Tea ‘n’ Cake


Social Mediocraty… And Explosions

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There was no blog last week and I don’t even feel guilty about it. That’s because… well, it’s a blog. I didn’t kill anyone or steal someones lunch. Geeeeez, get off your moral 15 blogs a week high horse. OK. Take a minute to get over your ‘lack of blog’ rage… There we go, just breath, it’ll all be fine. There are a few other things you can find on the internet that are entertaining, such as other game dev blogs, and the constant cultural battle that runs across the internet wherever there aren’t gifs of cute animals and people falling over.

First things first. The week before that we had James in doing stuff. He was a 14 year old that we used for child labour, or at least we would have used him for child labour if what we did wasn’t technical and required years of training. We actually only made him do testing for one morning. Every other day he was getting a crash course in one of the various aspects of game development. Turns out he’d rather slit his wrists than spend any more time doing iterative concept art/design, but on the bright side he was able to pick up some of the basics of coding pretty well. So much so in fact, that by the end of the week we had him do a simple little script for the game.

The mining bot you see above was what I built based on his concepts.  I’m trying to keep things pretty low poly, with decent color blocking. The reasons for this are simple. 1: objects in the game are generally small on screen so that the gameplay comes first, so objects need to be clear and identifiable from a distance wherever possible, and 2: Low polygon stuff takes relatively very little time to make compared to high detail sculpts. I could put some nice detail in the textures, but a lot of that can be done using modern smart materials to avoid every object becoming a time sink of attempted artistic perfection. These are the kinds of choices indies often face. You can make a lot of simple stuff, or a small amount of really high detail stuff… or you can develop your game for the best part of a decade.  I’m a designer so if I don’t create something original at least once every couple of years my brain would squirt out of my ears like a  double ended strawberry super soaker.

As for James, he’s off to live the rest of his life and hopefully (assuming he doesn’t get kidnapped by aliens and drafted into an interstellar war,) keep up with what he started doing on his work experience. At the very least he managed to do a little bit of code that moves the bot around some points randomly and turn to face the next one. It’s a small step. The first steps always are.

 

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That was the week before last. Last week was something different. While all my fellow local devs were headed down to Brighton for some wheeling and dealing (or often just partying in the sunshine), I decided to go in the opposite direction. That isn’t a metaphor or anything. I literally just went North for the 1Up North Gaming Expo. It wasn’t the biggest or fanciest show but it was a very honest one and could very well be the start of something much larger and more exciting for the future of gaming in the North. It was just a few rooms of enthusiastic volunteers and some of us local devs showing off a few of our creations, but as I said earlier, the first steps are always small.

It’s safe to say I had a really good time, and as you’d expect from me I took no pictures for social media at all. Instead, I played some fun games and met some other great indie devs such as the talented team from the fabulously named High Tea Frog. If you like combining beautiful video games with angry faced tasty cupcakes, then look no  further.  We have several things in common such as, we don’t update our website anywhere nearly as often as we should do and neither of us have an official page for our current games. So you’ll have to just follow them on twitter instead @highteafrog. If they happen to read this silly blog they must now reply on twitter with a nice picture of one of their cakes. I mentioned a favourite on Sunday so let’s test their memory too. The challenge has been laid before you Froggies!

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Also of note: The above is their logo. It’s cute and shows that they are either carefree people who didn’t think much about their logo, or have a dark sense of humour and thought about it too much, making their logo a metaphor suggesting indie development may be a lot like the old slow boiling frog fable: everything seems fine and you just don’t realise you’re being boiled alive until it’s too late. Who knows, you’d have to ask them.

I should probably mention at some point that we were in fact  showing off Space Time! at the event. The response to the game was expected to be positive, but the sheer lunatic level enthusiasm of some of the kids was fantastic to witness, especially since we’d been working on it locked in a room for weeks with no feedback. Our usual testing audience is whichever random students we can grab from the university, but this was a great event that saw the game tested by 5 year old boys and their mums alike… and then saw those 5 year old boys show absolutely no mercy in dispatching their mothers with tactical nuclear weaponry, but isn’t that just how it always goes.

I’ll expand more on what we learned and the changes we made to the game during the week, but for now I just want to once again thank the whole team at the 1Up North Gaming Expo for a great week and I absolutely wish them the best in taking the ideas and the event forward. The industry, and the community, can only benefit from their hard work and dedication.

On a less serious note, mid way through UV mapping the mining bot the unwrap looked like a bunny.

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And now for a seamless segway into a social media plug. Why not follow us on  TwitterFacebook, and Youtube. Bye for now.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spool Up The Jump Drive!

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Welcome back to another episode of me just talking crap. From the title of this week’s blog you might have guessed I’m a Battlestar Gallactica Fan. I did enjoy it very much overall, and especially loved the very reality grounded look and feel of the tech. I wasn’t big into the spiritual side of things as it essentially belittled the struggles and sacrifice of the individuals, or maybe it’st because I’m heathen scum!

I’m also not a one sci-fi show kind of guy. I like to mess around with sexy sci-fi and have ended up with many different STDs: That’s Space Travel Desires in case anyone got the wrong idea. I love Star Trek Phasers and beam weapons, but I really don’t like star Trek battles. I absolutely Love the world design and action of the Star Wars universe, but I’m not big into the common metaphor of the space ships feeling like World War 2 planes/ battles. ( That didn’t stop me somehow ending up with a ludicrously large X-wing Miniatures collection).

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The Decimator is circled because it’s Portuguese.

It now feels wrong not to mention that there are also a things I love about Babylon 5, Firefly, Space Above and Beyond, Starship Troopers, and the Expance, to name a few. I’ll stop now and try to get back onto topic, that topic being that “This week I got the Jump drive working. ” On the face of it such a thing would seem simple. transform.position = somePlaceThatIsntTransformDotPosition. Realistically however I wanted to make things an little more flexible than that, perhaps even with a little more style.

Started well enough with the simple. Timed move.

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Although it then turned out that there was a bug in the coroutine or something because occasionally this would happen.

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I did eventually figure out that the bug was not in the coroutine, but in fact it was that I had forgotten to put a return in a loop to end the function that was checking if a physics.Boxcast was hitting things and should stop the teleportation from happening. After that I was wondering about the physics.Boxcast and asked a Jo (he was unlucky enough to be online at the time) is it returned null or an empty array. He didn’t know so I wrote a little code to find out and then proceeded to talk crap at poor, sleepy, sun burnt Jo until he fell asleep. I did find out that it returns an empty array… which was nice. Long story short this changed about 50 lines of code into 4 and everything worked fine.

Sure. The effect needs a little work but overall the effectiveness of the teleport is just fine and it can be used for it’s intended purpose, which is to make an enemy miss your ship and hit someone else’s instead.

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You can also specify lots of variables such as whether it keep it’s linear or angular velocity, or it’s orientation, and a few other things that likely we’ll never use but seemed worth putting in, just in case.

For now however, I’ve moved back into the underside of the game functionality, and will specifically be doing some more stuff that results in stuff happening to other stuff in places and other places. If you want to know more, or just want to argue with me about your favourite sci fi show that involves space battles, then get in touch via the usual social media outlets/inlets/inputs… things.  TwitterFacebook, and Youtube. Bye for now.

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What’s the Verb for Boundary?

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Clank! Clank! Bink! Bink! That’s the noise of things being tinkered with and “mostly” being fixed.

Still a lot to get through in the next few weeks but at least there are some visual changes as you can see in the image above. You may also notice that there is an obvious collision bug. Specifically, the boundary isn’t … bounderying? Binding?  Encloses? Confines? Why is there not a verb for boundary. bound and bounder are already taken (I’ll use them in a sentence later in case you didn’t know and couldn’t be bothered to google them,) but there should still be a definite verb for boundary and as far as I know there isn’t…  Anyway. That actual problem unrelated to the word, was that the collision was too high. it was an easy fix but I didn’t bother re-recording so here is a gif of the above screenshot.

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I may have also mentioned I was doing a little bit with shaders as well, just because I wanted a very simple but particular effect and refused to back down. Here’s a partial picture of me doing it wrong and part way through it’s thingy so I appear to come off as doing something technical by virtue of not giving you all the information.

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I freely admit that I only included that image because I was going to use it to ask “The Mighty Bruce” a question  about reseting shaders, but he managed to answer it without the need for pictures because he can read big kids books now. Still, you should count yourselves lucky because I could have sat and talked about going over all my financials for the year in a big excel sheet instead of shader thingies. Actually, there are doubtless many of you out there, for whom that more a spreed sheet would be more interesting than my blog, so to win you back I’ll include this next gif of the asteroid doing it’s thing.

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See. Totally worth it right?!?! It was all glowy when it broke! Then it got less glowy over time! Aren’t you glad you came now. I also have to tell you that the model and texture for this asteroid was created by Ben whose abilities to retopo in particular have come on in leaps and “bounds”(Dictionary: A jump upwards or forward). Between this and his work making nicer particle effects that don’t kill the frame rate, he’s definitely making a decent attempt to be less of a “bounder” ((Dictionary: a morally reprehensible person/ cad) … Well I did say I’d get them in somewhere. On that subject I think we should actualy just use “boundaries” as a verb as well as the plural. in context it would be obvious right? e.g. “The wall boundaries the prison”

I did plenty of other little things and one big thing (it involves that stupid little glow at the from of the ships) this this week, but as usual, when it comes to progress on the game the blog lags a little behind. If you need to know a little more, or want to make suggestions as to what the verb for boundary should be, then by all means please let me know on the social media, TwitterFacebook, and Youtube. Bye for now.

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Things Divided by 2

Lots of little things have been happening, although admittedly, the blog being updated hasn’t been one of them. The most amusing thing that has happened is that the world has been properly scaled. All the ships and particle effects and various other things have been shrunk to undo when they were made twice the size […]

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How Do You Steer This Thing?!?

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 […]

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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 […]

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And Then It Turned on Me!

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 […]

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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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