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About DogCity

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  1. DogCity


    How doo gamedev.net? Well it's been too long and I apologise to anyone that it may have concerned for my not keeping of a more consistent journal. It was never a strong point for me; all that writing and formatting which wasn't GAME development. Still, I've found it to be an extremely valuable tool to keep track of my progress when I am developing a game, and so, it is with great humility that I return to this hallowed sanctum of geekyness and ask you fine ladies and gentlemen to enjoy, destroy and something-rymes-with-roy my bi-monthly (hah!) accounts of the creation of a new game and my sometime freelancing at whatever I can get my hands on. But first, it seems like a good time to get the elephant in the room ...out of the room and through whatever exit will accommodate his hugeimungous ass acreage. Such an ungainly exposition will require nothing less than a gamedev.net sized tube. For those who remember, I tried to make an MMO. It failed. In this first journal instalment of a new chapter, I will provide a short treatise on Tearsols crashing and burning, including how it ended in great justice. A gap in the market. Tearsol was not a labour of love, for me at least. It was conceived as a project compromise between me and my long time co-developer friend, then vacuum packed into a format which I believed held significant value. Though I did come to relate to it almost like a family member, it was more like dealing with the rebellious teenager who you've invested too much precious life force into to let it walk out of the door wearing dungarees, and nothing else. Like most informed adults, I was aware of the immense amount of work, cost, and sleepless nights I'd have to live with, but felt that if I could get that thing out the door with a reasonable set of clothes and a sensible hair cut, I'd complete two key objectives: 1) Be very, very proud of myself and the people who made it happen. And... 2) Never have to work again. What I'm trying to say is, I had (and still have) a firm belief that the market we were building Tearsol for is vastly undersupplied and will make a very fine living for the people who manage to tap it. The generous offers of investment I received toward the end of the project demonstrated this, and NCSoft are obviously keen to get a piece of it, which is enough proof for me. This made the ending of the project an extremely welcome break from something which began as indie game development, but rather quickly morphed into an excessively stressful and frankly bizarre pseudo business. So objective 2 would have to wait for a while. I realised, however, upon finally closing the books on Tearsol, that I had more than fulfilled objective 1. I was immensely proud of what had been produced. We had a game. When Tearsol was finally put to sleep it had the beginnings, the very faint beginnings, of a great game. I'm sure that I saw our work through rose tinted glasses, but it seemed to me that what we managed to produce had all the makings of a great experience. That is to say: We had done all the right things, and all the right things were being done. Granted, we were barely off the starting grid and our destination was still obscured by the curvature of the earth, but races can be won and lost in their first few moments, and the race was going bloody great right up until we stalled and gently rolled to a halt. I had the pleasure to write three references for team members while developing Tearsol. One of those members is now in full time game development employ, thanks in no small part to the wonderful artwork he produced for Tearsol. A second found work with a major French game developer; though I suspect his 20 years of programming experience did most of the talking, I do like to think that the time spent on Tearsol and the help I provided with his side projects allowed him to demonstrate that he was capable of game development. Personally, I learned a vast amount. Mainly from the other members of the team who were patient as saints as I muddled through code, applications, and artistic conventions which I could never have understood without their help. I wrote some 40k words in the course of documenting Tearsol, and that figure could be twice as much if I included the vast MSN verbiage and rambling e-mail correspondence about everything from service structure to dead reckoning. A tangible result of this is my truly terrible 64k word space opera sci-fi novel, which I could never have contemplated writing if I hadn't seen how easy 40k could be. So we all had a whale of a time, and have made many friends and great contacts for life. To me, that is more than enough cause to be very, very proud of what we produced --even if it's not available for public consumption. As for the money, well that comes and goes, but such experience and friendship is priceless. True, it won't buy a Porsche, but I'm more of an Aston Martin man anyway. Wait. Those things won't buy an Aston either? In the end we were victims of our own success. Like lemmings, I suppose. The shining talent inside the team could only have resulted in one unfeasibly ironic result, to which I was utterly blind until the discussions about job hunting and portfolios hit a fever pitch just a few months before we drew the project to a close. Perhaps I should have tried harder to sell the ultimate goal of fame and fortune in those last few weeks as each briefly intersecting agent whirred off on a new tangent, but it felt like an empty plea when we had already achieved so much. You can download the Tearsol source here. It does not include our licensed networking libraries. My new project is significantly simpler, in traditional terms, but no less audacious. Stay tuned for more information once it exists.
  2. DogCity

    Sony can suck my baaaawwwllllssss

    I have a pair of them Sony do-watsits.. I know what you mean, if you turn up the source audio as high as you can, you can get rid of most of the static.. But yeah.. Time for a new pair.
  3. DogCity


    Quote:Original post by Anonymous Poster Too long. Didn't read. Lolerpopsicles, rating ++
  4. DogCity

    Sony can suck my baaaawwwllllssss

    I have a pair of them Sony do-watsits.. I know what you mean, if you turn up the source audio as high as you can, you can get rid of most of the static.. But yeah.. Time for a new pair.
  5. DogCity


    Props to ze man for a concise post. As a great jedi master once told me: "find thyself, know thyself, master thyself", - and he didn't even smile at the end or anything. It also helps to know that if you fail, you'll have to actually get a proper Job. That's a real good motivator that'll pop up once you stop being a student. [grin]
  6. DogCity

    Something useful

    GUI it, tack on some pointless functions and sell it as "X-Monitor X-treme".
  7. DogCity

    Milestone 7 sir?

    We have just completed Tearsol's seventh milestone, which was as productive as it was challenging. We originally intended to focus on consolidating our feature list and doing lots of testing in the client and server. Long story short, we did re-unite the graphical client and server, but not to the degree we planned, and I think it's safe to diagnose a case of feature creep as the cause! I'll give a summary of things so far and then talk a little about our plans for the next milestone and how we will conquer feature creep. One of the key features of this milestone is that is marks the completion of ALL our core services and features at a basic level. That means the gameplay, login and asset services have their functionality ready to roll, although the login and asset services are not actually separate services yet. The gameplay service has LUA script integrated and indeed tested through some AI behaviors and it's all ready to talk with the login and asset services. So that's a huge achievement, specially in nine months! The milestone itself called for the development of advanced in-game GUI functionality, radar, the markup language used to build the popup's and such. Here's a little preview of the GUI, it's designed to minimize down to the two bars along the bottom when not in use. I hope it looks as good once it's reconstructed in the client. As some people may know, we are also working on a mini project as an entry in this years 4E contest, we are building it off the Tearsol client and at the moment work on one game is often doubling as work on the other, GUI functionality being one of them, which is neat to know. We have chosen to actually take it a bit easy with asset production for Tearsol at the moment, this milestone didn't include any audio work and very little 3D development. The art side of the Export-games team is at least as accomplished as our programming side, but we are very aware that if artwork was developed to such an aggressive schedule as programming we would undoubtedly get well ahead of ourselves, and I feel it's important to build up a good portfolio of concept work before any substantial work is done on art assets, as long as time permits. Here's our latest concept - the 'generic' female mage, try to keep control of your jaws, gent's. So... feature creep. As I mentioned, our main objective with milestone 7 was to get the client and server hooked back up for another developer test and to get a look at our various movement systems working perfectly ;). We did achieve this at a basic level, but haven't had the developer test yet, which means we haven't set up a webstart test. This is essentially because distribution in the form of a webstart simply takes a bunch of work and, when we come to putting everything together the general consensus is: "lets just get x and/or y done too we'll only have to do it all again in a week if we don't". Pretty standard stuff, right? Unfortunately, yes. I'm not a huge fan of any particular development convention, but If I had to compare the standard indie process I guess it's closest to SCRUM. I'd like to get a step closer to it, and produce monthly builds at the least from now on. I'm sure it will become more simple as much of the actual gameplay is developed in scripts on the server, but there feels like a definite widening of our feature base which needs to be continually managed - and that makes the compilation process all the more unpleasant. Either way, the graphical client and server are now working together again and next milestone will be focused on consolidating and testing the swathes of new features which need integrating. We are going to try our darndest to get a webstart build up for the artists and such on the dev team. I hope you'll all see a very great leap forward in graphics and functionality. Cheerio.
  8. DogCity


    Daylight dims leaving cold fluorescence. Difficult to see you in this light. Please forgive this bold suggestion: Should you see your Maker's face tonight, Look Him in the eye, look Him in the eye, and tell Him: I never lived a lie, never took a life, but surely saved one. Hallelujah, it's time for you to bring me home.
  9. DogCity

    Milestone 6 and then some.

    Time for a Tearsol update. I got a little out of sync with the milestones so this is just a general 'hows your father?' progress report. Last milestone was excellent as usual, 80% of the checkpoints completed, I wonder if it's possible for that to be higher? Anyhow that means we now have full irc like chat functionality which is hooked into our field of view (FOV) system for area / local / zone channels, also you can chose people to talk to in a private channel by dragging their names onto a private box. It'll probably confuse the hell out of people, because at the moment you can have as many people as you want in a private channel but they don't have each other - so yeah, utter confusion ensues even if you understand the system. Anyway, thats the basic functionality for groups / guilds / friends, so not to be eaten raw [smile]. There have been a number of general graphical improvements to the client, some terrain rendering optimizations and the beginnings of a flora scattering system. All basic building features are completed - did I mention how much the building format rules? So this milestone we have been working on a big range of things already, me and Alan initially worked on the 'live asset database' - which basically allows us to check-in completed artwork and audio with it's descriptive text, name, download priority and vital statistics and then rename the committed item to something which is 'asset service' friendly. The asset service doesn't exist yet, but we figured that was a good place to start, it has a double use because it makes a nice navigable interface, which will help with world building and scripting. So whats in the pipeline right now? Well Stratboy61 is expanding the FOV functionality and writing some AI behaviors. Alan has just finished work on our dead reckoning code and will probably move back to graphics development. I've just got a big website update out of the way for a client, who produces our concept art in return, so I guess I better get on with making some models. Joe, Matt and Steve are all chilling out while application development catches up with the art schedule. We're going to be doing some help wanted ads soon, mainly looking for an extra server developer for some long term commitment and also a general client developer for whatever takes their fancy. An OGL wizz would be fantastic. If anyone reading this is interested then send me a PM. Righto, that's your lot. Here's a house and the completed paladin (we might get him colored later [smile]) Cheerio.
  10. DogCity

    erm, goal?

    How to write a cliched game design thread title, or "How I learned to write like a writer, writes" ... of mice and men. I'm going to make christmas hampers of cafepress goodies for the developers who have been with export-games for a while. I'm excited!
  11. DogCity


    Sometimes EA makes me angry. It's almost like they only care about the money! Yeah a syndicate remake would rule supreme.
  12. DogCity

    Ancient wisdom.

    Yup I guess, I'm fairly sure they made it specifically happen in this situation though. The small ledge is definitely made with the intention to let you on to the roof if you try hard enough, and I could never get similar results elsewhere in the game. It's an error, but one they expected to be exploited. Weirdos.
  13. DogCity

    Kult House is...LAUNCHED!

    Ooh la laa. Nice beans, captain watsit!
  14. DogCity

    Ancient wisdom.

    It's time to reveal a secret that is so old that Old Man Time himself misplaced it, just last week. To my knowledge, up till today I have been the only living human to know of this fantastical secret - except for the boffins at Core Design I guess. If it's public knowledge then I'm still cool, because I discovered it all by myself! The Croft mansion roof. (and assorted oddities) This is do-able in Tomb Raider 2 and 3 I think. Definitely 2. Load up the Mansion training level, go outside and make your way to the slip line. The rope slidy wheel thingamy. Climb onto the starting block to access the line, but don't slide down it. Align Lara so she is facing the direction that the slip rope travels, but on the most front right side of the block. Now turn her 45* to face into the front right corner. Make sure she is as close to the edge as she can go by walking forward. The rope is the brown line. Lara is the green blob standing on the red block, with the pink blocks representing the two higher pillars either side. See where she's facing? Now hold down the 'Look' button, I think it's a shoulder button and angle the camera so it's directly above her head, looking down on her. Hold the view and jump so she jumps directly up toward the camera a few times. If all goes to plan she will glitch and 'fall' onto the top of the higher pink pillar to her right. I figure this is because her 'jump straight up' animation actually moves her forward a little each time, if the camera angle and Laras body angle are correct her only place to move to is the otherwise impossible to reach high pillar :). Ok, once you are there, turn left and do a standing forward jump onto the high pillar on the left of the slip, it's closer to the house roof. Jumping straight at the roof from here doesn't work, she won't grab on, but try it by all means. Point her in the direction the slip way travels, on the front left side of the pillar. You are going to do a running jump toward a part of the roof which sticks out, it looks like it slopes but in fact has one flat triangle along the closes edge to Lara. You have to do a running jump, initially aiming further left and pulling Lara to the right, so she turns in the air to reach the ledge exactly straight on. If you do all that crap correctly, you'll grab on to the wee flat triangle, climb up and go dance around on her roof! Well. I'm glad I got that off my chest. So long as the world knows. If anyone does this, please post some screenies. I dumped my PlayStation long ago, so couldn't provide any shots myself.
  15. DogCity

    The Admiral is almost late!

    Huzzo! Congrats!
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