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2013 - 12 - 31 / 9:32 am / general

2013 in Review (Part 4)

2013 in Review (Part 4)

Continued from Part 3.

October
Still working a lot on Otter, I started this month by jumping head first into the world of shaders. I had to do a lot of work on Otter's rendering system in order to account for shaders, and I also tried learning as much as I could about them. Also as a test I tried to see how long it would take me to get the basic platforming engine from Offspring Fling running in Otter, and it actually only took me a few hours to get the whole thing up and running with graphics and everything.

I played with shaders and rendering for a lot of this month and I actually was able to focus on it pretty well. Although after awhile I had to end my travels in shader town because I wanted to start focusing on releasing Otter to the public, and trying to learn how GLSL works and how to write distortion shaders didn't really contribute to that goal.

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One of the super neato things that I did in October for Otter was the whole debugging console which I'm still very proud of. I had no idea how to implement something like this, and one caffeine fueled day I was able to sit down and crank it out. It took a lot of tweaking after that, but now it's a pretty capable debugging tool.

By now I was itching to actually get working on a proper game though. I was working on the example game for Otter, as well as experimenting with making a small UI Framework within Otter, but my biggest obstacle was artwork, and it still is. I wanted to make this simple platforming game with Otter, but I also wanted to make the game in HD. The big problem with this is that I have no idea how to produce high resolution assets. I can do pixel art because there are so many useful tools for pixel art, but when it comes to high resolution graphics I am totally lost.

Also I am still looking for a level editor that allows free form image placement on top of tile editing, and something that performs well with high resolution graphics. This seems to be the magical unicorn of level editors, and the only thing I can think of that resembles this are built in editors for games like Aquaria and Snapshot, but there doesn't exist any sort of generic one.

So knowing this I decided to put the Otter example game on hold. I couldn't figure out the art pipe line which made me less motivated to work on it. I moved forward with the decision to produce tiny example games with minimum art instead of trying to make a big example game with high resolution artwork.

At the end of the month I officially released Otter version 0.9, along with a few example videos. Not too bad of a turn around considering that I wrote the first bit of Otter code in May!

This month also marks the debut of the Offspring Fling plushies by Frank n Stitch! These things are awesome and I believe that this is the first merchandise of any of my games. (We had Snapshot shirts, but that was just a small limited run, mostly for conventions.)

November
Otter is finally out in the wild and I am feeling pretty good about it at this point. It basically shaped up to be a personalized version of Flashpunk, so I finally achieved my goal of finding something familiar to Flashpunk that has the potential to perform way better.

There was a local Pheonix game jam this month, and I decided to use that jam as a test drive for Otter. I ended up making All the King's Men, and grabbing first place at the game jam (and the prize was $120!) I recorded my desktop for the entirety of the jam and condensed it all into a cool time lapse.



The rest of this month was spent tweaking All the King's Men, and tackling some more collision detection issues in the engine. I was still missing pixel perfect colliders, so I implemented some functionality for those, but it's still not totally done.

We also celebrated Misfits Thanksgiving at the Indie Game House AZ where a lot of our closest friends joined us for a day of food consuming and TowerFalling. By the way, I haven't mentioned this yet, but TowerFall is possibly the greatest game ever, and a lot of this past year has been spent playing that with all of the coolest people in the Phoenix area. I wasn't able to win the PAX tournament, but I think after many months of training I have a shot at winning the GDC tournament.

December
Dang, am I already at the current month? This has been a pretty crazy year now that I look back on it.

At the beginning of December I decided to restart my big game project. Over the summer I had announced that I was working on a follow up to my Ludum Dare 17 game from many many years ago, and so I started working on it as sort of the flagship title of Otter.

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However after many months of learning more C#, and improving Otter, I decided that what I currently had written for the game wasn't good enough and trashed it. I didn't feel too bad about this since I actually hadn't made that much progress on it.

So this month I've been working on a new base for the game. I still don't have a name for this game yet. The original prototype for Ludum Dare was called Gaiadi, which I liked, but most people can't read it or pronounce it or remember it, so I have to change it. I thought maybe Gaiaden would be a cool name for it, since it feels like it could be a fuller version of the word Gaiadi, but it has the same problems. Many people see the word and can't say it right, and as a result can't remember it correctly. I think I need a more simple English name instead of making up a word...

I did as much work as I could on Otter and the tentatively titled Gaiaden in the beginning of the month, because on December 15th I flew back to Upstate New York for my Christmas 2013 tour. I'm still in New York until January 4th when I fly down to Orlando for a week in Disney World (yay!) and then I finally return to Arizona for just a few days before I'm off to Seattle for the Steam Dev Days conference, and potentially another visit to Indie House Vancouver.

While here in New York though I've been able to get some stuff done for Gaiaden. Right now I am trying to focus on a very very small vertical slice, but I want the feel of that slice to be as awesome as possible. I want to really nail down the moment to moment game play before I continue on with producing a bunch of content for the game.

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And now today is the final day of 2013... it's been a pretty incredible year for me in a lot of ways, but I don't know if I feel totally satisfied with it.

Stay tuned for Part 5!

1 Comment
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2014 - 1 - 5 1:41 PM

TodesBrot

How do you pronounce Gaiadi? Like Gahyahdee? And what do you mean with "free form image placement"?

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Hi there, my name is Kyle, and I'm a 27 year old kid with adult powers. I'm making video games and living the indie game developer life in Tempe, Arizona. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.

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