Author: Kenneth Ng

Business & Marketing, RUIN

Early Development Prototype Teaser + Website Launch


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Check out our trailer showcasing early prototype footage of our game RUIN!

This video is the culmination of hard work by not only the Dissonance team but also the student volunteers who helped get us to where we are today. This video was produced by our friends at Friendship Club. Enjoy!!!

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What better way to accompany this teaser than to launch our official website at dissonanceent.com!! 

This past quarter (and currently) at UC Davis, we have had the immense pleasure of working with a group of passionate student volunteers, who consist primarily of programmers and artists. We also cannot dismiss our little cousin Rachel Chang from Canada, who flew here this past December and sacrificed her Winter break to help us out with concept art for 2 whole weeks. With this team, we were able to quickly pump out 3D Blender models for the character and Behemoth, draw their respective texture maps, animate their various behaviors, and begin coding the gameplay mechanics in Unity.

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Behemoth & Character Concept Art by Rachel Chang

We are currently in the “proof of concept” stage of this game’s development. By the end of this Winter quarter, we will have a fully functional prototype ready for testing and debugging. Once the concept is approved to be fun and engaging, we will begin designing the official game levels next quarter.

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Banner art by Taylor Zhou

What is RUIN?

Ruin is an action-adventure game where your connections to other people are what matter most. In a world where a mysterious curse takes away your memories as time passes, your only solace is in a legend that tells you how to end this curse and in the friends you make in your quest to do so.

In your journey you will come across twelve menacing Behemoths, guardians of a towering Spire which is said to perpetuate this curse. But as you attempt to take down these Behemoths, you soon realize their size and strength are the reasons why they have survived for eons.

RUIN

First Game Dev Club Meeting!


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Woohoo! Just got back from the first meeting of the quarter of the Game Dev at Davis club. We were supposed to do pitches to recruit people at the third week, but today, we pretty much did pitches anyway. Ended up getting a handful of new volunteers to help out over the quarter with the nitty-gritty work. This quarter’s already looking a lot better than the last one.

Business & Marketing, RUIN

Having an Artist Makes a HUGE Difference


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This past week we’ve been extremely fortunate and lucky to have our cousin come from Canada and spend a good chunk of her winter break helping us out with concept art. Despite being only a sophomore in high school, she had this huge appreciation for what we were doing and immediately jumped on this opportunity.

The next thing you know, within 2 freakin’ days we were able to pump out a Behemoth and character (including 3D model, animations, textures, AI and basic mechanics). It was absolutely unbelievable how much progress we were able to make with a “full-time” artist.

Look forward to our first teaser coming out in a couple weeks. It will feature concept art and gameplay footage.

Her name is Rachel Chang and her talent for art is really inspiring. Check out some of her work here on her tumblr page and give her a shout-out!

Business & Marketing, RUIN

In Progress: Prototype Video Teaser!


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Hey Everyone,

Today is an exciting day. We’re working on our first Ruin prototype trailer with our friends from the videography studio, Friendship Club. The trailer will be used only for the opening pitch during the UC Davis Winter quarter Game Devs club meeting to promote the game and to engage more student involvement.

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This time around, especially after 3 months of hard work from the Dissonance team and our Fall quarter student volunteers, we want to show off a new face of the company that really demonstrates the seriousness we have for finishing this game.

The trailer will be released around the second or third week of January.

GEET EXCITEDDDD

Business Perspective:

For those interested in why we’re doing this from a business perspective, this is a marketing tactic to experiment how much more engagement we’ll get using a purely visual-audio presentation. We assume the sample size and distribution (what major, undergrad vs. grad) of students is roughly the same each quarter.

Last quarter, we presented a PowerPoint and our game concept alone was able to carry us into second place in terms of number of students interested in working with us (2 programmers, 4 artists, some floaters). I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to see a Journey + Shadow of the Colossus combo?!

A well-rehearsed speech and clean colorful slides unfortunately were not powerful enough to beat out the first place team, who had an entire PowerPoint designed to mimic an in-game UI. It had “buttons” that you could press to simulate a character selection screen. It was beyond jaw-droppingly awesome.

If this video teaser deems successful in grabbing more top notch talent or social media followers, then we’ll invest in more video productions throughout the game’s development lifecycle.

RUIN

Tortured in DayZ


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I’m sure a lot of you have seen this video by now.

Imagine the Walking Dead as a mass multiplayer online game. That’s DayZ. You are placed into a zombie-infested world where you must learn to survive by finding food, forming alliances, and even hunting down other players. In fact, there’s not even that many zombies. It’s all one big psychological experiment.

Now go watch or play Journey by thatgamecompany. What do you think is similar about these two games?

That’s right. They both test a player’s morals and values in a virtual setting.

A study showed that when you place people into a virtual world, real-life rules do not apply. It is your job as an indie developer, especially in a mass multiplayer game, to define the news rules that they must abide to.

In the DayZ video above, the other player displayed true characteristics of a psychopath. The game allows this to happen by giving players the power to do things such as breaking legs, tying up their hands, and removing their clothes.

Now take Journey. Founder Jenova Chen said himself that based on initial prototype testing he would strip all game mechanics down to the most basic forms of collaboration. He introduced rules into the game such that people would only be able to “help” and talk amiably to each other.

In either case, these games were able to create the ultimate personalized experience by allowing players to convey their own values to other strangers and build a unique relationship (whether it be friendly or torturous).

Both these games are major inspirations to Dissonance for those reasons. Our portfolio of games will provide a personalized experience that challenge your individual values.

Business & Marketing

Stimulating Creativity


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When we were kids, we used to draw purple dinosaurs with tentacles flying on saucers attacking rainbow colored planets dimpled with flowers. Those were the days when our imagination ran wild, untainted by the elements of reality—nobody to tell you that it could never happen. Overtime as we grew older, we began to accept the limits of reality and so our imagination dwindled.

The entrepreneurial spirit is the inner child that screams to get out and show the world where unbound creativity can take us all.

At Dissonance Entertainment our passion is to expose that hidden potential and stimulate creativity and innovation.

RUIN

Our first team?!?!


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Chris goes to UC Davis and is a member of the game developers club. In a couple weeks members will have a chance to pitch a game idea and create a team to develop a working prototype by the end of the Fall quarter.

EXCITING! Chris and I are currently working on a presentation for our game Ruin. If we get a team that will be a blast, as any help would be greatly appreciated.

It’s also an exciting opportunity for me personally as I have always been passionate about personal development. I hope to share my experiences so far with opening an indie studio and teach them the business essentials for running a company.

I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes.

RUIN

Behemoth Concept


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Behemoth

  • Model created by Chris and imported.

Clouds

  • Purchased 3D cloud models from Quantum Theory

Terrain

  • Created using terrain editor in Unity

Lighting

  • Added fog. Color of fog is chosen to match that of the clouds’ shadowed, darker region.
  • Lens flare created by adding a sphere gameobject attached with a Lens Flare component. Used the “Sun” lens flare material that comes with Unity. Interesting note: The fog greatly affects the intensity of the lens flare. Fog and lens flare must therefore go hand-in-hand.
  • Still trying to figure out how ambient light works.

Next steps

  • Play with other types of terrain (jungles, snowy mountains, beachside cliffs, etc.).
  • Test out sun shafts (aka God rays). Learn how to code the rays such that it follows a player’s movement. Need Unity pro
  • Learn how to create clouds using particles. We want the Behemoths to pass through the clouds seamlessly.
  • Work in Blender to create cliffs, boulders, and trees. Learn how to paint (texture) them in photoshop.
  • Learn how to apply toon shading.
  • Play with wind zones
  • Glow effect, Bloom effect
  • Music: use loud reverberating instruments commonly found in Hans Zimmer’s work
Business & Marketing

What is Dissonance?


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Now you’re probably wondering: “Dissonance? What the ****?!” Dissonance is a concept that really speaks to our method of storytelling. Dissonance is the opposite of harmony. It is conflict. It is struggle with oneself or the environment.

Only in dissonance do you become emotionally engaged. A narrative emerges and a story begins to unfold. Life is never a happy ending so why tell stories of harmony? Harmony is boring!

In the next couple years we hope that you will be as excited as we are in making our first indie game.