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Captain’s Log M1•G3: Smaller Bites of the Elephant

So, a few things have changed. Now that my mother’s home, someone needs to stay on call throughout the night in case she needs anything. My sleep schedule still hasn’t recovered from being an overnight stock boy last summer, so it was easiest for me to make the shift.

More to the point of these logs: looking at what I’ve done in the last week and what I aim for this week. You already have my notes on the matter. The fact of the matter is that I bit off a larger project than I expected, and I also put a project into production when it should have remained in the tinkering stage.

All is not lost. In fact, very little is lost. 70% of the work I did for Last Legend Zero can be retooled for any game I want to make. Of the other 30%, most of it is still useful for multiple game projects I’d like to get to, and all of it can come up again if I take Zero off the back burner and put it on the front.

So let’s scale all the way back and start with a shmup. I know, I’ve said I’d rather do anything but another shmup, but that’s no longer true. I’m willing to use it as a stepping stone to larger games. Let’s take the work I’ve done on palettes, screen sizes, controls, menus, and so forth, and reuse it to finally finish my old project Spaz Invaders.

We’ll keep the art style consistent, consider this all one project, and keep on trucking.

When I finished the brainstorm, I put together Spaz, used him and myself to scale a coin:

.. and then got to work building the basic shmup movement animations for Spaz.

He still needs to be able to spit fire, hover for aim mode, charge his breath, take damage, and die. Ideally, I’d also have his spines sway in the breeze while he glides. But animating a character like this has been very enjoyable. I’d forgotten how much I love the absurdity of smears.

This week I’ve got to take a couple days and get back into the good graces of the paperwork brigade. Hopefully I’ll finish in a day or two, and have Spaz up and running before the end of the week, but I make no promises.

M1F 3

The following is copied and pasted from my analysis of my progress on Last Legend Zero.

IDNotion
1The epiphany I had for the Last Legend Comic, M1E20, is an excellent direction.
2However there are several problems with Last Legend Zero.
2.1Most notably, development is not proceeding at the predicted pace:
2.1.1cannot complete a game of which I am proud in the remaining 2 weeks of January.
2.1.2I would want a couple of weeks per planned region (3 to 7 regions intended) plus time to market and polish besides.
2.1.3I am also not satisfied that the gameplay is, by itself, satisfying, which demands more prototyping.
2.1.4If I were to force myself to pinch off a technically complete, but hastily cut off game, with zero testing and polishing, I might just barely make the March 15th release date at this rate.
2.1.5This I must not do. I must never again “produce” games in which I take no pride.
2.1.5.1(I may, of course, make rapid prototypes, but that is another matter)
2.1.6Therefore, to complete the game properly would take 14 weeks, not counting testing and polish. This would indicate a May or June release at best.
2.1.7I have already put a solid 4 weeks of development into it.
Moreover…
2.2I do not have more than the broad strokes of the story in mind.
2.2.1I lack important details like the antagonist, and importantly, the ending.
2.2.2This is a big deal. Without a complete draft, a project must not go into production.
2.2.3Last Legend Zero is still in the tinkering phase. It is improper to give it a release date.
2.2.4This should have been recognized and acknowledged from the outset.
3These combined issues have implications for the Legend Game Tower.
3.1If I am going to make a 2-month game, then a 4 month game using the 2-month game as a foundation, &c, as planned, the points under 2.1 indicate that it cannot be Last Legend Zero, but must be a smaller game.
3.1.1It has to be smaller than a point-and-click adventure game, yet move us towards my ultimate JRPG-centric goal.
3.2Nor, per 2.2, can I justly say I have begun Production on any game if I yet lack mechanics and extensive knowledge of the minimum world of that game.
3.2.1I may justly say I am tinkering or prototyping. And these are fine and necessary.
3.3Thus, to make a “2-month” game, I need to choose a first brick in the tower that is small enough to make in two months, and sufficiently well-conceived that it may swiftly move from Tinkering to Production.
4This does not mean my last month’s work was for naught.
4.1All of it can be used eventually.
4.2Most of it can be used immediately. Several components are genre agnostic:
4.2.1The HD interface/pixel world
4.2.2The palette shader
4.2.3The options menu and boot system
4.2.4The State Machinery
4.3There are some caveats:
4.3.1Dialogue is vestigial in many genres I like.
4.3.1.1However, as much as I enjoy retro mime, if my game lacks in dialogue, it is not aiming well toward my goals.
4.3.2The mouse/touch control scheme is low priority or nearly useless in every genre I’m aiming towards except point & click adventures and JRPGs
This, then, frames the question:
5What can I proudly build in a single month on the foundation I’ve laid for Last Legend Zero that moves me closer to the Legend Framework?
6The answer will be small. Something on the scale of Pong, Breakout, or Space Invaders. My gut says it will have to be a Space Shooter.
6.1I know I said I never wanted to make a Space Shooter again, but now, with the meds, I’m sure I can hack it, as long as it’s only the first step.
7I have a handful of Space Shooter designs that will serve for a first brick.
7.1Spaz Invaders is a good choice that admits almost instant work.
7.1.1It has the advantage of allowing for an immediate platformer followup.
7.1.1.1The world art thus generated would be well-suited to Last Legend material.
7.1.2Spaz is sort of in Limbo because of his overlap with Jump the Shark
7.1.2.1Perhaps echoes of the same Chrononic Resonance.
7.2Candy Raid is almost as good as Spaz Invaders.
7.2.1Obviously, with two published games starring Candy, this takes advantage of existing momentum the best.
7.2.2But I’m really very done with Candy.
7.3The space shooter starring Angel from Crossover Arcade. Meteoroid.
7.3.1More story-driven. Plays into future ensembles. Utilizes dialogue.
7.3.2Suffers from being more story-driven. This game, also has problem 2.2 to contend with.
8At this moment, I am leaning so hard towards Spaz Invaders that unless something else occurs to me, I am just about guaranteed to choose it.

Captain’s Log M1•B2: Cleaning Up

This week’s update is simple. My mother is returning home on Thursday. I have to spend most of my time preparing her house for her return. I may tinker a bit here and there before, and I may return to my work full-force after, but this week will be mostly dedicated to those preparations, and to her return.

That I am, by no means, anywhere near where I thought I’d be at this point in development means I need to reconsider my whole plan and workflow. Since my watchers in the government are asking what my plan is, I think next week will be dedicated first and foremost to very question.

February, I historically take off to do whatever I feel like. At the moment, despite spending three weeks of December and one of January pushing hard, though, I don’t feel burnt out on this project. I could easily switch projects, but I could easily just keep my nose to the grindstone and keep going. That’s a good sign that the medications are working, and I expect to re-evaluate, come to new estimates on the same plan, instead of changing plans again.

I ended last week by finding a plugin for Godot that will allow me to import animations directly from Aseprite, and by being fed up with my social media participation and choosing to go dark for a while. I predict both aid my productivity immensely.

Presently, I aim to spend whatever work time I get this week retooling the plan to take the new timing information into account. That, and producing a polished business plan take priority until such are done. I hope next week’s post will be the result.

Captain’s Log M1•52: Cracks in the Plan

Last week, the goal was to finish the game.

A game is complete when it has a start menu, sound and graphics options, an input screen (although, ideally input customization options), a credits screen, and gameplay with the game over conditions (win conditions, lose conditions, so on).

I do not release incomplete games.

Note LAS8

I did get a start menu, sound and graphics options, and an input screen implemented. So I’m partway there. But I’m not all the way there. And my mother is coming home in two weeks, so more and more of my time needs to be spent preparing her house for occupation.

Now, between cleaning and working on the game, it is possible that I can, this week finish the game. But that leaves me three weeks in January to expand and polish it instead of all 4, at best less time per week than I expected to have, and I’m not trucking along as quick as I expected, even adjusting my expectations for the last game I worked on.

Besides that, my Business Plan, while “finished” with as much information as I have, needs to be polished and brought to the agencies that are expecting it. Preferably soon. Like this week or so.

So I need to re-estimate. Perhaps game dev should go into February. Perhaps I should make the game for the rest of January, take February off to work on tie-in comics and books as originally planned, but use the fact that my target release date is the Ides of March to schedule two weeks of March as polish.

There are other considerations. I would like to create a nice setting with pixelart me sitting at a desk or something, and script a discussion of the gameplay and the plans for the Last Legend series, to present as part of the business plan.

I’m not sure which plan is best. So I’m going to stop, make a polished business plan, make that scene in Last Legend Zero that explains Last Legend, and then next week I’ll be able to tell you what we are going to do next. My best guess is next week will also be an attempt to complete the game by adding the bare bones story and gameplay. Weeks 3 and 4 of January will be filling out the game. Adding new doodads. Characters. The like. And on we shall go.

Captain’s Log LC•R2

Last week, as predicted, I did very little on the game. Not nothing, though. I spent a lot of time doing character and setting designs that will tie into the comic. I found a workflow that is almost as fast for creating “hand-inked” looking vector art as my pixel art workflow is at making pixel art…

..which re-sparked the age-old question of whether I should use HD art or Pixel Art.

There were three elements that tipped the balance for me. First was the seasonal enjoyment of Muppets Christmas Carol. My piqha, and indeed all characters in the retro-cartoony art style I’m developing, are my version of muppets as much as anything. And one thing I like about “my” muppets is that they exist in a digital world, where Mr. Henson’s exist physically. It’s something I’ve tried, and failed, to develop, in the past:

But as much as I haven’t got it figured out, I haven’t let go of it either. Even my “paper dolls” exist conceptually in my head as digital life forms. Pixel art merely makes that explicit.

The second element that tipped the balance was watching a video on Super Mario Brothers speedrunning where they talked about frame rules and manipulable RNG. Mechanics necessitated by the hardware of the time, but mechanics that I fully desire to include in my games on purpose. And the fact that they are pixel art helps thematically hint that these things will exist in my games.

The third element that helped tip the balance was a tutorial on YouTube on how to create a pixelation filter, which I immediately implemented yesterday out of the sheer joy of doing it.

I now have a glitch animation I can call whenever I want from code, as well as a fade out/fade in method that is both more elegant than what I did with Prelude to Nightmare and more Godoty: my Hat Trick fade was done the same way I would do a fade in Unity.

Along the way, I tweaked my inky caricature to be in tune with Popeye, and tweaked my pixel art caricature to be in line with my inky one.

Which is a great improvement in my eyes.

Ink and pixels will both always be elements of how I present my stuff, I think. With 3D making rare but real appearances from time to time..

But I do love the pixels.

One marginal fourth factor convincing me to go with pixels over HD was that I want my games to run on potatoes, and not require super high-end hardware.

One marginal fifth factor is that Sierra called their graphical adventure games “Hi-Res Adventures” because this was hi-res compared to a text adventure:

… and I think it would be hilarious to call my games “Low-res adventures” despite them being higher res than the Sierra high res adventures.

The one thing that was not a factor despite the fact that it ought to have been the single most important factor is that it’d take much of a week to rebuild what I’ve got so far in HD. At some point in a project, you have to commit to not starting over, even though you’ve learned so much and done so much that you know starting over would be faster and better. Because if you let yourself start over once, you’ll let yourself start over again and again and never get done.

My books are not perfect, but they are finished, and the lessons I would learn by starting over get applied to the next book.

But while that should have been the first factor and the deciding factor, I never considered that factor, as the other factors made the decision before I got to that point.

What are we going to do this week?

A game is complete when it has a start menu, sound and graphics options, an input screen (although, ideally input customization options), a credits screen, and gameplay with the game over conditions (win conditions, lose conditions, so on).

I do not release incomplete games.

Note LA•S8: Complete Game

This week, my primary goal is to turn my gameplay demo into a small complete game. Doing the bare minimum work as fast as possible to have it done.

Then, in January, the first two weeks will be dedicated to expanding the game, and the second two to polishing the game, making sure at the end of each week to end with a finished game. In this way, at the beginning of February, even if I have to cut content that I wanted to put in the game, I will be able to release a game.

So that’s the plan for this week. Make a title screen/start menu, the options and credits, and the end conditions.

The FYOOOTCHER..

If God wills, and I haven’t finished development for the Mad Christian Last Legend comic by February, as a side-effect of making this game, February will be devoted to comic development until it is ready to go. Using the game engine and comic assets together to make YouTube animated shorts (and I dunno, TikToks) will be the hoped-for side-effect of that project as well, because the plan is then to spend March and April producing a JRPG, Last Legend I.

If Bunny Trail Junction is the the rocket, then Last Legend I is the launch and Last Legend Zero is the fuel.

Forgiveness is Virtuous

The College Loans thing has come back up, as it will keep returning until either debtors are enslaved openly in America, or else the debt is forgiven, presumably by some socialist takeover that brings on mass starvation.

I prefer neither option.

My favorite “plan” to deal with the Student Loan Crisis is as follows: declare that most college degrees to be scams. Seize the university endowments to pay the debt. Forgive the students.

I am led to believe this would cover the debt without having to dip into tax money. The Universities are bastions of the Left. There is nary a Right-winger who wouldn’t claim that most degrees aren’t fraudulent. Advocating this and, indeed, enacting it, would win the hearts and minds of many brainwashed children who are currently en route to imposing the Communist Revolution, and our homebred version of the gulags. And both I, and many others who advocate it would without hesitation agree to many of the stipulations that the so-called Right insists it would have to have.

  • “Well then, those degrees are revoked.” Certainly. It’s not as though they are furnishing the jobs they were billed as providing.
  • “If you aren’t smart enough not to sell yourself into slavery, you shouldn’t vote.” By all means. Revoke the franchise from those so forgiven.
  • “The federal loan program would have to be ended to prevent it happening again.” We are in complete agreement.

And yet, it is a mark of the “Right’s” commitment to losing that the mere mention of delivering this relief pushes them into shrieking fit for any vampire confronted with a crucifix.

“Why should my taxes pay for the forgiveness?” But I never proposed that they should.

“You just aren’t willing to cut Netflix and work two jobs like me.” I don’t have Netflix, and moreover, my debt is not at issue. Even if I get my way, mine will be paid off before it ever happens.

“If your student loan gets forgiven, what about my car loan?”

And now we have landed on something meaty. Something meaningful. Something I’ve been wanting to get around to.

Yeah. Let’s forgive that too.

You see, the Church has historically been against usury. That is, lending money at interest. At all.

Now this business of student loans is cast as a political and economic argument. These are not my area of expertise. My interests are drawing, writing, storytelling, programming games. On subjects outside my expertise, I defer to religion. In fact, I defer to religion even within my expertise. If I say one thing, and Jesus says another, I am wrong and Jesus is right. Period.

And what does religion tell me about debt, forgiveness, and usury?

Well, the theocracy of Israel is forbidden to loan at interest to their countrymen, and they are to forgive all debts every seven years.

I eat bacon and shellfish. I am not under the Mosaic Covenant. But I am not about to say I am wiser or more righteous than God. So the idea that it is morally superior to make men pay their debts is out the window.

You cannot be more just than God. Simple as. Nor more wise.

Which undercuts another argument, namely that debt forgiveness would create perverse incentives. Surely, God knew the incentives when He devised the Mosaic Covenant.

And of course, we are taught to pray “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Even supposing we paid for student loans out of our taxes, do you really intend to stand before Christ and say “I was unwilling to pay for my neighbor’s freedom, but I’d sure like you to pay for mine!”

“But Jesus is talking about moral debts, not financial debts!”

So, if I take your money, that has no moral component? Balderdash. Anyway, the idea that monetary debt has no moral component certainly undercuts the line “No one put a gun to your head and forced you to sign. You agreed to pay that.”

Either it is not immoral for me to refuse to pay, or “forgive their moral debts” applies to financial debts. You can’t have it both ways.

So yeah. I think student loans and car loans should be forgiven. Maybe once every seven years. Maybe through some process like bankruptcy. I’m not a theonomist. I’m not committed to reinstating Moses in America.

But I am saying if your argument for your system is that it is more righteous than Moses’s, or more wise, then you are flatly wrong.

“But our economy can’t work like that!”

You underestimate my willingness to appear an utter gibbering moron if it means doing what Jesus says. I am certain that a country who makes “foolish” financial decisions because that is what Christ would command will somehow find a way to daily bread.

The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anything that claims to be wisdom and is not founded in God-Fearing, cannot be wise.

Anyway, our economy is crumbling already. The Horseman of inflation rides among us. And our country will continue to be accursed so long as it murders infants and enslaves children.

Politics and Economics

Now, I do think there is an argument that can be made for forgiveness that is political and a couple that are economic.

A country’s true economy, I would argue, is measured in whether men are taking wives and having children. By murdering half my generation, the Boomers have doomed America to darker winters for a long time. By selling the remaining half to the banks, they have made the coming winters darker and longer still.

Our house is on fire. To pull out of this nosedive, we need normal men and woman raising families. To make this happen, we need to get normal men and women out of debt.

This is one economic argument. Let us suppose that the only possible way to forgive student loans is with taxes. Let us suppose we don’t do it.

There will be fewer goods and services in the years to come because there will not be the human capital to furnish them. Nor the brain capital to maintain the automation needed to furnish them.

The second economic argument is that building an economy on debt is as foolish as centrally planning an economy, and for the same reasons. The ability to take imaginary money out of the bank and buy real things with it disrupts the healthy mechanisms of supply and demand. Our currency isn’t just inflated by the money printers. It is also inflated by credit cards.

To be sure, we have food, and communists have starvation. So to say our system is as bad as, say, Venezuela’s is objectively false. But I think it is still bad, and will all blow up in our faces.

The political argument I have already made above. Men have gone to college, been told that capitalists are evil, and had every evil for which capitalism is blamed done to them by the colleges. If we let them be, if we let Bernie and his ilk continue to enchant them, they will put us all in gulags, and then everyone gets to starve to death. But if we forgive the debt, and fix the blame where it belongs, perhaps another path becomes available.

I am neither a politician nor an accountant. I believe these arguments, but I am not really able to defend them.

But That’s Not the Point

The point is forgiveness is objectively good and laudible and I cannot and will not claim otherwise so long as I hope for salvation in the Blood of Christ.

My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.

Captain’s Log LC•K4: I’ll not be focusing on the Game this week.

Last week we got a lot done. The game now has lighting, spaceship graphics, and a lot of input/bug fixes.

I may tinker with it this week, but my plan is to focus on holiday preparations, as well as story matters. Figure out who the characters in the comic are. Make presents for my family members. Clean my house.

Next week, the first proper week of Christmastide, my goal will be to make a Complete Game. That is, to make the title screen and menus, the win condition, the credits… the minimum product, so that all development in January will be improving and expanding a complete game, and I’ll not spend the last week or so trying to desperately tweak it into a finished product before release.

And that’s all I have to say about that. May you have a Merry Christmas.

That’s not how my religion works. That’s not how ANY religion works.

Every now and again, I find myself uttering that phrase.

You see, every day I come across men who seem to believe that my religion is a therapeutic or a crutch. A tool I use to deal with the world.

It can serve these purposes. But it is not my religion because I find it helpful. On the contrary, several times a day I find it profoundly unhelpful. Rather, it is my religion because I think it is true.

I think a man really rose from the dead. And because He really rose from the dead, His claims about reality take precedence over the claims of historians, scientists, and other philosophers by a country mile.

I may have misunderstood the Resurrected Man, to be sure. Though He claims to be merciful and the author of language itself, so I trust that any misunderstanding is either willful on my part, or else temporary. Hopefully always the second, even if the first. But because He Lives, I am no fool for favoring His account even if evidence seems to point the other way.

Man or Rabbit

C.S. Lewis once addressed the question of whether you can lead a good life without being a Christian. His essay, Man or Rabbit? formed the foundation of my habits of thought. For in it, he he repeatedly returns to hammering home the same concept.

One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing. When that desire is quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human.

I don’t give two figs whether Christianity is useful or not. I care whether it is true. I follow it in my own mangled, befuddled way because I am convinced it is true. If it were false, I would rather believe what was true, whether it was Odinism, Atheism, or Taoism.

And while I am pleased to be a believer now, I have not always been. For long decades of my life, I was convinced that Jesus was the Christ, the Risen Son of God, and I wished it were not so. But even then, I did not discard it.

I am not much of a man. I will not win many fistfights. I have not earned a great deal of money, or skillfully managed my affairs. My foes have many vectors to mock me.

But at least I am no rabbit. I am devoted to that which I am persuaded is true. I swear fealty to the God who lives. And if I learn different, I will not abandon my faith easily or lightly, but I will abandon it. I will take up the true faith.

I am dead serious. I have already switched from revivalist non-denominationalism to Confessional Lutheranism, and come within a hand’s breadth of swimming the Tiber. I am not devoted to my tradition because it is my tradition. I am devoted because I believe it to be true.

Diversion: The Paucity of Pagans and Pragmatists

Now, every week or so, some gentlemen on social media says that to save the West, we should abandon Christianity and become Odinists. After all, Odinists fight. Odinists can stand against the SJWs.

I rather suspect that the proportion of Odinists with blue hair greatly exceeds the proportion of blue haired Christians. But even if it were not so, even if Odinists always fight and Christians always lay down and die, I would hold there is one and only one reason to become an Odinist: that Odin is really and truly king of the gods, and Jesus is not.

If Odin is imaginary and Jesus is imaginary, which I strongly suspect to be the real belief of most Odinists I meet, then the manly thing to do is own up to it. “I am playing make-believe for the psychological and social benefits.”

Well, I make children’s books. I play make-believe professionally. There is nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with calling it a religion.

A religion is a practice spawned by an honest assessment of reality. It is service to the gods because they are gods, not because they are cool. A real Odinist really sacrifices real goats to really Odin. He doesn’t just braid his beard and wear a meowmeow amulet for funsies.

When a man tells me “give up your faith, mine is far more practical”, he tells me he believes lies on purpose for their benefits. In short, he tells me he is not a man.

A beast may be stronger than me. Elephants are. A beast may be wealthier than me. The housecats of elite widows are.

The dignity of manhood may be improved by strength or funds or cleverness. But without it, you are simply not a man.

Beliefs Have Consequences

As soon as we have realised this, we realise something else. If Christianity should happen to be true, then it is quite impossible that those who know this truth and those who don’t should be equally well equipped for leading a good life. Knowledge of the facts must make a difference to one’s actions. Suppose you found a man on the point of starvation and wanted to do the right thing. If you had no knowledge of medical science, you would probably give him a large solid meal; and as a result your man would die. That is what comes of working in the dark. In the same way a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men. The one believes that men are going to live for ever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back. The other believes that men are an accidental result of the blind workings of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live for about seventy years, that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organisations, and that everything else (e.g., vivisection, birth-control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ simply in so far as it helps or hinders that kind of ‘happiness’.

Now there are quite a lot of things which these two men could agree in doing for their fellow citizens. Both would approve of efficient sewers and hospitals and a healthy diet. But sooner or later the difference of their beliefs would produce differences in their practical proposals. Both, for example, might be very keen about education: but the kinds of education they wanted people to have would obviously be very different. Again, where the Materialist would simply ask about a proposed action ‘Will it increase the happiness of the majority?’, the Christian might have to say, ‘Even if it does increase the happiness of the majority, we can’t do it. It is unjust.’ And all the time, one great difference would run through their whole policy. To the Materialist things like nations, classes, civilizations must be more important than individuals, because the individuals live only seventy odd years each and the group may last for centuries. But to the Christian, individuals are more important, for they live eternally; and races, civilizations and the like, are in comparison the creatures of a day.

The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can’t both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe. Consequently, with the best will in the world, he will be helping his fellow creatures to their destruction.

– Man or Rabbit? C. S. Lewis, emphasis mine.

A week or two ago, an anti-“Critical Race Theory” activist by the name of James Lindsay went around claiming the plain teachings of John 1, accepted by Papists and Lutherans, Greeks and Baptists alike, are that old heresy, Gnosticism, thereby setting himself up as a great defender of the Faith he doesn’t hold.

When Christians of every stripe questioned his theology, he got butthurt and salty and went around talking about how Christians could Save the West if they only stop being Christians.

Now. I am in favor of his crusade against CRT. I am a uniquely bitter foe of the vicious, abusive, racist policies of the American Government School.

But Mr. Lindsay seems to believe people choose religion the way they choose socks. Because they like the color and fit.

And maybe for many men, that is true.

But that’s not how religion works.

I would like to Save the West. I am fond of flush toilets and video games. When the collapse comes, I am ill-suited to be the local warlord. When the Stasi come to my door, I expect to die offering a futile token resistance.

But in the long run, the West is nothing; Christ is everything.

Moreover, the only Christians who could Save the West are those who believe the West is nothing; Christ is everything.

You cannot get the benefits of religion without really believing. And if you really believe, you will have to act in accordance with what you believe.

Deep down, Mr. Lindsay believes, or acts as though be believes, that everyone is secretly an atheist, who affects religion because it is practical.

But, Mr. Lindsay, if that is so, why do you want to be yoked with such dishonest men? Or if I have charged you falsely, and you think we really do serve the Risen God Man (in our own minds, anyway), why should we obey you and not Him?

And Thus, I am Unconcerned By the Dying Church

Many a man forecasts the death of the Church if it doesn’t do this or that.

Many a man within the Church on my side laments that the church has become emasculated. Toothless.

I feel your pain. I wish to see a righteous army stand undaunted against the foe. I wish to be part of this. To hold the line. To reconquer. To rebuild.

Which of you wants to tell the King of Creation that His Bride needs more chest hair?

If Christianity is true, Christ will preserve His Church, weak though she is, foolish though she is.

If Christianity is false, the church deserves to die. Because lies deserve to die.

The health of the Church is not my problem. Only the health of the local Church, in which I am a member, which I am to love as my own body. And my duty there is not to make sure they have rock bands to attract the youth, nor even specifically to protect them against rock bands (though that is more my wont). It is to hear the Word and repeat it. To be shriven. To take the Sacrament. And to love my neighbor as myself.


You know, I really do believe all that crazy stuff happened. That the sun stood still for Joshua. That Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. That a virgin conceived and gave birth. That water became wine and that wine becomes blood.

Because I really do think that a man died and returned from death. And what He says goes. Even if it doesn’t make sense to me.

Even if it’s utterly impractical.

And because I really believe all that, I have to live my day-to-day life as if it were true, even though it seems foolish to those who believe differently.

That’s how my religion works.

That’s how every religion works. You either act in accordance with it, or else you’re larping.

Captain’s Log LC•D3: A Look of my Very Own

We closed out last week just a little shy of all the needed gameplay (namely, going places, clicking on things, and having my scripts play as a result). Thanks to a helpful plugin called Dialogic, I had no need to make my own dialogue system…

And Godot comes with pathfinding out of the box, albeit buggy pathfinding, which may mean I need to apply a couple bandaids of my own.

The hope was to have all the gameplay systems done that week, spend this week making a Complete Game, and then the rest of December and January expanding the game.

As of the close of today, I have reached the point I aimed to hit last Friday which is… not great, but better than my other missed targets by a lot. Crosswiring multiple forms of input in Godot proved challenging, but not nearly so challenging as Unity. With Dialogic coming with choice boxes, and me spending my first couple days implementing palette management and a custom animation system suited to my prejudices, my Godot RPG Engine is now more capable than my Unity RPG Engine, and I have less experience with Godot on the whole.

Here’s my sweet, sweet radial menu radial menuing.

But that is not (for me) the most exciting bit of news. Unhappy with my test graphics, I began the process of doing research and mockups into the sorts of graphics I’d like to do in my game. I have wavered between my hand-drawn style and pixel art in the past. And one of the reasons is I can make competent pixel art, but not unique pixel art.

Until now. The dam broke.

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That’s a mockup, but that’s the style. It means the characters (except for the piqha) need to get larger, but I’ve realized I can bring the feel of my brush into the pixels. In fact, I’ve done it before:

I am now genuinely excited for the art I am going to bring to this game, and to future books and comics, even if it is low-res adventures.

When I ended the week without reaching my goal, the plan changed. This week is no longer for finishing, but for building. Next week is not for finishing because of Christmas. The last week of December is now for finishing. But that’s fine. I went for two months so I would have that space to work in.

So this week, the plan is to build out from this foundation. Get the game looking interesting.

Next week, I intend to work on it some, but not a ton, thanks to Christmas.

And the week after that is a race to make it a complete game. That is, having the win or lose conditions, the music, the options menus, the title screens, and so on.

Usually I post all this stuff to Twitter as I do it, but ever since I hit on the art direction, I’ve been holding off. I want my next salvo to hit hard, with lots of the new art to gawk at.

Captain’s Log LC•72: Pixels or Pens?

According to schedule, this week is supposed to be the first full week of development on Last Legend Zero, in which basic gameplay is established. Next week, then, is the week of “finishing” Zero, that is, ensuring it is a finished game, so that anything added or refined during the remainder of the development time is literally added or refined. However, yesterday I had a mild cold, and today I slept in due to the some moderate symptoms.

Additionally, I spent the last week developing a workflow that would create HD graphics that I could then reuse in books. However, there are still several advantages to using pixel art, and I recently was reminded of them.

At the moment, most of my work can be re-purposed easily. Turning my HD palette shader into a pixel art palette shader will only make it simpler, not more complex. The palette management system I’ve devised for the one shader will work for the other. I’ve made almost no graphics for the game.

So, let us weigh the pros and cons of making a game in both pixel art and HD graphics with these emoji: 👾🖋️

  • 👾 Pixel Art is Future Proof: As screen resolutions improve, pixel art will continue to look just the same.
  • 👾 Pixel Art Implies More Gameplay: The more bespoke an asset is, the less you can do with it. The more reusable the assets are, the bigger the world feels.
  • 👾 Pixel Art is More Gameplay: Pixel art takes less time to make, meaning more of my time and money budgets can be devoted to the actual game.
  • 👾 Pixel Art Runs on Potatoes: The lower the resolution of the active area, the less work the computer has to do, the wider the range of machines that can run your game.
  • 👾 Pixel Art Palette Controls are Tighter: Instead of having to adjust several related colors into several other related colors, I can simply turn one color into one other color. This allows for shading, and for larger palettes if I so desire.
  • 🖋️ HD Art Is More Distinctive: While pixel art styles vary, especially as you go up in resolution, unless you try to adopt a fairly extreme style, your game will not stand out from other pixel art games. An HD hand-drawn game will always look like Hollow Knight to some degree, but it will have more of an identity of its own than a pixel-art game.
  • 👾/🖋️ Pixel Art Is Considered “Cheap”: You have to charge less for the same amount of effort if you make your art pixelly. Although with the current plan, we’re already talking price ranges that fit pixel art just fine, so this isn’t decisive for one or the other.
  • 👾 If we do pixel art in 3D, we can replace it with HD art at a later date: This means committing to pixel art is not committing against HD art.
  • 👾🖋️ HD Art works better for illustration, but not decisively: There are plenty of kids’ books and shows that use illustration styles that seem sloppier or otherwise less good styles. And, in fact, if I make children’s books with pixel art illustrations, I will be doing something that few people do. It will be a distinct book style.
  • 🖋️ Pixel Art Implies a Computer/Virtual World: While I do want to mix Digimon, Wreck-It-Ralph, and Tron for a virtual setting, and both art styles can be used to mean both kinds of world, HD art is better at representing both realities.
  • 👾 I have better tools for animating Pixel ArtAseprite is simply better than any HD animation tool I own. It is certainly better than animating by pencils and guesswork.
  • 🖋️ I’ve Always Wanted to Make a Hand-Drawn LookingGame: And here’s where I trot out the classic pen test of piqha:
  • 🖋️ Godot Does Not Gracefully Translate Inputs Into Differently Scaled Viewports: In Unity, I could set one camera to a pixel art scale, and one to an HD scale, and mix and match the styles, which is how I made this lovely thing:

    Mixing and matching scales like this doesn’t work out of the box in 2D in Godot AFAIK. Although, this isn’t a total win for hand drawn art, as it does work out of the box if I do a 3D world:
  • 🖋 Piqha Just Work Better Hand Drawn.: Here I want to do a compare and contrast between the above picture and one I generated in Aseprite that, for some reason, refuses to export correctly. But it refuses to export correctly, so I can’t.

So it looks at this point like Pixel Art is winning by a wide margin, especially if I use a 3D world.

This week’s task, as I said, is to get the basic gameplay up and running. Next week’s task is to turn it into a complete game. Time to buckle down!

Update:

I got scale-mixing working in Godot and it wasn’t even hard.