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Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful year and blessed holiday season. Thanks for keeping an eye on this blog!

The blog itself hasn’t been active, but I certainly have and I will have things to show in 2014.

To celebrate, I spent a few days and put together a Christmas-themed rhythm game. The music is by the talented Tom Gardiner.

Download

To play it on Window or Mac OS, download Love2d 0.9.0 and drag my .love file onto the installed executable. For Linux, you can either install 0.9.0 from your package manager (if available) or compile it from source.

[edit] I’ve been informed by Blendenzo that it may be easier for some Ubuntu/Mint users to use this unofficial PPA to install Love0.9.0. Use at your own risk!

For those of you who play the game, yes it’s rough around the edges. It’s the sort of gift where the thought is what counts. 😉Image

Now bring it on, 2014!

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For a variety of reasons, it’s been a whole month since the last post. I apologize if any of you have been impatiently waiting!

This post will mostly be self-reflective rambling, so if you don’t care to be bored then why not go play some of the entries from the 2012 Christian Developers Network Speedgame Competition?

I participated this year with a couple cool cats under the banner of “TeamBIO”. Our game is free to download and play, of course. This is the first year we’ve managed to get a working game submitted, so I’m pretty excited!

Aside from the speedgame and real life, I accomplished remarkably little forward progress on my game project. This is due partly to a lack of direction and faith in the design, but perhaps mostly to a poisonous attraction to new ideas. Better game concepts. The Next Shiny Thing.

I’ve made no secret of my inexperience coding games. There’s little doubt in my mind that mid-project hesitation is common among new developers, but recognizing that does not help me overcome the decision at hand. Do I continue making what I consider an already well-explored genre? Or do I salvage (almost all of) my code and try something new? I thought I was firmly determined not to dart from project to project, never completing anything. Now I wonder, though. Is this just how indie games naturally evolve?

At any rate, the tumultuous knot of a game that I’m working on isn’t something I care to expose while it’s in its infancy. I know I stated earlier that I wanted to be more open with these updates, and going silent is definitely the opposite of that. Should I care? I’ve learned more about myself and how I think I want to develop games, and it doesn’t make sense to operate on old opinions that are no longer applicable.

I hope to continue blogging about things learned and opinions I’ll regret revealing later. Hopefully future posts will be interesting and the adventure is enjoyable for everyone!

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It’s been how long since my last post?

Well it appears I hit a snag for a while. I’m working through some difficult coding problems (for me, anyway), and I just couldn’t bring myself to post “Sorry! Nothing new this week!”

So what’s happened? Well, I “finished” a shape-tracing tool made in QT. This will let me create shapes for Box2D quicker.

I also started working on another sideproject on the weekends for fun. What’s that, you say? My current project was began as a side-project? Uhm… I suppose that’s true. Given that I am only working on this new game on weekends, though, I hope to maintain focus and not spiral into an endless cycle of starting new projects….

…Oh dear.

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Summing up the features I’ve worked on is very humbling.

My development logs show I’ve been working on this since September of last year. It’s been a bit longer than that, really, and for all that time I rather expected to have completed something a little more… playable.

As it is, there are many half-integrated libraries and many more features on my to-do list. This isn’t discouraging, as I’m already able to create little applications that show off what I’ve done and look nice. They look cool, so I’m happy.

By far the largest section of the engine so far is the graphics. I’m using OpenGL within an SDL window. Texture loading is currently done via sdl_image, but I intend to swap that out for libPNG at some point in the future. I’ve also created a simple sprite class, which has some basic features like blend modes, render ordering, rotation and scaling…

Audio support is beginning to come together. I can currently load OGG files (sticking with open formats), and play them by accessing OpenAL/Alut functions directly. Eventually I hope to abstract and simplify this so that all of the backend libraries become invisible, accessed only by engine-functions.

Box2D will handle the physics of this game, and I’ve already put together a demo where you can stack some boxes on top of one another. Depending on the needs of my game, I may make a simple GUI-based physics editor. Right now I’m still accessing the library directly to do everything.

Perhaps the most complete feature so far is the font generation and rendering. Not wanting to integrate yet-another-library, I opted to use bitmap fonts with metadata about the glyphs stored in transparent pixels of the texture. I use a Gimp script written in Python to create the fonts. Then I can load them just like any other texture, extracting the metadata afterwards by grabbing the information from the texture buffer. It feels a workaround and the letters can easily become blurry, but there are bigger things to work on at the moment.

Finally, I’ve been using TinyXML to do all my file parsing. I know many developers don’t care for XML, but right now I’m happy with it. I don’t have to worry about file input/output, and that saves time. Time saved is good.

As you can see, it doesn’t appear that I have a lot done yet. This is true, but I am already able to build small demos with the engine. In that way, I like to think my progress is greater than the sum of its parts.

As for planned features, I’m reaching a point in development where the basics (graphics, audio… library integration) aren’t as important as abstract features like entity management, world handling, and signal/slots. This is exciting, but also challenging because the path forward isn’t as clear. I have to decide what the API looks like and how things are structured based on very little experience.

All the same, I feel very close to actually being able to start on the game! I wouldn’t be surprised if I made some giant leaps forward this month.

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Good morning!

The sun set on this blog a long time ago, but night is just for resting and I believe the dawn is coming…

Can you see the sunrise?

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Character practice

Here’s a quick painting I did today to see whether I’d forgotten how to paint, and whether my gesture studies were paying off. Compared to some older work, this isn’t so bad!

What impressed me the most, however, is how much my painting ability improved due to drawing. I hoped the proportions would be a little better and perhaps things would align in perspective, but I believe that drawing somehow helped me choose colors and values as well. There are plenty of mistakes, but I believe it served its purpose.

I thought I was being fairly creative with this piece, which is laughable considering it’s a girl-with-gun/space marine! What was I thinking?!

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Delays…

Sorry I haven’t gotten the second half of the Gimp tutorial up yet! I’ve been busy with my day job, and writing tutorials is a rather difficult task for me. I promise it will be up soon!

Until then, here’s a quick study of a John Singer Sargent painting. I believe it took about an hour and a half.

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