Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Infiltrator season 3 part 1

And so the legacy of Infiltrator continues. It's either quite resilient, or it's vaporware. Let's hope for the first.

Anyway, the new design calls for something much simpler. It's merely an overhead 2D shoot-em-up scroller. This is good because I can recycle my old SDL based RayEngine from about a year ago when I was working on gamma prime. I even coded 3D starfield and particle system support, as well as a few other handy things. I'm sure you're all dying to see a screenshot of this new game. Your hopes shall not be dashed this time:
        (Do yourself a favor and click it for full-size)

I know, there's hardly anything here. It's just a ship, custom cursor, and parallax starfield. The design calls for allowing you to move in the eight compass directions, while shooting in any direction at will. I've got the eight compass direction thing down.

Your ship remains stationary in the center of the screen, but everything around it moves in the opposite direction of the ship. This creates the illusion that your ship itself is moving. It's pretty easy, because the player ship stores velocity in public variables. This way any other objects can be updated with these as parameters. I just invert the velocity and assign it to the starfield, and everything falls neatly into place.

I know this is moving abnormally slow for something so simple, but I have so little time to work on it that I'm lucky to be going as fast as I am.

Anyway, it's no huge step but it's a start. I feel like I'm charging for failure at a very expeditious rate...

But I'm sure as hack gonna have fun on the way there!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Comic #4

Oh be patient, good names for a comic strip are hard to come by...

Since I'm totally sure all of you are wondering, all these comics are drawn in Gimp.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

New posting schedule

As I write this, I'm on break from cramming for school. As much as I'd love to keep posting as often as I was, I don't really have time anymore. So the new posting schedule will be changed to Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from now on.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Music: tastes, habits, and talents

I've kind of been letting my Youtube channel and blog separate themselves. I tend to discuss and post music on Youtube, and mostly have game, programming related or techno-geek content on this blog. I'm going to try breaking that up, starting now by discussing music here.

Just don't get lost in here, I still like programming better.

Let's start with my musical history. As a young kid, I heard all kinds of stuff. Nursery rhymes, hip-hop, punk, rock'n'roll, classical, country, folk, gospel, and more. I didn't really care much for composition, I just liked certain sounds of certain instruments. I happened to like electric guitars a LOT, giving me a sweet spot for punk, metal, and rock'n'roll.

As time went on, I kept acquiring new tastes. My love for instrumentation stayed, but composition started playing a bigger role in defining my taste. I took a liking to blues, jazz, and classical. I especially liked piano solos of these three. Eventually, I started some piano lessons. Here I learned about theory, composition, and a lot more. I still take lessons from the same teacher, and I'm sure there is still more to learn.

I eventually learned some improvisation. Although I'm still new to it, I can lay down some blues in a fashion I quite enjoy. I composed a few of my own pieces, mostly to play at yearly recitals. My new ability for composition, despite being quite simple, still ushered in a desire to make music myself.

I kept doing piano, but started experimenting with guitar and electronic music. I never really could play guitar much, but had a kind of perseverance for electronic music. I started on the only machine I owned at the time, which was only powerful enough to run DOS. I couldn't even afford that, so I went with FreeDOS. Although primitive, this operating system came with a program that would compile text files into MIDI which could then be played through the PC speaker. I contented myself playing around with this until I got a slightly less obsolete machine which I ran Slackware 10 on.

On this machine, I experimented with Audacity. I generated tones and whitenoise, then applied effects and pitch-bend. This didn't work so well, but it didn't last long either. I finally got a machine that was barely obsolete, allowing me to get some real music software. I didn't know where to go at first, but eventually ended up spending quite some time playing with BEAST. It was here that I finally gained some knowledge of electronic music, and picked up a lot of experience that traveled with me to the next stage.

As time continued to pass, I eventually got a modern machine. Determined to find some real software, I came across FL Studio. I messed around with that for a couple months, but pretty quickly discovered LMMS. LMMS was perfect for me. It was there that I built my musical home, and have used LMMS for almost a year now.

So, about four and a half years after my first piano lesson, here I stand-erm sit. In a chair. In front of a cutting edge machine. It wouldn't seem so weird if I didn't consider what I might think of my music five years from now. Music that I thought I had made awesome back then, seems really terrible now.

Anyway, now I've got a really weird set of tastes. To explain what I mean, I like really hardcore and grungy punk. I also like me some uber-happy drippy and stupid pop. Did I mention Gilbert and Sullivan make really awesome music? I love Hardstyle, Trance, House, and many other forms of electronic music. Opera, classical, and ragtime also sound pretty good. Actually, there are very few genre's I don't enjoy, and even fewer that I don't respect. There's just a few, but they're there.

So yeah, that's pretty much all there is to it. It's also why you'll hear one style on my album, and then a totally different one in the next track. I don't really like to listen to one sound for too long, I get board fast.

Rock On, opera fans!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Where have you been?

So before I explain myself for almost a week of absence, here is this week's comic:

Okay, now for the explanation. My schedule went into chaos mode while I tried to deal with some personal things, still keeping up with school and other stuff. When Thursday came, I basically had one long crash until yesterday. I barely had time to post an announcement that Advanced LMMS would be delayed by a week. And yesterday I was lazy. ;)

So anyway, I'm back now and should hopefully be able to return this blog to it's regular posting schedule.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Work in progress: a tribute to One Must fall: 2097

We all know I'm a big fan of the DOS oldie, OMF: 2097. I really liked this game, hated the sequel, wish there was a new one somewhere, etc. I've been interested in recreating parts of it for the longest time. I even recently finished a remix of the theme music, planned to show up on my next album. Heck, I even made a fake trailer for a re-make back before I knew much about animation.(Yea, you're not going to see it. I've embarrassed myself with it enough times already. ;)

Anyway, let me dash you hopes early and say I'm not planing on remaking the game. Now, exactly what am I planning then? A short(around 5 minutes) 3D movie attempting to capture the feel and awesomeness of the game. To show you I mean business, here's a render of one scene I'm working on:

                                  (click for reasonable size)

You'll note the bots are in the standard t pose. This is because I haven't started animation yet. They are however, fully rigged and ready models. I'll be honest, I've had the jaguar model sitting around since the first teaser. The Katana is the only new robot on the table. You can probably tell that I'm not going for an uber-realistic or high detail short by any stretch of the imagination. The simple torches demonstrate this. I'm just trying to make it look good and capture the feeling.

In the light of story, I haven't quite decided if I'm going to include much of one yet. I'm pondering my options, but mostly I'm just cranking out art assets at the moment.

Finish this or not, it will look really cool in my demo reel.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Comic #2

So, I've given up trying to come up with a good name for the moment. At any rate, here is the second comic:

If I do this to you, I wasn't lying. I just got a little distracted...


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Experiment is now 100% uploaded on Youtube.

Find the playlist here.

That finally concludes the release of the album. I'm glad to have it done, as it makes way for my newer, better album.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Art and projects

NOTE: Apparently, this didn't get posted yesterday. I don't know if it was a fluke or what, but my apologies for the lateness.

My album project is coming along nicely. My current album cover art:

Man, playing around with Blender and gimp can be really fun.

I'm having to cut down on my current movie project and go for something a little more simple. Still, it should be pretty cool once it's done.

On Infiltrator, I finally decided what would probably be "ideal." I've always had a thing for games with a retro feel. I was thinking about how Infiltrator was originally going to be a 2D game with 3D graphics in the first place. After a bit of thought, I think I not only could handle a retro feeling game, but really enjoy it at the same time. Thus, my new plan(will I ever run out of these?) is to do a simpler top-view 360 degree 2D shooter.

I'm drawing most of the sprites by hand, one pixel at a time. Literally. I'm drawing every individual pixel. Of course, that gives it a nice retro feel.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Announcement: New Album officiated - Transmusical Distortion

Huh. I have not one, not two, but ten good recent tracks, none of which are part of an album. I've finally decided that it's about time to start on a new album project. I'm always playing with music, I have time set apart every day for practice and creativity. It makes sense that I would collage the tracks into another album.

So a new album is officiated. I dub it "Transmusical Distortion." Based on the tracks I have so far, I think it's going to stay true to my spirit of powerful beats, wide genre span, memorable melodies, pulsating basses, and driving leads. I haven't begun work on album art yet, but I've got some ideas. I've still got a few tracks from my last album left to post on my Youtube channel, then I'll probably start posting tracks from my new one.

It's kind of scary to look back at how much I knew when I did Indecision, The Experiment, and what I have now. The scary thing is the realization that in another year I will probably know even more.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Starting a comic strip

To vent my jokes and provide you with more content. I will try to post a new comic every Monday.

The first of this strip, which I am hereby dubbing(at least temporarily) Perspective Distortion:

                                                 (click for larger size)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Advanced LMMS - Basshunter style

In the latest episode of my webshow, I take a look at how a Eurodance sound can be created with LMMS.

Enjoy the episode!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Game review scoring

I've got a few reviews under my belt, but I'm sure some of you have been baffled by the scores I assign. For example, I give Descent 2 a 7 and then recommend it and say I liked it. I also give Descent 3 an 8 when I gave Descent 1 a 9, yet mention enjoying Descent 3 more. Why are such things the case?

There are a few reasons, but I will start by addressing what I perceive to be a problem with the review system of today. It seems that the scoring scale isn't really 1-10, but rather 5-10. It's like saying, "I played the game with a score higher than eight, and I probably don't like the game with a score lower." People don't care if a game gets a 1 or a 5, they won't play either. Why don't we just rate games on a scale of 1-5 instead? We're already only really using five numbers.

I do things a bit differently. As an example, I give my favorite game, System Shock 2, a 9.5. I really like this game. I mean, it's the best I've ever played. So why doesn't it get a ten? Because in my book, 10 is a perfect score. A game that got a 10 would probably kill you because your mind would be unprepared for how awesome it was. On the other end of the scale, a 1 would probably make you suddenly spontaneously combust. Granted, this is still a slight exaggeration. I may at some point give some games a score like that.

The point is this, I give a game five or more if I would play it. I give it less if I wouldn't. This way I can indicate various levels of love or hate while still having the system balanced in the middle. Quite simple, is it not?

Another thing that may baffle you, is why I would give a game I enjoyed more a lower score than a game I enjoyed less. This doesn't occur very often, but it still may happen. The reason is that I don't rate a game based solely on how much fun I had playing it. I rate it based on how much fun I think everybody else would have playing it. That is, I take things like niche markets into account. If I love shooters but know everyone else hates them, it's probably going to end up affecting the score of the game by at least a little.

You can't see the effects of some of this stuff, mostly due to the fact that I've only been reviewing games I like. I'll try to pick a few games I genuinely hate and review them sometime in the near future. ;)