Happy Holidays from ZeMind!

Not nearly the entire ZeMind team, just the ones who showed up on picture day 🙂

 

So, we’re a pretty culturally diverse bunch here at the studio. Now, that might sound like a humble brag, but it is not. It’s an all-out brag.

It’s pretty easy to say a studio like ours needs more “____”, and you might be right, but at the rate that I’ve seen our studio grow and develop I’m proud to say I’m a part of this team. As far as young start-ups are concerned, we’re making progress towards having a total grab-bag of team members (although we could always use a few more to help share the load!)

The holidays are a funny thing. They are often full of panic, uncertainty, and a whole lot of sad bank accounts (let’s be honest here, we’ve all gone diving into the cash hole a little bit this December). They are also, however, packed to the rafters with awkward social interaction between friends and relatives that you potentially haven’t seen a lot of in a very long time.

Offices can be very much the same, but all year round. We, like many, have an open concept office with a few rows of computers lined up with each other. Despite what you may think about communication in these kinds of settings, places like this can be difficult to traverse as the boundaries between the app teams and the gaming development teams are often nebulous. We’re constantly shifting personnel and focus across many different projects on the go, and I like to think it keeps us all mentally fresh and stops the staff from burning out while on a single task.

In simple terms, we share.

That, as well as our communications, relationships and interactions with each other are what make this studio so special.

Over the last few months we’ve gone axe throwing, game-jammed, exchanged presents and participated in much of each other’s workload. We’ve gotten to get to know each other pretty well, to the point now where team deathmatches with dart guns (plastic, thank you very much) have become commonplace between the senior staff and the newbies during the downtime. There’s something to be said about the trust that has to be developed between team members when switching from an in-house cartoon-influenced tower defense game to a high-profile clients’ mobile app, and I think it’s positive.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is a wonderful place to work and everyone is happy to be here. While not every employer may be as fortunate as ours, it’s always important to take stock in the holiday season of the people who add a positive influence in your life, whether they’re your friends, family, or game studio.

So spread a little holiday happiness, and tell the people who make you happy that they do so, even if it means hijacking the company blog to say it.

From our family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays.

Charlie Ze Holiday Elf


If you like the ZeMind Games Blog, feel free to follow us on social media for an inside look at what we do here at the studio. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Instagram

Making our games: From Concept to Creation

ZeMind has quite a few ideas brewing, in terms of 2017’s releases. Along with our Tower Defense game (Working title: “Project: Versus”) we’re currently brewing up ideas for a new TCG/CCG mobile game (Yes, we know what it sounds like, but it’s got nothing to do with swords, sandals, sorcery or sandwiches) for you all to enjoy at some point in the future.

That’s right, we’re thinking of jumping into the world of Mobile Card Games.

From a blog standpoint, This is a great opportunity to give you the step by step process of what could be our next mobile title. As opposed to Project: Versus, I’ll have been around for the entire creation of the project, which give me (social media extraordinaire) the opportunity to walk you through exactly what we’re up to, step by step.

So, what is our new game? Where it is at right now is essentially an MMA fighting game played with cards, complete with submissions on the ground, heavy wrestling and great kickboxing/Muay Thai strikes. Currently revolving around a two player (1V1, bruh) combat system, it’s a strategy deckbuilding TCG/CCG that involves reducing your opponent’s HP to zero using card based strikes and submissions that mesh with the player of your choosing.

As with many fighting video games, the first point of order is to select a fighter. Some fighters will excel at striking while standing, others will have an advantage wrestling or grappling on the ground. It’s up to the player to decide what goes into their deck to help take advantage of their fighters’ abilities while covering their weaknesses. The game itself revolves around creating a deck that excels where your opponent does not, and, much like the sport of MMA itself, has several different win conditions that don’t all necessarily favour punching and kicking.

For example:
Fighter A-
Excels at combat on the ground, struggles while standing

Fighter B-
Struggles while on the ground, excellent standing striking

A player using either of these fighters would have to fill their deck with the appropriate cards to get the fight where they need it to go in order to win. That’s not all, however. A crafty player can concoct a strategy that revolves around winning points and making it to a judging decision. Players plan their attacks/defending cards against each other at the same time all the while choosing to either ‘Play it safe’ with high percentage/Low damage cards or ‘Go Big/Go Home’ strategies that can end the fight in a heartbeat but require more luck.

How are we calculating percentages? Dice, at the moment. Will it stay that way? Probably not.

So far it’s in a preliminary ‘Paper Prototype’, wherein we’ve printed out some makeshift cards and played through it a few times. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

-Charlie Ze Newbie


If you like the ZeMind Games Blog, feel free to follow us on social media for an inside look at what we do here at the studio. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Instagram

Nintendo, the Wonderful Wizard of Mobile?

Hey Nintendo, you’re an awesome company! You almost single handedly raised an entire generation of kids on consoles with less processing power than the worst phone on the market today. It’s hard to be objective– You’re a part of a collectively shared childhood with many of my peers along with myself.

It’s kind of funny when you think about how with the release of the Switch, Nintendo’s undeniable turn to mobile gaming has become apparent. Combine that with the announcement of Mario arrival IOS (It’s about time!) one can only wonder how long it is before even the most uber members of the PC Master Race/Console Peasants begin the jump into your pocket.

The Switch is undeniably shaped and sized to be portable, not much larger than a tablet carried by commuters on a train or person flipping through pages in your local coffee shop. The similarities aren’t uncanny, they’re finely tuned and plotted. It’s no coincidence that the questions and criticism towards the Switch echo those raised at mobile gaming- ‘Where’s all the computing power? What will its processor handle? Why doesn’t it have a more adequate graphics card? What is the battery life?

“I’ll never pick it up!”, “It’s not a real console!” You might be saying to yourself, vehemently denying the inescapable acknowledgement of mobile as gaming platform. Remember when IOS declared the same sentiment their in defiance towards the stylus? They also chanted with a fervor not unlike yourselves. Look where they are now. It’s easy enough to wave a finger at the latest hardware powered elite, but instead of treating this as a detriment to our socket-straddled gaming brethren, let’s actually take a peek as to what this really means for the industry as a whole.

Platform compatibility is already here in some form or another. You can, in many cases, use your console to charge your mobile device, as well as use it as a form of portable hard drive to store all your favourite replays/high scores.

So why not gaming? Gamers have long held their consoles in their pockets- Let’s not forget here that pop starlet Taylor Swift is roughly as old as the original Gameboy (Released in 1989, next to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Little Mermaid and of course the most timeless of albums: Madonna’s Like a Prayer.) Nintendo has always taken huge leaps (for better and for worse) in gaming and (bias fully disclosed) it’s great to finally see where gaming can go once it’s finally free of the cord.

I get that change is hard. However,= without it, innovation becomes impossible. So how about we all just take a second and pump the breaks on our judgements on the Switch at least until it comes out, alright?


If you like the ZeMind Games Blog, feel free to follow us on social media for an inside look at what we do here at the studio. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Instagram

The Long Journey of Code

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare”
-Mary Shelley

So uh, here’s an announcement: I’ve begun learning to code in Unity! That’s right, in an effort to better understand my partners in crime on the actual development side of the studio, I’ve decided to expand my skills and jump into the masochistic world of C# coding for Unity.

No, seriously.

Thanks to the blessings of our all powerful dachshund Fletcher (all praise be to him), earlier I began the trials by Unity, or as the company itself calls them: “Tutorials”. The last time I tried anything remotely like this was back in the days of HTML2 < img src="“Im_really_old.jpeg”" / > which, yes, I’m aware isn’t really a programming language. Thank you, internet.

The first go round had me creating a lovely ball rolling game in which I rattled my brain over what I did wrong before realizing I failed english on a second grade level, forgetting to end a statement with some punctuation.

I spent the next few moments questioning my life choices before continuing on with the rest of the tutorial, completely refusing to just ‘Copy/Paste’ the end results from underneath the video, semi-colons be damned. I want to learn WHY, instead of just what.

After a few hours I had finally managed to get a bit of the logic- don’t get me wrong, I’m still trying to build a castle out of playing cards but as it stands I’m progressing at a completely normal rate for someone who has > 0 skill when it comes to coding anything further than running MSDOS.

Needless to say, finally coming up with the end product established a great sense accomplishment and I’ll be happy to say that I can see my skill set increasing the further into coding I get. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near ‘Studio’ game development ready, but it’s honestly like I’ve finally given all the puzzle pieces to make a game and now it’s all just a matter of putting things together.

A horrible, terribly coded puzzle. Seriously, I assume it’s going to resemble what spaghetti looks like after you throw it in a food blender and try to tape it all together.

Via repetition. And trial/error. Mostly trial/error. Actually, just error.
Overall, building the tutorials’ mini rollerball game has got me thinking in a positive direction! I’ve enjoyed what I’ve learned so far and am looking forward to tackling more projects in Unity. Next stop, 2D!

‘Learning code is a tricky thing’ – Everyone who has ever tried it.

Charlie Ze coding Newbie

If you like the ZeMind Games Blog, feel free to follow us on social media for an inside look at what we do here at the studio. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Instagram