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The I’m In Post

Posted by (twitter: @coffeeonimal)
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 2:23 am

Here’s my post for this round.

This is an Odd Numbered LD so I have a chance of finishing. It’s like the Trek curse or something.

Here’s my list of tools, for those that care about such things.

  • Unity 3D. #24 was my first time trying to use Unity, and it didn’t go as smooth as expected. I’ve spent the last four months really working with it though.
  • NGUI and iTween. Just for timesaving.
  • Skeletor. I don’t have a link up to this one yet, I’ll be putting it up somewhere soon tho. This is my custom skeleton/framework for Unity. Includes a few handy time saving shortcuts, but I’m still working on bits and pieces of it. This was my big goal for this round, to have this in place BEFORE it all starts. Two days left, right?

    NOTE: Skeletor is not really usable by anyone, nor is it particularly ground breaking or anything. It basically contains some code snippets that I’ve distilled from various tutorials and am in the process of forming into something of a 2D framework (yeah, I know, I know..) What I’ve basically got in there is a 2D sprite animator, a custom plane mesh generator, a timer, a really simple A* class and the beginings of a TileMap class. It’s all pretty Frankensteinish at this point, so I can’t recommend anyone really trying to do anything with it..

  • Audacity, BFXR, Milky Tracker, various iPad apps for doing sound. Still a weak point, so we’ll leave it at that ;p
  • SpriteSomething/Photoshop.

There it is. Timelapse might happen with Gawker. A chance that Spriter might make an appearance.

My deskphoto post.

Posted by (twitter: @coffeeonimal)
Friday, August 24th, 2012 10:49 am

Doing my bit for LD tradition here and adding my deskphoto. Everyone calls this the Gundam room.

I’m not going to go into spec porn about my rig. It does the job just fine and dandy for me, and that’s all we really need to know.

Posted a few more shots here at my blog:

I’m in.

Posted by (twitter: @coffeeonimal)
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 8:15 pm

I always hover on the point of doing one of these posts. I think it’s more personal gratification than anything else, but I suppose it also provides a nice starting point. Or something.

Anyways, I’m in. Oh, I already said that. Right. What am I going to be using? I’ve spent the last month learning the basics of Unity 3D so I think I’m going to use it. Or I may chicken out and go back to Flash with Flixel. That’ll be a game-day decision depending a lot on my interpretation of the theme. If I go with the 3D route, and I actually get my game to a level of decent playability, then I’ll use Blender for the modeling. Textures done with Photoshop. If it’s Flash, I’ve got Pixen, Tiled, Pickle. I’ve been itching to try out Spriter but this is probably not the best time for that…

Music and sounds have been an issue for me in the past. My last entry I completely ignored them. This time I will try. I have BFXR for SFX (thank you Increpare!). Music is a bit more of an issue. I’ll try something with GarageBand, but I also have Rhythm Studio and GlitchMachine which could make for something interesting. But, I don’t really know what I’m doing with any of them.

I’m still hovering on whether I want to do the timelapse or not. If I do, I’ve got Gawker for it. I’ll just be doing the screen caps, no live video. It’s pretty damn hot here so I’ll be in varying states of undress for most of the time.

In other news, my good friend B is also thinking about joining. It’ll be his first shot at a LD. Bonus for me is there’s someone else here in Nagoya now. Yay. I know there’s a few other Japan based LDers, but AFAIK none in Nagoya. Except us.

Solenopsis Invicta Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @coffeeonimal)
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 8:08 am

I took a while to get to this but here goes. I’ll keep it short since I don’t have a whole lot to say, and we’ve all got a rather large number of games to vote on.

This is now the third LD48 I’ve participated in, but only the first time I’ve been able to finish a compo entry. Usually my lack of staying power is either due to time constraints, or in the beginning poor knowledge of my tools. This time around, I was firing on all cylinders. On that note, let’s analyze what went right.

  1. Theme. This worked for me. I had been mulling over the idea of an ant colony game a few months ago, and took the time to do a bit of research into the little critters. This led to the central mechanic of the game, not actually controlling the ant, but rather controlling one of the “standard bearer” ants using pheromones to lead the other ants to an objective. This was in no small part influenced by the units in Darwinia.
  2. Tools. This could have gone either way, and fortunately it worked out. Reason being, about 3 weeks ago, my computer died. Harddrive started to die and fortunately I managed to rescue my important files before anything happened to them. But the thing was already a write off (kind of a franken-netbook, NVIDIA ion mobo with a dual-core Atom. Looked great in the shop, but got her home, not so much) so I reallocated some of the hardware budget this year for a Mac Mini. Trial version of FlashBuilder took care of my IDE since I couldn’t get Xcode to do it properly in time (not giving up on that one just yet) and found a nice little pixel editor in Pixen that was nice and easy to work out so no impediments there. I used Flixel, and while there are still many aspects of the the framework I don’t use, my knowledge of it is now adequate to streamline everything nicely.
  3. Confidence. This is a big one. From the very beginning, I maintained that I would finish and deliver a game. I went in with the knowledge that I may have to cut features that I didn’t have time to complete, but it wouldn’t detract from the overall product. I think testament to this is the fact that I hit my first roadblock about 13 hours in, decided to go to bed, but came back after a few minutes away and figured out the problem. From that time on it was a steady journey.
  4. Interaction. This could have been better, but it was not bad. I maintained a journal of sorts on my blog, complete with progress videos of what I had achieved up to that point. I think this also helped with the confidence, since it was something I could see as concrete evidence that I was progressing, plus there was a sense that other people were watching too.

There’s probably a few other plusses in there, but I’m going to venture that they fit into those main categories.

Now for what went wrong, and how the game failed to deliver a quality product.

  1. Style and Polish. I’m making this purposefully vague, because for me it encompasses a number of deficiencies. I don’t like to think of myself as “not the artistic type”. The mindset implies that the inability is out of my hands and nothing will change this. <geek> Neji vs Rock Lee for the Naruto fans out there </geek> Ok, got that out of my system, but it’s true. Where I’ve failed on this front is to actually do something about it. I should be making pixel art in my spare time, I should be playing around with synthesizers and music generation software to get my skills up. I’ve done it with my programming skills (and there’s still room for improvement there, to be sure), now I need to do it with my creative side.
  2. Fundamentals. The comments on my entry are pretty consistent as the to the level of Feedback in the game; basically there’s none. What is there was hastily tacked on in the last minutes before I submitted. Due to time-zone realities, I lost the last 6 hours of the compo; I live in Japan and start at 10 am saturday, but finish at 10 am monday. And a scheduling incident meant I didn’t have this monday off. So, I wrapped up at 4 am and tried to get a bit of sleep. I don’t think staying up any later would have made a difference, but it’s possible that if I had slept sunday night and did some work early monday, it *could* have been different. None of this of answers the core issue, and that is that the feedback and readout mechanisms were not included from minute one.
  3. Time management. Somewhat related, but there’s enough here to make a separate point. At a couple times, I spent too long working on a non-essential bit only to have to rip it out and toss in some jury-rig to let me move on to my next objective. Most of these incidents came later as I got too tired. Having a somewhat flexible plan before sleep-dep kicks in would have worked better.
  4. Too much coffee. I love coffee. I really do. You can have your red bulls and monsters and whatnot (although I do love me an Oronamin C every once in a while..), give me coffee. And I’m not talking Nabob or Nescafe or any other that, or even Starbucks triple-dopio-mochi-whapaninos, but a french-press-made-to-the-consistency-of-battery-acid brew. This had two major (negative) side effects; caffeine crash and burn is nasty, and my stomach has had a passionate loathing of me for the last two days or so. There’s no way I’ll be ruling this out of future endeavors, but pacing. Pacing.

So, there you have it. My first post-mortem for my first complete LD. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for your patience. If you’ve read all this and played the game, you are a champion. Pat yourself on the back.

Last minute, for the win

Posted by (twitter: @coffeeonimal)
Friday, December 17th, 2010 6:47 pm

Like many other first timers, I will bow to tradition and make an Intention Post. Since I left mine to the last minute, I’ll keep it brief.

I never got around to finishing Pigeons for the Mini-LD, and somehow didn’t do any basecode for today either. Such is life; I think I’ll be ok. I didn’t really have too many ideas about what I’d be putting in a basecode, aside from some basic class definitions and import statements. I’ll survive.

Tools of the Trade;
AS3 in FlashDevelop. Last night I had some weird idea of setting up to use Ubuntu on my netbook, especially after i discovered… this is not brief! Fine, AS3 in FD.
Library will be Flixel. Didn’t get a chance to try FlashPunk yet. Next time.
Sound: sfxr
Music; beatwave or some other program on my ipad whose name escapes me at the moment. No time to confirm!
Sustenance; everything, with one exception is in a round container. Coke, Chip Star, Red Bull, 7-11 kari-kari cheeze, and ramen. Mrs coffeeonimal is on hand with coffeeonimal jr. to provide dinner and a most likely much needed break later.

Toys; air soft gun, magnetic darts, remote control helicopter. I’m a bit scared of that last category; it has to the potential to unmake my time…

Let’s do this

Posted by (twitter: @coffeeonimal)
Saturday, November 27th, 2010 11:37 pm

All right, I’ve been lurking in the shadows for long enuf, it’s time to reveal myself. I’ve wanted to do an LD for a while now, but work/commitments/laziness/what-have-you have all conspired to keep me out. No longer! I have informed the world to leave me alone for this all important weekend in 19 days and some change (i live in japan so it actually starts around noon for me, but that’s neither here nor there…) and will be sequestering myself in what the family refers to as the Gundam Room. Half of my workspace has a half-complete VF-25 kit on it (diversifying…) but that should be cleared off in time. Dunno if i’m going to do the time-lapse thing yet; seems like a fun idea tho’. I’ve been goofing around with AS3 and Flixel lately so i think that’ll be my framework, and I might use Box2D if i have a good enuf handle on it by then. We’ll see.
Since this’ll be my first attempt at this particular feat of masochism, I’ve decided to get my feet wet with this weekends MiniLD. I don’t have any previous LD games to dust off, so I’m going to “finish” a game that only made it into the planning stages. Yay!
I’m going to use my idea for the Mini that had your worst fear as a theme, plus the colab with a non-designer. Before my son was born, i used to read him Mo Willems’ book, Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus. Awesome book btw. So there’s the colab, with my boy. The fear comes in that now if i see a pigeon near a bus, i make sure that the swine doesn’t get anywhere near the driver’s seat.

I’m starting kinda late, so who knows if this’ll get done, but from what I’ve seen that’s all part of the experience. So far, i have a whole swarm of pigeons flying in the general direction of the bus.
The idea is, the pigeons try to get to the bus to drive it away, you try and stop them by whacking them with the mouse. You can also periodically distract them by throwing a hot dog on the screen, since according to Mo, pigeons love hot dogs. Fortunately, since pigeons aren’t particularly intelligent creatures, my AI requirements won’t be too taxing. Planning!

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