Batteries Recharged…

Ahh… it’s been a nice, lazy week. Time to get back to kicking ass again, and trying to get the first Jumpman: 2049 engine beta out the door. For some reason this week, I couldn’t get motivated about anything, and then tonight I’m starting to get edgy to do something. It seems to be a pattern, but, I’ve never figured out what triggers it to start in the first place. Oh well, this wave is over.

All in all the week wasn’t a waste or anything. Started talking with Erik about his Barnyard RTS game idea – something I think is gonna be a lot of fun to do. I’m already looking at some serious shortcuts for going from concept to shelf in the non-so-distant future.

One of the shortcuts I’m exploring is the use of an existing GPL’ed engine for the game (GPL = a license that allows people to copy the source code around and modify it, but, there’s some interesting areas the originator of the GPL left open to allow people to make money off of it) The upside to doing something like that would be that development time is seriously reduced, the game could instantly support multiple platforms ranging from Win32 machines to Linux boxes to PS2’s running the new Linux package, and the game can continue to thrive because of ‘community’ long after I’ve quit supporting it.

The downside is most of them look and perform like dogshit. Really. And I know dogshit when it see it – I wrote one piece of serious dogshit myself (the original Boulder Panic!, and every version up to BP!2 DX. And I’m still not super happy with it.) I’m not sure if the effort would be worth it to bring one of those up to part for a commercial release (however, I’d make the game community happy by contributing back to the source of one of those projects and tweaking the interface.)

There’s a simple reason why most of them end up looking like dogshit, and being fairly horrible. It’s a concept called Design By Commitee and it ends up killing commercial projects quite often too, but it’s more frequent with Open Source projects. Basically, someone has a great idea. They hack on it a bit, and start telling other people about thier idea. Other people contribute, then more people get involved. Everyone has an opinion, and begins expressing the opinion through the code or in discussion. Too many optinions fuck things up in the end. One person working alone does alot, but, lacks a certain amount of creativity. Two people get alot done, but, they are more creative – they bounce ideas off of each other, and the creativity of each combines to become more than the sum of it’s parts. Life is good. Same goes for three or four people. Once you hit about five, egos seem to kick in – you have to speak louder to get your ideas heard (or risk being ignored) and you begin to ‘campaign’ for features or ideas within the game. Every person added beyond that just makes things go downhill from there. There’s also other reasons why a lot of the Open Source game projects fail, but, that’s one of the main contributing factors. It’s really a pitty too! (Though I should say not ALL of them are failures. Crystal Space 3D, for instance, is awsome and managed to survive for a long time now!)

I’ve got pleanty of time to investigate options – writing a Isometric RTS engine is very simple (actually, I’ve already GOT part of one setting in one of my source directories where I decided to do some hackin’ on it to see how hard it was.) One of the other reasons I’m interested in working on this project (besides just being a really fun concept) is getting to work with someone else and hammer out details and ideas. Remember when I said whe you have two people, thier creativity levels interact? It’s a wonderful thing… or at least I think so, since I haven’t actually done it for game development that’s fully done yet! (I’ve got one game design doc where the guy I was working with just kinda quit working on it. I’m a bit disappointed, but, it was an ambitious project design wise, and he wanted to tackle something smaller first to understand the complexities. Or something like that.)

The rest of the weekend went towards things like shopping, gaming, and reading books.

Finished Manifold: Space, and Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter. Time is really good, and a very surprising book. Space is good, but, a bit depressing in a couple of points. Both are also very thoughtful books – there’s a lot to digest in them. They also have a very unique MO – each book is set with the same main character (Ried Malenfant) and approximately the same starting point on Earth (about 2010, with Earth’s resources starting to look bleak.) From there, nothing is the same really – well, Ried has pretty much the same attitude, but, beyond that the ‘Universal Constants’ of the stories are different – in Manifold: Time, Earth is alone in the universe. There are no other sentient beings. In Manifold: Space, it’s just the opposite – the universe is teeming with life in a sinister game of suvival of the fittest. I’ve just started Manifold: Origin, so I don’t know much about it yet. And I ALMOST garantee you’ll end up with the ‘Oh Hell’ factor – you know, a book that leads you a long, keeps feedin’ you information all along, and presents mysteries until you finally go ‘oh hell!’ when you realize what it’s leading up to – and think you probably should have already come to that conlusion earlier. However, both books have more than one ‘oh hell’ point in them, due to the number of mysteries they begin presenting. In other words – the first two are definite must-read books. Thanks to Jeff for recommending Manifold: Space.

Had breakfast with Heather, Jess, Dave, Duncan, and Liam today, and then hit Walmart for gardening supplies (time to get started planting the seedlings, etc. A very happy time of the year 🙂 Gonna have to do stuff like that with people more often – seems like everything Heabo and I do are ‘large group’ functions like gaming (minimum 8 people) or Buffy Night (minimum of about 8 people also.) For some reason (probably my dislike of crowds in general) I prefer setting around with friends in smaller settings – going out with another couple is always a really fun thing to do, but, going out with a group ends up getting a bit loud and chaotic for me. I’d love to do that sort of thing more often, but we’ve never got the time. Ok, I should rephrase that – I feel I never have the time. I’ve already got 3 days a week that are ‘social enguagements’ (Ok, one of them is just between Heabo and I – Date Night. That’s the most important one though) and all this work that needs to be done, etc., etc. I enjoy the company of my friends, but, I always have to ballance it against the future – all the work that needs to be done to get there, and how important some of it really is to me and Heather. I guess that’s just the way life goes sometimes.

Well, off to bed for me. I’ve got to go start kicking some ass again tomarrow, there’s work to be done 🙂


2002-03-04 12:36 pm UTC (from (link)  Select

geesh it is really hard to type out anything when a determined cat has discovered tht I am at my desk……she keeps circling and steps on the misc. buttons on the keyboard…one of these just happens to put everything into sleep mode!!!

the computer has been sleeping on and off for quite a while this session…..

sounds like this weekend was a good one….

we got a message from the master mechanics on the mountain..about the stinkin lincoln. I t seems that they have confured and the general idea is….

you have a major vacuum leak……

if it was in Missouri, they could get it fixed in about 30 minutes……

but instead they had Granpa call Larry and …he will be giving you all the variuos details:

vbbbbbbbb…patches is typing again!!!

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