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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Interesting site link

Was just hunting around for game-maker hex tutorials and found this gem of a site:

Lots of good overarching theory that can be applied to any game engine.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hoo boy.

4 more weeks (Or less!) until our new little addition comes out of mommy's belly and into our home.  It's dominating the landscape so expect less frequent updates for a while.

A few minor updates:
1) There's a limited time 'easter' game kit via DLC for Game-Guru.  I purchased it, it's satisfactory.  Price is appropriate.  Good if you want some models/code/etc for a kid game.  One really useful piece is the lava item.  There's some interesting examples in code as well.

2) I've done a little writing on MITC.  Hoping to wrap that up by years end.

3) Work is busy - and my current boss just quit.  So there's that.  It's kind of nutty atm.

One interesting thing is I was looking at game-maker studio and I believe that I can make a good
A) RPG game (wife is interested in this though I need to get better with GMS first).  I may flesh this out in game-guru first.
B) Or... use it to make a hex-based game to fill out my Mechwarrior Dark Age project.   This thought really appeals to me.

More on this later.
Thanks and take care.  If you have any requests for content reviews, please comment and I will consider it.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Morning Status 3/14

Happy Pi day, everyone!

So today I'm:
  • Fretting about going on call for the first time here at my job (starts on wednesday)
  • Taking care of baby-to-be items (it's really a huge list, but getting killed one item at a time)
  • I rewrote/updated my Mechwarrior: Dark Age/AOD Rules addendum HERE:
  • Been playing the new Master Of Orion on steam.. and it's glorious.  Everything I wanted to do in my re-moo project a few years ago.  Beautifully done.  I may game review it, but it's still early access and I need to see what rules there are on that.
  • Been monkeying with a few little things in Game-Guru but nothing major.  Mostly building towns/etc as a test exercise.
  • I'd like to build a Deus-Ex Style city level using Voodoo's models (though they might need some adjustments to their texture mapping).
  • Been reading this:
 That's about it for now. I'll try to have a review of a product done this week on game-guru's site, which is just growing by leaps and bounds.  But honestly I've been so busy it's tough to get time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Oldpman's Sci-Fi Block Kit

I've been meaning to do a proper write-up on this kit since I bought it.
It's no secret I love Sci-Fi set pieces and that I tend to favor them (if only for my own projects sake, but nonetheless I do tend to bias *JUST A BIT* towards SF pieces when evaluating.)

Store Link:

Oldpman is renowned for his prolific kits that contain many building blocks with which you can build sprawling maps. I own a few and enjoy them, though mostly they don't typically fit my style.
The previous pieces have lacked the gritty realism I usually enjoy.  Initially during the development phase of this, his first foray into the realm of Sci-Fi set pieces, I was nonplussed. I saw a lot of interesting shapes (that much at least was compelling) but a lot of the same out of place bright colors again.  Somewhere right before I smash the buy button, this all changed.  He managed to figure out illumination mapping and boy - what a difference that made!

See for yourself!

I remember sitting on the forums and watching this take shape; seeing it become closer to being a real piece I'd be interested in.  It debuted shortly after the Sci-Fi DLC came out, which admittedly was probably either really great timing by riding a wave of enthusiasm or really poor timing by being a competing product.  I resolved eventually to buy it when I saw some of the screen shots from the illuminated versions:

Most of this is done without lightmapping!

When it comes to Indy game development, you really have very little going for you.  You DON'T have multi-million dollar budgets, more than one or two people (in most cases) working on it, and massive art departments to work with.  So it's important that you have a clean, consistent style that's compelling to look at and doesn't scream "INDY GARBAGE".  This is one of the reasons to purchase Game-Guru in my opinion; you can source LOW PRICED, QUALITY art/assets very easily.

The updated palette brings it into System Shock/Doom-style levels of grit and color.

We've been gifted by several really good content releases for Sci-Fi products and this is no exception.  In fact, I'd easily say with the illumination mapping and low price ($14.95 as of this writing), it's firmly in the 'must own' category.  
You get 118 pieces and every single one is very intelligently put together.
Fitment of the pieces is less 'snap-together' than previous kits.  This does require a smidge of extra work to get pieces aligned, checked, etc.  That said, it looks phenomenal when completed.  Of special note is the brilliant touch of overhead glass windowed ceilings to work around the known limitation of quirky indoor lighting in GG.

Note the very clear squares letting light in from above and beautiful curved windows.

I'm going to just say I actually like this BETTER than the pieces from the Sci-Fi DLC.  Now that said, there's reasons to buy the Sci-Fi DLC as well (custom character pieces for instance) - this set only includes one character.  While it's not bad, it's not great.  It's a non-functional 'drone' which can be used but will require customization.  I like it's 'meh' face texture though the jets are a little bland looking.  That's more a byproduct of the lack of particle effects within GG though.
The "You done yet?" drone was a welcome addition to an otherwise set-piece only kit.

There's a LOT here though; objects, colored lights, signs, robotic arms, even a docking bay.  Really solid stuff.  Take for instance this barrier door:
I love how the barrier creates shadows but also takes illumination.  It's subtlety like that that makes it an Indy game look more professional than it might actually be.

 At the end of the day here it's really hard to match the quality and value of this.  You're paying a pittance for a FULL level building kit.  And not only that, it's wildly interchangeable.  A lot of these kits have a very 'similar' feel.  Levels lack variety because the pieces are all square, simple, or symmetrical.  The rounded corridors, variable heights, colors and shapes all make this infinitely variable which is a HUGE welcome for someone willing to put the time into developing a quality Indy title.

The bottom line: Pick this pack up now.  You'll have what you need from the art department; all you will need will be to improve your skills to meet the high bar that Oldpman has set for you.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday morning status 3/7

I didn't think life would start kicking the poop out of me until a few months from now, after the kid was born.  But things have been inordinately busy.

I've been having to do a lot of spring cleaning at home (A whole day just clearing 3 years of debris and detritus from the garage - and I'm not even done yet!), the kid requires endless prep work.  Paperwork for insurance.  Bills, etc.  On and on it goes.

I've had little time to work in game-guru which has been a disappointment for me.  I like working in game guru but my only time to work is in 15 minute spurts twice a week as I give my kid his 2 hours of 'daddy time' (1 hour per night of which 2 nights a week are game guru).  I build up some initial level stuff and he fills it out.  He does really well for a 6 year old.

That said though my projects are all in limbo.  I can't say when they'll get moving again.  Even this blog has suffered.
So no overarching promises this week.  I *MAY* get a content update out later this week but we'll see.