Week 109: Burn down the chart

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

Last week we were hard at work on the Vrije Vogels beta at Hubbub. The task management software we use offers a useful ‘burndown’ chart, and we were indeed burning down tasks hard, the angle on the chart was pretty steep.

burndown

I stopped by the studio on wednesday to check a few things on the iPad build and finish up most of my open tasks.

Inbetween I upgraded the Adventure Creator plugin to its latest version in all my personal projects. Every new release brings some great features, it got me wanting to work on all these projects at once! I’d better continue working on Orlova first.

On friday I went to Nijmegen to talk with Embodied Games again. The first assignment packet was ready so we talked about that, and I got to know some of the other folks in the department over lunch.

Over the weekend the girlfriend and I planned a vacation in two weeks for some hard-earned R&R.

Next week: finishing up this Vrije Vogels sprint, and my first assignment for Embodied Games.

Week 107 & 108 – Ramp-up

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

In week 107 I worked on a prototype for Geometry Girl, the reading app that Niels ‘t Hooft is developing. I built in Marvel, which is a great way to mock up an iOS app. Especially having it right on your phone is great to quickly try things out. It wasn’t easy to put all our ideas into their framework, but it should be enough for the programmers to get started on the real thing.

Once that was done, the new sprint for Hubbub’s museum game (now titled Vrije Vogels) was on the doorstep last week. It was good to see the Hubbub guys again, the last sprint had been a while ago now.

During that week I also went to Nijmegen to talk with a group inside the Radboud University calling themselves Embodied Games. They’re working on gesture-based games to help kids and youngsters learn a variety of skills. And they were looking for a freelance artist and designer! So I went there for an interview, and it looks like we’ll be working together soon. It kinda came out of nowhere, but I’m excited to start working with these people, they have a lot of energy.

Next week: going hard on the Vrije Vogels to-do list.

Alina3

Trying out a more detailed color-only style this morning and practicing hair rendering with my new custom Photoshop brush. I’ve tried a bunch of custom brushes in the past (Kyle’s are great) and I finally figured out what all the options do kinda, so now I have a brush called the Hedgefield which is perfectly tailored to my drawing style. And paired with the Lazy Nezumi Pro plugin my linework looks better than ever.

Week 101 + 102 – Throttle down

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

Welp looks like I forgot to write a blogpost last week, so here’s a combo platter for you.

Two weeks ago we started polishing up the latest Home Rule beta so we could playtest with it last wednesday. I wasn’t present myself because I had an aquisition meeting with another client but I hear it went really well! Just a few things to work on now before we have a version of the game that can launch in the museum. And two more museums have expressed interest to join the pilot program, so good times.

After that my slate was pretty much clean for a week or two so I mostly spent that time setting up my new laptop which finally arrived and subsequently playing the Witcher 3 on it. It was a glorious time.

I also confirmed my appearance on the dutch radio show Opium in two weeks, so today I’ve been brainstorming ideas for the game I will be making during that week. It’s gonna be exciting!

Next week: probably not a lot going on seeing as it will be above 30 degrees celsius all week…

Week 93/94 – Unwinding and maintenance

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator. For illustrated depictions of these events, visit my daily comics page.

Week 93 had a late start due to Kingsday, a dutch national holiday. On wednesday I had a call with Hubbub to plan out all the features we want to put in the next Home Rule beta (including a better name for the project), and on thursday I had a call with a potential new client, an illustration rushjob.

I spent the rest of the week doing administration and updating my portfolio. Google’s new policy is to give priority in their search results to sites that are mobile-friendly, so I dove into the world of responsive design and media queries to make my portfolio site adapt to all kinds of resolutions. It was a nightmare of weird glitches and quirks but it works now!

Last week also started out mellow because of the national war remembrance days. I made a little character animation for the folks at mindbreaker games who are working hard on their demo. It was nice to open After Effects after a long time and animate a little something using the latest version of the DUIK plugin, which is UHH-MAZING. Highly recommended if you do a lot of character animation.

Later in the week I finally sat down and upgraded Black Feather Forest to the latest version of the game engine. Miraculously nothing broke! There were a few weird thinhgs in transitioning from Unity 4 to 5 while simultaneously updating two plugins, but I managed to solve 90% of them in an afternoon.

I’m itching to continue developing Black Feather Forest. I realized a few weeks ago that it’s been a year since I started working on it. And I think almost half a year since I stopped development to rethink a few aspects. That stung, so I’m determined to carry on with it in the next few months. A Kickstarter may be inevitable.

But first Reconquista! I started that project up at the end of the week to add a few features and get it ready to launch. I expect that will happen in the next few weeks. The game is practically done, I just need to figure out one thing and then I can push it out the door. It makes no sense to leave it lying around for much longer.

Next week: new dailies and the kickoff of the third phase of Home Rule.

50+ followers!

I just noticed this blog surpassed 50 subscribers!

Thank you so much for reading my words and liking my posts, that’s what I do it for, so I’m glad you are getting some enjoyment out of it. I always see the activity ticker ticking away in the upper right-hand corner of my dashboard, but it never occured to me to check how many of you there were in total. Rad!

How did you find my blog? Any types of posts you would like to see more of? Leave a comment!

Patreon

Today I’m trying something new:

If you like my work and want to see more of it, you can choose to support me by becoming a patron. This means that you give me money not based on any single thing I put out, but for my work in general. It’s like you’re buying yourself a subscription to me. This means I don’t have to put up annoying ads or do dumb assignments that you don’t get any benefits from.

My work will always be freely accessible, I’m not hiding things behind a paywall, but with your patronage, I will be able to produce even more, games, comics, illustrations, books, and keep a roof over my head to boot! That would be pretty rad.

Explaining deltaTime

The concept of ‘Delta Time’ took me the longest time to figure out. It’s a concept in computer programming that helps make sure that every user has the same experience regardless of the clockspeed of their machine. This is especially useful in game development, where you don’t want the player on an older machine being inherently worse than the player on a state-of-the-art machine.

I still have to think really hard when I explain it to someone but it’s basically like this:

Take one second of gameplay from your game and imagine it as a white picket fence.

Each fencepost represents a frame, a still image, so in a regular game your fence would have 30 posts. (30 fps)

If your computer is slower, there are less posts in your fence. This makes the space between the posts bigger. That space between the posts is the deltaTime.

So if you want your guy to move from A to B, and it takes 30 frames to get to B, players on 30fps will get there in one second, and players on 15fps get there in two seconds. Obviously unacceptable, especially in a multiplayer game.

So if you multiply the movement speed with the deltaTime (the gap between the frames), you ensure that every player always reaches point B in the same amount of time, regardless of how fast their computer is.

This is because when you run at a lower fps your deltaTime is LARGER, because the GAP between frames is larger, and so each movement gets multiplied with a LARGER number, which means your dude will move FASTER so he can keep up with the intended pace of the game.

Hope that helps.

500 Days Of Spidey

I didn’t really have many thoughts about Amazing Spider-Man beyond “IT GOOD” and “something feels kinda off mayb- HOOH EMMA STONE”. But I read this PAR review today and it made me think about what it is I like about this iteration of the classic story.

I think Ben has a point that Spidey’s origin story is so ingrained in pop culture now that another re-telling makes all the little changes stand out more. Maybe that was why it felt a little strange. But to lambast it into the ground for that seems uncalled for.

I really dug the second Sam Raimi Spider-man but this one felt like it really got the Marvel treatment – and to me that shows most clearly in interesting character development. I liked Ben and May a lot more this time around, and their backstory was actually fleshed out and made sense instead of ‘hey I’m Peter’s uncle oh now I’m dead’ (I apologize for paraphrasing, I haven’t seen the first Sam one in a long time but that’s how I remember it) – I liked the callback to the wrestling arc too.

My favourite part of the movie was the Gwen relationship, which I didn’t expect going into it. Then again that was before I realized it was directed by Mark Webb of 500 Days Of Summer fame, so it really is no surprise. I agree with Texasgrit over at PAR that they played it very true to life, it was one of the few movie relationships that I actually bought into, and it brought up a lot of good memories of the girl I was seeing at the time. Peter and Gwen hit all the same beats, and understanding that makes the ending good and right and not as ‘fuck honor and loyalty’ like some people took it. Because as much as I am for keeping promises and honoring the deceased.. George is not here anymore, Gwen is, and she is destraught over losing Peter, even if by logical reasoning that would be best for both of them, as we all know how they end up… but I bet that if anyone is in a situation where they (arguably) love a girl and see that they are hurting her (and themselves) by staying away, they would act as Peter did.

I think Chris echoes my sentiments perfectly in his review for The Atlantic.

So I think I can easily conclude on the note that as a Spiderman movie maybe it wasn’t th├ít super with the whole Lizard arc being a little underwhelming, but as a superhero tale, a romance and movie in general I thought it was very good, and I’m looking forward to the next one.