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Weekly Report

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Trapper Zoid

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Sadly, productivity is down somethingty-eight percent this week. My limited time management skills have been completely shot as time seems to whiz by without corresponding action. I can put it down to a number of external factors, but it's mostly due to weakness and lack of focus. Yup, it's another one of those journal posts where I beat myself up for being slack. I'm probably painting a bad picture of myself by posting so many of these but I'm hoping the psychological re-enforcement will help to actually do something worth posting to replace them.

Well, I have signed off on my architectural document for the Diagonal system (although "signed off" might be a bit strong considering I'm working for myself [smile]), which I guess is something although there haven't been any significant changes since the last post. It does allow me to cross off some items on my "to do" list, which is sweet.

However I've been a bit too slack over the last couple of days in all areas. I think that it's not helping that I've been working a lot from home lately due to not having my proper desk at my research centre. I don't actually need that desk as presently I'm writing up some chapters of my thesis on my laptop, but working on my own for a long stretch means I tend to spend too long on the Internet waiting for people to reply to emails. It also hasn't helped that I injured my foot playing soccer last week (nothing serious, it just hurts a bit when I walk), so my mobility has been somewhat limited. Thankfully I'll be heading home for a few days over Easter so I'm hoping the change of scenery will be refreshing.

There is a problem in that I'm not going to meet my internal milestone targets for Easter. I knew that would be a problem ever since storm damage threw a spanner in my routine, but me being slack over the last week or two hasn't helped. I'm going to have to give myself a extension of another two weeks to get everything done that I want to, but that's going to come out of the time for my next milestone. I have to keep reminding myself that even though I'm really just working for myself (even with my thesis not just my game projects) I still need to stick to the deadlines I give myself.



Another distraction which sucked up too much of my time on the weekend has been The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, or as I call it "The Adventures of Recht: the tale of a right-handed swordsman in a strange left-handed world". As a lefty myself I posted a journal article a while back on how ticked I was at Link having his handedness swapped as I liked the southpaw nature of the hero. However I find it's not much of an issue when playing the game. What is more distracting is that because the entire game has been flipped it means (nearly) everyone else is left handed. It's weird seeing a whole row of soldiers with spear in left hand, shield in right. It's like the Princess Bride swordfight scene, except for the entire game [smile].

The game is pretty good apart from that distraction. The beginning is a bit slow, but once it gets going it's a great Zelda game. I really like the character of Midna who has a great trickster type personality; she's by far my favourite out of the set of Link companions who keep telling you want you are meant to be doing (far better than "Hey, Listen! Hey, Listen!" Navi from Ocarina of Time, for example).

The main disappointment however is how gimmicky the use of the Wii controller is. This really is just a Gamecube game with a few glitzy Wii features. I hated the swishing sound the Wiimote made with every sword slash, so I switched it off. And I don't like how you have to swing the remote for every slash; I keep using the A button based attacks instead partly because it feels "more Zelda" and partly because they're easier to do. It might seem to make aiming devices such as the bow a bit easier, but I'm not that sure; there's a time delay to switch mental and physical states between wielding the Wiimote like a club for the sword fighting and using it as a pointing device for archery. It might actually be faster to use the old analog stick aiming instead. Of course, in my case my timing is hampered by the fact I'm using my off-hand to do the targeting.

Still all in all it's a great game and worth picking up; however the Gamecube version might turn out to be just as fun, if not better.

In other game related news, I hobbled into the stores the other day as I was getting crazy from staring at a computer screen and got suckered into buying an Electronics Boutique sale. I ended up buying Civilization IV, Rome: Total War with exansion, Heroes of Might and Magic V and Dungeon Siege II, given I could get all four for the usual full price of one game. Now I think all of these are good to great games so I don't regret the purchace, but the problem is lack of time. I've already got Jade Empire slated up as my next big game after Twilight Princess, and there's a stash of budget PC games I haven't yet cracked open. Plus my time for playing games is growing ever more thin as the work stacks up. More games for the pile, I guess. I'll have to restrict myself to buying only Wii and indie games for the rest of 2007, and possibly 2008 as well.
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Hey. Nothing related to your post, but I wanted to say 'thanks' for pointing me (and everyone else I guess) in the direction of 'the indie game development survival guide.' I got it a few days ago and I've been going through it in my evenings. It's really good! I've found it a nice read that covers a lot of the topics that you'd want to know about, but it doesn't belabour the point. I also picked up 'business and legal primer for game development' but I don't think that is going to be as easy to tear through.

Anyway, that's for recommending it, I really enjoy reading your entries.

-Josh

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Glad to know you're enjoying the book! I agree that it's a superb primer for everything you need to know about being an indie developer. I can't stress enough to everyone else that if you are thinking of going indie I cannot think of a good reason to not own that book. As far as I'm concerned it's a mandatory purchase!

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