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About this blog

Trying to gather inspiration and motivation for making a complete game.

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So after waiting all day for my laptop... I step outside and see that there's an infonotice on my door... THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOCK ON THE DOOR!

Wow. I hate UPS. Anyways, I called and had my package sent to the pickup station. I get there after 4 more hours, and they can't find my package... turns out it was sitting right next to the guy.. So long story short, I now have my laptop. Yay.

I've got just about everything installed now. I wiped the hard drive, installed XP Pro, all of the drivers for the laptop and most of my software. The only thing left, I believe, are games. Most importantly, WoW, HL2 / CSS, and Ragnarok Online. I'm interested to see how well this video card performs. Wootles.

I'll start developing tomorrow. Can't wait!




Yay... so this chick randomly messages me asking if I'm home yet (obviously a wrong number). So I let her know that she's got the wrong number and we chat for a bit, turns out she lives right down the street from me.. so we go hang out and find out that we have 3 common friends. Smalllll world. Weird.

Anyways, I love Dell. My laptop will be here tomorrow. Wootles!

Maybe I can finally start working now.




So my phone is supposed to get here later today... can't wait for that... and then my laptop is supposed to ship on the 28th. All it has to do is be boxed and shipped... why the 28th??! Oh well, probably because of a mass amount of orders. At least now I'll be mobile..

On to the game dev front... still made no progress. I'm definitely going to buy an XNA license... but other than that, I have made no progress on anything.

No progress = No pictures = No fun journal = (me = loser)




Wee. Stuff is hectic on my end. Been playing Dead Rising quite a bit, and going to play pool quite often (every night for the past 2 weeks). Ordered a new phone w/ service from T-Mobile (which was sent to the wrong address ... I hate UPS), and somehow got approved for a 1500 USD line of credit from Dell, so I got their XPS M1210 notebook. Specs are as follows:

12.1" Widescreen TrueVision Display
Intel(R) Core™ Duo proc T2300E (1.66GHz/667MHz/2 X 1MB L2 Cache
1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz (2 Dimms)
8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability
256MB NVIDIA(R) GeForce™ Go 7400 TurboCache™
60GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive

It's set to be shipped on the 28th, but it's already on the last step of production (boxing), so it will probably be shipped even sooner, which would be BAD ASS.

That's the brunt of it at least. Forgot to get the cool camera (I was in a rush when ordering), but I can live without it. I'm going to buy an external HDD to store most of my music / movies and as a backup for my development stuff. I'm excited! The desktop setup I have now will be dwarfed by this, as my craptastic motherboard is a piece of junk and limits the use of my GeForce 6800GT. This also means I can finally meet with my clients at a neutral place which helps sooo much as I lack an office right now.

Anyways, this should hopefully give me the drive to work on some new stuff, now that I can actually get more than 30 FPS in any OGL / DX app. Although that also runs the risk of me getting sucked back into Guild Wars / WoW / BF2 or CSS. Oh noes!

Yay for me.




Well, after about 2 months of no internet (and no Xbox Live). I am happy again. In the course of this time, I started going back to school, got my first car, broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years and started smoking, as well as allowed me to focus on my selling at work (GameCrazy, hellz yeah).

What the heck? Not having internet does mess you up. Weird.

Anyways. I need a project to work on. I've been contracted for a simple project for a mom and pop car lot in another state. Won't pay much, but enough for me to get my business cards and buy a few more books. Hopefully that should get me some more clients and I can start making a bit more money to put in the "OMG b0x NEEDS A LAPTOP" fund.

Anyways, back to the project. I want to focus on gameplay. This means I want to use an engine. Preferably something I can use with C#. I figure that will give me a bit of stuff to learn and help me get my mind off of some current situations.

Any ideas on what I should make? I love nearly all types of games. Any suggestions on engines? Let me know :).



Purchase Time!

So I've decided that I need a laptop if I'm going to be able to take my Contract Programming Business (primarily web development) thingy to the next level. My primary client right now has a PowerBook that works great, and I love it, so I'm going to get the black MacBook and dual boot with XP SP2. Should be fun.

Any suggestions?




So I finished the paid project. For one hell of a crunch, it was pretty easy to get it done. I spent about 5 hours just sitting and coding, with brief interruptions to eat and check on my girlfriend so she didn't feel left out. Final features included uploading audio entries to a database, downloading the entries, viewing and uploading text entries, searching through entries, and moderating entries.. Not bad. I enjoyed working on it, and enjoyed the final results. It was teh first time I've worked with files and uploading / downloading in PHP. Good stuff :).

I'll find out later in the day whether it was good enough or not for my contractee. Now to start working on my game's design doc (after sleep!).

A bit more about the game.

It's going to be a top down RPG w/ 3D terrain and 2D sprites (think Ragnarok Online). Limited rotation will be involved. The combat will be based on abilities and spells that are enhanced by card modifiers. The touch screen will be used heavily for user input including moving, attacking enemies, chatting w/ friends or selecting pre-defined chat messages.

Look forward to explaining more later :).




'Ello all..

Currently I'm working on 2 projects.

The first is a paid contract by one of my friends. It's basically a minimal mangement system for audio uploads. Coming along really nicely, and it's set to be finished for tomorrow, and I'll get the 100 for it on the 15th, which is great, considering I just spent half of my most recent paychecks on my first student loan payment, and a 2gb iPod Nano. This project is done in PHP w/ MySQL, and it's really easy. I've been working with it for 4 years now, so it was really just cake.

The second is a game for the Nintendo DS. I'm working on the Design Doc now, and I'll post more as it comes up. My main concern was how to work with the user interface best. I decided to use the touch screen as the playing field, and the upper screen for information and a map. Spells or abilities will be mapped to the A/B/X/Y. Given that there will be more than 4 abilities, the L button will pull up a menu to assign the abilities to buttons, and the R button for some other thing I haven't decided yet. Seeing as some people play with opposite hands when using the stylus, I'll be giving the user the option of switching L with R and the A/B/X/Y buttons with the D-Pad. Any comments on this?

Let me know what you think :).




After a hiatus lasting quite a few months, I'm back :)... not that anyone would really notice. Just for the record though, I do keep regular tabs on most of the Journals here (Mushu, Sir Sapo & Mark, John Hattan, etc..), and all of you have inspired me greatly.

Hopefully with the work I plan to do in the near future I can get to my next level in development.

Just a bit of info on what's been happening lately....

I was working at a software engineering company here in Phoenix which was working on a game simulation used to train firefighters in high-rise incidents. The language of choice for this project was, unfortunately, VB6. As I was a contracter and only 18 years old at that, my requests and proposals for a switch to at LEAST C# went un-answered. I did however learn quite a bit about what NOT to do, and a bit more on how to do some unconventional things with VB6. That being said, I did learn a few things, like accessing Access for a DB and such things. I also worked on a national program for acupuncture in my time there (in C#), which taught me a few things and was a great learning experience. Unfortunately, no 3D was done at the time, though I did have a few meetings concerning flight simulator software for both commercial and military products, and that was REALLY interesting. I stopped working there due to several incidents that caused me to miss about 2 weeks of work, and they decided that they didn't really need my help that much. Stiff employers, eh? No big deal. I learned a lot.

After working there, I landed a job doing web development for an SEO company also based here in Phoenix. I started at 27.50 per HOUR (hell yes), full time (even more of a hell yes). I was making quite a bit for my first month and a half until something bad happened. The president of this company was friends with the president of the old company, and upon finding out that my old boss at previously mentioned company only paid me 12.00 USD per hour, they decided to drop me down to 14. Granted, it was my fault for making sure it wasn't in the papers I signed, and I learned a huge lesson from it. In two ways. After quitting due to the pay cut, the company was sued for bad business practices. The company lost the case. Glad I got out of there before that happened (though I had nothing to do with that aspect). At this job though, I learned quite a bit about web development and XML parsing, etc.. Fun stuff.

Where I'm at now...

Right now I'm working at GameCrazy as a shift leader, hoping to make Assistant Manager soon. I love the job, because I love games, and I'm actually a pretty decent salesman. I also work at a Dollar Tree doing stocking, 3 days out of the week, and in my spare time, I do contract work as a feelance programmer. 3 jobs is quite tasking, but I always somehow find time for my girlfriend (not so much my family though, which is bad I suppose), my games, and sleep (though not as much as the previous 2).

I currently hope to make a few games for the iPod Nano, and the Nintendo DS. I want a full design doc done for the DS game, as I hope for it to be a somewhat popular MORPG to be played by a few friends together (not massive). I plan on having a server that someone can run and then have up to 6 - 8 people connect to , in order to complete quests or battle or just chat. Should be a great learning experience.

As for my education, don't really have much to say on that. I almost joined the Air Force (got a 99 on my ASVAB), and couldn't pass the Urinalysis... Something about having someone watch me urinate REALLY bothered me and I couldn't do it. Long story short, they thought I was on drugs (which... is a big .... NO). So that fell through. I applied to Arizona State University then, for a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics, but have yet to get an answer from them. So I'm pretty much just working. I'm still very interested in computer science, so I'm going to keep doing that as a side job, until I can hopefully open my own Game Cafe / Electronic Hobby store.

Wow, long entry. Hi everyone!



Maps, maps, maps....

As I was sitting in a meeting at work this morning, I was thinking about my map format. I think that as the base of a map, I'm going to use a heightmap, and on top of that, use static props to decorate the map.

To do this, I believe I'm going to store the maps in XML format, with the base heightmap, and a list of all of the props, entities, etc... It's probably not the best way to handle such a task, but this is only for a school project, so I suppose it wouldn't hurt too much.

After I get home from school in about 3 hours, I'm going to implement a basic state system, I shouldn't need anything overly complicated, and then after that implement a console, and put in the base for LUA scripting. There won't be anything pretty to show, but hey, it always starts that way.

Now I get to sit through a boring lecture on overloading methods in C#. SO MUCH FUN!!!




So after hours of fsking around, I decided to use TrueVision. So far I like it. If the rest of the project turns out to my liking, I'm going to save up to purchase a license... That damned watermark is quite annoying >_
Anyways, it took me a whole 5 minutes to get my first basic "level" loaded, by modifying their FPS tutorial. I plan on using terrain with static props, but to get this done quickly without messing with file exporters, etc.. I just generated a heightmap and threw on a texture.

It looks decent. I'm starting to look forward to getting the actual game code in.


Cheers :).




Well, getting Axiom separated and working separately from RF wasn't as easy as I had thought.. It's becoming too much of a hassle for me to be honest. I may just try to come up with a simpler concept and use straight OpenGL to complete my project. In this case I'll need to come up with another viable game concept.

Off to the drawing board!




So I spent most of the day first looking at OgreDotNet.. then realizing there were a few big issues with it, which are preventing me from wanting to use it for my project. So I then spent quite a few hours looking at other C# engines or engines with C# ports. The ones I remember looking at are Irrlicht.Net (nothing different from last time.. few things prevent me from wanting to use it), TrueVision3D (only looked at a few examples, it doesn't seem too organized, and costs 150), RealmForge GDK (seems too much packaged together for what I want, which is just a rendering engine). So I'm going to look around a bit more.

I may end up sticking with TrueVision3D.

Any suggestions?

Edit: I did some more research into RealmForge GDK... Axiom is incorporated into their engine, but is also maintained separately, so it looks like I may end up using that. It's not as fully featured as Ogre, but for my project I certainly won't need all of the uber bells and whistles. After I setup a test project with Axiom I'll make my final decision and get a very simple battlefield into a test project using terrain.

Cheers :)




Being sick sucks alot of monkey nuts.

Anyways. Now that I'm finally a bit better, I found that there is an Ogre Wrapper for C#. As Irrlicht isn't as far along as I had hoped, this is great for me; because I originally wanted Ogre.

In further news. I've decided to switch from a full 3D layout to a 3D World with 2D billboarded sprites (see screenshot 'A' (taken from Ragnarok Online) below). This should cut down on the production time for assets by quite a bit, as well as reduce the amount of work I would have to do for model animations and the like.

Essentially, I'm left with roughly 3 months to get this into a somewhat polished state for the competition in my C# class at school. If I buckle down, I should do fairly well.

I've also decided to use Lua to handle the brunt of the scripting in the game, which should also help my teammate balance the load with myself. That being said. If anyone knows of a 2D sprite artist that would be willing to produce a few sprites for free to help me get something decent as a placeholder, it would be GREATLY appreciated. Cheers :)

Screenshot A:




So my professor said I have to use C#. He did though, fail to mention that we couldn't use any pre-existing engines. So I'm going to use Irrlicht.Net to power my prototype. Afterwards I can easily convert the game to C++ for it's first real release.

So I got the initial example loaded, and I'm toying around with it. I'm going to be using Blender to make a simple map. Not sure quite how that's going to work yet, but it's an adventure :).

More info later.

Edit: Here's the craptastic screenshot of the compiled example:




Dum dee da

Well, in my C# class (Ugh, so frickin easy), the professor challenged us to write a game in our spare time. The first and second place winners get one of two prizes that the professor is going to pick up from best buy, and the 3rd place winner gets a VB.Net book.

I figure I'll throw together a 2d Prototype of my game (which needs to be done anyways), and submit that. I'm sure it'll fare quite well. Option B is skipping the prototype, and building the game directly, an option I'm not too fond of. Option C, then, is submitting one of my games for the PSP that I wrote in LUA (I've been too busy to do any C/C++ games for it yet). I emailed him and asked him if I could do that, but as of yet there is no response.

So right now I'm pretty much going with the 2d prototype. As I was thinking about this I decided to throw in a few more RTS type elements. These additions will effectively make the game more like an RTS; and less like a traditional card-based RPG.

The first of these ideas is a set number of cards that every player recieves at the beginning of the game. As of now, these are the Deck Base, Grave Base, and Rest Base. The deck base allows you to "summon" cards, the grave base allows you to resurrect cards (if you have the ability to do so), and the rest base will be an area which units can go to in order to heal themselves. There are only 1 of each of these cards per person, and once destroyed, they cannot be rebuilt. The player can place these at any time, and thus use their abilities; or choose not to play them and save them for a strategic time. However doing so will limit their ability to succeed depending on which of these they do and do not play.

As I think about this more and more, I'm seeing this as more of a table-top RPG in semi-real time. There are no turns, but each character on the battlefield does have a set amount of action points, if you will, that determine how many actions they can take, or how far they can move (which I guess is an action). I believe this system will allow players to micro-manage their units a bit easier, as there will be a downtime for each unit in which they will be regenerating their action points. Any suggestions to this?

I'm also thinking of implementing a command map, in which you can see the location of all of your units, and all statistics available to you, such as how many units lost, how many cards destroyed, etc..

Another aspect I was thinking about was the player's avatar (commander / main character / whatever you want to call it). I'm going to try giving the avatar a far greater amount of action points as compared to other units so that they mey move around quickly from place to place, and thus have a quicker/larger area in which to cast spells or use special leadership abilities.

Right now I'm on my break between trigonometry and Systems Architecture and Assembler, so I think I'll get started on the prototype's layout. I'm hoping that by using simple 2d graphics and C#, I'll be able to knock out a fully functional prototype in about 2 months, and then use the remaining two to polish it up and submit it for the class thing.




I have discovered...

... my kryptonite. The thing that keeps me from accomplishing what I want to do. That thing is the initial setup of my project.

After deciding to use Ogre, I downloaded it, and left it sitting on my hard drive for almost a month. This is due mostly to getting sidetracked by exams and real life, but still. I shouldn't be this lazy.

One of these days i need to just buck up and get down to getting it setup.

I think then I'll have no problem working on my game.





Wee. So I finished an entire semester of math in 4 days, got a 90.2 overall. Good stuffs.

I also registered for my new classes, and got all of my books.

MATH181 - College Trig
CIS170 - Object Oriented Programming with Lab (C#)
GSP130 - Systems Architecture and Assembly (ASM and tons of other nitty gritty details)
PSYC110 - Psychology.

Good stuff, more info later.




There's a bad thing about online classes in a physical college... If you're not disciplined (ahem *looks down*), you tend to screw around during time that you could be working on coursework.

In this case, my class, Math-104 is online. I screwed around. Now I have about 4 days to finish up the class. It's possible, but I'll end up staying at school for 4 hours from 6 to 10 on Monday. I should actually be able to pull it off though.

Gah, I need to stop being such a slacker, and care more about my education than making games... (Ha!)




Decided to show some of the mockups I have so far...

Main Menu Mockup:

(I know it's dark.. for some reason the colors get set to grayscale in PS.. I was in too much of a rush to fix it.. I'm looking more at the layout)

Game Window Mockup:

1) The 3d world will be displayed in the main screen.

Numbers 2 through 5 are 2D HUD elements, with some level of transparency

2) Menu options will be displayed on the left side of the screen
3) This is an all-purpose area that will display information. For example, when the player chooses to cast a card, this area will be used for the deck browser.
4) This is the area that will display information about the selected card.
5) This is the area where active cards will be displayed. A certain amount will be displayed on screen, and you can scroll to get to the rest.

Menu System Mockup:

Any suggestions?




Soo, watching / listening to the other presentations made me fairly confident about my design document. Mine came out to 20 pages, and it's not even close to being completely finished (though it had the requirements for the class). The next highets doc came in at about 11.

Other projects got about 15 - 20 minutes to present.. however, being the dumbass I am. I thought I was the last one to present, so I volunteered after whom I thought was the person before the last. That left me with 10 minutes. I got about halfway through it before I got the wrapup signal. Argh. I had to rush through the best parts of the document to meet my time limit.

All in all though, people liked it, my teacher was impressed, and I've got more motivation to finish the project.

I went out and bought tons of big paper, tape, markers, a dry erase board, dry erase markers, and a dry erase eraser... So hopefully this stuff will turn my studio apartment into a gamedev studio apartment :).

As I finish parts of the design, I'll be posting them here for critique.





Spent the last four hours revisiting my design document, clarifying, adding pictures and diagrams, etc..

Tomorrrow I get to finish revising the rules of the game, and throw that in. Hopefully I can get a fair amount of that done in the hour break I have between the time I have to give my presentation to my class, and when my math class ends >_
I'm not too worried. The minimum for the school assignment was 5 pages... I'm hitting about 15 right now. I have lots of information and should be able to make the presentation clear and long enough to get a good grade (biggest part of our grade besides the final).

Wish me luck :).




Heh. I was looking through my flash drive, and I found a cheap demo I did for work showing I know the basics of coding..

Many problems with this basic piece of... work.

I didn't use time-based movement, so the speed depends on the framerate, but since it's just a cheap demo that worked on my laptop, I wasn't concerned.. Anyways, pictar and the download for those who want to see it.

I used Irrlicht so I wouldn't have to worry about loads of stuff that needed to be done the night before the interview.

Come to think of it, I don't think they ever looked at this at my interview >_



Enjoy (probably not so much)




One of the projects I'm working on at work is an incident command training simulation for emergency situations, used to train new firefighters. One of the good things is one of the versions of the simulation / game is going to be displayed at the Serious Games Conference... Unfortunately, I don't think I get to go, unless I pay. It'd be nice if my company paid, but that's a long shot.

Anyways, design on my project is just about finished, I'll be bringing up some of the finer, more exciting points later today when I get back from work, then I'll start by getting Ogre setup so I can begin laying out the framework of the engine, and getting everything rolling.

With this comes the realization that I spend WAY too much time playing CounterStrike: Source >_Pictar), along with all black gear (shoes have some gray on them, but gloves, helmet, jacket are all black). Hopefuly I'll have it before the end of the month. It gets about 60 miles to the gallon in the city, and if I really needed to fast, I could (0 to 60 in 4 seconds); but I'm a good boy, so that won't happen (more or less because I'm a pansy).

Farewell, for about 3 hours.


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