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Aug 25

Update

Hello! I have been a little absent, sorry about that. Over the last few weeks, wooing has taken over my weekends so I had even less free time to work with. Other than doing amazingly well with the wooing (I can hug her whenever I want without the police getting involved!!) everything has just been steadily moving forward.

Work on Acre has been going well. I now have all the core mechanics in place and just need to add visual effects, sound, and the surround stuff. I also added a basic lighting system. I was tempted to go with a more complex system but I decided it is fine as it is for now. I may add slight light variations just to make things look a little cooler but that is something for later in the project. I have how ever taken a short break from working on Acre which I will explain in a moment. I also rewrote the combat and collision systems and added a weapon mode to the item system. You now have to stand still to attack. This solved a lot of the knock back issues and adds an element of risk to combat. Before if you had a weapon then you where unstoppable. Once the effects and sound is done I plan to actually start on the art work. I think this will give me an extra boost of energy to get the project out of the door. I have a great feeling about this game. I think it is going to be my best game yet!

Acre light test

Light results in event

Sadly the 15th of this month came and went without any of the money that Microsoft owes me. It seems that despite getting them all the bloody paper work they have came up with yet another reason to not pay me. I can not ask them however because they do not entertain 'where is my money e-mails' until the end of the month! Sadly I had plans for that money, most notably eating and starting a company which will have to be put on hold for the time being. The company not the eating! So now I am having to put development on hold while I pucker up and earn some money. I am hoping to do this with freelance work but to be honest I am getting tempted by the guarantied income provided by a job. So for the next few weeks the focus will be dirty dirty money!

With the previous paragraph in mind I am also working on a little art site in order to sell the various paintings that adorn my walls and provide me with endless pleasure. I say this to install due value into them. For those who actually like my art you can buy my art and enjoy it every day. For those who don't really care for my art but hate me deeply (Could it be you?) you can buy my art in the knowledge that you will be robbing me of one of the few sources of sustainable happiness in my life. Sounds good right :D. Anyhow after reading about various payment services I have decided to go with google checkout. The fees are reasonable (roughly 5 out of every 100) and google pretty much own the internet so you know your details are safe because well they probably already know them and they haven't blabbed yet!

So that is what is going on with me! Oh yeah below is a painting I did for my good friend Edmund. His brief was striking and bold. He is also very good at maths so I decided to base my painting on a shape generated using maths. Enter the chaotic attractor . Once I had wrote a little bit of code to generate my own and played around with the variables to make a pleasing shape (I wrote it in html 5 because I am all hipster and cool) I imported the generated image into flash and drew all over it like a 5 year old! Behold its striking boldness!

Edmunds abstract attractor

Now I need to get back to selling my skills on the docks

Much love

-Jon

Jul 22

The Art of Pain

Hello sterling internet users! This week has been a bit of a mess. I had gained a lot of tasks at home and needed to prepare a painting for a friend's birthday. So I have only made a little progress on Acre this week.

I did to build is a basic dialog system. You can now have conversations with NPCs. With this I can tell the story of Acre, have NPCs give out quests and respond to being given items. I did think for a little bit about adding in a dialog tree but I decided it would require a lot more content and would shift the focus of the game away from doing stuff. Right now I am changing the collision detection to make it impossible for two or more live objects to overlap. This will mean that I will have to change the combat system, which is a good thing as I wasn't entirely happy with how it was working. I am also thinking of moving the tilesize up to 64x64 from 32x32 to allow for more detailed characters, although doing so will half the size of each acre. Either way next week I wish to start on the content, mainly the world map. I also need to test it on the X-box to see if I need to optimize anything. I fear I will have to do something with the moving from one acre to another but I will have to wait and see once the rest of the systems are in place. Lots to do :D

This weekend I am away at a friends birthday bash. As I am a poor friend and a cheapskate I opted to make him a painting based on any theme he wished. He picked Shigeru Miyamoto and Mario. Instantly I had the cool idea of converting Miyamoto's mug into a Mario level. So I wrote a little program that would convert a low res picture of said mug into a tile map. I initially selected just four coloured brick tiles. You can see the result below.

Marimoto v1

There are two problems with it but for now I will just focus on the main one. Its dull, it is boring. So I set about importing it into my level editor and adding new tiles. After some tweaking I got this, a little more exciting that the previous attempt.

Marimoto v2

It is at this point when I realised the fatal flaw in my idea. It doesn't look very much like Miyamoto and the reason being is that I have reduced his face to such a small resolution. I soon realised that to make this work I would have to use thousands of tiles and that if I did that I would also have to hand cut everyone of them. So I came up with a new plan which I sadly can not show you the results of until next week due to birthday spoilers. This painting holds many unique properties, it is the largest multilayer stencil I have ever done, it is the first stencil I have ever rage quit, and finally it is the last large multilayer stencil I will make using my current methods. Every single step of the way was plagued with bad luck. My stencils warped, my canvas ripped when I was tightening it, I ran out of all reds, the adhesive spray failed in the heat, paint refused to dry in some sections leading to it coming off, in worrying about wet paint I forgot to cover a section while spraying leading to massive overspray, and finally I broke one of the boards in the attic and punched an entirely innocent wardrobe while rage quitting. Luckily the results are passable, far from perfect but given the correct lighting and distance the effect I was aiming for is present. Just please do not look too closely or you will see embedded in all the imperfections the rage that the painting was born from.

On that slightly unsettling note I will bid you adieu as I must prepare for the party weekend! Woooo!

Much Love

-Jon

Jan 14

Rollercoaster of indie

Hello internetz! A fair amount has happened this week, my game failed review, I started work on the next game, I did a little DIY badly, and there was a small amount of face to ground interface when I heroically walked the dog on a muddy field!

For those who have not seen my (basic yet acceptable) game trailer for Love Hurts please feel free to move you eyes about 1cm down!

<Rant> Now for a little moan about XNA and failing the review. Last night I was at 66% progress through the review and I was getting ready to go door to door to tell the world of my beautiful release (and about Love Hurts). This morning I was going through the instructions to reproduce a bug resigned to the fact that I am barred from resubmitting for a whole week. Once again profiles and guides have tripped me up. It seems that if you try and buy the game in trial mode using a guest profile (a profile that you can only sign in as via a game that supports guest but for some reason persist once you have quit the game) it does not fail correctly even though I am sure in the real world it would. Microsoft will you please make the guide and profile stuff easier to work with. I really do not care if the profile the person is using is a guest or not signed in when bringing up the market place window. I just want to make the game. Surely instead of throwing exceptions like a monkey throws turds you could tell the user what the deal is. </Rant>

On a lighter note I am a day into prototyping my new flash game. Its project name is Sub-Terra Terror and it looks a little like this

Sub-terra Terror

A little basic I know. You could even go so far as to say it is ugly but prototyping is just like a guillotine very quick and very messy (except with prototyping you do not need a basket for the head)

Love and kisses

-Jon