My Crap Game - Pt. 4

I figured out my problem, and, as I suspected, I'm stupid. The programs were in fact finishing their work and blipping off, before I could see what they were up to. I added a little line of code that just waits for one hundred characters of input to each of my projects, and all of them worked as expected.

I've moved on to more complicated stuff, but now, I'm having trouble comprehending what all of it means. I can sit and type it out, but I don't really know what it's doing. So, I've tried to slow down a bit, digest the stuff I've bitten off so far, then move on.

A new computer seems to be in my near future. Visual Studio takes forever to load, and I'm not sure if it's my computer, or the program. I also can't run Diablo 3, which, clearly, needs to change.

As always, thanks! -Blair.


My Crap Game - Pt. 3

Alright, this week has been a bit of a bust. Work has been crazy, and with Mother's Day, I haven't gotten a lot done. All I was able to accomplish was to iterate on the Hello World! program, and try out a simple calculator project, none of which worked properly. I did order a copy of the book Patrick's been mentioning, though.

The issue with the programs is that they appear to be running then shutting down so fast that I can't tell if they're working or not. The book I'm using mentions this, but it's fix involves .bat files which I also can't get to work. Did I mention that I'm not particularly computer savvy? So, without much to report, and no progress until I can find a solution, I may have to use this blog for it's intended purpose; self-absorbed babbling!

One of the reasons I decided to start this project at all, has to do with my career. I've been a professional tattoo artist for the last ten years, and even though I really enjoy what I do, I knew going in that it might not be the sort of thing I could do forever. Between long hours, back and neck pain, carpal tunnel, apathy, and feeling burnt out creatively, there are lots of land mines that a person needs to avoid in order to keep tattooing, so it never hurts to have a wide array of skills, artistic or otherwise. Luckily, artists in general have skills that can be used in all sorts of ways, on all sorts of projects.

At this point, I feel like I have another five to ten years in me, so that's five years to turn a hobby in to something that I could pretend to be competent in. Building on a lifetime of knowledge of playing games, and a lifetime of making art, I hope to put the two together and create something that I'll care about, and maybe amuse someone else too. I can't say that I've got anything more than vague ideas of what I'd like to make, but right now, I'm trying not to look too far ahead. I'm having trouble with Hello World! after all.

As for art, I really enjoy pop and lowbrow art, as well as minimalism and traditional tattoo art. I've tried to lump a lot of my interests together and wound up doing a lot of vidjagame inspired tattoos, along with taking a lot of different art styles and using them to make unusual tattoos. I hope that this flexibility and creativity might help inform a project like a simple independent game, and that's really what I intend to find out.

Thanks again, everyone, and I'll see you next Monday! -Blair.


My crap game - Pt. 2

Last week, I wrote that I felt inspired to try out some simple programming to see how difficult it might be to make a rudimentary game. I started by using Game Maker 8.1 as sort of a primer for something more powerful later.

Game Maker 8.1 has proven to be kind of a bust. The first tutorial taught me how to make a simple program that worked a lot like the fly swatting game from Mario Paint, which was fine. But, the second tutorial covered making a 1942 style overhead shooter. I was really excited to get in to that one, but when I did, it was riddled with misspellings and sections that were vague and super confusing. For example every instance of the word sea, is misspelled as see. My suspicion is that English may not have been the writer's first language, and it's a shame that I wasn't able to get more out of that program.

So, I've moved on to C++. My thinking is that, though it may be much more difficult, I'll be learning applicable information in a valid language. So far, all I've been able to do is the Hello World! program, but I'm studying with a book I picked up that covers C++ through gaming that's been fantastic. Next, I'll be trying to understand what the hell I did to get that first program running. I'm buoyed. I can feel good about making progress with C++ knowing that it's a language that will pay off later, although it's hard to see now how Hello World! applies to games that aren't text adventures. Even so, I love the idea of making a text based dungeon crawler.

I wanted to thank you guys for the support and advice I got last week and apologize for this massive text block here. I'm writing these on an iPad that doesn't support Giant Bomb's text editor. Someday, when I have, time I'll get on and separate these in to proper paragraphs.

See you in a week! - Blair.


So, I've decided to make a game.

I would say that I've decided to try to make a game, but that would imply that I'm not determined enough to succeed. Good or bad, I'd like to make something.

After watching this year's coverage of PAX East and the Molyjam, and after playing a lot more indie games than I usually do ( Fez, especially), I've been thinking a lot more about what really goes in to making even the most rudimentary game. I was really inspired by the story behind Dust: An Elysian Tale to see if I would be able to make anything playable let alone fun.

I have no programming experience, very few computer skills, and even less time, however, I'm prepared to invest whatever is needed to get some kind of program, no matter how small, running. The one skill I do possess is that I've been working as a professional tattoo artist for the last ten years, so coming up with some basic art might be a little easier.

I've done a little bit of research in how to get started, and downloaded a free copy of Game Maker 8.1 as sort of a warm-up. I finished up the first tutorial last night, and hope to get in to the second one soon. From there, I'd like to make something original with it to prove to myself that it's possible.

I'm keeping a record of my experience with all of this more as a way to prevent myself from giving up halfway than a way to get advice or feedback, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. I'll ( try) to report my progress every Monday, along with whatever other interesting stuff I find along the way.

See you next week! -Blair.