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GDC 2016

For the last few months I’ve been had a bit of derailment from the game development. I’ve had to attend to something completely different for a while in my personal life along with the launch of a separate business.

However, I was still able to make it to GDC 2016 and am writing this from one of the sessions of the last day. It’s been bittersweet, as I won’t have the bandwidth for a while longer to do full time game development.

Running and Thinking

Idea

I’m training for a half marathon which I’ll be running in a little over three weeks from now.

And actually, I’m only 1/2 training as I haven’t been keeping up with the program as planned. I’ve missed half my runs due to getting too caught up in the work cycle of game development. In fact, it’s really more like 1/3 as I’ve done pretty much none of the cross training that also wraps into the program. So I’m starting to expect that fateful marathon Sunday in my near future will pretty miserable.

Regardless, I managed to crank out 5 miles this evening without keeling over.

While running can get pretty boring, it does afford one the time to think. Often I find myself planning new modules of code for the project I’m currently on. But this time around I thought of a Big Idea. I can’t reveal it just yet (that will come after some development), but I will say if it works I’ll certainly remember the steep hill I was running up lot more fondly.

Need more Souls of Light

Terraria

Today was fairly productive on the big refactor I’m doing this week with the new game.

However, from time to time I get caught up in a game that I’ll play before and/or after work. The normal pattern is that I’ll get into something enough that it will take up 30-50 hours over a week or two, then get tired of it and return to full blown workaholism. This time around its Terraria, the voxel platformer (think Minecraft meets Super Mario World).

While I’ve played it before and beaten it (mainly when on vacations), I found myself playing it again for some of the recent new content that got added. I’ll likely play it to completion. At the current rate, I’d estimate that I’ll be completed by Sunday.

I just hope the village can handle the goblin armies without me.

First Impressions on Script Inspector

Yes, this script is being edited right inside Unity

Yes, this script is being edited right inside Unity

If you build games with Unity on your PC, you have the option of using the Industry Standard for coding in C#: Visual Studio. Go you!

But if you develop on a Mac like me, you notice VS doesn’t have a Mac alternative. (Any day now… any day now… I just know it!)

Anyway, like most Apple heads, I pretty much stick to the default MonoDevelop which ships with Unity. I probably don’t hate it as much as so many others I know, but I can’t say I love it either. Which is why my wandering eye occasionally looks for another lover. And thus I started an affair with Script Inspector — which got some recent attention for being a Unity finalist on the Asset Store.

Unlike MonoDevelop, Script Inspector is actually embedded in Unity. So instead of bouncing back and forth between apps, I can just edit right there in a native Unity pane. But even better, I can open — wait for it… — multiple scripts in separate windows at the same time. Yes, in that sense it’s more of an actual IDE than MonoDevelop is.

The autocomplete functionality is decent, though you can tell it’s a bit new to the product. The undo is technically there but doesn’t tap into the existing Unity’s undo, so the shortcut is different. Probably my favorite thing so far is the custom console window. While it appears pretty much identical to the default, it has a nice context menu that lists every script used in the call stack. When clicking the script in the list you want, it goes straight to the calling line. Handy!

My plan is to truck this through with this editor for around a week and see if it sticks.

The Big Recap

Ninjas of our Lives

[Previously, in Season 1 of Iron Ninja]

We left our heroes at the season finale of launching Beaver Smash. The team feels good about the project and having finally shipped their first title.

Yet now they must face their greatest challenge in launching… THE NEXT GAME! (Cut to a series of dramatic scenes where artists and developers throw things at each other while arguing intensely)

First, they turned to a dungeon crawler concept, which many were excited about. But after three weeks of development in August, it was clear the level of effort needed to complete the project would require eight to twelve months. (More dramatic scenes showing despair and doubt)

Then a new game idea emerged, one that seemed simple and straightforward. Perhaps it could be built in three or four months, but surely no more than that. Yes, it would combine something they had never done before… it would have online multiplayer!

After some initial alpha testing, they realize they were on to something truly new, and perhaps really addictive. “Okay, maybe a little more than four months. This one might be worth it.”

New Game In The Works

I’m bouncing between the upcoming Android version of Beaver Smash and a new game which I’ve been quietly working on for the last month and a half.

With regard to the Android version, I’m in a bit of a holding pattern awaiting an update from Unity as their current version (5.2) has broken some key elements in my UI. I know 5.3 will be out in the next month or so and hopefully it will have the fixes needed for the game.

I’m going to try a few things differently for the new game. Before posting too much here, I plan to get a few more ducks in order which will likely be in the coming weeks. But I will say this — the game is nearly the opposite of Beaver Smash! More details coming soon…

Released!

The Day has finally come…

Beaver Smash in the iOS App Store

Beaver Smash in the iOS App Store

Launch Imminent

While I’ve been away on hiatus due to personal reasons, I’ve returned and quietly prepared the game for its maiden voyage. I’ll concede I didn’t even want to post here until I was much closer to the Big Day.

I can now say with confidence that day is fast approaching.

I’m doing one last round of testing to tighten the bolts. And while there are a few things I’d still like to tweak, I’m overall very happy with this 1.0. For now, I’ll just post our media materials over the next few days to give you peek at what it will look like in the App Store.

App Store Screen 1

App Store Screen 1

Where was I?

The last time I posted, I was alluding to three developments. The first two were publishers I was speaking to, but was unable to reveal. Both took a pass on Beaver Smash, but both are interested in the next title (of which I haven’t discussed here yet).

The third development has actually been unfortunate life event that has slowed me down considerably on the project. I’m not going to go into the full details here, but I’ll say it’s impacted my time much more than I was first anticipating. Needless to say, it’s been a bit demoralizing given how close I am to launch with the game.

I’ve stopped making estimates on the launch date for now, but I hope it will be very soon.

Timeout

There have been three large developments since the last time I blogged. Two of these I’m not yet able to discuss, and the third I would be — except it ties into the other two. I’ll just say at this time I’m delaying Beaver Smash a little longer, and it isn’t a bad thing… but that’s really all I can write at this time.

More info coming in the near future…