Get on with it!!!

Conflicting Priorities

I spent most of last week preparing for a face-to-face interview, pouring over the job description and reviewing every detail so as to be prepared for whatever the interviewer might bring up – this meant putting just about everything else on hold and using every waking moment to study.

The interviewers seemed pleased with me, and I was disappointed to learn that the job descriptions were erroneous; most of what were listed as, “required skills” weren’t required at all! What a waste…

Earlier this week, I received a call back from the recruiter explaining that they elected to go with someone else. In short, a week wasted and nothing to show for it but a heaping helping of disappointment…

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After about a day of laying about and feeling sorry for myself, I decided that what I really needed was to focus on something productive… the game I’d set aside to study up for the interview was sitting there, 90% done, waiting for me to cross the last mile…

“If you know where you’re going, you can get there very fast.” – Grandmaster Henrik Danielsen

The most time consuming part of making any game is getting a clear picture of what you want to do. This is true for every component, whether it’s creating artwork, making sound effects, writing music or programming.

Of these, artwork is probably the most difficult (for me) and time consuming…  Often times, I may not have a clear mental picture of what I want to do, and haven’t developed a good system for working through ambiguity yet – but once I do break through, things move very quickly!

I’ve accomplished more in two days than I have in the last 2 months, and the end is in sight! All that’s left is just putting in the time I need to spend to get through the last few pieces, a few days more to test, then on to distribution!

With luck, I’ll have a successful YouTube marketing campaign and will sell enough copies to support myself until I finish Beaster’s Dungeon.

Development Progress Update, Week 4

Busy != Productivity…*

This has been a busy, though not an especially fruitful week in terms of development progress. I got side tracked trying to learn a couple of new techniques I’d need (shaders and surfaces) and I’m continuing to troubleshoot code signing certificate issues…

For the prior, I just stumbled on the fix this afternoon while trying to make a pause function – more on that on a separate post when I have the time/motivation to write it.

On the later, much of what I have encountered keeps coming back to the certificate signing request (.CSR) and private key export (.PFX/.PVK). I’ve been using OpenSSL, which my provider doesn’t seem to support, instead preferring that I use Window’s certificate snap-in.

This would be fine if I were on a domain, but I’m not…Ergo, there’s no certificate enrollment policy as there is no domain controller or active directory service. I had a spare PC sitting around (my wife’s old gaming desktop which had since been replaced by a much nicer gaming laptop), so I decided to plug it in and see if it still ran.

When I did this, I was greeted with a long series of short beeps (power failure) followed by repeated attempts to start itself only to immediately shutdown again. After digging around in the garage, I found a craptastic 500W PSU to replace the relatively nice 700W OCZ Stealth Steam modular PSU that was in it…

This allowed it to boot, and a cursory look around the machine seemed to indicate that it was good working condition otherwise.

Next Steps

Once I get the “server” up and running, setup all the required services and so forth, I should be able to sort out the SSL issue… I feel as though I’m spending way too much time on this, but without it, I’m not only out $140 on something I can’t use, but I’m also unable to distribute “trustworthy” applications.

 

*The prefix “!” means NOT (i.e. ‘!=’ is NOT Equal to)

Development Progress Update, Week 3

Summary

Game prototype is 67% complete!

I finally received verification on my code-signing certificate. While I was able to successfully sign an .exe file using the cert, I’m still getting a SmartScreen warning when running the file.

Further research suggests that I might need an Extended Verification (EV) code signing certificate (which isn’t available from my Certificate Authority (CA)), and/or publish the application on the Windows App Store.

I’ve received assurances from my CA that the certificate I purchased from them should work fine, and that the problem was with my Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Having rekeyed the request at least twice already, I feel sure that I’ve done everything correctly.

The only anomaly at this point is that Publisher is being displayed as the entire Subject string (i.e. state, city, country, organization etc.) rather than just the common name, “V-Toad Games.”

This is a big enough issue to warrant my full attention as a SmartScreen warning could deter potential players from running my games.

Development Progress Update, Week 2

Summary

Game prototype is 65% complete!

I lost a couple of work days due to illness…

I managed to get combination actions working (i.e. Jump+Down to drop down from a one-way platform). I may extend this later to allow look-down (using just the down key) to shift the camera a bit further once I learn how to use the view functions.

With the help of YYG Support, I was able to get the HTML5 module working, more on that later, and look for an update to my previous post.

I coded a virtual D-Pad for use on touch-screen devices, and while it works perfectly, I would need to adjust the resolution for it work on mobile devices.

On the business side, I’ve gotten together the required documentation needed to setup my Code Signing Certificate request submitted, and am awaiting verification.

What I’ve Completed This Week

Coding

  • Wrapped up player movement (combination keys to jump down)
  • Got HTML5 Module working
  • Got Virtual D-Pad (touch screen support) for mobile devices working
  • Got the trap mechanic started, but needs more thought with regard to implementation

Assets

  • N/A

Miscellaneous

  • Setup an account on GameJolt (allows me to publish and sell games both in .EXE and HTML5, hosted on their site)
  • Received an update on my Code Signing Certificate and provided additional documentation
  • Upgraded GMS to v1.9.525

 

What I’m Working on Next Week

Coding

  • Complete trap placement mechanic
    • Spawn cursor corners, spaced to fit any size trap object
    • Spawn/placement sound effects
    • Placement coding with checks to verify place is empty (no stacking/placement inside walls etc.)
  • Begin work on enemy AI

Assets

  • Background textures artwork
  • Scenery/flavor object artwork
  • Continue work on BGM 2, 3 and 4
  • Other SFX as needed

Miscellaneous

  • Follow up on Code Signing Certificate
  • Digitally sign an .EXE file and test it

Development Progress Update, Week 1

Summary

Game prototype is 60% complete!

I’ve begun coding the basic features of game, starting player control. This is the most important piece as the majority of the time spent in-game will be centered on movement and exploration.

I’ve coded it to utilize both Keyboard and Gamepad support (should I elect to port this to Xbox Live, PlayStation 3 & 4). The next piece will be getting the trap mechanic working, followed by Enemy AI (which are my goals for next week).

What I’ve Completed This Week

Coding

  • Basic platform physics (gravity, collision, one-way platforms)
  • Player movement: left-right, variable jump height, drop-down*
    • Keyboard support (WASD, [space])
    • Gamepad support (analog stick and d-pad) – Tested on a Logitech F310
  • Sound Engine:
    • Walking sound effects play and change based on surfaces
    • Landing sound effects play and change based on surfaces hit
    • Sound effects use random variable pitch to break up monotony
  • Basic inventory array
    • Keeps track of what spells you have
    • Allows you to toggle betwen spells

Assets

  • Sound effects and music:
    • Jumping
    • Landing on normal surfaces
    • Landing on wet surfaces
    • Walking on normal surfaces
    • Walking on wet surfaces
    • Collecting currency
    • Collecting resources
    • Collecting spells/secrets
    • Collecting bonus items
    • Detriments
    • Lob
    • Two kinds of projectiles
    • Damage
    • Title screen BGM (Background Music)
    • First level BGM
  • Player sprite animations:
    • movement (left,right)
    • Idle
    • Jumping
    • Falling
  • Resource sprite animations:
    • Arcanum (currency)
    • Iron Nodule (resource)

Miscellaneous

  • Converted all .WAV and .MP3 files to .OGG (faster and smaller)
  • Registered the DBA (fictitious name) of my business with the state
  • Send an inquiry to the SSL provider to request a Code-Signing Certificate (required the business to be registered)
  • Updated the vtoadgames.com website to use SSL
  • Acquired GMS Professional (v1.4)  and the HMTL5 Module**

*I’d like to modify this to use a combination of the Jump button and down, but haven’t gotten that working yet

**It doesn’t work out of the box, and I have no idea what I have to do differently to ensure that my games will work when ported to HTML5. Submitted a support request 5 days ago, awaiting feedback.

What I’m Working on Next Week

Coding

  • Wrap up player movement (combination keys to jump down)
  • Complete trap placement mechanic
    • Movement of the trap ahead of the player
    • Spawn cursor corners, spaced to fit any size trap object
    • Spawn/placement sound effects
    • Placement coding with checks to verify place is empty (no stacking/placement inside walls etc.)
  • Begin work on enemy AI

Assets

  • Background textures artwork
  • Scenery/flavor object artwork
  • Continue work on BGM 2, 3 and 4
  • Other SFX as needed

Miscellaneous

  • Follow up on Code Signing Certificate
  • Follow up on HTML5 export module issues