shawn's blog


Posted in Other by Shawn on February 28, 2011

So, according to Redmine (where I’m tracking my progression), I started my serious work on Project S on February 6th 2011. I’ve tried to put in as much work as I could, and I think I actually have made some progress. In between dealing with work related things from 8am – 7pm, and eternally riding the bus (blargh), I managed to put some fun things together. Of course, there is many thanks that needs to go around, which I will do in the future. Right now, in development, I have a project titled “Winshi – tales of the sky ninja” in production. I’ve been calling it Project S on this blog, and on OriGamInc’s pages, but now, it has a name.


winshi on black

Winshi - tales of the sky ninja

Why all this drama? Well, for fun. That’s really it.

Anyway, while the short series Moar Clouds contains the cloud elements for Winshi, I was actually playing around with the XNA studio for developing Project S. However, I was introduced to Unity by a friend who I met at a Philadelphia Game Dev Meetup, and I started to work simultaneously with Unity and XNA, and eventually decided to work solely in Unity. That doesn’t mean I want to abandon XNA! I’ll go back eventually, possibly after I’m done with this project.

Slated for March 7th is the due date for the Version A build of Winshi. This build will contain 5 levels that someone can play, in addition to a minor stats page. You’ll be able to level up to a certain degree, and play the levels as much as you want. This is intended to garner feedback from anyone who is nice enough to be interested. I’ll also probably link a downloadable version to OriGamInc’s webpage as well. But, I do want to have some fun with this and actually have demo disc. Ah, the days of the demo disc……..

Unfortunately, I have no art skills, or art friends who are free enough to assist me with this project, so currently, there are rectangles set up as place holder.


You're the black rectangle; everything else is out to get you


The blocks look cool, right? Well, I’d like for them to change eventually. I’d but more screens up, but…they’re all pretty much the same. If I could get a video, now that would be better. I’ll look into that eventually.

There’s probably to be more information about Winshi more frequently as opposed to in the past, now that I’m doing more. The story, while nothing dramatic, is still in development. I’ll probably share some more story elements next time, front scene stuff on OriGamInc, back-end details here.

Hey, if you’re interested in playing, let me know! I still have a few more things I want to work on, as I do want to possibly bring this with me to PAX east up in Boston!

And, I guess that’s it for now.

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Version A

Posted in Other by Shawn on February 22, 2011

So, as of now, I plan to attend PAX East 2011. Wonderful. There will be games and, well, other things probably. But I am about 80% interested in just the gaming portion.

I also plan to try and get as much help as I can for my project. My goal is to bring a short playable version of Project S to PAX with me. And I may possibly hand it out!

It will be a bit nerve racking, but it’s something that I’m going to need to get over if I ever plan to release games on my own, right?

If anyone reading this (ha!) would like to receive Version A of Project S, then let me know by emailing me here. You may also want to include the phrase “Version A Build” in the subject area too, just so things are a bit easier to manage. The goal is to have this done by March 7th, as PAX is that coming weekend. I want to do things multiple ways disc/digital download. The disc may take me a while to create/copy/etc, which is why I want to be finished by the 7th. I want to make sure that I have enough time to actually make copies, as I am venturing off via Greyhound on Thursday eve.

When I get close to that date, I’ll release some screenshots or something promotional in that fashion. But that’s it for now.

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Posted in Other by Shawn on February 21, 2011

The components for all the levels are now complete!

This means that each level’s goal can be achieved. The last one worked on was the target level. The target moves around screen darting back at forth. It is up to the player to destroy the target before either the time runs or they get destroyed themselves.

I seem to be getting ahead of myself, as many people many not know what Project S entails or what is involved. However, I will probably make an official release soon!

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Thoughts and Work

Posted in Other by Shawn on February 21, 2011

My progress with Project S has been moving along, and it makes me wonder how many times you can consolidate code. For example, today, I spent ~3.5 hours just going through a lot of code and seeing what I can make more reusable. It turns out that there is A LOT of work that needed to be done. Half of the problem is that I haven’t had a chance to work on a project like this in quite some time, so I’m not familiar with a lot of things that I want to do. The other percentage is just….well, normal?

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that despite how often things along this matter are said, you will learn new things everyday. If you are trying to do things in an area of interest, then it’s even better as you become more of a knowledgeable person in that field. You can “expand the brackets” regarding the subject that you are studying.

Currently, my brackets seem to be expanding in a way that does not make me feel like I’ve been wasting time. Of course, I haven’t really shared too much of the fruits of my labor here yet, but that is because I’m trying to play things a bit close to the chest. There *are* people who know about what I’m working on, but there aren’t too many. At least, I think there aren’t. Anyway, in terms of progression, it’s nice to be able to see tools moving along. It also makes me wonder how things are done in the world of ‘big wigs’ or even smaller independent studios. I have never really been fortunate to have a chance to view the inner workings of a studio to the point where I would have liked to. Developers blogs and 5 minute videos do not feed by appetite for learning more. And there’s always the fear not liking what I see. But thoughts like this are too distracting right now.

In terms of actual code and junk, my repository’s history has been growing since the first commit on February 8th.

$ git hist | wc -l

That may not seem like a lot to many people, but in terms of how often I actually get to work on this project, it is. Right now, I’ve tracked ~34.00 hours on this project. This doesn’t include time I spend thinking about things, or just fixes that aren’t issues that I just don’t create a record of. Taking a break from working (as I was advised to by a smart person) is helping.

However, I do want to get back to more work, as I do not want to slow up the pace that I am moving at.

So, that’s it for now.

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Posted in Other by Shawn on February 16, 2011

Project S has level objectives!

What does this mean? Basically, the start of a level now have endings. Once a certain qualification is met (or the player fails), the game will know that you either succeeded or failed. This seem like something very minor, but it’s actually a pretty big stet (for me at least) in terms of building the level tools.

What’s missing now though?

Well, a lot of pretty thing are missing; title screens and such, but that’s rather easy. I actually just had a really good idea for what to include in the playable test version that I can actually hand out. So, I’m actually going to have to cut this post short and get back to work.

That’s it for now.

(oh and if anyone wants a test version of Project S, feel free to contact me letting me know!)

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Posted in Other 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 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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