Captain’s Log 0210326.071

Proof is in.

Blanket Octopus : pics

Oops. That’s not my proof. That’s a blanket octopus. The females fly through the sea with superhero capes. The males went undiscovered until very recently because they max out at an inch long.

Ahem.

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Work on getting my paperwork squared away for the Kickstarter proceeds slowly. My first read through of the book as already identified multiple grievous errors.

And I feel this close to figuring out my ‘golden path’.

wait, what?

Piqha

Evolving Piqha

Piqha started as digital creatures that live inside the computer who were characters for a game I made when I was a teenager.

I later decided they were not, in fact digital, but were some kind of psychic mollusk, and noted that they had many, many advantages as a creature design:

They are basically faces with feet and stylized shells. Easy to model in 3D, easy to get a wide range of character styles while keeping to the core concept.

Piqha are my creatures. Like the muppets of Jim Henson and the Whos of Seuss. In addition to being very marketable and very personable, they feature a lot of things I like. Basic shapes. Big, expressive faces, Marvin Martian style glowing eyes in an orb of darkness. Cool armor effects. And crystals. Gotta have glowing crystals everywhere.

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Captain’s Log 0210212.162: Workflow

Another reason I avoid commission work is I do not yet know what it will take to produce art on command. When I completed my first book, and especially my second, I thought I did. But I am no longer certain.

Taking a commission is making a promise. I’d rather not make it unless and until I know I’m going to keep it.

Constant good-natured advice from my wife, and the results of my own projects have taught me both that I need to be able to flit from project to project like a butterfly, and I need to be able to double down on a project with a “Hell or High Water” attitude. I can’t just adopt one approach; I have to do both. Which means every personal project needs a tinkering phase and a production phase so I can delineate which mode I’m in.

Hat Trick is going to be so much better because I didn’t begin production on it right away. I can recognize now that the climax needs work. I.E., adding a real climax would be a start. I knew it at the time I storyboarded it. But I was too burnt out and desperate to finish to pay the nagging doubt heed. I needed the emotional space that only time could provide to make that call.

So, we need 3 kinds of phase:

  1. Tinker Phase
    • Just playing around
    • Project is free to be continued or abandoned or scrapped for spare parts
  2. Draft Phase
    • Goal is to create a complete thing, from beginning to end, at lowest quality needed to get the idea across.
    • Work fast. Finish.
    • Project is not free to be continued or abandoned: the draft must be completed.
    • But, once the draft is completed, the project must be set aside for at least one month, and then evaluated. Options include:
      • Abandon
      • Additional draft
      • Produce
  3. Production Phase
    • Kickstart projects. If the Kickstarter fails, the project may be set aside and put into production later.
    • Once the Kickstarter is finished, if production continues, production receives Hell or High Water commitment.

So, what does this mean for my current mess?

I’ll get back to you.

Captain’s Log: 0201218.073

So far, we’re up to 40 pages storyboarded, and begun on the next 2. It’s not great, but it’s constant forward momentum, which is all we need to finish the job. Well, that and the grace of God.

The focus on Genesis-to-Revelation overview of history with Christ at the center means that the Gospel of Mark is basically my go-to source. He’s got the action-packed supernatural showdown emphasis I am aiming for. But obviously, I’m pulling stuff in from Luke, and from anywhere else I find useful.

Awright. Yesterday was, in general, a good day, despite a town-trip eating half the day I got most of my chores done, four pages of storyboard AND a bunch of work on my Licensed RPG. WordPress was down, so I live-tweeted the process.

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What is the 8 Lives Left to Licensed RPG?

Breath of the Gameboy was at one point my dream game: a game that combines the open world and chemistry system sensibilities of Breath of the Wild with the tighter mechanics of Link’s Awakening.

Here’s a mockup someone did for Reddit.

Obviously, not 100% identical, and not using Nintendo’s precious properties or graphics. But a rough idea.

That’s a 10 year game or more, especially for one guy. So I pondered how to break it down into smaller pieces. The idea was, if I made each piece a game, that game could fund the next piece, and then the next, until the final product was finished.

My best plan was 8 Lives Left. It’s a good product plan. Just the combat system. You are a cat who has been murdered, and you decide to use your remaining 8 lives to get revenge. Like John Wick, only you are simultaneously John Wick and his dog.

These projects are not currently under development. I like them; I don’t like them enough to devote years of my life to them. I bring them up because a very sensible way to undertake a big project is to turn it into little projects. A great way to make a big game is to make part of that game into a small game.

So what’s the 8 Lives Left to my Licensed RPG?

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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.