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.

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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.

Captain’s Log 0201027084: Dropping Pretenses

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Two weeks of wheel spinning. The work on Alpha Test is not nothing, but I’ve made zero progress on Hat Trick 0.

I’ve stated in the past that I have moved from a habit starting and leaving off projects to a habit of getting them done. And that is what 2019 indeed looked like. But 2020, I’ve looked like my old self, minus the emotional disorder.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to give up or lay down in die or stop making things. Just means I gotta stop bragging about traits I thought I’d acquired, but it turns out I haven’t.

I think come All Saints day, I’m going to switch from pretending I’m working on Hat Trick to a smaller project. Take a definitive month off. I may make it just part of my workflow, only to spend a month on any given project. If project A is not done at the end of month A, I switch to B, and then switch back to A at the end of month B. It might be a way to harness my twitchy/flakey instincts and make them work for me.

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That sweet, sweet, Gameboy Color Spirit

As stated before, I’ve been mulling over making a sprite comic to prototype my stories. Working name is Public Alpha. Although Alpha Test is a strong contender.

Here’s some images my mulling has produced:

The graphics follow some rules intended to give me hard restrictions that are, at the same time, maximally expressive.

Continue reading “That sweet, sweet, Gameboy Color Spirit”

Captain’s Log 0201019.205: Gap

Lost all of last week. My tent was well suited to my working at a slow but steady rate, but now winter is making overtures.

Image

By the weekend I had settled on converting the basement into an art dungeon. And then I injured my knee, rendering large quantities of stair-climbing inadvisable.

My knee is just about good enough now that I can start building my art dungeon tomorrow. However, I also have a lot of busywork to catch up on unrelated to my comic, so my objective for this week is to catch up on responsibilities, and maybe, hopefully get a page or two done. My ultimate objective is to handle all my potential excuses so that I have no excuses remaining next week.

I’ve done some musing in the mean while.

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Piqha Color

So I’m thinking “What can I do to create the basis of my JRPG engine? Why not start by rebuilding Final Fantasy I, except my way!”

Or even Wizardry. Anyway, the point is not to end up with a Final Fantasy clone, but to create a small game using my RPG mechanics.

For that I need stand in characters. A real game developer (by which I mean a pragmatic game developer) would draw a rectangle, put an arrow on it so you know which way it’s facing, and make it different colors for different classes. I’m going to compromise. I’m not going to spend a lot of time animating, but I will print of several sheets of Piqha templates, and draw different Piqha over them, and since I’m thinking Final Fantasy I for my starting point, I’ll go ahead and take inspiration in these placeholder designs.

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Málycanis

Málycanis is an artlang that adopts some interlang sensibilities. Specifically, it is a hypothetical sci-fi descendant from English as spoken by non Anglos (as French, Spanish, and Portuguese are descendants from Latin as spoken by non-Romans.) It may or may not show up in my sci fi stories.

I derive it by taking English and slashing out sounds and concepts that aren’t widely found in other languages unless I fancy them so much I couldn’t bear to part with them.

To be quite clear, if English actually turns into Málycanis, that would be tragic. But, as a toy language, I quite enjoy it.

Phonology

Phonotactics

Syllables of Málycanis take the form [C][L]V[C][s] where…

  • C = any consonant
  • L = s, w, l, or y,
  • V = any vowel or the ai/ay diphthong.
  • s = s, and as a second consonant in the coda, only follows a nasal (m or n) or unvoiced stop (p, t, c).
  • Any syllable after the first must start with a consonant.

Consonants

Romanization, followed by (IPA). Multiple IPA symbols indicate dialectical alternatives that are also considered correct. A given dialect will only use one of these pronunciations per character, with certain exceptions listed below, so it’s not technically kosher to use both, but there should be no ambiguity so it doesn’t really matter.

I know that parenthesis are not the right way to indicate phonology, but I can’t be arsed to look it up just now.

m (m)n (n)
p (p)t (t)c (k)
v (b/β)d (d/ð)g (g/ɣ)
f (f)s (s/ʃ)h (χ/h/ʔ)
w (ɰᵝ)l (l/ɾ)y (j)
  • “ts” before a vowel is always pronounced “tʃ” (that is, like the English digraph “ch”).
  • “ds” before a vowel is always pronounced “dʒ” (that is, like the English letter j).
  • Yes, I do use ‘c’ instead of ‘k’ for the unvoiced velar stop. Because I like it better.
  • I also especially like voiced fricatives, despite the fact they are uncommon, and so have them as alternate pronunciations of the voiced stops. I am liable to always pronounce the voiced stops this way, and you can’t stop me.

Vowels

I tried to cut them down to the three vowels found in e.g. Arabic, but my aesthetic sense forced in an interloper. Good thing this is an artlang and not an interlang.

  • a (a)
  • i (i)
  • u (u)
  • y (ɪ/ɘ)
  • The diphthongs ‘ai’ or ‘ay’ (both cases pronounced ‘a͞i’) are also allowed.
  • Due to Málycanis phonology, it should never ambiguous whether ‘y’ is a consonant or a vowel. It would be better to use ‘j’ as the consonant, but I don’t like it, and I’m not gonna.
  • An acute accent can be placed above a vowel to indicate that syllable is stressed. This is only done in words with two or more syllables, not counting affixes.
  • Any non dipthong vowel may be doubled, which merely indicates you pronounce it for twice as long.
  • These vowels are not meant to be super precise, and vary wildly across dialects. Because there are so few, as long as you land closer to one corner than the others, it’s going to be considered correct.

Vocabulary

There is, at present, little defined vocab. A good first start would be to steal the lexicon of Toki Pona for the core, and then only add words as needed.

Each Málycanis word should be a more or less direct conversion of an English word, favoring synonyms that avoid homonyms as much as possible, or a compound of two Málycanis words.

Here are some examples, to be amended as an official lexicon is compiled.

  • fight: fait
  • art: aat
  • walk: wac
  • run: fáswac
  • Jack: Dsyc

Grammar

Again, not so well defined as phonology. Subject – Verb – Object, obviously, but to be worked out in detail as needed for stories or what have you.

Verbs do conjugate for past and future tense, but it’s just a prefix or postfix.

  • run: fáswac
  • ran: fáswacyd
  • will run: ylfáswac

The plural of every noun is a ‘ys’ postfix.

  • Artist: aátman
  • Artists: aátmanys

Ay ylfait da aátmanys.

Wheel Spinning

Theoretically, as I work, study, and brainstorm in my card box, clusters of cards will eventually grow to the point where I can just harvest one such cluster and produce a book.

As I’ve noted before, though, I feel less like I’m producing books and more like I’m spinning my wheels. Previously, my method was to pick a project, and come hell or high water, work until it was done, while allowing myself to be flakey and goofy about which projects come next. And I grow increasingly convinced this is the superior methodology in some ways.

Maybe not in all ways. Maybe the Zettelkasten concept is a piece of what I need to do rather than the whole. But my lack of apparent progress annoys me, and I think I need to buckle down and finish something.

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A Brief(?) Write-Up of Re-Tail

Scott Adams posits six dimensions of humor. People find something humorous if it is:

  • Clever (e.g. a pun or wordplay)
  • Cute
  • Bizarre
  • Familiar
  • Naughty
  • Cruel

Not everyone finds all six dimensions funny. In fact, most people are only amused by one or two of the dimensions, and some people have no sense of humor at all, relying instead on social cues to know when to laugh (which is why laugh tracks on sitcoms are a thing).

A professional joke tries to hit at least two dimensions. To be cute and bizarre, or naughty and clever, or familiar and cruel. The more the better. A superb example:

Image may contain: text that says 'Death flashed before my eyes WTF CS'

Clever (a pun), Bizarre, and Naughty. Arguably, it is also Cruel.

A professional humorist tries to hit all six over the course of several jokes, and accepts that most of his jokes won’t hit with most of his audience, but everyone in the audience will remember one or two that cater to his tastes.

Naturally, a comic strip is well advised to bake in as many of these factors as possible.

I’m going to show you how the pros do it, and then you’ll be set to understand the concept of Re-Tail.

Continue reading “A Brief(?) Write-Up of Re-Tail”