… Thingie aka TWoFB

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.


To Work

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)

Vague Plan

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.

Big Stuff

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.

Pvp, no.

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.

Secret stuff

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 🙂

Categories: ...Thingie, Blender Game Engine, Game Design and Creation, Gimp, Introductions, Things In General

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