Hey ho I haven’t updated dis here blog in sooooo long. All started with my imgur account filling up and asking me for a subscription (+ me not wanting to do anything about it), then PIGSquad and Pixel Arts stuff started picking up again. I do have some cool creative content to post, but the imgur situation plus the fact that I feel super disorganized using WordPress isn’t helping. I’m thinking of running with Tumblr based on some things that I’ve heard about it, so maybe I’ll get some more creative stuff up and running soon.
Haven’t been working on too much lately, but I’ve been playing Advance Wars: Dual Strike a bit and got way into the “Jugger” character. Covered his theme!
Participating in the Guts for Glory Game Jam taught me a lot about small team game development, especially with regard to dedicating a lot of time to planning (though it saves time to multitask via simultaneously planning and working) as well as sticking to one development role if you can. These two things finally taught me why I haven’t had a lot of fun attending game jams in the past – I not only used to spend insufficient amounts of time being clear about communication and plans with team members, but also overloaded myself as an event planner responsible for the 15-45 jammers present, as an artist/musician/designer on a team, and as a project manager for a team. And when I did that, I had an experience worse than an uninspired 48 hours: I would constantly worry about finishing the project post-jam, expecting my teammates and I to bring something with a bad base to fruition.
I’ve lately been working on being a bit more realistic about projects and how to manage my time in their midst, including the task of officially dropping stagnant projects that were always on the back of my mind. “The Hallway Is Dark, And I Am Afraid” and “Crooked Missile” are two such projects.
The Hallway Is Dark, And I Am Afraid was fun and I’m proud of how much work I put towards it in such a small amount of time, but the project was super discouraging. There were so many things that Yori and I assumed were apparent when we first began to make it, but attempting to explain and show the project became so difficult; it was so hard to help people understand what was going on and why each thing happened the way it did. In addition to the straight up learning curve, there were so many fine-tuning issues with regard to gameplay and art knickknacks that would have taken so much work (and even more work after having implemented fixes for our communication flaws).
After Guts for Glory, I was inspired and came up with some fundamental gameplay fixes that would have allowed easier fixes to follow suit. I made two little slideshows to solve our “in between hallways” interface problem as well as the “this game is really hard because my memory isn’t THAT good” problem. Hard to explain, but click those links and know that the zoomy map in the first and the scrolling pseudo-item-collection mechanic in the second did not exist in our original build of the game. I knew that these fixes were big and that both Yori and I had kinda run out of steam just before our first falling out with the project, but I was also inspired by having come up with what I thought would fix the game. I was fine with either continuing or scrapping the project, and we ended up with the latter.
Then, there’s Crooked Missile, which goes off of a game idea that I’ve had for a little while. It’s a straight up shoot ’em up with one little twist – you are controlling a missile with a knocked-out targeting system, so you must play an ascending “ship” always traveling at a ≈15˚angle. Your movement controls are just right and left, as you’re forced to switch from a right-bearing course to a left-bearing course if the missile drifts too far and becomes threatened with collision.
There was a lot that I wanted to do with weird angular thinking and super thought-out enemies/bosses, but that was the problem: before approaching the team with the project, it wasn’t thought-out enough. To accent that disparity, we started in the midst of a game jam (which I was also busy hosting), which added a rushed “don’t plan, just make it in time!” feel even though we had no time limit. My lack of planning got us a few bare prototypes in, the project stagnated, and it’s been on the back of my mind until now, which marks its move to a cozy, out-of-the-way shelf space. I made some music and learned a lot from the experience at least, so I’m glad it happened.
Since learning a good amount about jams from Guts for Glory, I’ve been pursuing FiercePeg Shootout as a solo project via Fuck This Jam and have been actually making some progress, so I’m on another track to discovering myself as a game jam enthusiast. We’ll see where that ends up..!
Phfewew! That is the sound I will make come October first. The third sentence of next month’s Portland Indie Game Squad invite reads, “At this meeting, we’ll be revisiting PIGSquad’s September activities, including the OMSI Mini Maker Faire, XOXO Arcade, the recent Jane McGonigal lecture, the Mechlo/Tonight We Launch chiptune show, the September Art/Code Night, and the Portland Retro Gaming Expo!” That is a lot of stuff for one month.
S’been great, though! Many positive experiences. XOXO Arcade put me in touch with a few indies and their awesomely elusive traveling games (play Joust, BaraBariBall, or Nidhogg if you ever get the chance, as it will probably be the first/last time they’ll even be available for you to play). Disasterpeace performed that evening and we were able to hang out at the arcade afterwards.
That was the same weekend as the OMSI Mini Maker Faire, where PIGSquad had a table featuring numerous members’ projects. We were written up by Geek Dad here and were able to generate lots of interest for local games, chiptune music, games education, and Yono – a collaborative pixel art project currently in its Kickstarter phase! My personal favorite part of the exhibition was PIGSquad’s make-your-own trading cards, which ended up being hilariousss. The event as a whole also went much better than any other exhibition I’ve ever planned; it was a phenomenal experience to work with such organized, enthusiastic, and responsible members. We were pitching each others’ projects, had a great looking setup, and managed to provide something for everyone. Great experience.
And from that, we march forward to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo this coming weekend after a PIGSquad Art/Code Night, where we have more games and game-related projects to show off to a more focused crowd. Got a banner on order and contingency plans at the ready after having experienced our weekend at the OMSI Mini Maker Faire; we’re gonna fly through this one (NOTE: JOKE. WHEN PIGS FLY. Y’KNOW?).
Just uploaded some great chiptune stuff from the Chipworm Birthday House Show this past weekend onto YouTube as well. Watch the below video and click on the YouTube link for two more performances on my channel!
Soyah, damn. Lots of stuff going on; next month seems like it’ll be slow in comparison, though we’re planning a Game Jam and panel discussion that will fit into each other and launch a greater effort to support the game development movement here in Portland. Talkin’ big stuff. I’ll be glad to isolate something like that and sanction it to its own month.
I have not been keeping up on this blog like I’ve been meaning to! Luckily, I was super inspired this morning!
But first, past news.
A third Sunday ago (the 17th), I submitted “The Noble Lie” to Attack of the Flix, that monthly awesome impromptu film screening that goes on at the Curious Comedy. Awhile ago, my friend Eric was getting ready for a jazz recital and he wanted me to animate something for him that would play on the projector behind him; in about 6 hours, I whipped something up without prompt, which he used as a backdrop to music that was “composed” only about twelve hours after I sent it to him (most of it was all improv – he [sax] and his guitarist just had a conversation about what key to be in and when, as prompted by the animation). I totally didn’t expect the music to come out the way it did, but I was super pleased, especially due to the fact that it was improv (which I can’t pull off at all). Regarding the animation, I had this idea awhile ago, the semi-point of which was to simplify my work on _Decay. This was a much different experience, though, because I’ve only ever composed imagery to music, and Eric made the music to my imagery instead. I wanted to repeat elements and keep everything as simple as possible so that he could write his performance for the next day as quickly as he needed to, and I wanted to keep focus on his work rather than mine due to the nature of the actual performance. Overall, I’m super stoked that it turned out the way it did! Didn’t win anything at AotF, but I want to do it again soon!
I’ve also been super busy with PIGSquad – in addition to having an Art/Code Night (with around 23 attendees..!) and witnessing Ed test his boardgame prototype for Starship Rex, a bunch of us attended our friend Jeffrey‘s event “Gaming for Social Good.” The purpose of the event was to explore ways in which games/gamers/gamedev can influence a greater good with an emphasis on how games can aid in achieving the goals of nonprofits, and explore we did. If you’re interested in pursuing an event like this, there will be more in the future, and Jeffrey has made a Games for Change Facebook Page to allow people to share their personal explorations and notify others of upcoming Gaming for Social Good type events. I’d personally like to see more specific issues tackled, where nonprofits have more of an idea of what’s going on and gamers are more clued in on the needs of those nonprofits. Should be seeing something like that soon!
So yeah, those are pretty much the big things that are going on right now. I’m currently on a to-do rampage after neeeeding to start up Majora’s Mask. I’m just SUCH a fan of the color scheme and overall graphical quality of that game… I want to make horrible polygonal characters so badly, but I gotta start small. Working on some Space Eulogy and e-mail and design stuff today!
Pfwhew, lotsa stuff has been going down of late. In addition to hosting PIGSquad’s Mayhem PIGJam this past weekend, I was interviewed for my friend’s show “Frope, it’s NOT Saturday,” I recently had a meeting about a music jam a friend and I are planning, I made a bunch of music, and I’m getting way too into the thought of animating things to throw on Newgrounds again! Gawdaym. And my car has to get a new fuel pump. Gawdaym.
Other than finding out my car felt all schloopy at the end of the weekend, the Mayhem PIGJam went well! There were around 43 of us there, I believe there were 9 teams, and everyone either got a good amount done, got a game engine up and running, or finished something! I was working on a non-Jam game with Chris and Matt, and I got a few tracks (project and non-project related) done. Click on this lil link right here to see some of what others ended up pumping out, stay posted for the official Postmortem (which’ll take place a liiiiittle ways down the road…), and here’s a bit of what I worked on that weekend in the meantime!
I’ve also been super inspired by watching some old and new things by popular Newgrounds artists, and I miss the prospect of making something out of nothing for all to see (and maybe even admire..!), regardless of how crappy it looks. Idk. Newgrounds just gives me that feeling – I’m a huge fan of goofy/stupid and more intelligent humor alike, and I feel that Newgrounds creators explore so many different realms of humor and skill to create a very whole and appealing experience. And of course there are all walks of life errwhere ya go, but it seems to all accumulate on Newgrounds, so it’s so easy to find great or not-so-great stuff (both of which I need). IDK. I’ve been uploading Bullet William tracks up in dat bitch lately, so, even though they’re the same thing on my Soundcloud, you should ship your shit over there to give my tracks a listen with the neat little “loop” feature and give ’em a mighty rating! I also started a new Facebook page that I’ll start actively pursuing once there’s a bit of content on it.
Scorecery and Frope stuff is/was cool, too. I met with Nick to discuss the Scorecery music jam and go over site layout and such, and we’re thinking that we’ll have something ready for September/October. So that’s cool. And my interview on Frope was cool, too, but the rest of the show and the musical guest were definitely the highlights in my opinion – show was funny, musical guest was unique and awesome! You can watch and/or download it here 😀
So yeah. Anyways, yeah. I think that’s all that’s happened in the past week.
It is 4:10am (in the AM) and I’m chillin’ at the Art Institute of Portland for PIGSquad’s third Game Jam, the Mayhem PIGJam! There are 40 of us here in approx. 9 different teams developing games from scratch in a period of 48 hours! I’m not working on something Jam-related, but it’s still a game. A shoot ’em up, in FACT. Here’s a track I’m in the process of writing for the Rain/Lightning themed level!
Everyone else is doing well with their shizz. The prompt is/was different for each team – people drew from a pile of cards with mayhem-like words written on them, and these were their prompts. Implosion, Explosion, Destruction, Madness, Doom, Anarchy, Disorder, Mischief, and Turbulence were a few of them. Mayhem and Peace were the two “special” ones (which means nothing), but no one drew Peace! Ah well.
But chyeah! All ‘n all, things are going very well – I was extremely prepared in my presentation of the rules ‘n such, and it was a breeze getting teamless people to assemble! I actually wrote down stuff that I needed for tonight, like, a few days ago, which is an absurd amount of preparedness for me (ooh, “absurd” would have been a good prompt…). Chris, Matt, and I are still working through what we’re specifically doing for our game, though – I had no time to prepare any sort of notes for my actual project 😛
Also, heads up – I will be appearing on my friend’s internet Livestream show this upcoming 12AM. The show is called “Frope, it’s not Saturday” (I assume because 12am is TECHNICALLY Sunday), and Jesse will be talking with me about the shit that I do and stuff, including what’s going on at the Jam at the time. Tune in and watch me talk with 3 hours of sleep (I plan on sleeping from like 6am-9am this morning)!