posts tagged with: tools

WriteMonkey Basics

WriteMonkey Basics
Like I mentioned in my status update for the month I've gotten way more into writing over the past few weeks. I used to write a ton when I was younger (like, high school years younger) and I just totally forgot about it for awhile. Over the past year I got heavily into a Pathfinder campaign and having a character involved in some crazy story made up by a bunch of people sitting around a table totally ignited the writing spark in me again.

I went through a bunch of different tools for writing until I've finally settled on WriteMonkey. I was using Google Docs, OpenOffice Writer, and a bunch of various in-browser solutions, but they all had their own issues. Google Docs lags like hell if you end up with a 60,000 word document. OpenOffice Writer has the same issue that any rich text editor has like when you try to change your formatting and it keeps reverting back to the formatting you had previously. You know what I'm talking about, right? Like when you go to bold some text, and then you unbold it, but then you start typing again and it's bold again, and you can't get it to stop bolding everything. Various in-browser solutions didn't work because I actually wanted something independent of the browser. I prefer having a downloaded application and not have to log into a website every time I want to work.

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Habit Tracking Tests

Habit Tracking Tests
Routine will always always always be something I consistently struggle with. I'm not really sure how to overcome this since I've been fighting it for pretty much as long as I can remember. Sitting in school everyday felt like torture and when I think back to it I'm not even sure how I made it through it.

It's not a secret that I have a lot of depression and anxiety related brain issues, so trying to fight those constantly is pretty much my every day life. Lately I've been pretty off the wagon when it comes to pretty much everything and I feel like I can't bring myself to do dang near anything. I've been trying to fight that on multiple fronts so here's just an example of one of them:

In the past I've had varying results with habit tracking stuff. I've used a lot of different tips and tricks and websites and applications. Thinking back on it I think the results have been overall pretty good, so I've tried to dive back into it. I grabbed a little app called Loop which is the most effective and most simple habit tracking app I could find. (I tried out a couple and oh boy are some of them terrible.)

Loop is pretty straight forward. All it ends up being is a list of what you want to accomplish every day and some boxes you can change into checkmarks for when you do them. You can set up different habits to be only on certain days, or just leave it on the default of every day. Right now my list is: Rowing 1mi, Rowing 2mi+, Walk 1mi, Draw 1hr, Draw 2hr+, Kpulv Projects 1hr, Kpulv Projects 2hr+, Contract Work 1hr, Contract Work 2hr+. I'm aiming to go for at least 1 hour on a bunch of stuff every day, and I consider the 2hr+ categories to be totally bonus.

For the rowing category that is one of the other fronts I am trying to fight the depression on. I got a relatively cheapo rower for Christmas and I've been pushing myself to row 2 miles a day. I think that's pretty good? But who knows. Maybe other people do like 10 miles a day and I'm super lazy. Walking is also on the list as that has the bonus of getting me out of my apartment. Walking around Denver is always nice, and being able to get my Pokemon GO in for the day as well is even better.

I've often seen articles and research that suggest that humans are creatures of habit. If you do something on repeat long enough it becomes a compulsion, but I'm not sure if I buy that. When a routine forms for me my brain does everything in its power to resist it constantly. As soon as I get into a habit I just want to break it because to my mind it feels so good to do so. I'm not sure if this is something that I'm totally alone in struggling with or what because it seems like everyone's cure for depression and other mental ailments is to just form good habits! Yeah, it's so simple...

This Loop app I think is helping though. It's satisfying to see the checkmarks fall into place, and it also has some neat graphs to show how each habit is progressing overall. My downfall with these types of applications is always the same though. Once I start to slip up the app reminds me how bad I'm doing. The missing checkmarks become a horrible sight and I cant stand to face them and I end up spiraling back down, so it always is a double edged swords with these kinds of things. When people suggest to establish goals for sorting out weird mental stuff I wonder if they consider what happens when someone consistently fails at these goals? It's a pretty bad feeling when you can't even meet your lowest expectations! But maybe people that are shining beacons of happiness never experience this.

Alright this is getting into weird rambly thoughts so that means it's time to wrap it up. So far I'm enjoying this habit tracking stuff but also I'm mostly on top of the stuff that I care about the most right now (mainly the exercise related habits.) We'll see how long I can stay on this wagon.

Visual Studio and Itch.io Refinery

Visual Studio and Itch.io Refinery
Itch.io just released their brand new Refinery tools to the public and I immediately jumped into them head first. After just a little bit of set up I was able to get their new magic up and running for Super Sky Sisters. I have a set up now in Visual Studio in which I can select "Itch" as my build target and push F6 to build and deploy the game to my beta testers on Itch.

So using Visual Studio 2013 (and probably other versions can do this as well) here's how to set up your game to publish on Itch with just the push of a button!

Asset Class Generator Updates

Asset Class Generator Updates
Over the last couple of weeks I've been thinking a lot about the idea of packing game assets into a single file for my Otter projects. Back when I was using Flash, and Game Maker, a compiled game ended up only being one main file. I always liked how simple the game would appear to be to a player. Just a zip file with an exe! There's no way you could mess that up.

In the wild world of programming with C# usually all of my assets end up being in a folder alongside the exe. This allows players to go through and view any asset the game could possibly load, and even modify those assets if they so choose. While this can be pretty cool, it also makes it tough to keep secrets.

Now I know the whole idea of "no matter how much effort you put into trying to hide stuff in your game people can still decompile it and hack it and see everything." Yeah, that is totally true, but I feel like that is only usually about 1% of all players of a game, and if I can put in just a little effort to hide secrets from most players I think it's worth it.

So with all of this in mind I made some updates to both my Asset Class Generator, and Otter. The Asset Class Generator can now pack assets together as bytes, and Otter has a static Files class that can load in assets that were packed by the generator. None of the files are encrypted or anything, but if you wanted to do something like that yourself it wouldn't be too difficult.

You can download the latest build of the Asset Class Generator from my open repository kpulvtools. Check out the details on how to use it here.

So far with tests in Super Sky Sisters this method works pretty well, and instead of a sprawling mess of folders and assets I can now just include a simple "data.pak" file along with the exe and dll files and off it goes. Now if only I could get rid of these pesky dll files somehow!

Dev Log: Sounds n Stuff

Dev Log: Sounds n Stuff
Hey I'm being productive! Mostly. I'm still 'crastinatin' on the animations I have yet to do for Super Sky Sisters, but I am now getting some final stuff done on other aspects of it. I've been tackling some of the sounds lately and throwing in some temporary music so I can set up the music management system.

For sounds I'm turning to a new program I found on the internet called LabChirp. It's similar to the great and eternal BFXR, but it creates a different style of sound that's (to me) more akin to the old console sound chips.

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In other news I'm also working on the balance of the game. I've gone through and tweaked a lot of the game events in regards to how they grow more difficult over time, and I've also done some reworking of the difficulty levels that can be selected at the start of the game. My goal is to have a single play session last around 10 minutes, and during those 10 minutes I want the player(s) to be able to defeat all three of the game's bosses.

Asset Class Generator Update

Asset Class Generator Update
Just a quick post to say I've updated my Visual Studio Asset Class Generator with some bug fixes here and there. Download the new version right here.

There were some issues with duplicate file names, and also files with more than one period in the name would destroy it so I've now set it to ignore those files. I've also cleaned up the code that the generator writes.

The source code for the updated version is also now available here so you can feel free to modify it to your hearts content!