#7dRTS log: Day 4

25/07:
Redesigned unit system. I was starting to go down a boolean filled hole, switched to states. All problems averted. We now even have ranged combat.
More back end things that have no visual change but make a huge difference.

..later..

Umm, I got some bad news so that slowed some more stuff down.
But I still managed to get resources working in a very basic capacity.
The mouse and sidebar now work together with command issuing.
Basic layout stuff for stats and whatnot.
If I added more friendly and enemy units, you could actually have a playable game here!

Have a screenshot:

Tomorrow is the day I don’t get much time at all to work on this so…things may slow down.
Sunday may be a bit crunchy…

//Challenges
I started designing this while keeping in mind that I want to stick with an MVC model.
It sort of is one, I break it a couple of times for laziness reasons but it’s still pretty on track.
That being said, I made some terrible flaws early on.

Song of the day: Black Holy by 小松未可子

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#7dRTS log: Day 3

24/07:
Fixed that minimap issue.
Added enemies. Enough visual stuff. Onto combat and unit types.
RPG section can sit as it is for now.

…later…

Tired of doing visual stuff. Onto more enjoyable things like combat design.
Very basic combat at first. (Fight to the death) No real AI stuff yet.
Lot stuff I want to add if I get time or after the challenge.

We have combat! Combat is functioning. No one can die yet, but it’s there.
Have a bit of redesign to do in the morning.
Tomorrow evening, there should be a great deal of stuff done.
Looking good & on schedule at this rate. Started writing some music and narrative (which is a rather large component.)
A few tweaks today have also removed some things I wasn’t sure about before so that results in less work!

Progress GIF: Doesn’t look too different from yesterday but proof of combat “working”?

//My working
So, these updates may seem a bit odd.
This is due to me getting a couple of hours free to code in the morning and a few at night. Most of the day is gone.
I really get about 4 – 5 hours of time to code my entry a day.

Song of the day:Riding Cats Like a Boss by Jeff Ball

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#7dRTS log: Day 2

23/07:
Putting off map design by messing around with cameras.
Alrighty, that stuff is being put off until later.

(IU*ASHDOIUAHSD Fed up with my original concept. Need to come up with something new. At least what I’ve made so far is really just an RTS base.

…later…

HAVE A NEW CONCEPT!
This new idea is completely different to my original one. But luckily, most of what I have so far can be used.
It is now divided into two distinct areas: RTS & RPG. (I do use the term RPG VERY loosely though.)
I will explain more later once both sections are a bit better.
RPG mode now has nice cameras and keyboard/pad control.
RTS mode is, well, the same as before so far.

The split has occurred in code. Will work on both much more tomorrow.

Progress (not in gif form.):

Very little has happened apart from the town layout.(and the comically bad mini-map) I usually am terrible when it comes to level/map design but this is alright.
I will elaborate on things tomorrow evening I hope. I have a lot to do before I comfortable talking about it.

No whiteboard photo today as it’s near identical to yesterdays… :(

//Discuss technical stuff
Alrighty, I should have talked about this in the first post.
Language: AS3
Libraries: Flixel
For coding I switch between FlashDevelop and SublimeText.
Making music I use main Logic Pro. Occasionally Reason.

Yep.
At this rate, it’s very possible that there’ll be no “art” by time Monday rolls around. But there should be a game and a good deal of music!

Song of the day: Spiel mit dem Feuer (Piano version) by Saltatio Mortis (Sorry, no link for this one.)

I’m open to taking questions about this design as it might help me solve some inevitable problems.

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#7dRTS log: Days [-1,0,1]

Welp, officially taking part in 7-day real-time-strategy challenge, a.k.a 7dRTS. (More info)
This is the first dev-log from the first three days. I’ve hard to start early for reasons stated below.
This is really the last chance I’ll get to make “full” game until December thanks to my silly decision to do Honours research.

20/07:
Laying some ground work in advance since I lose a whole day during the challenge.
Working on a dragbox because you can’t have much of an RTS without one. Have two different control methods as well, one more suited for certain ports (provided this gets done.)
Still working on some design decisions such as resources and their allocation, flow, maximum etc.
Still have no title.
Dragbox is now working perfectly. Marvellous.
Everything is a unit, unless it’s a building.
Tomorrow, the town will be born. Possibly some more back-story and narrative stuff.

Song of the day: Strands Of Golden Light by Seirom

21/07
Most of the day was spent out.
Added ability to issue commands in a basic fashion.
Working on basic pathfinding for units.
Basic pathfinding done. Units can now move around neatly.
Haven’t had all that much time to work on it so far.
Progress in gif form: http://i.imgur.com/DnZHqou.gif
Whiteboard:
Whiteboard: Day 1

Song of the day: Solarfall by Immortal

22/07: The official start of 7dRTS. [Day 1]
Fixed a weird movement bug for the hero character.
Started some of the unit nitty-gritty.

Screen is now divided. Having resizing issues though.
Resizing issues fixed. Still working on town. (Plan)
Progress in gif form: http://i.imgur.com/YEUCKVN.gif
Whiteboard:
Whiteboard: Day 1

Song of the day: Arise In Gondolin by Emyn Muil

—-

So, how is it going so far really?
Well, despite a whole lot of doing nothing to writing a lot then scrapping most of it and writing it again, some progress has been made at least. Not as much as I would like but hey.
I think tomorrow night I might disclose my design and goals for this challenge. I would right now, but alas, I’m still finalising some stuff.
The majority of the stuff done so far has been setting-up and design decisions. By Wednesday evening, most of that should be done. (HARHAR).
By Friday evening or Saturday midday, I plan on having the bulk of this done so I can spend the weekend working on music, story and (HAJSKHKJASH) art.
Will be posting a more detailed post tomorrow (hopefully.)

(I hope you enjoy the song of choice for each day along with progress GIFs and whiteboard crap and other images. Tomorrows post will hopefully be filled with much more…)

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Gamedev as catharsis, freedom

Here’s an interesting idea I thought of recently, although I’ve ascribed to everything I’ve done with gamedev so far.
Game development, for me and many others, is a 100% creative activity just like painting or writing. It has few bounds (granted those bounds are almost infinitely more numerous than writing or painting) and as such it’s potential for expression is near limitless. It could be argued that it is the greatest medium for expression (I think Phil Fish said something like that in IG:TM.)

So why not actually use it that way?

Many people do. There are some great expressive and personal games out there. Hundreds in fact. Many of which will not receive more than a handful of players.
This, is of course, perfectly fine. I never expect anyone to play my games, I make them thinking that no one will. This is very similar to my music creation for the past decade. It’s only recently that I’ve decided that I should start posting music I’ve written.

But how do you plan to make money from these personal games?

I don’t. I don’t really believe that anyone should pay for my games unless I’ve poured hundreds of hours of my time into them.
I’ve had people say to me that I should just come up with an idea for a game, focus on it and release it for cheap on all the different stores for ~$1.
Sure, why not? It’s a huge risk that could have an even bigger payoff.
But I won’t feel good about doing it, unless I completely enjoy the concept. (Which is highly unlikely.)
The same people have said it’s stupid to release freeware.

But, no, shutup. You’re an idiot!

Using game-development as catharsis is extremely useful. Obviously, you can combine various forms of your creative activities into a game allowing for you to express yourself in many ways. This gives you a type of expressive freedom.
Heck, anyone can get into game-development now with Gamemaker, Twine, Scratch, Construct and others.
People experienced with coding can use established libraries such as libGDX (Java), Flixel (Flash AS3), SFML(C++) and so on. Don’t feel bad for not creating something from the ground up.

But if it’s so personal, why does it matter how you make it?
It it’s something you are passionate about, why does it matter how you make it?

BUT to do any of this, you must first redefine your definition of what a game is. This is a very hard thing to do if you’ve played only AAA games (and many popular indie games) your entire life.
I don’t plan on defining it here. But here’s a tip: use game as if you are using metal to describe the infinitely vast spectrum of metal. Under the umbrella of metal you have metalcore, ambient black metal, funeral doom metal, atmospheric sludge metal and millions of others. A lot of the time these are combined to form descriptions that would make sentences blush from sheer length.
If you try to pigeon hole each game like you would metal genres, you end up with a very tight restriction of what a game is.

Understanding this is where the freedom is.

tl;dr

  • If you feel like creating a game based on anything, try and do it. If you fail, it DOESN’T MATTER!
  • Don’t give a crap what other people think. Make games/things you want to make.
  • Put your emotions/inner-most thoughts into a game. It doesn’t need to have the best/many gameplay mechanic.
  • Change your understanding of what a game is.
  • Don’t feel bad for using a tool to make things easier for yourself.
  • Don’t feel pressured to release it ever.

[This reads a little bit like a manifesto-lite.]

I’m sure that people don’t enjoy this view of game-dev, but fuck them.

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Edutainment GO!

So, for this months #1GAM, I’ve decided to follow with the theme (again) and make an educational game.
My first thought was about computer science. I came up with a pretty good idea.
But man, making an educational game about computer science topics? There’s enough of them around (well, that’s what I’ve been told by separate people.)

So, I discussed this with my partner and she came up with the idea of an educational game about art history.
Brilliant!

So, I present (in incredibly alpha form with lots of placeholder art): Art Dealer Tycoon!

ArtDealerTycoon_pre-alpha

Yep, you can make money as an art dealer, learn about art movements, artists and iconography amongst other things. It’ll even include real art (provided it is public domain or similar.) It’ll also allow players to add their own notes about paintings, access a dictionary of terms (that they earn)
By this time next week (the 29th of June), there’ll hopefully be a playable version out, possibly with non-placeholder graphics.
Later, I’ll hopefully be able to release this on both Android and iOS.

I’m using libGDX for the first time for this, so I’m still learning how best to do certain things (I’ve rebuilt the UI three times), so don’t be surprised if I don’t get this out by next saturday.

On top of this, I’m still working on -~stream~) and another project which will take a while.

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Awaken response

Wow. I did not expect any of the stuff from the past few days.
Being listed on freeindiegam.es by Porpentine (who incidentally inspired Awaken a lot) and all the positive comments and little bit of constructive criticism I’ve received is amazing.
This is first game I’ve received more than two bits of feedback on.
Again, I apologise to people who I deafened prior to the adjustment of the static burst.

Someone mentioned that the notes I gave after you’ve completed Awaken once were useful but gave too much information.

I wrote those notes giving the player enough information to form a timeline of their own choosing (all variations are equally plausible) and construct their version of the story.
On the other hand, there is enough information to analyse what the player has just read and understand it.

There are still several questions that remain even with all the information I have provided, such as how she ended up in that situation, maybe there are multiple nurses, is she actually dead, her job?
(If you really want the whole story send me a message on Twitter or contact @ tiltthewindmill.net and I can tell you every detail.)

The other reason why those notes are there is because of honesty. I’m not a great fan of writing that leaves so much up the air and so I took the chance of filling in some blanks for those who had completed the story and were bothered enough to read them.

The concept of the three states combined with a distorted (unknown?) timeline is an extremely enjoyable thing to write in and around. My next Twine project (which has been ongoing since about March) plays with this a bit as well, except in a much more science fictiony way.

It’s called -~stream~)

Again thanks to all who played Awaken, I never expected people outside of a small circle to play it, let alone enjoy it.

Anywho, back to making this educational game that is being co-designed with my partner, who has a stupidly large amount of knowledge about the education part of this game: Art history.
That’s all I’ll say until hopefully this weekend and #screenshotsaturday.

For those yet to play it, here it is!

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Awaken is done & out.

2013-06-13_08-53-02
Welp, I finished Awaken yesterday.
A project for a creative writing course.

I wrote about the overall concept in the About section of Awaken, but you can only see it if you finish it once! HAHA.


Here’s the node map.

Originally, there was a bit of music to go with it. Didn’t end up working very well.
The piece is on my Soundcloud titled Lament to an unknown woman.

Also, criticisms/other forms of communiqué are always appreciated.

Enjoy.

UPDATE: Feedback piece

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Jealousy/envy

One of the things that I think has held me back GREATLY with getting into game-dev is suffering for envy & jealousy. It probably is with a lot of people.
I remember a few years ago when I started my CS degree, I had made a pretty decent at the time text adventure/RPG (of course which I’ve now remade). I was speaking to another first year one day and he was talking about some 3D project he had almost finished. I ended up seeing that shortly after and was heavily discouraged. So this kinda made me put the game-dev thing on the back-burner until middle of 2012 where I finally made something, LSS. It’s terrible and only took a couple of days.
I have been discouraged many times over the years. Seeing 16 year olds code a better game than I ever could. Seeing people my own age release something that is just breathtaking. They all make me want to quit everything and just become a mindless, ignorant fool. “Oh no, poor little white cis-man struggling with his insecurity” you are probably thinking. Feel free to do so. My problems are insignificant compared to many others but this one is one I’ve recently overcome.

I managed to finish LSS because I went in knowing that the final product would be not very good. This is key to overcoming jealousy and envy.
I guess it’s bad to think this way. But it helps. It’s like setting the bar really low. Preparing for failure, not success.
As long as you don’t spend the entire time during a project thinking “this is the greatest thing ever made”, then probably you’ll have the will to complete it.

After doing this for a while, you do build up a bit of confidence. With Spring Of Life I knew that the end product wasn’t going to turn out great but I thought it could have some decent components. And despite the art, it’s an alright game. I even got positive feedback on it from various sources.
Le Lac on the other hand, I went in thinking “this could be fucking excellent.” It wasn’t. I didn’t plan or think enough about it from a design aspect. It turned into an interactive story with a fishing component. Great. I started looking at the other entries from the FishingJam. Some absolutely amazing things there and comparatively, mine is the worst. I don’t even have an feedback after it being out for two days. But that’s all okay.

I made it for myself. It started as an experiment. It turned into a bit of neat narrative (albeit a little clichéd) with a great soundtrack.
Great. It took me a few days to realise that what I had written was actually good.

This is another key aspect to overcoming jealousy and envy. You are primarily making the game for yourself.
Here’s another thing. Don’t expect feedback.

A couple of days ago, I started releasing music that I’ve written over the years (which at one a day would taken about 7 months…). No one has heard any of it apart from me and occasionally my partner. I’ve recorded/synthed them, put them up for public ears to listen and promoted them on various places. It was absolutely gut-wrenching when I saw that the first one had a play. It did inspire me to upload more (the rest of this week will have a new song every day.)
This doesn’t really elude to a point but highlights an issue. Getting any sort of attention is gutwrenching.
Of course, listening to other people’s music shows that mine is all terrible. This reveals a similarity to above to which the conclusion is: for every project you finish, there are an incalculable number of better ones out there. They don’t have to be of the same genre or type, but there will always be something better.

So, my points:

  • Don’t start off thinking that the project is going to be the best.
  • You are making the project for yourself.
  • Don’t expect feedback.
  • for every project you finish, there are an incalculable number of better ones out there.

I must admit that these are pretty grim, but they do certainly help.
Using these, I’ve released four games (1GAM Page. this year (soon to be five) and released four songs.

There will be a point where having to think this won’t matter. But that is not today.
Unfortunately, I still find it incredibly hard to participate in a community/forum, but that could be linked to my anxiety issues.

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Le Lac

Alrighty, so I released Le Lac last night. You can see it on the FishingJam forums or go right ahead and play it.

So…
Like I’ve said a few times, I never planned to participate in this jam, so everything was a little rushed at the start. It began after a conversation with my partner. I realised that the grinding nature of fishing in games was a pain in the arse. I also realised that fish can be jerks. This is how the dual-game thing began: one was to be a game about grinding, the other about cannibalistic fish. I wanted them both to be rather minimalist.

This all sort of changed after I implemented version 1 of the story system and use the test like “I wish she was still here”.
The idea of grinding was still there but now remained at the back-burner. Fishing is primarily a solitary activity. I decided that the grinding fishing could be used to frame a story of loss, while still being able to interactively fish and control various aspects of the story.

With this I was planning to have a juxtaposition between the solitary nature of fishing and the brutal one of the world in the water. This seemed fine. I went back to the fish game and polished it up a bit. Everything was making sense. I even wrote a track (which I’m still super happy with.) The plan at this point was that each decision you made in the story would affect your being, which was represented by a lifebar at the bottom of the screen. When it reached 0 or 100 something would happen.

Then something happened.
I was writing the story and each line I was writing, the logical purpose of the cannibalistic fish game started waning. Eventually it got to a point where I had to decide between a single line of story or the cannibalistic fishing game. I thought that maybe I could find a way to put the fish game in still. I tried to, but the story ended up feeling extremely forced. So the fish game was left out. I ended up putting a little more emphasis on the fishing aspect, for example you would catch a fish and say something, but that ruined the pacing of the story. So it was removed.

What about the lifebar?
I have no idea why I got rid of that. I think it was because of screen clutter. It may be because I thought it was a bit silly towards the end.

From the original concept, what remained?
The fishing, the story, the minimalism.

What changed?
The story became the central focus not the fishing.

To be entirely honest, I’m not too happy with the final product. It would have been nice to spend a whole day on the story. It also would have been nice to be able to link the two games together in a neat fashion. Although, it is nice to play through at a slow pace.

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