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Stagz

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  1. I am the sole application developer in a company full of building developers, and such hands-oney people, it's my job to fulfil all the rolls that are required in the software lifecycle. As the company is getting more confident of my ability to meet their specific needs, they are taking on more adventurous projects. These projects are becoming more than just the regular old "I need a calculator to do this", or "We want you to make this program web based" kind of thing, to applications that require more forethought and planning. I would say that one of my main weaknesses in the whole application development thing is my lack of experience in the design stages of a project. This is mainly due to the fact that I've been working in small companies since I left uni, and while I've learned the design skills, I've never really had an opportunity to use them or to fully understand the concepts involved. In an attempt to keep up to date with the design requirements involves, I've been reading books, internet articles, and blogs to try and put togeather a process that fits my current position as "the one". Almost all of these sources assume that there are multiple people involved in the process (rigthly so), however, few really address the situation where your architect is your designer, is your programmer, is your tester, is your support rep, is your dogsbody. I would imagine that this would be a fairly common circumstance, where there are relatively few people involved in the process of creating an application. The current book that I am reading "Use Cases - Requirements in Context" (Kulak & Guiney), seems to be providing the most adaptable process yet for my own affliction. The book focusses on requirements gathering, providing a detailed process for the exercise. In the smaller projects that I've worked on, I've found that the process of figuring out exactly what the application needs to do is one of the slowest most drawn out parts of the whole project. The main problem with it is that everyone has a different idear of what they want, and in some cases that I am just one person. The process described in this book gives pointers on what to watch out for, samples for documentation with complete walkthroughs on how to fill them out, and can be used in the single developer case just as easily it can in the development team case. Reading the book kind of gets me itching to start the next project, just to try out some of the methods and see them in action. I wouldn't expect them to work for me strait off the bat tho, I'm a bit on the unenthused side when it comes to documentation and the like.. and this process will give you plenty. I guess, in the end, this is a good thing.
  2. Was having a play round with Simpsonize Me and made one of my wife and me at the Kwik-e-mart. Really just a bit of fun, take a look
  3. Thought I'd add in another movie, while I'm still up on the movie making stint. Here's a gameplay movie of what we managed to get working in Total Dominion. It may look like crap, but it did take a year of our time. Since I can't embed the youtube stuff here: Click here Again cudos go out to the team for this: * Kashif Ansari (Game Design, 3d Models & Animation) * Graham Heiner (Awesome background music & sound effects).. sorry I couldnt figure out how to record it. * and me, Chris Scott (Game Design, Technical Design, Programming)
  4. I managed to find an app to make videos of my game. The quality is kind of crappy, but I think it is mostly due to some double compression along the way. I recorded it with GameCam, then uploaded it to YouTube to save the bandwidth on my website :). Click here to view the video
  5. What is there to take offence to? Apart from the totally predictable storyline.
  6. I've been off the air for a while, mostly due to another large dose of 'meh'. Anyhow, I just did a little more on Scarlett's Treasure. I have made Ladder sprites work somewhat more intuitvley. You can now climb up and down the ladder, rather than just sort of flying through it. I have also got the prince popping out once you beat the frog boss.
  7. Just a little something I thought up in the shower this morning. Name: Alpha Flyer Synopsis You are a pilot, who has recently acquired a top of the line personal space craft, the "alpha flyer". With terrorists controling most of your sector, you take it apon yourself to rid the sector of the viscous terrorists (ie. the kind that leave a trail of slime behind them). Or will you join the terrorists and overthrow the government?. Gameplay The gameplay will be somewhere between WoW and Freelancer, with the following features: Quest based - Single player game will have a 'main questline' with several branches to make the story interestinmg. There would also be 'side quests' that would allow the player to more thoughroughly explore the game universe. Dogfights - In multiplayer mode, a player can sign up for a dogfight, in which all participants (an even number on each side) are transported to a special arena. When all the other players are dead, you are the victor and win cool prizes Group / Raid content - players can join a raid on a large enemy base and completely annihalate it, gaining lots of goodies in the process Player Server - while the multiplayer games may be hosted on player systems, authorized servers may connect to a centralized player server to retrieve / update a player's ship / profile information. This will allow a player to continue their game experience across multiple instanced servers. Players will be able to build an online identity with a minimal outlay on server / MMO technology Strengths / Why I would write this gameEasy graphic content - No/few moving parts makes for less difficulties in getting the animations 'just so', allowing more time to create cool looking models. I like space - Space is cool LMO able - such a large space should be able to handle a large number of players, allowing for a 'Large Multiplayer Online' environment. Incremental development - This style of game can be developed incrementally, allowing us to see what is happening and add new features on the flyWeaknesses / Why I would not write this gameBeen done before - Freelancer was a fun game, and almost precicely what I am thinking My networking skills are totally hackable I doubt that I would be able to write a secure client / server connection that couldn't be hacked by any script kiddy Lazyness prevails - It would be far easier not to write this game
  8. I've made the decision to try out a psychologist for this depression thing. I'm really not sure what will come of it, but I did get to do a couple of those nifty answer the multiple choice question thingamies. The first one gave the psychologist an indication of the depression levels involved, and the results in my case were "Mild". I'm thinking that this is a good thing, but I wonder at some of the answers you would need to make for a "Severe" rating, and indeed how many different ratings there are. The second test took about 40 minutes to complete, and appeared to be some kind of personality profile test, similar to what you would get in a job interview. I was told the various results the following week, and although the results were not really a surprise (ie. I agreed with them), there were a few interesting points: * I have an ability for abstract thinking, as opposed to concrete thinking. * I am easily distracted * I get bored easily * I am not very traditional I'm sure that there were other points there that I've now forgotten, but they will come back eventually. It's one thing to know that these are things about you, but it is another to be told by someone else methinks. Having been told these things, I am finding myself more alert to them. I find that I usually get more down when I am bored with my work, (not too hard with the current design/databases stuff yicc..). I also find that if I am on a roll with something, and I get distracted from it, that I will almost immediately become bored with it, and unable to get back into the zone again. This does seem to be the case with both my work, which I need to push really hard to get rolling, and with my games, which I have really been putting to the back burner lately. Perhaps the solution to all my problems it to somehow get un-bored with things, so that I actually feel like going back to it after stopping. This would seem like an impossible task though :P
  9. Thank you, everyone's support (both those who know us online, and those who know us in person) over the past year has been very helpful to us. No matter how much or little is said, it is always good and somwhat unexpected to know that someone cares.
  10. It hardly seems like it's been a year since our daughter was born, and died. We made a cake for Scarlett's first birthday, and anniversary. Here's a couple of piccs.. Pink marble cake for Scarlett's 1st birthday We went and decorated her grave with pink flowers, and had some cake with her. Angel's food cake for Scarlett's 1st death anniversary.
  11. I found that while playing WoW, I would get ping spikes of 1-2 seconds about twice a minuted at regular intervals. A little research found that it was actually being caused by a suspected bug in the Wireless Zero Config Service. Get your testers to run "net stop wzcsvc" after they have connected to their wireless connection. If this fixes the problems, I would imagine that you will need to change your server to recover from loss and ping spikes.
  12. I've been wondering lately if a change of tac is neccessary. I appear to be getting burnt out in my current job, and have no real way of recovering from the problems that I am having here. It is really getting so bad that I sit in front of my computer for 8 hours a day, staring at the screen doing nothing. Strangely, I work from home, so it should be easy just switching to another project or even getting away from the computer. The main reason that I dont do this is that I feel guilty about doing 'non-work' stuff on their time, since they are paying me. (ok.. maybe I do jump into a game or something occasionaly, but I feel guilty the whole time.. promise.. :) ) I have decided that this will be the last job before I move on to either a) my own business, or b) a job in the game development industry. I have also decided that option B is out of the question, as I do not really wish to have the long hours / low pay associated with it. Option A would likely have just as long hours, but I would feel more rewarded by the additional time spent. The death of our baby Scarlett has also weighed heavily on things here as well. It's coming up to her first birthday, and it's easy to see that prety much everything has returned to "normal". I can't effectively explain how this is affecting my work / burnout problems, except that I can't seem to shake the feeling that this "normal" is not right. I should be having a different normal at the moment, with waking in the middle of the night, and pram pushing, and noisy houses, etc.
  13. Quote:Original post by Trapper Zoid You would need to actively market it to developers, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's expensive [smile]. There's a few ways you can market on the cheap... You are absolutely correct, those are relatively cheap methods of getting the marketing out there (perhaps excepting the trade magazine, unless it's a well known product, it usually costs $^Paragraph for a review). I really should start to push my presence more on the various forums and whatnot, and give up my lurking habits once and for all.
  14. The standard agreement does have one of those "I assign all of my intelectual... ", but I negotiated a variation of "intelectual rights to PRODUCTS DEVELOPED IN THE FIELD OF ASSET MANAGEMENT". Which gave my employer the exclusive rights to any asset management software, but any other not to anything that I dreamed up and wrote down, and definately not anything outsite asset management software. I could do option 1 in my spare time, but it's more of a 'middleware' kind of thing. Which means that I would need to get the thing to 'real' developers, attend conferences, take out magazine adds etc.. I doubt that I could really pull any good income off midleware without being able to actively market it to the developers. There's always developing it and putting it up as donationware I suppose.. then if anyone ever contacts me, I can make modifications / whatever for cash. Hardly seems like it would pay the bills though.
  15. If you read my blog enough, you would probably realize that I seem to come up with alot of idears for games or tools or just general crap. I usually start a small project based on testing out my theory, and end up with a prototype style model (ie. crappy minimal implementation). Some of these prototype tools work out to be something that I would use again, like SynthGraph in the header section above or several of the tools that I designed in my AGE engine (which I will put up there when I untangle them from each other). Some of the projects never really see the light of day (eg the AGE engine above), which is ok, since you have to dig through the dirt to find the gems. Ocasionally, about once every year or so, I come up with an idear that I think would be really worth someting. It's usually the kind of thing that wakes me up at 2am and buggs me until I get up. It then continues to bug me until I have written it down in my little notebook, which is usually sitting in my office by my desk. I will continue to get nagged by this thought for several more days (I even have dreams about how the end product would work), untill finally, I have filled up that notebook with chicken scratchings, code segments, swot analysees, financial estimates, time cost estimates, you name it. The last time this happened, It was for a product that could be used by the company that I worked in. I tidied up the idear, put the numbers and whatnot into a spreadsheet, and gave the boss a presentaion. The boss liked the idear, and got me to write a prototype. I had the prototype written in a week, and they licenced the prototype 3-4 of their customers immeadiatly for about $10-15K each. The company then folded about 6 months later, due to overreaching financially to get into dubai. I still get questions from those clients, and also the new company that I work with, about additions to the application but generally try to avoid them, since I dont know who the IP belongs to. My new company tried to buy the IP, but the reciever didn't return their phone calls. Two of the other clients also tried to buy the IP, but they were also ignored by the reciever. Weird, yes?. Anyway, I digress... Last week, I had another, equally astounding stupid-o-clock revellation. I did the usual process of writing it down in my little book, and beginning the several week process of looking at it from every angle that I can think of. I have decided that this is indeed a hum-dinger of an idear, and that I have several options at this point. Without telling you what the actual idear is, I can tell you that it could be applied to game development in general, or (some parts at least) can be taken out and applied to the current field that I work in (Asset & Maintenance Management software), or even used in other, non-game related areas. So I see several options here that I could take, ignoring the ones that would be dishonest: 1) Develop the game development related product, retain the IP, and attempt to sell it. This product would be more interesting, and if I could reach the right ears with it, perhaps some profit associated. But, alas, I don't have the industry contacts to make this one work and it would be a full time job with much money spent on advertising to reach the ears that I need to. 2) Quit the company I'm working with, develop the buiness application, and sell it to clients of the liquidated company. Would have to sell it to previous clients, as there is a sunset clause in my current contract. There is also an anoying legal setup that I have to go through for working with these clients. This would probably be the most profitable option, but has many risks associated with it. 3) Write up a plan, and present it to the company I'm working with. Recieve no profits, but get to continue working from home for the forseeable future... unless this company also folds. 4) Do nothing. Let the idear collect dust, until my current job gives me the boot. I don't quite mesh with the companie's stategy, and think I may eventually be seen as a burden on their budget (I earn more than most people there, and am fairly invisible in the scheme of things). I will mull over the options for the next few months, and come up with a decision, which will likely be option 3 or 4, because each of those are pretty much the path of least resistance. I just dont know if I have the balls to put aside a good a monthly paycheck, even if the financial rewards of taking such a risk could be ten-fold.