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Monday Update Time

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Trapper Zoid


It's Monday again, so it's time to post an update about the progress (or lack thereof) that I have made during the week.

Finding a Cure for Enginitis
I've been increasingly getting worried at my lack of progress on the software engineering side of things. I have a number of different engine plans but there's still a lot of detail missing, particularly in how to fuse the components together. I've been experimenting with purely event driven designs, more standard object oriented techniques and hybridizations of the two.

But now that I've made the decision to not make a project for 4E5 (at least for now), I could take a step back from my project to see where I am going wrong. It is clear that I have been spending way too long on the engine design. My justification for this at the time was my desire to have my own decent 2D engine at the start of next year, and if I were to solely work on a 4E5 project then I'd have to get it right first go. However, it is too hard to figure out some of the details of the engine without getting more experience in writing games. It also does not help that I seem to wanting to have the "perfect" engine given inevitable I will have to make some functionality trade-offs; exactly what they are I need to find out with experience.

So like a broken record I must return back to my original and sensible plan of working on a series of small simple arcade games; the goal of which is figure out the engine crafting process by making mistakes and learning from them. I have to kick myself out of this habit of attempting to do everything at once but ending up doing nothing. It's not a coincidence that over the last two years and with a dozen stalled project plans the only game I finished is the extremely unplanned one week project "Pierre and the Fish". Thus I plan to take what designs I have now, figure out what's decent and start coding some time this week. I still need to do a bit more planning; figuring out the order I need to implement things and which functionality to leave until the next projects; but I'd really like to start firing up my C++ IDE soon.

One more change I need to make is in the scope of my penguin game. I know I've been thinking of doing a spy action game, but I feel the size of what I have in my mind is too large for a first project. In the back of my mind I'm trying to think of a good way to cut the amount of content down to something much simpler. I may end up dropping the gunplay and doing something else set on ice. And although this is a breach of the restrictions I set myself for the project, I may end also end up replacing the penguin hero with someone else (maybe a human), especially if I want to make water a hazard. In any case whatever I decide though will not matter for the first week or two while I get the basics implemented.

A Message for Myself
I fixed a few bugs in my style sheet. As a test to see whether I got the large fonts working properly, I'll leave a message for myself:

It's okay to make mistakes in your engine design as long as you fix them in the next iteration, you idiot!

It seems to be working reasonably well for now, at least for me. Except I always seem to get the same size large font even if I play around with the point size; weird. I might have to just avoid using the "font" tag for now, or set it a fixed size.

Art Woes
I was going to post something artsy this week, but for some reason my drawing has been terrible over the last few days. Perspective is off, faces look wrong, and I can't draw proper feet for anything. I'll need to figure out what's gone wrong before I get anything else on the art side done, I'm afraid.

In the mean time have a look at the art on Battagline's Flash game Day Dream. I'm really impressed; that's the sort of style that I'd love to do.

And now for something completely different: Wii, PS3, EB and me
When I need to go to the shopping mall I like to browse the latest games at the software stores like Electronics Boutique, and I was slightly surprised to see advertising campaigns and preorders for the Wii and PS3 have started over here. For some reason I was expecting the console releases in Australia to be many months later than the U.S.

The preorder advertising wasn't that effective on me. To paraphrase:

Peppy Voice-Over Guy: Special deal on the PS3! Trade in your PS2 or X-box...

Me (in my head): Sounds fair, should slice a bit of the price...

PVOG: And 25 PS2 and X-box games...

Me: Huh?!!

PVOG: And you can have a PS3 for the low price of $699!

Me: Whaa?!!!

I also notice they had the same deal for the Wii offer, except since I guess they don't know the price they were merely offering "$300 off" for a trade-in of a PS2 or X-box with 25 associated games. Useless to me as I only have a Gamecube, and I guess they expect the used Gamecube game market too small to make a similar offer. But I'm unsure if I have 25 games for this generation, and there's several I'd love to keep playing for years. In fact, I love to hoard all my old games to play years later for the nostalgia factor. But even if I wasn't a die-hard game fan, 25 games and a console for $300? How many people take up that kind of offer?

I also assume that means the PS3 package is the magic price of $999 over here. That's more than I paid for my PC. Ouch.
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