Wednesday, December 18, 2013

pile of thoughts: Indie Megabooth, Death in July, photon cloud, Juiciness, Internet Simulator 2014

Ok! video games!

Let's get started. I will be posting today about a pile of thoughts. I have resumed development on Bad Things, and they are progressing!!! I have refactored the item system into something that is non-ultra-terrible. I guess I really just wanted multiple inheritance in C# but no taco. And now I am focusing on getting multiplayer working again. Multiplayer stuff is hard.

The Indie Megabooth

I have submitted ('submote') Bad Things Happen in Space to the Indie Megabooth for PAX East 2014!! Yay! In accordance with this venerable tradition, I will now work furiously on getting a fairly fully featured multiplayer build ready for PAX. I know that getting into the megabooth is nowhere near guaranteed, but I still want to have a game to show off in the case that I do make the cut. Also, ungiving up has something to do with dying in July. The megabooth is more than a sweet way to show off your game at PAX; it's a great community of people who are all working together to empower independent developers everywhere. It's kind of crazy and awesome that something like the megabooth exists at all.

Death in July

In July: Pow! I'm dead. Not really. However, in the terrible month of July my student loans kick back in. And then, if I don't have a video game that makes money, I will probably have to get a job. This is a somewhat upsetting prospect. I would really like to be an indie developer that makes money by then! Is this impossible? No. Is this going to be difficult? eff-yes. If I have to, I would like to get a job doing graphics programming. Will I be skilled enough in graphics programming to get a job doing it yet? The internet seems to think that there is no such thing as a junior graphics programmer. Only senior positions exist? Maybe? I know a lot of graphics programming things, but I don't know if I am good enough. I could be a technical artist or something, but I am not that good of an artist. Or I could just like, get a job doing something I hate doing like computer engineering. Or the fuel cell thing could really take off. Though, that's pretty unreliable. So, anyways, try to make a video game by then!!!

Photon Cloud

Photon networking for unity is a sweet package that lets you host your networking in ~the cloud~ which is totally awesome. The API is a little bit cumbersome but I guess that's to be expected for a non native package. It's free for 20 concurrent users and then you can scale it up after that. 20 is enough for testing, certainly. The cloud handles all the NAT punching and server hosting, which is great if you're a guy who doesn't want to punch NATs or host servers. I think I must be willing to crush my dreams and kill my fun non-network-compatible mechanics. I've got ideas to replace them. A reactor room that has real power management stuff. A warp core. Weapons still needs work and thinking about. And maybe, just maybe, the entropy capacitor will survive in some capacity. 

Concern with Juiciness

I have been watching presentations on this elusive concept of Juiciness. Juiciness, as far as I can tell, is the idea of rewarding every action the player takes with some kind of visceral response. Menus wiggle, things make sounds, move around, explode, pop, morph, sparkle, and the ever-powerful screenshake. Usually this is visual, but something that really stands out for me is the SFX design in Dust: an Elysian Tail. Every single menu interaction has a separate and visceral sound effect associate with it. It's super satisfying just navigating the menus. Making your game juicy is very important. But! I'm not quite sure when to start injecting juice into my game. Should I do it before the mechanics are sorted out? Should my prototypes be juicy? I don't know.

Internet Simulator 2014

also known as reddit the video game. You wander around a house (or an environment, or whatever) that is filled with cats doing funny or cute things. Your job is to take pictures of cats, assign captions to them, pick the appropriate (simulated) subreddit and post them on the (simulated) internet to gain simulated fake internet points. Added advantage: you can post these simulated cat images on the real internet to get real fake internet points! It's basically pokémon snap, but with cats. How well did pokemon snap do? I thought it was a fun game, and we haven't really done anything like that since then. Not that I know of, at least. The game will rate you on your composition, funniness, cuteness, and number of cats. Also you have to pick an appropriate caption and choose which subreddit will give you the most karma for your image. I haven't fully figured out exactly how the caption system will work, but maybe it can actually hook into your real reddit account and check your real karma, and rate you on that!? I am pretty excited, but honestly, I probably won't get around to working on this game for quite a while.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ungiving up on Bad Things Happen in Space

OK! Short post this time.

So I will be actually now trying as hard as possible to make a playable multiplayer demo of Bad Things available for PAX East! Which is in Apirl. So 4 months or something! Seems possible. I think I will stop crying about how I'll have to kill fun mechanics and just do it! Yeah! Video games!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Other Things Happen in Space

Hi! I'm Kelly. I make video games. Well kind of. Maybe.

Anyways, I haven't posted in like a month now. I've been really busy with fuel cells. Making money! Yay! But that's not a really great reason to not write a blog post for a long time. There is also the fact that my laptop is currently employed 24/7 in mining bitcoins, so I can't really participate in community writing sessions anymore. I have to write these posts on my PC. It's a little annoying, but I will survive. Maybe.

Bad Things

So I'm just gonna come out and say it. I'm probably not going to be working on Bad Things Happen in Space for a while. I've gotten to a point in development that it seems to be a little bit too ambitious and not all the design elements are there and the mechanics aren't solid. When I went to Boston Postmortem and I heard Eitan from Firehose Games talk about what Indies need to do to survive, he said a lot of important things (many of which I am taking to heart) but what struck me most is that they all have passion for the games they're making. I have lost my passion to make Bad Things Happen in Space. I'm not saying I won't ever pick it back up and start working on it again, but there are several other, smaller projects that I'd like to work on and maybe get something actually finished.

So, what else?

Here's a couple things. There's Magenta! The kitten eating ghost, I mentioned that before. I'm pretty deep into a fluid mechanics GPGPU simulation thingy (in the same vein as echobox), which I think I might want to adapt for Magenta! and other projects. I'm meeting with Seth Alter of Subaltern Games this Thursday (12/5/2103) to talk about maybe working on his next project. And I've got other ideas for things, too. Vorift, a first person eating simulator in the Rift, several QWOP style control-in-great-detail games, a pikmin like game where you control bugs based on Skitter from worm, and finally a sort of Minecraft on a sphere.

A few of these are just interesting technology pieces I'd like to try and implement, but some of them might turn into actually fun games. Once I get the fluid dynamics simulation figured out, I'll like try my hand at the Spherecraft thing or create a demo-prototype thing for Magenta! I can feel the passion for those things burning deep in my passion glands. It does suck that I am going to be spending at least half of my time working on fuel cell stuff until the end of the year, so I won't get to work on those things as much as I'd like. Though, I do have this weird effect of actually being more productive when I have less time. I'm not quite sure how that works.

When I finish the fluid mechanics simulation, you can probably expect me to write a post about all the nitty gritty details. Or at least expect me to say I'll write up a post on it. Fluid simulation is a pretty intense topic, but also somewhat overlapping in a lot of ways with the acoustic propagation stuff I've been working on for echobox. The fluid mechanics is, in a sense, more general than the acoustic stuff because there have been so many more people working on it. You get to see all the other ways people have tried to doing real time simulations of physical phenomena. In a way, I feel more equipped to work on echobox now than I ever have before. Too bad.

Also, I suppose I should change the name of the blog? Maybe just Pyromuffin? Cool.