Stuck in low gear

Since recovering from a sinus infection and the kids being off from school for MLK Day, I’ve been slowed down to an absolute crawl on dev stuff. The lack of energy and indecision about what to tackle next has gotten me a bit frozen in place.

I have kept busy with side projects, like designing the standing banner above for the upcoming MakerX show on Feb. 29th – as well as ordering stickers, since I’m getting low again.

What HAS been worked on is getting the last bits of the demo polished. Since I decided to cut the 3rd level to just a brief taste, I’m hoping I can add enough emotional ‘oomph’ to it that will leave a player wanting to see more. I’m hoping with kiddo 2 having a birthday next month, my bro-in-law will bring his PC and we can finally get his loaner Rift working and my brilliant niece & nephew can get to work on tearing apart my game and finding each and every flaw and give me ideas on how to make it better. They’re good like that.

Fail Faster

So, after a long struggle, I think I have to kill a level that I put a lot of work into. I was looking at this blog and found a post from almost a year ago, and can see how I’ve just put too much time / effort / energy into something that just will not take cohesive shape.

I’ve struggled with it – fought with it – scrapped it and started from scratch (see last year’s post!) – and I just cannot get this level polished to the point where I think I can ship it.

Current mood…

I had some seriously good bits – the envelope quest was a simple, easy quest to start the level; the big rolly balls that flattened the player had a nostalgic touch – but the whole thing never congealed into a cohesive mass. And it pains me to dump all that.

I can, of course, reuse the assets and FSMs to drive them. It’s my innate stubbornness that makes it difficult to let it go. I mean, I worked that level . A year ago I decided to re-do it from scratch and that didn’t work, so I went back to my original design. I was considering trying a different version of it – but then I came upon the post from a year ago and had a moment that forced me to realize that I could work another year on it and still not have the functionality I want.

But, the clock is ticking and I’m feeling the pressure. I need to get this demo OUT. I need to start working on the main game. I need to get funding. And sitting here tinkering with the same level over and over isn’t getting the ol’ job done.

I’m currently prepping for the MakerX Expo at the end of February. And FedEx is opening their Small Business contest at the end of the month. And once I can get my head around the budget concept and get my act together, I’ll be applying to IndieFund and a few local angel investor funds. I need someone smarter than me to get my mechanics feeling tight, and I need a young 2D modeller looking to make his bones to help with the cranking out of assets. Plus, I’m looking at expanding my demo reach – GDEX and MakerX are my staples, but I feel like I could get good traction showing at Games 4 Change.

And that is where I’m applying next. (soon)

Back to Work, pal…

So with the holidays over, fam back to school and work, the house clean enough that I can ignore the rest, I grab my coffee sit down at the comfy office chair chair my wife got from her job, crack my knuckles with anticipation, lean in, reach for the keyboard annnnd….

What the $#!+ was I doing before the holidays began??

Getting back into the swing of things ain’t easy. I’m looking at scribbled notes, my organizer cork board says today is my ‘writing’ day. I have a bunch of things to start researching and planning for the year (sorry IndyPopCon, I don’t have $275 to drop on a exhibitor table this year!) And I have a backlog of other creative work that I need to get done.

What I DID want to brag about was an idea that I whipped together when my eldest brought home a mini gingerbread house he made in school. I instantly though about preserving it in photogrammetry and on a whim, threw it into Unity and added Booper to the scene:

I did start adding the ‘VR tunnelling’ effect, an option I’ll let players choose if they find that the character motion too nauseating. Guess I need to start working on an options menu…

Considering I’m going to be applying for grant money, I DO need to get that demo wrapped and looking as polished as possible. I’m still stuck on that 3rd level and want ‘more’ from it: more excitement, more polish and a bolder ending that really leaves players wanting more. Time to recruit the niece and nephew for more playtesting… Oops – gotta get the Rift I loaned them back to full operating capacity first.