I'm excited to make games today! *checks task list* Oh right I'm stuck on like 50 bugs I don't know how to solve. (4 days ago)
I humbly request for video game soundtracks to feature more than one loop on the tracks that normally loop in the game~ (ESPECIALLY BOSS TRA (5 days ago)
2017 - 2 - 28 / 11:11 am / general
Game Developers Conference is almost in full swing (technically the main part of it starts tomorrow) and it's always mind blowing to me how this event seems to draw out every single game developer on the planet. There are a lot of game developer events through out the year now, but for some reason GDC still is the main one for a lot of people.
I almost wasn't going to attend this GDC, but thanks to a lot of good luck and a lot of help from friends of mine I was able to make it happen in the end. I feel like every year I weigh the good and bad sides of attending GDC which is what ultimately drove me to decide to not attend this one. I'm not sure if the bad was necessarily out weighing the good, but I don't think a conference like GDC or a conference in general is always 100% a good idea to attend.
Let's get the worst things out of the way first: read more
2017 - 2 - 25 / 1:01 am / general
Strangely enough my brain is always filled with the background noise of self doubt. Am I working on the right thing? Am I spending my finite time on this earth in the best way I can? Am I enjoying what I'm doing?! My mind is always packed full of questions like this, and most of the time it's directed at game projects, and my framework Otter.
I've decided to pursue making a new version of Otter using FNA and leaving SFML behind. I figure by using FNA I can get a better handle on actually porting my work to platforms other than Windows, and maybe also get some better performance. It comes at a high cost though. Although by this point I'm pretty quick at throwing together a decent framework for making simple games, a lot of the more under the hood stuff still gives me a lot of trouble.
I haven't been working that much on the FNA version yet since I'm still in the middle of a project with the SFML version, but so far progress has been pretty slow. I often ask myself if it's even worth doing. I usually think it is, but then I wonder if I should hop back to something like Game Maker, or if I should give something like Unity another shot.
I think Game Maker is immediately out of the question since I've started using C# to make games. Game Maker was great when I used it, but sometimes it was so painful to be writing scripts in their built in IDE. As the projects I work on grow in scale and complexity Game Maker falls pretty short of how I want to be coding my games.
Unity seems cool but at the same time every developer I know that uses it is in constant struggle against it. The editor tools and overall experience of using Unity seems great, but I just know that I'm going to dislike how it actually operates when it comes to running the game. I feel like if I were to start using Unity my first year of using it would be just trying to shoe horn my own way of thinking into it so I could actually start being productive with it, and if that's the case then why not just continue down the path of Otter? read more
2017 - 2 - 25 / 12:56 am / general
I'm currently in the midst of a bunch of traveling before I eventually find my way to San Francisco next week for the big ole Game Developers Conference. I've had a lot of time to just think about stuff, and while I'm not really programming right now I'm going to try to organize some of my thoughts here.
I've been trying to figure out what exactly happened to me after I shipped Offspring Fling, and was part of the team that shipped Snapshot. During the year after those two titles I ended up putting out a bunch more games that I had basically laying around on my hard drives. Then after that I kinda faded away. I retreated to go work on my own game making framework, Otter, which I used to make a bunch of prototypes and released a few more small game jam sized games. Otter gained a small following and there's a small community of really talented people using it, but I haven't really made any solid efforts toward releasing another game on the same scale of Offspring Fling or Snapshot since.
If you've read my general thoughts posts before (the ones around the start of the year) you probably already know that anxiety is a pretty constant aspect of my existence. Along with that I've struggled with depression since I was really young, so I already have those factors working against me, but how do they actually work into this equation that is my current state of mind? read more
2017 - 2 - 14 / 9:06 pm / general
Wow what a weird couple of weeks it's been. I guess I'm going to do some sort of status update kind of thing here since I haven't really been in the trenches of game development for awhile still. I'm falling behind on my blog goals!
I'm in the beginning phases of working on a secret thing that I unfortunately I can't really talk about or post about. This is a big reason for the radio silence on my blogosphere, but there are other reasons as well. It's a super cool project though and I am pretty dang excited to be working on it.
Unfortunately I'm still feeling pretty depressive lately. Sometimes I need to clarify that this doesn't mean "I am sad." I think pretty much for my entire life I've had struggles with depression and it's just a pure brain chemistry mess for me as far as I can tell. It just feels like I'm "blah" all the time and I don't want to do anything. I've been trying to work on it though. I've got exercise back into my routine in the form of a sweet rower. Right now two miles of rowing a day, and I've worked up to the point where I can do it continuously without stopping. I used to play a lot of Dance Dance Revolution to try to keep my brain in check, but unfortunately I live in an apartment now and I don't want to really stomp around on my downstairs neighbors.
I've been working a little bit on my Pathfinder Character Sheet. Fixing bugs and improving it slightly as my group plays every week. I've been putting a lot of energy into playing Pathfinder too. I really like it and I like my character a lot. I love getting into the role playing part of it and feeling the things that my character feels and having intense dramatic moments (and we have a lot of them at our table.) I'm super happy to have a group of players that really gets into their characters and the game isn't just about hitting things (although hitting things can be fun too.)
Drawing and doodling still occupies a lot of my time these days too. I don't know why but I still don't feel like programming. It feels like an infinitely high wall to climb over right now to get back into it. I know that this is just a trick of my mind though. I just need to dive back into it and I'll figure it out as I go. I just hate the feeling of not knowing what I'm doing, and taking a long break makes it worse, which is why I don't end up taking breaks, which leads to burn out. It's a vicious cycle that I don't know how other people seem to deal with it so easily! Or maybe it's not easy for them at all and they're just way way better at being disciplined than me. Dang it.
I'm doing well though. I am in fact going to Game Developers Conference this year. I wont have a pass, but I'll be in the area for the week and probably hanging out at different events, so if you see me you should totally say something!
2017 - 1 - 27 / 1:49 pm / general
I guess I've put this off long enough! Time to figure out my reflections on the year, and on life itself!! Yeah. This post actually turned out to be monstrous in size, so I'm going to ahead and hide almost all of it behind the good old "read more" link. So if you're interested in a whole bunch of my thoughts over the past year then go ahead and dive in! read more2 Comments
2017 - 1 - 19 / 2:32 am / general
Honestly from a lot of my posts it seemed like things were going well, but unfortunately a lot of my anxiety and depression issues were getting worse. Some things can temporarily bring me out of it, but what sucks is that my default state just seems to be being super anxious and or depressed.
I was able to make a fun little doodle though.
My energy level dropped pretty significantly and work on Sky Sisters crawled. I wasn't able to muster up the productivity I had the month before, and the energy from PAX was worn off. One of the things I still wanted to add was a progress marker to the game so that players could see how far along they are until the next boss. This required me to dig into some internals of the game that I hadn't touched in a while so of course a bunch of stuff broke.
Feeling severe burn out I decided to switch my focus for a little while. In the world of Pathfinder my party was using a PDF to track our character sheets. While this was working for us there was definitely space for improvement. Like one of our party members was always out of space for his items since he was carrying the bag of holding. I ran into the issue where my spell list out grew my sheet so I had to make a whole new one. It was just a pain to use most of the time so I decided to finally tackle a web based character sheet.
It didn't take me long to get something up and running which felt nice. Working on something new can feel pretty refreshing, and also working on something that wasn't a game was actually relaxing. Web coding felt so easy compared to game coding.
I still managed to get some doodles out too.
One of the few Sky Sisters tasks I could muster this month was making some new palettes for the background. Yeah, really. I was still feeling so insanely burnt out.
I spent a majority of this month on my Pathfinder character sheet web application. It was actually a lot of fun getting feedback from our game master and fellow players and improving it. I added an ultra compact view to get a quick glance at a character created with it.
I also spent some time on a new Travel Pillow mock up if I ever get around to making such a game.
And another random mock up for fun.
I could still feel the heavy burn out. I'm not even sure if I'm out of it yet while writing this. I just kept working on the character sheet manager and doing some art stuff when I felt like it.
Here we are at the end of the year already. I can't believe how fast it all flew by again. I had a little bit of energy to spare in Sky Sisters so I tried to kill off some last visual tasks.
Some numbers for getting points, and some new effects for getting an upgrade.
As an attempt to keep myself programming at least something I dove back into FNA stuff. By this point I was pretty much 100% done with my Pathfinder character sheet, and I already felt like I had spent more than enough time on it. On my trip back to FNA world I started to put together just a really simple platformer type thing with tiles and grid collision.
The end of the month brought me back to Upstate New York to visit my family that I hadn't seen for some time. I skipped Christmas the year before, so it felt like I hadn't been home in forever.
When I got to New York I was convinced that I needed to take an actual break from everything. Except for doodling of course.
Looking back at the year I can see why I would need a real break from all things work. I never actually take breaks, and being indie kind of means I'm always "at work." I'm never home from the office because home is the office, and the feeling of my career flying out the window when I'm not working is very real and crippling. I ended the year by just hanging out with my family and playing games. It was something I needed more than I knew, and when I returned to Denver I ended up extending the break even further.
There is advice that I hear a lot which is to take a break for as long as you need. Eventually you will feel the itch to get back to work, but sometimes it might be a while.
Okay this is becoming less and less of a recap so I better save it for the last part in which I offer profound reflections on the year passed. Maybe.
Hi! My name's Kyle, and I make video games most of the time in Denver, Colorado. 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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Do you want to make a Let's Play of one of my games, or a just a video featuring footage of my games? You have my full permission to do so! Even if you are monetizing your videos, you still have my full permission to use any footage from any of my games. Go for it!