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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Apologies for Broken Promises

To anyone who may have read this, I'm ready to apologize for promises that I've broken. It's a habit that I'm trying to break.

I'm not going to talk too much about what I'm doing until it's done and ready. It's going to take some effort to do that.

I've got something that I'm working on, but I'll share more when it's ready.

Peace, love, and forward movement,
- Henry

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Code Paintings - An Update and Some Thoughts

Wow, haven't posted in a while!

Well, I've thought a bit about code paintings, and I've come to some conclusions.

First, the strictness of the presentation that I had in mind was misguided, and that the spirit of the idea should lead it.

The single game state and strictly required drop-down menus weren't necessarily the way for me to go. Defining it that tightly wasn't really the best approach.

Second, this isn't the only type of game that I want to make. I'm starting work on an action RPG that will take a very long time to complete; I'll be using code paintings as side projects so that I can take a break from working on that larger project.

I'm going to post updates on these projects on my other blog. That includes both the action RPG and any code paintings that I make.

Peace, love, and busy days,
   - Henry

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Purpose for This Blog

Well, having resurrected my other blog, I have decided that this blog will be philosophical. I will discuss my thoughts about games, game design, and sometimes techniques or algorithms that I find.

I want to start with an idea that I had about the direction I'd like to take as a developer. I want to make peaceful games.

It's not out of a sense of pacifism, since I'm not a pacifist. It's not because violent games cause violent behavior, since the jury's still out on that.

It's because peaceful scenes and themes fascinate me. I think that the traditional violent concepts in games aren't the only way to do things and that games can be relaxing and calming as well.

I want to clarify something, though. I don't believe that violent games are necessarily bad or harmful, but that they aren't the only kind of games that can be fun. I'm not saying that hard games are bad, either. They're great and I also enjoy them. But easy games can be fun, too.

My point in this is simple. Games that are peaceful and relaxing can be very fun even though they don't carry much challenge or a strong conflict.

With that being said, my games will tend toward being peaceful for the time being. I want the player to relax while playing my games.

My other blog (yay cross-promoting!) will have more on these games as I work on them.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ludum Dare - Right Near the End of Day 1

Well, the first day of Ludum Dare #21 is almost over for me.

Sorry I didn't post earlier (when the compo began) but I was tired.

So, here's my ten-second idea for a game:
  1. You are a dude in a room (good start, huh?)
  2. You have to escape from the room
  3. You don't have very much time; you have to move quickly
  4. There is stuff in your way
The title is Hazard. I'm expecting to have basic platforming gameplay and a handful of rooms at a bare minimum.

I will probably eventually pick this up again after the compo ends.

Today, I got a few things done. I have a bunch of boilerplate as well as a player model with a full animation skeleton and a cruddy hand-painted texture.

Here's a render of the model:

Peace, love, and sufficient rest,

--- Henry

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts About Ludum Dare #21

Ludum Dare #21 begins tomorrow night. I'm very excited for this one. I know what I want to do for it, I have a solid strategy, and I have the tools lined up for it.


I'm probably going to do a platformer or a top-down game unless the theme strikes me otherwise.

It will use procedural content if that proves to be workable for the theme, otherwise it will be, well, a prototype.

If I can shoehorn my current platformer into the theme, I'll toss what I have of it and use Ludum Dare to prototype it.

Tomorrow, I'm probably going to play my DS, hang out in IRC, and probably post on here once or twice with plans or thoughts.

Peace, love, and the drive to compete,

--- Henry

Today Isn't So Lazy After All

Well, it turns out that today wasn't a completely lazy day. I've gotten started on a 2.5D platformer which I will work on more after Ludum Dare.

It's a very simple game about a fox girl who navigates procedurally created levels using her natural fox agility while fighting baddies using hand-to-hand combat.

It's kind of a platformer and kind of a beat-em-up. I like the idea, myself.

But, that's going to be done after Ludum Dare. I've got some of the boilerplate, but that's about it.

Well, I've got something to do after Ludum Dare, anyway.

Peace, love, and the simplest possible solution,

--- Henry

Today is Pretty Much a Lazy Day

So far today I've gotten almost nothing done. Staying up last night was a mistake.

Today might well just be a lazy day for me. I'm not sure what I can get done. I'm tired. Not sleepy, but tired nonetheless.

So there might not be much that gets done today.

Peace, love, and lessons learned,

--- Henry

My Role as a Game Developer

I have thought a bit about my role as a game developer. This is important to me because I want to be good at my hobby.

I have realized that my role is to bring people emotionally satisfying experiences. At the core of game design and development is that fact. The player should feel satisfied after playing your game.

My forte in this (if I have one) would seem to be making small, relaxing games. My best games have been that sort. Though I've tried to write larger and more exciting games, I'm really best at relaxing games.

So from now I suppose I will work toward that goal.

I recently added a fish pond gadget to the top of my blog page. I intend to leave it there as a symbol of what I mean by "painting with code." It sums up my goals very well. (Mind you, I didn't create that gadget, but it still represents my goals)

So now... I don't know what I'll do today, to be honest. But hopefully I'll have something in mind later.

Peace, love, and a sense of purpose,

--- Henry

Musings About Small Games

I've been thinking a bit about small games. It seems like smaller games are often more fun than larger games. In fact, I think that I enjoy small games more than large games.

This is in conflict with my larger projects. I guess I don't know how I feel about those projects right now. This is tough for me.

Here's what I'm thinking. Smaller games are easier to make and often easier to play. They can be more fun because they require less effort to play. They have more compact premises by their nature, which creates more fun by having less clutter.

So why am I working on large games? I don't quite know.

You folks can expect some smaller projects from me, though. I promise you that much.

Peace, love, and early morning ideas,

--- Henry

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Third Project

Okay, so... I've decided that there is a third project that I want to work on. That makes three.

This "third project" is an overhead shooter called Cave Runner, which is about fighting through procedurally generated caves in a little ship that the player constructs by putting together parts. The ship is made up of a nose piece, a rear piece, and two side pieces. These pieces are unlocked as the player plays the game more. Many of these have weapons, and all contribute to the ship's armor and speed. Mostly, the nose has weapons, the rear has speed, and the sides have armor and weapons; there are exceptions to this, though, including side thrusters and rear guns.

I will work on this more today (it's around 3AM here as I'm writing this), and it will hopefully come out well.

I know that I want to make this an artistic game. I will be able to find some source of artistic merit for it, I'm sure. That being said, that'll be for later today.

Also, I will be working more on Afternoon Adventures today and hopefully have some kind of prototype of map movement by this evening. (By "map movement" I mean movement in the world between battles)

Here's hoping today is productive, huh?

Peace, love, and lots of work to do,

--- Henry

A Little Progress and My Second Project

Hey there, folks.

Today, I got started on The Fox with actual work. I have a little bit of boilerplate (a running Panda3D application, but that's about it) and a start on a player model. However, the player model is mostly incomplete and will probably be redone several times throughout the development process.

I have also gotten together some general ideas for my second game project. It is titled Afternoon Adventures and it is a console RPG game that generates its world and story procedurally. It is designed to generate games that can be beaten in a short period of time. It will be configurable to be beaten in different lengths of time, ranging from an afternoon (hence the title) to a couple of days. It'll probably also be capable of generating a simple dungeon crawl.

I don't have any code or artwork for it, but will be working on it tomorrow.

As far as PyWiki goes... I don't have much of anything done. That's probably going to take some time, to be honest.

Anyway, that's been today. Not much got done today, to be honest.

Tomorrow - What is Going to Happen

Tomorrow, my parents leave for a weekend camping trip. This will leave me with the house to myself for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to that.

Also, Ludum Dare is happening this weekend! I will be entering the jam, as I usually do. (At least, I've been entering the jam since they introduced it, which was a few 'Dares ago)

Not sure what I'll do for it. That'll depend on the theme. I will definitely be recording my progress on both the Ludum Dare public blog and on this blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Project: The Fox

I've got some solid ideas for the game project I talked about earlier. The title of the game is The Fox. It is about a fox who chases a rabbit into a magical cave and enters a similarly magical world while navigating platforming challenges and puzzles.
The protagonist is a magical fox who does not know that he is magical at the beginning of the game. He discovers the magic cave when he chases a rabbit into it. The rabbit is another magical animal who was sent to lure the fox into the cave.

Over the course of the game, the fox acquires new abilities - things like using magical devices and wall-jumping - and gradually finds his own nature. For the "finds his own nature" part the game will adjust the fox's body language; in the beginning, he will move cautiously but he will move more confidently toward the end of the game.

The other animals will interact with the protagonist here and there, especially when the player is stuck on something. They will help the player in different ways ranging from guiding them through a platform challenge to subtly hinting at the solution to a puzzle.

One of the key features of the game is the minimal use of language. Things like the game's title screen and some menu items will use words, but the vast majority of what is communicated to the player will use images, sounds, and other methods of communication in place of verbal language. This is included in the interactions between the protagonist and the other animals. Even though they are magical animals, they still can't talk.

The end goal of this game as a piece of art is to teach the player to appreciate and understand non-verbal communication. They will also hopefully learn a bit about persevering when having trouble with something and listening to advice from others. These are lofty goals for something like a video game, but I hope that I can achieve them.

Another Project: PyWiki

In addition to working on The Fox, I will also be working on a "desktop wiki" program using Python, PyGtk (Python's GTK bindings), and the Creole wiki standard.

It will be somewhat similar to the "Zim" desktop wiki program but with some differences. I'll go on more about that in another post, since this one's getting a little bit too long, I think.

Also: For Tomorrow

I will be working on The Fox and PyWiki somewhat tomorrow, and will also look for a second game project.

I like to have two or three game projects at once. It helps me not get bored of a given project.

I'll post about the second game project when I have a solid idea.

Peace, love, and busy days,

--- Henry

Hello, World!

Hello, internet. Welcome to my new blog!

I've decided that I have left my other blog too long, and it's time for a fresh start. With that in mind, I'll be working with some new ideas.

For those who don't know, I'm a college student who develops video games in his spare time. I have used quite a few different tools, but recently I've been favoring the Python programming language and the Panda3D game engine. Kudos to Guido Var Rossum for his amazing language; kudos as well to Disney Interactive and Carnegie-Mellon University for the best 3D engine I've ever used.

In the past, I've mainly worked on conventional games. Robots blowing things up, space ships fighting other space ships, and super-soldiers shooting people. Recently, though, I've had more creative ideas.

The title of this blog is "Painting with Code" because that's what I hope to do; I hope to create artistic and expressive games. I have a project that I'm starting today which I'll post more about later.

(Also, this blog will hopefully be syndicated by the Ludum Dare "world" blog feed. I'll have to talk to Mike Kasprzak about that later today.)

I'll have more about this project of mine later today, maybe with concept art.

Peace, love, and fresh ideas,

--- Henry