"Everybody has a plan until they push 'Start Streaming.'" -Mike Punchman (Today)
Everyone in denver is cosplaying as denvis broncman today! (Today)
2016 - 1 - 13 / 12:09 pm / general
At the start of the new year one of my game development dreams came true! That one game I worked on a billion years ago, Snapshot, was selected to be one of the games showcased in Awesome Games Done Quick!
This was a pretty big deal to me! I love the speed running, the speed running community, and Games Done Quick is like the biggest speed running event ever! This year they raised 1.2 million something dollars for charity, and reached over 200,000 viewers during the event!
But wait, there's more! Not only was Snapshot selected to be a part of the event, but I was also invited to appear live via voice chat to help commentate the speed run! The whole thing was captured on video:
I ended up having to wake up at six o'clock in the morning to catch the run in my timezone, but it was totally worth it. I think we ended up having 100,000 viewers for the Snapshot run, which is absolutely insane, and I'm guessing the largest audience I'll ever "appear" before. I'm happy I didn't puke during the run!
A huge thanks to Games Done Quick, Blechy, and Nightmare for setting it all up. You're all the best!
2016 - 1 - 13 / 11:58 am / general
So originally I had planned to write out this whole thing about what my plans and changes were going to be in 2016, and I really felt like I had a lot of things to say about what I've been up to and how I've been doing mentally and all that kind of stuff, but then somewhere along the way I just kinda lost all the motivation to do that.
When I was writing the 2015 posts at the end of December I felt like I had some really intense feelings to scribble down, but as time went on those feelings kind of faded and I felt like it would be weird to write about them at that point.
Things felt a little derailed by the holidays, friends visiting, and Awesome Games Done Quick going on, so I never felt like I was in the mindset to write out a big heartfelt post about the new year. So now here is my best attempt at some sort of reflection of the past, and/or look at tomorrow... read more
2016 - 1 - 1 / 4:43 pm / general
By this point of the year my life was really weird! I just got back from a bunch of traveling, moved out of the house I had lived in for a long time, and was staying with some friends and their family of three kids and three cats. Now that December is officially over I can finish my year recap.
By the time October started I had been staying with some friends for a week or two, I think, so I managed to get into some sort of routine. It's actually all a big blur in my mind as to where I was staying.
I spent some time finishing the last of the Otter examples I had planned out.
I even did a cool example on shaders which are still unbelievable magic to me.
This was the month I actually dove back into working on Super Sky Sisters as I somehow found some motivation again. I think the motivation came in the form of a double shot of espresso mixed with black coffee every morning.
Against everything I stand for I started adding a progression system to the game in the form of unlocking some various items from achieving certain goals.
A lot of people that have played builds of the game have requested some sort of progression system so I caved to their demands. I understand that a progression system does invoke positive feelings for a lot of people because unlocking stuff is fun, but I feel that a lot of games have these systems that shouldn't. I'm still not sure if Sky Sisters falls into the category of benefiting from a progression system.
I also spent some time adding an online ranking system to the game. It's an incredibly simple system, but I'm hoping it will provide players with some sort of ever lasting to improve their scores (it probably wont.)
I had spent a lot of time working on my game projects at a local coffee shop, and time just flew by. Suddenly my girlfriend's job offer came through, and it looked like our lives were about to change significantly once again. She accepted the job, and by the end of the month we would be making our way from Tempe, Arizona to Denver, Colorado.
We're already through most of the year and to the first month I spent in Denver. I spent some time getting myself and my games up and running with itch.io.
Wow look at all those cool games! It is really neat to see a bunch of animated gifs of stuff you've worked on (and released!)
Of course being in a new place now has inspired me to start a brand new prototype, but actually it's not so new! It's actually the same prototype I had back in January of 2015, but I started it a new as I had a lot of new ideas and a much clearer vision for it.
The first step of this new prototype was to make a sweet ui system.
I'm actually pretty happy and proud of this system I put together for dragging and dropping things! I do want to get it to a state where it's shareable, but right now I'm still finding the occasional bug and oddity so I don't want it out there quite yet.
Of course I made some more otter examples for cool things like tweening.
Eventually my prototype started looking more like this:
And my view from my desk went from a suburb street in the desert to a cool overlook of some of downtown Denver!
So overall moving has made my motivation go up quite a bit, but I seem to be channeling it into really weird things like not finishing Super Sky Sisters...
Work continues on my weird RPG prototype thing! Just grinding along at my task list at this point.
I really dug into the debug console portion of Otter as well as I started using it more and more for the RPG prototype. I went through and redid a bunch of the api for it as well and made use of C# attributes instead of weird debug command registering methods. The more I learn about C# the more changes I end up making to Otter, since Otter pretty much was my "learn C#" project.
The last thing I did was started working on inventory menus for my RPG prototype.
And that pretty much brings us to right now. I didn't end up traveling this holiday because of the recent move, and because I usually really dislike going back to the east coast in the winter... but of course this year would be the year that the east coast has the most amazing December ever recorded with record high temperatures. Well, I guess it's not that great since that means we're just inching closer to becoming Venus.
I mostly spent the week of Christmas and New Years off of programming. I've been spending a lot of time on art stuff, and hanging out with some old and new friends. Now I think I'm ready to start 2016!
2015 - 12 - 29 / 10:21 am / general
We're already halfway done with the year and what a year it's been. The summer is upon us. The birds are signing, the children are playing, the dogs are barking, the ice cream is melting... it's the best time of year except where I was living at the time which was Arizona because the temperature gets up to about 115 and you can't really spend a lot of time outside without dying.
This month was dedicated to working on Otter to make it into something more usable for the general public. The main problem with the engine at the time was that I kept updating it and I had totally outdated example videos.
I buckled down and got a simple content management system up and running on the Otter site and started churning out examples. I wanted to focus on getting potential new users up and running with the engine so that I could hopefully expand the community, which would lead to more people using it and contributing to it hopefully!
I also went to EVO this month with a bunch of amazing people and it was the most amount of fun you could possibly fit on a bun.
August was a pretty strange month because I spent most of it traveling. The first half of the month was pretty much spent visiting my home land of the Northeast. It's much more pleasant to visit Upstate New York in the summer than the winter... although this year the winter for some reason it's been 60s and 70s, so shout outs to El Nino and global warming, I guess.
Also what made it strange was it was the official end of the indie house in Arizona! After living together for like 5 years or something crazy like that, we decided it was time to go our separate ways. I think this was for the best, as you probably need some change in your life and your surroundings to keep growing as a person, and it felt like things were getting stagnant in the desert. The plans to move out were in motion, and I still had more travel to do, so things were going to get crazy.
I only had a limited amount of time before I had to take to the skies once again though. I did a little bit of reflecting and I had high apply pie in the sky hopes of maybe finishing Otter to a 1.0 version, but I kinda don't think that will ever happen with just me working on it unfortunately.
I did some more examples for Otter for some more complicated stuff like collision detection.
And loading tilemaps
The end of August came, and suddenly I found myself in Seattle for PAX for my yearly summer trip up to the Pacific Northwest.
This was a pretty weird month to say the least. It more or less began in Vancouver as I went to visit the indie house up there. So what did I do when I got there? Well I started a brand new prototype, of course!
What else am I going to do surrounded by really cool people working on cool stuff? Working away at grunt work to finish a game feels really crappy when you could be working on a sparkling new project which is probably a big part of my problem!
I became pretty obsessed with moving platforms and getting wall jumping to work with them and all this kind of stuff... so I went down a rabbit hole of despair pretty quickly.
So when I returned to Arizona after my wonderful adventures full of good times, friends, and sushi, I had some reality to face! The indie house was undergoing renovations, and I was in a strange scenario where I didn't know where I was going to live yet...
My girlfriend Corey had applied at a game studio in Denver, Colorado back in July. We still had no idea if she was going to get the job or not because they had been pretty sluggish at keeping us updated on the status of her application. We were basically stuck in limbo because we didn't want to sign a lease on a new place if we were going to be potentially moving to a new state.
When I got back to Arizona I immediately packed up my room at the old indie house, and Corey and I opted to go stay with some friends of ours. They had a spare room in their house, and were kind enough to let us crash there for what ended up being a pretty long time, whoops!
So I found myself in a new situation where all I had access to was my laptop for working on stuff. My desktop was totally packed away, and all I had pretty much was a small table and an air mattress. It was pretty cool actually... I went from having a lot of stuff around me to almost nothing.
I ended up going to a local coffee shop just about every day to work and I noticed it had a pretty strong effect on my motivation and work ethic. I continued to work on my platformer ideas from a coffee shop in Gilbert, Arizona.
I got to the point where everything felt frustrating though because I just ended up aiming too high as usual.
The problem was that I had been exposed to Mario Maker, a game where almost everything interacts with everything, and you can have stuff move and push and carry other things, so I wanted my platforming system to be able to match that... and also have slopes. What is wrong with me!
I ended this month with some more Otter examples.
So by this point life was feeling pretty weird! I had just got back from a bunch of travel and now I'm in a spare bedroom living in a house with my friends and their three little kids, and three cats. Things were pretty chaotic, but it felt like a lot of fun, and a cool change of pace. I still had no idea if I was staying in the desert or moving to Denver at the time, but I had a feeling that we were going to be going to Denver in the near future.
2015 - 12 - 29 / 9:38 am / general
Hey it's another recap post to see if I actually did anything this year, yeehaw! I think I did some stuff, but it's never enough!
In the magical land of Super Sky Sisters I thought it would be an amazing idea to make some sort of graphing system for the end of each round that is played. I remember this being pretty fun to work on, but I have no idea if it was worth it. Then again, I never have any idea if anything is worth it!
Look at how cool that looks though!
More work went into the menus:
And a help screen:
It looks like this month I started to run out of steam after working on a bunch of menu stuff for what felt like forever. I think this was the point where I realized all my work on the menus and UI stuff was totally eclipsing the amount of work I had done on the game, and that probably did a number on my motivation.
I was doodling a lot this month.
And I also did a presentation at the Phoenix IGDA about making explosions and that was pretty fun.
This was when Sky Sisters began to feel like a weight. I became so close to being finished with it but I just felt like it wasn't there. I had to do the player animations, and I still, cannot do it. Whenever I try I just end up making garbage art that I'm never happy with, and I still feel like the game is just not there... if a game is just "okay" then it might as well be just total crap, right? Nobody will play an "okay" game when there are so many amazing games out there.
Whoa okay don't want to get carried away on a rant just yet. I'll save that for another post. Let's just get to the next month...
Okay so let's procrastinate on this game by adding more useless junk to it. I don't know. I worked on making the graph at the end of a Sky Sisters round super optimized so it wouldn't take a long time to load for long rounds.
I then buckled down and tried to animate some of the enemies for Super Sky Sisters and well it went okay I guess.
I ended up redoing that animation later because dang it is so bad.
I also began my existential crisis about the future of my game engine that's still happening today. Was it a good idea to even make this engine? I guess I've had a lot of fun with it... and people are using it... but is it really good enough to ship anything with? I don't think I have enough technical background to push it much further, and it probably needs a lot more work to be totally sound... I don't know! Another rant I'll save for later I guess.
I did this animation for Sky Sisters that just looks way better than everything else in the game, whoops.
I guess by now I was feeling better about Sky Sisters with some animations getting done, but as usual I'm pretty sure I was a horrible mess of stress and anxiety as I just tried to push forward on everything. Neat.
2015 - 12 - 29 / 9:13 am / general
This is something I've been doing year after year as long as I can remember (like 2 years I think) so I might as well keep up the tradition. It's time to go over 2015 and figure out how much of a mess it was! It's going to be a wonderful trip down memory lane three months at a time...
To start things off for 2015 I signed up for toggl which is a neat time tracking thing. I only use the free version and I've been tracking things in broad categories, but I think this turned out to be a pretty good idea because I can finally see how much time I'm spending on various things throughout the day, week, month, and year.
This month was also apparently when I first prototyped the game idea I'm currently working on now! So I've already been working on this game for about a year... I don't know how I feel about that. Time goes so fast and I hate it.
Toward the end of the month I worked on a tool to use Google Spreadsheets to sync data with my games. I ended up making an external tool for Visual Studio that can end up parsing a google spreadsheet and turning it into a .cs file full of data. A lot of people seem weirded out by this but I guess when you're working solo having all of your assets embedded into the code with autocomplete and intellisense options is really handy.
I also was able to finish a new splash page for my website which features my game first and my blog second. I felt like a lot of people were probably coming to my site to find my games so I wanted to put those first and foremost.
February was heavily spent on the new version of Super Sky Sisters which I have... uh... still failed to release. I also worked a bunch on Otter and pushed a lot of neat updates.
(What's great about writing this post is that I'm going back and looking at what I posted and I'm totally rediscovering what I was doing that month.)
I also dove into more shader stuff for Sky Sisters as I worked on the background sky for the game. What's funny now is that I don't even know if this will end up being the final background for when the game actually does come out someday.
Not a whole lot else other than more Super Sky Sisters work going on for February, which in retrospect seems really nice. Focusing on one thing for a month feels pretty good usually!
Some part of March was spent at Game Developers Conference, and if I recall correctly I got super duper sick this year. Recovering from traveling and getting sick took a little bit longer than usual, but I did get back into it and continued work on making some cool boss monsters for Sky Sisters.
More work went into the menus and making them feel all neat and stuff with a fancy transition. Having a cool transition that isn't just a fade out and fade back can really add a lot of personality to a game!
Another whole month spent on one game? What a miracle. Toward the end of the month I was laying out the rest of the menu and hud stuff, like stats and hud options and everything a real video game needs.
Things were looking pretty good at the start of the year and I was doing a lot of work on Sky Sisters! But what will happen next? Will I keep up this pace or will I be side tracked down a dark path into oblivion? Find out in the next episode.
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!