What a catch!! Soz all, job’s taken. And gz!
Nevermind I’m sure they’ll come in handy.
As it turned out, going through the terrain was irritating me so I’ve been messing about with terrain, physics and scripting again. I won’t really be needing much bumpy terrain for TWoFB (Part I), though it is needed. In the other 2 parts it will be needed more = might as well sort it out. So I was working on that and then….
Erk! OM!G! I’ve inadvertantly done …… LIFE!!!
And thus (with far too many calculations going on for practical use just now) was born our first Giant Primal Wooze. Oooooh!!!! (Blender Game, physics, soft body – actually Blender did it, it’s a very basic uv sphere/soft body combo, but I’m the one seeing the possibilities). There was dancing around the living room. Children were dragged from serious home decorating in EQ2 to be hugged and kissed and forced to look.
You can’t see in a still but it woozes beautifully down the hillside seeking rest and then meanders around on the plane. The low poly hillside is a shrunkwrapped ANT terrain I’m using to see if I can figure out how to stop my WASD overriding collision detection. Collision detection (convex hull on shrunkwrapped terrain) works fine if you just drop things. They spang about in a very satisfying way. I want that for WASD too. And I’ll definitely be simplifying and using that wooze.
Yes, it’s pink
(of course I do pink to annoy the boys, you don’t think I’m holy do ya?)
Blender is quite simply put, a fabulous thing, and I intend to write about it more in 2013. The Blender Game Engine has a long way to go, and I intend to write about that more too. In his post 12 December Nilunder confirmed what I already suspected: (http://www.nilunder.com/ Note: his site is a bit tricksy with links going nowhere at time of writing, I’m hoping that’s just maintenance) only he says it more succintly. Paraphrasing what I understood from his post: to get it to do anything really worth playing, one has to write an engine on top of the engine, which will then also be pretty specific to the game you are working on. It so happens that process is perfect for me – I’m out to revise, and I need to look at good source as I go. But like him, I won’t take it further than makes sense within the context for which I intend it. In my case that might be a bit further than he goes depending on what I want to relearn.
Now I understand fine that film is all glitter and stars and fame, and I also get that creating an animation is a far, far easier process than all the clutter that needs to be tied together for a game engine. It has made sense to concentrate on the animated visual side of things. It’s faster, gets better results in a shorter period of time, for less work and still publicises the lovely Blender very well thanks to people’s efforts on YouTube.
Even if Blender becomes the best of the best in that well-ploughed field, film remains an innately passive form of entertainment. Passive entertainment is fine and won’t go away anytime soon, only it’s not the only thing around nowadays and hasn’t been for quite some time. Interactive entertainment has far enough to go for that to be where the new stuff is, the innovation. It’s where the thinkers are congregating and I should think it’s probably even where “Art” is heading. It seems to me very silly to sit poised at the edge of a bungee jump with all the equipment, and not bother to take the leap. Essentially everything needed for Blender to shine in the game engine and interactive art field is there already – the thing that’s missing is all the joining up.
If that was seriously and systematically tackled, this thing has the “I win” button of course – no other game engine would have the (seamlessly integrated) graphics (and other systems) to compete. So I’ll be adding my little voice to the campaign to push for some attention to that neglected but very cool little engine which has more than just potential, (so nearly there!) to command the market and floor the competition.
And of course there is a gap in the market about the size of the San Andreas fault due to other engines being half a package and way, way overpriced.
Meanwhile Blender Game Engine suits me very well as a revision tool. (I will be donating as appropriate.)
“…No…let’s not go down and see what it is.”
No, really, I don’t want to I tell you!
(If you’re wondering I’m figuring out my scale for PlanetGardenShed just now.)
Is Wordpress is handling pictures differently? I liked it when they just appeared large and you could reduce them if you wanted to. Oh well.
In my long and spickly speckly career I once did data inputting for a newspaper, I’ve seen worse. But commas are a wonderful thing.
School bites, mum goes it alone
I am inarush again this morning. This flurry of posts because I want to bat out a few more past-related things now, so I can move on to other things.
On my terms and for my purposes …Thingie aka TWoFB is a total success already. People have been shuffled into “good” high schools (lets hope), the straight As are rolling in, people are being moved up classes. Even in math. Etc. Beginning to create our own game was particularly good for the maths – Blender makes you think in mathy ways – about shapes, relationships, spatial patterns. And the numbers are always there, unobtrusive, but changing in the ui as you try things and move things. Even such a simple as seeing a number get bigger or smaller as you do something registers something somewhere in the brain. excellent.
It worked, basically.
…Thingie , our game-in-the-making did it’s job and then some. It addressed gaps in the schooling and helped with things that might otherwise have been difficult to grasp and become familiar with. I could fold the project right now. I now get to enjoy the discomfort of the people who made their mouths look like the wrong end of a turkey with disapproval when they learned how much videogaming goes on in my housee. Haaaahahaha! Silly prunes
But it’s more practical to keep the project ticking over until other gaps in education appear (do they cover commerce?) – probably economics, err marketing? law? I imagine business systems are touched on somewhere. Can’t have the workbots leaving school without knowing how to file stuff and use office software can we. It might be something else that is lacking or that people struggle with. The creation of a game covers so many different things, fortunately, that it will be good for purpose again I am sure.
High school is a far more demanding environment too of course. Young people appear here tired!! And brain-full. And have homework to do yet. The hours are long (way too long afaiac) and there is a lot of new material to assimilate. There simply isn’t the time for a hefty side-project. Plus, to my delight! The beginnings of an independent social life. Yay! Social life takes up a lot of time hehehe
And then, lastly but not leastly, I enjoy doing it myself, so TWoFB will not fold, die or be unworked-on. It’s my full-on creative space, and it is fabulous for that. It hits all the right spots. Only I and my immediate progeny work on our game-project-hobby (I don’t care what you call it, pick whatever label, it won’t change anything or stop anyone) so decisions like this don’t affect anyone else. Other people who waft into our orbit are welcome to “research” (play computer games), to learn tools, to discuss ideas, but anything they do, think up or make goes out the door with them. Fair’s fair. They might need it later, and we have plenty of our own.
I am glad of this hiatus in other people’s input though. It allows me to move things along past the graphics. I don’t want us sidelining into making tons of assets at this point. I am going to push Blender to its limits engine-wise and then see what’s needed to go further. High on my list of things to sort out is creating a standalone program (I don’t care what). I want to see how the process goes, and once done, how it runs, and if it crashes other people’s computers and all that stuff.
But even higher on my list of priorities is to get some (concurrent) systems in. Again I don’t care what. Sun rising and setting, blobs hitting other blobs, it doesn’t really matter. Because the systems will take me into scripting, which is the path to coding, which is the path to the Arcane Priesthood of Grande Somethingorothers Who Do Something Important… I jest. That’s not it at all. This is:
Scripting is the far shore. When I revisit coding (dive into the ocean) I intend to know where I’m headed (far shore where the graphics live) so that I know what is relevant. Just sitting down and re-learning say, C++ is pretty daft. It’s big and going down all the irrelevancies will waste a lot of time (be interesting though, and can be saved for lunch later). Plus C++ has limitations (or used to – maybe not so now?) and using the context of what I want to do with it (far shore), I’ll know soon if it’s any good for us and which parts of it to lavish special attention on. (might be C# we end up with).Beyond that, of course lie even more arcane coding areas – which I will use the same method to wade through. Farshoring ™.
So all that, my lovelies. And there’s more!
But it will have to wait. I have finished my morning tea, and the day awaits.
But first a little special love for people who pour vitriol on other people’s efforts. I see a lot of it on the internet and it’s a waste of words folks, everyone you’re aiming it at thinks “oh blech, another one” and skips it.
Your attempt to undermine is skipped, binned and ignored totally because it is of no use: It is not possible to enthuse any kind of team at all, by aiming low, or emitting anything but the internal confidence you feel in what you’re doing. Nobody achieves anything ever anywhere with the “I’m not good enough and it’s too hard for the likes of little me” attitude you try so hard to impose. What’s more any further advice you give or comments you make are not going to be noticed. You have, in fact, made yourself and your knowledge, vast though it may possibly be, unwelcome.
So, oh glittering eyes in the dark beyond the fire-light and warmth – better go ooze contempt alone and somewhere else. Bercause I really don’t like yoooooooo, really, I don’t (she sings)!
Warning the First. Battlesong.
A thing unexpectedly fell into place, resolved and ceased to be such a huge drain on my time (well, while it evolves for now on someone else’s watch anyway – after that it will be back to me in another form for another while).
And a personage recently informed me that anything you do can be creative. So true. However I will not be spending my blessed, shiny, rescued hours arranging the potatoes in interesting patterns or pretending I’m happy doing some other endless repeating task, noes, I’m going for the motherlode!!!!
… mumble mumble…. woolly hat, thermos…. hamster…
for I need a planet to call my garden shed. Yes, TWoFB is off ice and moving forward for as long as this amazing windfall of time lasts. Don’t know if you read the Vague Plan, but it’s learning the tools where we’re at in the process.
I also intend to give the whole game project its own proper website at some later date (much later), where it can grow in a shape that suits. This blog is more my fun thing and things I’m interested in and that affect me get a mention (including the process of making a game), but I don’t sell anything here
My spaceship could do with some Zazz don’t you think?
But I still I need a nice flat place to build and store devjunk – and time is waning.
Here I think.
Well that’s it for now, out of time.
We’ll camp for tonight in the Mum I: Hobo Class, Series 1 and make for those hills I spotted some time soon. Someone unpack the lucky procedural cloud. We’re here.
(That was us practicing skydomes (Blender) and gradients (Gimp) with some uv mapping and (by meee) box modelling.)
is rapidly getting to the point where it needs its own scrapbook, so I made a page on this blog for anyone mildly interested. After a seemly time, this post will be moved there and I can update it as we go.
I originally set the page up for a sibling, who is perfect blogger material. Well evidently she thought so too, having explored mine, and is setting up shop over at Moonfruit – I have created a Frankenbloggerdynasty.
I intend the TWoFB page, and possibly other pages to be a record of our adventure, not a how-to or a formal progress report, but more like a story. Are ya sitting comfortably – ok here goes:
TWoFB or …Thingie began in a moment of absolute horror. I gazed at my small daughter, shocked, truly shocked to find out that she was learning “Microsoft Word” in “Computing” in lower school and not much else in “Computing”. Ahead of her, bright and shiny as she was, I saw the years stretch … office applications at school followed by a working life in some ghastly box with marginally insane people. Some serious mum stuff kicked in, I can tell you.
There is no doubt in my mind that it’s necessary to fill the gaps in your standard British, completely productivity-oriented education. I shuffled through various ideas and old abandoned places in my head and came up with creating a computer game. It’s a dream I’m happy to revive. I produced some shareware way back when so it’s not too scary. I’m familiar with both the process and the naysayers. It can be done, at home with basic equipment, by anyone. Even more so now. In those days… we survived on cockroaches we managed to catch off decaying pizzas and had to learn assembler, which I never did properly, because I found some alternatives to doing that. There are enough people in here/passing through/having a visit for it this project to have become quite a lively affair. This is normal for me – people gravitate to interesting activities and it can be quite much (which is why I value privacy, quiet places/obscurity and normal boring things.)
From Shock, Horror and Fury to August 12, 2012
By nature I am an Executor (it’s not a Bartle label, he missed a lot of ‘em).
You can tell. I am interested in glue. And bolts, plugs, sockets, cables, knots, ropes, wire, sticky tape, rivets, dowels… and gravity. Joining mechanisms of all kinds. (It’s a dead giveaway.) Before I even think of logistics or costs I’m at what’s going to hold it together and what needs to be joined to what and how many extra bits are needed to be stuck on for completion and functionality. Because I know that if you cannot stick it together, it won’t work so there is no sense in wasting time, effort and money on anything until that aspect is secured. I also know that how you stick it together is crucial for efficiency and all its little relatives (like profit, incidentally). Of course by nature, I’m also a slew of other labels, but mostly, yes, things get done/made/sorted. And I don’t go in for any of this ‘time-frame’, ‘focussed’, ‘driven’,’ other words that mean ‘force-march!’ way of working. It gets done eh. The oblique words are for people who are about extracting what they can – that’s a different activity.
Shock, horror, fury happened almost around the same time I started quitting WoW, embarked on a serious life declutter, began the process of getting this house renovation started in earnest, began this blog and a buncha other startup stuff I already completed and forgot. It was a changeful time.
Between then and now I have been researching and gathering minimal hardware and software resources and as many thoughts, ideas and drawings as we can spit out. Hardware: We have: 2 old laptops, one external hard drive, one printer/scanner/copier, a wacom pen and tablet, an extra keyboard, a webcam – and that’s it. On the list to get next: Asus gaming laptop, 2nd hard drive, 3rd old laptop (to mess around with sounds), digital camera. Thoughts/ideas/drawings – got tons. Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of this set-up. Nothing was bought or acquired without a lot of reason and research – there is a huge difference between uncluttered due to poverty (including poverty of thought) and uncluttered by choice.
Software will follow mostly from our process. For now, five-finger excercises. So Blender, Unity 3 free, the Gimp, LiveBrush. Next: adventures in scripting and code, web design, upload/download sites, have a look at server achitecture and network. Hosting. Quite a lot, but I’m not rushing or rushing anyone else.
Right now, I am diminishing the research to background. This phase (initial research) is finished. Tonight’s the very night I hit that spot. I know it internally – it’s part of my nature (as an Executor-when-I-use-that-label) to recognise it. More research will be done, of course, but the focus shifts (to learning our tools). I am satisfied that the parts can be joined up into a coherent, working whole. That took, what, 8 months. But it was done in spare time and when we felt like it, so for future reference, that could be hugely compressed by doing it full-time.
It’s very late right now, I just did the last few days of the research task, checking into server hosting, setting up that website for playing with, (and learning about).
And in devspacewhen you press “play” a small sun orbits a very small flat untextured square and sheds light in all the right places. One tiny cotton-wool-ball-cloud hangs in the sky, also receiving “daylight” when it is day. Awwww (sum)
this changes all the time and I’m not going to write date-stamped updates. It’s a simple plan and changes are no big deal.
Learning all our new stuff, software and hardware. (five-finger-excercises)
Trying out some very small ideas and small apps – this is like doing quick sketches or jotting down notes.
Sending some tiny apps/ideas through the pipe. From gleam in eye to zipped download.
Building on one or two of the above (slightly bigger apps/ideas) (a light stress and security test)
Go through thoughts, ideas, drawings and decide which ones we will work up some. Get some web stuff in place – site, hosting etc.
Review – summary posted here when I do it, after cavorting through all the above.
We have no mission statement, no timeline, no goal we must achieve. There is nothing bigger than a clean horizon. “We are making an (m)morpg” sums it up. What kind of (m)morpg will be decided as we go and find ideas we like. (Edit: no now it’s changed to an (m)mopvw (persistent virtual world)). A few things have solidified though, even at this early stage:
Sandbox, definitely. Persistent changing “living” world, yes.
Interaction with environment and terrain, yes.
Multiplayer, yes and possibly massively multiplayer. There will be a very long alpha friends and family phase, possibly that will be where we stop.
If we decide to go further, short beta (might change this, but it would be a test thing, not marketing, so defined tests and trusted beta testers).
Payment model – will experiment. Velvet rope is most likely.
Ability to invest in and develop avatar – absolutely.
Housing – in right from the beginning.
The rest we’re still thinking about. A lot more can be done with instance/open world mixes for example. Current solutions are not very satisfying, any of them.
As mentioned before, we won’t share our sparkliest, best, weirdest and most innovative until a time frame set just before launch, if we launch that is. However, if you beat us to creating the type of game described above, we won’t be sad at all
If January is the time when people are running around chasing resolutions and plans and being perfect nuisances, June is the time when they need a break whether they know it or not. Things become stagnant, and to the disgust of employers and the government people go off and remember what life is about. Sort of. Try to, anyway. Nvm employers and govt, I’m sure Radio 4 is already looking hard for a national crisis to spook the pants off anyone that gets too comfy on a beach.
….Anyhooo - so, although Blender is a Rolls Royce, and great (asset-dev wise), and I’m in love with it, it’s June so I’m breaking out of my ruts to look around at the world. I had a look at Unity 3 free – and I think it will fit in nicely with our current state – not quite prototyping yet (though we are, sort of) - just trying stuff out. The folder of ideas is bulging to the point where it cannot be described as slim. It is more like 2 or 3 boxfiles worth if you put it all together. We want to take some of those ideas out for a run.
That’s the Unity 3 free interface – simple compared to Blender’s really, and after a few dead ends and misadventures on google I learned enough to be able to put a game together in ohhh - an hour. Can do the same in Blender. Limited, little, tiny stuff because of the little time I spent. But it walks and talks so to speak and will do for spitting an idea into the wind of a Sunday morning. Fits a lacking spot in lovely lovely Blender very nicely, by being able to do a tad more than Blender’s Game Engine can, but a lot less than Blender’s graphics can. Another good ideas-vehicle.
In Other News the big proper main …Thingie project has a name now. It is now known as WoFB. Yes.
Obviously the “o” stands for “of”. … :)
Our brightest sparkliest ideas and assets I don’t won’t put here just yet, reserving the right to bang everyone over the head with them day before we launch, should that day ever arrive. One never knows when a supervillain might be about, snitching baby ideas to turn into click prisoners on mobile apps – boooooo! hissssss! he’s behind yooooo! I always check my fridge for supervillains before going to bed at night.
On the other hand there are some ideas I wouldn’t mind if people actually took and ran with, so those I’ll happily write about in the interests of the world being a better place. And some pictures is always nice, so probably post some pictures along the line, if I remember.
This so-called massive undertaking that’s impossible and shouldn’t even be tried by anyone as ordinary as me, is actually quite good fun, mostly and absolutely definitely not all that hard. So far.
But it does look like I’ll need to delve into server/client architecture & networking, a subject I have studiously avoided all my life. I’m kind of hoping little pink clouds develop in interesting ways to deal with it all quietly for a small monthly fee or something. A propos of which and relating to several other paragraphs: http://insidethemagicshop.wordpress.com/ – welcome to my blogroll.
Networking is an area that has always left me annoyed and confused. But needs must. Anyway that’s all much later – moving on swiftly, to another subject: right now, looks like we can store some stuff on Dropbox, which is handy. Probably not art assets (too much)(wouldn’t want to anyway), but some boringstuff and admin etc. thats just taking up room on drives here and there. Haven’t done anything about a website for us apart from renting (if that’s the word) a cheap one in India. It’s too early really. I should be playing with it really. Ok I feel guilty now.
June’s fruit salad should be interesting. After the joys of Celebration opening, the chore burnout and creeping urbanisation and industrialisation of Wurm Online is getting to me again, so I’ve not been playing it so much, but find myself dabbling on the early levels of this and that. Will write. Oh here. Since I use this place as a handy place to store things, I did mean to put a blog todo list here where it’s convenient to have one:
NBI - no way could I visit all the new blogs (or even all the old ones), but some were more about what I’m about and I’ll put some bits about the wonderful ones I found amongst the list. Glad I missed the awardie thing, hits not me. Here’s to everyone who blogs for the sheer joy of it! Hip, hip, hooray! Clink. You get imaginary champagne from me and very fine it is too.
Blogroll – seriously needs redoing. Think I can have two or three but not figured out how.
Categories – after advising everyone to categorise their blogs, I find I have only done half of mine. Herrumph.
And do you know what? I’ve forgotten the rest of the list - which is why I need it
Carry on Wurm Online Begunners Guide, wrap up Deed in the Making.
Drawings of some game design generalities – Like Av’s Hierarchy of Exploitation (TM, copyright, mine - because it has no figures to back it up, it’s mine own pottiness. This did not spring from academia, reason or anything official but from cabbages, spiderwebs and washing up liquid.)
I might put more if I remember them at 4 a.m.
Back up blog so I don’t lose todo list.
OK well that’s about everything my tiny brain holds for the moment. Yay back to making up interesting textures.
May was more about real life than gaming and June, have to say, is shaping up the same way. I did very much enjoy the opening of the Celebration server on Wurm Online though. And treated our household to the Legend of Grimrock instead of a fish and chip supper. It was really nice to see younger players trying it out, finding it strange and constricted …and then getting hooked. So the house resounds to the sounds of arg, as people fall into traps, miss getting through gates and are defeated by giant snails – oh wait that last was me. I started it off for the rest, got killed by a snail and had to go and do something else. Somehow everyone is fed, warm, clothed and in reasonably hygaenic surroundings as I sit here on a Sunday evening thinking – phew! What a month.
Just about everyone passing through here gets suborned into trying a game if they don’t escape fast enough. Research! I like watching their reactions to ones I already know, and frankly I don’t have time to try half the things on my hard drive, so settling a guest in with an unknown title is pretty helpful. Nothing that doesn’t run stays on the drive. I download, install, check it works and leave it until I have time or a guinea pig… err guest, to check it out. The comments are fascinating – I have to tell you, whatever is pushed at us, nobody has ever once said “oh goodie we have to join a guild to get x, I can’t wait!”. Or “I like not being able to personalise my avatar.” Just watching people’s reactions to some of the current staples makes me wonder what planet devs live on. Perhaps they just never watch and listen to real players starting out in their games?
Actually tonight I feel pretty brain dead and will have to revive myself with a wonderful hot cup of tea, a hot water bottle, a fluffy blanket, anything warm !! – yep I have just been seeing someone off on a bus, standing out in the cold for near an hour. For some reason summer hasn’t made an appearance here this year and yeah wait I’ll get that cup of tea and try to remember what I played in spare moments during the blur that was last month.
Not much. Botanicula, but I barely played. Everquest in a mad moment – never played it before. Main memory of this attempt is enjoying moving the windows about – don’t think I even started the tutorial. I think I was pretty tired.
I did manage to spend quite a lot of time here and there going through Blender tutorials on Youtube while doing other things. There is a terrific amount to learn and small doses of learning here and there provide a great deal of food for thought and inspiration. Our ideas file is bulging nicely. It’s a nice phase this, experimenting, trying things, learning. I think we’ll not hurry Blender really is perfect for prototyping and for figuring out how things might work. Expanding the prototype, well, I’m not sure. We’ll take it as far as it goes, feel the edges so to speak, and keep our options open. For example when I googled “create an ingame mouse pointer” (and variations on that query) I was presented with a lot of frustrated users, some dead ends, the usual pratts talking down to people who dared to ask – a general mishmash. One or two possible solutions requiring python were there. I shall explore those eventually. And of course I’m not running the very latest version right now, so this very basic functionality might actually have been included in the game engine by now. Maybe it’s there but not documented. As far as I can tell though, player interaction is very limited. Keypresses or mouseclick equivalent.
However things certainly move fast in the Blender world and I remain deeply impressed.
And that’s about it for May. Yay bedtime!
chez nous, plus decluttering and boxing up belongings. After a particularly silly, people-running-around-mad start, the year is shaping up.