Hi, it’s Jacco again. This week I will show you where we work and explain why tools are essential for game development  on a bigger scale.

The GameHall, deep down in the basement of the Buys Ballot Laboratorium with a lack of daylight

“So where is the secret base of Martian Flytrap located?”, one might wonder. Well, we spend most of our time in the so called GameHall that is managed by DGDARC (Dutch Game Development And Research Club). Students can come here to work on their game projects, get some help or just to have fun developing with fellow students. Martian Flytrap gladly uses this location, and has so far managed to conquer a decent working area (notice the whiteboard, concept art and post-its on the right side of the picture).


Why tools?Skeletal Animation Tool

Currently I am working on a skeletal animation tool. The artists can use this to create animations more easily by simply “dragging” the bones and joints of the skeleton (for instance of a giant). You might also have read Alexander’s post, he is working on a texture atlas tool. 

We spend quite some time on building tools, and this is for a reason.  Actually, several reasons:

  • The usage of tools makes life much easier. Imagine having to write all your xml game-content data by hand, or spending countless hours on drawing all the frames of a single animation (oh man.. this is starting to sound like a Tellsell commercial).
  • When working with a team on a bigger project, consistency is important. Custom tools can do just that; they offer a consistent way of using data in the overall programming framework. For instance, with the particle-effect tool that Bas made, advanced effects can be modeled because the game framework uses the same technical implementation as the tool.
  • Freedom. Building your own tool means that you can decide what features to include or not to include. You can make it as flexible as you want and discuss the requirements with the other team members.
  • Tools can be useful for other projects as well. As long as you keep in mind that they should not be dependent on a specific game, they can be integrated in the framework as well!

Thanks for tuning in!