May 15, 2019
alchymy

Re-Research

Third time is the charm, once again embarking upon the research journey with the Masters in Design (Innovation) thanks to a generous arrangement to accommodate me. This time I cannot give up or fail as I’m undertaking this with friends. As the research excitement builds, this blog will double as a space for research findings and thoughts.

May 5, 2019
alchymy

Running Booths

After regularly doing roadshows in malls, public spaces and also conventions, here are some thought processes which we go through depending on the space availability and other considerations.

1) Draw gimmick
It is usually good to have something that stands out. Something to attract the crowd to spend a few minutes at your booth. Could be in the form of a backdrop or buntings and posters (depending on the layout of your booth and whether it has standard walls.) Usually this follows your game or product’s theme. I’ve used cutout standees and boxes with printed sides before. In this regard, the cornier the better sometimes.

2) Moving images
A small TV or screen showcasing your product/service/game is useful as something for people to watch. Not everyone likes engaging and talking and would prefer observing before spending time to engage. Promotional videos or explainers videos are good for this. Keep in mind that events can be noisy therefore always consider providing close-captions as an alternative.

3) Promotionals
Brochures, pamphlets, namecards, anything to disseminate information and retain people or get them to come back for more information. Tactile stuff are always welcome. This will be what visitors use to later go through and convince themselves of your service. Cost is a consideration here so make sure your give-away doesn’t cost an arm and leg.

4) Giveaways
Free game codes, badges, nick-nacks, even something as simple as a dice that you can easily purchase in bulk and giveaway to people as they talk to you at the booth. This lets people feel like they got something of value from you and helps spread through word-of-mouth.

5) Security.
Lastly consider bringing along cable locks and storage devices as crowds can get large at such events. Controllers and smaller components (mobile devices) can get pilfered easily. Also always consider your equipment being jostled and knocked over.

Jun 18, 2018
alchymy

Anak Malaysia T-Shirt Design

Not that much updates for quite some time but we’re getting more organized so expect more content in 2019. Designed a shirt for a competition but never really got any traction out of it.

Sep 18, 2017
alchymy

Tripping Through Time

Students recently worked on a rather unorthodox competition to design a facade entitled “A Trip through Time”. In usual GameDev style, pixel art was the chosen weapon of choice. We called it “Pixel Peranakan” and it was built for Malaysia Day in September.

Assam Laksa, Pai Tee and Cendol are all examples of the Peranakan culture’s contribution to the culinary world. You may not be able to see it, but each standee is propped up with a toilet roll.

Aug 21, 2017
alchymy

Mangled English

As part of a WeChat Sticker Competition, my entry was called ‘Manglished’ which many translate to Malaysian English but I prefer to call it Mangled English. It is a local interpretation of how the English language could be used. This will also be my first time submitting a sticker set for any social chat application but the prize was too hard to resist. The first prize winner gets RM12,000 which would go a long way.

Jul 17, 2017
alchymy

Blog Ad Wars

Just remembered an old Logo Design I did for a local blog ad network called Nuffnang years back. There was some drama on the blogosphere (wonder if people still call it that?) and two blog advertising networks appeared. Both started going at each other’s throats and as an innocent bystander, I picked Nuffnang to back as the other chaps seemed pretty arrogant and had some pretty unscrupulous methods. So I sent off a new redesign of their initial logo (the one above) which was honestly horrible and I was pretty happy to see it still being used til this day. Would’ve been great if I earned something out of it but as a designer, I’m glad it provided value to someone.

Update: This is what it looks like now and I had nothing to do with this.
Oct 24, 2016
alchymy

Deep Beneath Mount Scarrr

Wizard’s Lair is a fictional level design done for a fictional game “Generic RPG Quest” for a Coursera assignment. Enjoyed it thoroughly although I may have overshot what needed to be done. As a fan of maps, I’ve never really had the chance to sit down and craft one based on a proper design of an evil wizard’s headquarters under a mountain.

Wizard’s Lair was made with a few important features;-

  • A Kill Hall where minions can pepper the attacking forces of goodness with arrows before they lay siege to the main entrance.
  • Grag Pens near the entrance for Mounted Grag warriors to surge out to pillage the country-side
  • A Fungus Farm for where else would an army source for a constant replenishable source of sustenance?
  • Foundry should be close to the Armory and Barracks for easy access in the event of an attack.
  • A Latrine, which is usually missing from dungeons for where do the forces of darkness do their business?
  • A Blood Garden which contains carnivorous plants fed by the blood of victims which are torn apart by the exotic beasts kept by the Wizard.
  • A Cellar with a trick barrel which leads to a secret entrance and a running underground stream.
  • A really hidden treasure chamber to hide magical weapons while leaving adventurers satisfied with the more mundane treasures as decoy.
  • Living Chambers, study area and laboratory all conveniently located in the same area so the Wizard can focus on what’s important, namely inflicting pain and cooking up dark magicks.
  • A torture chamber that is close to the laboratory for easy access to the occasional guinea pig.

Some interesting reference websites and links to read when working on maps.

Oct 8, 2016
alchymy

Dice Souls

Limitations can be seen to confine ones creativity but after years of work, I feel that it is actually the opposite. Limitations confine one which forces them to innovate even harder and focus more on their objectives. While limitless resources can be empowering, I’ve seen it create confusion or a sense of needing to do too much hence missing the primary objective altogether.

In a recent exercise on Coursera to create a single-player game on a single sheet of A4 with two dice, this was the outcome of such limited space. The emphasis was to make a game that could be played by a single person, provide incremental challenges using only two dice. Then the next step came refining the rules in order to be easily understood by people unfamiliar with the game. Then the exercise threw us a whopper by adding an additional player to the mix and then adding narrative to the game, all still within the limited space of an A4 piece of paper.

Here is my version of DICE SOULS, (as tough as Dark Souls but with Dice!). Feel free to print out and play with two dice.

Oct 8, 2016
alchymy

Missing H.264

A stupid problem that has been plaguing me for the longest time was After Effect’s H.264 format. The vanilla installation of AECC would not allow you to render out using that format and since most videos are now designed for Youtube uploads, the H.264 compression is one of the best suited for it. I’ve tried loads.Usually the format comes with an installation of Quicktime but when that didn’t work, I finally found the solution in another Youtube video. I’m just putting this up here in the event that my memory fails me and I find myself in the same situation again.



Go to the Preferences and look for Output.

Make sure you enable “Show Depreciated Formats in Output Module Settings

And voila! You should now be able to render your videos using the H.264 format compression.
Sep 17, 2016
alchymy

The Shooter – Rewritten

As a massive fan of Zombie fiction and also someone who is tasked with a writing assignment, I’ve decided to rewrite a given script and change it’s setting while retaining its original flavour. Here is my rewritten “The Shooter”.

This story is set in a post-apocalyptic version of a modern city where a viral plague has either killed or transformed a majority of the population into mindless flesh-eating creatures (zombies). It has been some time after the initial outbreak and the survivors have banded together and built small settlements with high-walls and basic infrastructure. These settlements are heavily defended and protected by teams of survivors who occasionally forage and scavenge for usable materials outside the walls. The story focuses on one such settlement, New Glenmary, that was built upon the ruins of a shopping-complex.

The story focuses on Jake, the former Warden of the settlement and leader of his team of Sentinels who serve as the protectors of the settlement and its standing army. After an incident in which Raiders weakened their defenses, a large number of zombies managed to break through and kill an entire section of the colony, Jake was distraught when he realized that not only had he failed in his duty but his family had been part of those killed in the attack. In the aftermath, with nothing left to live for, Jake decided to leave the colony in better hands and wander the ruins of Glenmary alone seeking oblivion.

Unknown to Jake, the Raiders were negotiating with Dead-Eye Jane, the leader of a Dagger team who made regular forays into the ruins in search for materials and salvage. She was ruthless and cunning and felt that decisions and authority should be given only to those that risked their lives in the ruins. Her dissatisfaction turned into hate over time and she put her plans into action. The incident with the breach was orchestrated by her in order to throw New Glenmary into disarray before disbanding the existing council that governed the settlement. With Jake out of the way, she easily swept aside all detractors and established herself as the leader of New Glenmary.

Against all odds, Jake returns after living a year in the ruins surviving alone and sees the suffering brought about by Jane’s leadership. Those who spoke out against her were killed outright or sold into slavery to Raider parties that would occasionally visit. No one was safe and many fell prey to Jane’s ‘Daggers’ who could take whatever they wanted and do anything they wished as long as it was not against the will of Dead-Eye Jane. Feeling guilt over abandoning the survivors to this tyrant, Jake swears on his family’s graves to do everything in his power to make things right again.

Jake quietly integrates back into New Glenmary and reestablishes contact with his old comrades in the Sentinels who survived Jane’s initial manhunt. Many survivors were on the brink of revolt but lacked the leadership to do so. Jake fanned these flames by inciting the populace and made quick raids on weapon caches, quietly arming the people of New Glenmary. His old second-in-command Mike, who lost an arm to the cruelty of the Daggers aided in the organization and training of the rebels.

Things came to head when a Dagger who was forcing himself upon a female survivor, found a shiv in his ribs instead. This forced the Daggers to sound an alarm to spread out and search the settlement. This prompted Jake and the rebels to spring into action and signaled the attack on Jane’s Daggers. Though well-armed, the Daggers were outnumbered and the fury of the survivors were unleashed upon them in bloody close-combat. None of the Daggers survived that night and the screaming continued on late into the night as an oppressed population claimed retribution for any wrongs beset upon them.

Jake finally faced off with Jane in her self-styled palace in the upper levels of the mall. In the ensuing battle, Jane’s other eye was shot out by Jake and with blood streaming down her face, she fell into a pit that held a few pet zombies that had their teeth filed off. Jane had used the pit to slowly silence any dissenters in the settlement by sentencing them to a slow and arduous death being slowly gnawed apart by the undead. Blinded and groping about, the ever-vengeful Jane never pleaded for mercy as Jake stumbled out of the palace with a wound she had inflicted upon him during the battle. Jake never turned back even as the screaming started.

The battle was over and  the settlement was saved. The old ways were reestablished and New Glenmary was rebuilt and fortified. Eventually the virus burned out and New Glenmary became one of the larger settlements responsible for the rebuilding of civilization. Under Jake’s leadership, connection was established with neighboring settlements and the Raiders were summarily hunted down and scattered.

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