Shelby Quest Released!

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Yes, the little game I’ve been working on is finally done. And due to the magic of itch.io, it’s possible to play it on any modern browser. That means that even a decent phone will run it, regardless of whether you’re using Android, iOS or whatever else. (I opted not to make it an app for either in the end, due to some big stumbling blocks I found along the way that would really cost me to get past.)

So yeah. Go ahead and play it! Discover all the ways it’s broken and probably not all that great, seeing as I never really planned for it to have a storyline at all. If you’re playing on a phone or tablet, also be warned that it may have some lag and that the controls are kinda-sorta terrible. If I was advanced enough to begin to fix that, I would, but a bunch of programmers way better than myself have been working on those problems for over a year and I don’t see it ending. So, we’ll have to just live with that.

Overall, I’m fairly proud of this. It’s much more than I ever thought it could be, in a lot of ways. Sure, I definitely have my disappointments, as outlined above, but I also got some unexpected triumphs. Each character just naturally fit into the place that I chose for them, and the enemies, equipment and skills followed suit. At first I wrestled with the question of how to deal with difficulty when the player can just wander around wherever, but some friends over at Habitica gave me a clever solution.

Plus, other than the tiny short-short game I once made about Eibmoz (and am not honestly sure where it is anymore), this is the first time I’ve managed to actually finish and release a game of any complexity. You could also count CaveBlade or Miracle Springs, but those were just little growths from a tutorial and you can honestly complete either one in about 10 minutes. Plus, I never really cared if anyone played those or not, whereas I really hope a few people enjoy Shelby Quest. Even though I’m not expecting that to be more than like five people.

Anyway, let’s quit messing around. I ask of you, please be one of those people and play Shelby Quest!

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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.

Getting Started in Game Programming

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When I was getting into making a game, I jumped right in without thinking about what I was doing. I watched a few Youtube videos, copied their logic, and then started working from a framework that somebody else had made.

One of my favorites out of the people that I watched was Chris DeLeon. He didn’t just talk about working with some engine or doing a specific task–he clearly understands that making games is a way of life, and not an easy one.

Still, when I got some emails from him about Gamkedo, I was a little skeptical. Gamkedo is an online club that allows you to work with other people on game projects that take a few months each, and you keep rights to your contributions. It is, at the very least, good practice for this field. What made me wonder was the fact that there were monthly fees, and not tiny ones, either. To be on a team you need to put in about $30 a month, and to lead one it’s more like $50. Ouch!

Luckily, there’s also a $10 a month option, which doesn’t actually get you into making the games, but you can keep up with what people are doing. More importantly, you have the training materials. I’m talking about close to 1000 pages of text and at least 6 hours of video.

I subscribed for the first month, downloaded the training materials, and then canceled–I think all that for $10 is a great deal. 3 hours into the videos, I can tell you that this is indeed awesome. So far, the training is in JavaScript, but it’s all clear enough that I can jump back to C# at any time.

My main reason for making this post is really just to tell you that this exists and that I’m really impressed with what I got at this price point. I have no idea if the actual club is any good but, hey, I’m only out ten bucks. You can’t beat that.

Status Report

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Here’s a few updates on how things have been going with me lately, in no particular order.

  • Although my girlfriend and I were only casually looking at the house market, we found the deal of a lifetime, so she went ahead and made an offer yesterday. She might close on a great house today.
  • Since getting home last weekend, I’ve submitted about 20 job applications. Some of them have already responded, but I’m on the fence about those particular ones.
  • Trying to write 1000 words a week on The Demon’s Guardian. That’s going fine, but I fear I’m just writing another complete mess.
  • A small change in Dungeon University has revealed a lot of bugs that I don’t understand. Today I’m going to start commenting all the programming, and if I don’t know what something does, I’ll find out. (Someone else got it all started, you see.)
  • I really suck at remembering Japanese vocab and characters. Good thing I have Anki flash cards.

Thanks for reading. I’ll probably expand on some of these in separate posts later on, but this is the basic summary. How are all of you guys doing? I want to hear from those that visit me!

Life Goals

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EDIT: I almost didn’t post this publicly. There’s something sort of personal about all this, and I have a hard time putting myself out there. Sounds silly, but it’s true. So thanks in advance for just taking a look at it.

Alright, guys. I’m trying to work out what this blog will be about, while also holding myself accountable. I’m hoping to keep this short, since there are a lot of these, here we go.

Goal 1: Release Book Trilogy

As I mentioned in my last post, my first book came out in 2013 and I haven’t made much progress since. That’s silly, considering there were supposed to be three. So, for each of the other two books, I’m giving myself a year to write, and around eight months to polish up and release. With a little work each week, that’s plenty of time.

Goal 2: Make a Respectable Living

In my personal notes, I actually have a dollar amount tied to this, and I’m only giving myself about two years to get there. I don’t know if it’s too easy or too hard to get to that specific number, but the important thing is that I hone my skills, hunt for what’s out there, and don’t settle.

Goal 3: Release Dungeon University

This one’s tough. Dungeon University is just getting started, but I think that if I dedicate some real hours to it, I can accomplish this goal in about 2 years. I’d break this goal down into parts, but that would take way more space than I have here.

Goal 4: Get a Game Onto Steam’s Front Page

Hang on. Isn’t this sort of an extension of Goal 3? Well, the game that I do this with may be Dungeon University, or any other one that I make some day. That goal is just to make a game–this goal is to effectively promote a game. I have some marketing to learn.

Goal 5: Physical Fitness

I’m not even a couch potato–if I can avoid getting out of bed in the morning, I won’t. So being able to run for any length of time, lift even a few dozen pounds… it’ll be tough. I have to do just a little bit of work every day. Once I can do one push-up with good form, maybe I can put a number to this.

Goal 6: Romantic Aspirations

I really care about the woman that I’m with right now. After a year and a half, we are quite certain about the future we have together. I have to give her my all and move forward with her in the next few years, and at times, it will take some work.

Goal 7: Japanese Fluency

Specifically: I want to be able to play video games in Japanese without having to stop and look at a guide or look up every other word. I want it to feel more or less normal to me. I’ve taken two years of Japanese class, and I think in a couple more years I’ll be able to do all that.

Goal 8: Stay Sane

Unlike the others, this goal does not have a deadline. In a way, it’s an anti-goal. I want to do the other 7 things without losing everything else I care about, or losing my mind. Tall order? Maybe. But I’ll try.

 

Thanks for reading, everyone. Do you think I can do it? What goals do you have on the horizon?