Archive for the 'random stuff' Category

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.

* 7 Comments

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.

* 18 Comments

Busy making other plans

Hello 2014! Don’t worry, I’m not making any public new year’s resolutions – I never keep em anyway.

I was just thinking that I haven’t been posting much here recently, you know? Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve said much at all about what I’ve been working on. So, here we go: a snapshot of projects I’ve been working on recently, projects I’ve been thinking about working on, and projects I’m planning to come back to:

vandajan
Untitled DarkSoulslike

Last time I mentioned this, I was looking for an artist. Well, I found one! A very talented London based comic artist called Cristian Ortiz, aka CROM, creator of Golden Campaign.

Collaborations have a way of getting a little out of hand, but I’m still hoping that this one will come together as a small, contained world to experience. Realistically, I think it’ll take another month or so.

roundabout
Halting Problem

I took a complete break from this game just before the IGF submission deadline last year. I haven’t worked on it since. I needed some time away from it. Still do. I wanna finish a few small things before I take this on again.

Halting Problem is a big, scary game. There are a few ideas at its heart that I think have potential to be very, very special, if I’m good enough to bring them to life. I haven’t forgotten about this game. It feels the way Super Hexagon did, the way VVVVVV did, and the way At a Distance and Nexus City did – that idea that won’t go away.

When I come back to this game, I don’t want there to be any distractions – I can feel that working on this one is going to be all consuming, that’s it’s going to take everything I have.

7drl5
Untitled Roguelike

I worked on a game for last year’s 7DRL that I still think about a lot. I dunno when I’m going to find time for it. Maybe it’ll resurface at some point, as something else.

isling
NewCity RPG

I moved to London at the end of last year, and spent my first month here making an RPG about it. It’s a game about a place, and mostly about getting across what that place is like – lots of distinct areas with their own personality, based on whatever alien impression a brief visit with them left me with. There’s a shoreditch level, an islington level, a few other places – and an underground system that links it all together.

I’m long enough here now that it doesn’t feel alien to me anymore, so I’m not sure where to take it. Maybe that’ll come to me, as I get to know the city a bit better.

vect
Vector thing

Really, it’s just tech at this point, and an idea. I owe Stephen a fan game…


VVVVVV’s last hurrah

VVVVVV is always going to be really damn important to me. It’s my final fantasy, the game that changed everything for me.

I’ve had an incomplete iOS version of the game working for over a year now, but other projects have kept me from finishing it up. I’d really like to get that out soon, though. Over Christmas I spent a little time finishing up the port, and I’m happy to say that the really hard stuff is done, now. I just need a week or two to sort out the details.

In addition, Nicalis have been porting the 3DS version of the game to PS Vita, and it feels wonderful on it.

So here’s an announcement of sorts, then.

This year, I’m going to release VVVVVV on PS Vita, on iPad, on iPhone, on Android, on Ouya. And, if I can manage it, all at the same time. This will very likely be the last thing I ever do with VVVVVV, and I wanna go out with a bang!

<3

* 27 Comments

Wanted: Coder

EDIT 21st Nov 2012: This position is now filled! Thank you.

Hey all! I’m looking for another coder for a contract job. Here’s the deal:

I recently ported Super Hexagon from Flash to C++, using the cross platform openFrameworks library. That port is now finished, and the game should hopefully be launching on PC and Mac very soon.

I’m looking for a programmer to port this new version of the game to Android, and then later to iOS (as an update to the existing version there). The library I’ve used is supposed to be cross platform, so I don’t expect it to be a huge job – but there are enough complications with it to make it a job for a more experienced coder than myself.

Part of the job will be to implement Scoreloop on Android, and Gamecenter on iOS. (On iOS, you’ll also need to write some code to pick up the old flash save files.) You may also need to optimise the code to make it run at 60fps at retina resolutions.

You don’t necessarily have to use openFrameworks if you’re more familiar with a different C++ framework on Android/iOS (it should be relatively straightforward to swap oF for something else).

If you’re interested, please get in touch, and we can discuss rates, deadlines, and more about what’s involved. Thanks!

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Wanted: Coder

UPDATE 12th October: I’m no longer looking for help with this. Thank you!

I’ve got a small contract job available for a coder – I’m looking for someone to write an AIR Native Extension for the Android leaderboard service Scoreloop. The scoreloop SDK is written in java.

I’m not entirely sure how much work is involved in this, but if you have experience writing ANEs and you’re interested, please get in touch and we can discuss it more! My email address is here. Thank you!

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That’s that then

Changed my mind, it’s scrapped now.

Actually, scrapped isn’t quite right. I realised this evening that the ideas in this that I actually like fit better in

than they do here. So, I’m gutting this and reimplementing those ideas in that.

* 4 Comments

PYRAMID ENERGY IS REAL – IT S SACRED SCIENCE! JUST LIKE THE COMPUTER,

I was originally making this little side thing for SuperFriendshipClub’s Editor Pageant, but I’ve missed the deadline. So now I guess I’m just making it because I kinda like where it’s going.

* 6 Comments

My Super Meat Boy

So hey; here’s a little thing I randomly came across again today while looking for a snippet of code: You guys have heard of Super Meat Boy, right? It was one of my favourite games of last year! Well, if you’ve played it, you might have seen this screen:

…or maybe you haven’t, actually, since it’s from one of the harder warp zones to find; buried away in a Dark World level that you need to reach with a special character! Anyway, Edmund asked a lot of different indie game designers to draw warp zone title screens, including me! His instructions were pretty simple – draw the title screen you’d make for Super Meat Boy if it was your game.

Thing is, I don’t really work that way – in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually “drawn” a title screen. After several attempts I didn’t like and scrapped, I figured it would just be easier for me to make a little Super Meat Boy fan game in my own style, and make something around that.

So, that warp zone title screen is actually a screenshot from the little game I ended up making. It’s only actually a couple of screens long and very broken, but when I came across it again today I figured it was worth sharing, for fun! [You can play it here]

[edit] To clarify, given some comments on reddit and elsewhere: this was thrown together in a couple of hours. It was just part of my process for coming up with the warp zone title screen for Super Meat Boy, and I decided to post it not because I think it’s good or even worth playing, but because I figured some people might find it interesting!

* 29 Comments

Wanted: Coder

I’m no longer looking for any applications – thank you! [13th April 2011]

Hey all! Time for another wanted ad – I’ll keep this one short.

I’m looking for a contract coder to port a new flash game of mine to C++. The job will probably take a couple of weeks. If you’re interested and would like to know more, please send me an email, and we can discuss rates, deadlines, and more about what’s involved.

Ideally, you should:
– Be very familiar with C++ and SDL (or a similar cross platform library)
– Be at least somewhat familiar with ActionScript 3
– Have some experience building binaries in Windows, Mac and Linux.

Thanks!

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yay

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

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