Sunday, 4 October 2015

Small Updates

I updated some of the blog pages and the landing page.

Changed are made on Who Am I? and Stories.

On the first page, I added social media links for people who are interested to connect with me.

On the second page I added a link to the story blog I mentioned in the last post. So far I have posted one short story with a fake newspaper followup and the first two chapters of my most recent longer story over there. The blog format is not the best one for chapters of larger stories as they are ordered by date of the posts and as a result backwards.

The landing page is still a mess and I have to do more on it but so far I am not sure what it will look like as I am thinking about moving the blog over to a better address and maybe even another format like Wordpress or so. So far, those are just thoughts as I have not found a suitable server and URL solution for my needs. I would like to have just one address where you can find all the information and all the posts from this blog and the story blog in a format suitable for the content.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Updates after a pause that was far too long

It has been too long without any update, my life is still kinda the same. I am working on my projects and some of them proceed others fall victim to unfortunate time management. 

As for projects, my game projects have changed a bit. 
I will continue working on Zombie Sleepover at later date, a friend of mine (another game designer from the Games Academy who helped me with a three month internship at a local game company) is going over the design and is making a proper design document for a fun first person shooter.
Dork Tales is on hiatus at the moment and I might get back to it as soon as I get someone to help me out with assets like 3D models and audio files (music and voice overs). The ideas I have for the game I cannot realise as of now, meaning without money to pay for the help I need.
I started a new project to work with Unreal Engine 4. It is an idea I was toying with for some time and it is based upon Phaeton, the scifi world some friends and I have been working on for some time. It is based on Blueprints at the moment but I will change that for later iterations and convert them to C++, at least the most crucial systems.

Oh, I mentioned an internship earlier. I was having no luck getting a job in the industry with traditional methods but got an offer for an internship after posting in an private user group. I tweaked my CV and over those connections I got an internship at a local game company working with Unity. The project is off yet unannounced, so I am not able to talk about it. Working in a real company sure was a learning experience that changed my expectations a bit. I learned the importance of good structure in code and project alike and that communication should never be neglected.

On other fronts, I picked up writing again and might even start up another blog or something similar just for that. That will include the translations of almost all my stories into English as they are almost all in German. I also came up with a new idea for a story that I might publish along with the other older stuff.

I haven't really played any games for some time now apart from Creativerse but as much as I like the game, it is just a time waster, something you can play on the side while watching tv series or movies. Speaking of games, Fallout Shelter released on Android and I wasted some time and money in it so far. I would not really call it a game in the classic sense, it is just a clicker that tries to push some buttons like caring for your dwellers and leveling up as many of them to get better gear from the wasteland to have better chances of survival. It is a recurring cycle repeating over and over again without any real involvement and chance of influencing it.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Memories and other Stuff

Was talking to a friend and we reminisced about stuff we each did when we were younger. I was reminded that I had a lot of different story starts and one or two short stories that I have to translate at some point.

When I was in my late teens, I wrote a lot. Stories, Ideas and world descriptions for pen and paper roleplaying are stuffed in a folder on one of my shelves and catch dust. All of those are written in German and I want to translate some or all of it. There are two or three stories with quite a few pages (20 to 40) and one or two short stories that could be translated and published as is. One of the bigger stories I recently started to translate and already have five chapters finished. It is in a rough state and has no formatting or proofreading done. Parts of it might still be in German on a few pages and in the appendix. Here is a link to it on my google drive.

The translation is as slow as all my other projects even though I found a nice article about finishing writing novels with only a few words per day (how to push past the bullshit and write that goddamn novel a very simple no fuckery writing plan to get shit done). I just need to get my shit together and plan out my day better.

On the job front, I got a chance for a nice C# programming gig here in my city (yay, no moving) but it involves a test that will be send out next week and there are other candidates. I do not know my chances there as I am a bit rusty due to my long time being unemployed and only having done a bit of coding during that time. I have done different projects in Unity ranging from simple movement scripts up to plugins for the editor (parts of my adventure toolkit that I worked on), so I think that I at least know a bit about writing code for Unity. I will not make more predictions in that regard as I do not know what the test will be and I also do not know enough about the company to anticipate the scope of their projects apart from focusing on mobile games made with Unity.

As for what I do with my time, well the usual, gaming and watching american tv shows. The games I played recently were Creativerse and a game called "Timber and Stone" which is a bit like Dwarf Fortress mixed with Minecraft. Randomly generated blocky terrain and buildings as well as characters build out of small cubes. In a recent update they added slopes to the terrain and more detailed textures, it looked better for it.
Creativerse is switching to Unity 5 atm and they are reworking the movement system, so it is a bit different now but if that is good or bad, I cannot say yet.

I have not worked on Dork Tales as much as I wanted and Zombie Sleepover is officially on hiatus by now and could maybe call it canceled as well ;P

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Indie Development: Self Made vs. Store Bought vs. Originality + a few updates on projects

In Zombie Sleepover, we recently hit a major road block, all our assets are store bought and we do not have an artist to change the textures or models but as the bought assets are nice and popular, a lot of developers are using them. It is fine for small things but if the sample levels from the content creators are used in games unaltered, they go a bit too far.

There is a huge package for medieval caves, dungeons and castles on the asset store and we found at least three games on steam and on other platforms with the same assets, even with whole level segments copied from the samples provided. I do not own the games, so I do not know if the content creators are credited enough and I do not know what the right way to credit store bought assets is frankly, shall I list all the packages I bought or not? Do I do that only if I do no alterations on the assets?

Store bought assets are fine for prototyping and if you are able to change them to make them fit your game better but using them unaltered in the end project seems kinda cheap but we were thinking of doing the same thing just because we do not have the artistic skills required to make out own 3d art or the textures like in those packages. As that stands, do we have a problem and need to hire an artist or is it ok to use those assets and make the game we want with generic assets but with our game play and level ideas? Will our game be less original as a result? Is it possible for a programmer and a sound designer to make a game on their own without going the "artistic minimalist route" or do crappy pixel art (not that all pixel art is bad, there are some really good pixel artists out there)?

Due to negative feedback on Zombie Sleepover and the amount of games with the same assets, we are changing the concept for the game to be something different (more on that later, as soon as we are done with the redesign). That will result in a change in our projected timeline, meaning the game has to redesigned a lot and we do not know how long that will take.

In the meantime, I am working on a few things in Dork Tales and hopefully get back to streaming on a more regular basis and keep it up this time (hopefully)