Sunday, 31 May 2020

Doing It Wrong

Doing it wrong! The story of my life. An act in 3 parts - hopefully ...

I had forgotten how to make characters.

How did I make this? Absolutely no idea.

I hadn't written anything down. I knew the software involved but the actual steps? No idea. So I started again from scratch, intending to make a better system and this time wrote everything down.

I ended up writing a long thread on how I got a model from makeHuman, into Blender, and ready to import it into open source game engine Torque3D. You can veiw that here.

Now importing a mesh into Blender tends to come with a whole lot of transforms which Torque just doesn't like. The main being facing the wrong direction as in-game, negative Y is forward. So for the last nth years I have been seperating meshes and armatures and editing them so they face the correct way and then aligning them manually. This gets rid of all the wonky transforms and sets everything to a nice default 0, 0, 0. That way I can - hopefully - put any other animation into the armature.

This is all very faffy.

Whilst changing the default pose by using the "apply visual pose as rest pose" I was struck by a sudden thought; wouldn't it be nice if object mode had an apply transforms option? Thus I could pose the model with the correct facings and just apply  each object, armature, mesh, etc with a click to default it all to zero. And guess what? It does have that button already.

Well ... crap. I've been causing myself unfathomable amounts of problems for god knows how many years by manually rotating everything by selecting all the vertexes of each object, turning them, and trying to line everything back up by eye - when all I had to do was click a button.

So ... talking about doing it wrong, there's more.

I've been going about making my game wrong. Or avoiding making it would be more accurate. This is partly - or even mostly -  due to a helpful blogpost by a developer that talks about Steam. Why is it helpful but made me lose focus on actual development? Because of wishlists on Steam and drumming up future sales. He pointed out that his previous and very successful games had a Steam store presence 1.5 years prior to launch which meant that he had managed to accrue 33,000 wishlists. So when he was finally ready to ship, 33K people got an email telling them it was available. Even steam suggests getting at least 50K before release.

I have half my levels completed, all my monsters for each level save the bosses, and complete working game code that makes it all playable even if some pieces are missing. But I don't have anything public facing. I have no cool box art or even working main menu screen. I could have done this previously but I was too fixated on making the actual game work that I never even took into account that I needed to get potential player support early on and that means having a working Steam store page with nice artwork that brings people in, adds backstory and concept. I don't even have a title for my game other than the temporary working one. In fact my previous game; Airship Dragoon had no final title until the month it went on sale.

Here is a link to the full article. Here's another one on wishlists.

So ... doing it wrong ...

Thursday, 30 April 2020

April Showers Needed

Three months ago, many animals queued up outside, whilst I built a large wooden boat to save us all from God's vengeful wrath as the flood cometh. Today I kneel in parched earth and pray to the heavens for rain before my Swiss Chard withers in this terrible drought.

 That's not 6 feet ...

So here we are, global plague day number ... dunno, could be anything. I have long since run out of fingers, toes and other jutting limbs to count this on. Existence is one great malaise, which only differs from previous life - before the dark times, before the land was ravaged by the foul pestilence known only as The Koof -  in that the pub is shut and I have no where to go on a Saturday afternoon.

Going to the corner shop for some milk

Going shopping has become a great adventure, were only the strong survive, wading towards the bread counter, through the still twitching pile of the nearly living deadish that collect in the aisles, like great shoals of fishes beached up a rocky headland ... but to be honest shopping at Co-Op was always like this which is why most people walk that bit further to go to Tesco.

Going to Spar for a loaf of bread

Her Majesty's Robberbarons and Crooks sent me a letter, saying that they were not going to send me a letter and demanding that I fill out my tax return (lol jokes on you I'm a loser!) by the miracle of the interwebz. Reluctantly and with due trepidation I logged onto the government website to register my electronic existence, and lo and behold, the website was as badly designed as I had expected. Also the security features were laughable, with passwords capped at a mere 12 characters with no special characters. Oh yes, I am sure Anon and his botnet will never be able to brute force that ...

This is of course the same tax system which, some years ago, had previously emailed me someone else's tax details because they had no system to check that the emails were correct. I did eventually manage to make some sort of contact with them via the only email address I could find - marked phishing - to explain the error and ... never heard a reply. However, maybe that is the reason which I now have to wait seven days for them to post (again that physical letter thing which I had successfully been using to send my completed tax form in but which they now demand be done away with) a code number to me so that I can finally activate my e-tax account ... and then wait another 24 hours for their computers to acknowledge this has occurred ... or not, as anything and everything could still go wrong.

Going into Tesco with a trolley

In the midst of all this I have returned to gamedev and moved back to character design. Here I found that I had made no particular notes on how I had previously done it and had to sift through scores of files - each slightly incremented on the next - until I found the base character model from which to work from.

And with that April ends. May May (see what I did there? That's comedy gold that is!) prove to be more productive.

Stay safe and avoid the dreaded Koof.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Apocalyse Whenever

I have a keg of beer.

 These things do not keep once opened so I've been doing my level best to chug through it. So at least I've some sort of excuse for lack of productivity - at least for the last quarter of this month. The rest is a bit ... meh ...

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been cancelled - as was foretold in 1982.

I remember chortling to myself when it was announced back in 2013, that the 2020 Olympics would be held in Tokyo.

And my own little OC long before any of this kicked off ...

So, no state sponsored psychokinetic experiments let loose amongst gangs of roaming Bōsōzoku ... but it's still not happening ... this year anyway.

Apparently the great toilet paper shortage is over and the supermarkets are now overflowing ... mostly due to people buying 5 years worth in one go. That's a lot of devil chili vindaloos to munch through to use up all that soft, soft papel d'hygenico ...

So everything has ended, and my foot2ball team may be saved from the danger of relegation. Surely global armageddon is a small price to pay for this luxurious reprieve from the third tier of English sportsball?

So ... maybe back to work next month.

Then again, maybe not ...

In the meantime here is what the 1980s looked like in France according to The Old Grey Whistle Test of the same era ...

And here is a picture of a cat ...