Archive for February, 2008
Saturday, February 23rd, 2008
Apologies to everyone for web and forums being down for two and a half days – our Birmingham server Baron got a Lilo bug (I guess Lilo is the OS or something?) and James (who lives in Chicago now) had to get up early and talk the guys at our ISP through fixing it up to the point he could ssh in. Our ISP is called Loud-n-Clear and I have always had exceptional support from them; definitely give them a look if you’re in the market for a server.
We’re right in the middle of an intense period of trying to lock down a full level prototype for Frozen Synapse and it’s proving stressful – these things usually do.
Friday, February 15th, 2008
I wanted to write about this yesterday but I worked all day and then Lizzie and I went out to dinner in the evening and got absolutely wasted. Good times.
Anyway, yesterday was the one year anniversary of Determinance’s release. It is without doubt the pinnacle of my “professional” life so far. Actually releasing a game as an indie is a huge hurdle that 99% fail at. It was basically getting a degree with honours from the Game Creation University. On that night my esteemed colleague was in Cambridge with Andrea so Bin and Tom came over and we stole some of my Mom’s ultra-expensive champaign and, basically, got drunk. Happy memories.
I don’t have too much else to say about it right now. I… don’t know really. It was huge but now we’re moving forward. I guess that’s what happens.
Today Ying has started working properly on our Nintendo DS game engine, to be used for Synapse. This is also a pretty big deal – our first ever employee starting work on our first ever non-indie game.
Saturday, February 9th, 2008
Sins of a Solar Empire is a great name for a space game and is getting a lot of coverage around the net. I bought it while drunk Thursday night (buying games online while drunk… yeah that’s something I do quite a lot). I’m not going to talk too much about the fairly ridiculous software that is Stardock (think what would happen if Microsoft circa 1992 tried to make a Steam client and then quit half way through), apart from telling you that despite it telling you you don’t need to create an account to buy the game it really would be a fairly good idea.
Setting a 4X game in a single solar system (well, up to 6… er, ignore that) is an idea I like a lot: all these space games set accross an entire galaxy end up feeling annonymous and lacking in atmosphere. I’m going to call Sins’ genre Action-4X, it’s basically a very complex RTS. I’m not an RTS fan so I probably won’t play it much more, but if that sounds like fun to you I think you can’t go far wrong.
Friday, February 8th, 2008
I have to admit I hate the patriots. I can’t justify it beyond the fact that I think they are fundamentally boring… and arrogant. The Giants win is, no exaggeration, the most emotional sports moment I will ever have. I had been up at 4.30 AM, tired and drunk, having to deal with them winning in lucky ways in close games, thrice this season. It just adds to how much I wanted them to lose (which was quite a lot already).
However I will say that my vehemance is aimed at the team, not their fans. I feel bad for their fans losing so terribly.
But it was amazing. Just amazing. And I want to have a shout out to Tim Richards here for the utter bonding we had.
He understood like no-one else did.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Prototyping on Frozen Synapse continues. At this early stage I really can’t talk about the game itself very much, but I thought I’d give you guys an insight into some of our prototyping process.
I’m using an older version of Torque Game Builder from GarageGames as the prototype engine. TGB is a bit bloated and kind of aimed at the old Click-N-Play market now, but it renders things, takes keyboard input, has a good ui system, and does collision. The last thing I want to do is write those things at this stage.
I find it pretty difficult to show the prototype to people, even people in the team. I keep worrying that they’ll misinterpret it or that it’s nowhere near showing my actual gameplay vision. But at the moment I tend to lock myself up for a week, then show it to someone, get a lot of feedback, lock myself up for a week… rinse and repeat.
Just a bit of an insight there for you guys.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Ever since physics cards became a thing about three years ago I’ve maintained that physics chips would end up on graphics cards and physics cards would die out. There’s a big war going on in the graphics card market (as if you hadn’t noticed), and nVidia and ATI have a lot of money, and anything which appeals to the hardcore is a serious weapon.
Looks like I may have been dead-on.
Friday, February 1st, 2008
We are very happy to announce that today was Mode7′s first real employee, Ying,’s first day at work. Having a real live employee is scary and wonderful at the same time. I can’t wait to start training Ying in the ways of game coding.