Firing up the ol engines of creation!

So now that Jude

aka Milkface

has come into our lives things are slowly settling into a routine (granted it’s one with less sleep than we’d like, but it’s a start).    That means there is starting to be some periods of non super stressful time where freelance work and pet projects can once again start to flourish.

On the freelance side of things, things are picking up nicely with more design work for KELL

And the Big paintings were a big success and look beautiful on Jude’s wall.

Sun Elephant

So that leaves the much neglected games projects, and the sheep are getting hungry.

So starting tomorrow it’s time to take a good hard look at where things stand and what still needs to be done.  I have a sneaky suspicion that it will involve spreadsheets and maybe even some project planning stuff.. YAY!  And more playtesting.  I have an XML based card shuffler program I whipped up to teach myself Python that will let me run a couple hundred pulls of the decks and see how things work mathmaticlly so I can see if I can find some solution to the whole endgame issue where players don’t have enough clout to affect the outcome.

Lots to do, and it promises to be exciting.  Oh and I’ll be blogging more, and possibly adding some more game industry ramblings / reviews n commentary.

Tales of puppets, babies, games etc

Latest News

So here we are, another year is already on the way and it’s time to get busy.

As of today baby Jude is ~45days out and counting, lots of house prep is being done and more still to do.  Excitement is high and nesting mode is in full swing.  The home office has been moved into the game room and the new space works well and the start of a dedicated baby room is in progress.  Super Awesome GFW has got her etsy store up and running, and a whole kitchen studio full of paint and canvas.  90% of all pictures on the walls in the house are now original art, and man is that nice.

Christmas came and went in a blur of cookies, candy, family and food.  When it was all said and done my very own muppet Whatnot was here to stay.  He’s pictured above, and it’s very very cool.  I have plans for him.  Big plans.  But first I’m gonna need a couple mutant sheep puppets.

Speaking of Mutant Sheep.. With the death of my POS Kodak all in one printer I no longer have a scanner.  So I’m having to switch to an all digital pipeline.. which may be faster once I get rolling on it.. but it does mean that I can’t doodle out the roughs at work and then take em home and ink em.  Other than that, it’s back to grindstone and get em finished asap!  Progress on it has been pretty abysmal lately and I’m not exactly thrilled with that, not sure what the mental block/holdup is but it’s time to work through it.

That is, just as soon as I wrap up a bit more paying design / web work.  The freelance developer & designer side of things is really picking up lately and I hope to keep it rolling throughout the year.  So naturally that stuff comes first, before Sheep.

Gaming

The holidays were full of super end of year sales, the most impressive was probably the insane Steam sale, lots of awesomeness was picked up at a pittance.  So here’s a list of the gaming highlights.

  • Dragon Age: Traditional fantasy RPG, polished like nothing else.
  • Kings Bounty: Insane Fantasy turn based combat with a happy disregard for tradition.
  • Mirrors Edge: First person runner.  Not sure why this wasn’t a bigger hit.
  • Garrys Mod:  A multiplayer physics based playgound, had a lot of fun building airships with kiddo an just doing strange stuff.
  • Left for Dead 2: Better than the first one, more zombies, more guns, for when you just want to shoot.
  • Machinarium: A beautiful hand drawn adventure game with so much character its hard to believe.
  • STALKER – Clear Sky: Post Chernobyl fps world to explore full of mutants and more.

And in board games:

We have played the first game of Pandemic.  A co-op board game where you have to work together to save the world from 4 diseases, HIGHLY recommended.  And I have a copy of Arkahm Horror sitting on my desk waiting to have a day dedicated to it.

Sheep benchmark

Time for a little progress update, eh?

Ok so some more sheep have been done but it’s time to assess the situation and get a firm grasp of where exactly I stand.   But first a picture of the prototype tuckbox that the game will be shipping with (some assembly  required)

tuckbnox

Why Include something as silly as a tuckbox, when it will surely impact the bottom line One might ask.  Well the answer is simple,  with the last couple playtests it’s become obvious that the system of green tokens to track the value of the current place is massively cumbersome.  So I decided to put in a little track sheet that you can just put a couple counters on to track the value of the current place as it is eaten.  And the price difference between a 4×4 board and a board big enough to have a tuckbox to be cut out is negligible. So the tuck box is almost free.

But anyway… back to the current state of the game development process.    So it turns out that 85% of the time it’s taking is art.  That’s right.  It’s taking much much longer to draw silly sheep than it is to creating the game and the cards and exporting them and uploading them and writing / editing the rules etc. etc.

Crazy eh?

As of RIGHT NOW, I have Drawn and Painted 60 of 125 sheep.  Of those 50 have been placed into their final art location in the inDesign files that are the decks.

I have 65 sheep left to Draw, ink, and paint.   A happy estimate would be that if I totally buckle down I can probably do a sheep every 2 hours, maybe a bit more.  So let’s call it 90 min.  So that’s just a hair short of 100hrs of ART work left to do.  Not too terribly bad.

Other than that I probably have 6 hours of editing and tweaking on the cards’ text to make sure they’re clear and are easier to understand.

Then toss in the other little things like re-writing the rules and finalizing the web and packaging art, realistically it’s probably closer to 120 hrs of work.

That’s some really long weekends in my immediate future if I’m to hit my goal of having it launched by my birthday.

Time to buckle up, it’s gonna be one helluva ride to see if I can do this.

Sheep with a side order of stuff

Time for a quick update!

All the text on the cards were wrapped up by Sunday night as hoped!  This included the 30 something painted cards and a blank placeholder for the ones that have not been painted yet.

It turns out that there will be 8 blank cards in the set so I’m thinking of making them a couple of rule summary cards instead of leaving em blank.

With the basic decks assembled, I ordered a copy of the game from thegamecrafter.com (as the designer I only have to  pay manufacturing and shipping which makes it more affordable in case I need to do multiple iterations of some core mechanic (which I don’t think so .. but you never know))

So I just got the shipping confirmation email and the UPS guys say it should be here by Friday.  So that gives me a couple days to catch up on some pet projects and freelance stuff.

Continue reading Sheep with a side order of stuff

Mutatant Sheep and other exciting things.

Whoa, I’ve been a bad blogger.  It’s been over two months since I updated this thing.  Time to get back in the swing of things then.

So after finishing the monster of all paintings, creativly, I was a bit drained.  So I spent about a month not really doing anything.. just recharging the old batteries.  Then via Raph Koster’sblog I heard of something super exciting!

A couple guys had gotten together and done a Print On Demand website.. where you can print Games!

Consequently my brain went into hyperdrive and threatened to explode.  I glanced at  one of my little doodles at work ( a gigantic 3 eyed sheep stomping around a landscape) and my next pet project was born.

So here I am, a little over a month later, over 50% of the way there with the final art (drawing and painting in photoshop 125 sheep is a lot of work, it turns out.)  And the cards are 90% of the way defined.  The immediate goal is to have all the cards put in their final state by next Monday, and then order a playtest set, for tweaking the numbers and mechanics while I wrap up the art.

Heres some of the cards
Here's some of the cards

Current statistics:

  • Total Cards: 125
  • Cards Drawn: 64
  • Cards Painted: 44
  • Cards Text Written:  75

Wandering

Ok so it’s been a bit hectic with a bunch of things that just had to get done, which turns out to have sapped my usual laser like (HAH!) focus.

But the creative itch is growing and I have a feeling I’ll be cracking open the acrylics soon.  (that and I owe lil sis some cute animal pix for superbaby’s room).

With the help of GuitarTricks.com I’ve been attempting to get a grasp on the whole playing guitar thing, and I’m getting better.  The best thing I did was to buy a decent guitar (Rouge acoustic/electric Dreadnought from musiciansfriend.com), not having to slice your fingers trying to jam down the strings makes a huuge difference, and it sounds better too) .

Other than that, a super co-operative project with GFW is underway and we’re having fun and getting some serious progress made.

Programming at work, however, is pretty much making sure it’s the last thing I want to go home and do as well.. so BSDDoD! may have to stay on the backburner for a while.

But first, vacation in 18 days.

Springtime doldrums and overthought thinkings

So, I’ve been running around in the total overwhelmed mode for a while and it’s time to steer the frantic caffinated ADD besotted herd of cats that is my attention span back onto track.

Some basic concept art got created, and then I wandered off the project to illustrationland and then got mired down in EPIC project full of GRAND ideas etc etc and just essentially spent some time thinking myself to exhaustion.  Time to think less and do more.

I’ve made a list damnit!  With a great big list of bite size (a week or 2) tasks to do. I’m going to pick one and just do it and then simply rinse and repeat.   Theory being that this will decrease the amount of time spent bashing head on desk/wall/art table/sidewalk by not getting overwhelmed by any one thing or medium. 

Updates to follow.