Saturday, December 29, 2012

Does this count as a Screenshot Saturday?

So first, I decided to update my sprite-avatar. I know, big news like this and I'm not making a full press release, what's wrong with me, but I figured it was time for a semi-fresh start to it. The old one was too much of just a Megaman Recolor, and honestly I didn't see myself in him. The current one is essentially similar in design, but more reflects my build and haircut I think, been a little while since I've done sprite-work, but I think it came out alright as a base.

The other thing I wanted to do was a quick character sketch, based roughly on the bodily proportions of the sprite character, and try and do a bit of work with a walk-cycle. Been a while since I drew, too, but I think it looks alright for a quick 'n dirty thing. Drawn in dry erase marker on a foldable noteboard my brother got me for christmas. Not sure if I'll do anything with him yet, could work for a point and click adventure I think, which I can do easily enough, but don't really know what I want to do with if I did. Have an idea I've been kicking around for something in a comic book-ish sort of world, but I feel that to do that properly would require better art than I'm capable of, and last time I tried I ended up sort of hung up on an interface trick I couldn't get to work properly. I do feel like doing one, though, could start off with a simple one with ol' simple sketch Stan over here maybe. Have to think about it.

Stencyl droppings from the past few months

Mainly been doing two things, first is hemi-finishing the RoboFarmer prototype from before, which I shall link to here. This version has the ability to pick things up and place them anywhere, including on top of other objects, which causes errors but enough of that. The central problem I think was that I had designed what I wanted to do from the presumption that collision zones and sensor zones worked in a completely different way than they turn out to work, turns out they don't really play nice when they overlap, and when I tried to account for that, things didn't really improve, and by that time the month was running out and... excuses excuses, I just stopped working on it.

The second thing I did was to participate in one of reddit's own BaconGameJams. The theme was "Reversed Perspective" and from that I decided to make a game of Arkanoid played from the perspective of the Blocks, called Dio-Nakra because that's exactly how clever I am. The general idea is laying them down, some of them will earn "money" you can use to buy other blocks that will have different effects. I had ideas for power-up blocks and power-down blocks that would make the paddle's AI (which presently just follows the ball around) try to move more erratically which helps the block-laying player, as well as blocks that generate the income and having to valuate planting those over simple barriers, and honestly I think long term there's a bit of possibility there, but I finished the prototype after less than 24 hours, and collision started causing problems I couldn't work out how to either work around or rectify, so I just left it at the semi-functional state it was in.

I think I've come to the point where Stencyl might either be insufficient for the things I want to do with it, or I need to learn much more about it and the Actionscript it's based on, which is just a whole nother... thing... like why wouldn't I just learn Actionscript instead of Stencyl then and would it even be the best thing for it.

Either way I'm not planning on abandoning Stencyl, I just need to re-think the kind of games I want to make that make the simplest use of the features it provides... until it goes to the next version and completely buggerates my intentions. That you can lay out simple interfaces and such with it is great, and the built in physics works, but it just doesn't do either what I want, or the way I want it, and I need to work through that in the future.

One Game a Month

So hey, I'm back again, no time for jokes about how infrequently I post, time instead to just write a bunch like I keep on myself about needing to. You know what else I should keep on myself about is how much I complain about keeping on myself about stuff I didn't keep on myself about before and WHY IS MY NOSE BLEEDING?!

So there's a thing now, right, called One Game a Month. Not a Game Jam per se, just a drive to make something, anything, for each month of the coming year. I've tried participating in 48 hour Game Jams and AGS HourGames before, but not trying at a completed, competent product that I can stand behind, mainly just stuff that involves teaching myself the engine or getting an idea out with some immediacy (which reminds me I need to make a thing about the BaconGameJam I participated in right after this).

At any rate, I'm going to spend the next year, in addition to trying to secure my job, get approved for a home loan, survive a potential money problem caused by this Fiscal Cliff Hoosafudge, and running a D&D campaign online through (which, incidentally, is amazing, seriously go there now) I'm also going to be trying to create a game, as in one finished product and not just a prototype or half-done something or other, once a month. I've got vague ideas for what to do each month, and am reasonably confident I can do it so long as I don't spend too much time obsessing over little things.

So, here on in I'm going to make sure I post at least monthly, probably weekly as well since I think I need to start doing the Screenshot Saturday thing and put something up from the work in progress such as it is.

Of course this is me saying that I should post more often and need to keep on myself about it so I don't have to keep on myself about keeping on GAH IT'S BLEEDING AGAIN.

#onegameamonth challenge from @McFunkypants - Can you make One Game A Month? YES!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stencyl Experiments

Hey, only a week-and-change since my last blogpost. Is it christmas already?

Well at any rate, I've been toying with Stencyl and made some progress, gotten the fundamentals of the game down, know where I need to work from here, yadda yadda.

First, I have the Crash Course game from Stencyl, a little run and jump affair.

Next, a Space Invaders clone I put together from the instructions.

Last, the first prototype of Robofarmer. Lacking copious amounts of polish at this point, but at least the game logic works, and aside from most of the graphics, I made it all meself.

From here on, I need to make different implements behave differently, add health for the player and enemies, picking up and setting down items, and pulling them out of a pack. This shouldn't be quite as difficult, but then I thought the previous bit wouldn't be either, so we'll see.

Monday, June 4, 2012

National Game Development Month Begins

So I'm 30 now, and for as long as I can remember I've wanted to make a sort of complete video game of some sort. I've spent some time fiddling with dozens of game engines and never got more than halfway into planning anything. I've got just fricking notebooks full of half-formed ideas that I never did very much with because of one or two hangups and never returned to. No longer. I'm putting it on myself and trying to push myself to keep on this, so that by the end of the month of June, I'll have as close to a complete game that I can look at and say "I did this."
So, This current June is National Game Development Month, and all month through, I'll be working on this and creating something in Stencyl, basically a sort of Legend of Zelda meets Harvest Moon type structure of a thing that combines a little bit of combat, a little bit of resource gathering, and a bit of trade simulator to meet a central goal via several different paths. I have no idea how polished it may be come June 30, or how complete the world will be by then either, but the point isn't like a Game Jam, to have something finished by a time limit, just to spend the week doing everything I can to crank something out.
The Game (Until I can come up with a less rubbish title) : Farm-Bot
You are a robot, awoken with amnesia, in Generic Fantasy Kingdom #773. Systems malfunctioning, memory gone, you require a sufficient quantity of what you know as Uranium so restart your internal fusion reactor (I look forward to your corrections, nuclear physics nerds) and initiate a full reboot. You come to find that the only proximate quantities of this substance in GFK773 appear to be a set of 6 mystical amulets, hidden in dungeons throughout the land, but you know not where, and the information can be costly.
Farm, mine, and trade between villages to make money, upgrade equipment and weaponry, fight your way through the dungeons to find the amulets that will restore your memory, and along the way, your conduct in towns throughout the kingdom could have farther reaching effects than the border of the villages. Will you extort money from poor villagers, ally with the criminal element to get the information you need, will you go out of your way to protect the villagers, putting yourself at risk to get what you need, or will you just keep to yourself, on the outskirts of town, coming only to trade and thinking only of yourself? These decisions are yours to make, so go forth on your adventure, Fa... ugh... Farm-Bot... I really need to come up with a better name.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Semi-annual Blog post, and what I seem to think about Mass Effect despite never having played it.

Well, got a proper job (temporarily at least, but I am reeeeeeally hoping it lasts) and no longer working for whats-his-name-and-good-riddance-to-it. I start Thursday this week, will probably end up taking the bus in and out of Baltimore rather than drive and park, but I’ll work that out in the long term or something.
So at the moment otherwise. Been putting the game programming thing off for a while, free time has been dominated with the D&D campaign really. On the powerfully-off-chance I have any readers, here's a link to the wiki I set up for it. I’m liking the broad direction but I’m aware of the things I keep forgetting to do, and how I end up in the trap every now and again of “Oh, this’ll be awesome” turning into “why is this so confusing?”
I think what might be interesting as a side project at the moment, to get me into programming at least a little bit, would be to try and use Stencyl or something to make an Android app (Oh, yeah, I have an Android phone now) that can help with quick and dirty creation of things that just sort of take too long and don’t need details. What those things are I’m not sure yet. See there’s random generators for NPC Character histories and dungeons and fractal planet builders and all, but you don’t really need those to do the grunt of putting a story together, giving a character a quest to hand the players, etc. Plus, can’t find a thing, and I know one has to exist, that will just make a simple Soldier, Skirmisher, Artillery, etc enemy and do the math quick and easy. I’m trying to build the idea around what I feel like I could do with in a pinch, figure that’s as good a place as any to start, maybe some pie-in-the-sky concepts to procedurally generate story hooks or something, need to think about this.
Haven’t even been playing games much lately. I have L.A. Noire and Skyward Sword just sitting there, waiting for me… judging me… and I keep thinking I’ll get to them eventually, but I never really want to as much as I want to create more D&D stuff which is… good? Been wanting, in a way, to get Mass Effect 2 for PS3, but at this point I’m thinking I should really just not bother what that as a franchise.
See, in the first place, ME1 isn’t available for PS3. ME2 has some kind of interactive backstory thing I hear, and that’s nice, plus has a lot of add on content too, and it runs $20. Sweet, right? Well except it leads right into Mass Effect 3 of course, and as a game that’s been getting all kinds of flack. First, apparently the ending is garbage or holy writ depending on who you ask, and that really undercuts why I’m bothering at this point, which was mainly the story. Second is all the DLC ramming it’s got going on, recently revealed on-disc assets are activated with a $5 patch or something, honestly I couldn’t care less. And third is that it’s still $60, fair enough it’s new, but got me thinking. If I’d end up getting it, it would have to be the GOTY edition that has all the patches, that when it goes on sale or something too, and I’d only play it after I chewed completely through the first one and… that’s just when I completely stopped caring. I’m sure it’s a great game, but at this point it’s gotten to be an onerous obligation if I have any intention of getting into it at all and I really just can’t be bothered, if I’m honest.
So… that’s it. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Oh, also PuzzWar 2012 (PuzzPocalyose) which I’ve got a bit more than half the concept together, but no idea for the gift. Ah well, it’ll come to me.