Things have been a bit hectic recently and I have to be honest, frustration is starting to creep in. Working in the creative industry can often be like that, as working on projects can become long and drawn out, with some never actually seeing the light of day.
Non-physical thing's (like videos, art, software, music etc) the development-to-fulfilment cycle is long and sometimes even impossible to complete without someone other than you, enjoying what you've created. This is the direct opposite of creating something physical, which gives you constant feedback as you make it. And if no fucker other than you ever sees it, at least you like it and can enjoy it.
This outlook can kill a lot of projects, as ultimately you know the support won't be enough. In fact I've canned off quite a few long-form gaming related videos I'd been working on for a long time. The reasons are quite intricate, but it boils down to gaming being in a bad place and me ultimately questioning my return on making any game related content.
But what do you means? How is gaming in a bad place and why would you not get a return?
How is gaming in a bad place and why would you not get a return?
Let's be clear gaming is in a bad place, but most people wouldn't know it. Like say you were walking past a lake and suddenly, the pocket of earth containing trapped carbon dioxide under the lake bed was cracked, you wouldn't know what's going on until it was too late.
It's a super niche subject which I may touch on in the future, so for now I want to talk about returns.
Quite simply put, I'm doing the things that are worth my time doing. Not just financially, although that is very important, but I mean a sense of fulfilment. The whole point in doing a creative job is taking control of your future and building rich, rewarding experiences for yourself, not just other people.
But this is a catch-47 situation (much worse than catch-22). You can't just knock out a "quick" video, because they don't exist. Even something that takes only a minute or two to watch, may take a week or more to produce. And insultingly enough, people put a low monetary value on a video being less than 5 minutes, as in - not being worth anything, even if they did enjoy it (I know people are fucked up).
So if a compromise of my own fulfilment and viewers finding financial value in my work is to be achieved, my videos will have to have a certain level of quality. Which ultimately means they will be few and far between.
being creative versus making physical objects
I have come to terms with this and have worked out how to do it. I think about my long term plans and judge how what I'm doing will affect it, trying not to get caught up too much in short term turbulence. I've also learned to use producing physical things to scratch my creation reward itch (so to speak).
It's not a case of being creative versus making physical objects, it's a case of do both - this isn't an 'or' house.
So I'm off-setting the creative fatigue of making things like videos and games, by making real stuff again.
my own posters
I've started by creating my own posters for myself. This is art I've worked on for various reasons, that has now got the chance to be brought to life. Which I have to say is pretty enjoyable work. I made a poster the other day about a video I was going to do and while I binned the video, I at least got to make a poster from it.
I've got some other things in mind that can hopefully tie in with what I'm doing, but they will take longer to assemble.
my first Steam game
Work on my first Steam game(I mean I hope to get it on there) is very slow. Trying to create something that hasn't been done before is a long arduous task, especially when fighting off fatigue.
Early artwork is in place and some basic semblance of the gameplay is there, but there is a hell of a long way to go. The weird part is I'm looking forward to it. It's a long road, but like a knackered marathon runner, with blisters on his feet, feeling like he wishes he would die, I know the pain will be worth it when I look back on it - so I've got to finish.
My greatest unknown on the project is the advertising of it. Like where to do it and how long for? I'm sure I'll figure it out as I've got quite some time before that's even an issue anyway.
Kalzor's soundtrack on YouTube
Oh, I released Kalzor's soundtrack on YouTube so people can listen for free. It's got a retro theme that's in keeping with the game.
It won't be to everyone's tastes, but hopefully it will expose more people to the charming-end of games. If we just save the life of one kid it will be worth it.
All the posts earlier than this have just been dumped here on the same day, which is why they won't look so purdy. The reason is that they were old posts I made on static pages some time ago(they had no visible dates), rather than a dedicated blog section.
I really can't be arsed making these old posts look any better, but I promise to be a gentler lover in the future. Kisses.
A lesson that's took many years in the making to learn, but I now realise - is that I need to focus. You could easily put it down to an age thing, you know becoming more reflective of your life and whatnot. But I like to think it's because I'm growing.
Now this all coincides with a video I watched, from one of the indie developers at gaming studio Butterscotch Shenanigan's. It's titled "The Last Game I Make Before I Die", it details Samuel Coster's personal troubles and how he pushed himself on (I'll let the man tell you in his own words, he really gave a fantastic inspirational speech - see the video).
But the take away from it (at least for me) is that you really should focus on the things that matter to you, because you don't know when your last day is. Now this resonated with me because of things I've been going through in my personal life. Not that you should need a sign to take action - but this really is a sign to take action.
I want to quickly touch on health and particular, men's health.
It's something we don't take serious enough, particularly when we're young and we should. Things like depression and anxiety aren't supposed to be experienced by 'men'. Let me tell you now that's horseshit! Men do get depressed and suffer from anxiety, which make it all the more dangerous, as they often don't get help straight away because it's not perceived as 'macho'. Let me tell you what is manly, going to the doctors and taking care of business, no matter how trivial it may seem.
Like I said, I don't want to linger on this too much, but here is an interesting article written by the NHS "Anxiety and depression linked to increased cancer death risk".
The reason I mention this is you would think that creative industry jobs are safe, especially when compared to something like construction - but they're not. And I've worked in both, so I should know.
In overly simplified terms it's easy to come off the tracks, which has a knock-on affect. But rather than dwell on how you got there I want to cover the solution - focus! (See how it's all tied together? Not bad seeing as I'm half awake and eating cereal as I write this hey?).
To help you understand what I'm talking about, here is a little diagram I made from the video with Sam.
Now it's got just 4 sections - unimportant, important, non-urgent and urgent. You can place all your life's activities, hopes and dreams into this 4 section box. I encourage you to do so, write them in and see where you priorities are and where they should be instead.
I, like Sam, found that things that were important to me, found themselves relegated to the dangerous 'important but non-urgent' zone. It's been a long time coming, like I've said, but I'm re-ordering what's worth my time.
As I've decided I only want to do the things that matter to me I've cut YouTube, it's just toxic and worse than that - it's useless. I will occasionally use it to drum up a tiny bit of traffic, but outside of that my time is best spent elsewhere (which turns out to be here, you lucky son of a gun).
Oh I recently did a Prey Story Recap video, it was a bit tongue in cheek humour but a lot of fun. I didn't animate anything as the window to get a bit of traffic from it is very short. But I did draw every single scene myself and made the music in the background. Hopefully it can make enough cash directing people to the shirts that I can get a copy of Prey 2017 myself.
Since the last little chat we had I developed and released, a small space shooter game called Kalzor: 2000, it's available now using the Humble widget. It's a weirdly addictive game that you sink five or ten minutes in here and there, but adds up to a ton of gameplay time and most importantly it's fun. I developed it because I knew it would be quicker to produce than the current game I'm developing and it taught me a thing or two, which was cool because I always like learning new stuff.
As for my current game (the one I referred to in the last chat we had) I was putting together some art for it, and oh my god does it just seem right. I honestly want to show it to everyone so bad right now, but I'd be shooting myself in the foot revealing anything this early. Needless to say, when I can show it you I will.
The tricky thing I face in going independent is that 'independent' part. I have to weigh off bringing traffic in, and keeping quality up. But as long as I focus on doing what I want to do, everything else should fall into place. Hopefully the people who stumble upon me will see the effort that's gone into everything I do and fall in love with all the work.
As far as site traffic goes it's all good so far. The site is getting indexed and starting to be searched for, also bringing in search term results traffic too. As content grows I may need to do some outreach, but I hope word of mouth will save me the effort (I guy can dream).
I've picked some franchises I've always wanted to cover, so I'd thought I'd share some of their names this way you know what to expect. Deep breath: Fallout (1,2,3 and New Vegas), Bioshock (1 and 2) retro games (not naming them, until later), Skyrim (maybe earlier Elder Scrolls if there are any takers), GTA (from 3 to present), Red Dead Redemption (1 and 2). There will be more that I don't want to list at the moment, but you can already see there are a lot of things to be working on and hopefully you recognise somethings you like. So keep checking back in.
(I so really want to talk about my game.)
Had some pretty big changes since your last nosey, they could have their own page but I'll overview here in one - so let's catch up.
First off, I switched from developing the previous game you saw (you know the one found here), which wasn't an easy choice as it was pretty advanced for a prototype. But I knew it would have took too long for the work progression I have lined up.
So I've come up a new game, which in theory shouldn't take as long to develop - don't be fooled though, games take fucking forever to do. It's just that hopefully this one takes a little less forever to finish.
The bonus is that as far as I can see no one has made a game like it, so it should have that unique factor people are looking for. It's all very hush hush around here at the moment, but nearer the time I'll release some videos about it (unless it gets canned).
Silence Is Golden, But Your Eyes Still See
I've done away with comments on the YouTube videos for awhile, to test how important they are.
Now that might sound a little weird, so let me explain. If you haven't made videos and put them on the internet you might think it works like this :-
'You make a video, everyone shares their thoughts on what they saw in an intelligent way and those who disagree with any points you make, do so in a respectful and intelligent manner. Everyone is so grateful for viewing a video for free (but cost you to make) that they watch the adverts that enable it to be viewed for free and leave a like in appreciation. After all that we all remove our monocles and toast to living in such an excellent age where such things can happen, by raising our cups of tea and clinking them against each others.'
But you could not be more wrong. The world's number one social media platform YouTube, is well - not very social. The vast majority of people watching won't do anything. Not comment, like or share. They are fucking window lickers, not a problem if your only aim is to get eyes for YouTube's adverts. Although even making money with adverts is increasingly becoming difficult with the rise in shit cunts using questionable advert blocking software.
But of the comments you do get the decent ones are, again, vastly outstripped by garbage. It becomes a full time job ensuring the comments remain healthy. Removing the spammers and shit posters becomes a choir. So what can you do?
Well it's a no brainer, you do what I opened this chat with - you turn off the comments.
I've tested this well in advance and so far there has been a massive benefit to my work. So I can focus on what I enjoy doing and that's making videos.
As I mentioned, the army of shit cunts denying you the breadcrumbs adverts bring-in is growing, the self-entitled army of children who've never been told no, don't want to support the free videos they watch. And what Veruca Salt wants, Veruca Salt gets.
The solution here is simple - non-skippable ads. Ads that can't be blocked by any software. Obtrusive ads built into the videos.
This way I can piss into the eyes of the Veruca Salt self-entitled brats and make free videos at the same time. A giant horse piss, if you will.
B-b-b-but it will spoil the viewing experience.......
For those who want a viewing experience not obstructed by ads there is good news. I've installed a premium service, where for a tiny fee, you can watch my unique videos the way they were meant to be watched. It's a win-win for everyone.
You get a better experience than the scrubs and I can move away from the adverts on videos.
I think that's pretty much everything for now, I'll catch up with you next time you nosey bastard.
Since the last chat we had I've put the 3d game stuff on hold and returned to 2d game development - reason being it will just eat up too much time and money producing things. So as a consequence the game I was working gets tossed on the "no one will ever know you existed" pile, which is becoming a worrying mound I can tell you.
Now though I've got a new working prototype, which you can see in a ridiculous early stage of development. It's the kind of early look under the hood that interests only a handful of people - so lucky you, you spoilt bastard.
So let's chat about what's happening in a way that won't induce vomiting.
The enemy have a set of states that they can be in, certain checks in the code will change what state they are in - simple.
To start off the enemy a.i has a patrol state where it goes forward unless it meets an obstacle, then it turns left and carries on. It just like them tiny little yellowish organisms you saw when school made you look at a white tray full of pond water and scooped up pond life for "science". I can't remember what the little creatures are called, maybe I can film some in the future so you know what I'm on about.
Anyway beyond patrolling, if the enemy sees you they fire at you, if they have a gun that is. They also pause to reload when the ammo is depleted. If they lose sight of the player they go to his last location and search about for him, then return to patrolling if they didn't find you again. Let's see what else?
Oh right yeah, you should have noticed the player can pick up and shoot (the little boxes with numbers are guns)
weapons as well as throw them at enemies. When the players' gun hits an enemy it knocks them out, causing the enemy to drop their weapon. Which the player can now pick up and use.
Going forward and what will happen is that when a gun is in enemy hands it has infinite ammo, but the player will have a set number of rounds, so will have to make shots count(well this is how it works currently actually).
I hope you noticed the way the gun bounced off the walls as well. As the weapons in the game are irregular shapes they will bounce off a wall differently to something like a ball. So I've put an element of randomness into how the angles are worked out. This means sometimes the player could try to bounce a weapon off a wall to hit an enemy, knocking them out - while other times it might fly back at them.
I think that covers most of the games enemy a.i, other than the things you see in the video.
But what I will be adding, is that firing a gun will get nearby enemies to come to your location. I'm thinking of mixing up action with a hint of stealth, like tiny hint of stealth, teeny tiny bit of stealth in what will be otherwise shooty stabby madness. I'm focusing on the basics and then seeing what works and what doesn't work. I think it will be a super hard game to play, the kind of thing you actually brag about beating.
When I get more time to add some more features I'll update ya sweet pea - kisses.