; I even got invited down to EA’s UK studios to play Battlefield 2 with other mod developers.
(Includes Single player & MMO Skills)
Writing Game/Concept Documentation, Creating Game Play Flow Charts, Creative writing, Project Direction, Game layout documentation and plans, level design, world art, textures, asset production, extensive knowledge and practice with high end assets. This includes normal maps, many Shaders and asset production.
Front-end design, concept art, web design, basic animation, Basic Visual Basics, Design Tool Layout
Graphical Design, technical drawings, logo design, Rock-climbing all Grade Pass up to 12a, St Johns Ambulance level 2 First Aid, Trident Gold Award – Skills for Life, Armed Forces Cadet – Shooting Team, First Class Marksman, Fine Art (painting and drawing skills)
3D Studio Max (V3-V8), Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Complete Office Suite (including Visio), Visual Basic, Speed Tree (RTS & MAX), Endorphin, Z-Brush, Battlecraft 42, L3DT, RC Zone Editor, Unreal Ed, MV World Editor, Big Bang, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Dreamweaver,
Big World Tech, Gamebyro, Unreal, Multiverse, RC 1 & 2, FPS Creator, Torque, Reality Engine, Law Maker, PS3 SDK, XBOX 360 SDK (Console SDK only on Art Side) ,VBS1 (Virtual Battle Space), Battlefield Engine.
My current interests are mainly to do with Computer and Design. I am dedicated on reading entire collections of books on game design. I have been reading books for about 2 years on the subject now and have gained a lot of knowledge and in sight into the industry. My current hobbies are based on game design; they vary from modelling, to level design to lore and world story writing. I also do some concept art and plans for cities and scenario for my game.
I love to play around with 3ds studio max and its elements/tools. Also I have started searching for a good level design editor/world builder I’ve tried many and have skills from modding editors all the way to BigWorld Techs Bigbang world editor. I understand Game Design is hard and to be a game designer is very hard and rare to become successful but I’m dedicated to proving people wrong. I will carry on going until I reach my goal and this is what usually takes up all my time.
Although I am interested in game design a lot I do have other hobbies. Such as rock-climbing and biking also I enjoy fine art and acrylic painting (expressive/landscape painting usually). I also enjoy photography and graphic design. I also have a passion and skill at web site design. With merging my graphics and photography skills using Photoshop to give a professional quality site.