Well ok then. It’s 2009.

February 8th, 2009

I’ve pretty much come to accept that it’s now 2009… that 2008 didn’t do much for me… and that I’ve let my blog die an atrophy-induced painful death.

Time for a lil’ year end post reviewing the various events that were witnessed during 2008. To start the year off, I lost my job. :(

This was followed, confusingly enough, by my temporary relocation to Osaka. Osaka looked something like this:

Yeah its always like this.  Every day.

Yeah it's always like this. Every day.

While I was in Osaka we managed to finish and ship Blobyrinth: Maze Island Quest:

Its Bloby Time!

It's Bloby Time!

Which was most interesting, if not entirely lucrative. We sold 10 copies by year end, putting Ghost Ship Studios, Inc. into the black for the first time ever (assuming no pay for the developers over the past 3 years).

We also reached out to the world of game portals in 2008, but haven’t really heard back from most of them. Bigfish and RealArcade responded with a polite decline due to the game not lining up with their target audiences, which is true and was expected.

Here’s to 2009!

-Tim

Osaka

August 4th, 2008

For anyone who happens to be looking for me, I can now be found in Osaka.

Sorry for the confusion!

-Tim

Into the Wild World of Beta

June 5th, 2007

Blobyrinth is in “Beta” testing, which is most fun.  I’m quickly narrowing down our system requirements for running the game to “The Computer That Blobyrinth was Developed on”.  There are many bugs… some of which I introduced at the time of wrapping up the final beta release, so I’ve got to fix that up ASAP so I can get more useful feedback.

Plugging away, fixing things that are broken, and marching toward (eventual) release.  Good times.

All kinds of many thanks are due to those playing the release and helping to sort out the bugs and system requirements. 

-Tim

Blobyrinth… what the hell?

March 21st, 2007

So.

wait... what?

If you were at GDC, you may’ve run across one of these things in the form of a business card.  I was spamming pretty heavily, I’ll admit.  If you saw one of these, you may’ve also noticed that there is no contact info on the card… just that image with a Ghost Ship logo on the other side.  This was deliberate, if a bit silly.  In retrospect, I should have left off the Ghost Ship logo and just left it as an odd cartoon for folks to ponder… ah well… live and learn.

I left these (and others like ‘em) out there for people to be curious about.  Blobyrinth is shaping up to be a curious game, and the type of person who would google a name to find out what the hell this was about is our type of person.  It even gets sillier (word?) from there.  Santa Claus is involved, if you must know.

The development cycle of Blobyrinth has taught me a lot of things… and frankly it should have been completed months and months ago.  Now it is finally drawing to a close.  Those four of you who have watched since the days of the “Maze of Meatwads” screenshots will be happy to know that the game will be unveiled on www.ghostshipstudios.com in April.  Some time after that it will be available on www.garagegames.com, since the kindly folks over there have agreed to publish us, despite our silliness.  Is there a market for an arcade puzzler with a (seriously) bad Walken impersonation in cutscenes that make no bloody sense at all?  Is there?  We shall see.  If anything, it’ll be fun to watch once it’s out there floating on the internets.

Finishing touches… the time is almost here.  Then we get to see where the Ghost Ship sets sail for next…

 -Tim

GDC 2007 wrap.

March 17th, 2007

Well another GDC has come and gone, and I for one had a fantastic time attending it.

My highlights:

  • Got to meet Peter Molyneux, who is pretty brilliant.

yay!

  • Got to meet Jenova Chen, who is also brilliant.
  • Got to meet Tom Hall, who is also also brilliant.
  • Spilled a bit of whiskey on the last of the above three.  He didn’t seem to mind.
  • Got to be a Conference Associate again, which was a good time.  I highly recommend it!
  • Roomed with people I didn’t know, which means I got to meet more people!  Tim, Shannon, and Dave — you guys rocked.

 

Some cool things that had little to do with GDC:

  • Ran into Frank Chu, possibly the coolest San Franciscan since Norton I.

behind closed doors

  • Visited the grave of Norton I, Emperor of the United States, and Protector of Mexico.

: (

 

I guess that about sums it up.  I’ll be posting again soon about Blobyrinth, and after that a completely new topic!  I’m starting up another website… for Mythology nerds. 

 Until then,

 -Tim

I once was lost, but now I’ve got Torsion.

November 16th, 2006

Long time no update.  I won’t bore you with the details… yet.   

What I need to talk about for the moment is this thing — Torsion 

I don’t really know why or how I managed to script in Torquescript for so long before finding this nice little IDE, but let me just say that it is a beautiful thing.  Up until tonight, I’ve been using jedit with a plugin for the syntax particular to Torque Rinds (my happy pet name for torque scripts) — but I might as well have been using notepad.  Syntax coloring is pretty special, don’t get me wrong… but now I’ve got all my favorite features from Microsoft Visual Studio; Most importantly, I’ve got Intellisense and the ability to step through the script while it’s running to debug.  Also you can double click on any error messages in your output stream and it pops you right over to the line of code it came from.  There’s even a call stack. 

This is a lovely bit of software.

Thank you, Sickhead Games, for creating such a thing.

On Being Bold

July 19th, 2006

Action and GBGames have recently been having an interesting discussion on the concept of being bold.  A lot of it seems to come down to rising above your “path-of-least-resistance” internal programming in order to get out there and achieve something of consequence.  However, as I read through these posts I found myself asking, ”Is this the most productive way to think of being bold?  To rise above… to ditch the path of least resistance forever… To take the path of MORE resistance, in order to get results…”

 ”Why not?” you may ask — “This path-of-least-resistance tendency I have makes me sluggish.  It hampers my growth!  I am mired in stagnation!”

The reason you’re on the path of least resistance is that it is impossible to be otherwise.  That’s really what it comes down to.  Your brain is a path-of-least-resistance machine, and you cannot fool your brain.  This path is your friend.  It brings you precisely what you want.  If you run into a burning house to save Mittens (your baby pug), are you being bold?  Sure!  But did the action come from a decision to be bold or from resistance being added to all alternate paths?  In such an odd and extreme case you’re still taking precisely the path of least resistance — you just couldn’t bear the future consequences of inaction, so you acted.  It is when these resistances build up on all fronts that the path of least resistance becomes more and more bold to the observer.  It’s when the final straw is added to the pile of hatred that you have for a job and you march into the front office and quit.  It’s when the potential/romantic tension between you and the girl you’ve been hanging out with makes the situation awkward, combined with your extreme resistance to the memory of the past few months alone and the fear of a few months more that you reach out for that first bold kiss.  Resistance will come from the past, present, and future, and the human brain is very quick to sort these things out and deliver a decision about what to do in order to bring you what you want. 

 ”OK ok.. so what… I’m just supposed to wait around and hate my life until it becomes unbearable and it will change all by itself?”

Well if you can’t change the resistance of any given situation or path, and if your brain creates the perceived path of least resistance based on what you want…. what’s the problem?  The problem is very likely that you haven’t clearly defined what you want.  As far as I can tell, when the brain is teetering between various paths… each with about the same resistance (of one form or another), it defaults to the path with the least resistance in the present.  This can be an important distinction — One path has NO resistance for about 3 days… and even then the resistance is limited to getting up for a drink of water.  That path is lying on the couch.  Down the road further this “lying on the couch” path will result – weeks later — with being fired from your job (not that you’ll be there to get the pink slip), eviction from your apartment, and starvation.  Obviously that’s a lot of resistance… but it’s all so very far down the road.  The second path involves working hard in the present towards say… making a game to sell.  This option might involve unbearably boring toil for a while, and then after that becomes unclear and confused, but may involve making a decent living at some point.  The reason we so often choose to sit around doing NOTHING is because when the decision time comes, the brain favors the least resistance in the present.  If you leave it up to biology to determine what you want it’ll always be relaxation, sleep, food, sex, and a nice comfortable temperature.

So in these teetering decision moments, with two primarily unclear paths and a longing desire to be capable of choosing the “correct” one, what can we use to tip the scales?    There is one thing that can be changed over time (or rather quickly sometimes) juuuuust by thinking — your mind.  Change your mind about what you want.  The easiest way to get good results in attempting this is to examine very closely what you have and what you don’t have… gaps and voids and sometimes gaping hellish void-holes will emerge.  Some of these may be things that you haven’t considered in a while, as you’ve effectively suppressed them for so long that they no longer provide the required resistance to spur change.  By examining your desires closely, you’ll come to understand what you really want out of life — hardening your resolve, piling up resistance on all those paths that you don’t truly want to be on, loosening some of the resistance that you’ve experienced on the paths you DO want to be on (like fear)… and pretty soon you and Mittens will on your way together and you can look back and claim bold action for yourself.

Another Indie Quandary: Short v. Long

July 10th, 2006

So there you are:

The indie game developer — sifting through your options for a next project as the current one draws to an overdue close.

 The project you’d like to do next has a certain immensity to it…  It might take a year… or two.  It’s one of those epic tales.  The kind that when forged correctly can make an actual mark on the fabric of humanity’s recent mythmaking history.  A good game.

But there — ever looming, is the fact that your company’s only income during this development cycle will be whatever scraps come in from your first project AS a studio.  Consequentially, the financial forecast is indeed a mite grim.

 There are, in addition to the epic project, a number of other project options that might inhabit the next-in-line slot.  These would be shorter projects, which while inspired would not be a dream to work on.  They may be alternately casual, niche, or outright bizarre… but each of them would promise to be DONE sooner — contributing according to their individual means to the corporate coffers within months rather than years, whatever the amount.

The epic project likely means another year or two of day-job servitude.  The others, depending on which, could lead to faster freedom for full-time status.

The first also might mean a business loan — employee(s), growth, and the potential for great expression…

The latter would likely not contain any of these elements in any great degree, but could add to a budding young studio’s portfolio of games-for-sale in a fifth the time.

So which do you choose?  Why?  Would your choice be different if you had but five years left to live?  (this I just think is interesting… the urgency factor)

Ah well… I’ve still got work to do on Blobyrinth… so I had better stop rambling.  Just more madness to enter into the ongoing indie meme soup.

 ’til next time –

-Tim

Books and books and books.

June 13th, 2006

If anyone feels like book-talk on anything I’m reading or feels like suggesting something that seems in line with what I’m reading, drop me a line!

 Currently Reading

Up Next

Completed

 

Bloby Rolls On…

June 11th, 2006

Well Blobyrinth is still rolling… slowly as usual but gunning for completion.  Pretty much all that’s left is menus, map screen, and cutscenes.

A spooky haunted house

 

The minigames that’ll be included in the game’s in-game arcade (and playable on the website) will be (similar to) PacMan, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Spy Hunter.  Hopefully there’ll be some reasonable competition for high score in these classic remakes (free games = good). 

 In other news, I added midi support (for windows) to T2D, which was quite easy and fun.  If anyone knows a good cross-platform midi file player library let me know, because as it stands I’m going to have to redo that when I get to the Mac port.  Also, if anyone knows how to change the volume level with hardware midi (when using DirectSound) in a robust way that supports different hardware, let me know that too, because that part is confusing the bajeesus outta me.

Bloby’s almost done… I just gotta get back to work and do it.  GTD don’t fail me now!  Tune in next time (I’ll be blogging more often I swear)…

 -Tim