Friday, May 28, 2010

K, let's see. What's been going on with me. . .

A dangerous game.

In no particular order: I've got about 4 largely-complete posts that have sat in the drafts folder for about a month. Blogspot dates posts based on when I started writing them, so when I go back and finish them off it'll retroactively make this hiatus seem to have only been half as long. So I'll do another quick blog post tipping people off then.

I have a new full-time job after half a year of bank account-draining underemployment, which is great; it also eats up a ton of time, what with hour+ commutes both ways and having to adjust my sleep schedule to get up before 5 AM. (This post is being written right before I crash for the night, so pardon the rambling. Then again, since it kinda helps me avoid the habits that slow my writing speed to a miserable crawl, you might do well to expect alot more fatigued posts in the future.)

I have a nearly-finished site touch-up, most of which was already implemented a week ago. The big thing remaining is to test a bit of custom html, a "highlight reel" sidebar item that displays excerpts (randomly, chosen each time you load a page) from some of the better posts on this site. That's not really content, though.

I've also been figuring out a couple other kinds of scripting. During my spare moments on the job yesterday and today (breaks and the spare time while I wait for other class members to finish training modules) I've used google spreadsheets to make a 35-question test/survey related to Divers. You can take it as yourself or in-character; it'll give you your base ability scores, gauge your personality's relative strengths and weaknesses, and outline your supernatural combat capabilities. It helps that the above is actually just the same thing stated three different ways.
Scripting feat #3? Well, I bit the bullet, crossed the threshold, mixed the metaphors and started making an actual computer game using Game Maker, which has turned out to be an unexpectedly potent tool. (Yes, I messed around with Unity around the start of the year. That doesn't count, for reasons I'm to tired to come up with atm.) This first game of mine's a scrolling shooter- playable alpha, gotta churn out some more sophisticated enemy types to fully implement the first draft of the core gameplay. Graphics-wise, I've deliberately restricted myself to this sprite sheet, plus whatever I can make by hand using the built-in sprite editor:

The game itself- the mechanics and such- is probably closest to a classic title known as Raptor, though that's more of a jumping-off point. The other aspect of the central gameplay is something the scrolling shooter genre's never really seen, as far as I know; you might label it as "rpg elements", but it's more like an upgrade system minus all the fundamental things that label would lead you to expect. Really, the whole game is a test/demonstration for my ideas as to how developers could circumvent the inherent design issue I mentally refer to as The Diablo Problem.

Also, I've been reading a boatload of Tim Rogers & Co. I started printing out the text of the articles to take notes and read on the way to work, double-sided in 9-point font; these days I've got an actual binder. If you fancy yourself a real game designer, start reading these guys. The piece on Super Mario Bros 3 alone contained more novel, thought-provoking ruminations on game design than virtually any attempt I've seen to create educational material on the topic.

Now sleep. Back later. Can answer any questions then.

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