Tea ‘n’ Cake


How Do You Steer This Thing?!?

STBaseCharacters

Hey everyone. It’s been a while. Part of that was unavoidable and part of that has been a series of failures on my part. There’s nothing particularly comforting to admit when a problem becomes insurmountable, but it’s worse when you have to admit to yourself that it never was, and only seemed that way because internally you made it into an imagined monster instead of facing whatever reality happened to be.  I better roll things back before I get too philosophical.

I wanted to take Space Time from one place to another very different place. That had extra layers beyond what I had previously shown publicly, but to do that I had to make things internally far more complicated, and structure things around that central idea of layering. I’m also still making some continuously failed attempts to keep updating the Xbox version of The Living Dungeon in order to try and keep up with the ever changing technical relationship between the Xbox and Unity. I’ll go into that if I manage to accomplish something, but for now it’s just been an emotional and motivational drain.

This affected progress on Space Time far more than I was originally willing to admit to myself. Not only was I demotivated by my multiple failed attempts at updating The Living Dungeon, but I had also got it into my head that rather than going straight to building what I wanted, I somehow had to build a bridge from where I was, to where I wanted to be.

You might think that sounds sensible, but it was stupid, and cowardly. I didn’t need to be here anymore. I needed to be there, and the truth was that as complex as the journey between here and there was, I could jump that distance! Building a bridge was a waste of time because I never needed to come back,  nor did I want to. I was just too scared to leap.

Ok, so I’m still mumbling on in a vague and somewhat philosophical manner I’ll admit, but hopefully by doing so the concept can be more relatable and, just maybe, help someone else deal with whatever challenge it is they are currently facing, whether it’s life changing on trivial.

In an attempt to push myself I agreed to take the game to a local event even though it was currently in pieces and I was making very little real progress. I still had a fall back of my old build, but I tried to put that out of my mind. I didn’t want to give up or fall back on what was easy. I didn’t want to procrastinate, or sit around dealing with little distractions whether my own or other people’s… but I did, again and again. If I hadn’t I might have been able to build something better than this atrocity of a temporary front end.

NewFrontEnd01

Although one particularly nice person did describe this little person running around to get on the ship as “Adorable”. Another said they really liked the idea of the menu being so physical. I choose to take these as compliments. Firstly because I really need all the encouragement I can get, and secondly because there was no way to practically portray the menu system in a two dimensional way when the data for every player was three dimensional. I won’t bother explaining that unless someone asks, because you won’t notice since it worked.

So you may still be wondering… Did I jump in the end?

Hell Yeah!

Sure. It was a messy landing, and I still have some way to go, but the first part of the next stage of Space time is underway. People are on the ships. You can walk up and man the pilot controls, the co-pilot controls, and the drone controls. You currently can’t tell if you are using it but that’s just because I haven’t added all the indicative visuals to make it all clear. Baby steps. Motivationally, I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but I’m really hoping I can gather some more momentum and get back to just loving every minute of what I’ve been doing.  That has to start with cleaning out some old code that still has it’s tendrils connected where it shouldn’t, and then cleaning up some visuals so that actions and possible actions are clear and inviting.

RunningAroundShip01

Only after that can I get back to adding some more fun functionality that I’m really looking forward to.

Will you ever get that post about Ben learning to use 3D coat a little and making asteroids? Honestly no idea, but he has made some asteroids. He just refuses to record himself making them because, well, he has some hang ups and could do with a little more encouragement… as well as a little more acceptance of the fact that his first attempts will not be perfect, nor will his one millionth attempt. That’s just what life is like and as long as the trend is “getting better” what more can we really ask for from our efforts.

Apologies If this post is a little bit of a downer. I just felt like being reflective today, and today is when I right this. Tomorrow is a different day  and most likely contains a lot more sillyness, and maybe some cycling. Basically, what I’m saying is, when I write a blog you get whatever drivel happens to be on my mind at the time. If that’s cool with you, or you want to complain, just show your modern outrage through the usual channels. i.e. TwitterFacebook, and Youtube. Bye for now.

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Droning On

This week the accompanied video was recorded on Ben’s machine rather than mine. He was also kind enough to do the editing which is why the video is of vastly superior quality to the usual bare bones rubbish I upload.

The reason for this is that the game is currently in pieces on my machine as I’m integrating a bunch of stuff I had been doing behind the scenes in order to move the game onto its next stage of development. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks now depending on what Art I put in before showing you things again, but what this means is that the above video will be the last time you see a video of the game that looks like this. The next video will  be the result of a game changing upgrade… I do mean that in the actual literal sense as I’m changing the game significantly. Not in its essence, just in it’s… well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves because I could still screw it all up.

Last week I talked about the A.I. and the week before that I talked about the entity controller. It was before that I was talking about weapons. You might remember that I mentioned that we were capable of making weapons that launched projectiles that were themselves weapons that launched projectiles. Naturally this has reached its obvious conclusion… No. Not weapons that fire weapons, that fire weapons, that fire weapons. I mean, of course we did that, but the conclusion i am talking about is that the ship has a weapon that launches another ship.

It could be a fighter, but it isn’t. The one you see in the video is a drone that player 2 controls. There is a technical distinction that and a fighter, specifically being that if the drone is destroyed you can just create a new one later, but if the ship is destroyed the drone stops functioning. If you are a design nerd like me that is a very important distinction to make, but I understand if you tuned out a few sentences ago and only start reading again because I dumped a bunch of exclamation marks here *!!!!!!!!*

DevDiary_Drones

The drone visually is just a copied and shrunk version of the main ship, but that will change in time. There will also be different drones with different abilities, from simple turrets you can drop, to tiny bombers that drop space cheese on the enemies. Possibly not that since I have no idea what space cheese would accomplish other than seem like a waste of cheese.

The drones can also be A.I. or human controlled so there is no there yet either.

Unfortunately as I mentioned before, I had to leave all the explosions and weapons and fancy things to the side for now as I have other stuff that needs functionificated before we can move forward. Odd that google’s spell check did not have a problem with that word.

Anyway. Not sure what next week’s blog will be about. Ben has been learning to art a bit by making new asteroids in 3D coat, so maybe he can write something up about his heretical and  Appallingly sculpting technique of using a mouse instead of a tablet. The end results are fine, so I’ll just grimace and let him get on with it. If you fancy giving us a prod before that. Do so in the usual social media places such as TwitterFacebook, and Youtube. Bye for now.

 

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And Then It Turned on Me!

SpaceTime-FirstAIAttempt

I talked about the entity controller last week, and this week I’m going to talk about it again. Specifically I’m going to talk about thirty lines of code and a public boolean. That boolean is named “Is Human”

The result is shown in the video above, and despite being very rudimentary it was surprisingly effective at offering fun opposition.  Both my kids played against this first pass A.I. and lost in close games.

I then, for amusements sake, decided to spring this A.I. on the most experienced player of the game other than myself. We often test things out by fighting each other, but this time, when I picked up the controller as normal I didn’t ever bother touching it. Ben was under the impression he was still fighting me, Instead he was taking part in a space battle turing test. Ben fought hard, employing many of the fancy overkill weapons he had created, but alas he was soundly beaten 5-2.  It was only at this point that I revealed I wasn’t playing at all. Ben was as you’d expect both shocked and amused, and then demanded a rematch against Eliza.

Ben lost again, but at least it was 5-3 this time and one of the losses was him blowing himself up by crashing full force into a wall. For the sake of winning I joined in as the second pilot on his ship, manning the turret. We won that game after a glorious battle.

This version of the A.I. is very simple, and would only work on  levels that have no dead ends. The A.I. doesn’t have any pathfinding in the traditional sense, just object avoidance which amounts to : If i’m going to crash, slam on the break  and put as many thrusters as possible in the direction of motion to slow me down. Meanwhile, move into attack range and move around any obstacles that come between me and my target.

Apart from that the A.I. Charges it’s weapon and shoots with a small random inaccuracy, and if close enough engages the turret.

It works surprisingly well being both fairly natural looking and a good challenge. The obvious visual difference to me is that the A.I. is far more comfortable drifting than human players are. When it is moving in a manner it is happy with it stops interfering whereas humans tend to (but not always) fiddle with the direction and the thrust. It’s also simulating two people on the ship which means it is pretty good with the turret.

In future, I’m hoping to move away from single behaviour in A.I. play style and also so that the A.I. will change behaviour depending on the weapon loadout. My current thinking is that this lends itself to a multi delegate pattern which will be a nice challenge. For now however it isn’t anywhere near the top of my priority list so it’ll have to wait.

The week after I did A.I. the coding was mostly about sound,  so I might just skip talking about that partly because it doesn’t lend it’s self to pictures well, and partly because I’ll use all the wrong terminology and just sound like the uneducated buffoon that I am. Until then. Do have a poke at us on the social media. TwitterFacebook, and Youtube. Bye for now.

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Talking Ship

I may go off the rails a little this week, because I’m struggling emotionally to do some things. I’m not having a problem working hard at all, just having a problem bringing myself to stop working on Space Time to do a few other things that need done such as dev diaries/ social media, and continuing […]

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Beaming with Pride

BEEEEAAAAAAMMMMMMSSSSS! Ok. So that one might… and I stress might, be over the top. The point is it’s possible. This, among a few other things is what I did on my last week in China. Pretty much because I love beam weapons. As I mentioned last week. This is a seperate class entirely from the […]

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Projectiles For Days

Well here I am, back in the UK. I love it in Shang Hai, but I’m also glad to be back. The downside of being in China is that there is no access to Facebook or twitter, but the upside of this is that there is no access to Facebook or twitter. I was continuing […]

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Away From it all.

Since I’m in the orient for now, Ben was supposed to be doing a blog post on artistic changes, or at least supplying the appropriate images or gifs. That didn’t happen as he was otherwise occupied, so the only fancy particle effects you are getting this week are the ones made by Apple while she […]

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Progressions

Coding. It’s pretty much all I’ve been doing for the last week. The blog is lagging behind what I’m doing and I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about it. Not least of all because I won’t be doing anything for the next 2-3 weeks as I’ll be on holiday, far far away in Shang […]

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Confessions

I needed to get this blog out here before I really get down to talking about new things. So I’m wanting to make you all aware of my baggage, or at least a small amount off it. My first confession is that there has been no progress on fixing that Xbox One Living Dungeon bug […]

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Happy New Abstract Time Period!

I hope you have all had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year, whatever you got up to. I spent the time with my family mostly, eating too much, playing games, and generally just having fun. Part of that fun was accepting that I was away from the office and simply couldn’t keep wrestling […]

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