Stacking the Chips. Assignment 2


So I have talked about my proposal on expanding Justin Tan’s work. Now its time to do the actual planning for the project.

Previous Post


In order to find out what is needed we have to do a Work Break-Down Structure model.

Firstly this is the General WBS:


Explanation of General WBS:

Important parts of this is mostly the Project Planning and Development phase.

Formation of Development Team would include, 2 Programmers, 1 Writer and 1 Game Designer.

Narrative Story-line will be written by the writer as a novel of some sort. This will then be split into 3 parts for the games.

Next is the WBS for each game. Because the workflow of each game is largely similar, the same WBS can be used for each game.


Explanation of Game WBS: 

Basically it is mostly what is written in the image but matters I want to highlight is Marketing. From Justin Tan’s lecture I have come to realize that marketing is an important part of making your game successful hence I dedicated an entire section to it in the Game WBS. This would mean that Budget has to be allocated for Marketing as well.

This is mostly for advertising and publishing as the development log will be update by the game designer or people on the team.


Before one can calculate budget and such one would need a Gant Chart to show how long each role has to work for.

Programmers are expensive hence hiring them only during the period where there is work to be done is important.

Here I have split the Gant Chart into years.

Year 1:

Year 1 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

In the beginning we nail down the concepts and the game mechanics of the game.

Most of the time spent during this year will be for narrative development and game programming. Some marketing will be involved but mostly to raise awareness on the upcoming alpha during the alpha testing phase.

The accumulation of the year’s efforts will be the alpha test where the game is tested in it’s “bare bones” form will little to no story content in it. It will mostly just be a test to see if the game play is fun.

Year 2:

Year 2 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

During the second year, we fine tune concepts and mechanics. Then move to integration of the narrative script into the game. During this phase it is mostly debugging and implementing level design through the programming section.

Halfway through the year there will be a Beta test, where the game is almost complete and a select group of candidates will get to play the game before others to aid in the correction of flaws in the game.

More efforts will be spent on marketing and advertising here due to the nearing of the release date.

During the Beta and well into the release date there will be updates and improvements on the game such as adding extra content.

Year 3 & Year 4:

Year 3and4 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

Once the first game is released, we now have a base to build off for subsequent games. Year 3 and 4 would have similar workflows and milestones hence the same chart can be used.

The beginning of the year is mostly used for developing new additions to the already solid mechanics and also there will be some updates on the previous game to build some anticipation for the next release.

Alpha testing will begin early as we are not starting from scratch anymore. Beta testing will occur at roughly the same time as year 2.

Finally the publishing efforts are lesser due to the fact that we would use our existing publisher if all goes well.


For the project I decided to go with Unity. As it is better equipped to support more people working on the same project at one time.


Other software I considered was Game Maker Studio but this was scrapped due to the fact that Game Maker Studio is more tuned for use of a single person.



Now that we have done the WBS and Gant Charts, we now know what we need. With this information we can start budgeting for the entire project.

Writer: $36,000

From my research a writer costs about $12,000-$90,000 for a 100-300 page book if he is a professional. For the purposes of our game we would probably need a 900 page book for substantial content.

So in total this would be $36,000 – $270,000. I choose to go with the $36,000 figure.

Programmers: $180,000

From my Gant Charts the total number of weeks the programmers would work are roughly 120 weeks. This would equate to about 30 months.

Seeing as there are 2 programmers on the team and from Justin Tan’s lecture he mentioned that a programmer cost about $3000- $4000 a month, it would cost me roughly $180,000.

Marketing & Advertising: $207,000

It says that the average marketing manager earns about $69,000 a year. Since I would only need to hire one after the first year that would equate to $207,000.

Software: $5000

From Justin Tan’s lecture the cost of a professional game engine such as Unity is $5000.

Other notes:

As this is an indie project, there would be no office space required for this hence that is thankfully off my budget list.

Total: $428,000

This would be the cost of the project not inclusive of my personal salary as the Game Designer.


This project is a 3 game series and what I have illustrated above is the process of planning and development of the project. I have learnt how these element such as the WBS and Gant Chart work together to aid your planning especially with regards to budgeting. Through this project I have come to understand the concepts in Project Planning and Development in greater detail and clarity.

Stacking the Cubes. Assignment 2


Cubetractor screenshot 4

After penning down my thoughts on Justin Tan’s presentation, I was first daunted by the idea of starting my own Indie game company. But when I put it into perspective, I realized that Justin Tan had actually informed us about the challenges and costs of running such a company making us better able to plan and prepare for it. What better way to start planning for my own Indie game company by doing an extension of Justin Tan’s Case Study.


Justin Tan created the game titled Cube Tractor, a Tower Defense/Puzzle game.

What I aim to do is to create a series building upon his original concept and adding what I feel are improvements to his game.

Doing a little bit of market research these are the statics for what genre of game is the most popular.


From the results here one can clearly see that the Action genre is the most popular.

With regards to Justin Tan’s game I feel that the mechanics has a lot of potential. Having the game be just a Puzzle game seems wasteful.

Cubetractor Hard

Looking at the game play GIF above, I feel that if the player could control where he put those initial tiles it would generate a more action oriented type of game play.

Another point to add is multiplayer.

There is an article regarding this saying by adding competitive multiplayer elements one can potentially increase revenue of the game by 510%.

To further emphasize my point here are some statics on DOTA 2 the most popular game on the STEAM platform it’s success is mostly due to it’s competitive multiplayer.


As you can see in the past 48 hours the peak number of players playing concurrently was 11 million. Translating this into revenue for example if I sold my game for $1 and it sees even a tenth of DOTA 2’s success, I would earn a gross revenue of $1.1 million! That is just from players playing concurrently not even the total amount of DOTA 2 users. Which by the way is roughly 56 million.

Lastly is a memorable narrative. From personal experience, what keeps me playing a game is also largely due to it’s narrative. A game can have fantastic game play, but without the direction of a narrative everything would seem pointless.

As of now Cubetractor’s narrative is kind of cute but actually rather interesting. It is about a robot trying to escape to freedom. Making a very engaging experience.

Sadly I am not a great creative writer so this will probably have to be outsourced.


For this project what I propose is to create a series of 3 games based off Justin Tan’s Cubetractor and add improvements to the game.

Improvements would include multiplayer, more control over the blocks, more active role in combat.

The time-frame in which i plan to do this is 4 years.

2 years for the 1st game, and 1 year each for the 2nd and 3rd game.

Continued Here

Phasing through the Phases. Assignment 3 Part 2


Welcome back to the next update of Assignment 3. I have narrowed down my Projects to 2. Criteria for selecting these projects out of the 5 were the level of interest I had and how feasible it was to accomplish in a year.



This is the story about a pair of young boys in the sweltering June of 1995. Fishing in the storm drains was a past time back then, we would climb into the drains and look for fish to keep in our homes.


This project is an interactive comic book. Moving gifs would create a more immersive reading experience while little mini-games within the panels would help the reader feel more connected with the characters. In a sense I want to give readers some semblance of my experience when I was a child through this novel.

This project will be a Solo project as well.


These images show just how much difference a little movement in the images makes.

slide3_1 slide3_2


Done as an interactive website, I aim to use HTML/CSS and Javascript as a platform for my novel. Art and gifs will be done in Adobe Photoshop.


Guiding the player through the use of moving gifs and recording the results of the mini-games I aim to generate endings that differ slightly from each other.

The style of the art would most likely be in Pixel Art as to me it represents a rather retro feel of olden day video games and such giving a sense of nostalgia.


Most of the Art and Programming will be done by myself so budget in this aspect would not be an issue.

Possible use of budget would be for sound design, a subtle background track and another track for more exciting parts and sound effects.

I estimate around $100-$300 will be spent on this.




GraphicNovel Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1



There are many games out there in the world of today, but what I feel that most people can agree on  is that the Game Design element is the most important. Not just the look of the game but how the game is played is most important. What is the player going to be doing for the next 1 to 5 hours.

This Project is an Isometric RPG that focuses of action and strategy.




Taking inspiration from games like, CRAWL, HYPERLIGHT DRIFTER, WAYWARD SOULS, EITR and MOON HUNTERS. I feel that this game would best suit the Pixel Art style. Reason being after completing the game, I want this game to be the kind of game you pull out once every few years just to play around with and Pixel Art tends to stand the test of time more effectively that your AAA 3D games.


For mechanics, I took inspiration from games like PORTAL and VOLFIED to create what I believe to be a unique main mechanic of which the game revolves around.



Most of the game revolves around placing points called “TOTEMS” on the map these points act as beacons of a sort when the player dashes into a TOTEM he is transported to a corresponding
TOTEM. When this happens the space between the TOTEMS will have an effect such as DAMAGE or STUN depending on the type of TOTEM placed.

If a player places 3 TOTEMS in the correct physical proximity it will form a TRIANGLE. The effect stated above will then occur within the TRIANGLE.
TOTEMS can come in 3 types, ATTACK, DEFENSE and SUPPORT.
e.g Placing 2 ATTACK TOTEMS will have a DAMAGE effect, placing 2 DEFENSE TOTEMS will have a SLOW effect, placing 1 ATTACK and 1 DEFENSE TOTEM will have a STUN effect.



This game mechanic has potential to create puzzle elements during the game and also make for interesting COMBAT situations.



A Sci-Fi narrative that takes place on a desert planet about a lost traveler trying to find his way home.

Story By Josephine:

A man wakes up in the middle of the desert and he can’t remember his name. The only things he has in his possession is a poncho, and 3 mysterious totems in his pocket. He wanders to look for food and shelter and he stumbles upon a hermit living in a yurt. He shares his story with the hermit and reveals the totems in his pocket. The hermit, recognizing these totems, teaches the man to use them.

The man stays with the hermit and they help one another gather food and chase away bandits — both using the totems. [tutorial levels]
A few days later, the yurt is approached by a group of officials who request the hermit pay for the use of their boss’s land otherwise they would have to force him to leave or worst. The hermit is unable to pay, but the man defends him. The officials appear to recognize him which would spark a fight between them. [tutorial levels]
[this fight will then to level 3 ‘tower’ defense]




PLATFORMS: PC with the possibility of making it a MOBILE APPLICATION.


Most of the assets and programming will be done inhouse.
Possibilities for budget allocation mostly to sound design, a subtle background track and another track for more exciting parts and sound effects.

I estimate around $100-$300 will be spent on this.




Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

Thinking out of the Box, Guest Lecture Justin Tan



Being your everyday BFA student, I am pretty much sheltered from the “Money Realities” of the real world. That is not to say I don’t earn my own money to sustain myself and pay my own bills, but what Justin Tan describes is an eye opener.


Starting an Indie GameDesign Studio is a whole different ball game from what Justin Tan says. He goes into the details on how much it costs to keep the lights on in a small game studio and the different models that one can follow when operating such a studio.

This opened up insights for me and gave me a wake up call on the trials and tribulations I would have to endure in order to reach my dreams.

Another thing he helped with was also answer questions on how level design is done which I found extremely helpful.

All in all I am very thankful for this Guest Lecture. Thanks Permagnus!


Phasing through the Phases. Assignment 3 Part 1



For the first part of assignment 3 we were asked to come up with 5 ideas. Here are my ideas in less than 20 words.

Idea 1 : A digital graphic novel. Whats to special about this graphic novel is that it is done entirely in moving pixel art GIFs. This hopefully creates a more immersive experience when one reads it.

Solo Project, Budget $100-$500.

Idea 2: An isometric action RPG. This is done in pixel art with a special game mechanic.

Duo Project, Budget $100-$500.

Idea 3: A pixel art shortfilm. Most animated films are either drawn or in 3d what I want to do is create a unique viewing experience telling the viewer a story through the medium of pixel art in all it’s 8 bit goodness.

Solo Project/Duo Project, Budget $100-$500.

Idea 4: A Virtual Reality mapping of the world or something smaller scale. With the use of the Occulus Rift I want to create the experience of exploring the world from anywhere in the world.

Group Project, Budget Very Large. Reasons for the larger budget is that a 360 camera costs $350-$500 for consumer use and around $60K for professional use.

Idea 5: An interactive installation based of my project called the Random Day Generator. The idea behind this project is to have people from all over the world contribute videos to a library and simulate a random day based on those videos.

Group Project, Budget $100-$500.

Perfect Pitch

Pitch 1

To develop an installation project called the “Random Day Generator”, by creating a database of videos taken from all over the world. These videos will then be put into 8 categories from waking up to sleeping with tags such as “Christmas”, “Sports” and so on. Data will then be visualized on screen showing how important certain times of day are to certain people or during certain occasions.

Funds for this project would probably be used to book a location as well as sound design.

Pitch 2

This project involves going around the world to take VR videos so that people who are unable to travel for various reasons can experience the world in a first person view.

Due to the large budget I would think that we are able to hire people to take these videos starting with the major cities and landmarks.

Pitch 3

For a Duo project I would do a 2d pixel art game. With RPG elements and a unique gameplay mechanic. Funds would probably be used for sound design.

Pitching Prequel


I have a passion for pixel art, it’s like drawing with light. There are so many different styles of it and so many applications. Pixels are pixels and they will look the same always clean and crunchy. Pixel art will stand the test of time unlike other 3D games where a wonderful game is overlooked due to it’s outdated graphics.


A 2D top down isometric action RPG with hand-drawn sprites. It will be a rogue-like, meaning players have to start from the beginning once they die.


An installation art work where it is actually a large database of videos taken by people from all over the world ( or singapore :[ ). These videos will then be tagged and categorized in the data base to create a Random Day Generator. The installation will involve people just pressing a button and be swept away in a 1 – 2 minute random first person day.


Also 2D top down isometric action RPG with hand-drawn sprites. It will be a rogue-like, meaning players have to start from the beginning once they die. But this time it will follow a narrative with 3 acts similar to that of the 3 act structure or the hero’s journey. Maybe I’ll call it “Mono-myth”.

Perusing the Processing Plant


To submit control of your body to a robot is a very unsettling thought. Professor Louis-Philippe Demers probes into this area of thought, with works such as “Inferno” to explore the reactions and interactions of man and machine.


Budget control, to create such works with robotics must have been rather costly, how did you allocate your budget for project such as “Inferno”? Where does the money come from?

Planning and the work flow of these projects must have differed from project to project, what would you say are the constants that never change when creating such artworks?

Does working in a group differ very much from working alone in your opinion?

Guest Speaker Candice Ng


Browsing through Candice Ng’s work, I have come to be intrigued by the connections between human relations and objects. This is evident in her Exhibition “Sleep in the Power Sockets”.


The works that peaked my interest the most was that of “New Artifacts of Remembering” and “Alternative Rituals of Remembering”.

New Artifacts of Remembering


A series of RFID ceramic dish wares, this exhibition explores the permanence of digital content. How can you make data sacred? Is it plausible that in the future inheritance would come in the form of digital content instead of material objects?

The act of trying to give these “heirlooms” a digital connotation is very interesting as here we see what Candice perceives as an amalgamation of the digital and physical.

Which in my opinion is not easy to do.

Alternative Rituals of Remembering


This artwork is a very intimate piece. Candice combines the common rituals we do for our deceased loved ones with more intimate pieces of their lives.

This piece in my opinion adds meaning into what we do for our loved ones, makes it feel that the memories of this person matter more than ever. If we perform the same ritual for everyone what proof is there that this person made an impact on your life? How is he or she different from everybody else?


How does Candice Ng’s work contribute to the ongoing public discussions about identity, in the context of Singapore and South-East Asia?

In this day and age where everything is getting increasingly digital, where all our works especially that of digital artists are mostly “Up in the cloud”.

How can we be sure that what we pass on to our loved ones, our blood sweat and tears, a piece of our identity, would be sacred when our life’s work is so easily accessible?

Candice’s work in my opinion contributes by getting people to ask questions about such matters.




Trees and Sculptures


Wood has always been a popular medium in art. But these two artists create more than just your average sculpture or carving.

This essay is an exploration into the concepts and processes behind the work of Ai Wei Wei’s “Trees” and Paul Kaptein’s “Warped Wood Sculptures”.

Trees by Ai Wei Wei


Ai Wei Wei’s “Trees”

Case Study Link

These tree sculptures were created by Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. Made from parts of dead trees that are brought down from the mountains of Southern China, Ai Wei Wei transports these trees to his Beijing based studio where they are made into the “Trees” we see in the photo.

asdwww (Left: “Tree being constructed”) (Right: “Ai Wei Wei Supervising”)

“Its like trying to image what the tree looked like”

-Ai Wei Wei

Like a memory being recreated, the trees are held together by hidden mortise and tenon joins and large industrial bolts. From a distance the trees look natural but on closer inspection the artificiality of the trees is clear alluding to the state the modern Chinese nation, where ethnically diverse people are brought together to form ‘One China’.

“Warped Wood Sculptures” by Paul Kaptein


Paul Kaptein’s “Warped Wood Sculptures”

Case Study Link

Perth-based artist Paul Kaptein uses large blocks of laminated wood to create warped and distorted human figures, some of which have holes pierced through them to look like star constellations.

These hand-carved busts and sculptures have gaps in between the wood work created during the laminating process, thus creating the over all impression of digital glitches or skewed imagery one would encounter where he/she has poor reception.


“I am interested in examining the undefined area between expansion and contraction, or interconnection and incompleteness

-Paul Kaptein

Even while the viewer walks around each piece, the warped nature of each artwork continues the push and sink in different directions creating new perspectives on the artworks.



Subject Matter

Both artworks are of very different subject matter Ai Wei Wei’s being about Trees and Paul Kaptein’s being about Human Figures.

But there is one similarity that I feel is important to mention, It is that both artists were trying to recreate something from imagination or thought. Ai’s was about recreating what he thought the tree would have looked like while Paul’s was about recreating the effects a digital glitch would have on an image.

Process of Creation

Due to the fact that both artworks are of very different scales, the processes of both work vary.

For starters, Ai Wei Wei’s work was accomplished with the help of other people building his design while Paul Kaptein’s work was hand carved.

In Ai Wei Wei’s case, he had to do more human resource management as the wood was taken from the mountains of south China and brought to his studio. From there he designed how the trees would look like and supervised it’s construction. The trees were also made to be taken apart sort of like a modular structure for transportation which made the exhibition in London possible. This required advance planning and human resource management skills to do so.

As for Paul Kaptein, his works were made from laminated wood as the lamination process was where the gaps in the wood was created this also required planning. Visualizing and creating the glitch wood effect and making it so that even with the effect the sculpture would still represent a coherent subject matter was probably one of the challenges he faced in this planning process.

In a nutshell

The main differences were:

The wood Ai Wei Wei’s work was taken from the mountains in as natural a form as possible while the wood for Paul Kaptein’s work had was a block of laminated wood.

Ai’s work required a lot more interaction with other people than that of Paul’s while Paul’s work involved a lot more planning in the design of the work itself due to the subject matter. Reason being trees come in much more varying shapes than that of humans.

The main similarities were:

Both works were made of wood.

Both works were re-creations of something imagined in the artist’s mind.


In this case study, although the processes of both works were very different the importance of planning is paramount to it’s success one cannot simply rely solely on “happy accidents” to achieve the result one has in mind.