The Animal Farm

August 18th, 2009

The Doubles

I don’t know if you knew this - you probably didn’t, since it literally just happened a few hours ago - but I’ve finally figured out how to do a double stroke roll with my drums. After a week completely fumbling and not getting anywhere, it just clicked, and now I’m able to carry long rolls much faster.

It still sounds a little rough. The timing’s not quite perfect, and there are some inadvertent accents that shouldn’t be in there. But getting this down excites me.

Tap tap tap tap taptaptaptaptaptaptttttttttttttt.

August 18th, 2009

VS 2008 Exp = Broked

I just want to complain for a moment. Don’t worry, it will only take a moment.

Why oh why are different configurations other than the one I have selected being built? I shouldn’t be getting 360 specific errors when I’m not building for the 360.

Who in the hell thought it would be a good idea to remove StringSplitOptions from XNA’s version of the .NET framework? It’s so arbitrary.

I’m getting errors reported in a build which supposedly “Succeeded.” The error messages are bogus, but they keep popping up.

Sometimes when I move a class into a different namespace, it isn’t recognized until I restart VS. It doesn’t always produce build errors - sometimes it produces the harmless errors - but it’s still bloody aggravating.

OK, I’m done.

Yes, it really is that long.

August 14th, 2009

Performance Woes

I should’ve been testing Word Duelist more regularly on the 360. It has some serious performance degradation. Finding all the permutations of 9 letters is a killer operation, though I barely notice it on the PC. There are tiny (very noticeable) jerks as gameplay progresses. The permutation problem I can work with; I’m not sure where the jerks are coming from, as they’re happening in places where the code should be trivial. Maybe some image cache thrashing? Or perhaps XNA isn’t caching sounds the way I think it is? Anyway, I’ve planned time for alpha/beta/RC, where fixing these issues should fall in alpha.

By my current estimation, if I don’t include the finished art, I should hit code alpha by mid next week. The core programming is almost finished (sans saving/loading), and a lot of the data entry is done. It’s mostly polish work. I’m allotting about a week for each end-cycle phase, so planned finish date for this game is about a month. Then it will have to go through peer review where it will hopefully pass.

This close to the end, I’m already thinking about my next project. It’s very likely I’ll go back to one of the unfinished works (Penguin Push 2 was getting awfully close, and Monolith had a lot of solid progress on it). There are new project ideas too, like a Mario Party/Dokapon/Word Duelist hybrid or the Bounce Ninja game I talked about some time ago. There’s also Oh No, Zombies, but I think that’s on hiatus until more free time is available for experimentation. If anyone would like to cast a vote, I’ll listen. Maybe.

Knowing is half the battle.

August 12th, 2009

Behold the Contestants

Word Duelist is coming.

With a vengeance.

August 4th, 2009

‘Lo Unto You

I hope your chair is comfortable, because you’re going to be glued to it for the duration of this post.

Ever played the board game Descent? Of course you haven’t. You’re a social creature who doesn’t have 4+ hours to spend on a board game. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re actually in the majority here. I, on the other hand, have time to burn. While that sentence isn’t - in point of fact - true in any fashion, it sounds better than, “I ignored all my responsibilities and friends to move little miniatures on a grim-looking board.” Anyway. It was actually a lot of fun. It’s like D&D but controlled in such a way that it’s harder for the people you’re playing with to entirely screw over your experience as has happened to me both times I’ve played hence why I’ll never touch D&D again and I’m not bitter at all. The general mechanics involve a group of adventurers playing against a single ‘overlord’ (a person controlling the enemies/traps/etc), and that adversarial system is charming. Battle is fast paced as opposed to endless number crunching, and everything flows very well. If you get a chance to play it, I encourage it.

I once described “Prisoner of Azkaban” as a terribly boring movie, but this wasn’t really fair. It was a decent movie, just not for me. However, I can say without reservation that “Half-Blood Prince” is attrocious. It basically removed all the action that is the hallmark of a decent story about f-ing wizards and replaced it with a bunch of middle school drama. I thought middle school drama was ridiculous while I was in middle school, and it has only become less endearing as the years roll on. I’m normally one of the few proponents of book-to-movie translations, but here the book was already bad (worst of the lot) and the movie manages to remove the few vestiges of charm it contained. I’m just… dumbfounded.

Oh, and Dumbledore dies.

A new game in the works! It seems like I start a new game project every other week, which is mostly true. This one actually has a lot of progress behind it - it’s an adaptation of The Duelist using XNA and word games. There are 13 minigames finished for it so far (along with single player AI, a multiplayer mode, and a fair amount of polish). There’s still about a month’s work left on it before it hits alpha, but I’m pretty confident here. Then I’ll be able to go back to Penguin Push 2 to finish that up. And then back to the dungeon crawler… or the zombie shooter, maybe? So much to choose from.

I went to DC to visit Zach. I won’t really talk about DC as a place, as I’ve never been enamored with it. The trip was mostly for the friend. It turned into playing a lot of board games and a few video games (Dokapon = Better With More Players) and some random stuff here and there. Apparently I’m in a wedding coming up… that oughtta be neat?

Ok, I’ve satisfied my obligations to you with this update. We’ll see about being more regularly, maybe?

Oh, and don’t believe the Windows 7 hype. It’s actually been more unstable for me than Vista. One time my computer locked and the entire monitor was tinted yellow for no discernable reason.

I thought you smelled fresh.