Quench Trailer

Quench Trailer

March and April were spent bringing Quench up to snuff for the Level Up Showcase and the capstone presentation for Jeff and James. Check out our first trailer and opening scene! (For those interested, Jeff was also interviewed after Level Up, and you can read that interview...
Early Quench Footage

Early Quench Footage

The semester has drawn to a close and our first demonstration of Quench is up on YouTube. This is mostly a tech demo, but it shows off many of the core features we’re aiming to expand on to build out the major game mechanics, so I’m proud to have this out and in the public eye....
A Sea of Hexels

A Sea of Hexels

We’ve been working on the Quench pipeline tools for a couple of months now, and despite the apparently endless barrage of school assignments that keep slowing things down, we’ve managed to reach our first major milestone! As I mentioned in this post, our plan has been to closely integrate a hex-based pixel art editor called Hexels with Unity as a 2D map editor to let our map designers more easily do their work. We’ve got the initial stages of this process working and from this point forward we’ll be making more and more map features in Unity editable from Hexels. I figured that I would run through the stages that we’ve passed through on the way to a working (but still pretty unstable) product. First Steps When this integration process began, we planned to utilize Hexels’ XML output feature to pass data back and forth between it and Unity, but after a short email conversation with Ken Kopecky of Hex-Ray Studios (the developers behind Hexels) it was made clear to us that Hexels doesn’t actually read its own .XML output format. With that in mind, we realized that we’d have to bite the bullet and decode the Hexels binary .HXL file format. Thankfully Ken is amazing and happily provided us with a specification to follow in the process of building a C# .HXL reader/writer (Hexels itself is written in C++). Ultimately the power of Hexels has been well worth the effort, as it provides us with a ton of map editing features that would have been a mountain of work to implement from scratch in Unity as Editor extensions....
A* And My Love Of Excel

A* And My Love Of Excel

We’ve been working on the Quench editor and pipeline for about a month now, and before anything else, I want to know what I can and can’t get away with doing on an Android tablet. Over this past week I’ve performed a semi-scientific study to identify how best to use the A* algorithm in Quench. AI can be incredibly demanding on CPU resources. Having spent time studying robotics, I know the kind of computational power that often goes into academic robot designs with goals no more noble than ensuring even coverage of a surface by a Roomba. It can be surprising how much computation it can take to do something that seems trivial in the human experience. Quench is going to require that groups of animals have herd-level group-think AI and individual-animal-level AI that result in flocking/swarming behaviour to move as a group and also avoid enemies while finding their way through a map of hazards to reach a goal location. Our plan is to implement the group-level AI as an A* algorithm that runs at intervals to identify a clear path to follow. Flocking requires some further study before we can say how exactly that will work. With these goals in mind, I dove into the first assignment for my AI class at Humber to answer some important questions for myself. I wanted to know what factors cause the computation complexity of A* to grow most quickly, so that I could plan to mitigate or sidestep them. And so I wrote myself a simple A* testbed as a C# Console Application that utilized interfaces to specify the necessary...
A Thirst for Quench

A Thirst for Quench

As school starts up again for the year (my final year!) my attention has been focused upon the project of grand scale that lays before me: my capstone. The project that no teacher at Humber will let you forget from the first moment you sit down in a classroom. It is intended to be your greatest achievement before graduating, and to mark your transition into professional video game development. I’ve been dying to get started. And so much thought and care has gone into my plan — and Axon’s plan — to bring my capstone project to life as a commercial game called Quench. Quench is a top-down hex-based puzzle game in which the player controls the weather to assist herds of animals though desolate landscapes and the dark spirits of the past. The player uses earthquakes, lightning, wind, rain and simple psychology to guide their flock to safety, and eventually restore the world. Since Axon is working on this project as a whole, I find myself in the enviable position of having a team of some of the most talented people I know from a wide range of fields to bring to bear in creating Quench. Furthermore, Axon will be bringing another another Humber Game Programming student named James Zinger onto the team, and so Quench will be shared as our student work masterpiece. All told, the Axon team for Quench is comprised of 6 people: Myself (Jeff Rose) – Programmer and Technical Direction James Zinger – Programmer Tabby Rose – UI Design and Creative Direction William (Bill) Nyman – Game Design, Level Design and QA Albert Fung...