shawn's blog

End of TriWeek1

Posted in MCE, Music, Writings by Shawn on June 10, 2011

Well, technically, TriWeek1 ends on this coming Sunday, while the next iteration begins on Monday.

I’ve gotten things done, but I think I am going to make a few changes.

The first iteration was a combination of finishing things up to work in a more refined manner for the future, as well as adding new issues. I only had 24 task that were completed. Some were harder than others, and some were taken out and placed in future iterations after some work on them. Most of these task were taken care of within the first two weeks of the iteration. Which means that this last week really had me…well, not doing much. Which really does not make sense. I was telling myself that I should hold back and wait until the next iteration to do things that I have planned. Some down time is good, but too much can ruin work ethics.

So, in regards to that, I am going to change my iteration time to two weeks. This doesn’t mean that I will be trying to cram more into less time though. If I do not have enough time to do something, then I can move it to a future iteration. However, planning for three weeks may be too much time, at least for me in terms of my life schedule and my project.

Today, I’m spending most of my project work time on planning these next two weeks, and trying to make a list of goals that I want to accomplish. Right now, there are 17 open task (one is closed, since I completed it during this iteration after figuring something out). Bugs may pop up, as they did in the last iteration, so the finial number is most likely not be 18. I also need to start keeping more track of the levels I’m designing, which I’m also including. I do not plan for a new levels, but rather, when I have a good one, I make it into an issue then being work on it. This saves me from the false pressure of “Oh, I have to add level 40 because it says so in the task list!).

This past iteration also had me doing a lot of documentation. I documented all of the environmental tools and traps that I’ve included so far within my game’s Wiki. What’s also included within the Wiki are game story files, and soon to be included music files. I’ve also documented code that was fairly annoying to include. I’m trying to save game information in a respectable way, but this could easily get out of hand. So, in order to help slow down my decent into madness, I documented a lot of the save game code, where certain elements can be found, how they interact with other game files, as well as a ton of other variables that have been used, and will be used.

And hey, there’s music! Well, there’s music for the title screen that doesn’t exist yet. But still, it’s really nice to have more than just my own test-sample tracks playing. Oh, and did I say that there was some story? I started working on a small skeleton of a story, which quickly grew into something unexpected. I did confine myself before it got too out of hand, the establishing key features of the story helped me figure out exactly where I wanted to go with may different game elements, such as level art and how I want to design the game’s hubs.

While I only had around 24 task for this iteration, there are two other groups that had tasks competed. The documentation task were actually not included in this week, but they were included in the ‘Ongoing’ task list. These task will most likely never get completed until most of the game is done, if not all of it. Task in here include things such as documentation, and designing (things get more specific within each task). Since I can’t just ‘stop’ designing, these will be left open until closer to game end date.

There is also a task list of issues that I would like to put into the game, but haven’t included yet, mostly because they’re more along the lines of “That would pretty cool, but it isn’t necessary yet”. They’re pretty much distractions. I do not want to get too distracted, so instead of including them in my overall to-do list, I placed them in my rewards list, or my ‘CookieJar’. If I do well in an iteration, then I get to dip into my pool of rewards. Of course, it’s tempting to just go into that when I get annoyed with current task, but it’s very important to stay on course.

Looking back, I seemed to have done a fair amount of things within 2.2 weeks. I’m not counting a lot of this week, towards this iteration. Unfortunately, it became somewhat of a limbo week which really slowed down my progress. I’m hoping that this problem can be avoided by shortening this upcoming iteration to two weeks. Within these next two weeks, there are a lot of artistic/animation things that need to be included, as well as more music and game world design. I will possibly post of artwork later on next week. I also plan to finish the game saving tools. And of course, there are more levels to be created.

Oh, and I got a brand new whiteboard. Which is all thing excellent in terms of helping me get my work done. Maybe I’ll even share some screens of this as well!

But, that’s it for now.

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The Launcher

Posted in MCE, Writings by Shawn on June 2, 2011

Are you short?

Worse yet, are you very short?

Even worse yet….are you short and have no tools to assist you in reaching that jar of chocolate chip cookies at the highest most point in kitchen? Well, have no fear, the launcher is around….er….here!

That’s right, with this launcher, you can do just that. Launch!

Guess which way you're going....

One step on this wonderful device will send you skyrocketing! You’ll be able to reach for things man has only dreamed about reaching while being in their kitchen without a tool to help them reach out of reach cookies.

Just don’t forget your milk though! Because once you go up, you may not come back down.

(Disclaimer: The engineers behind the launcher are not liable for any injuries that occur not on the launcher. Side-effects of being launched include, but are not limited to: The feeling of amazement as you gaze down on your grounded peers, damaged hair appearance due to the high winds, sudden death due to maces, spiked balls, spiked beds or spiked floors, air sickness)

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Story Mode

Posted in Writings by Shawn on March 8, 2011

In regards to Winshi’s story, they will be handled in Arcs. This is to make the development of the games levels, including what features the player will be able to access, more cohesive. I may have mentioned this before, but I rather not (too lazy) go back and check to see if I did….

Anyway, back to the Arcs. As of now, the number of arcs that will be in the game is undetermined. Right now, it’s believed to be about four or five. And guess what! The basic sketches of Arc A & B are pretty much completed.

This is where I ask for help – of course, if anyone is interested. If anyone would like to take a look at the basic Arcs, and help develop this story in anyway, let me know! I really do enjoy working with other people on random projects, and this certainly fits the bill. Leave a comment or send an email letting me know you want to be involved.

vA.2 of Winshi is actually slated for completion by April 15th. So in those days, if it comes down to delaying on my taxes and meeting my deadline, I’m pretty sure we know what will get pushed aside….

But before I get myself in anymore trouble, that’s it for now.

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Winshi vA.1

Posted in Writings by Shawn on March 7, 2011

Turns out that I actually met my own deadline, and finished Winshi’s vA.1!

Truth be told, if I wanted to package this up and call it a finished product, I could; the end result could be called something along the lines of “Skyblocks”, where you fight as a sky block against other sky blocks. While that’s nice, it’s not the main goal.

More importantly, this is something that I can possibly get actual feedback on. On the disc versions of vA.1 that I may possibly distribute, I’ve included the music from the game, just in case anyone thinks that it’s worthy of being listened to outside of the game. Later on today, both the Mac & Windows versions will be available for download, if anyone wants to take a crack at it. If you want a physical version of the game instead, email winshi_feedback@origaminc.com. If anyone decides to play it, I would greatly appreciate as much feedback as possible. Feedback anywhere, such as this blog would be great, but it would be much appreciated if all feedback could be directed to wishi_feedback@origaminc.com. I do plan to take all feedback very seriously, and already have pages dedicated to where feedback can go. I will try my best to include all reasonable ideas and suggestions.

Also, there is some more information regarding Winshi and the types of levels that a player will encounter if they decide to boot up vA.1. If there is anything missing, or if anyone needs anything answered, emails/comments are the way to go.

Right now, I plan to take a short break from programming and developing, and plan to work on other elements of Winshi. In the final package of Winshi,there will be story included, hopefully one that doesnt…well…..stink. Version A.2 of Winshi will not have story elements included however. I’ll probably wait until vB.1 to start including pieces of the story. In terms of current progress, the back story is currently being worked on. Why are these ninja’s fighting in the sky? Well, hopefully the answer to that makes sense. And if it doesn’t, then that’s probably better.

I also plan to do away with those funky block looking characters and include actual artwork. I have been delaying on drawing characters, but have decided to actually go ahead and see what I can pull off. I have a certain type of style in mind, but they may be beyond my art skills. However, it still would be nice to see more than just floating blocks. It would make the game seem more like a game!

That’s it for now. If you plan on playing Winshi, thanks!

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Stories

Posted in Writings by Shawn on February 14, 2011

Well, from a story standpoint, I’ve finally decided on how I want to progress with the story for project S. While I will still have the normal levels with in a game, the story will progress in an Arc/Act style type fashion. Every Arc will still be related to each other overall though. As someone mentioned this past weekend in IRC, similar to what Metal Gear Solid did with it’s latest console installment. There were multiple acts, one harder than the last, each with smaller storylines which contributed to the overall plot of the game (an in a wider scope, the overall story for the last 20-ish years).

This will also assist me from a developmental standpoint as well. I spent a good portion of the weekend working on a lot of enemy details. New enemies were created, enemy generators where created and modified, etc. One enemy detail is controlling how difficult the enemies will be in the later levels. While the story will be worked on in Arcs, the game will be build in Tiers, with each arc correlating to a different tier, possibly multiple tiers in one arc. Enemies will get stronger with each tier. This allows me to have more control over enemy levels. Initially, I was planning on creating some sort of algorithm controlling how much the stronger the enemies become based on the current level that the player is in. I did not spent too much time until I got….well, annoyed.

Currently, with Project S, I’ve put in a measly ~19.72 hours. While that is still almost a full day, it still does not feel like a lot. Many minutes may be lost somewhere in there, mostly because I don’t have a real timer in Redmine. There are plugins that I can install to do this, but…..I’ve already spent to much time configuring Redmine and Apache and such. And while learning some sys. admin. tools can be useful in the future, I really want to put together a finished product. My Left 4 Dead mod would have been nice to actually complete, if Hammer didn’t decided to…well, be weird and destroy everything I’ve worked on….even with backups.

While I’m not an exhibitioner of any kind, I would really love to have something in demo form my PAX. Then maybe I could burn many a CD and say “Yeah, I’m in indie game developer” with some sort of smugness that I’ll later regret and eventually worry that everyone will come to know me as “that smug programmer”…..and that’s not who I want to be 🙁

This week, I really do want to ‘step up my game’ in terms of how much time I want to put into actual development of the project. This means, that music will need to take a backseat. I’ve already finished the Main Theme for the piece, which I’ve been listening to non-stop, without forcing myself to (I better enjoy it. Redmine says that I spent ~5 hours on it.

I don’t have any screenshots of the game yet. At least none that I want to share. Hopefully, I will soon though.

That’s it for now.

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Basic Tools

Posted in Music, Unity, Writings by Shawn on February 10, 2011

Project S has been moving forward at an exciting pace. The basic tools for the project are pretty much finished. If any one wanted, they could play a *very* simple version of the game. But what’s odd is that nothing breaks at this moment, which is excellent.

Well, supposedly, nothing breaks, but  I haven’t play tested it enough to confirm whether this is the case. If anyone is willing to play-test a very early version of this game, do not hesitate to let me know.

Because a lot of progress has been made in Project S, this means that mostly Unity has been seeing work. I’ve been mostly using javascript with Unity (well, their javascript, I guess), but it’s been moving along nicely. I do hear, and I guess understand, that many programming languages are very similar. However, I decided to mostly use Javascript because of my previous works with XNA and C#. Rather than do something a I already was familiar with, I decided to work with something new(ish). And if I ever run into too much of a problem, I can possibly fall back on C#. However, I rather not combine multiple scripts unless I need too, as this may potentially cause chaos down the line.

I may put up screenshots later on in the day, or during the weekend. Keep in mind, everything is really basic. I still need art :-/. Actually, that’s the only thing I may need to outsource from myself, as I’m making the music myself. Actually the main theme is coming along nicely, and I may just want to share it soon. Maybe when it’s done. If I have my way, it’ll be ready to go by Monday!

In terms of writing, there hasn’t been anything more done with the story for Project S. This weekend may see change to that, which would be nice. If anyone wants to know about the story, all you’ll need to do is ask! In email form of course!

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Issues (Progress!)

Posted in Writings by Shawn on February 7, 2011

I finally set up my project management application. Right now, and I won’t change this, I am using Redmine. It’s really handy, and includes a lot of what other project management apps have.

And yesterday, (right now, today, because I’m typing this a day in advance), I closed my first issue in Project S. Speaking of which, the OriGamInc site needs some life, and I may just be able to provide some life to it soon.

Actually, because development of the gameplay seems to be actually moving along, I think that I want to develop some story as well. If you’ve read any Project S information, you would have known that this is a more light-hearted project. If you haven’t read anything about Project S, you can brush up on the little info there is here. Project K.A. is still miles away from being anywhere near…well, anything presentable, at least by my standards. Project S seems much more feasible with the current manpower available at this moment.

Long story short, one more issue closed in Redmine is one step closer to the actual competition, the biggest problem I have. Something just needs to be completed. For some reason, I feel like there’s more of a chance now (touching, right?).

Hopefully, when I call out to people who may want to assist with writing a fun story with Project S, I won’t hear nothing. We’ll see after I try.

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