Wednesday, August 28, 2013

All I Ever Wanted.

There's a song in there somewhere. 
So... I'm planning on making a move or two. I guess if you aim for Saturn you'll probably make it to Mars. Seems like all I ever wanted is going to happen before I know it. We're getting to the point where we're going to have to come up with some new dreams. It's almost too much to handle. Soon come. This has been the most interesting year of my life so far and it's just beginning to finish. The next Solar cycle is about to start. The first act is near complete. But will he get the girl? 

That's the song. 


Thanks to the typo rule you can now play the less buggy version of my #LD48 entry at the games tab! 

Please let me know what you think! I'm real excited about this one. If you don't know where the games tab is and you just want to play click HERE

- Peace! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coffee Stain Art Week #8

Using the Abbey Road Mug:

Here we see some other form of sealife. Or an ION CANNON weaking havoc on some prawn aliens. What do you see? 

LudumDare 27 : 48 Hour Entry : Development log and how this project changed my life.

I've wanted to be a game developer since I was four years old. I remember playing 1942 for the NES at my cousins house when I was a kid and have been glued to the video game culture ever since. I went to college for game design and have been making games for a living ever since. It hasn't been easy but I am quite blessed to be able to do what I love to do every day. My buddy Slugger turned me on to Ludum Dare when we were still in school and I didn't man up to take the challenge until LD21 came around. Me and 2 friends ( Cislunar and PooLatka ) got together for a weekend and did our first game jam ( Hipster Park in the GAMES tab of this site ). We were really proud and transformed by the experience because of the intense work that it took to get three people to communicate and work toward our goal in under 72 hours. I've worked on and with several games and game engines since then and this time around, in the middle of my HTUR ( also GAMES tab ) project decided to go solo on the next Ludum Dare 27 as a sort of 48 hour amnesia exercise to test out some of the things I've learned since the competition a few years back. 

I'm going to start with the development log because the competition is still on and I haven't digitized my notes yet... Actually. Let's start with the notes. During the project I dealt with the Pen and Paper approach almost exclusively. So here are the images from my notebook, I'll transcribe my terrible handwriting so you can see the major events during the development cycle : 

So it gets a bit rushed and more messy near the end. For those of you who can't read it ( most people ) here's what went down : 

The theme : '10 Seconds' is announced. LudumDare website is down from all the refreshing at the start point so I find the theme on twitter and get to work on brainstorming.

I pick the first concept that makes me laugh uncontrollably " 10 Second Pay Toilet Adventure ". Immediately get to work on fleshing out the flow of the game. The game idea gets very deep very fast. Different settings Hazards and actions come in to focus. During this process I nab an idea from HTUR where I decide that the level is going to move around the player. I make a Component list and a rough list of the art assets needed.

The concept phase is coming to an end. I come up with the idea of context based actions and decide to make little quick time event mini games for variety. Here I make my first list of things that I want the game engine to be able to do by the end of the first night. ( Starred )

Started unit testing, Also implemented the camera look and had some time to figure out how the toon shader works. 

Begin Scripting .

Make Interact Icons.

Finished Context Icons.

Mouse context implemented.

First BUG : FIXED @ 1140AM.

Started working on player movement through the world. Build myself a little test level.

First problem with version control ( or the lack of ) and I have to go back and fix a mouse Down error.


Debugging player movement

Made a 2d chart to help me find the cleanest way to lerp the world around the player from move node to move node. 


Move on to the 'Sign" object so I can label different things the player can interact with. 

First Asset : Urinal 

Event Manager Skeleton made.


2 Assets complete!

"HOLD" minigame prototyped. Started planning for other game events. 

Event Manager prototype completed.


HOLD minigame complete! 

TIMED minigame prototype started . made a chart for budgeting time in 4 hour chunks/sprints.

815AM ( 25% of time limit )
another minigame started. Completed @ 952AM

Toilet asset completed. Went to work on the animation and the other stall assets. Originally I wanted to have the player turn around but rotating the whole world didn't work the way I wanted it to.


Finally the 'sit' action works but the art doesn't make any sense.


Re-modeled the toilet to be more like the Asian style. No world rotation needed! 

Almost finished stall sequence. Found a bog where the player can jump through walls.

Fixed movement bug and stall action bug @ 446PM.

~430PM to ~8PM considered sub actions or things that you can only do once you've used the restroom like... using toilet paper. 

830PM ( 50% of time passed )
Back to work, , Make another chart to re-prioritize the remaining chunks of time. 

Set up milestones for 4AM.


Basic X-Level complete.

More art assets are made.

Found Bug with multiple stalls.

Basic art is ready to go. 



Begin work on REPEAT mini game. 

Repeat minigame out to testing. I decided to go nuts and found a great way to fix the implementation of the Event Manager.

Decided on a song to play that I cannibalized from another project. Did some brainstorming on the full paper towel ball minigame. Started first round of polish. 


Testing paper towel minigame. 



Ball game is done. 

Back to the multi Stall bug FIXED @ 515AM

Restructure of Event Manager. make notes on game rules and the requirements for the next milestone.

Notes about some level design concepts. 

Begin scripting game rules 

Structure in place for game rules. Found some new bugs, went after em.

World structure in place.


810AM (75% time passed)
Breakdown of the last 3 chunks/sprints left. First is game rules. Second is Feedback design. Third is polish and testing and posting. 

Timer started, FINISHED @ 1035AM 

Most of the GUI is blocked out. 

Finalizing GUI.

EventManager OVERHAUL ( breaks many features of the game while I'm at it ).

Made list of things to finalize by the second to last chunk ( 4PM ). Around this time I was pretty loopy. I made 3 new stages for the game and spent most of the remaining time fixing things that I had previously overhauled to death. The move was a good one. But I had to re-tread much of the code to get things like End of Game functionality to work. I spend the next hours fixing what I can and breaking things along the way. I took a couple more breaks. But I didn't have time to make notes on what I was doing. 

815PM ( 100% time passed ) 
THE SUBMISSION LINK IS STILL OPEN ( probably due to the halts at the start and end of the competition ) I make my submission entry and start winding down after submitting a not perfect beatable but still broken game. 

(Much needed at that ) 

I wake up, Thrashed from the excitement of the event and immensely proud of what I was able to output in such a small amount of time. But during the night my brain must have completely reset. I used to say "Make stuff for the sake of stuff existing". But this morning ( Monday after the compo ) I felt quite different. Obviously after a weekend like that I wasn't in a rush to get back on my computer and go back to work on HTUR. For the first time in my life I realized that across the table from me, my mom was watching this crazy person dance around the house when he hit milestones and as she describes it ; " A concentrated injection of who I am " unfolded in front of her eyes. I was hyper-focused , organized, excited and hard at work. I didn't see myself in this process. But it made me realize that a large part of who I am is how other people perceive me and not just me in my own head and how I get through my different creative efforts through techniques that I've picked up in a life of art and design. I became curious about my outward appearance during my early childhood and I started asking my mother about traits of my personality that have survived my experience. We took out some old photo albums and for the first time I saw my sisters as people. And I saw the photographs as context for me to build memories around ( during that time I of course came up with a couple of other mini projects to do ) . We spent all day talking about my early childhood with her and I was able to re-form a whole new sense of self. It was like hearing your favorite song for the first time. When I took a break from that conversation and sat down to play some piano it was an entirely new experience. I still knew how to play "One Note Samba" for example. But now, instead of simply playing the song as well as I could, I could hear the song for the notes and the melody that it was made up of. I could play with the experience of HEARING the piece instead of just executing technique. The jazz standard found a new life in my performance. It became more dynamic , I had access to the feel of the tune. I could play with the pace and the volume , begin to make breaks in the main idea of the song and start to experiment with my own ideas while still considering the position of the observer. 

A week prior to this I was on the phone with TheUrchin on the topic of our project HTUR. He's always been an influence to me as an artist since we first met. He talked about this thing he heard or read somewhere , basically he said that most of the time when we make art it's for the sake of the finished product. ("Make Stuff for the sake of Stuff") But he said that was kind of backwards. If you instead put your ability and concept aside and place the USER/CONSUMER/AUDIENCE at the center of your creative process then you will make something that speaks with people. You'll have a whole new range of levers and buttons that you can push and tug to invoke the people who experience what you've produced. "Ten Second Water Closet" was my first project where I didn't realize it but I focused mostly on rewarding the player for being adventurous and for playing the game. Often times , in games at least , there is a need to balance out rewarding experiences with punishing experiences. But I didn't put any time into the hazards that I had planned for the player. And the result was very pleasing. 

The PRIZE of Ludum Dare is that by the end of the 48 hour competition, you have a game that you can do whatever you want with. You've already built it so you know all of its ins and outs. AND ITS YOURS. You can sell it, post it on kongregate or make a mobile version and give it away. In my case I ended up with a cute little FPS ( First Person Shitter ) that was built on a really smooth point and click game engine for unity. I can re-purpose that code for anything in the point and click genre. I intend to complete the game and put it in the GAMES tab on this site at the very least. Just another mini project I guess. But never again will I say "Make stuff for the sake of stuff". I learned that I am not completely defined by my choices and specialties. The other half of my identity is in my impact on the environment. And if I have to comment on content creation in the future. It'll be more to the tune of :

"Make stuff for the sake of enriching the life of the audience"

Thank You Ludum Dare. You have changed my life. 
-Ben 'Angrycrow' Nix-Bradley 8.27.2013 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

LD48 hour Game! ( Ludum Dare )

I was so close ! 

I think I'm going to keep tuning this one. it got complicated real fast! 


Play it! Let me know what you think ! 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Get ready! #LD48 is going down (LD27)

I only have a few words for this.

Expect updates while I get things going. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

After a little reading.

I realized that the internet has a very interesting effect on kids who will grow up reading it. I've been checking out a few articles on different sites all day. Writing and language used in each market or hobby is very interesting to me. For example. If you look at the writing directed toward a younger audience, There is a lean language for kids. Then there's the writing of news and mainstream entertainment. Where the target is broader and catches/propagates colloquialisms/memes that are very current. There is always a slang of today and the internet makes that turnaround very rapid.  So then from that point there is a spectrum that spreads into each interest. Some places already expect you to speak the language. Other places understand the gap for new readers and will even go so far as to bring them up to speed. This is probably painfully obvious but I am impressed in particular by the Scientific/Technological community ( in most cases ) and the understanding of the language for documentation and references. The pillars of the internet between those two fields stand on a foundation of explanation. Where usually conversations about music don't require as much context because the knowledge of history needed to enjoy it is practically nothing. I guess the only loss is that I didn't enjoy learning in school to this extent. What do you wager that this is the case for many people? How will society be different as this research behavior becomes a gene?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coffee Stain Art Week #7

To each his own numbering device. 
This week we're using the UVI mug. 
There appears to be a dragon ascending over a sea of froth into the sun and beyond. Kissing a falling serpent on the way down. Sorry for the late post. Been busy on HTUR. 

Tell me what it is that you see?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How I do it.

So I've compiled quite a bit of feedback from people this week. The first order of business is to re-work the map interface. Many people have been talking about changing the animation and using the buttons to reinforce the main game mechanic. So... I'll totally do those things. Here's the first thing I do when I'm working on a system. I think about it. Then comes the sketch of the re-work on paper. This is a most valuable reference in the context of this feature. Image related.

I love paper. Soon I'll be out. Gotta get more. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

So we're rolling forward again.

Got some real good feedback over the weekend. Right now the return rate of feedback to add to the game is in the 'hood of 10% or so. I expect about 3 times as much a week from now. Lately my wishlist has been thin. But with this feedback there are some good things that I'm going to move forward on after this post. If you haven't checked it out yet please play the game and send me a message/leave a comment with your thoughts. You can catch it on the games tab or you can play it here:

Help us get to beta. This game could always be better. But it's UP TO US! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Coffee Stain Art Week #6

This week we have what used to be a tarantula. Underneath Thomas the train engine. There is also a curly mustache. We're using the President Obama birth certificate mug. 
What do you see?

The more you know.

So we've begun to do mass testing of HTUR! It's going real well so far and I look forward to as many insults to my work as possible. Also been busy making a nerdcore album. Because I really love those dudes. We're gonna kick off the week with some new features based on the feedback from our testers. If you want to be a part of the beta experience please email me angrycrow at Gmail dot com! Thanks!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ramen Review 007

As the name implies this is number seven of what could be hundreds of these. As of this post my ramen supply is out. But I still have some good things to say. This is the "Fresh Soup Noodles Creamy Tonkotsu". I held out for a long time on this one. I have to say still that the broth while creamy is a little bit sour and doesn't quite deliver the same experience has the big yellow bowl from weeks past. Next time around I'll know to not put such a large weight/wait on such a small package. Comes with dried seaweed and green onions and of course a package of slightly sour tonkotsu concentrate and a sealed bag of large squishy noodles that somewhat smell like playdough. I'm gonna go ahead and give this one three asterisks. Ramen safe everyone. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Coffee Stain Art Week #5

This time we are using the Dunkin Donuts Drives MA mug.
We have what appears to be a joshua tree under the stars. Or perhaps an angelfish navigating through the sea. Likewise it could be a Protozoa searching for food particles in the form of smaller near shapeless lifeforms. What see you ?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time for the talk.

I had a little pow-wow with my buddy Cislunar the other day. We uncovered some serious bugs in HTUR and I'm tackling them this weekend. Not to go into too much detail but I have encountered what is known as a showstopping bug. In this case. Once you get a game over and restart the game. You won't be able to move when you start up the first level. The other bug. The INVINCIBILITY bug .. also came as a surprise. I'm really shocked. I feel like a total of perhaps 50 people have played this game in its infancy and yet I've received little to no feedback as to whether the thing is broken or not. I am immediately disqualified as a tester because when I go back and play the thing for the three-thousandth time, It's to check on specifically if a feature is working or if I still have a bug to take care of. Ummm... Recent news.... I've completed the second track for Cislunar's upcoming artGame called "Spark Of Life". I plan to do between three and six more tracks for his game before his dev cycle comes to a close. You can check it out here! :