Trajectory Zone progresses, day job changes yet again, & a game community under development (but not a web-based freebie community)

OK, so, I’m only supposed to be workin’ four days a week, right? Well… that’s not workin’ out too well for the Day Job. I worked all of last week, will work all of this week, worked one 24 hour shift last Monday (got in the office at 8 AM, left on Tuesday at 8 AM), and am biddin’ work like a madman. I’m still only getting PAID for 4 days a week, but, I’m pooling up my days off (with thier approval – they understand that I couldn’t take a day off without disrupting things at this time) to take a 9 day straight paid vacation 🙂 Time for some SERIOUS hackin’ on TZ 🙂
Trajectory Zone progressed quite a bit of the week, amazingly. Nothing was broken and no emergencies (except that one 24 hour day at the office) so I was able to get some serious hackin’ done on it. The PlayGUI has been changed, AGAIN, to something completely different – but, it’s layed out more logically, and looks nice (IMHO). Also finally fixed a pet-peeve of mine. If you use lots of particles (TZ does) you’ve probably discovered what happens when you have an explosion at point-blank range – the machine harfs on it for a sec. Torque doesn’t like lots of particles up close and personal. So after a discussion at the TEP, I figured out how to implement it in the current particle engine – I submitted a resource for it (not approved yet, the last time I looked). Also implementing a couple o’ changes to my terrain deformation system to make it more efficent (my inital version wasn’t bandwidth friendly.)
Havin’ to tap one of the game publishers I’ve been dealing with, and see what the status of Tile Panic! is – it’s supposed to end up on shelves one o’ these days, but, haven’t heard back from them on the last requested change to the game. Once that’s done, I’ll be pretty happy – finally a game on the shelf, even if it’s only as part of a compilation of puzzle games. Plus, it’s money 😉 (Ok, and the novelty of going down to Wal-Mart, buying a copy, and telling the checkout lady that I’m buyin’ a copy of my own game would probably never wear off. 😉
Development on the small game projects continue, but, I keep running into a stupid problem. I get a little too focused on ‘small things’, and forgetting what the real goal is: rapid development of new small games. I spent a week tryin’ to implement ONE feature… then realized it wasn’t worth it. That blew a week of development right there, when I shoulda been dropping it into beta by that point. “Sometimes it’s hard to remember your goal is to drain the swamp when you are a**hole deep in aligators”. It definitely applies to me and game development sometimes.
One project that just completely leaped ahead development wise is a Game Community / Game Service I’ve been developing. I wasn’t really supposed to be putting much effort into it yet (TZ & and the first small puzzle game are my primary goals at the moment), but, as fate would have it I ended up putting a heck of a lot of work into it in a short period of time. Above I mentioned that I had to work 24 hours straight at the office? Well, it was doin’ D-sized plots from PDF files. Took about 20 minutes per plot, but, you couldn’t queue plots. So, I hit ‘plot’, and programmed, repeat as nessisary for 24 hours. Well, I didn’t have a current TZ tree or Flip Panic! tree, so, I started in on the game server software. It’s now mostly complete – amazing what 24 hours straight concentrated programming with 3 2-liters of Pepsi can do for a project!
It’s almost ready to go now. Wild. As it happened, most of the money for the project has been fronted to me by friends who were askin’ for me to host certain games on it (VGA Planets is one of the games – an old BBS game we put HOURS into.) I’ve now got the bandwidth for it, and the hardware. But… I don’t really have enough games for it.
So – if you’ve developed a multi-player shareware or indie game that you’d like to make a couple more bucks off of (but don’t expect a lot – expecially when I first launch it) I’d really like to talk to ya’ about it. Right now I’ve only got 3 games (not including the online roleplaying stuff, which is pretty nitche type gaming) to work from (VGA Planets, SamuGame’s Artifact will be running on the system, and a MUD) at the moment. I’ve got more things I’m lining up, but, I’d like to see what else is out there to put up on the system. Drop me a line (my address is in my profile, or just drop a message here). Just about anything multi-player will be considered – but, I’m looking for games without high blood and gore content (IE – no QA3 style body parts flyin’ everywhere 😉 And, even better, something that would fit into a community style setting is best – games where it’s advantageous to be social. Actual deployment of the game service is “When It’s Done.” I don’t plan on rushing it out the door too quickly, and as I pointed out, there’s just not enough games for it yet.
Ok, back to real game work 🙂
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr   (Feb 24, 2003 at 14:03)  
Oh, and I forgot one thing…
I’ve got a Mac now. Nice little 12″ Powerbook 800 (with a couple o’ this, that, and the others thrown in on it.) I haven’t even bothered trying to compile TZ for it yet – instead, I’ve been playing with it getting used to The Mac Way of doing things. Damn OSX is sweet. I absolutely love it. I think Mac has it right – the only problem we’ve had software or hardware wise was a minor problem with the mouse (ok, and OpenOffice was a bit wierd to install – didn’t expect to have to install AppleX11 to put an application on.)
Now, if I could just get my OWN Mac (this is shared with my Med Student wife… who absolutely loves the Mac since we got it) I would probably be a permenant convert, and would be porting my games to PC, instead of porting them to Mac 🙂
After I feel I understand The Mac Way of doing things, I’ll start making attempts at getting TZ to compile (figure there will be a couple o’ case related issues to start with), and then start looking at the other issues that come with it. I already modified TZ a little bit (making the game more one-mouse button centric by default, but, you can map it however you like) in preperation for the Mac version.
When I finally have some serious cash “just laying around”, I’ll buy myself my own Mac – something like the 17″ powerbook, so I can take it to places like IndieGamesCon or wherever showing off my games or making a presentation is a good idea. That will be a hell of an adjustment – my current laptop is a Toshiba Libretto CT100 (it’s a ‘full blown’ PC slightly larger than a paperback book, with Windows 98 on it. I’ve owned it for ages now. It’s got A LOT of miles on it.)
Nicolas Quijano   (Feb 24, 2003 at 16:16)
Jaguar is sweet, ain’t it ? 8p
Glad you’re likingn it, and I hope you can bring TZ over quite easily…
Keep us updated on how everything goes

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