Working on many things

Boy did this year go whizzing by.  I’m hoping to finish up the year with one last acrylic painting. It isn’t looking like I’ll hit the 12 Paintings in a year that I hoped for.  On the other hand I did blow that goal out of the water if you measure it by surface area.  I was originally planning on 18×24 being the default size until I fell for the box 30x40s.

I’m still hoping to do all of next year in oils, but I may delay the start of that until the Jeff Miracola oil videos are launched, that would let me experiment a bit with acrylics before then.

Still having a hard time letting go of the feeling that everything has to be the most complete piece that pushes skills to the limit.  I may do a bit of a mini quickndirty Painting challenge.

But for now the end of the year looks to be coming fast and that has all sorts of repercussions to ‘free’ time.

Busy, not dead

Whoa, been slacking this hot hot summer, at least on the blog post front.

I completely forgot to post the last painting So here’s a photo from my phone, it’s a bit blurry and has some glare so I’ll get a better photo someday soon.

Figurative Nude Study

 

Other news, The Dream Wars personal project is kicking off and I’m in preproduction of it,  The first shortstory is written in rough form and character designs underway along with .. *tadaa* it’s very own website and webcomic longform engine (ComicBreeze for joomla, created by me)

Here’s the development mockup:

site design1440-v2

Ah that post painting funk

Ok after a little breather It’s time to get back to working on things that are fun.  Finishing a painting is both exhilarating and exhausting and I find myself having to take a couple days and recoup my creative energy or I’ll find the need to go back and fix, and tweak and tweak irrisistable.  But taking a bit of time away lets me just be proud of what I’ve done and let it be.

After a couple days I had a little fun playing with skin rendering and trying to get a sense of translucency. One of the many attempts actually turned out to become this guy, which has a nice tone to it that I like.

sketch-45

 

Followed by a couple silly monsters following my son’s obsession with pokemon all of a sudden.

sketch46

 

And then this thing.. .. this might become a thing.. it’s still rough, but it’s speaking to me.  It started out as a perspective homework.. then became an epic skies homework.. and now it might be something else altogether..

songofthestorm-rough

 

On an art related note, I cracked some oil paints open for the first time in 7 years (it was a disaster then) and … holy cow…I’m loving them..

Something about the transparency and the need to go slow really just works for me.. maybe it’s because I’m getting older and not in as much of a hurry.  Not sure exactly what it is, but I’m doing some test pieces and maybe finishing/reworking the initial disastrous attempt and who knows maybe they’ll be worthy of showing on the inter-tron some day.

 

Missed a few

Ok missed a few updates like updates 24-32.. they’re there, just not gotten around to posting them

However on sketch 32 this little guy popped out.

sketch-32

and then I decided he needed a chance to get a world to live in. And by 37 it was looking like this:

sketch-38

 

 

 

Then pulled in some rough textures and and blocked things in a bit more.
sketch-39

By update 40 the trees were looking flat and the overall color was beginning to be a bit washed out.
sketch-40

 

 

And that puts us here at update 41, time spent pushing back the stone some and final rendering of the character and more minor details.

Still need to touch up the bear, abird and pants, but we’re 99% there.

 

sketch-41

 

Wasted Weekend

1 month shy of hitting the 2 years without re-installing windows everything broke. Spent all the gamedev time rebuilding the system.

There goes my chance of hitting the 1GAM March entry.

So much software and config stuff to fix.

Milestone 2: Week 3 – step back & leap ahead

In the funniest of ironies the advice that got me making progress by leaps and bounds this week came from me, as randomly re-tweeted by the 1GAM twitterbot.


And yet here I was wasting a month doing exactly that building a rocketship of an editor when all I just needed was to look for off the shelf parts.

Tiled EditorOne quick download of the Tiled editor (http://www.mapeditor.org/) and a quick peek at the raw file format reveals that it saves the files in XML.

A few hours later, and I have a functional loader which generates in-game rooms from maps saved from tiled.

Bulkify it and presto, all the levels are loaded automatically and the maze generator from week 1 now has a collection of rooms to choose from.

And so after a very long weekend, we’ve got a whole map being generated (ok so there’s still some significant glitches, but at least it’s loading it all from disk, generating a random maze and creating a bazillion prefabs from it)

milestone2-w3-progress

 

Dev Update – wk3 – sacrifice & surprises

Things are going pretty well.  The uncompleted ‘minimum required features’ list for the January Version is getting very small.

  • Corner pillars at outside corners
  • Fixing wizard shooting and movement (aka the Big thing)
  • Death effects and sounds etc.
  • Spider jump attack

Particles!

New stuff added this week:

  • Restart Button, Exit game button.
  • Bolt Particles and light removal.
  • Bug fixes with spider corpses falling out of the world
  • Jucifying impacts on monsters & spawners

Now as to sacrifice…. 

Well you get what you pay for… and that’s the problem with using Unity 3D free version… It’s looking like I really Really need deferred lighting to make the wiz-bang light effects on the wizard’s magic bolts.  In Unity Free I can only force a small number of lights to be precise. after a few they default to vertex lighting, which causes the odd lighting issues on the floor that we saw in last week’s build.

So, I had to remove the lights. and am replacing them with some particles effects for now.  Maybe someday the $1,500 unity pro fee will be accessible to me but for now it’s utterly beyond my budget.  (There is the 75/mo option, but even that seems excessive.. and at month 13, you don’t own anything unless you keep paying.)

So far that’s the biggest hurdle that I’m running into, but no doubt there’s going to be more design sacrifices due to inaccessible features.

Which leads to the surprise of the week.

Well… surprise for me.. nothing in-game yet… but Shader Forge came out which promises to have all sorts of benefits as soon as I figure out how to fully take advantage of it.  (In related news… I don’t ‘get’ shaders yet… working on it..)

playbutton

 

 

Reflection on 2013

Happy New Year 2014

So 2013 by all accounts was a pretty good year.

I managed to get 4 games made. 3 of them nice enough to show to the world,

Android development with libGDX and Spriter,  IAP, and in Game ads.

Then I touched Unity, and having spent 11 months doing low level things it’s starting to grow on me.  I still have ‘trust’ issues with letting the engine decide how to render things, but it seems to be doing everything I can throw at it.

OneGameAMonth was a success as well, the focus on small things really helped figure out what can be accomplished in a month.

In fact I’d say that that was probably the best takeaway that I learned in 2013.

A month, is not a lot of time.  Add in an active family to help raise (play with), freelance work, and a very full time job and I can measure game development in hours per week.  So the games I actually finished in a month were actually in the 40-50hr range, so a LD48 game a month essentially.

I’m pretty proud of Candy Goblin and War Mages, they’re pretty entertaining, but I really think that they could use another 6 months of polish to make them good.  War Mages might get that at some point, but really, if I only get 400hrs (optimistically) of development time a year, spending them on a project I’m not REALLY excited to be making feels wasteful.  So It’s time for a bit of focus and revisit something that I’m excited to create!

Luckily in 2014 1GAM has expanded to where playable milestones qualify, which leads me to the next post 🙂

 

Dragon Animation Progress..

Flap animation
Flap animation

Almost forgot that Spine offers an export to animated gif.

Now just need to do a limb pass on the animation and I’ll let it be done for the next while.

However the actual sprite art, is still just a 20 minute hack job in photoshop.   Not gonna make any final art until I have a vertical slice working.. That’s my reward for doing the tedious UI stuff.