posts tagged with: dev log

June Status Update

June Status Update
I swear I have the worst habits with updating my blog. It's tougher to update these days when I'm working on stuff I can't share! This month is just flying by too.

Something I've decided to start digging into this month is more writing. I ended up stumbling across a really cool guy on YouTube when searching for more resources about dungeon or game mastering. Long story short I am still very, very obsessed with tabletop RPGs and at some point I'm going to be taking over the game master role for my core group, so I'm trying to download as much info into my brain as possible.

What's really interesting to me is that a lot of techniques of building out skills as a game master also seems to translate directly into constructing good stories. A lot of the resources I started digging through inspired me to acutally sit down and try to write some stuff!

I uhh am totally not sharing any of it soon though. So all the characters I draw (like the ones at the bottom of my site right now at the time of writing this post) are part of some sort of story in my mind that has been changing every year since I was 11 or 12 years old. I've tried writing it down a few times, but not for a while now. With all of this new information dumping into my brain about creating stories and leading tabletop players on adventures I feel like I'm hopefully able to make a big breakthrough or something like that.

Some cool people have been trying to encourage me to maybe do a web comic at some point, but I think in order for me to feel comfortable doing that I'd have to iron out a lot of the details about these characters before I start drawing anything.

So a lot of nights this month I've been trying to write for an hour or so. Mostly just general thoughts on potential character motivations, backstories, and the overall rules of the universe everything takes place in. It's been a lot of fun!

Okay whoops this is already way longer than I thought it would be. Other than that I'm trying to keep up with my art skills mostly. I have another backlog of doodles to post as I need to hit my quota of 12 posts for the month, whoops.

I finished listening to Creativity Inc., which is a pretty dang good book. It goes through the founding of Pixar and the techniques they employ to help foster a creative environment. I feel like I learned a lot just listening to it, and it also makes me feel a little bit less anxious knowing that even the best of the best go through the same problems that I do when faced with the daily task of just making things. I'm not sure how it is to read, and I do a lot of work that lets me listen to audio in the background, so my experience going through it may be way different than reading it.

I also feel like I may have gotten a few fresh ideas to finally finish off Sky Sisters. I'm excited to jump back into it but right now my time is a little thin and I'm totally brain stale on the codebase. It will take me a little while to get used to it again.

Speaking of that I don't know if I'm going to ever get back to dev streaming this year since a lot of my work is just not streamable. I was thinking about maybe still streaming games, or doodling maybe would be fun. We'll see.

Also I've been trying a new diet these past few months and I need to post about that at some point!

Hopefully some more concentrated posts about some of the stuff mentioned here coming soon.

May Status Report

May Status Report
May was a pretty good month! I managed to complete my new website layout (almost.) I'm still missing some art work that I want to do for the empty right side, but overall I'm happy have a new design rolling that replaces the one I made in 2011. It doesn't really feel like it was that long ago, but I guess time flies when you get older. Whoops.

I'm still spending a fair chunk of my time working on a project with a few really cool people. Hopefully very soon I'll be able to share what it is and maybe even talk about it a little bit on my blog or in other places.

That being said I haven't really had a lot of time for personal projects. I'm still trying to spend as much time as I can drawing, and some of the free moments I have I spend working on my Pathfinder Character Sheet manager. I just recently added the ability to translate it to any language, and someone has already translated it to German. More on that later!

Sorry that it has been eerily quiet around here. Working on a secret thing is kind of new to me and I'm totally not used to not being able to openly share what I'm working on. I haven't streamed in over 6 months because I'm just not sure what I would stream. I am starting to feel a little bit of that itch though to get back to coding something games related. Maybe Otter FNA can be revived soon... but I got stuck in a lot of different problems trying to put it together. Starting to realize that I'm probably not smart enough to be making my own engine/api and I should probably start putting time into learning something else. But I love C# way too much, and there are no other solutions out there for 2d games and C#. Technically yes Unity does 2d and uses C# but Unity just feels like over kill and is painfully slow for me to develop in. Augh!

Anyway that's all I'll say for now. I feel like I could expand on a couple of these thoughts later as full posts, but some of these things I've already talked about at length many, many times.

Oh I'm still pretty anxious and stuff but at least I'm having fun on this small team project which I can't wait to show off at some point. Yeah!

Dev Log: FNA Tiles

Dev Log: FNA Tiles
Been working a little bit on getting tile maps set up in the FNA version of Otter along with a quick platforming movement test.

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I'm still wrestling with some issues in FNA that I'm sure are totally my fault, but so far things have been working pretty nicely. Understanding the whole sprite batch drawing thing is still a little bit tricky for me, and I'm hoping that I can wrangle my familiar engine api into something that doesnt perform like garbage. Trying to manage when I should be calling End() and Begin() is a little bit more challenging than I hoped, and I don't want to just be calling them both for every single draw if I can help it.

I've hit a weird snag with my initialization process and render targets, and I think it's related to some kinda weird race condition that I can't pin down... but probably more on this in a future post.

Dev Log: FNA Font Stuff

Dev Log: FNA Font Stuff
I'm currently in the midst of an actual break from development but I'll try to catch up on some recent developments while I'm loungin' about.

I'm still developing my new version of Otter using FNA instead of SFML. I'm slowly but hopefully surely finding out the best way to go about certain things like rendering and input. Fonts and text graphics are working pretty well now and I also have some basic input stuff hooked up for things like keyboard, mouse, and text entry.

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I'm using a C# binding of freetype for rendering fonts and text, and recently I implemented a system to handle huge font sizes. I say system but all it's really just a list of textures for the font instead of just one texture. Unfortunately the upper limit of font sizes is still the maximum size of the texture though... so right now 2048 I think.

I've almost got enough in my FNA engine to make a simple game aside from a few missing collision overlap checks and a handful of bugs. As much as I hate to say it I think I actually like SFML's rendering system better because so far using SpriteBatch feels like a giant pain in the butt most of the time. I understand why SpriteBatch is so important, but it seems like it'd be easier just to pass my own vertices and textures into the renderer... but for some reason that's mega slow. Right now one of the bugs I have to look into is the fact that rendering 10 or so primitives already starts to take a toll on performance, and it's only rendering a bunch of untextured vertices! Nothin' makes sense.

Dev Log: Upgrade Path Arts

Dev Log: Upgrade Path Arts
I'm home for the holidays so that gives me plenty of time to catch up on my missing blog posts for the month!

Here's something I updated in Sky Sisters a little while back:

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The assets for the "upgrade path" were a little lacking. Previously they were just some simple monocolored assets that had some minor effects. What I found though was that they were very hard to see against certain sky palettes. I tried some tricks like shifting the color of the asset around to make them stand out more, but I was having a hard time making them out. If I was having a hard time that meant that any players would have an even harder time, so out they went.

I opted for a more detailed asset that is trying to be more in line with how the upgrade diamonds look themselves. There are some minor issues with these but I don't see them changing much beyond this iteration.

Dev Log: Particle Polish

Dev Log: Particle Polish
I've just been hopping around on Sky Sisters revisiting some areas that needed a little bit more love. I wanted to make the upgrade diamonds a little bit more clear when the players touch one.

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The changes are super subtle but hopefully they get the message across a little bit more. I adjusted the screen flash and the particle burst when the orb touches the diamond, and I also added a flashing effect onto the diamond itself that gets more intense. I also shortened the overall time it takes for the whole effect to play out.