Tag Archives: veekun

Eevee gained 2791 experience points

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/blog/2018/01/15/eevee-gained-2791-experience-points/

Eevee grew to level 31!

A year strongly defined by mixed success! Also, a lot of video games.

I ran three game jams, resulting in a total of 157 games existing that may not have otherwise, which is totally mindblowing?!

For GAMES MADE QUICK???, glip and I made NEON PHASE, a short little exploratory platformer. Honestly, I should give myself more credit for this and the rest of the LÖVE games I’ve based on the same codebase — I wove a physics engine (and everything else!) from scratch and it has held up remarkably well for a variety of different uses.

I successfully finished an HD version of Isaac’s Descent using my LÖVE engine, though it doesn’t have anything new over the original and I’ve only released it as a tech demo on Patreon.

For Strawberry Jam (NSFW!) we made fox flux (slightly NSFW!), which felt like a huge milestone: the first game where I made all the art! I mean, not counting Isaac’s Descent, which was for a very limited platform. It’s a pretty arbitrary milestone, yes, but it feels significant. I’ve been working on expanding the game into a longer and slightly less buggy experience, but the art is taking the longest by far. I must’ve spent weeks on player sprites alone.

We then set about working on Bolthaven, a sequel of sorts to NEON PHASE, and got decently far, and then abandond it. Oops.

We then started a cute little PICO-8 game, and forgot about it. Oops.

I was recruited to help with Chaos Composer, a more ambitious game glip started with someone else in Unity. I had to get used to Unity, and we squabbled a bit, but the game is finally about at the point where it’s “playable” and “maps” can be designed? It’s slightly on hold at the moment while we all finish up some other stuff, though.

We made a birthday game for two of our friends whose birthdays were very close together! Only they got to see it.

For Ludum Dare 38, we made Lunar Depot 38, a little “wave shooter” or whatever you call those? The AI is pretty rough, seeing as this was the first time I’d really made enemies and I had 72 hours to figure out how to do it, but I still think it’s pretty fun to play and I love the circular world.

I made Roguelike Simulator as an experiment with making something small and quick with a simple tool, and I had a lot of fun! I definitely want to do more stuff like this in the future.

And now we’re working on a game about Star Anise, my cat’s self-insert, which is looking to have more polish and depth than anything we’ve done so far! We’ve definitely come a long way in a year.

Somewhere along the line, I put out a call for a “potluck” project, where everyone would give me sprites of a given size without knowing what anyone else had contributed, and I would then make a game using only those sprites. Unfortunately, that stalled a few times: I tried using the Phaser JS library, but we didn’t get along; I tried LÖVE, but didn’t know where to go with the game; and then I decided to use this as an experiment with procedural generation, and didn’t get around to it. I still feel bad that everyone did work for me and I didn’t follow through, but I don’t know whether this will ever become a game.

veekun, alas, consumed months of my life. I finally got Sun and Moon loaded, but it took weeks of work since I was basically reinventing all the tooling we’d ever had from scratch, without even having most of that tooling available as a reference. It was worth it in the end, at least: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon only took a few days to get loaded. But veekun itself is still missing some obvious Sun/Moon features, and the whole site needs an overhaul, and I just don’t know if I want to dedicate that much time to it when I have so much other stuff going on that’s much more interesting to me right now.

I finally turned my blog into more of a website, giving it a neat front page that lists a bunch of stuff I’ve done. I made a release category at last, though I’m still not quite in the habit of using it.

I wrote some blog posts, of course! I think the most interesting were JavaScript got better while I wasn’t looking and Object models. I was also asked to write a couple pieces for money for a column that then promptly shut down.

On a whim, I made a set of Eevee mugshots for Doom, which I think is a decent indication of my (pixel) art progress over the year?

I started idchoppers, a Doom parsing and manipulation library written in Rust, though it didn’t get very far and I’ve spent most of the time fighting with Rust because it won’t let me implement all my extremely bad ideas. It can do a couple things, at least, like flip maps very quickly and render maps to SVG.

I did toy around with music a little, but not a lot.

I wrote two short twines for Flora. They’re okay. I’m working on another; I think it’ll be better.

I didn’t do a lot of art overall, at least compared to the two previous years; most of my art effort over the year has gone into fox flux, which requires me to learn a whole lot of things. I did dip my toes into 3D modelling, most notably producing my current Twitter banner as well as this cool Star Anise animation. I wouldn’t mind doing more of that; maybe I’ll even try to make a low-poly pixel-textured 3D game sometime.

I restarted my book with a much better concept, though so far I’ve only written about half a chapter. Argh. I see that the vast majority of the work was done within the span of a single week, which is bad since that means I only worked on it for a week, but good since that means I can actually do a pretty good amount of work in only a week. I also did a lot of squabbling with tooling, which is hopefully mostly out of the way now.

My computer broke? That was an exciting week.


A lot of stuff, but the year as a whole still feels hit or miss. All the time I spent on veekun feels like a black void in the middle of the year, which seems like a good sign that I maybe don’t want to pour even more weeks into it in the near future.

Mostly, I want to do: more games, more art, more writing, more music.

I want to try out some tiny game making tools and make some tiny games with them — partly to get exposure to different things, partly to get more little ideas out into the world regularly, and partly to get more practice at letting myself have ideas. I have a couple tools in mind and I guess I’ll aim at a microgame every two months or so? I’d also like to finish the expanded fox flux by the end of the year, of course, though at the moment I can’t even gauge how long it might take.

I seriously lapsed on drawing last year, largely because fox flux pixel art took me so much time. So I want to draw more, and I want to get much faster at pixel art. It would probably help if I had a more concrete goal for drawing, so I might try to draw some short comics and write a little visual novel or something, which would also force me to aim for consistency.

I want to work on my book more, of course, but I also want to try my hand at a bit more fiction. I’ve had a blast writing dialogue for our games! I just shy away from longer-form writing for some reason — which seems ridiculous when a large part of my audience found me through my blog. I do think I’ve had some sort of breakthrough in the last month or two; I suddenly feel a good bit more confident about writing in general and figuring out what I want to say? One recent post I know I wrote in a single afternoon, which virtually never happens because I keep rewriting and rearranging stuff. Again, a visual novel would be a good excuse to practice writing fiction without getting too bogged down in details.

And, ah, music. I shy heavily away from music, since I have no idea what I’m doing, and also I seem to spend a lot of time fighting with tools. (Surprise.) I tried out SunVox for the first time just a few days ago and have been enjoying it quite a bit for making sound effects, so I might try it for music as well. And once again, visual novel background music is a pretty low-pressure thing to compose for. Hell, visual novels are small games, too, so that checks all the boxes. I guess I’ll go make a visual novel.

Here’s to twenty gayteen!

Weekly roundup: VK Ultra

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/11/27/weekly-roundup-vk-ultra/

  • fox flux: Cleaned up and committed the “heart get” overlay and worked on some more art for it. Diagnosed a very obscure physics problem, but didn’t come up with a good solution yet; physics is hard! Drew a very good tree trunk to use as a spawn point; also worked on some background foliage, though less successfully. Played with colors a bit. Tried to work out a tileset for underground areas.

  • music: I wrote like half of a little chiptune song that I actually like so far! I’m now seriously toying with the idea of doing my own music for fox flux. Played a bit with more sound effects, too.

  • blog: I wrote up the Eevee mugshot set for Doom I made, as an inaugural post for the release category.

  • veekun: Finished up Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon! Pokémon sprites, box sprites, item sprites, and the same data as Sun/Moon. I say “finished” but of course plenty of stuff is still missing, alas.

  • cc: I’m trying to make glip some building blocks so that they can actually start building the game, so I made some breakable blocks. Also wrote a little shader for implementing their parallax background, which involves a bunch of layer modes.

  • misc: I got a new keyboard. Also I installed umatrix because noscript’s web extension version is half-broken and driving me up the wall. Sorry, noscript.

Huh, that’s not a bad haul, despite a few nights of incredibly bad sleep. Cool.

Weekly roundup: Upside down

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/11/22/weekly-roundup-upside-down/

Complicated week.

  • blog: I wrote a rather large chunk of one post, but didn’t finish it. I also made a release category for, well, release announcements, so that maybe things I make will have a permanent listing and not fade into obscurity on my Twitter timeline.

  • fox flux: Drew some experimental pickups. Started putting together a real level with a real tileset (rather than the messy sketch sheet i’ve been using). Got doors partially working with some cool transitions. Wrote a little jingle for picking up a heart.

  • veekun: Started working on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon; I have the games dumped to YAML already, so getting them onto the site shouldn’t take too much more work.

Weekly roundup: Remembering how to draw

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/09/11/weekly-roundup-remembering-how-to-draw/

  • flora: Put together a visual novel update for glip.

  • art: Lots and lots of doodling, but ultimately not a lot to show for it. There’s a Splatoon thing which came out okay. Mostly just trying to get back into the habit, since I’m reeeally rough at the moment.

  • veekun: Updated. No biggie.

  • fox flux: Asymptotically approaching having the dang player sprites done. So close.

  • cc: Got one-way platforms working spectacularly.

Weekly roundup: The usual

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/09/04/weekly-roundup-the-usual/

  • cc: Slopes now work absolutely beautifully.

  • fox flux: Many more player frames; there’s still a little ways to go, but I’ve been making incredible progress.

  • veekun: Wrote effect text for items and abilities, which was by far the most tedious thing remaining. Perfected item and box sprites. Not much left now.

  • art: Doodled a bit?

Weekly roundup: Let’s get physical

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/08/29/weekly-roundup-lets-get-physical/

  • cc: I did a lot of physics and a lot of tearing my hair out. I changed ground detection to be based on collision, which opened the door to making slopes work, and clumsily hacked sliding into working. Then I wasted two days banging my head against a wall and getting nowhere.

    (But spoilers for next week: I did get slopes working perfectly on Sunday.)

  • fox flux: Focusing just on player sprites since the game is fundamentally not playable without them. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel; almost all of the walking sequences are done, and about half of the forms are more or less done. So, like, 60% of the way there maybe?

  • veekun: Loaded and fixed a bunch of little things that were missing, and now the site is basically functional. Had to fix some more form ordering problems, little obscure connections we forget about with every game, and some issues with evolutions. But I do have a website, and that’s nice. Ideally I’ll have something worth publishing by the end of the month.

And, hm, that’s all. Looks like most of my week went to CC physics, which has me in a mood to work on my book again… horf, so much to do.

Weekly roundup: Games, mostly

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/08/22/weekly-roundup-games-mostly/

  • cc: I fixed an obscure timing issue and… well, that’s all, how exciting.

    I should really talk about this game more, but it’s big and I’m not the one designing it and I don’t have a good sense of how much we want to keep under wraps yet?

  • blog: I wrote a stream of consciousness about how Nazis are bad.

  • potluck: What? Yes! I worked on potluck a bit, believe it or not. I’ve decided to try procedurally generating the whole game — something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and a decision that has piqued my interest in potluck considerably. Step one was to clean up all my map code, which was entangled with parsing Tiled’s JSON format, to make it actually possible to generate a map. I finally did that and made an extremely basic proof of concept that just varies the floor height.

  • fox flux: The usual brief work on player sprites. The game has a lot of them.

  • gamedev: I made a video game with glip again! It was a birthday present for two of our friends, and it’s extremely specific to them and basically incomprehensible to anyone else, so I haven’t decided yet whether it’d be appropriate to release publicly. But we made something pretty coherent on a whim in two and a half days and that’s nice.

I’m currently working on veekun, which has finally progressed to the point that it has data appearing within the website! Hallelujah. I expect there’ll be plenty of stuff to clean up, but this is a tremendous leap forwards. I’ll be so glad to have this off my plate at last, argh.

Weekly roundup: Taking a breather

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/08/09/weekly-roundup-taking-a-breather/

Nothing too special about this week; it went a little slow, but that’s been nice after the mad panic I was in at the end of July.

  • cc: I’m getting the hang of Unity and forming an uneasy truce with C#. Mostly did refactoring of some existing actor code, trying to move all the reading of controls to a single place so the rest of it can be reused for non-players.

  • fox flux: I put some work into a new forest background, which is already just… hilariously better than the one from the original game. Complex textures like leaves are one of my serious weak points, but this is forcing me to do it anyway and I’m slowly learning.

  • blog: I finished that post on Pokémon datamining, which ended up extraordinarily long and slightly late.

  • veekun: Dug into some missing stuff regarding items.

  • art: Spent a day or two doodling.

Still behind by one blog post (oops), and slacked on veekun a bit, but I’ve still got momentum.

Weekly roundup: Never enough

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/07/24/weekly-roundup-never-enough/

Chugging along.

  • fox flux: Touched up another critter, some more terrain, messing with a background, blah blah.

  • veekun: Pokémon importing is so close. I’ve hunted down how incense affects breeding (which was sort of pointless since there aren’t any new incense), found shapes, dealt with evolution, and filled in a few other little things. It even runs to completion now! But I can’t fully import Pokémon until I import items — oops! — so I’m working on that now.

  • art: Drew some ridiculous nonsense.

  • blog: Been working on a post about datamining, since that’s a thing I’ve been working on lately.

  • cc: I think I basically spent two days squabbling with Unity Collab and the asset store.

Weekly roundup: Juggling games

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/07/18/weekly-roundup-juggling-games/

I now have seven or eight things in-flight, which is way too much, so I’ve decided to make an active effort to spend four hours every day working on some combination of veekun, the potluck game, my book, and Patreon blogging. So far, so good.

Also, the rest of my Fridays and Saturdays have been reserved for working on Chaos Composer. So, uh, yeah.

  • fox flux: More portrait work, which was surprisingly difficult! I forgot that drawing an actual picture with pixels is a little more involved in some ways than drawing it, uh, without pixels? I also designed and drew a new NPC, vastly improved the sprites for a couple critters, and made a pretty good start on some terrain tiles for a new zone.

  • chaos composer: I fixed a long-standing problem (two, actually) with the pixel scaling being slightly off. I’m helping! I also made a completely empty scene and wrote a basic player controller from scratch just to get accustomed, which I’ll now probably throw away because one already exists.

  • veekun: Added support for extracting move flags and Pokémon shapes (which were hell to find). Wrote a move importer and wrote quick effect text for every move, so moves are now in the database, hurrah! I have a Pokémon importer mostly done, so that’s well on its way as well. I’m so close I can taste it, though I expect I’ll find a lot of minor followup work, and I haven’t even touched more complicated stuff like wild Pokémon encounters.

Most of my four-hour blocks have been going to veekun so far. I’d really like to get blog posts out of the way early for once, but both proposed topics are a little vague, and I’m not sure what I want to say about them yet. I also still haven’t spent any time on my book this month, augh, and of course haven’t touched the potluck game in a week now.

Meanwhile, most of my other time went to fox flux, where I’m just taking forever to do the art. I think I’m starting to get better at it, but spriting an entire game is still a hell of a daunting task.

I spent the week working at a pretty good pace, yet this sounds like such little progress? Making stuff just takes a while, I guess.

Weekly roundup: Out of potluck

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/07/10/weekly-roundup-out-of-potluck/

Spoilers: I didn’t finish the potluck game! I think I bit off a little more than I could chew, since the game necessarily needs a bunch of mechanics and world to actually make use of all the tiles. So I’ll just… keep working on it over time. It’d be nice to finish by the end of the month, but suddenly I have far more stuff than before to be working on, so who knows anything.

  • potluck: I made an inventory, added UI for it, implemented the other colors of locks, made several kinds of projectiles, implemented damage and recoil and i-frames, made a whole menu for customizing gamepad controls, rigged a convoluted thing that tries to adapt the UI to the style of gamepad you’re using, implemented conveyor belts, and did a whole lot of planning. But still, so far to go, sob.

  • fox flux: Started touching up portraits from the first game while watching glip play Zelda. Results thusfar are promising!

  • chaos composer: I have been drafted into working on glip’s game, already in progress in Unity. I just got ahold of the game thusfar, and I’ve never used Unity before, so I’ve mostly been giving myself a crash course by clicking stuff at random to see what happens.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing this next week! I have a lot of things vying for my attention, and somehow the month is already one-third over. I’d like to knock out some low-hanging fruit, so maybe I’ll get blogging out of the way and try to finally finish veekun?

Weekly roundup: On the move

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/07/02/weekly-roundup-on-the-move/

Busy week, including a friend’s visiting, but most of my time went towards only two things:

  • veekun: I got forms dumping (more or less), got moves dumping, spent a whole lot of time chasing down obscure little details, and wrote most of a yaml-to-sql importer for moves. That all leaves me pretty heckin’ close to having the core Sun and Moon stuff in the database. Finally, the end is in sight.

  • blog: I wrote about level design by going over some levels in games that are memorable to me.

I’ll be spending the next week working on the potluck game and watching SGDQ!

Weekly roundup: Breath of the Tired

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/06/25/weekly-roundup-breath-of-the-tired/

I may have spoken too soon; I had some pretty sleepy nights this week. Oh, well. The slow march of progress continued nonetheless. Also I played Zelda a lot.

  • potluck: I built a few little mechanisms: platforms, keys, switches, etc. I don’t have much game yet, but I’m putting off the bulk of it until GDQ week. Hope I can actually do this game justice in just a week! It’ll be a different kind of experience, since the art is set in stone and I already have an engine that can do most of what I want; I just have to build levels and story.

  • book: I churned out a good few thousand words, rewrote the introduction, and got rid of a ton of stuff from the old book concept. It’s actually presentable as a work in progress now! Nice.

  • veekun: I struggled with form ordering for quite a long time, but finally got it figured out, which is useful and important. Getting there. Also I had to yakshave my self-hosted git (which I use for ripped sprites), after an upgrade caused it to bitrot.

I did less than I would’ve liked, but I’ve still got some decent momentum on these three big things. Still feeling pretty good, and eagerly looking forward to having time free in July to mess around with art and work on fox flux.

Weekly roundup: Successful juggling

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/06/19/weekly-roundup-successful-juggling/

Despite flipping my sleep, as I seem to end up doing every month now, I’ve had a pretty solid week. We finally got our hands on a Switch, so I just played Zelda to stay up a ridiculously long time and restore my schedule pretty quickly.

  • potluck: I started building the potluck game in LÖVE, and it’s certainly come along much faster — I have map transitions, dialogue, and a couple moving platforms working. I still don’t quite know what this game is, but I’m starting to get some ideas.

    I also launched GAMES MADE QUICK??? 1½, a game jam for making a game while watching GDQ, instead of just plain watching GDQ. I intend to spend the week working on the potluck game, though I’m not sure whether I’ll finish it then.

  • fox flux: I started planning out a more interesting overworld and doodled a couple relevant tiles. Terrain is still hard. Also some more player frames.

  • art: I finally finished a glorious new banner, which now hangs proudly above my Twitter and Patreon. I did a bedtime slate doodle. I made and animated a low-poly Yoshi. I sketched Styx based on a photo.

    I keep wishing I have time to dedicate to painting experiments, but I guess this is pretty good output.

  • veekun: Wow! I touched veekun on three separate occasions. I have basic item data actually physically dumping now, I fixed some stuff with Pokémon, and I got evolutions working. Progress! Getting there! So close!

  • blog: Per request, I wrote about digital painting software, though it was hampered slightly by the fact that most of it doesn’t run on my operating system.

I seem to be maintaining tangible momentum on multiple big projects, which is fantastic. And there’s still 40% of the month left! I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m standing; if I can get potluck and veekun done soon, that’ll be a medium and a VERY LARGE weight off my shoulders.

Weekly roundup: In flux

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/05/28/weekly-roundup-in-flux/

  • fox flux: I have been working on fox flux a lot? Like, a lot. There’s so much art and planning to do, but I’m starting to make some serious dents in both, and I’m getting pretty excited about this game. I hope other people are too! (And don’t worry, it’ll have a SFW mode.)

  • blog: I wrote a post on what I know about networking in games, which is admittedly not much. Also I wrote half another post that I didn’t publish until today so I technically can’t mention it here until next week.

  • flora: I was held at gunpoint by glip and forced to help them design my own characters, which is, extremely cool and good. I’m starting to think they like doing creative work with me and think I have interesting ideas??

  • art: I painted a picture, which is sort of fox flux concept art.

  • veekun: Whoa hot damn I worked on veekun a bit. I finished up item parsing, though I didn’t quite get as far as loading items into the db. So, uh, not a whole lot, but I’ve dipped my toes in so now it’s fresh in my mind and should be easier to keep working on.

I’m feeling pretty good? It’s nice to have a couple of big projects to work on that hold my interest and offer enough variety that I can do something no matter what kind of mood I’m in.

Introspection

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/blog/2017/05/28/introspection/

This month, IndustrialRobot has generously donated in order to ask:

How do you go about learning about yourself? Has your view of yourself changed recently? How did you handle it?

Whoof. That’s incredibly abstract and open-ended — there’s a lot I could say, but most of it is hard to turn into words.


The first example to come to mind — and the most conspicuous, at least from where I’m sitting — has been the transition from technical to creative since quitting my tech job. I think I touched on this a year ago, but it’s become all the more pronounced since then.

I quit in part because I wanted more time to work on my own projects. Two years ago, those projects included such things as: giving the Python ecosystem a better imaging library, designing an alternative to regular expressions, building a Very Correct IRC bot framework, and a few more things along similar lines. The goals were all to solve problems — not hugely important ones, but mildly inconvenient ones that I thought I could bring something novel to. Problem-solving for its own sake.

Now that I had all the time in the world to work on these things, I… didn’t. It turned out they were almost as much of a slog as my job had been!

The problem, I think, was that there was no point.

This was really weird to realize and come to terms with. I do like solving problems for its own sake; it’s interesting and educational. And most of the programming folks I know and surround myself with have that same drive and use it to create interesting tools like Twisted. So besides taking for granted that this was the kind of stuff I wanted to do, it seemed like the kind of stuff I should want to do.

But even if I create a really interesting tool, what do I have? I don’t have a thing; I have a tool that can be used to build things. If I want a thing, I have to either now build it myself — starting from nearly zero despite all the work on the tool, because it can only do so much in isolation — or convince a bunch of other people to use my tool to build things. Then they’d be depending on my tool, which means I have to maintain and support it, which is even more time and effort poured into this non-thing.

Despite frequently being drawn to think about solving abstract tooling problems, it seems I truly want to make things. This is probably why I have a lot of abandoned projects boldly described as “let’s solve X problem forever!” — I go to scratch the itch, I do just enough work that it doesn’t itch any more, and then I lose interest.

I spent a few months quietly flailing over this minor existential crisis. I’d spent years daydreaming about making tools; what did I have if not that drive? I was having to force myself to work on what I thought were my passion projects.

Meanwhile, I’d vaguely intended to do some game development, but for some reason dragged my feet forever and then took my sweet time dipping my toes in the water. I did work on a text adventure, Runed Awakening, on and off… but it was a fractal of creative decisions and I had a hard time making all of them. It might’ve been too ambitious, despite feeling small, and that might’ve discouraged me from pursuing other kinds of games earlier.

A big part of it might have been the same reason I took so long to even give art a serious try. I thought of myself as a technical person, and art is a thing for creative people, so I’m simply disqualified, right? Maybe the same thing applies to games.

Lord knows I had enough trouble when I tried. I’d orbited the Doom community for years but never released a single finished level. I did finally give it a shot again, now that I had the time. Six months into my funemployment, I wrote a three-part guide on making Doom levels. Three months after that, I finally released one of my own.

I suppose that opened the floodgates; a couple weeks later, glip and I decided to try making something for the PICO-8, and then we did that (almost exactly a year ago!). Then kept doing it.

It’s been incredibly rewarding — far moreso than any “pure” tooling problem I’ve ever approached. Moreso than even something like veekun, which is a useful thing. People have thoughts and opinions on games. Games give people feelings, which they then tell you about. Most of the commentary on a reference website is that something is missing or incorrect.

I like doing creative work. There was never a singular moment when this dawned on me; it was a slow process over the course of a year or more. I probably should’ve had an inkling when I started drawing, half a year before I quit; even my early (and very rough) daily comics made people laugh, and I liked that a lot. Even the most well-crafted software doesn’t tend to bring joy to people, but amateur art can.

I still like doing technical work, but I prefer when it’s a means to a creative end. And, just as important, I prefer when it has a clear and constrained scope. “Make a library/tool for X” is a nebulous problem that could go in a great many directions; “make a bot that tweets Perlin noise” has a pretty definitive finish line. It was interesting to write a little physics engine, but I would’ve hated doing it if it weren’t for a game I were making and didn’t have the clear scope of “do what I need for this game”.


It feels like creative work is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. If this were a made-for-TV movie, I would’ve discovered this impulse one day and immediately revealed myself as a natural-born artistic genius of immense unrealized talent.

That didn’t happen. Instead I’ve found that even something as mundane as having ideas is a skill, and while it’s one I enjoy, I’ve barely ever exercised it at all. I have plenty of ideas with technical work, but I run into brick walls all the time with creative stuff.

How do I theme this area? Well, I don’t know. How do I think of something? I don’t know that either. It’s a strange paradox to have an urge to create things but not quite know what those things are.

It’s such a new and completely different kind of problem. There’s no right answer, or even an answer I can check for “correctness”. I can do anything. With no landmarks to start from, it’s easy to feel completely lost and just draw blanks.

I’ve essentially recalibrated the texture of stuff I work on, and I have to find some completely new ways to approach problems. I haven’t found them yet. I don’t think they’re anything that can be told or taught. But I’m starting to get there, and part of it is just accepting that I can’t treat these like problems with clear best solutions and clear algorithms to find those solutions.

A particularly glaring irony is that I’ve had a really tough problem designing abstract spaces, even though that’s exactly the kind of architecture I praise in Doom. It’s much trickier than it looks — a good abstract design is reminiscent of something without quite being that something.

I suppose it’s similar to a struggle I’ve had with art. I’m drawn to a cartoony style, and cartooning is also a mild form of abstraction, of whittling away details to leave only what’s most important. I’m reminded in particular of the forest background in fox flux — I was completely lost on how to make something reminiscent of a tree line. I knew enough to know that drawing trees would’ve made the background far too busy, but trees are naturally busy, so how do you represent that?

The answer glip gave me was to make big chunky leaf shapes around the edges and where light levels change. Merely overlapping those shapes implies depth well enough to convey the overall shape of the tree. The result works very well and looks very simple — yet it took a lot of effort just to get to the idea.

It reminds me of mathematical research, in a way? You know the general outcome you want, and you know the tools at your disposal, and it’s up to you to make some creative leaps. I don’t think there’s a way to directly learn how to approach that kind of problem; all you can do is look at what others have done and let it fuel your imagination.


I think I’m getting a little distracted here, but this is stuff that’s been rattling around lately.

If there’s a more personal meaning to the tree story, it’s that this is a thing I can do. I can learn it, and it makes sense to me, despite being a huge nerd.

Two and a half years ago, I never would’ve thought I’d ever make an entire game from scratch and do all the art for it. It was completely unfathomable. Maybe we can do a lot of things we don’t expect we’re capable of, if only we give them a serious shot.

And ask for help, of course. I have a hell of a time doing that. I did a painting recently that factored in mountains of glip’s advice, and on some level I feel like I didn’t quite do it myself, even though every stroke was made by my hand. Hell, I don’t even look at references nearly as much as I should. It feels like cheating, somehow? I know that’s ridiculous, but my natural impulse is to put my head down and figure it out myself. Maybe I’ve been doing that for too long with programming. Trust me, it doesn’t work quite so well in a brand new field.


I’m getting distracted again!

To answer your actual questions: how do I go about learning about myself? I don’t! It happens completely by accident. I’ll consciously examine my surface-level thoughts or behaviors or whatever, sure, but the serious fundamental revelations have all caught me completely by surprise — sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly.

Most of them also came from listening to the people who observe me from the outside: I only started drawing in the first place because of some ridiculous deal I made with glip. At the time I thought they just wanted everyone to draw because art is their thing, but now I’m starting to suspect they’d caught on after eight years of watching me lament that I couldn’t draw.

I don’t know how I handle such discoveries, either. What is handling? I imagine someone discovering something and trying to come to grips with it, but I don’t know that I have quite that experience — my grappling usually comes earlier, when I’m still trying to figure the thing out despite not knowing that there’s a thing to find out. Once I know it, it’s on the table; I can’t un-know it or reject it meaningfully. All I can do is figure out what to do with it, and I approach that the same way I approach every other problem: by flailing at it and hoping for the best.

This isn’t quite 2000 words. Sorry. I’ve run out of things to say about me. This paragraph is very conspicuous filler. Banana. Atmosphere. Vocation.

Weekly roundup: Chaos

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/01/30/weekly-roundup-chaos/

I feel a little bit like life is disintegrating into chaos, but I’m plowing ahead nonetheless.

  • isaac: I finished porting NEON PHASE changes over to the Isaac’s Descent codebase, which is great! Now the only major blocker for a little tech demo is redoing the music (argh).

  • games: I finally finished playing through all the games submitted to GAMES MADE QUICK??, which took an incredibly long time, oh no. I dumped thoughts on the games in a Twitter thread, or you can browse through them yourself. There’s some pretty cool stuff in there, and I’m still amazed that much of it exists just because I said “hey let’s make some video games”.

    It was such a smashing success that I also put together Strawberry Jam, a month-long game jam for making horny games, whatever that means. (The concept is NSFW, but the landing page is not.) I have two separate ideas I want to pursue, plus Mel is doing their own game and will need my help to put it together, so I have a very busy month ahead. We’ve both already started on the art for our respective games, and we’ve been doing some planning as well.

  • neon: I fixed a bunch of bugs but didn’t cut a new release yet, oops. One or two are still lingering, and I don’t want to make a ton of releases just for bugfixes.

    I wrote down “fixed %”? What does that even mean?

  • art: I tried drawing some things and they did not come out as well as I wanted.

  • veekun: I did some actual work — I have abilities ripped to YAML and a script that successfully loads them into the database, and I’ve taken a stab at items. I have no idea when this is going to get done, though; I’ve got a mountain of work to do in February.

  • blog: I started redesigning and merging my projects page with the landing page for this domain to make a more useful index of work I’ve done. Not happy with it yet, but it’s getting somewhere, gradually.

Next month will be, well, video games. A lot of video games. Plus I have other time-critical stuff to do. Plus I have other not-time-critical-but-really-needs-doing stuff to do. Oh boy!

Weekly roundup: Chaos

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/01/30/weekly-roundup-chaos/

I feel a little bit like life is disintegrating into chaos, but I’m plowing ahead nonetheless.

  • isaac: I finished porting NEON PHASE changes over to the Isaac’s Descent codebase, which is great! Now the only major blocker for a little tech demo is redoing the music (argh).

  • games: I finally finished playing through all the games submitted to GAMES MADE QUICK??, which took an incredibly long time, oh no. I dumped thoughts on the games in a Twitter thread, or you can browse through them yourself. There’s some pretty cool stuff in there, and I’m still amazed that much of it exists just because I said “hey let’s make some video games”.

    It was such a smashing success that I also put together Strawberry Jam, a month-long game jam for making horny games, whatever that means. (The concept is NSFW, but the landing page is not.) I have two separate ideas I want to pursue, plus Mel is doing their own game and will need my help to put it together, so I have a very busy month ahead. We’ve both already started on the art for our respective games, and we’ve been doing some planning as well.

  • neon: I fixed a bunch of bugs but didn’t cut a new release yet, oops. One or two are still lingering, and I don’t want to make a ton of releases just for bugfixes.

    I wrote down “fixed %”? What does that even mean?

  • art: I tried drawing some things and they did not come out as well as I wanted.

  • veekun: I did some actual work — I have abilities ripped to YAML and a script that successfully loads them into the database, and I’ve taken a stab at items. I have no idea when this is going to get done, though; I’ve got a mountain of work to do in February.

  • blog: I started redesigning and merging my projects page with the landing page for this domain to make a more useful index of work I’ve done. Not happy with it yet, but it’s getting somewhere, gradually.

Next month will be, well, video games. A lot of video games. Plus I have other time-critical stuff to do. Plus I have other not-time-critical-but-really-needs-doing stuff to do. Oh boy!

Weekly roundup: Out of phase

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/dev/2017/01/23/weekly-roundup-out-of-phase/

As is tradition, I skipped a week because I was busy making a video game with Mel.

The video game is NEON PHASE and I wrote about it and it’s pretty cool.

Between that and our hellcats, I’ve been sleeping terribly again, so things are currently a bit of a slog. I have so much to do. Making slow progress.

Other than that:

  • blog: I wrote the traditional birthday post and the aforementioned post about NEON PHASE.

    I’ve also been putting some effort into re-revamping my list of work, since right now it’s largely a wall of text. Now that I’ve finally registered an account on itch.io, I’ve been putting our previous little games on it, which takes a surprising amount of effort to do well.

  • isaac: I’ve been cherry-picking the NEON PHASE work back to the Isaac HD codebase. It isn’t particularly difficult, just sort of tedious.

  • other game stuff: I’ve been planning NEON PHASE 2 with Mel, and I’m thinking about doing another game jam for February, and I wrote a little linear Twine under tight time constraints.

I’ve also been running through the games made for my jam, playing a few of them each day, which is surprisingly time-consuming. But several dozen little things exist just because I invited people to make stuff, and that’s incredible, and I want to see what that stuff is.

I still need to get out a demo port of Isaac’s Descent (argh) and finish loading SUMO into veekun (ARGH) and then I can get back to the… three? four?? games I seem to be working on at the moment.