alamantus

Question Time

I got tagged by alamantus to answer questions, more than happy to answer questions.

What is your favorite number and color?

6 as it is the lowest perfect number and orange as it is the objectively best color.

What country/state do you live in, and have you ever been to another country? Where did you go?

I live in Vermont, USA. I’ve been to Canada (I live so close to the border so it doesn’t really count), France (school trip, I didn’t want to go but my Mom did and so she used me as an excuse to go. The one thing I wanted to do in France was see the Louvre and yet even though it was a SCHOOL TRIP we never went. I was kinda pissed (also I pissed in a sink because I didn’t realize that in Franch hotel rooms it is common for toilets to be in rooms adjacent to the shower/sink room).) and Germany (my Mom has friends there somehow and my family went to see them). I might of been other countries (my parents like to travel, I don’t especially enjoy it) but I don’t think so.

Where is your favorite place in the world and why?

My room because it has my computer and my bed.


What is your favorite memory? Explain it!

This is actually one of my favorite memories.

What is your favorite food/meal and why?

Cherry Coke and string cheese. I feel no need to justify this.

What is your favorite piece of art, book, movie, TV show, video game, and song/album? (Answer as many as you care to or can if you don’t have favorites of certain things)

Game: Psychonauts
Painting: Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow by Piet Mondrian
Movie: The Big Lebowski
TV Show: MST3K
Book: Catch-22

Who is your favorite author, actor/director/producer, (game) developer/studio, artist, lyricist, musician? (same condition as the last question)

Director: Coen Brothers
Game Developer/Studio: Tim Schafer, Double Fine
Author: Neil Gaiman

What is a game you used to play all the time as a kid? (video game or physical game, doesn’t matter)

Chrono Trigger

What is something you find yourself obsessed with? Or if you choose to believe you are not obsessive, what is your “favorite thing” (to do, see, study, etc.)?

GAMES!

What do you never leave home without?

Phone and headphones (the phone is mostly for music)

Describe an ordinary weekday. Weekend?

Weekday: Wake up at 7:40 and walk to work, be there by 8. Work. Walk home. Games!

Weekend: I play video games, make video games, and then write about video games (see above question about my obsession).

So I just switched my default Unity 3D editor from Mono to Visual Studio and

Oh. My. God.

My coding life has improved 500,000,000%!!!! No exaggeration. Mono has always been buggy and frustrating to me, but Visual Studio is just so smart and fast and helpful! It’s such a small change, but I’m already so much happier because of it! You don’t even need to know everything that Visual Studio can do, just using the auto-completion sensor thingy is miraculous. I know it’s not perfect by any means and it’s a little bit bulky, but coming from Mono, which does nothing to help you and crashes a lot (for me at least), it’s wonderful to work with.

If you use Unity and want the same freedom I have just experienced, here are the resources:


EDIT: Updated the Visual Studio link!

Reach your goals one checkpoint at a time.

Alright, everyone, here it is! The alpha release of Checkpointer. I got a free .tk domain because “checkpointer.com” is parked and for sale for like a million dollars or something stupid. It’s not really ready for super widespread use, so if you can use it, help me test it, and give me feedback about it, I’d appreciate that very much!

Features!

  • It just takes a username and password to get started.
  • Don’t lose your username or password because there’s no way to retrieve either yet.
  • You are the only one who can see your checkpoints. (Privacy settings and sharing will come eventually, but that’s not a priority for me.)
  • Every bit of checkpoint text is encrypted on the backend!
  • You can create checkpoints and drag them around to re-order and re-parent them by clicking and dragging on the arrow handles on the top left side of the checkpoints. (To re-parent to a different checkpoint, you need to open its drawer first.)
  • You can edit or delete your checkpoints at any time!
  • You can also pretty much have a checkpoint nested as deep as you want (but it gets hard to read if you nest too deep, so don’t go crazy with that).
  • Mark your checkpoints with statuses from incomplete to half-complete to complete with nifty Unicode characters!
  • Marking your checkpoints complete will also mark all its sub-checkpoints complete!
  • Minimal design!
  • Does NOT work well on mobile quite yet!

I’ll be compiling and uploading a road map as soon as I get a chance so anyone who uses it can know what to look forward to, but I think my next goal for Checkpointer will be adding due date functionality that updates the color of overdue checkpoints or something. Not exactly sure how I want to do it yet…

So anyway, yeah! Please try it out and let me know what you think! After this point, I’ll be preserving the database, so if you start using it now, your checkpoints will remain forever (unless you delete them, of course…)!

Enjoy! :)

Debugging OversimplifiedJS by making a little game! I’m frankly surprised the game is working a smoothly as it does. ~88 lines of code. on top of OversimplifiedJS, and that’s with all of my weird personal spacing conventions!

On a related note, debugging is infuriating.

So I’m making a little game in Visual Studio 2013 for my C# class this semester, which means that you can actually expect me to finish it unlike when I normally announce a game I’m working on! I’m calling it “Risky Chess” because it’s sort of Chess that’s a little bit Risk-y… It kind of pulls influences from both Chess and Risk, but not very much from either… Here’s what I’ve made so far:

Super impressive, right? Those Unicode chess piece characters are pretty handy. So far clicking the playing pieces just displays a message box—what pieces are surrounding it with a left click and the piece’s information with a right click.

The rules are pretty simple: Each player gets their collection of pieces (4 foot soldiers, 2 cavalry, 1 cannon, and 1 king) and moves one piece per turn. All pieces can move 1 square in any direction (including diagonal), but each different type of piece has a Strength and a Defense attribute. When a player moves a piece into a space with an enemy piece, that starts an attack. The attacking player flips as many coins as that piece’s Strength stat and the defending player flips as many coins as their piece’s Defense stat. You keep flipping the coins until someone has more “heads” than the other. If the attacker has more, the defending piece goes away and the attacker takes its square. If the defender has more, the attacker must return to its previous space. One player wins when either the opponent’s king is defeated or when the opponent has only their king (all their other pieces are gone).

It’s going to be local 2-player with no computer player because that’s just going way far beyond what I need for the class. :P I’ll probably need to make the game board a little bit smaller (right now it’s 8x8), but this all it will be! Unfortuately, I’m pretty sure it’s Windows only, but there may be a chance of porting it to other OSes because .NET is supposed to be cross-platform or something? I’ll have to do more research, but yeah.

Am I the only person in the whole world who doesn’t care at all about crafting in video games? I feel like every other recent game I see boasts an “expansive crafting system”, but I feel like that’s completely missing the point of crafting. The crafting craze in game development that arose from Minecraft’s popularity completely misses what (I think) most people actually like about Minecraft: you can make it your own. Nobody likes crafting. It’s just an inconvenience that takes you away from whatever you were building or exploring.

It was implemented well and just worked in Minecraft because it builds tension. “Dang it, my pick broke! I was just about to find something cool in that cave, I just know it! Gotta go make a new one so I can get back!” or “I’m almost done building this treehouse, but my axe broke! Do I have enough to keep building and make the supplies I need?” Crafting in every game since (obviously there are exceptions) is just out of place and annoying because they don’t actually stop and think about what the crafting is actually for. It’s not something you should stuff into any and every game because crafting isn’t fun!

It’s good for certain kinds of games because it breaks up the monotony and builds up excitement while you’re forced to stop for a moment to craft, to think about how you’re using your limited resources to make a tool you need to continue exploring, to imagine what you’re going to build or find next. It’s not something you just stuff into your game because it’s popular.

Anyway, sorry. I’ve been thinking about this a lot for some reason and I just wanted to share. :P

Here’s a (still small but better quality) new gif of ./Gather demonstrating how I changed the camera one last time, updated the boosters and gravity, and added flight mode to get from island to island! (A small amount of your jet propulsion is preserved when you change modes, resulting in the slight pop upward you see at the end of the gif. I like it, so I’m keeping it.)

I also cleaned up the code a LOT, but that’s not pictured here. :P

And with that, I can now move on to making stuff to collect, a place to put stuff you collect, and then some more diverse/bigger/better islands!

Also, in case you’re wondering, “./Gather” is pronounced “Dot Slash Gather”… Just so there’s no confusion on that. :)

Here’s what I just turned in for part 3 of my semester project for my Advanced C# class! You can download the zipped file with the .exe inside from the link above and play. This version lets you save a game and pick it up later, has better grammar in the help files, and has actual “coins” to “flip” when attacking! Still all just unicode characters and no image files to speak of, but it works.

There’s a bug with the New Game button that warns you about overwriting save files that pops up every time even though it’s only supposed to happen if there’s a saved game, but it’s not game breaking so I didn’t bother fixing it.

I also changed the combat rules slightly, so when attacker and defender get the same number of successful rolls, the defender wins instead of here being a tiebreaker. Mostly just laziness on my part, but I think it’s a better rule anyway.

Someday if enough people say they like it, I’ll port it to Unity or HTML5 or something so everyone can play, but until then, it’s still just Windows only. If you really want to play it and don’t have Windows, it’s completely playable in real life on a chess board with chess pieces and a few coins, so just let me know and I’ll write up some physical rules for you to play with. But for now, enjoy, Windows folks, and let me know what you think!

OversimplifiedJS - A lightweight, modular 2-D game engine for HTML5 canvas & JavaScript (Current Version: 0.5)

I did it! I finished Oversimplified in a week! There’s no sound functions built-in yet, but you can just use your big JavaScript brains to do that yourself. :P

At the moment, there’s only a very basic readme that gives you the barebones of what you need to know to start off with Oversimplified, but I’m absolutely going to be making a wiki to accompany it so everyone can know how to use it to its fullest extent! Until then, the brave among you can dive into the Oversimplified_source.js file to see what goodies it holds. Or you can always ask me. I know what’s in there… for the most part. :)

Anyway, I hope you like it! I’ll keep posting updates as I make them, but I’m done with this project for now. Stick a fork in that baby, because it’s DONE! WOOOO!! :D

Added some scripts to OversimplifiedJS to help keep objects from overlapping by moving away when overlapping and added an optimized-but-less-accurate option for the GameObject.IsOverlapping() function in order to allow more objects to use it at once. The result is shown in the gif of 50 dice rolling around!

Also, look! More dice!

I should note that OversimplifiedJS is not optimized right now, so if you use it, you’ll have to come up with tricks like I’ve been doing to make sure it doesn’t screech to a halt… Encouraging, right? :P

Random Tiny Game Mechanic Idea

What if in an RPG instead of suddenly learning new skills when you level up, you actually have to learn the skill? Off the top of my head, “???” skills appear and you can attempt the new skill, but it’s slow and clunky. Once you’re able to successfully execute it a number of times on an enemy while in battle, it’s given a name and you’re able to use it without fail.

I went on a weekend getaway to the mountains with my wife and wanted to try my hand at a little pixel art. So I drew this on my phone on the drive back home! (It’s 64x64, so Tumblr’s inevitable stretching will probably make it look terrible, but I’ll try to add a 100% in an edit later.)

As a game developer, I found myself overwhelmed by the size and scale of the mountains and forests and found myself wondering how any machine could capture a level of detail even close to reality’s detail. Like, seriously, how could you render millions of trees and the size of the mountains and everything in just a single square mile of mountain? What level of power would a computer need to do that along with all the things happening in the forest? Heck, I’m still impressed with how you make a game like Skyrim, so thinking of this just destroys my personal dev confidence. :P

Also, I was shocked by how you could have the same exact tree a million times and have it not be boring… Like, how? They’re all the same but it looks great!

SO!

I realized that the scope of the library I was making for the Adventure Jam was WAY TOO BIG for any game jam and decided to make a different game entirely! Hope you weren’t too excited about the library adventure.

Anyway, the new idea is a simple adventure game where a hero goes to defeat a dragon that’s been terrorizing the land. Your hero walks along and encounters situations (for the jam, just towns and enemies, but maybe more later), and those situations are resolved by rolling dice! It should be much easier to finish on time, and jay-dude is helping me with the art, which is super nice of him! (Also, go check out his fun little game, Hyper Stamper! It’s really fun and silly and he’s planning on adding more in the coming weeks!)

Linked above is what I have so far for the dice system, and I’m pretty happy with it already. It’s just a little debug thing to play with, but sometimes the dice overlap and send each other flying when they roll, which is kind of fun.

Anyway, I’ll update again later!

I’ve decided I’m going to attempt Insanity Jam 3 this time! I’ve already disqualified myself from the Resource Jam because I picked my game idea:

Seed: 49641324255
A collect-a-thon game where you provide for the most peaceful frozen florists.

I’ve kind of wanted to do a collect-a-thon game for a while, and all sorts of ideas came to mind with this idea! Plus what I have in mind will be good preparation for ./Gather! :D