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Slow progress

Posted by achild, 13 September 2013 · 1,158 views

Well, it has been just over 2 months since my last entry. A lot has happened since then...

Basis released!
First and foremost, Basis, our (completely free) 2d skeletal animation tool was released for public feedback and testing. We've produced an SDK for a few frameworks, with many more to come, and though there is still a ton of work to do, it is quite usable. It can be found at http://achild.wikidot.com/basis.

Basis themed!
Second of all, we themed nearly every aspect of the software. I think it makes quite a difference - it never looked bad before, but it caught me off guard when my wife saw the newly themed version one night and said "Oh okay, now it looks professional!". I really didn't have any words for that at the time, but it was definitely helpful feedback outside of my own biased opinion. See:

before
Spoiler


after
Spoiler

Spoiler


I mean she's right - yes it's just a cosmetic change and doesn't alter functionality in any way - but it really does make a difference. (I really did think it "looked professional" before, but now with a before and after comparison, well, there is no comparison)

Kickstarter failure!
We tried. And we failed miserably. The interesting thing is we hardly got any feedback, even though we had hundreds of views. There were many points we now feel which could have been better. One contender for the biggest issue of all was that we had not built a community yet. We thought the kickstarter would build the community and get people to know about it. Sometimes this can be true, but I believe more often than not you have to have some kind of following to build that initial inertia. Otherwise, you are almost doomed from the start, in most cases. We definitely failed here.

Unfortunately we also needed it to keep going at such a high pace, so development has been tremendously slow since then. So it is with side-projects!

We may try again in the future, but for now the focus is on improving Basis, and continuing to improve the Basis SDK and expand it to other frameworks and libraries and software, as slow as it may happen for now.

Which brings us finally to:

Basis SDK!
Okay so the SDK has been written and re-written. I want to get it right for these few libraries before expanding to other languages and frameworks. The hardest part has been getting it right on so many platforms, for instance we have to support many of the Amiga flavors. This can be difficult when you don't own an Amiga! Some systems such as OS3 can be emulated, but OS4 and WarpOS definitely need original hardware. Naturally, Basis SDK worked great on OS3, but not on OS4 and debugging it has been troublesome to say the least.

Also, the Amiga build system was moved from cross compiling on Windows using gcc, to full blown Amiga compilation using VBCC. This allows us to even support WarpOS in the first place, and really just makes the whole build process much smoother (after the many hours of getting it set up properly with all the different Amiga SDKs and what-not).

Another interesting issue was the need to use software based rendering on the Amiga. This presented a couple weeks of head-scratching in itself. Even with the available sources on the internet, you'd be surprised how hard it is to get it right, accurate, and fast. But still, thank goodness for the old Chris Hecker's articles and the FATMAP articles. They were both very helpful, though neither one of them fit the bill perfectly. A nice side effect is software rendering in SDL when OpenGL isn't available.

After this, the other SDK implementations were very easy.

However, what's an SDK without a game? We have demos to show it off on each SDK on each system, but you really need a small game to see what is going to work and not work. Or at least what's going to work best. It's just the nature of the beast. So, next on the list is to build a small game using http://hollywood-mal.com/ because it was sponsored by someone and test it on the zillion systems is supports.

Then I really want to make a game for the Wii. There's a functioning Wii demo, but it's been so long since I had fun coding something up, this must be done. Then back to work on Basis and more SDKs.
functioning Wii demo
Spoiler

But first, a game in Hollywood-MAL and it's slightly butchered Lua. Hmm, what to make...




Thanks for sharing. Your tool looks really nice though. I hope it will be able to catch on. Do you have any videos of yourself using the tool to show how it works? If you try kickstarter again, make sure you post updates to your blog here like the creators of Fran Bow did. That may help you pick up a following. Otherwise, people will just forget.

 

I also agree. Using it to build a game will help you advertise it a lot.

No the plan is to make some tutorial videos which should accomplish that plus actually be a helpful resource. It's just a matter of doing it, but there are so many other things to be done it's hard to prioritize.

 

As for the (small) game, it's more to make sure the SDK is useful and to have a little fun. It will not be a big or great enough game to advertise, I do not think!

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