Time is a flat circle.
I literally didn't realise that another two weeks had passed since my last post. I legitimately believed this was going to be the first time in ages that I managed to do a weekly update. Ah well.
On the Hooligans front not a lot has changed besides some minor cosmetic updates. The reason for this is that within the past 2 weeks we decided to start looking at a different engine for it.
I love GameMaker with my heart and soul, but it isn't exactly industry standard, and it isn't exactly alone in being an accessible tool for people to start making games with. In a lot of ways it's limited, and in some ways, it's downright backwards. I didn't realise this until my team mate and I were discussing how he could help out coding some of the project, but that would require him buying GameMaker outright (as far as we can tell).
Whereas with Unreal or Unity he could download it for free and start working away. Plus looking at the results people get in something like Unity versus what you get with GameMaker, it was starting to become abundantly clear that not-GameMaker was the way forward. And switching to a more industry standard engine would also help my prospects with future potential job hunting.
So a bunch of the past week has been that - learning Unity. I was hesitant at first because the last time I tried Unity it wasn't the most welcoming program. But since then, it seems that a lot more work has gone into onboarding new users. The Learning section, the example projects and the step by step tutorials have all been incredibly useful in making me feel like Unity is something I could legitimately use for all my future development needs.
The Pixelles program continues and I need to create a cinematic. I feel this might come a bit more naturally to me than the previous tasks just because I've spent time screenwriting before and have studied it somewhat.
I also put a bit of time into my robot prototype. A small change that I made is to the first environment hazard which is meant to be an unstable generator that blasts electric energy at set intervals. There's something off about how the game feels so far, and I can't quite put my finger on it. In theory I should be able to start chugging away at developing this prototype further, but something is mentally blocking me. I'll look into it when I have time but it is like the third or fourth thing on my priority list currently.
Lastly I finally finished up writing my critique of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. I found it hard to write this one up for some reason. I wanted to avoid making another 10 minute video, but then found myself struggling to fit in all the things I wanted to say in less time than that.
In the end I decided to have the video centre on my main criticism (the combat), and just make small mentions of everything else (since everything else was basically fine). I'll polish up the writing tomorrow, then start the really fun process of voice over, and making the actual video. Woo.
Oh I also played Celeste and Gone Home in the last week, so if I keep this pace up I'll be able to get through my entire Epic Game Store backlog by about 2045.
Apologies, I thought I was only a week or two out with these posts. I didn't realise I had managed to go three weeks without providing one update!
The usual excuses are the ones I will be blaming at this particular time. A focus on my paid work (with various ups and downs in terms of productivity as development continues), more time spent on the job hunt, and more time spent on my prototyping and writing practice.
I put some time in re-arranging this very website to try and make it more visually engaging at first glance. I put my existing and in progress projects front and centre, instead of a summary of myself that no one read. I created dedicated pages and summaries of the different games I'm working on, as well as refreshing the Writing section to be a bit more up to date and presented a bit better.
I've increased the number of places I have applied to for work. There's been very little success thus far, which I guess shouldn't be a surprise. Design is a very sought after field, and from personal experience I've seen single vacancies get dozens of applicants within the first few hours of being made available. Competition is stiff, standards are high, and everyone wants a piece.
The Pixelles Program has continued to be a fun thing to be a part of. I've got this horrific notion to maybe abandon traditional design altogether and go all-in on writing and narrative design. I had way more fun coming up with dozens of barks than I did trying to debug my jank code. And the continued discussion that the Slack group has provided has been very inspiring. I'm looking into options for trying to make like a short interactive fiction piece on a regular basis. Or something else that could make for good portfolio additions (e.g. more character profiles or bark sheets).
On the Hooligans front, I was getting to "head against a brick wall" levels of frustration constantly trying to sort out collision and movement issues. So we decided that I will focus on a new set of tasks that will instead be focused on completing the initial "game loop" for a single level. This is including start screens, score tracking, menus, camera moves, everything. The initial work done has already made the game feel a lot more gamey, which is very motivating.
Also I finally finished Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and I didn't like it. So I'm going to finish writing up that review and start editing it.
I want to put up reviews on this website to show my critique/analyst side of thoughts when it comes to games, but I want to do it in a way that is constructive, not insulting, to potential future employers and co-workers. Last thing I want to do is go into a job interview with a bunch of people I mugged off.