Feast or Famine – I’m getting a little fat, work wise. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – it’s not a gaming fix, it’s a research project.

Honestly. Trajectory Zone Beta 3 highs and woes. All in this short .plan file… (yeah right, it’s just a little smaller than normal 😉
I’m no longer allowed to sleep. So I’ve been going along, cranking on Trajectory Zone and have been looking for paying work at the same time, though not huge hunks of work. Picked up a contract game development project (actually, two back-to-back projects for the same company) which ballooned in size along the way. Then some other contract work that I had been expecting to happen “eventually” kicked in at the same time. So for the next week, it’s mega crunch to get a lot done, then a much more reasonable shedule after that to continue on with the contract game development stuff (my tactic was to split the day in half – the first 6 hours are “other” contract work, and the second 6 are game dev for contract work, and 1 to 2 hours of Trajectory Zone bug fixes and such.)
The upside to all of this – money. That was a problem for a while (we had reserves to work from, but, no one really likes to work out of thier reserves if possible), but it’s not going to be for the next couple of months easily.
Trajectory Zone has been slowly crusing along in beta mode. Lots of bugs found, a good number of bugs squashed. But most importantly – amazing amounts of feedback. There are still two more game modes to test for Beta 3, but, I’m pretty happy with how things went. One major problem though is a discrepency between the number of people who signed up for the beta, and the number of people who I’ve actually seen online / seen in the beta forums. Major problem there – I think like 15 people have played, and 50 are signed up. How disappointing.
I’ve already got my hitlist for Beta 4 now – but I do want to continue on with the beta process for Beta 3, just to see what peoples feelings are on the last two game modes.
So, I’m talking with the guy who was wanting to contract me for some game development work, and he tells me a bit about what he’s looking for in the way of physics, and holds up Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has his example of what he would like the physics to be like.
Vice City has been on my “To Play” list for quite a while. I played the original Grand Theft Auto, and thought it was “ok” at best. But Vice City? Holy smokes. I don’t much care for driving games, but this thing rocks. My favorite part isn’t the normal missions though – I like being a pizza delivery guy. 🙂
When it comes to physics, I think it’s just about perfect – instead of simulating the real word carefully, they provided a consistent set of physics within thier own game world, and made the focus on how well the physics facilitate gameplay, not make it harder. It’s slick. It’s also what I’ve been contracted to do – make game physics for a Torque based game work like this. I like this particular challenge – it took me a while to map out the particulars of what was wrong with the existing implementations, and put together a plan to fix the problem. I like a good challenge.
Dylan Sale   (May 12, 2004 at 00:33)
For the Produce Panic Beta, we had maybe 20 or more people sign up, but only 2 actually contributed anything. But did they ever contribute! LOTS of bugs found. They earned their place in the credits 😀
Michael Cozzolino   (May 12, 2004 at 10:53)
I suspect many people want to be a beta “player” not tester. I’m sure many probably intended to test but found themselves without the adequate time to do so.

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