- Book Review
- City of Shadow
- Cultural Review
- Cybernetic Crunch
- Demon Hunter
- Electronic Music
- Game Design
- IT and Society
- Kaosnet book
- Music / glitch art
- Prose and short stories
- random thoughts
- Rat in a Maze
- Reflections on life
- Scientific Theories
- Twine Games
- Visual stories
- Web Design
So I figured I should start writing in this blog a bit more, to track my own progress and to help organise my own workflows, as an archive of sorts as well as a space for figuring out exactly why I am doing all this haha especially as so much of the development work I have been doing of late has been pure self directed and experimental projects and applications as opposed to anything commercial led or working for others with specific commercial aims.
I have been for at least the past year focusing on game design and development instead of web development as I once did, although I have still been messing with JS projects and experimental apps with React to keep my hand in it. I have found this both a learning curve and a joy. Self Motivation becomes a big part of being an Indie / Freelance dev as well as sourcing clients if you are going the freelance route, let no one tell you it is easy, it is not. I have found as I more and more became an Indie Game Developer that the freelance jobs do become fewer, but on the flipside you do get more time to work on projects you might genuinely feel passionate about. So it’s a balancing act.
The trick I have not found yet is tying applications and games I make to making money, I have been doing ok on my Itch.io page with about 100+ downloads of my various game projects big and small, but alas this is not translating into sales, and many of my earlier projects I have on there as suggested donations due to them being smaller projects.
Still I am happy with some of my achievements of this year the most major of which I will explore below
This was the big project I wanted to get done this year using the GameGuru engine, and seriously pushing that engine to it’s limits during the dev process. Jinni started off as a conversation between me and Harvey, another Indie dev and artist based in Manchester, and at the time my next door neighbor. We had a few ideas and developed a concept for an RPG game set in a post-apocalyptic world of superstition and technology tracking the games development in a vlog series. It was an interesting experience to build such a large map and also to incorporate all the different scripts and elements to get the game to be an immersive and engaging experience and in a way I think we both underestimated how much work it really is to develop a decent sandbox RPG, still I am happy with the end result being what it is, but I think also on reflection GameGuru as an engine is just not fit for purpose for producing such a game, and it did take a lot of hacking to get many aspects of the games functionality to work, and I also find myself at times battling against the engine to get things to work (though a recent update sees a much improved engine tbf)
What remains with this game is refining the updates (of which there have been 3 already, additional bug elimination and incorporating a new version which is upcoming shortly using the updated GG engine). It also needs more marketing and it was the first game I wanted to experiment with selling on Itch.io but as of yet it has had no sales despite some interest and views. So it needs pushing more. Been toying with the idea of putting on Steam as well, but want to be confident in it before I consider that seriously. I am still proud of what I managed to do over 8 months or so of work on this project, despite some of its flaws.
NanoMaze was a robot maze game made over 48 hours in Unreal Engine for the last LudumDare GameJam and for me it represented my growing confidence with that engine, it contained three levels of mazes and even some basic AI / Pathfinding blueprints, I was very happy with how I was able to get on with this piece of work and am working on a mobile version which I hope to also put on the PlayStore after some refinement. A most positive gamejam.
Torn was another LudumDare entry, and was a much more random but useful evolution in my understanding of Unreal Engine, it was a dating sim set in Hell where the player had to engage with 4 potential bizarre suitors. This was fun, but also random project.
This is an interesting app idea I messed with for a few weeks, and I think I will return to it shortly after NanoMaze is converted to mobile and Jinni is updated, it is a mindmapping app where the user can map nodes of thought in 3D, and I am looking to update and create a full working prototype hopefully by the end of the year.
In conclusion I have had a productive year, not without frustration in terms of monetising anything I am doing, but certainly rewarding in terms of creativity and increasing my knowledge so it has not all been doom and gloom, and as I suspected going into more independent indie dev territory , it is not easy, so I have not been surprised by the difficulty of monetising applications and games I have developed. Being aware of weaknesses is the first step I think, to thinking of creative solutions to get stuff out there though, so onwards and upwards.
YouTube Blocked this, so hosting it myself here, because fuck off. 🙂
Warning: Feats Heavy Strobing
Glitch Music Video made in Lightworks using video footage of some outdoor lights and buildings ran through various post processing FX. Went through many different phases and a few crashes haha but overall happy with the end very random and trippy result, I think it’s kind of like a hyper alive digital painting in some ways, like a abstract weird world come to life. Anyway hope you enjoy, it was at times a pain to make, though can’t really fault Lightworks in terms of being an essentially free software.
Track is peal MA from NTS Session 2 off Autechre NTS releases which you can purchase and download here
Playtesting this Sandbox Action RPG during development, this is not finished just showing what the general gameplay experience is like at the minute. Jinni will be available on Itch.io once complete for an affordable £2.50. It will feature multiple quests, combat, conversation systems, NPC interactions, and hopefully a multiplayer co-op mode, all set in a post-apocalyptic setting, inspired by both the past and the present. It has been a labour of love and is nearing more of a finished state, though still work to do. More info: https://drnoir.itch.io/jinni Like on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JinniRPG/
Blank Vortex is a conceptual idea for a brainstorming app being built using Unreal Engine by myself and with ideas and input from Loz Turner who I am collaborating with.
The user explores immersive environments during which they can shoot ‘nodes’ with each node representing a thought or idea based around whatever theme they are brainstorming over. The general idea is to create environments that inspire creative thought and intuition and then providing a 3D environment that can inspire the process of creative thought. Users are spawned into a central hub (ThinkHub) and then can explore and teleport to several environments each with different unique features and attributes.
So far I have started building the ThinkHub as well as Zero G environment which turns off gravity and allows the player to shoot nodes in zero gravity. The overall aim and objective of the game is to inspire thought, provide an interface for creating mental structures and then also output them in some diagrammatic form.
This video demonstrates the early prototype / proof of concept build.
The players view is first person, and follows a familiar control system of mouse controls to generate new nodes in the game world, each node is assigned a number according to the order of its creation and the user will eventually be able to teleport to any individual node using a menu accessed pressing shift.
In the current build, nodes can be edited by colliding with them and each node has an associated text file which contains information on the structure of the node. Each nodes number value can also be edited to contain information on it’s content and the user can do this by either colliding with the node or navigating to it via the node menu.
The app is in the early stages with three days of development time invested so far, it requires more functionality and testing to determine the effectiveness of the mechanics, as well as looking at UI / UX considerations for accessing nodes as well as developing more levels and areas for the player. However I am please with the general progress of this so far, and will continue to incorporate these changes as I progress. Future considerations include creating a Mobile / Tablet version and possibly creating a version compatible with VR devices. My philosophy at the minute is to get a working version on Desktop and then work on a version on Mobile devices after that version is working to a standard where it can be demoed in public.
Overall happy with progress.
Fed up and poor, dreaming of the day that the 1% are forced to face justice. We live in an age where you can produce a lot but make nothing for it, whilst leeches in suits in finance and marketing make multiple thousands doing essentially nothing and laughing it home to the bank whilst Rome burns.
This world is fucked. I am an artist engineer and a computing graduate, and whilst I’m not perfect, and some of my money issues are my own fault I’m tired of being painted as some greedy and entitled millennial, I couldn’t be further from that – I work hard but because my work is mostly done on a computer it’s often not seen as labour or work (frequently so by the post-war baby boomer generation). Rent is affordable now but frankly only cos a mate took sympathy on my situation, otherwise I would be joining the lost silent army of the homeless right now. It’s a disgusting shame to our country that in one of the richest nations of the world, me and people like me with disabilities or who need a little support to tide them over during tough times are being thrust in the night – it creates more work for police, and social services overall over enough time. The Welfare state might as well be dead, the Blue bastards have already killed it pretty much.
In terms of economics – In the UK we need to invest in green tech, and skilling up people like me with a background in computing or engineering, because we have little to no opportunities apart from those we can scrape through online with what little spare time we have when not trying to scrape a living through our multiple streams of often bizarre freelance work. To not skill up now means that when automation comes in, we will be unprepared and will sink, especially even our isolationist nature now we are ‘Fortress Britannia’ post Brexit mess.
The essence of the 21st century retardation is that our economy is a false bubble and doesn’t represent a labour theory of value that is actually equivalent to the actual values one’s labours produces for consumers / clients i.e. often digital producers are being taken advantage of – so sick and tired of doing freebie jobs and client that won’t pay for basic services like hosting that I provide. I’m not a charity, and my hosting costs me 20 quid a month.
Long moan in short form – I’m tired of working hard and not getting paid for it. Think I want to focus more on the games dev at the min, trying to get support from the wankers i.e Tories at the min, but cos they fucked the benefits system so much I might as well be trying to break into a bank with an advanced security system armed with nothing but a screwdriver and a cat. That might be fun actually
(please note, not actually planning that)
Revolution, and sooner rather than later. And if not that, I will gladly join the legions of the many who will quickly look to leave this country – this stupid, xenophobic, backwards, class ridden, hierarchical, ridiculous country.