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Feb 03

The hunted hunter

Hello dear reader,

Things are progressing nicely. I have two jobs that I plan to apply for on Tuesday (after Amy has double checked my CV for me) and a whole heap of other jobs to look at when I do apply. I have spent the last couple of weeks working away on my portfolio which is now whipped into shape. I am currently working on the meat of the portfolio, the examples. Right now I am focusing on ASP.NET and C# with a special interest in creating components with a dynamic client side element. I have a week long project planned for next week that is very ambitious but will provide an excellent example of my ASP.NET skills. Thinking about it I should probably spend a little time today working on it so that I have a head start on Monday.

I have also moved in with Amy, we are currently staying with her parents in Hertfordshire. As of next week we are house sitting for a month, this should hopefully give me enough time to secure a job so it won't be too long until I get my first pay check and then we finally get our own place.

I am planning to spend this coming Sunday working on a new random jam called "sparkling clone love". It is going to be a real challenge to get it done in a day but I can't really afford to spend time on something other than gaining employment. I am really looking forward to getting back to work. Making games is great fun and gives me an amazing sense of achievement but is fraught with too many issues for it to be considered as a full time vocation.

Best go design a database

Much love

-Jon

Jan 18

Crafting Content

Greetings fine pre-sopa banned internet users! As you can see from scrolling down a little I haven't blogged in sometime. It seems I have grown ever tardier as the blogs go on. I think the fact that I have been running around like a mad man trying to come up with a plan to put a roof over my head and food in my stomach has been the main factor in my tardiness. My plan of gaining employment this month remains unchanged. I finally got my Microsoft money and my car is on the road. My lovely lady has decided she wants to live with me which is amazing and also means the rent will be cheaper :D. So all I need now is a Job.

To that end I have sadly taken a little break from games to ready my folio and CV for the great job hunt. I should be ready by the end of next week and will be moving to my lady friend's parent's house while I apply. This will mean I am near by for any interviews and of course see my lady friend :D. As part of my push to polish my portfolio I have dusted off some of my other sites and started creating content for them. Doodle Diary is a little site that contains daily doodles. Random Jam is a game prototype site where you have to make games based on randomly generated titles. I actually had so much fun making the game prototype that I plan to do another in a weekend or so. I have also added links to these sites as well as my Art shop and Portfolio site on the right hand column. Below is a screenshot of my Random Jam game Annoying Trebuchet Fishing.

AFT

As this is primarily an indie game site I should probably mention games. My plans for Acre went horribly wrong when I realised I spent so long focusing on the tech that I had totally forgotten what I was planning to make with it so I put that on the back burner and started work on a farming game. What I want from the farm game is Harvest Moon without the RPG element and with crafting and greater customisation. After a little polling on Twitter I have decided my farm game will be called Plough Wow! Below is a screen shot. I will sadly have very little time to continue this game until I have a job and have settled in to my new place but I am determined to finish it, even more so as it is a game I really want to play.

Plough Wow

A few nights a go I dreamt that I made a Downton Abbey game using the Acre engine and it was amazing. So amazing I have decided I will make a period game based on it. You will play a lady or gentleman of a manor (I haven't fully decided which one yet) and the objective of the game will be to incriminate the other members of the house while avoiding the scandals of your own dastardly deeds.

I have also been thinking a lot about what went wrong with Love Hurts and I think I have a good list of improvements that I could make. To that end I am considering doing a sequel. Story wise I want to make it about how the first game was so poorly received. Not in an angry way, more about the different stages of grief I went through when I realised it was a massive flop and how I finally realised that it was my own fault it failed. I have also decided to bundle the original Love Hurts with it as it is the foundation of number 2.

Now I best go as I need to add paging to the news section of my folio site.

Hopefully blog again soon

Much Love

-Jon

Oct 13

A bold new plan

Things have been pretty quiet for a while. This has been because I have been dating a lot and have totally run out of money. To try and remedy this I spent the last month trying to earn some money. I did a little contract work and I created Art.Jon-Keatley.com. Sadly I have not made any sales yet but I am still hopeful that things will pick up. To try and attract some business I am currently having a 40% sale on all items and have free delivery within the UK

Art.Jon-Keatley.com

Considering my failure to gain any kind of decent income I have decided that the best thing to do is to get a job and focus on indie games in my own time. I decided that I will start looking in January so I do not end up with anther depressing Christmas where I have to work because I haven't been at the company long enough to afford the holiday off. I have also decided to move to the Cambridge area as they have a pretty good indie scene and plenty of jobs. Doing so will move me a lot closer to my lady friend which is an added bonus. When I was in Maidenhead I rented a room in a shared cottage and it was utter hell. I was living with two guys in their late 40s and it was truly, truly awful. So this time I want to get a place on my own. After a quick look at rental prices it has become apparent that I will need all my Microsoft money to move and get my car back on the road.

Now that the January deadline is set in stone (as I simply can not afford to move before Microsoft pays me) I have a few months to play with. This means Indie games!! I have decided to make Acre episodic and plan to get the first episode out around the end of November. As it will be episodic I will have to write a much larger story, something I am very excited about. After the November release I want to do 5 more episodes release 2 months apart. I am also tempted to do a tiny week long project just to get a quick win under my belt. I will consider this over the weekend and either spend next week doing that or start writing for Acre if I am unable to think up an interesting week long project.

That is the short and curlies of what is going on with me at the moment. I will try and get back to regular posts from now on.

Much Love

-Jon

Jun 27

Adventure invigoration

Hello everyone. There has been another two week gap between blogs, sorry about that. In the first week I got smacked in the face by the big fisted thug of self doubt and while sitting in the dirt holding my nose the quick fingers of the "what the hell am I doing" monster freed me of my direction. Directionless I spent the week wondering around the house cursing myself and eating cheerio's

The following week I decided to take off from working on grub and instead did a little research, web coding, and dreaming of how to best change me life. After a lot of reflection I have come to realise that the poor sales of Love Hurts coupled with some rather unsavoury reviews has left me in a state of confidence crisis and a real need for a little victory. It has also made me re-think my plans to become a indie superstar.

This brings me to my new plan of action. Indie games are on there own far too speculative. They simply take too much time to make and all that effort does not even guarantee a single sale. As indie games are my passion I need to seek a complementary income that will keep me in vimto but also give me the flexibility to actually work on indie games. So I have decided to look into starting a web design company. On the outset it seems like a great idea as I am a skilled web developer, I am interested in web technologies, and it will allow me to manage my own time as I see fit

As it is a long road from deciding to start a company and actually doing it I have decided that I will try for a quick victory before I start. Over the weekend I came up with a game idea that I believe will be easy to put together, in fact I already have part of the foundations working! The reason I am working on this new game instead of Grub is that Grub is tied up with a lot of the negative emotions as it was what I was working on when Love Hurts was released. I still think it's a great idea and intend to go back to it when I have banished my demons. But for now it feels great to have a new plan and to be working on a new project. Below is a screenshot of how Grub is currently looking and how the new project is looking

Grub with broken spikes of doom

Project Adventure!

Lots to do today so I will see you next week for another joyful rendition of the trials of the ever increasingly emo indie developer!

Much love

-Jon

May 15

Attic art highs

Hello dear friends!

Firstly some of you may have noticed that there was no blog last week. Last weekend I started what I have dubbed my weekend project. A little interactive statement (I am not even going to pretend to call it a game) for the X-box, still my favourite platform to code for. Sadly I spent so long playing around with various art styles that I never got around to blogging. I now have a style that I want to explore I just need the time to do it.

Grub continues to march on gloriously. I have switched the entire none-game interface (menu system, level select, etc) to use the mouse after a good friend (lets see if he reads this and notices) mentioned that almost every flash game these days uses the mouse for its menu screens. I also setup a singleton to store global variables allowing for things like music and sound muting and re-definable keys. The main musical elements are now in place thanks to the wonderful David Morrision

This weekend I got back into painting and started a new series called Literary Nutcases. My first subject was L.Ron Hubbard. He took a lot longer than I expect but came out rather well except for the odd school boy error I seem to make every time I paint. My hope is to create 4 or 5 more in the series and then sell them. Whatever money I make will go towards future game projects. I am thinking either H.P Lovecraft or Philip K. Dick next. Let me know if you have any suggestions

L.Ron Hubbard Painting

Well sitting up in the attic with all those paint fumes has made me sleepy so I will end things here.

Much Love

- Jon

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