CaveBlade: Done for now

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This week, my fiance and I came down with a cold that kept me down after work. Because of that, I haven’t gotten much done in the way of testing or getting rid of bugs. But, before that, I managed to get the world of CaveBlade put together. It’s sixteen rooms of puzzles and combat, leading up to a fierce little boss fight.

Despite all the hangups, I am ready to call this game finished, as far as my current skills go. Sure, there are new things I could add to it, but nothing that I would be really excited to create. No, it’s time to move on to a new project. I have a few ideas for what to try to make next, so you’ll find out what I decide a week from now, when I post the first update for it. In the meantime, try out CaveBlade–and thank you for following as I’ve made it.

CaveBlade: It’s a Secret

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This week, due to my grandpa’s passing, I opted out of my usual Throwback Thursday. There won’t be a new CaveBlade build today, either. It just feels a little disrespectful to do something like that right now.

In truth, there are other reasons not to upload one. Basically, I focused on new tiles and enemies this week, plus a few bugs. All my testing was in quick makeshift maps that sort of threw everything together for simplicity.

The month of CaveBlade is almost over! So, starting today, there will be no new features, tiles, or enemies. If I find more bugs, I’ll fix them, but I mainly want to concentrate on creating and testing maps for the game. It doesn’t matter what kind of graphics, sounds, or even programming is in play, unless the player has good levels to explore.

Friday is the 30th of the month, so by that day, I hope to have a final build of CaveBlade to show the world. Sure, maybe someday, when I’m better at all this, I’ll revisit and improve it. But for now, this has to be the limit. That way I can move on to trying other things, with a fresh start in October. What kind of game will I make next? Who knows? I have some ideas but even I’m not totally sure yet.

For the moment, I suppose all I can ask you to do is… anticipate.

Dealing with the inevitable

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Today I lost my grandfather.

It’s not really a surprise, in a way. We’ve all known that his health was declining for years. But when we all sat down together to tell him goodbye yesterday, it was one of the most emotional moments of my life.

I don’t have the space yet to describe it – it’s too fresh for me to even explain what he means to me. But I do know that this is going to affect me every day for the rest of my life. We’re all going to miss him.

CaveBlade: Puzzle Time?

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I’m going to be honest: the method I have of getting CaveBlade online, without paying for hosting, is exhausting to do every single week. Plus, I’m not sure how it would work with sound. To avoid all that headache, I’ve decided to just make it a good old-fashioned ZIP file, so you can just download it.

So what’s new? The game has music and some sound effects now, although not everything is covered yet. Some of them are almost as hilariously bad as the graphics, if you can believe that.

Once that was done, I got a throwing weapon working, though you’ll have to hope for some ammo drops if you want to try it. I made them hard to find because it’s really powerful right now.

And finally, pushable blocks! That took me more effort than anything else so far, but it will pay off in the types of rooms I can build. The blocks can also hold down switches, which turn a special gate 90 degrees to let you through. You’ll have to try the short level available to see what I mean.

Keep in mind that I haven’t tested this release that much. Push blocks are surprisingly complicated, which means lots of possible bugs.

Still, I would love it if you would try it out and tell me what you think. Get it here.

Throwback Thursday: Writing Like Earth

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Every Thursday, I’m going to post a previous article from my blogging past. This week’s post was originally titled “Elemental Writing: Earth” and appeared on Obscure Authors Alliance.

Earth

Image source: The Avatar Wiki

Here we are at the last element, the stable one. We can feel safe knowing that we’ve gotten this far. After all, of all the elements, which can you stand on with no fear of falling? That’s right. Earth.

Earth represents the things we can feel most confident are really there, the ones that won’t disappear unless we give them up. They’re the physical things: money, a house, a healthy body. Symbolically, it also stands for the desire for those things. People need to know that these possessions are safe, because without them they have no foundation for the other things in life. This is what we cling to.

Earth-based characters are usually the plain, easy-to-understand type. They’re dependable, but that can go too far into stubbornness. What they believe is what they believe: they’ll stand, steadfast. Oddly enough, very few of them show hints of being preoccupied with physical goods–a trait that earth tends to symbolize on other levels.

Is your earth in balance? Depending on the reason you write, it might not be at the moderate place it needs in order to avoid crumbling. If you write mainly for yourself and to entertain, then you may be in danger of putting it too far ahead of other things. You still need to make a living at the same time. And in the bodily sense, an obsession with writing can also affect your health. I’m guilty of being so preoccupied with it that I forget to eat! Don’t sacrifice everything in order to write–or you’ll lose your ability to sit down and do it.

On the other hand, some people go too far. If your main goal is to sell lots of books and make lots of money, that’s okay. But you have to remember that our trade isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and even if it was, money can’t buy happiness. It can only buy security. If security is what you want, great! Just don’t get so wrapped up in it that you tie yourself up.

If you’ve been following this series, you know what comes next: what’s the role of earth in the story? I would call earth the standards that exist among published works. Everyone knows that you have to have some kind of beginning, middle and end to your story, even if they’re not necessarily in chronological order. I think it’s pretty clear that you can’t just scribble a picture of your character, slap the title on it and print it all out at home and call that a book. There’s a lot of wiggle room in storytelling, but it’s all built on a foundation of basic ideas that you need to stick to. Especially if you really do want the money.

That wraps up the talk about earth, and, in turn, the bigger discussion about the roles of the four classical elements in writing. It’s been a lot of fun and very enlightening for me, too–if you know me, you know that I rarely share things unless I’m learning something in the process. I used a few different resources for this series, but I’d like to thank Raven’s Tarot Site in particular. I know that may seem a little on the mystical side, but in my opinion the Tarot is something that’s worth learning even if you never plan to use it. Why? Well, maybe I’ll highlight that another day. Until then, see you around, fellow writers.

やめる: to quit

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Learning Japanese doesn’t make me happy anymore. 

It’s unlikely to benefit my career in the foreseeable future. I can’t think of anything fun to do if I visited Japan. With no Japanese-only games that I care about at the moment, and little time for anime, the list of benefits is getting short–or nonexistent.

On the other hand, making games is more exciting every day. I enjoy that feeling of seeing a new feature or piece of content suddenly work, sometimes better than I had imagined. It’s just more worth my time. The same is true of my home life: it makes me happy. So that’s what I’m going to spend time on. Simple. 

CaveBlade: Combat Update

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Warning: terrible graphics ahead!

CaveBlade Prototype

It’s another week of CaveBlade work, and progress is steady. As you can see from the screenshot, I replaced everything with… different graphics. Notice that I did not say “better” graphics, because in many cases they’re really bad. But, all of them are now made entirely by me, which gives me a little bit more right to this game. (In the previous version all the pictures were provided by Chris DeLeon, the tutorial maker.)

Much more importantly, though, there are enemies, traps, and a health meter. The bat flies around at complete random, not really caring about the walls, whereas the zombies are contained to walking areas. The player also has a crude sword swing that can kill them. Also, I added different kinds of keys, to test later. None of this has changed the solution to get out of the room–it just adds a little interest.

As with last week, I uploaded a slightly older version of the game because I’m reasonably sure that this version doesn’t have a lot of bugs. Some things that I have already worked on, but don’t show up in this update, include going off to other rooms, as well as a throwing knife attack. Besides making more actual rooms to test these features in, I’m also working on adding sound to the game. Because of that, it should feel a lot more substantial when I come back next week.

In the meantime, try the current version here.