Game design is a dirty job.
The Kickstarter project was accepted a little while back. I haven’t put it live yet because they strongly recommend a video presentation, which seems like a very good idea but the parts I’ve been working on so far aren’t good for it. (That thing I mentioned a while back, about not wasting time on mock-ups when I should be working on the final product… eh, live and learn!)
Still also not quite done with the Oblivion stuff, because I decided to go a few extra miles with it. Since I have no formal education or paid experience in the field, that material is essentially my resume as a game designer and as a programmer. If I’m going to be chasing funding, I want it to be something I can proudly show off; not just good, but outstanding. I’ve been promising to fill in that page here for quite some time, and I’m close, I promise. ;)
Now, the news I can’t really call bad but which makes me grumble nonetheless: a reasonably good day job has fallen into my lap. It’s full time for at least a few months. We’ll see what effect this has on my productivity; I’ll have a lot less time available, but past experience suggests I’ll be more diligent about making the best use of it as a result. Where the balance will fall remains to be seen.
…and then Skyrim happened. This wasn’t exactly unexpected, and I haven’t let it completely derail me, but it frankly exceeded all expectations! I’ve finished my initial play-through and I’m starting to get the rabid gamer back under control. Gradually buckling down and attempting to properly manage my time again.
Really need to do a bunch of updates to this site, so it doesn’t look half-abandoned. I’ve mostly completed my remaining Oblivion modding goals (particularly the one really big goal; various small ones remain, but aren’t full-time-concentration projects) and those should be reflected here. I’ve also poked around through Skyrim’s data and done some fiddling there as well (…yes, I know, I have a problem). Getting info up here about all of that needs to be a higher priority, I think. I’ve always considered documentation to be my arch-nemesis; time to slay that foe! Or at least give it a nasty paper cut so it runs away and doesn’t bother me for a while.
And now, the gritty business. I’m going to set up a Kickstarter project profile for This World Forsaken. I’ve always been lackadaisical about money; even professionally, I rarely charge what I should. I have no problem living cheap, and I find gratitude to be reward enough to give me satisfaction. Unfortunately, satisfaction doesn’t pay the rent, and such banal necessities are beginning to loom. In my location and this economy there’s just not enough freelance work for me to make ends meet, and the available regular employment is all close to minimum wage, which I can survive on but my creative productivity would probably grind to a crawl. I really don’t like the feeling of asking people to pony up cash for a product that nobody’s seen yet, but when it comes down to it, I’m committed to finishing this project. I’d rather suffer some minor guilt in the process of bringing it to completion, than have it stall out and fall by the wayside.
Sorry guys, I’ve had no access to this site due to routing issues. There would have been a couple of streaming events if I could have announced them. :(
Quick status update: I’ve been furiously productive on the Oblivion side of things, producing some new stuff that I think is very impressive (and I don’t say that often, own-worst-critic and whatnot). Once that’s wrapped up I’ll be back to XNA.
Cleaning up the spam now…
Erin “Narumi” Prince is joining Team Forsaken! Erin will be doing title design and UI graphics. In fact, she’s working on the first half of that as I’m typing this, creating a nice title logo for the game. This in turn will be slapped on a couple of A.J. Albert’s concept sketches, and those who can’t make it to the livestreams will finally get a glimpse!
Incidentally, having a real team to work with on this sort of project is a new experience for me. Here I am focusing on something else for a little while, but things keep moving all on their own! It’s oddly exciting.
The show must go on! As usual, 4pm Pacific (23:00 UTC) right over here.
It’s been the better part of a year since I did any Oblivion modding, and in the interim a few significant bugs have been discovered. I’ve been trying to avoid that can of worms and keep full focus on Ratatoskr and Forsaken, but I’m just no good at letting things lie! In the long run I’m sure a reputation for maintaining old work will serve me well, so I’m giving in to the urges. It’s time to take a break from C# and XNA and return to my ObScript roots!
The downside is that this means even longer before you fine folks get to actually see anything. The upside is that I’ll stop neglecting the TES Mods page here! But in the interest of not being a total tease (or perhaps being a bigger one), to tide you over I’ll also release some more juicy Forsaken lore and/or design info in the next day or so.
For real this week, or so I’m told! More concept art being worked on at www.livestream.com/catscratches, 4pm Pacific until probably 6ish.
“It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”
I could easily have screenshots by now, or a teaser video, or even a pseudo-playable “alpha build” where you can move around arcade-style but nothing really happens. But if I had those things, it would be because I took a break from actually working on the game to throw together some marketing material. Under the hood it would be special-purpose code, useless for anything else. I wanted to have something tangible to show before October, and I’m a bit disappointed in myself because that won’t be the case; but I’m not going to waste time and cheat to save face.
No excuses, a part of the reason is me just slacking off. When I do sit down to code it’s for many hours on end, but in the past week I’ve only done so twice… maybe a dozen hours total. I’m not going to break myself in service to the craft, but I think I’ve erred too much on the side of leisure. (Why is Civilization so damn addictive?)
The other part, though, I’m not embarrassed about at all: there’s simply more to the Ratatoskr-level framework code than I expected. I thought I’d be through it and into game-specific coding by now (even accounting for bouts of laziness), but I keep on realizing that additional things can be made generic. This isn’t time wasted, because the code’s getting written either way; but it’s still not code that puts actual pictures on the screen.
Fact is, I’ve already done some basic visuals and movement, both autonomous and mouse-based — this wasn’t related to Forsaken or Ratatoskr at all, it was just the first XNA code I wrote on my own after finishing a tutorial, to make sure I’d gotten the basics. It was far easier than what I’m doing now! So I don’t feel like I’m off-track or terribly behind-schedule, and when I do get through this bit and pause for a moment to slap some visuals on top of the real engine and show it off, it won’t take long at all.
I’m just not quite there yet. It isn’t a real problem, but it’s disappointing nonetheless, and I apologize.
ASAP… but not sooner.