XML Games is the brain child of two 2nd year BSc Computer Games students from the University of Essex, dreamed up due to the lack of games on the market that allow the actual players to design and build their own levels.
The idea behind XML Games is simple!
Many games such as puzzles, platformers and racing genres feature levels which allow players to progress through the game. This instantly limits the time a player will play, once they have completed all the levels what is the point in playing anymore? What more have players got to do to allow progression?
XML Games aims to allow the players themselves to easily and quickly create new game levels using a predefined set of XML tags. Coupled with an XML web platform, players can view and share each other’s levels online, unlocking the possibility of endless new and unique gameplay! Using XML to design levels allows for us as the developers to make the levels and games completely cross platform. This opens players to an ever growing range of different levels all of which can be designed by anyone on any platform.
Each new 'base game' the team build will be completely open source and will feature its own story and scenario, which makes them immersive, enjoyable and customizable games.
This will also provide samples for players to work from, with the hope that it’ll bring out everyone’s creating side, and show players the potential of XML Games customizability.
Once you have made your levels, they can be shared on the XML Games website community. Allowing anyone to browse and download to play. The hope here is that users can head onto their PC, code their own levels with the help of our handy guide, and then head onto their phone, and download their own level!
Below you shall find an overview of the games that the team plans to produce. However these are subject to change and if you have any great ideas please do let us know! The team really hopes to build more games in the future and this is just the start.
Trench Runner – You control a speeding ship playing through the great trenches of a dusty and forgotten planet, will you make it to the end of the trench? Attempt to dodge rocks and landslides as you try to stay alive! See Here for more info
Tilting Maze – The game everyone knows by now. Uses the built in gyroscope on hand held devices or keyboard controls on a PC to tile the board and roll the ball to the goal! Of course, with the XML Games 'twist' to this classic you can share different layouts and challenge each other to beat them!
Crazy Racer – Race around ever crazier tracks, grab power ups and speed to first place! This game will use on screen controls or the keyboard as you race against a range of strange and wonderful characters to win the cup.
This is where you, the player comes in! To give this project a kickstart, the team needs some funding! The funding will be used in the following areas:
Programming – These will help build the games for each platform. They will also offer support to as many platforms as possible on launch (see stretch goals below). The current plan is to start with Android and release 2 base games onto the mobile market.
Art – Who else is going to design the artwork for the game? The team hope to be able to provide an artist who will help with developing some great graphics which will make our mobile games look both awesome and unique!
Design – The designer will work with the programmers and artists to help with the production of new concepts and ideas. The designer will also help with promotional activities and the planning for the project. All of which is key to its success.
If enough money is raised the team hope to expand the current XML Games team in all areas and produce a wider range of games across a wider range of platforms.
The team has a range of stretch goals that the team feels are more than reachable and with your help will really make the project stand out at launch.
£3000 – The team will be able to upgrade the server ready for launch, and include at least 1 of the games as a web version.
£4000 – The team will plan to have a third launch title added, this being Crazy Racer, which is a 2D top-down view racing game (more info below).
£5000 – Here the team can hire an iOS developer and build iOS versions of at least 1 of the titles for launch.
£10000 – All 3 titles will be available on Android, iOS and as web games at launch!
£15000 – GUI Level Builder development, this is where it really gets interesting! Sure building levels in XML will be REALLY easy, but what if you could build them and see how they look as you build them? If the team can raise £15000 then the hope will be that at launch, the GUI Level Builder will be available for download. The idea is for it to be available on Windows, OSX and Linux. It will allow players to build levels without having to write any code, a simple drag and drop system will be implemented, which will allow for players to see their levels as they make them.
These stretch goals may well change depending on ideas from other people. However, they should provide a good idea of what the team hopes to achieve.
Currently the project is just two people strong, however with the help from your funding the team hope to expand this, but below is a little more information about us!
Zachary Powell - Zachary is a second year Computer Games Student studying at the University of Essex, he has a strong passion for not just programing games but also Android and Linux based operating systems. Other projects Zachary works on include his 'LinuxonAndroid' (http://linuxonandroid.org) project, for more information on Zachary please see his site. http://zpwebsites.com/
James Warner – James is also a second year Computer Games student at the University of Essex. Passionate and enthusiastic about games and their design, James’ interest lie more in the graphics and design of games rather than their programming. Currently working as a designer for the University of Essex Students’ Union, it has always been his dream to work and have an impact in the Computer Games industry http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~jwarne/
Joe Hutson - I'm a Philosophy and Literature Student at the University of Essex. I work as a Graphic Designer with James and do art in my spare time. I'm passionate about innovative games that understand and subvert their medium as well as games with mysterious and evocative aesthetics. I'm excited about imagining and designing game worlds with XML Games!http://dirtymachina.deviantart.com/
(Graphical User Interface) Level Builder
This is something the team really hopes to implement! Imagine the possibilities!
Designing and building levels in XML is relatively easy and will be great, however it would be even more fantastic if you could design and build your own levels in a way that you can see what they will actually look like before they’re even finished.
The team plan to make the GUI builder a paid project. With the base games and everything else being free and open source. This will allow players to load already built XML levels to see how they look, as well as edit them from within the GUI and create whole new levels without touching or writing any XML.
So what do the team actually plan to do with the money, and what's our release schedule?
The plan is simple, by the end of September we would love to launch the platform and games to the public. However it is all down to the amount of money we can raise and how much we can expand our team!
Below is a breakdown of what would be released with the different levels of funds raised.
The biggest risks really will be time constraints, as the team is made up of degree students. We would aim to launch in September, so that once the teaching term has started the team can work on the project on a part time basis. Of course, if the team do not raise as much money as we would hope. Then development will be much slower. We would still hope to launch for android on time, the team would need to raise money (likely via a 'donation' version of the games) to hire developers for other platforms.
If however the team can raise enough funds we are confident that we will be set for a September launch and promise to keep everything open source and free, with possible income from the GUI level builder.
Zac’s past kick-starter was funded http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1233981955/linuxonandroid-to-the-next-level a few months ago, and this is another project that Zac is still working on and something that he will keep doing. However Zac’s backers from LinuxOnAndroid were very happy with the work completed on it so far and he aims to keep the same high quality for this project. Moving forward Zac plans for these two projects to stay with him and grow over time, of course the more the team can raise the more people the team can bring in and the more rapidly the project can grow, but needless to say the team is in it for the long haul!