Friday, November 27, 2009

Danger! High Voltage - Music Video

My team, The Warner Brothers, recently wrapped filming of our final video for the Visual Story class at the ETC.

I star as the lead actor. Co-starring is Michelle Cohen. It was conceived and directed by Charlie Kim, and it was filmed and special-effected by Mike Honeck. Special thanks to the S&S Candy & Cigar shop in Southside Pittsburgh.

Future Walt is super proud that this video has become kind of legendary within the ETC student body, though he's a bit chuckled that this, of all things, is what he gets recognized for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Evil Technology Center

Evil Technology Center is my final project for the Building Virtual Worlds class. It is the first time in the history of the class that green screen video with a live actor was streamed into the game.

Our personal goal, besides creating something new, was to provide a fictional through-line for the show. As part of the story, the show's host Jesse Schell is captured by the "Evil Technology Center". An exchange student named Clifford (with the help of the audience and an "audience-controlled jetpack") flies to the top of their tower, defeats the head of the Evil Technology Center, and saves Jesse. A live video feed of Clifford is streamed into the game. Clifford reacts to the dynamic events as they happen and provides a running commentary. The gameplay is that of a simple vertical shooter.

I feel like I poured my heart and soul into this game, and I really hope that it gets selected for the BVW Show. Sad note from Future Walt: It did not. :-( Regardless, I'm super proud of it and of all the hard work done by the whole team.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


For the Visual Story class at the ETC, my team, The Warner Brothers, made this super-sad film. I personally didn't have much to do with it because I was super busy at the time, but I'm really proud of my teammates for pulling it off. Future Walt says: This was one of only 3 videos from the whole semester that were chosen to be shown during the end-of-semester Building Virtual Worlds show.

Dan Driscoll wrote and stars, while Mike Honeck directed and gorgeously filmed it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tanky-Tank Infomercial & Scribblenauts Commercial

As part of the Visual Story class at the ETC, pairs of teams collaborated to create video advertisements for video games.

First, one team did the pre-production for a game, including writing the script and creating the storyboards. Then that team would hand off the pre-production materials to another team that would actually film and edit the final video.

For the pre-production, my team chose to create an advertisement for my own game, Tanky-Tank. I wrote the script, and "Columbia Pictures" (another student team) filmed and edited. Mike Honeck stars.

From another team we received the script and storyboards for a commercial for the video game Scribblenauts. We filmed and edited the final video. That's me inside the ninja costume, and also that's my giant hand descending from the sky.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Created for Round 4 (the "story round") of Building Virtual WorldsSandcastle is a virtual performance piece about a boy and a girl at a beach, each trying to build his and her own sandcastle, only to be thwarted again and again by a large wave. Each of the two performers are wearing head-mounted displays and are holding special devices that track the positions of their hands. Using the head-mounted displays and trackers, the actors' live performances are inserted into the virtual beach.

Sandcastle was very well-received by the class instructors, and was lauded for its simplicity, charm, great interactivity between the performers, and flawless network programming of two head-mounted displays.

Funny remembrance from Future Walt: About 10 minutes before we were to show the final presentation of Sandcastle, I decided that the story was way too long. So I got the team together and we cut out about half of the story. We rehearsed once and then performed it live to a great reception -- the shorter version was so much better. Thankfully none of the software needed to be modified because all the events were triggered either by the performers' actions or by special keys programmed into the game that I would press during the performance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Old School" Reenactment

Here's a video worth maybe a couple laughs. Especially if you want to see me in drag.

For the Visual Story class at the ETC, my team, The Warner Brothers, re-created a scene from the movie Old School. I co-star along with Dan Driscoll.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Flint Ball

Today I showed off Flint Ball, which is a small multiplayer game that my team made for Round 3 of Building Virtual Worlds.

Flint Ball is a game of stone-age soccer played by large audiences. Each member of the audience is given a remote control, and the audience is divided into two teams. Each team is further dived into two in-game "players". For each player the inputs of the remote controls are averaged to determine the direction in which the player should move. There is also a camera connected to the game, and if one of the teams jumps out of their seats then the ball will be kicked forward a short distance.

The audience playing the game seemed to have a great time -- there were many yells and shouts!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wormhole Workout

I just finished showing off the game my team made for Round 2 of Building Virtual Worlds. The goal of the assignment was to make a game for a "naive guest", who would play the game without any introduction or instruction.

We decided to use a real bicycle as the player's control mechanism because almost everyone knows how to ride a bicycle. The player pedals the bike to control its speed and turns by using the handlebars. The player also wears a "head-mounted display", which allows him to look around in any direction by simply moving his head.

Our "naive guest" seemed to have a lot of fun, and the game was well-received by the whole class. People really liked both the bike integration and the visual aesthetics.

Future Walt reports that Wormhole Workout was chosen to be in the end-of-semester BVW Show. Hurrah!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Introducing: The Warner Brothers

First year students (like me) at the ETC are required to take a class called Visual Story, which is basically a film class for folks who aren't Film majors. Us students are assigned into teams by the instructors, and then we go off and make movies!

My team is I think really fantastic. Jan, Dan, Mike, and Charlie are really great to work with.

Here's a little introduction video we made. It's not gonna win any Oscars, but it was a blast to make!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hopper's Escape

Yesterday we had our final presentation for the first team assignment ("Round 1") of the Building Virtual Worlds class. It was terrific fun, and I'm super proud of my whole team, Katherine, Craig, Andy, and myself, for pulling off what I think was a really ambitious idea, especially after a disappointing half-presentation.

The goal of the assignment was to tell a story about "one creature afraid of another". So we decided to make Hopper's Escape, a game about building bridges out of shadows (tracked by Playmotion technology) to help a toy kangaroo escape from a baby. It is a very short game in which the player stands in front of a projection screen and then uses her shadow  to guide a toy kangaroo who is trying to escape from a creepy baby. When the kangaroo encounters an obstacle such as a flowing stream, the game switches modes and the player uses her shadow to build a magical bridge over the obstacle.

I'm proud to say that the game was extremely well-received by the class instructors. One of our instructors, Jesse Schell, who is usually very reserved in his praise, exclaimed "Oh man, I'm in love!" In particular he lauded the use of dual game modes (guiding hopper and building bridges) that were "both novel and interesting."

Future Walt is proud to inform you that Hopper's Escape was shown to great applause in the end-of-semester BVW Show. It was one of the only two worlds from Round 1 that made it into the show.

Here's a video of the game from the show:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Exploding Demon Bunnies vs The Eyeball Monster

Over the past week or so I made a short little game for the Building Virtual Worlds class at the ETC. It was made for "Project 0", which is the very first assignment in which students prove that they have the skills needed to complete the class.

As a programmer, I made a game using pre-existing art and sound assets. I present to you, Exploding Demon Bunnies vs The Eyeball Monster.

It's basically a very short "Zelda-esque" boss fight. I consider the game a success because it proved my programming skills and is fun for a play-through or two.

You can download it from this page.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tanky-Tank 0.10.5

A new version of Tanky-Tank has been released!

Latest changes:

  • Powerup tracking indicators along the top of the screen show how much time until a powerup expires.
  • Little +1 text indicators appear whenever you gain or lose points.
  • In games with a time limit, the time remaining is now shown above the player's points in the lower-right corner.
  • The location of the Juggernaut is now always shown on the minimap.
  • Improved spawning logic that should make disasterous spawns less likely.
  • Removed minelayer from Halftrack and replaced it with a rocket booster.
  • Laser Tank's cursor-seeking missiles have been replaced with heat-seeking sidewinders.
  • Significantly reduced the physics of the Siege Tank's siege cannon.
  • Improved powerup graphics.
  • Improved armor powerup effect.
  • Improved tank death sound effects.
  • Higher-resolution program icon.
  • A.I. should now realize when it gets stuck and try to unstick itself.
  • Music and voice for Mac & Linux versions.
  • Fixed the "warp speed" siege tank bug.
  • Fixed bug where Tanky-Tank would crash when run on a computer with no sound drivers.
  • Fixed bug that made Tanky-Town map crash when played.
  • On Mac, all Ctrl+____ hotkeys have been changed to Command+____ hotkeys.
  • You can now use 1, 2, 3, 4, etc... hotkeys to select a team instead of using the dropdown box.
  • Significantly reduced install times on some computers without the .Net Framework already installed.
  • Some minor font and user interface graphics glitches have been fixed.

Download it now, or simply start Tanky-Tank and wait for the "new version" message to appear (Windows only).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tanky-Tank 0.10.4 released!

A new version of my game Tanky-Tank has been released! This is mostly a lot of little fixes that added up make for a considerably improved experience.

Latest changes:
  • Added some weapon physics, such as recoil when firing a weapon and force exerted when struck by a weapon. For the most part these are minor and fairly unnoticable.
  • Adjusted the way the camera tracks the player tank when Smooth Scrolling is enabled. It's now smoother and less jarring.
  • A.I. players now use real names instead of just "Private 1".
  • Host can now adjust the time it takes to respawn after being killed.
  • In Juggernaut mode, the game starts with all players belonging to no team. The first player to kill any other player becomes the first juggernaut.
  • In Capture The Flag, you can now rescue a flag while holding an enemy flag.
  • In Capture The Flag, return locations are now shown on the minimap as red or blue circles.
  • Fixed a bug in Juggernaut mode that caused the occasional crash.
  • Some stability improvements to the network code.
  • Added a button on the Internet screen that allows you to create your own lobby.
  • The Lobby Launcher application has been updated to work on Mac and Linux.
  • Tanky-Town map has been updated to play nice with the new A.I. pathfinding.
  • Opposing Shores map has been updated to fix some issues where the A.I. got stuck and sometimes killed the framerate.
  • You can now double-click to load/save a map, join a lobby, or join a game.
  • Fixed a few other miscellaneous bugs.
Download it now! Or start Tanky-Tank and wait for the "new version" message to appear.

Walt Writes Games


I'm Walt. I am a game programmer and designer. Yes! I have designed and programmed many games, most notably my years-long personal project Tanky-Tank. I have also designed some board games, including my personal favorite Thermonuclear Warfare on Catan.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Walt from the future here, writing in the color of the future, Magenta. Magenta enables time travel. Anyway, past-Walt would be proud to know that he also co-created the game WAY, which has won many awards. Yay!