Carbon @ The 2017 BGS Showcase

So yesterday I went ahead and did a thing by demoing Carbon for the first time at the 2017 BGS Showcase. Full of bugs, lacking major features like sound, and lacking any real objectives for the player, it seemed to go okay for the most part.

As it stands right now, Carbon randomly generates a large cityscape environment the player can pilot their GeoDyne Carbon mech around in. It also throws in eight randomly placed bases (icospheres defended by turrets) and some not-so-bright tanks that have a surprisingly decent shot at killing players.

Biggest takeaway from demoing it last night: my level generation code needs work. There’s a particularly nasty pseudo-while loop that was causing the build to crash pretty frequently when the player wanted to “play again” after dying. Fixing the loop is pretty easy, but I’m still not thrilled with how it’s building the levels in the first place so I’d rather come up with a better level generation system anyway.

Another thing is the bases don’t do anything other than give you a bunch of points when you destroy them. I made the weapons system in the game robust enough that I could create just about anything, so I’d like them to drop new weapon configurations the player could pick up (kinda like Star Fox). Health pickups and powerups could be cool too, but for now, pew pew pew.

I really hate the mech design. It had been bugging me for a while now, but after last night I’ve decided it’s gotta go. It’s too focused on being low-poly, and that detracts from the general vibe I want the game to give. Still gonna keep that low poly aesthetic to a degree, but just not quite so harsh. I really want the thing to look like a Pontiac Stinger with legs, and right now it’s very much not. This vibe applies to just about all the other art assets as well, so there’s probably going to be a revamp of them in the future.

On top of sound missing, the game really needs some explosions. In a game where your main method of interacting with the world is shooting things like tanks and turrets, it just feels better if they blow up, throwing weird polygonal bits everywhere. Not a terribly difficult thing to do, just something I passed on in terms of priority when getting it ready for the showcase.

All in all though, I think it went pretty well. It got way more play than I expected it too, especially when it was in the company of some way better looking and more polished titles. And the people that did check it out seemed to enjoy it for what it was, so that was nice. I’m not sure what I’ll fix/add next, but if you wanna check it out for yourself and play the latest version(s), you can grab it at carbon.hellocld.com.

ANYYES by HangOnGetReady – Sneak Peek

My buddy HangOnGetReady has been making tunes with FamiTracker for a while now, and I’d say an EP release from him is beyond overdue at this point. Fortunately he’s got a really good one on the way, and he was kind enough to consider me for designing the artwork for the release. I thought with it’s impending release it’d be cool to share a couple “behind the scenes” shots of the artwork I created for it.

ANYYES by HangOnGetReady releases on May 16th as a digital download or CD Digipak on Bandcamp. Listen to his other music at hangongetready.rocks 

I really need to get out of the habit of starting these posts with “gee, it’s been a while since I posted on the blog”

I’ve been working on mech game for about six months now (according to Bitbucket I started it on February 9th), and shockingly I’m still making slow progress on it. Networked multiplayer works, the base code for all weapons is largely implemented, and I’ve even got some basic animation done for the Geon 3 chassis.

And yet, once in a while still get this overwhelming “what the fuck am I doing?” feeling. The sense that I’m biting off way more than I can chew with this project, and it’s never gonna get done or work right. Even though I’ve got the basics all laid out already, I still feel like I won’t finish it. Like it’s gonna be shit. And both of those things could realistically happen. That’s a pretty intimidating feeling at times.

Part of it comes from this tendency I have of reading into things and getting super granular on subjects that I really shouldn’t be worrying about right now. For example, yesterday I was researching different ways of handling the network aspect of the game and the Low Level API offered by Unity, which is basically a multiplatform UDP implementation. Right now I’m using unity’s High Level API, which does a lot of things behind the scenes to make stuff work, and for the most part it’s fine – but there’s a part of me that doesn’t like the black box nature of it and wants to get a deeper understanding and tighter handle on what’s happening. So I started reading up on the LLAPI and spinning your own networking code and serializing data to send as packets and packet compression and suddenly I’m drowning in this pool of information that realistically is totally unnecessary right now.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. A couple years back I felt that Unity was too much of a black box, so I went about writing my own entity component game engine in C++ with SDL2.

CLD-ECS-Concepts

I did get it working (and pretty well too, all things considered), but it took me months just to write up a framework that created a window and bounced some sprites around. Whereas if I had just dealt with my weird feelings towards Unity I could’ve written a 3D pong clone in a fraction of the time.

So after delving down the rabbit hole that is advanced networking techniques, I started getting all those dreaded “this project is too big and I just suck so let’s quit and be done with it” thoughts. It took a good chunk of time, focus, and lecturing from my better half to remind me that I gotta keep this stuff broken into manageable parts. This morning I started writing the code for the weapon management system, so I think that’s a good step in the right direction.

This was a far longer ramble than I intended it to be, apologies for the longwindedness about largely nothing. Future posts should be a bit shorter as I’ll be posting more frequently about smaller updates on mech game.

PLEASE-BE-EXCITED-MEME-03172015

Livestreaming and Level Editing

doooooooom

I’ve recently discovered I have an affinity for level design. I love the idea of crafting a space that you can then run around in and explore. I also love Doom. So naturally, it seems to make sense that I’d like to make spaces you can run around and explore, with the added bonus of shooting demons in the face.

I just started playing with the tools for creating levels in Doom in the last month or so, so I’m still relatively new to the subject. However, I feel that I’ve reached a point of comfort where I can livestream myself trudging along in GZDoom Builder. The first of these went live last night at around 9:45 or so, and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube if that’s your cup of tea/coffee/kool-aid.

I’m aiming to livestream every night or two for at least an hour. It helps keep me focused, and scheduling it makes sure I actually work on stuff and get something accomplished. I’ll probably write something more in-depth on my thinking and process at some point, but for the time being you can catch my livestreams to see what I’m making and chat with me about level design/games/Doom/whatever.

House Rules Re-Release (v2)

I’m happy to announce the re-release of my first print and play board game, House Rules! You can download it from itch.io by clicking here or on the logo above.

From the game page:

House Rules is a print-and-play party game for people with a penchant for making their friends do ridiculous things.Take turns racing around the board, drawing cards with rules on them each step of the way. One turn you might get a Board Rule that advances you three spaces. On your next you might get a Player Rule telling you to:

  • Win a 10 second round of Charades
  • Sketch a player AND get their approval
  • Do your best Chewbacca impersonation
  • Prank call a friend on someone else’s phone and keep them on the line for five minutes
  • Play “Truth or Dare” with the player to your left – they get to ask/dare you

Sound ridiculous? It is. Download it, print it, and start playing

The game is free to download, but if you can donate a couple bucks it’s much appreciated. If you can’t donate but still want to help me out, tell me what you think of the game! It’s still work in progress to a certain degree, so feedback of any sort will definitely help make the game better.

Be sure to follow the House Rules Twitter account, and tweet your best Player Rules with hashtag #MyPlayerRule!

SUPER BotRunner

Hey, first post for a new project! I’ve decided to re-learn Unity (again), and figured a good way to do that would be to remake Botrunner. Before I get into the details, I thought I’d just post a few little videos of what I’ve done so far:


So basically what’s going on here is I’m toying with both 2D and 3D physics, using a sprite character in a traditional platformer format but using 3D models instead of traditional sprite tiles. And so far, it’s working pretty well! Naturally, I’ve still got plenty of stuff to work out. Here’s what’s at the top of the list right now:

    • How to handle level data – do I want to make one main model in Blender or do I want to create lots of little “tile” models?
    • Should I just make a separate scene for each stage, or design some sort of “stage loader”?
    • Camera code – it must be sexy
    • What version control system should I use for this thing?

Anywho, I figure I’ll be posting a good deal about this in here. As always, any and all input is greatly appreciated. More updates soon!

Thumbwars

Thumbwars

At BGSJAM 3 this past weekend, the theme was Let’s Get Weird!, which was a pretty awesome theme IMO. To that end, Damon McKernan and I made this awesome game called Thumbwars.

Thumbwars is an intense, two-player thumb wrestling game. Each player picks one of the two sticks on a Xbox 360 pad – moving the pad moves your hand, while clicking it locks your thumb down. Hold your thumb down to accrue points, but if the other player manages to pin your thumb you’ll lose a TON of points while trying to shake off the pin. Give it a go, it’s a lot of fun!

p.s. – I made the 3D models for this game, which might get included in the $20 tier reward of this awesome Kickstarter you should totally back.

BGSJAM 3 – Or, Why I’m Dropping My Custom Engine (For Now)

A Very Valuable Lesson

I learned a very valuable lesson this weekend – if I want to make games, I should probably make games.

For the last year or so (Jesus, that’s a long time) I’ve been messing around with what I’ve been calling cldECS. It’s a framework in C++ for creating programs using the Entity-Component-System method. It’s pretty simple, but it works well enough. Originally I wanted to use this framework to build a 2D game engine to make stuff with.

Goddamn, did I bite off more than I could chew.

In that time, all I’ve done is made a few little programs that put some text to the screen, and one that had some bouncing sprites. But nothing came close to the complexity that is even a simple game engine. Nothing.

BGSJAM 3

On the last day of BGSJAM 3 I was messing around with some more advanced features I knew I’d need in a simple engine (serialization, JSON library integration, that sort of thing) and I realized two things:

  1. The level of stress I was getting just trying to get a simple library to do what I wanted was something I didn’t want to deal with
  2. I was dooming myself to spend more time reinventing the wheel (badly) than making an actual game

I want to make games. I really do. But a little voice in my head keeps saying “dude, you gotta do it from scratch, that’s the only real way to make a game.” And that’s bullshit. This is the part where I tell you why.

Why It’s Bullshit

There are SO MANY GAMES out there that are made in things like Unity or GameMaker. SO MANY. Games that I love, even! Hotline Miami. Fotonica. Super Crate Box. Thomas Was Alone. Shadowrun Returns. Superhot. I mean, why WOULDN’T I want to make a game using one of these engines? Clearly they’re beefy enough to make games I would want to both make and play.

“Well,” says my brain, “don’t you think you’re smart enough to spin your own solution? What are you, an idiot or something?” Yes, I am an idiot. For thinking that I should try to make something as ridiculously complex as an engine right now. I’m by no means a great programmer. I’m not even a very good one. And that’s okay.

I think that’s the hardest part I’ve had trying to use other engines like Unity in the past. A part of me tells me I’m somehow failing by using an engine or solution I didn’t create myself. And that, quite frankly, is fucking insanity. When someone has created an engine that better, easier to use, and more supported than anything I could make on my own, why the hell wouldn’t I use it?  Because of my pride? Fucking please. I gotta get over that shit and just make rad stuff.

What’s Next

I’m gonna do the unthinkable – blank my desktop harddrive and make it purely a Windows machine. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Linux. But I want to work in Unity, which means it’s Windows time. And having that be my sole OS will make it that much easier for me to get into dev mode (much like booting straight into Linux has had me doing way more C++ coding lately).

Sooooo, yeah. TL;DR, I’m getting back into Unity. Again. Let’s hope for some rad stuff.

cldECS – Quick Update

cldECS

 

What’s Shakin’

Just a quick update on the Entity Component System framework project! Yes, I’ve been working away on it, and it’s now running swimmingly. While I’m still working on some example projects using it, you’re more than welcome to download it and try it out for yourself. The docs (that is, the README) aren’t all that fleshed out, but the headers all have pretty solid explanations of what everything does. There’s only four of them, so it shouldn’t be too tough a read. https://github.com/hellocld/CLD-ECS

Cool Graphic

As you can see from the image above, I went ahead and made a logo for it. While I might be getting a bit too excited about things with that, I made it for a good reason; one which will be evident hopefully in the coming weeks. And those shapes in the logo weren’t just picked out of a hat. 😉

Landing What?

Finally, I’m confident enough in this simple framework that I also made a little landing page for it. Right now it doesn’t have much other than the logo that links to the GitHub project, but it’s something to keep an eye on. http://cldecs.hellocld.com/