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Update

Update

My good god, its been three months since I posted an update here. Wait. That’s how I stared the last blog post. I’ve not been very good at updating this thing really. I’m sorry. Well, I don’t think you really care that much – plenty of other things going on the internet.

I’m here to say Redacted isn’t dead. It’s still alive, and kicking. It’s just going to be a little different. After BuildR, I’ve been working away at the game and it’s slowly coming along. It’s not going to be a city (not the first version at least). I’m trying to keep it simple for now and get the basic gameplay going. Not much more to say at the moment but when I have some more things worth sharing, I’ll post them.

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Where Have I Been?!

My good god, it’s been almost three months since I posted an update here. You might ask yourself if it’s still a live project. I certainly wondered that for a while. I’m not going to make excuses though. Well, I am actually, as with all challenging projects, there are a lot of things to learn. I ignored the advice! I just steamed on through with the mission of making Redacted. Realising my ‘vision’, blindly. And it hurt.
BuildR projectBut let’s stop for a second. I have good news; some shameless plugging! Useless plugging to be honest (February 26th). I’m plugging something that can’t be sold yet. For the last two months I’ve been working hard on BuildR. It’s my second entry into the Unity Asset Store and a project that I’m quite excited about. It’s come directly from my work on Redacted. Go check it out. I’m aiming to release in middle March a public beta of sorts.
I’ve also relaunched my own personal blog/website. I had the old portfolio running until I moved to Hong Kong. I then just had a crap holding page with links to this project and Camera Path. Now I’ve brought everything back together into a site I’m happy with.
Redacted itself took a hard turn though. More like a car crash in mid December. I’d creatively worked myself into a corner and I had no way out. Following the tech dream rather than the gameplay dream was the big issue here. So I decided to cut it loose and leave it for a while, I had just had the idea to do BuildR so I thought it would be a good time to jump onto that. I could also get come critical distance and reassess Redacted. I’m currently back into a private prototyping phase with some cool ideas to move forward with though. The game itself hasn’t changed much as I hadn’t mapped out anything specifically yet. I feel like my feet are back on the ground now and hopefully I’ll have some cool stuff to show off by the end of March…

Wish me luck!

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On Fear

I didn’t think this would happen but I’m finding it hard to work not because of procrastination or things getting in the way, but plain old fear. I’ve become very fearful of this game I’m making. As someone who generally ignores their own feelings and tried to get on with things, it can be hard to change tack when you need to work out how you actually feel. And more importantly, why.

Fear of failure. Fear of unfulfilling a dream. Fear that I’m not good enough to pull this game off. It’s easy to do something you have little investment in. If you’re doing it for the money or for fun, there is little to lose if it doesn’t work out quite right. When you’re creating something that is coming from deep inside you and it turns out to be utter crap – that is scary.

I’m constantly revising the scope of this project to try to fit it into my deadlines and what will remain loyal to my greater vision of Redacted. There is a constant fear that what is in my head won’t work, or I won’t be able to complete it to a satisfactory standard. I’m scared that I’ll make something very personal, very me, and people just won’t like it. Hell, maybe I’ll end up hating what I eventually make…

Development can feel like a bit of a cave dive. The start and the end have specific landmarks, but mid development can feel empty and no progress is visibly made. You feel like you’re doing the same thing everyday and what you do produce just sow seeds of doubt. I guess this is a big problem with working on your own. No one to bounce off. No one to feel lost with in this middle ground. No one to fail with.

I just need to get this thing done I guess…

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The game

So it’s occurred to me that there still isn’t much information about what this game actually is. Some of that has to do with the fact that I haven’t nailed everything down – there are a lot of things that might not make the final cut and there are a few things that might be done one of many ways.

I’ve also noticed quite a few games at various states of completeness, tackling a similar idea – procedurally generated stealth. This is very interesting and really cool that there are so many games like this on the scene. It’s especially exciting as none of us have even remotely the same kind of game in production. We all saw a gap and took a completely different view on it.
About my game though, because that’s why you’ve found yourself here right? It’s called Redacted because the world as you see it has been redacted. You don’t have the security privileges to see what you’re seeing so you’re only presented with the information you need to pilot the environment and get the job done. It’s also for your safety, the less you know what you’re doing, the better. People, conversations, data are all abstracted and obfuscated from you. You know they exist but you have no knowledge on what you’re actually doing.

This raises the issue of trust. How can you be sure what you are doing it right? Do you know who you’re really working for? And should you care? This is one of two themes I’m exploring. The second theme is privacy. I want to really explore how our privacy is being invaded by technology and how we let this happen. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? With so many drones, did we walk into Nineteen Eighty-Four? More on this some other time…

In this game you pilot a nano sized drone insect through a busy city. You accept contracts to spy on people, steal information, sabotage technology, many different missions based on espionage and subterfuge. The game by nature is stealth based and remaining undetected by hiding in cover or in plain sight is key. Rather than using shadow, you hide in electromagnetic radiation. Lights, computers, mobile phones all provide cover for your drone and you will need to manipulate your environment to achieve your goals. The setting is the very near future not too dissimilar to ours.

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A Bit Quiet Lately…

So it’s become a little quiet lately on Redacted. At least when you look at this website it looks that way. However a lot of the work in the past month isn’t the visual kind, and I’m going through a large shift in the city generation code architecture so i can have bigger and more stable cities.
I’ve also had house guests, a 30th birthday and a trip to Japan eat into development time. But I’m getting on with it!

One thing I wanted to touch on was motivation, especially with projects you’re doing yourself and when you’re working from home. How can you deal with all those distractions? How can you keep going? I’ve noticed my productivity correlates to how clear my goals are. I’ve seen this even in my normal jobs. If I don’t really know what i should be doing, I won’t do anything.
As a lone developer, it’s sometimes been hard to keep yourself going. The trick I’ve been using has been to keep my goals small. Very small. Couple of hours small. I feel like I’m achieving stuff and I’ve always got more goals to achieve. I also need to get this game done, I’m super excited!

I just want it done! To finish off – here’s an amazing video on motivation I keep watching…