Oh Hell It’s Exam Season Again

This is only going to be a quick post about how often I will post (or not post) in the coming weeks. Exams are looming over the horizon, looking menacingly at me like the moon from Majora’s Mask, so I’m likely not going to have enough time to make games or post on here about, well, anything. Revision has settled in firmly, so I should probably keep my sanity and not split my time between revising and making games (even though one of those is far more fun than the other).

Since the last update for Shifting Dungeons, the only game design I’ve actually done is making bars look nicer. Well, it’s a work-in-progress, so it’ll look better by the next update. The main thing I need to add is some icons so you know which bar is for which stat. Hopefully next time I make a post, which will likely be after June 17th at the very least, I’ll have much more to show.

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“One Lovely Blog” Award

Firstly, I’d like to thank Adam Herd from Lucid Mage Tower for the nomination! The “One Lovely Blog” award is just one little thing spurring me on further to make fun games and write about them on this blog. You should check out Lucid Mage’s blog – it’s an interesting mix between a personal and a development blog and it’s a great read.

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Here’s the rules for the award:

  • Thank the nominator and link them (thanks again, Lucid Mage!)
  • List the rules and display the award
  • Add 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate another 7 bloggers and let them know via comment

7 Facts About Me

Unfortunately, “not knowing which 7 facts to put down” doesn’t constitute a fact in itself, so I guess it’s time to stare at my screen intensively until facts start popping out of my brain.

1 – I do a Computer Science degree at Warwick University

I’m currently in my second year and I’m sat in the Computer Science labs as I write this section. I got a first in first year (much happiness ensued), and I’m aiming to do the same this year. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have a huge amount of time for writing on here and it takes a lot of time out of my game development, as work starts to pile up further and further into each term. It’s fairly quiet at the start, which is why I’m able to dawdle about and write this. First Year was incredibly fun at times and stressful at others, but overall I’m really enjoying the university experience and I’ve made tons of amazing friends whilst here.

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This is where I spend a lot of my time goofing off and occasionally doing coursework.

2 – I made more games last year than my whole life prior to that

Last year, as part of Warwick Game Design Society, I made 8 games, plus another in the Summer (which isn’t finished, but it’s damn awesome and I’ll be showing off something for it soon enough), whereas I’d only made 4 games in total before joining uni. I also feel the quality and level of experimentation in my games has increased over time; they started off as simple tech demos (usually with very sloppy graphics, code or both) and have evolved into slightly more fleshed out ideas, covering more genres than before. I’ve mostly made a switch from ambitious 3D games to simpler 2D ones too, as it’s much easier to develop 2D games and fewer pitfalls present themselves due to the simpler nature of 2D games.

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All the games I’ve ever made. Plus Purge The City, which I’m currently making.

3 – I am a terrible cook

For those that have seen my cooking, you have witness the cruelty against tastebuds. Those that haven’t seen my food, count yourself lucky that you aren’t eating it. Last year, my staple meal was mostly *something* between bread. I also probably used a lifetime’s supply of noodles. I’m probably getting better, but at least I don’t cook for anyone else.

4 – Nintendo is my favourite game developer

I rant about their dumb decisions a lot (they make plenty of them), but they’re still my favourite game developer by far. It’s a shame the Wii U isn’t doing too well, because I think the games on the system are far more varied and generally better than those offered on other systems. No-one I’ve met has picked up a Nintendo console and failed to find a game by Nintendo that they enjoyed. Stuff like Splatoon shows that Nintendo are capable of taking a tired genre, the shooter (whose 2000’s-era corpse is consistently dragged in front of consumers every year with little to no actual progression in terms of gameplay), and making something very bold and very different to breathe life into the market. That’s not to say other systems or games aren’t worth buying, it’s just that I can’t get quite as hyped about other games (Metal Gear Solid V was a blatantly obvious exception, plus Persona 5 is also on my radar right now) and the other two main dedicated systems may as well be carbon copies of each other. Nintendo has had a run of bad luck recently (especially given the passing of its previous president, Satoru Iwata), but here’s hoping they can bring back their golden days with Zelda Wii U and the Nintendo NX next year.

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The best, most balanced shooter I’ve played in a long while.

5 – I *really* want to learn how to make video game music, but I never find the time

The one thing I always do when making games is listen to music from other games. I have 3,257 songs on my laptop and they’re all from games. Sometimes while working, I’ll think up an interesting little ditty I’d really like to put in a game of mine, then forget it 5 minutes later – if only I could quickly jot down the basic tune of the song in a music editing program and polish it later. Music is the one thing all my games lack, and I’d love to be able to write music for my games, but whenever I have free time, I spend it all on game mechanics rather than learning how to use a music editing program, which is something I really need to make time for. My current favourite soundtrack is Persona 4 Golden, since my flatmate is playing through it and it’s such a fucking great game.

This is possibly my favourite track from Persona 4 Golden.

6 – I’m not in game development for the money or the fame

Frankly, I’d be mad if I were. The only stories of game development people only hear about are the success stories, causing so many indie developers to strive for the next Minecraft and discard anything less successful as complete failure. That’s not why I’m in game development – first and foremost, I find it fun taking ideas and making them interactive. If they gain traction, then hopefully I’m making people happy too. I’m not the kind of person who would slap DLC in a game where I could’ve added the same content in the package in the first place, or at a later date for free, and I hate the entire ‘Freemium’ model with a passion (because Freemium is like the archaic class system – you have more money, you get an advantage over poorer players, plus it’s just bad and lazy game design).

7 – I’m not a morning person

This comes to no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I just don’t do mornings. If I’m awake in the morning and still civil, that’s because I’ve probably stayed up all night. If you wake me in the middle of a REM cycle, I’ll be extremely irritable and sarcastic all day (it’s hilarious, but I moan rather a lot if I’m short of sleep). I even have a mug proclaiming my apathy towards mornings. I’m not sure what I find so bad about the morning – maybe it’s because nothing interesting really happens at all in the morning.

Nominate 7 other bloggers

This is the hard part. Since I’m always embroiled in either uni work, society events, chilling with my flatmates doing games or of course game development, I don’t have a great deal of time to spend reading other blogs unfortunately. I wish I did have more time, but I’m not always able to scrape together a few minutes to give them all a read. Since I don’t read many blogs, there are only 4 I’d really nominate (not counting Lucid Mage since he already nominated me), so here they are:

  • 1001Up are a bunch of awesome people who review all kinds of wacky and wonderful games and talk about pretty much anything surrounding games.
  • GeekOut South-West do exactly what it says on the tin – they’re cool people who do everything and anything geeky.
  • Geek.Sleep.Rinse.Repeat are kinda like GOSW, but no less awesome.
  • What’s Your Tag are also gaming enthusiasts who have a pretty entertaining weekly comic.

A Completely Random Post #2, Plus a Free Game Reveal

Again I have found myself in the deep, dark pit of boredom. So, I’m gonna go ahead and defile the sanctity of the Internet with my random words about random things.

So, what are you gonna be talking about today, good sir?

To start off, here’s a picture of me from last Saturday, wearing cat ears:

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When I give you this look, you know you’re coming home with me.

In less than a month, this guy is apparently going to uni. He’s about as surprised as you are. Yup, some guy with way too much of a smirk and sexy cat ears is on his way to Warwick to do all things Computer Science-y, and as such he’s clearly taken steps to up his maturity level. But since I’ll be doing a computer science course, that SHOULD mean that my work will go through the roof in terms of quality. In the meantime, I still have the rest of the month, pretty much, to get my game upto scratch. And that brings me to my next piece of news – my new game!

New game? What? Why? Where? How? This is new!

Boom! Right out of the blue! Well, the grey really. Time for the reveal of my brand new game, Four By Eight!

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Well, well, well. A shiny new game, huh? I wanna play!

The basic idea of the game is that the world exists as a 4×8 array of tiles, as seen above. You control the white tile, and you’re only able to move up and down on the leftmost column in discrete steps. The goal? Avoid the grey tiles that move towards you at  increasing speeds from the right. Simple, huh? When I add a couple more features on top of that (don’t worry, I’m chock full of them) then I’ll put out a version for you guys to play.

The idea with this game is to keep the art style as minimalist as possible, while keeping enough stuff happening on the screen to keep players interested. Then, on top of that I’ll try keeping the game addictive, so there’s that ‘one more try’ factor, like all arcade-style games need to have. I guess that’s all I have to say right now about this exciting new project, so until next time!

A Completely Random Post #1

Seeing as I haven’t posted on here for quite a while, I’m going to post *something* to reassure you that I’ve not been murdered, or kidnapped, or otherwise disappeared off the face of the Earth.

What the heck have you been doing with your life?

Well, I’ve been plonking new ideas into my game recently, but a lot of the time, I’ll be halfway through doing such things, then see something slightly more enticing to do. Like games. Or TV. Or real life people. Point is, everything seems to be just a tiny bit more interesting than developing games – I’m a bit like a magpie in that respect, because games, TV and other people are all shiny compared to work. But I am doing stuff, I swear! I’ve got just less than a month ’til uni, but in that time I should be able to get a few more updates out there.

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Me. Image credit: RSPB. I’m allowed to nick it if I give credit, right?

But anyways. I will have something brand-spanking-new to post in the next few days, so look out for that!

Okay, that’s fair enough, what the heck will you be doing with your life now?

Also, I seem to have returned to Java. And, I’m much better at it now! Seeing as how I did the C# stuff for my game, and they’re so similar, it’s kinda expected. So, maybe soon enough you’ll also see some good ol’ Java stuff dotted around this blog. Or, I could get my arse in gear and get an update for Spikes out even sooner than that.

But wait, why is everything else except game development more enticing?

It’s human nature. I’ll try explaining it like this: cookies are awesome. If you disagree, then it’ll be easier for everyone if you just left this site and never returned. But, if I spent every day eating nothing but cookies, then either I’m the cookie monster, at which point you should leave me alone with my cookies, or I’ll get sick of the sight of them and need to go eat a digestive, or custard cream. It’s also surprising I don’t yet have diabetes. So what’s happening is, I’ve got a bit sick of cookies and I’m eating digestives. But eventually, I’ll start craving cookies again, so soon enough I’ll be working on Project Spikes (and maybe I’ll actually add spikes in an update. Y’know, because it makes sense for a game to contain what it’s named after).

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I’m also this guy. Nom.

Have any of you ever found yourself unmotivated by something suddenly? If so, how did you overcome it? Seriously. I need to know. This game isn’t going to update itself! Perhaps I’ll review the games I’ve been playing too. But for now, here’s something to read, and something for me to stave off boredom. Good day to you all 😀