Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer

3llipse is born


Those who have known me for years may know that I occasionally like to alias myself as Ellipse3, for some reason and that I have been heading up a gaming collaboration channel for the last year or so. Well more recently I have also been developing two games with an expected mid-late 2014 launch bracket as such the need for some form of individual identity has grown. As a now semi avid twitter user I have found it rather restricting posting tweets as GCollab as it sometimes does not relate to the channels/ groups purpose as such decided to kinda re-brand myself… sorta. Therefore a simple and semi multi reason logo and name has been created. The logo which also resembles film *wink wink eagle eyed spotters* is my way of showing this is me and this is what I have made.

Both LIfE and Suspicion are developing nicely considering I also have university commitments at present and looking to a mid-late 2014 launch, more updates and videos coming as soon as possible.

The (He)art of gaming

As I delve deeper into my own personal game development projects I understand more and more about the art and science behind what makes a good game, not just in terms of fun but in terms of its lasting impact upon myself and choices in life. I got into games quite late, in regards to those of similar age range and my library is not as big as many others however I feel the choices I have made are those which suit my tastes. I have a fondness for RTS’s, Strategy and sandbox style games as they make me think and I find it personally fascinating how people interact with technology and solve problems and believe digital content to be an accessible medium for this, people play games and are not often aware of there lasting impacts.

Games nowadays are in a state of flux, we are facing a potential negative shift which could limit audience scope and sadly create negative perceptions about a form of media which is at its core a digital art form. I am NOT a gamer, I am NOT a game maker what I AM is a Passionate Creative who believes that we must at times defy convention to create deep experiences which excite and inspire the next generation to create a more audience friendly world. I play games and whilst playing them I live them but I also know the importance of a social life and the real world implications, I like to think of myself as passionate bursting with ideas but to be frank it is human behaviour which gives me the most inspiration, watching others can help you reflect on your own standpoint and cans / interactive media can showcase this to as many people as possible driving emotions whilst remaining safe in their execution.

I will make my way into the interactive industry even if others may put me down as what are we if without passion and drive, I do what I do and must for those I love and to build a future I so desperately seek. LIfE is my baby and with your feedback, your experiences and your support it will become one that grows.

A question of Greed VS Need

There is a lot of moaning and accusations regarding business practices recently sparked over the debate of copyright and ownership over everyday words such as ‘Candy’. King games are on a moral standpoint are wrong in the sense they are suing business and brands over the use of words that to be brutally honest should not be copyrightable however in this world of ours there is a system in place, its name is money.

Morally developers and designers would love to be able to produce media purely out of passion and the art of doing so, however creation costs and I do not mean just money when I say this. As someone developing some games himself I can safely say development is a long, time consuming slog with no promise of reward. This is where the argument between need and greed, when is passion overwritten by monetary requirements based on living and when can we over extend this human instinct.

The need in Need:

Human beings have various base requirements these are covered in Maslows Hierarchy of needs, we must fulfil these in order to feel self gratification and make our existence and investment in work and time feel worthwhile. As a student I often find it easy to overlook some of these due to the pressure exerted to get a job and earn money which is only getting more desperate as my time at university is drawing to an end.

Alongside this I am developing various titles which in themselves take up a lot of my time and effort which requires some sense of end gratification for the investment required, sadly in order to live we have to have money to buy these base needs. This has led to a fine line between what we need and what we want and when the two push too far when greed sets in.

The need for Greed:

Greed, is seen as an evil, something we should avoid and morally and ethically I agree however it has a need in society sadly, this need is to as a motivator. Sometimes we must overextend our wants and needs to drive us forward and give drive to and means to do good in the world. As a student I am lets just say rather skint nearly all the time yet I feel the need to help others in the form of charity and such even at expense of own growth, sadly though as time passes this want to help is having to diminish as I must look to the future and the live and family I want to eventually have.

Greed is a sad fact of business and human beings will if given the chance screw each other other as the base urges for self protection set in. I try and fight these urges and openly say that like everyone I have faults and those who kid themselves or put on any perceptions of kindness or moral superiority are more often than not deceiving themselves. This sense of moral superiority is in a sense an aspect of greed and self gratification, how many people donate to charity to help and how many to make themselves feel better, there is no morally unquestionable actions and businesses do what they do often cause they can.

In Kings case the copyrighting of a word is stupid but on the flip side they see an opportunity for financial gain and even bad press is press, given the chance how many others would do the same if they saw an avenue for money, sadly the evil taint of money is enough to drive the most moral corrupt. I am trying to develop everything I can whilst at university and the need for money and survival is lower however I know that once the safety net of uni has lifted the need to survive will need to kick in and creation costs, art is not free nor is time.

LIfE Video Development videos – Episode One Live

Episode One of my game development series for our first major commercial focus project LIfE is now on-line and should hopefully help explain what the game is about and some of our goals in regards to its future.

Game will be available for: PC and Mac initially with plans for a mobile version in future

Watch Video below or open in YouTube for Higher resolution (HD Recommended)

Creating a Game: Game Jam Post review and Persistence

Last weekend me and a group of students at the University of Lincoln took part in the Global Game Jam event, if you do not know what it is well I’ll summarise: The global game jam is a 48 hour event where teams from around the world take part to create innovative and exciting games around a provided theme.

This years theme was: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

island pic 3

This year I decided to work on my own to see how much I could realistically do on my own within a set time frame and as it turns out quite a bit (even more if PC hadn’t lost first file), I decided to create a game in UDK cause tbh its the engine I understand the best (still learning unity) and given short time frame decided it was best route to take. Now like any good games designer you do not rush into creation and I spent around 3-5 hours playing around with ideas on paper some including a mobile AR game, a board game etc until I decided to go down the episodic story puzzle route, thus LIfE was born.

I spent a good 24 hours making the first iteration of the game then DISASTER my PC (which has been acting up alot recently) decided to lose my files and thus all my work and as such this meant I had less than 24 hours to remake my game as such had to compromise on features and assets. Anyone who knows me can vouch for me saying when I get into level design I kinda get totally adsorbed and can happily spend months making one level before adding in any of the gameplay elements, this sorta shows in the build for the Jam as alot of the game play features such as Twitter NPC’s were never to be.

So what was the game meant to be?

The game was meant to be an exploration puzzle style game where the player could explore the island, collect toems or destroy them and thus change the islands appearance and available quests from NPCs. One of the innovative features was going to be the option for players to ‘talk’ to NPC’s via twitter using a third party on-line application, by asking the NPCs the right questions they would be messaged back with clues and pass-codes and information that would open up more quest routes thus game play. Sadly this didn’t make it into the Jam version due to concerns regarding third party management system and the fact I had to rebuild the island from scratch.

The player at points in the game will have the choice to nurture or destroy parts of the island which will change parts of the islands appearance (done via level part switches) thus changing quest logs and gameplay elements open to them. The game is simple has a survival element to it whereby the player must also gather food and water to survive as over time they will lose health thus driving the player forward to complete quests and solve puzzles quickly.

In the jam version there is one half completed quest and that is it which makes me very sad however cause im stubborn I won’t let this lie until I have at least implemented the features I originally wanted in there as such will continue developing LIfE bit by bit when I find time.


Since the Jam I have learnt new tricks and mechanics implement into UDK and even solved a memory leak issue that would arise from having such a large play space loaded at all times, the island can now be incrementally loaded as the diagram below illustrates the island is split into sectors each sector / chunk loads and unloads based on players position in overarching handler level.


I hope to develop this game into a downloadable episodal series where each object in the game will open up a separate interactive story level e.g. A pushchair may load up a level where you are looking for your lost child e.t.c. the aim is to get various writer friends of mine to create little game stories around the theme of LIfE all accessible via this central island nexus. It will be a larger scale transmedia project than that of  #Suspicion but is in theory easier to distribute and IF focus tests deem it fun may even start a Kick-starter for it to expand it further past the realms of just UDK.

I will post updated version links to this blog site under Projects > LIfE from build to build until a more stable version is made then its future will be reviewed.

Game Jam (Sh**y version):