Arse-Kicking Time!

So, with the semester finally over, I’ve got time to breath again, and I think we all know what it is that I like breathing.

That’s right air!

On another note, let’s get this month happening.  There’s a lot to do before August 12th.  Website maing, Game Jamming, Game Dev & Design, and a bit of fun-having of course.

As such, without further ado, let the arse-kicking begin!… but not until after dinner maybe? 😛

A Day In The Life

[0630] Get Up (out of bed)
[0745] Get Up (off the ground after flying over the handbars of the bike)
[0802] Get on the Bus to Darmstadt
[1030] Arrive at Darmstadt (Punctually)
[1045] Examine damages to Laptop (see 0745)
[1100] Spend the next 6 hours attempting to learn to use Cinema4D while unable to put my arms on the desk (see 0745) and with a splitting headache (see 0745)
[1720] Run-Walk to Darmstadt Station to catch the train leaving at 1732. (Normally a 17 minute walk.
[1740] Receive notice that the train “will be” 10 minutes late.
[1747] Receive notice that the train “will be” 15 minutes late.

[1800] Receive notice that the train “will be” 30 minutes late.

[1810] Receive notice that the train “will be” 40 minutes late.

[1815] Receive notice that the train is cancelled.
[1825] Receive notice that the train is now uncancelled and is 60 minutes late.
[1840] Train leaves Darmstadt for Heidelberg.
[1924] Receive notice that the train will no longer be going to Heidelberg, instead terminating 6 stations early.
[1925] Train arrives at Weinheim. (6 Stations before Heidelberg.)
[1926] Receive notice that the train will in fact be going to Heidelberg, and to please remain on the train.
[1935] Receive notice that the train will actually be terminating two stations before Heidelberg.
[1937] Train arrives at Mannheim-Friedrichsfeld. (Two Stations before Heidelberg.)
[1938] Receive notice that the next train to Heidelberg will depart at 1952.
[2022] Next train departs for Heidelberg.
[2032] Arrive at Heidelberg main station.
[2050] Walk in the door.
[2106] Write about my day.
[2110] Look up the train timetables to do the whole thing again tomorrow. (Planned)
[2115] Eat. (Planned)
[2200] Cry myself to sleep. (Planned)

Second(ish) week at H_DA

So I’m still not enrolled, and getting rather sick of the German bureaucracy, but I’ve been going to the classes and lectures for the Bachelor of Digital Media at Hochschule Darmstadt regardless.

Temple – Created with Maya

I’ve never had so much work to do in my life.  Seriously.  I don’t think I’ll be doing much in the way of partying (outside of La Nuit Boheme of course,) this semester, but at least these first two(ish) weeks have been awesome.  Great people to work with from both the staffing and fellow student sides, although I’m not looking forward to having to get up in under 6 hours for a class tomorrow… Never was a fan of Saturday classes!

“Wolf” by wolvenkind
Adapted to Anaglyphic 3D in Photoshop by myself

So what have I got to show for the course so far?  Not a whole lot, but I enjoyed a short little stereoscopic 3D project, and have been attempting to blast through the Maya Basics tutorials to get up to speed.

Hope you’ve got a pair of those old-style 3D glasses lying around!

Helmets – Created with Maya

Change in Direction

So since the start of the course, people have asked me what I want to do, career-wise.  My answer usually revolves around the concept that I can’t draw, and I don’t want to spend my life programming – that my interests lie in writing, psychology, design and mechanics.
However, in my course (at during my internship,) I have found myself time and time again falling into development / programming roles, and I ask myself why.

The last two projects have focused on learning development techniques, programming languages, and enhancing my skills as a developer.  I don’t want my primary role to be as a developer, and I never have.

Over the past few days I’ve been fiddling with AS3 and FlashPunk, throwing down some mechanical ideas onto the paper, and today, catching up on Game-Dev news.  In particular reading the backlog of Guy Hasson‘s articles on Gamasutra.
Today, it occurred to me, that I’m working a little backwards: I’m focusing focusing so hard on learning the tools with which I want to present my ideas, that the ideas I’m presenting are not only lacking, but my writing and design skills are falling behind.
I’ve spent a lot of “completing” my knowledge of Games Development so that I can get on to developing my writing and design skills.

Wait what?

To some of you that will immediately sound a little silly, but it’s the way I think.  I aim for 100% in everything, and sitting here considering that I’ll never “complete” my knowledge of games development is rather foreign, and a little unsettling.  It raises the question, “Then when will I get to work on designing and writing stuff?”.

The answer is now.

I’m not yet sure what the next project will look like, and most likely I’ll spend over half of it hating the tool I decide to use, but I’m going to focus on mechanics and writing.
I’m a little nervous about the state that my design and writing skill-sets are in, but hopefully your a gentle audience!

(Also check out Ben Chandler‘s work.  I don’t like that he’s only a year older than me and already got a heap of fantastic games to his name!)

Abandoning Project 2

So, I’ve been giving it a bit of thought yesterday and today, and I’m thinking two things at the moment.

   Firstly, even though I’m rather enjoying the dev challenges and the complete control that programming with C++ brings, I’m starting to find I’m wasting more and more time focusing on things that I don’t want to be.  In the past couple of days I’ve spent time studying design patterns and the source code of other games to try and figure out how I should be coding my own stuff.  As the end result, I’m not focusing on the fact that at the end of all this, I want to focus on design, and not development.
   Having development skills and understanding the way games can be implemented is important, and even more so if I want to create my own project from scratch.  That being said, it is currently taking too much away from the time I want to allocate to designing – my target area in the Games Industry.  And so, being fed up with Abstract Factories, draw order, object lifetime management, manager classes and annoying angle calculation implementations, I’m going to start a new project in which I can focus more on design, using a tool-set and with an end goal that facilitates this.

   Secondly, as some of you already know, stuff has been pretty heavy in life at the moment, and as a result I’m having a bit of a rough time concentrating on programming.  As such, I’m wondering if a holiday of sorts at the moment is in order.  Today I’ll consider what I’m tackling for the next project, and look at how we go forward from here.

Final Build

* Finally with a little bit of interactivity. Left-click places the monkeys on the field.  Other than that though, nothing special.

Working Weekends

Today was relatively productive.  Not really talkative lately, sorry about that!
Probably doesn’t help I should’ve been in the shower 15 minutes ago…
Nevertheless, enjoy!

Latest Stable Build

Yep, got enough work down to upgrade to 0.1!

12 Hours Late

So yesterday was a really shit day.

Last Build

Okay, so normally I don’t post debug builds, mostly because they’re a little annoying, but it’s a little less boring than the release build – Just try pressing [F1] for a bit of prettiness.

Project 2: A Long First Day

So today started out a little bit unproductive, as I squandered a couple of hours trying to decide what to tackle as the next project.

Happy to say though, that after considering what I want out of the project the decision has been made, and at the end of the day I’ve got a good 10 and a half hours behind me.  Such is the life when one of my “success criteria” is new working product at the end of every day.

As for the decisions?  Playing it a little safe.  I’m getting relatively comfortable with ClanLib and C++, so I’m sticking with them, (even though I spent a good 15 minutes trying to work out why I was getting a malloc error when I called the basic window constructor…) and thus, by default, Visual Studio and Mercurial.  I’m not aiming to push new technologies for this one, just organisational skills really.
I was considering warming up UDK and nFringe again, but I think that the problems there are such a choice eliminates the need to build an editor, it’s massively overkill for such a short small project, (see: totally prone to scope-creep,) and I already know that I like things to be pretty – taking a step into 3D would multiply my resource searching and visual tuning by 5, minimum.

So, it’s not much but at the end of the day I’ve retuned the basic stuff from the Sirtet framework, (and was relatively surprised at how transportable it is considering I wasn’t coding very modularly…) fiddled around with a relatively new style of class, and found a few sprites that make me smile!

Tomorrow I’ll plan out the end goals / targets, and maybe get a better idea of how far this project will come.  Hopefully your at least a little bit excited 😉

End Of The Day

So I’m not telling you which of the four game-styles I’ve gone with yet, but there’s a few hints around.  Unfortunately for you, I kinda like being cryptic sometimes!

A New Project – What do you want?

So, I’ve been doing a little bit of fluffing around the past two days, looking at what exactly I want to tackle as the next project.

Design

In terms of the design I’m looking at either of a Tower Defence, a little strategy game, an RPG or a Trading Card Game.  As of yet, I’m not a fountain of ideas, but I know they’ll come.  I have a few ideas for each of them though.
Feel free to vote in the comments!

Timeframe

At the moment I’m a little unsure about the timeframe, but it’ll most likely be a two-week project with around 6 person days when I look at it realistically.  Unfortunately the lack of response from the German University hasn’t helped at all.
Last day (as it currently stands) will be 16th of March – Hey, hopefully it’ll be a nice birthday present for my brother! 🙂

Goals

My targets are as follows;

  • Implement minimum of one user-noticeable feature by the end of every working day
  • Setting targets at the start of every day for the day ahead, to avoid scope creep and give myself short-term goals
  • Monitor time-planning and review achieved / attempted vs. planned
  • Minor: Develop some form of editor (something I haven’t even considered so far)

Sirtet: Last Version

Last Stable Result

After a little bit of mucking around this morning, here’s the final product – [ Sirtet 0.1.2 ]

You can’t lose, which in itself is a memory problem, so don’t go trying to play it for hours on end!
Also, as you’ll probably notice, the left button functions a little differently to the right button… Have fun with that one!
Highlight of the thing, is that you can alter the gravity in the settings.  Unfortunately that’s the only highlight 🙂

The Future:  I might continue work on this someday, but at the moment I happy to let it lie.  I was originally planning an Android app next, but I’m currently considering prototyping something in Python.  Guess you’ll find out later!