I bet a majority of gamers who know the word SITREP know it from the Call of Duty franchise, in which the word made its debut in Modern Warfare 2 as a tier 3 perk that allowed you to see explosives more easily. I know that is where I first heard the word. Allow me to enlighten those of you who are wholly unfamiliar with the word or only familiar with it in a context similar to the one above. SITREP literally means "situation report," and is often used in a military context (the link I provided gives a pretty thorough description of a situation report, although I cannot be sure how accurate the sources are for that).
Why the educational broadcast? Well, I wanted to give you guys my current SITREP (taking the definition more liberally, of course), and to do that, I needed to be sure you guys were fully informed about the word SITREP. That, and a broader vocabulary is never a bad thing.
A couple of weeks ago, Ghost moved to version 0.4. That may not seem like much to you, but for me, it is a big deal. Why? I get to implement static pages! That means that fairly soon, this blog will have a "Games" page, featuring each game that we publish, as well as an author page for each of us, so you can get to know more of our histories. Sooner or later, we will get multi-user support, so the actual author of the post will show up instead of me every single time.
Cool Stuff as of Late
Just because games aren't being made here does not mean it is not on our radar. Here is what I have been up to lately; you might find some of these interesting.
Game Dev/Design Course
While on r/gamedev I stumbled upon a game development/design course that started just recently. I thought to myself, "Since I'm in school learning, I might as well be learning about this too. It can only benefit me." It can only benefit you, too! I'm not sure veterans will learn anything from this course, but if you are new to the scene, I encourage you to give it a shot. It is free anyway, and there's no one demanding you to finish certain parts at certains times (I think). There is a suggested timeline though, to help keep you on track. Check it out: Concepts in Game Development
Textureless 3D Art Style
Gamasutra is a cool place to be checking out game dev news; I highly recommend frequenting it. A couple of weeks ago I read an article that I think is important to share with the rest of the community: Textureless 3D Art
Why do I think so highly of it? What matters isn't the actual content of the article (which is still very good, I must say), but the topic. There are plenty of websites and articles giving developers tips for creating art styles of their own without access to artists, but most of these are about 2D art. What about 3D? In a similar vein to basic-yet-good-looking 2D art, we can create good looking 3D art without hiring an artist. I'm not saying you can make photorealistic, epic scenes of grandeur or intricately designed characters without an artist. I am saying that if you think art skill is a barrier preventing you from creating 3D games, maybe you should reconsider. Granted, some basic 3D modeling skill is required, but that is not too difficult to pick up. What is difficult is becoming an excellent texture artist, who is not only able to create great textures but is also able to apply the texture properly. With any luck, you don't have to do that in case you lack the resources. The Gamsutra article I linked to shows how to make great looking textureless art in Unity, but the same principle can probably be applied to other 3D engines.
In 2D, both the rocks on the left and right have a place in a certain game. Same thing should go for 3D. This analogy is quite simplistic, but it works.
This applies in a slightly different way to those who are excellent 3D modelers/texture artists or. Textureless art is a style unto itself. If done properly, it adds so much value to the game. I personally believe Oberon's Court, the game whose art style is discussed in the article, is beautiful. Try figuring out your own style in the 3D realm; 2D shouldn't be the only space to have different styles. Photorealistic isn't the only goal.
Joraaver has been busy with some stuff while at UCLA too.
Joraaver attended The HackTech, an annual hackathon held by students at Caltech. This year, there were around 1500 people competing, and his team's Android app placed in the top 10 hacks! His team built an automated texting app which could hold simple conversations with the guy on the other end, especially when you don't want to. You can read more about it on the blog of the company whose natural language processing API they used, Alchemy.
He tells me there were quite a few games being developed too, including an immersive real-world game based on an iOS app. However none of them got into the top 10 because none of the games brought a new aspect to gaming. Except, of course, for the virtual reality tower defense game that used the Oculus Rift. That was pretty neat and got into the top 10. I couldn't find much press about it, but I found this link desribing their project on HackerLeague.
Java for Mobile Gaming Course
Joraaver is also going to start the Building your first mobile game course from Future Learn. It's a simple introduction to Java as well as Android apps, things that he has experience in, but says it will let him see how game development is taught academically, as well as learn any tip/gotchas for game development on mobile devices. Anyone who wants to start learning Java and mobile game developemnt can sign up and join (me)! It's also perfect for those who want to use jME but don't know Java.
That's about all I can think of for now. Hopefully you enjoyed the reading I provided you, and hopefully I have time to implement the static pages sometime soon. Thanks for reading this Situation Report.