The month of December has been a hectic month for as long as I can remember, everything last minute, stress until it's finally over and one can breathe a sigh of relief. All I want to do is skip straight to January 1st and start my year focusing on code as graphics take a back seat, lately I have been torn in every direction without enough energy to do it all. I make and sell furniture on the side and orders for this month are on fire and out of nowhere, at a certain point of the day my battery runs low and I hit a wall. I love you December but I'm longing for January.
Finding out what you want to do with your life can take half your life. The very question "what do you want to do with your life?" can be hard to answer. All I can say is you have to try, have to fight to answer that question for yourself, otherwise your lost in the woods. We all start out doing things we don't want to do just to get by, but getting by and having money to by junk you don't need can be an endless cycle. Don't be afraid to freak out, break the rules and leave everything you don't truly want behind in the dust, time is precious, never be afraid to walk out into the cold alone and naked, you are resourceful beyond your own understanding, trust yourself, you will be okay. If you want to make games, start making games! expect them to suck in the beginning, they will. You only need to improve 1% everyday, it's possible.
I have to admit the summer really slowed down a lot of the momentum I had going on the game, the nice weather where I live only lasts a few good months so I had to make the most of it. Anyway that leads me to now, things are getting a lot chillier and I have started to work a lot more on the game again. The problem is, I had a plan to make this first game a one year project, it's almost the end of 2017 and I have spent the entire year working on graphics, no audio and very little code. Is this going to be a two year project? It might just have to be.
I've started working on the village of Malachite, a gnome village. The structures in this area have been quite a challenge, they are tree homes which have a lot more detail. I'm starting to wonder if I am getting lost in the detail work, after working on Opal Castle for weeks and now these tree homes, things are feeling a bit stagnant, which can be a motivation killer. Due to all this time consuming detail work I haven't been streaming on Twitch as much because the work is pretty monotonous. I have a ton of fun streaming and interacting with the community over there. When you don't know any game developers outside of the internet Twitch can make this work a lot less lonely.
This is Opal Castle, the first castle and town to be restored in the game. Once restored, the player can buy and sell some basic items and receive very vital story information in Opal Village that will help the player restore a second Kingdom. I haven't worked it all out yet but I had originally wanted the Castle of Opal to have a tower for the player to store items and such, once most of the graphics are finished I will delve deep into the code and I will see if this is something I can actually figure out.
And here is the current progress on one of my tree homes for Malachite Village. I have spent a great deal of time just trying to get the leaves right, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. As for the trunk I still need to add windows, roof parts, signs, etc. to make them look more like a house.
I have around 150 "zones" in the game world, 8000 x 6000 each, containing almost 12,000 ground objects each zone, ground objects would be grass, forest, dirt, water, snow, etc. After noticing my save and load times are getting really long and experiencing crashes while placing ground objects in the level editor is increasing, I'm afraid the size of my world might be just a bit too large, shrinking the game world may be necessary. I have found a few helpful tips online about reducing save and load times, one of those is using tiles instead of objects which could take a decent amount of time to replace but if it helps, I have to do it. I suppose this is all part of the learning process, like a lot of first time game developers I'm making the most common mistake, it's so easy to let your game grow like a weed, fertilized by ambition and vision. I have to remind myself that completing this game and keeping things reasonable is more important.
I still haven't started getting deep into the code just yet because I want most of the graphics to be finished so that when I start getting into the code I can devote 100% of my time and focus into it. I did however recently play a bit with the code so that I may start to see a bit of life when I run the game at least, so I started with my NPCs. Basically I have been trying to get the NPCs in the world to randomly wander about. As of now the NPCs wander pretty well, I had some challenges making sure that the animation sequence for the proper movement direction was being displayed. Early on the character would walk correctly in some directions and then start moonwalking, also as time passed they would wander off into the wilderness and I had to slow them down and make their travel distances a lot shorter with a higher chance of standing still over moving. The current issue I have now is to make sure that the NPC won't just walk through the walls and objects. This fisherman is the shop owner so he will need to stay in this store or at least within a distance of the shop, I will have to figure this out. To accompany these additional movements for the NPCs I have a lot of animations do make for all these directions and I might just start making a few animals that can roam the forest like deer, foxes and hares that will use this same code.
This is a piece I have been working on, I think it might need a bit more color and work but I'm pretty happy with it! I think this ship might serve a useful purpose for storytelling, maybe.. one of the townsfolk tells of a legend of treasure or an item lost that can be found in this ship.
I've been having a ton of fun working on these deep sea plants and characters for the Kingdom of Pearl. Working in pixels on a small scale can be a challenge for certain things, one of those things can be trying to convey small leaves without the entire plant looking like a mess. I think the trick to pixel art is really sometimes sitting with the work and putting the time in until everything falls into place, there always seems to be more room for improvement even when a piece appears finished.
Lately I haven't exactly got a lot of work done on the game directly, I find myself trying to figure out the social networks I have started to branch out into. The other night I spent a great amout of time just setting up how my Twitch stream will appear to the viewer, I've been using a free program called OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software), noticing that a lot of Twitch streamers are using this. Besides Twitch I have been looking into other social media playforms trying to find a home for the content I want to get out into the world, it's tricky if you haven't used a lot of them for personal reasons because knowing how they function helps you better inderstand their uses, some platforms might be of no use to me at all, whereas I've been surprised to find communities of game developers in places like Twitch, thats why I've been spending a lot of time looking into this stuff as of late.
After searching the internet for quite a while for public domain music I finally came across some Celtic instrumentals that fit well with my project for Twitch. I figured I would start streaming some game development work after discovering a hand full of indie developers where doing this. A lot of the indie streams are pretty nice to watch for someone like me that's interested in learning about different types of games and how people make them. I feel way more comfortable steaming after watching them work, some are making advanced 3D games and others have smaller projects, there are people making all kinds of games and they don't feel the need to talk constantly or entertain, they just work on their projects mostly. I've started just streaming my screen with some music for now, once I get the hang of things and more adjusted maybe I will add a webcam and commentary, but I'm pretty happy with just streaming the screen and working, I had a few viewers tonight and that's good enough for me.