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July 21, 2014
The Last Halloween
December 02, 2011
August 15, 2010
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July 06, 2011
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Humble Monthly Subscriptions?
Posted on October 05, 2015 at 17:59

So Humble (from Humble Bundle) launched a new service, a monthly subscription that gives you random games each month. Currently $12/month and 5% goes to charity. You even get Grimrock II instantly for signing up. Sounds like a deal since that game is going for $24 on steam right now.

So what do you think of this as a gamer? Personally i think it sounds pretty interesting though it is a hefty amount of money to put down each month for random games. My plan is usually to save up money for a game i really want as opposed to buying whatever is cheap and on sale. My experiences with impulse buys have usually been pretty bad. That being the case, i see a lot of potential for getting complete garbage from this.

Now, as a developer, does this seem useful? Getting people to try your game is hard as hell now a days so a service like this could be really nice for those random indie titles that no one has tried yet and didn't get any press. Of course, who knows how the devs are paid with this system but that's probably less important than the exposure it could give you if you were to volunteer for this.

I might give it a shot just for Grimrock II but after that, i don't know. We will have to see what people say about it. If they give us nothing but garbage and a small number of games i can't see it being successful. It'd be nice if there was more information on it but the store page says very little as to how the games are selected and what you will be receiving other than the fact that the games didn't previously appear in any other bundles. This hints at the games being more obscure than the big bundle titles we usually get.


Deathmatch and Game Design
Posted on July 12, 2015 at 18:42

So online multiplayer is the big thing going on with games now. Every game needs a multiplayer mode, usually of the competitive variety. That being said, I have been thinking about how to implement the classic Deathmatch into my multiple-year spanning FPS game. I don't want to do something generic and typical but I also don't want to get too experimental and end up with an experience that fails due to oversights in design caused by trying to cram in gimmicks and cool mechanics without much thought in how they effect traditional game designs. Like, you know, most indie games do.

I have a number of ideas and thoughts about Deathmatch and competitive game modes for a shooter. The way I see it, there are 2 (vastly generalized) types of Deathmatch mode in shooters:

1. Old school Doom/Quake like, where players are spawned into an arena, run and gun their way to victory, picking up guns, ammo and armor as they go. Dominating players will often stock up on the powerful weapons and armor and rule the map until completion.

2. Modern Counter-strike or Team Fortress like, you have a load out, you don't tend to pick up shiny weapons and armor during the match, often team oriented with or without objectives, this seems to be slightly more balanced giving each newly spawned player a better chance.

I like the charm of the old school style but it obviously has some flaws. I experienced them in a game like Quake-live where being new to a map was a huge disadvantage as experienced players knew where the best weapons and items spawned and made sure to routinely suck them up as they respawned to prevent others from getting to them. These players dominated the maps and had massive kills compared to everyone else. It can be fun sure but it can also be frustrating as hell as you have to fight against a 200 hp 200 ap Quad-damage bastard blasting you with rockets every time you spawn before you can even get a grip on whats going on. On the other side though, sometimes a newer player gets a lucky shot and the kingpin dies and loses all their stuff, turning the tide briefly and the noob will feel like they did something worthwhile during the match.

Meanwhile, the modern design attempts to correct those issues by removing all the pickups and allowing players some freedom of choice in choosing loadouts, an item and weapon set chosen before the match, or after death. This seems promising, no longer will you spawn into a map with enemies that have vastly superior weapons and armor, everyone is on a somewhat even playing field and the deciding factor is not memorization (at least not as much) but skill. However, this style seems to get a bit... boring at times and because it lacks some of that random loot/pickups from the old school design, there isn't much chance of a noob getting a kill or two on a pro. Just from the first few minutes of a match, a player can get a feel for where they stand in the hierarchy of skill from the rest of the players in the match and they simply have to accept their place as they won't stand much chance against those that are superior in skill no matter how hard they try.

So to compare the two more closely, we have one design with a huge gap for random factors in the match, players stumbling across items that recently spawned and getting an upper hand briefly and feeling the rush of using a big f*cking gun against their enemies. And the other design removes all the messiness and goes for a straight forward, balanced match where all players have no advantages or disadvantages over each other (aside from balanced stat and weapon differences). To me these seem like two extremes so why not come up with some sort of middle ground, a hybrid of the two.

How can one create a design that is both fun and exciting with the unknown waiting around every corner while also maintaining a sense of fairness and balance in the match? A difficult question to answer but I have a few ideas I have been thinking about...

1. A timer / counter that when activated gives all players the same new [random] weapon/item, allowing players to switch to this weapon at any time through out the rest of the match. For example, assume all players spawn with a shotgun and after 1 minute has passed, the Machine Gun gets unlocked and all players can choose between the shotgun and machine gun at any time, and every set interval of time a new weapon or item gets unlocked. This keeps things exciting and fresh every match but also maintains fairness with every player getting access to the same stuff, no chance of hoarding or camping item spawners in this design. However there might be some cons to this idea, such as most players always using the same weapon at the same time, resulting in a less diverse match.

2. Item spawners that spawn completely random weapons and items. This breaks any chance of experienced players memorizing the locations of the good stuff they want/need. It also keeps things interesting with players stumbling across interesting gear and almost forcing them to experiment with the random stuff that they pick up. Of course, this still would cause balance issues as some players will pick up stronger stuff that will give them an upper hand against everyone else but it would be less common and not something that can be easily reproduced by experienced players. It would come in short bursts and everyone has an equal chance of coming across a BFG or super armor.

3. Mayhem. Just complete craziness, give everyone everything and watch all hell break lose. It's fair at least, everyone has everything so only skill and strategic choices will win and it'll certainly be quite interesting, exciting and diverse in how people play. The only downside is that it may be a bit overwhelming to newer players. Might also get a little stale after a while as each match has the same set of rules and options that never vary because there is no randomness.

Well those are just some of my ideas, I want to chose one design and implement that for my Deathmatch mode. Seeing as this mode is just an extra feature and not the main core of the game, I am not consider adding in more than 1 design for Deathmatch mode even though that would be the best option, giving players the choice of which rule set to play with. So any thoughts? Criticisms? Ideas of your own? Good or bad experiences with other Deathmatch games?

I hate programming
Posted on December 22, 2014 at 13:34

Yeah that's right, I said it. I hate programming. It's such a pain in the @ss. I don't think I've ever enjoyed programming which is ironic considering I'm a computer science major. Programming is the skill I need but not the skill I want. I've forced myself to learn it just like I've forced myself to practice pixel art because the real goal of it all is to make games.

Games are what I love, not programming or drawing. I love to design games and to sketch up huge documents and plans for a game. I get all deep into the mechanics and progression of a game's design, that is pure joy for me. Best of all, I love seeing it all come to life when a project is finally starting to feel like a game.

But damn if the process isn't tedious as hell. I can spend whole days trying to fix simple bugs only to end up punching myself when it was so obvious. Or worse, when I decide my programming sucks and I need to start all over again to get something right. It's usually better to build a newer better machine than to patch up a faulty one isn't it? It's this process that makes me feel like I'm going no where with a project. I spend more time redoing the things I already did than I do adding new content to the game.

This explains why it takes me forever to make any progress on my projects and why I'm terrible at game jams. I'm plain and simple, not a good programmer. I'm just somebody that forces myself into creating something fully functional before I call it complete and this is a really long process for me due to my lack of skill. I refuse to release something I would call complete and not have it be to the best it can be. (this obviously excludes WIPs)

well wasn't that a nice rant? I just get pretty frustrated with programming and even more frustrated with Game Maker Studio. That damn program seems to always work in the opposite way than I expect it to.

Currently working on an old project of mine, Land of Death, which should be a simple platformer, really simple actually. Just jump and slash at stuff. 1 color sprites and 2 color tiles is all I'm working with. Trying to keep the enemies simple but programming challenging AI and basic physics that work with it seems to be something I apparently suck at.

Over 6 years of programming and developing games and I still can't get smooth collisions for a platformer. WTF am I doing!?

YYG ready to release GameMaker: Player
Posted on October 06, 2014 at 12:51

A free service to Play and Share games made with GameMaker.

So it seems YYG is finally replacing the old sandbox with this new service/app that will act like a cross-platform Steam service for Game Maker Studio games. This actually sounds amazing, even with the current beta restrictions (2-10 games depending on your license). You get the freedom to set up paid games or free games as well. YYG takes approx 30% of the revenue though, which isn't too bad depending on how popular this service/store becomes.

The release date is not exact but they suggest the 2nd half of October. I can't wait to see what this is going to be like. I have a few worries, such as how much control or rights to the games uploaded does YYG gain, whether or not they restrict where the game can be published, and so on but I don't expect anything too harsh on those subjects.

There also doesn't seem to be much mention on Quality Control so there is that little problem which became a huge problem in the sandbox. Still, googleplay has no Quality Control and it's still thriving. (for some fortunate devs that is)

Topic on GMC

S4D Progress?
Posted on October 02, 2014 at 10:42

yeah so, not much progress from me. I have barely even started. Got a fairly bare project file right now, just the core engine stuff and some early lighting. Wanna see?

It's really dark so it's pretty tough to see. The lighting could be better, I don't know what the deal is, maybe i didn't set the normal vectors as good as I could have but there are some issues with it, mostly the walls to the side of the player are darker than walls that are facing the player but up to 3 times the distance away from the player. it doesn't look smooth. if anyone has any tips to give me for how to set the normals, that would be awesome.

Originally I was gonna make all the graphics myself, than I realized I'm too lazy so I started gathering some free textures online. That'll speed things up quite a bit. The type of game I'm going for here is simple enough, it's mostly a puzzle solver with some ghoulies to avoid. that's all. I'll try to throw in some unexpected elements though, to keep things interesting. gotta surprise the player I suppose.

Terror alpha release 2 & S4D
Posted on September 08, 2014 at 23:45

Here is the 2nd alpha release of my main project, Terror. I've decided to switch over to indieDB for uploading and blogging about this project. I figure a bigger site may offer more feedback. You can check out the game's page here:

Download Terror @ indie DB

There are a few new additions in this version:
- mouse sensitivity options
- performance options such as Deactivation Distance and clipping
- a new enemy type
- a new map
- enemy and weapon graphics switched to freedoom assets

I probably won't release another demo for a long time. Way after the S4D comp at least. Unless there are any critical bugs that need fixing. My next release will most likely be a beta, at least containing all major features.

S4D Plans:

My plans for my S4D entry will be quite similar to what I did last year with Lost In October. It'll be a dark, slow paced horror game with exploration and puzzle solving. However I'm not going to waste time trying to make it look as realistic as GM can manage. That took way too much time to get a game that didn't look that good anyway. So instead, I'm using Terror's engine for the 3D rendering and mapping.

I'll create a fork off the current engine and add in some specific features for my S4D entry. It'll have dynamic lights, that much I am sure of. I have no clue what type of setting I will do but I'm thinking something with dungeons or a prison. It'll be easier to do with the engine, that way I can avoid the trouble of making a modern setting. This time around, I may add a little more spice to the game play, perhaps some death and a little bit of hopeless combat to make the player feel weak because I'm evil like that.

Devblog: Terror revived
Posted on August 04, 2014 at 15:50

Finally got some free time on my hands so I started working on my fps game Terror again. It's been a while since I last worked on it. It's still pretty close to being complete on the engine side of things but the game itself hasn't even really started. I have juggled so many ideas for this project but I think I am finally settling on something.

The basic idea for this game is an action-adventure game with minor RPG elements. There will be 3 classes to choose from: Warrior, Gunner and Mage. The game's story is pretty similar to the likes of Doom and such. However instead of fighting off an invasion, this story begins at the end of an invasion, when the human race has already been defeated and the planet has been transformed into a new home for the invaders, so the player is basically just trying to survive. The invaders are not demons or typical monsters but some sort of other dimensional alien lifeforms. I'm gonna have to get incredibly creative as I want the enemies to be very unique artistically.

The structure of the game is also changing, it won't be linear maps one after the other, instead i'm going for a more open-world feel although not in the modern sense. Think more of a metroidvania style open world. In terms of the maps, they will be large non-linear maps that connect to one another. I won't be using a hub system like in Hexen. There also won't be any towns and very few living humans in the game. So no currency or shops. You will have to find what you need and ration your supplies. It's not technically a survival game but there will be an inventory system in place so using items will completely replace the oldschool style of running over health packs and ammo.

Today I decided to ditch the Quake-style scrolling skies for this:

A basic skybox. Looks pretty good though I went a bit crazy with the saturation. Also gonna have to blend the sky color into the textures and lighting to make the whole scene look more consistent. It's still pretty early and this is just a free skybox set I found online. I'll probably try to make my own that'll fit into the low-res graphics of the rest of the game.

As I continue to approach the completion of the programming side of this project, it is time the actual game assets start getting worked on. So far I've made only about 30 textures (32x32), a few object graphics and no enemy graphics yet. I can handle the textures and objects but animated enemy sprites aren't my strong suit, especially when it requires artistic skill. I can easily create tiles and textures that reflect real images but I always struggled at trying to come up with creative life forms in graphics.

Also I have no final-game maps completed and seeing as they are going to be a lot of them and fairly large and complex, this is going to take a ridiculous amount of time to complete by myself.

With that being said, I wouldn't mind some assistance on this project. If anyone is interested in the following, let me know:
- Creating maps
- Spriting enemy graphics
- Composing music

It would be a huge help to have some others to work on maps and graphics, and of course a soundtrack, though that won't be necessary for quite some time.

I'll be releasing a playable demonstration of the game's core game-play as soon as possible. Everyone interested can get a feel for the game's engine, and it's map editor than.

Right now, all I wanna finish up is adding in bullet decals, blood and a few other minor - though important - features. Oh and finish the demo map.

Posted on July 04, 2014 at 21:53

I just got the documents for my eviction from the apartment I have lived in the past 5 years. I was completely unaware of the situation since my girlfriend's mother was paying the rent and I was paying everything else. Apparently she never paid last month's rent so now I hold a document in my hand today that says I gotta be off the premise by Monday. (7/7/14)

Last month we had a break-in here while I was at work, stole my girlfriend's $700 laptop and supposedly $300 from her mother's room - which is her excuse for not paying the rent. That still isn't acceptable seeing as she said at the time, that she would be able to pay the rent, had she at least talked to me about it, it wouldn't have been a problem for me, I could pay it. But no, here I am, being evicted.

To make matters worse, my girlfriend's mother's residency has expired so she got laid off from her job, no income at all on her side. What a mess. She only had over 10 years to renew it. She did file for citizenship a while back but obviously too close to the deadline.

Well things aren't all bad, this apartment is a terrible place to live and a bad neighborhood. I'm almost relieved that I can finally leave, although i wish it had been under better circumstances.

My gf's mom is moving in with her cousin in another city, while I'm gonna stay here in Orlando and move into another apartment with my girlfriend. Luckily we found a place under extremely short notice but I already made the payments and received the keys today! What luck, it's a really nice place too, huge step up from where I've been and it's cheaper too - although much shorter, it's a studio. I've been staying in a 2 bedroom with 2 baths so it's a big difference in size but I'm okay with that. I only need one room anyway.

I barely managed to scrap up all my savings to make the deposits and start-up fee's, which there were a lot of - I was forced to get renter's insurance to move into this new place, first I ever heard of that. Unfortunately we did have to take out a loan to cover it all but it's not too large of a loan so not a problem there.

So, officially adulthood now. Paying my own rent, bills, food, and so on. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time. I'm worried I won't have enough money, when accidents pop up they can cost a lot and I don't have any money saved, completely broke right now. My job is nearly minimum wage and to make things worse, I haven't been getting many hours there recently so... it's looking bleak.

Still, I'm trying my best to stay optimistic in this situation, I've always been the responsible one of the household (except on steam summer sales...) but this is a whole new challenge for me.

Since my options are so low, I may have no choice but to go full-time at my lame job. Which would make going to school much tougher but I really don't have the choice, I need to increase my monthly income practically double. There is no one to rely on by myself now (and my girlfriend of course).

And now some game stuff:

Haven't worked on any games this week because of this situation but before this happened, I was working on an RPG in RPG Maker VX Ace for the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest. My entry was over ambitious as always so it ultimately fell short of it's initial expectations. In other words, it's pretty short and technically incomplete. It's about 2-4 hours of game play depending on how you play. It's fairly standard jrpg fair using the default RTP. I spent a lot of time designing the maps and the story but it doesn't really get deep into the story at all, in it's current state it just introduces the player to the world and the main character but still much isn't learned yet.

I took a fairly average approach in the pacing of the game, which wasn't a good idea considering it's a competition entry so it's very slow pace at first and not very exciting. That's unfortunate but I really don't mind that at all, it'll pick up and get far more interesting later on - it's just too bad the judges will never get to see where it goes so it's not going to give great first impressions in an hour.

Oh well, if you wanna check it out by any chance, here's my submission.

Hopefully once I get fully moved and settled in, I'll be starting up one of my projects again. Not sure what yet but working with RPG Maker has only made me feel like programming my own engine again so I may continue that NES style RPG I was working on last year. Since the engine is practically complete, maybe I can finally start the damn maps I've been too lazy to sprite for.

2013 Portfolio
Posted on January 02, 2014 at 23:20

Warning: Large image.

Well it's a brand new year, so i thought it'd be nice to look back on all that i've done this year with game development. I may not have finished much but that doesn't mean i haven't done a lot of work. I know the same can be said about most developers-in-training so I'd like to see something like this from other developers here. Well here it is, a long image containing descriptions and screenshots from just about everything i worked on this year, minus a few projects that barely got off the ground.

(if you are having any trouble seeing the image, click here)

So what's next for 2014? Well I hope to have some of these completed, the smaller ones most likely. I think my goal for 2014 will be to get something out there, i want a complete game on some market place, either Steam or GooglePlay. I got a new android-ish tablet that uses the Amazon marketplace so maybe I'll try there when i'm ready. It maybe an unlikely goal but ya gotta dream big.

As for now, well this is pretty much it for a while. I start school again next week and they've finally increased my hours at my wonderful fast-food job. Tomorrow i go in for a 13 hour shift, followed by a 10 hour shift and it seems to continue that way for the next two weeks. Between school and work, I will only have Wednesday off for the next 4 months so I won't be getting much free time, which means i won't be able to work on my projects much :( but who knows, maybe I'll figure something out. May have to go back to using my girlfriend's laptop in between classes and lunch breaks to work on my stuff. Worked before. I won't ever give up.

S4D Devlog#3
Posted on October 15, 2013 at 15:21

I'll have to admit, i haven't been working on this often. Or at least as much as i would like too. I have however finished about half of the first floor of the house. At this pace, i'm unlikely to finish the project by the deadline, however i will still be uploading something to the competition. It will most likely be what i'm calling a "preview", basically a mini demo that won't contain too much game play and largely unfinished areas but i'll make sure there is something you can do to entertain the players for a good 10 minutes.

I've added a lot of models and reworked a lot of them as well. The list includes:
- refrigerators
- entertainment centers
- television
- grand piano
- sofa
- bookcase
and currently working on the sink and dishwasher...

here's the latest screenshot. it's a little dark and quite large so i'll put it in a link:

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