the sound of silence

SO I haven’t been updating for a little while, I know.

This is not because I have been slacking off, it is simply because I have been somewhat busy going to and recuperating from a game jam situation.

Last weekend I went to “Nordic game Jam” which is one of the worlds largest game jams held in one single location. The idea at the jam is that you show up, you find a group, you make a game in 48 hoursĀ and then you enter it into a competition, to see how well you did.

suffice it to say, I did make a game and it did not win or even place in the top.

still, I had allot of fun and once I check out whether or not my game is worth anything, I will share it.

Holo

I have been working on creating a mechanic that will hold the attention of my guards for a couple of seconds while Re80 sneaks by and have been having a hell of a time with it.

As it turns out, there are very few things that a robot sill stop for and even fewer of those make sense within the context of my game.

I considered an EMP mine, which would shut them down temporarily, but that seemed needlessly aggressive and I wanted to keep the game non violent.

I considered a screen at which you could hack the robots, but that came with the implication that Re80 had been able to do this the whole time, so why didn’t she start with that.

I considered a tesla coil, which would keep the robots insnared by its tendrils of electricity, but somehow, enslaving a race of robots seems like an off thing for a former slave/prisoner to do.

So in the end I decided that creating a hologram of herself to distract the robots probably was the most sensible thing to do in this situation. However, I still enjoyed the time I spent trying to figure out the problem of what stops a robot dead in its tracks.

Taking a respite

Creating videogames is amazing and if I could I would be doing it all day everyday, that said, it can also be exhausting work.

When you find yourself on month 4 of an 8 month development, it becomes easy to crave a creative reprieve. at this point, you have been staring at the same art style and the same models for what feels like an eternity. You have been staring at these things to the point that you have lost any idea of whether the thing you are creating has any value at all.

This is where you need this creative respite. You need to let your freak flag fly and just try something new. Something that may or may not work out, but that is fun in the moment and feels good while you are doing it.

This is why I decided to work on my Blender game today and create a bust in the style of tellstale’s the walking dead. It is not for anything, other than the fun of making it.

podcasts for the win

allot of my time recently is being spent changing placeholder object in my scenes to some grade a models that I can be proud to share.

Creating these models is a somewhat argues task, as it calls for hours and hours spent looking at Blender, which is an awesome bit of software, but can be a bit tiring.

This is where I have found some solace in podcasts.

The great thing about cheating this kind of content is thatĀ it doesn’t require my full attention.

Where programming and design requires every bit of my attention to get just right, creating a full and realised game world can be worked on while giggling along to some awesome podcasts.

so, for anyone that is in my position, here are some recommended podcasts:

My dad wrote a porno

Joseph Anderson

Errand signal

god dammit

Indie dev is a bitch. I think most of us who are working in the industry can agree that it is as annoying an industry as it is an enchanted one in which to work.

That being said, there is nothing more annoying than the small things.

While taxes, pitch meetings and money stuff in genereal is a bitch to have to deal with and specs, frame-rate issues and bugs are a pain, nothing can get you down on a daily basis quite like forgetting your mouse at home.

I work from home mostly, but when I have the chance I like to go away from my house to get some work done, which is why I pounce at the chance to house sit every opportunity I get.

However, with a 30 minute walk behind me, it is a bit of a heart break when you realise that you have reached your destination, all ready to work and found out that you have forgotten your damn mouse… God dammit!

Officially half way

When working on videogames, project fatigue is a real problem that does need to be combatted at every turn.

You start out a project all excited and ambitious. There is nothing that your game cannot do and nothing that it cannot be. This is probably the best part of making videogames, the open and delightful place where every opportunity is available to you.

and then it starts; the long arduous task of actually making the game. All of a sudden your game has to move from great idea to awesome game. You have to think about things like visual design, audio design and story beats. You lose yourself in questions of color choices and fps count and you can no longer tell if what you are making is any good at all.

This is when project fatigue starts up. You can no longer tell if you game is good or not, you can no longer tell if anything is any good and you start question everything about the game down to it’s core principles.

At this stage you can do nothing but take your successes where they come and today I found such a success.

I am now officially half way. I have reached the threshold that means that I have finished 50% of the levels that are in the game and that is awesome.

Now, bear with me, as I attempt top finish the rest.

Working on the enemies

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have been revamping the designs of the antagonists of my game. I needed to give them some kind of common denominator, something that let the player know that they were part of the same organism.

Well, I think I might have found that thing: creepy Japanese inspired masks.

I got the idea from watching the movie “spirited away” in which there is a character called “No face”. No Face is this odd character who is neither wholly good nor totally bad, he does some terrible things but finds redemption in the end.

The reason that I chose this character as my main inspiration for the antagonist of my game, is that he wars this eery mask throughout the movie that is ultimately expressionless.

I loved the fact that this mask is terrible and I wanted to pay homage to just how creeped out I was by that character, so I created these masks.

placeholder hell

In my experience game development is a game of place holders. As you develop you game, in the rush of creativity, you simply cannot be bothered with making something look nice. So you create a placeholder object. Something that isn’t necessarily good, but definitely good enough.

This, however, is a double edged sword. On one hand, you have something that works, but on the other hand you have a mess of work that you have to do in the future to make the project look somewhat decent.

I currently find myself in this placeholder hell with the enemies that make up the bulk of the challenge in “The chain broke”.

They are definitely good enough, but there is nothing distinctive about them, they are just “good enough”.

moving forward, I will have to find a way to make these monsters something to be feared. They need to be made scary.