To Everything, turn, turn, turn…

The contentions of this video are twofold:

  1. Choosing a theme is superior to making a resolution. This is because when presented with a fork in the road, it is easier to choose the branch in keeping with your theme than it is to force yourself to take the branch you resolved to take, whether it is there or not.
  2. Consider instead of choosing a theme for a year (or a resolution for a year) choosing a theme for a season. E.g. instead of “I will do 30 pushups a day”, prefer, “this will be the Winter of pushups!” or better yet “the winter of Health!”

I take a definite interest in self-improvement as I fall short on a number of fronts. Fortunate man I, Christ has suffered and died for my many evils. But I still want to better myself for a number of reasons. First of them is: it is good to be good. But more importantly, the better a man I am, the better it is for those I claim to love.

My habit has been making monthly goals, not yearly resolutions nor seasonal themes. And the system has been fruitful, but not as fruitful as I think is possible. I don’t know whether “seasonal themes” is the answer. Right now, I have taken ill and am preparing for sleep, and lack the mental firepower to usefully analyze it. But I have a notion it is more in tune with my natural rhythms, simply because my one-month projects always manage to expand to 3 months. And I wanted to note it down so I can look into it tomorrow, or whenever I am awake and my mind is clear.

When in Doubt, Downsize?

Here’s a desert scene in Alpha Test’s Game-boy Color / NES inspired art rules:

Here’s a desert scene in my experimental “Gameboy cartridge being run by a GBC or GBA, one background palette, one foreground palette” ruleset.

A lot of the same ideas. But I executed it way more quickly and it has way more personality. Since presumably I’m using a desert environment to retro-flannelgraph Bible stories, a background of hills with cities is more useful than one with pyramids. (Though revisting pyramids will come with time).

So what have I done here?

I’ve created two ‘grayscale’ ramps, one for backgrounds, one for sprites. The BG ramp has a blue/green tint, the FG ramp has a red/orange tint and is the only permitted use of pure black and white. And that’s it. All graphics must be made with these ramps.

I’ve also cut the screen size in half both ways, as befits a handheld. Though I’m still making an imaginary retro device that has a 16×9 widescreen aspect ration.

Hmm.

Here’s the WordPress Gallery, so I can test it for the phone…

And here’s the whole page in grayscale, so I can guess how it will print:

The whole idea of Alpha Test is to prototype my stories quickly. The more harsh my constraints, the quicker it can be assembled.

I think this is probably The Way.

You cannot be more righteous than God

The student loan thing is sweeping the social media again. My position has changed. Once upon a time, I was a big fan of personal responsibility, making your own way. It’s the American Dream, I thought.

But something has since occurred to me. God decreed that in Ancient Israel, all debts were to be forgiven on a regular basis.

Now, most of the calls I see to forgive student loans seem to be coming from socialists. I do not want them to implement their plans because I am certain they are trojan horses. And I, personally, am extremely uninterested in mass-starvation, gulags, and the like.

But the counter-arguments I see on offer are “I paid my loans,” or, “I made wise decisions and went to trade school.”

May God richly reward your diligence and wisdom. But if forgiveness of another is an offense against you, you are claiming that your justice supersedes that of the Most High.

If you claim to be more just than the Most High, you are wrong. Simple as.

There is some complaint that Caesar may take more of his denarii from our pockets to pay for the debts. And I agree this is unjust. My suspicion is that the loans can be rightly declared usurious and the degrees fraudulent, and the schools and banks that issued them should be made to pay rather than the taxpayer.

And I imagine some argument against forgiveness might be mounted on an esoteric economic basis. It might even be right.

I cannot become an expert in all things. I do not have the time to study economics enough to change my opinion to the economically correct one, or to mount a real defense of my opinion. I have barely enough brainpower to learn the crafts of writing, drawing, and game programming.

Where my expertise fails, I can be confident of one thing: My God, the Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, knows all things. Therefore it is unwise to take a position contrary to His. And while His position is definitely not Socialist (“Do not muzzle the ox that treadeth the grain; He who does not work shall not eat”) it is also very much in favor of forgiveness. Or else we’re all doomed, anyway.

Here I stand. I can do no other unless persuaded by Scripture and plain reason. God help me.

Background Music

I needed to make a mockup of the videogame I wanted to make. So I started with this:

I just grabbed a background off of DuckDuckGo. After all, there was no way I was gonna keep it. The actual background will be particular to the game.

Still, I wanted to stretch the grassy bit so none of the characters was floating in the air. And it would be nice if the backdrop fit the color palette I’ve been tweaking over the last three years. So I made an attempt to push it closer to my palette, and make it fit the characters. While I was at it, I smeared things around with a rough brush.

I shouldn’t’ve. It doesn’t matter after all. This will never be used in a final game. It’s wasted effort, it is.

Well, Sunday I don’t work on whatever my project o’ the month is. And since work on the background doesn’t count as work on the game, as the final game will have backgrounds made to order for the story, I decided to mess around with it a little.

Continue reading “Background Music”

Two Milestones in One Day

I really don’t know for sure how age appropriate or not my video is. I put it up a year ago. Just me ranting about how making propaganda automatically prevents your work from having lasting value, if I recall correctly. (I’m lying. I don’t remember the video at all. I extrapolated all this from the title).

YouTube strikes me as a fickle master, unresponsive to reason, but that may just be because I tend to follow incorrigible badthinkers. After all, if your fundamental worldview is that the god of this world is a poser and you are eagerly awaiting his overthrow by Christ, how much further beyond the pale can one get?

I’ve long since decided producing frequent videos is odious to me. I made four or five before I decided I would rather wash toilets. So I am disinclined to contest the charges and defend my good name before people who would never acknowledge it to begin with. Still, I will maintain until shown otherwise that the charges are false. YouTube’s history means that they have forfeited the benefit of doubt in all cases.

Imposter Syndrome?

Here is a panel from an Asterix comic:

I will never be this good.

Here is a bit from Dog Man.

I will never be this bad. And the creator, Dav Pilkey, didn’t even color it. One of the advantages of being a famous producer of authorized children’s literature is you can just do the bits you like.

Mind you, Pilkey can draw. He just chooses not to.

Here’s a bit of One Punch Man.

Cómo hacer tu propio webcomic y publicarlo en Internet sin ...

It’s unpleasant. But we’re all glad One decided to go ahead and do it anyway, aren’t we?

I am unlikely to ever make anything half so gorgeous.

Alright, here’s my work:

Better art than Dog Man and One Punch Man (as for story, I guess we’ll have to wait and see). Worse than Asterix and Black Hops.

So long as actual comic books like Asterix and Black Hops exist, I have no excuse to put on airs and act like I’m some sort of visionary genius.

So long as things like Dog Man and One Punch Man find a market, I have no excuse not to produce and sell my books.

I understand Imposter Syndrome plagues creatives. Well, I think all of us could stand to improve. But if you take an honest look at your own work and at the other work that’s out there, I think you’ll tend to find that while you ought to up your game, your current game may still be good enough to make a few dollars.

Anyway, in my last post I intimated that I’m better suited to vidya than comic books. I wanted to demonstrate to everyone it’s not because I think I’m hopelessly bad at comic books. Its because the areas where I stand to improve the most are also A) areas I’m not especially interested in, and B) areas where I wouldn’t need so much improvement if I were making vidya. It’s a matter of focus and interests, not scathing self-criticism.

It’s OK to use the animator…

You’re animating UI wrong? Well, not quite…

BIG note: one of the advantages of using e.g. LeanTween instead of the Unity Animator, according to this video, is performance. Whenever a UI element changes, the canvas gets dirtied/refreshed, which causes a performance hit. This is true regardless of whether you are using the Animator or LeanTween; the difference this video calls out is that the Animator dirties a canvas every frame whether it does anything or not!

Except not any more. This was a bug, and Unity has since fixed it. Repeat: Using a tweening library for UI animations no longer conveys a performance advantage.

However, the dirty/refresh system still leads to performance-boosting shenanigans: using multiple canvases in a single scene isolates dirty UI elements from each other, resulting in fewer objects processed per refresh.

LeanTween is still a useful tool in your kit, especially if, like me, you don’t especially like Unity’s animation tools. But there’s no easy integration between UI button state changes and LeanTween, and it’s good to know I can use the intended solutions as intended without shooting myself in the foot.

Matins

I am not a great poet, but setting words to a meter often helps with their learning.

I lift my eyes to you, in Heav’n enthroned;
Ev’n as a slave looks to his master’s hand
Or maidservant, upon her mistress waits
So, too, our eyes look to YHWH, our God
Until His mercy upon us is shown.

Have mercy on us, oh, YHWH, our King!
Have mercy on us! For we’ve had our fill.
Our soul has had more than enough contempt
The proud’s contempt; the scorn of those at ease

From Psalm 123, my apologies to David

Those who trust in YHWH are like Zion
Which cannot be moved but stands forever
Jerusalem stands ring’d
By mountains of the King
Thus YHWH rings His church now and forever

The scepter of all wickedness shall not rest
Upon the land allotted to the righteous
Lest the righteous stretch
Their hands out to do wrong.
Do good, O YHWH, to the noble-hearted!

But those who turn aside to crooked ways
YHWH will lead away with crooked men.

Peace be upon God’s Church!

From Psalm 125, my apologies to David

If YHWH does not build the house
The builders build the house in vain
If YHWH does not watch the wall
The watchman stays awake in vain
To rise up early in the morn
And labor until late is vain
And eat the bread of anxious toil
For He grants His beloved sleep

Children are a heritage from YHWH.
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Arrows in the hand
Of a fighting man
So are the children of your youth

Happy is the man whose quiver is fill’d
He’ll not be ashaméd at the gate

From Psalm 127, apologies to Solomon

Thinking Out Loud

I’m just using the WordPress interface to plan.

  • Let’s start with Wizardry/Final Fantasy as our template; later we shall diverge.
  • You pick a party of 4 guys from 6 classes. We’ll call the red mage a ranger, the white mage a cleric, and the black mage a sorcerer, to stay honest to the D&D roots of the game. Always regress toward the source! We’ll throw in a generic piqha to use for NPCs, and a rat piqha to use for enemies (for now).
  • So, your class distinctives will be a ScriptableObject. We’ll make critters and, perhaps, NPCs work the same way, in case we want to make a game where you can attack innocent bystanders.
  • For now, we’ll do a single ATB bubble. When your bubble fills, you are ready to attack. We’ll want to create an animation wrapper that can present our combat system with the same interface whether we’re doing Spine shenanigans (in the future) or LeanTween shenanigans (now).
  • I want combat moves to be things. Like, you have a list of moves your hero could use, and then you equip the ones you want to have access to in combat. Maybe a fully empowered character can have as many as 8, but a low level character tops out at 4.
    • Interfacewise, they should form a radial wheel around a selected character. This is optimal for touch (just press the icon), for gamepad (just pick a direction with the D-Pad or thumbstick), or computer (click and play!),
    • Resources for stuff like spells should be less magic points and more either Action Points (but maybe let’s skip that for this first game) and the opportunity cost of filling in one of your action slots.
    • Even our bruiser should have different sorts of actions he can choose from. By all means, have a generic attack that everyone can do, but give our swordsman some shenanigans he can pull!
    • Here, again, a ScriptableObject is king.
  • For starters, we want to not bother overmuch with story or setting. Just make a series of combat encounters. Once the combat is fun, we can start building on top of that.
  • So we’ll have a character selection scene, and a battle scene. However, my plan is not to have battle scenes per se, but run all encounters on the map, like Chrono Trigger, so we need to keep in mind that the battle scene has to support non battle activities.

Awright, let’s steal code from my previous attempts to get ourselves a head start! Here’s a dialogue box.

Mostly taken from my previous RPG attempts, but I’m using LeanTween instead of an animator to animate my text boxes, etc.