Archive for January, 2015

Supernova

supernova

Probably a good sign that I’m playing this as much as I’m working on it. 😀

It is taking longer than planned, though. Think I might take a day out to work on something else…

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Super Dodecahedron

vector

Hey, so here’s what I’m working on! This game has been hanging around unfinished for ages, and I figured it was the perfect thing to give Haxe a proper test run. Here goes!

This is an Increpare fan game. Specifically, of Trigger, one of my favourite games of his. Back in 2012, Stephen made something inspired by one of my games, which led me to thinking this up – I’ve had this idea to get out of my head ever since.

Should be out soon!

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Oh, you meant that thing about blogging more

Hey hey! I guess I’m making good on my aim to blog a bit more this year, starting with this very boring post about coding and tools and stuff. Here goes!

Flash:

flash

I learnt to code flash games in actionscript at the end of 2008, and since then, it’s been what I’ve done the majority of my work in. Flash is great, and maybe doesn’t get enough credit for just how great it is. So it really sucks to think that maybe it doesn’t have much of a future.

A lot of forward thinking people out there have been saying that for a while, but last year is when I really started to see it myself. Most big sites don’t use flash any more. When you try to update flash these days, it tries to install weird extra toolbars and other software. And unless it’s completely up to date, browsers warn you that it’s a security risk before they’ll run a flash game. I think flash probably isn’t going anywhere just yet, but, yeah, the writing’s on the wall. It’s time to look for alternatives.

So, this past week, I’ve been learning how to use something called Haxe! It’s a high level language that compiles into flash SWFs, but also, somehow, to HTML5, to native PC, MAC and Linux builds, to iPhone, to Android, and to a bunch of other weird stuff. And thanks to a pretty amazing project called OpenFL, it’s extremely similar to flash – not so similar that you can just copy and paste, but similar enough that I ported my entire framework in less than a week.

I regret that it took me this long to try it out – Haxe is kinda magic. Sure, it’s not perfect, some stuff doesn’t work on all target platforms – yet – but it’s still evolving, and working in Haxe feels like getting in on the ground floor of something really special. I’m kinda blown away by it.

If you’re a flash developer, I think you should be looking seriously at Haxe. Very seriously.

(Here’s a good place to start.)

Bosca Ceoil:

Now that I’ve got the basics of Haxe up and running, I’m itching to make something small in it – but once I’ve done that, I’m thinking I’m going to take some time out to finally update Bosca Ceoil, and maybe make a substantially improved version.

I think the appeal of Bosca Ceoil is it’s restrictions: making music is scary and it’s hard to know where to even start. A lot of what makes Bosca Ceoil nice to use is that it simplifies lots of decisions for you: here’s an instrument, here’s a scale, don’t worry about such and such, etc etc. I think that’s pretty important, especially for people like me who find composing intimidating. That’s why I made it that way!

That said, there’s a bunch of stuff it restricts weirdly and unnecessarily, and I’d like to rethink that a bit and see if there’s another way I can approach things. If this ends up making it a substantially different feeling tool, then I might just end up making a whole new thing.

And one more thing:

FutureTechnology

Here’s the thing: as much fun as learning Haxe has been, honestly, I’d rather not code at all. Mostly, coding has always just felt like it’s in my way, like I have to figure out how to express what I’m trying to do in this weird form. What I’d *really* like to do is just make my own game dev tool, and work mostly in that. And like with Bosca Ceoil, I have some pretty specific ideas about how that would work that I don’t see other people doing. I added the tools section to my sidebar recently as a statement of intent – it’ll probably be a while before anything happens with this – but it’s something I’m thinking a lot about.

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Forgot, and never brought to mind

(thanks, HotAndColdAF!)

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.

Ok, I know that’s a terrible cliché, but I mean it very earnestly! I used to post something about what I was up to as often as once a week. I’m going to try very hard to start doing that again from now on.

I like new year’s resolutions a lot – this time of year has always been important for me to think back on what I’ve made, and to think about what I want to make. This is when I make plans. I rarely stick to them, though – like, in 2012, I was so sure that I wasn’t going to start any new projects – instead, I was going to really focus on finishing one of the half dozen big prototypes I had lying around. That plan didn’t last very long, but, eh, it’s probably for the best.

Reflection of years of new year’s resolutions past reveal that I kinda keep falling into the same traps, and I’m feeling all the same things again this year: I wanna sink my teeth into a big project, but I don’t know which one to pick! I’m sick of making small things, but I have all these small things I wanna finish first! And I rarely finish any of the games I talk about wanting to finish in my new year’s posts – sometimes I don’t even work on them that year.

It really doesn’t feel like a process I understand very well or have much control over. Which is frustrating. I mean, I’ve been indie for over seven years now! Seven! I should be better at this by now!

Today’s an anniversary of a very important project for me – five years ago today, I released VVVVVV. Five years later, VVVVVV remains the game I’m most proud of. I feel incredibly blessed that it’s found the audience it has. Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin talking about how lucky I feel. And its success isn’t the only thing I feel lucky about: VVVVVV was a joy to work on.

Working on VVVVVV was not like working on any other big project that has come along before or since. VVVVVV never felt like hard work – even in the final weeks when I barely slept. It took a little over six months, and I spent most of that time just playing with level ideas and getting little details to feel right. I woke up every day excited to add the next thing, to try out some stupid thing I’d thought up the night before. I loved working on it. I’ve loved working on other games too, but VVVVVV was special for me, and I think it shows in the game.

I think I’ve been looking for another project like that ever since. I’ve gotten close, but nothing has been quite the same.

This year, I think any plan I make about what I want to work on has to be a better acknowledgement of the way I work best. So here it is: I’m not making a plan. I’m just going to work on what I feel like, when I feel like it, and see where that gets me.

Happy new year, everyone.

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