Quarter in Review: Winter 2017

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Okay, that title sounds really formal and corporate, but I want to at least try this kind of format out for the year. Why not? Let’s at least see how it went so far. 

Early in January, I realized my attempts at using Unity were not working. Game development quickly turned over to RPG Maker, and I designed and got working on a prototype for Dungeon University. 

It wasn’t easy. Quite often, just cleaning the house or even resting took priority. Bugs tended to stop me in my tracks. In the end, the prototype isn’t really a small playable game like I’d hoped, but it does show that I can get the main pieces working together. I also discovered aspects of the game that I didn’t see before, like the wonders of a small scale.

Meanwhile, Shelby has found herself a distraction from wedding planning: she now sells LipSense products. I don’t honestly know a lot about it, but it looks like she’s about to start making some real money now that she’s all set up. I’m really proud of her for all this.

And, of course, there’s that outline for The Demon’s Guardian that I mentioned. That’s just a big step toward the next few months, which I’ll have to cover in another post since this one is basically long enough already.

Overall, it’s actually been really productive. In the short term, I kept getting frustrated about not doing more, but I guess it turned out pretty well after all.

Okay, friends. What have you been up to so far this year? 

The Outline 

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Yesterday was a very intense day of working on The Demon’s Guardian. Specifically, I mapped out all the characters into groups and made sure each group gets a complete story arc. Then, I organized those pieces into a description of every single chapter of the book.

Honestly, I set out to get it done that morning because I thought it would just take an hour or two. But before I knew it, it was the middle of the afternoon and I hadn’t even eaten a thing all day. That left me only a little time to try to clean the house. It was more stressful than actually going to work!

But this opens up a lot of possibilities for the future. I had planned to work on this kind of outline right up until the point where wedding preparations take over our lives. This way, though, I could potentially get through a first draft by that time if I worked hard. Which, compared to my previous plan, leaves the second half of this year wide open. Needless to say, I like that. 

Breaking News! 

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Today, RPG Maker MV went on sale. A few minutes ago, I learned that I will be getting a little overtime at work. Coincidence? I think not. So, MV is now in my Steam library. 

Where does this leave the prototype/demo I was working on? Well, it basically has all the features I wanted. I could add some enemies and program in the conversations, but that’s just busywork.

The point of a prototype is to make sure the overall design works and is worth pursuing. Well, it works, and my gut says this game will be fun. Why put a lot more effort into a version that I was only going to show to a few people anyway? It’s time to call this one quits and get learning for the real deal.

Starting tomorrow, this proto-demo is officially finished, which means it’s time to work more on The Demon’s Guardian instead. (For the game dev side, I’ll mainly be practicing first.) So, stay tuned for that! 

Out of Order 

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Pair Bursts are now officially up and working, though some may need adjusting in the future. It took a weekend of coming back to it over and over to get it right, but I did it. 

Now, though, I’ve discovered a problem. It is possible to switch your party members’ positions during battle, but it turns out that it makes everything, well, wonky. I have a couple of suspicions about the cause, so it’ll either be a very easy fix or the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far.

If I do have to gut the character switching, though, it won’t be all bad. Frankly, the system I had to use is ugly and weird to use. I didn’t necessarily want to change it, though, because this is a prototype, and it technically works.

Well, on we go. 

Crunch Time? 

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The bad news is, I’m totally distracted by Breath of the Wild lately. It’s way more fun than I expected and it can eat several hours at a time. 

The good news is, this kind of starts to show how little time I actually need to make Dungeon University happen. In about a one-hour break, I managed to write the rest of the bonding conversations that will be in the demo. Turns out that “can’t go back to Zelda until this gets done” is pretty decent motivation. I’m going to try to use that more in the near future. 

A Delay

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Truthfully I’m not sure if I ever actually said that I wanted to release the Dungeon University prototype in April. But that was the plan. Either way, I don’t think I can make that window. Maybe May is more like it? Well, now you know.

Thank you.

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Sometimes it’s important to share when things are not going as well. After all, if I tried to tell you that I always got things done efficiently with no trouble, that would just be a lie. On the other hand, I risk making this blog overly negative. But at times it’s just the truth! 

I’ve been wondering whether all this is worth it. When Dungeon University is done, will it give me happiness that justifies the hours I’ve put into it? What about my next book? Or a clean house? Are any of these things worth the importance I give them?

Today, I wasn’t sure about the answer. But before I could finish this post, my fiance Shelby took me away from it all for a while and talked me out of ever giving up. I’m so glad she did. She keeps me going.