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Rudiarius

Hello hello again. We’re back, more or less, and changed via the process of return. A complete and total university education and I still don’t have the faintest idea as to how to start a blog entry. Oh well, here we go anyway. But first,

Priority Incantatem

My my my. Here we are again, back from the dead and with a new Word Press hosted space for these ramblings, such as they are going to be. As I write this, I’m thinking of a bunch of different things. First, this is the

The Green Monster

So yeah, it’s a funny story really. Not so much funny in a  “Ha Ha” kind of way more of a funny “Oh my god why is this nonsense continue to do this!? Why is the universe dicking with me?” So I loaded up my

Resurrector

I believe that the title is a real word. If not, I’m just going to go with it anyway. Note the “or” ending which makes a verb a proper noun given the right context (see also, Author, Auditor, Editor and, I suppose, Auror). After that,

The Six Million Dollar Cowboy

Alright alright. It’s a new post. Isn’t that exciting? Isn’t it annoying when somebody just writes rhetorical questions? Anyhow, couple things out of the way, starting with the titles. My computer is in a million (metaphorical actually closer to around 30) pieces in a box.

Rudiarius

Hello hello again. We’re back, more or less, and changed via the process of return. A complete and total university education and I still don’t have the faintest idea as to how to start a blog entry. Oh well, here we go anyway.

But first, a couple of things are in order. No, Paper Zeppelin has not been finished. In all honesty, I haven’t been able to even look at the code since the last system poured itself a big bowl of excrement and then proceeded to eat shit. It is my intention to finish that game, but it is no longer my main focus for a collection of reasons. The first of which has to do with the realities of the XBOX Live marketplace in light of the release of the XBOX One (i refuse to call in XBONE, because that shit is totes juvenile Yo). I have exactly zero idea as to whether or not large portions of the code would have to be written from scratch to even work on the new hardware. Plus also, how I would even go about working on getting those kinds of things to go up in a place to be sold anyway. As it stands, the best I can hope for is a release on Steam via their Greenlight program, but I still have to look into that.

Second, I have finished my degree. I officially have a degree in English Writing and Literature with an explicit focus on creative writing, which should surprise basically nobody that read anything I’ve ever written here. (actually, that’s still probably nobody, since seriously, look at your what your browser bar says). This actually, is what this post is really about. Priorities and, well, a rudiarius.

A Rudiarius was, back in the Roman style day, a gladiator that had earned their freedom. The name comes from the wooden sword – a rudis that was gifted to them when they were released. That’s what I have now. You see, the person that I was is not the same person that I was once. The journey to here, and the time it took to get here has, on a basic level, fundamentally changed what it is that I want. I’m free not just of school, but from a dream that I had spent so many nights on that honestly, doesn’t have a finish line anymore.

“But, but” I can almost hear you say out there in internet land. “You’re a game designer, and a writer, and you have a philosophy of design, and you know what you want to do with your life and everything! We need you to win!” That right there is the thing. Actually, the thing is Bioshock Infinite.

Here’s why. The job that I wanted, the job that I was always striving for, was what Ken Levine had. (also, to a lesser extent, Tim Schaeffer – I totally misspelled that). I wanted to be able to do interesting and mechanic driven games, with budgets well north of $100 million dollars. I wanted to run a massive team and create critically acclaimed gamed and I wanted them to have a particular sort of “Authorial Intent.” In other words, I wanted a Star Frog Game to feel like a Star Frog Game. I wanted it to be something where my own specific quirks are a particular part of the design. That’s what Ken Levine had with Irrational, and the thing is that even though Bioshock Infinite made a $100 million dollars for 2K, the studio still collapsed. There is no room for the kinds of video games that I want to make in modern AAA titles. Further, I have a vanishing interest in making games by committee.

In the end, Ken Levine couldn’t do it. Irrational made 2 of the finest things I have ever played and it wasn’t enough.

I don’t want this to be that way, but those are simply the realities of the industry as I see them. For that reason, I’ve decided that video game projects that I continue to work on will be on a hobbyist basis. I’m not setting it all on fire, but I do not plan to invest the man hours that I once had.

Having said that, I have no intention whatsoever of leaving projects unfinished. I will finish Paper Zeppelin and i’ll release it right here if I need to.

In addition to that, I’ve decided to shift focus for future Star Frog Games projects. During the last couple of months I have become increasingly interested in card and board games of different varieties. So I’ve been turning more and more design brain in that direction. Along the way I’ve found that since I don’t have to code those games, I can iterate over and over and over again in an exceedingly short amount of time. Not only that, I can see how people react to the gameplay and if things work or not. Consequently I can find the fun and work on making what works, work even better while quickly cutting the things that don’t.

It’s, in short, amazing.

So in the future I will post the beta rulesets for games that I am putting together so that you out there in the world can download (for free no less) and play the games. It’s a new direction for Star Frog Games, and I think that it will be the right choice. So, no, nothing is going to be like it was before, and that’s going to be okay.

All the love you’ve never known, so much more than you’ve been shown.

Hold on….one more time with feeling.

Priority Incantatem

My my my. Here we are again, back from the dead and with a new Word Press hosted space for these ramblings, such as they are going to be. As I write this, I’m thinking of a bunch of different things. First, this is the new 2.0 version of the website, and the new 2.0 version of the company I guess.

Welcome! I’m quite happy to finally have us in a new place where we can do lots of very cool things. I’m finding the Word Press software to be open source and simultaneously inviting. I’ve yet to run into something that I wanted to do, and couldn’t for one reason or another.It’s quite nice.

Anyway, let me address the elephant in the room (so to speak). Yes, I vanished. Went stealth as it were. I had nothing to write about (or thought I didn’t) so didn’t write anything. I’ve been, well, let’s just say that I’ve been busy. For most of what I was doing before, my education had taken more of a backseat to anything I was doing here. Which was both good and bad I guess. But I had come to the conclusion that, my code isn’t going to go anywhere, my games aren’t going to go anywhere, and they’ll be right where I left them when I get back to them. But college, that’s a proverbial horse of an altogether proverbially different color. I will only ever get to do it once. Doubly so if I do it right. Since I doubted very much that anybody wants to hear about my studies in the fine arts of English and Writing, I just more of less kept it to myself.

Hence, that title up at the top of the page there. For the last year and a half, my priorities have changed. Before I could never really focus with everything I had on this, much as it pains me (and as much as it may surprise anybody that looks at what I managed with what time I did have). Couldn’t go the other way either, and devote my full attention to my studies. Turns out that when I devote undivided attention at something, I conquer it. Like, hard.

Case in point, my current University GPA is 3.85, Dean’s List caliber for 4 of 5 semesters. I’m running a perfect 4.0 for the last 2 semesters running. The motto for this semester is simply, “Three-peat.” I’m the President of an Honors society, member of the University Leadership Circle and am widely known for my writing prowess and critique of work, fiction or otherwise. All of this while holding down the job that keeps the lights on in my house so I can write this and burning midnight oils 4 nights a week. I’ve rarely had this level of constant background stress, and it feels as if I’m operating on another level entirely. Not that I’m trying to boast or anything (these a simply facts)

Focus, can do amazing things. Lasers too, and both start to be far less effective when you spread them around.

So, I’m not going to lie and promise to post tomorrow, or the day after, or even soon. But I will, and when I do, I’ll be far more focused than I have ever been before.

The Green Monster

So yeah, it’s a funny story really. Not so much funny in a  “Ha Ha” kind of way more of a funny “Oh my god why is this nonsense continue to do this!? Why is the universe dicking with me?” So I loaded up my newly fixed Shiney (sic) laptop and first things first, I copied over the entire Paper Zeppelin project (all of the gigs!) over to flash drive to avoid, let’s say unpleasantness. However, I realized that the screen was green. Like, no reds or purples or anything that wasn’t green and blue and sad. Missing out on those colors kind of sucks when you need to code stuff that looks like anything.
“No problem,” I say to myself. Out loud even much to my surprise. I shut my computer down and open it up. The first time I took it apart it took me a day and a half. This most recent time and I had it in a bunch of pieces all over my table in about 20 minutes. Practice makes perfect I guess, although I would really rather have no idea how to take this apart, but I digress.
Found the cord that sends all the pretty up to the monitor and discovered some stuff. 1) If you press on the cord, it touches the motherboard and shorts it. It’s stupid, and the laptop didn’t mind. What it did mind was 2) It sparked up again and made smoke. This time though I had the guts all spread eagled out in front of me.
Learned something interesting regarding laptops and electronics in general, although I need to go back a bit. When I took Shiney (sic) apart the first time I discovered that the fan was clogged with giant dust bunnies and I assumed that those were what had caught fire the first time. However, I found no signs of burning anywhere on those little bunnies. “That’s odd,” I said at the time. Now, I know why.
So back to that screen cord. In a laptop the power cord and the message cord are the same cord (but not the same chord obviously since they make different noises). While I watched it spark up like like a Roman Candle I saw exactly where it was happening. So unplugged again and started looking at that cord, and took apart the screen to get to it.
What really happened the last time was that the cords melted from the heat. It cooked the heat shield like a digital hibachi grill and melted the cords like they were Darkman. Then they shorted out, which cause electrical sparks which raised the heat and blasted those poor bastard cords with more heat and violence and rendered them hopelessly boned. The fact that it worked at all really speaks to the intestinal fortitude of wee lil Shiney.
So yeah, that’s what happened and now the replacement part is incoming. Until then I think I’ll just start building levels on my ultrabook since I’m tired of waiting around for it.