Friday, 31 December 2021

That Was The Year That Was 2021


Look out behind you!

It got windy and I had to climb on the roof to fix some broken tiles by sticking them together with No Nails glue.

In other news, I have mostly been integrating Steamworks with Torque, in all those hard to reach places I haven't used before like Stats and Leaderboards and getting multiplayer achievements to fire.

To be continued ... as I forgot to do this earlier and there's only 12 minutes of the year left ...

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Steam Capsule Box Art

 Before we start, we should address the fact that I have communicated with the STATE APPARATUS and the APPARATCHIKS of whom have actually communicated back within the space of 60 DAYS ... which must be some sort of new world record in getting any response out of a CIVIL SERVANT - who incidentally -  are still all off work, riding their tax payer bought Pelatons at home whilst the STATE APPARATUS demands everyone else goes back to the office.

We desperately need that extra 150 quid off you to squander on some bollocks

Okidoki, vidya gaemz.

Steam has started releasing information about the Steam Deck, videos and guides are available here. Looks like competition for handhelds (eg: Switch and only Switch 'cos nobody else wants to do hardware anymore), but then do we all remember how exciting Steamboxes sounded? Maybe the handheld market is less crowded (eg: Switch and only Switch 'cos nobody else wants to do hardware anymore).

Anyhoo, the upshot of all this is that I no longer feel compelled in SPACE YEAR 2022 to bother about any display size under 720p vertical.

So I have been testing out some Steamworks features on the new game, which I have not actually uploaded yet to steamworks, but am just doing it locally with Steam loaded. This gives the rather odd result of a blank page with my game title showing online and recording my progress in-game.

Fixed a bug where I accidentally dropped napalm on the player and not the enemies ...

 Having decided that this all looks a little awkward online as only I can see my own game's presence anyhow, I decided it might be an idea if other people - eg: potential customers - could also see my game's presence, and thus we set about designing some box art for the Steam store page.


This required me to remove the towel that is semi-permenantly draped over the display tablet that lies on the desk (it's an upturned A0 drawing board wedged against a window sill to take the weight of all the screens on it) and recharge the pen to get some reponse out of it.

Being a classically trained figurative oil painter (not that I've done any of that in 10 or 15 years ...) I do still find the methodology of digital painting to be a bit ... odd. Is it better to greyscale the form of the painting and then add another layer for blocking colour with some sort of transparency, or should I add colour with tone and shading for each stroke - which seems a right faff. Also I am not terribly enamored with the digitally replicated paint brushes as it's not really how physical medium works - at least not oil painting, especially when the brush leaves layered marks but I need to move the screen/canvas over to another part of the image without breaking the flow ...

Anyhow I have decided on a composition that looks like it can work by cropping with all of the sizes that Steam Capsule images require, and I havr blocked in some very rough tonal marks to find form and some basic colours. This in itself has made me wonder whether it would be better keeping the colouration simple as in a 3 layer comicbook style or more a more complicated and painterly style. Of course I might just do both and see.

Need to change that hair colour ...

In other news the UK had a storm which was actually a real storm rather than the usual crying wolf about some seasonal gales. Whilst a fence panel went down, the broken tiles which I had glued together with NoNails survived. One of the few weekends that hiking had to be called off due to safeguarding the house and general threat of death.

I am 50% prepared for Xmas which means I have alcohol, toilet paper and a sawn-off shotgun to protect it all. Still waiting for variant Ligma ... 😜

Sunday, 31 October 2021

The Halloween PBR Special

 Hey kids, wanna see something really scary this Halloween? Caution, it's not for the feint hearted!

 If you have fully recovered from that horrifying experience, let's talk PBR. But first ...

Not really that different, but my aeronauticals/dogfighting game is on haitus. After working on it for a full year, I have moved back to my previous game of catgirl carnage swag it up. The reason I spent the last year on the arcade aircraft game was that I needed a break from the twin-stick shooter featuring leggy ladies with fluffy ears due to burnout - see the blog entitled, "A change is as good as a rest" from last year.

Well it's been a change rather than a rest and I managed to create a full working concept for arcade style aerial combat, which I expect to return to sometime in the future. However, for now it's back to all-action catgirl shooty collectathon because it's a lot closer to completion than aeronauticals and since it's been a whole EIGHT YEARS since Airship Dragoon was launched and it's almost embarrassing that I have failed to ship anything in that time.

I've got a new app id from steam and have been busy installing steamworks for the game on my local PC. This has taken a bit of extra work, mostly due to the fact that I couldn't remember anything about getting a game working for Steam because I haven't done it in said 8 years.

 Originally catgirl twin-stick swagathon shooter was called AoT ("Always on Time") ... which I dropped and renamed it "Swag It Up", a rather more to the point title. Don't go looking on Steam yet, I haven't sorted the store front out yet so it's not listed, I have just integrated steamworks locally for testing.

Now for that PBR ...

  Now the engine has a new asset browsing system, which is apparently all the rage and the cool kids can't live without it. Obviously I hate the entire thing but that's the future for you; I was promised flying cars and holidays on Mars, instead I get texture memory leaks and assets overloading their materials from their own asset file instead of using my predefined materials - which are still the ones that show up in the material editor even though the other ones are the ones getting loaded.

I redesigned my swag markers

Once I had found all of this out it was simply a case of opening each asset's file and removing the material reference that was interfering with my existing materials. This was somewhat of a pain in bum due to me having huge numbers of assets/models, all of which had to be individually and manually edited.

Shiny PBR is shiny

 So next up is to finish off the remaining PBR conversions and then go about porting the actual game logic to the latest Preview4 engine build. I think I will however upload the current working Dx11 but not PBR version of the game to steam for initial online testing.

The main thing to get done is sorting out the Steam store page and get it listed. This requires a trailer video and some screenshots, but most importantly I need to draw some good store front box art to advertise the game and also use as a main menu background. I also need artwork for the character portrait selection screen.

As for aeronauticals, it may well return one day and be completed and shipped. So here's a full video of the first mission.

Happy Halloween and don't have nightmares about global debt.