Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In the year 2011

And a healthy 2011! I already made a good start, producing magical shader/particle effects above the toilet on 1 January morning. Nah, I didn't make any promises. Nothing is going to change when it comes to bad habits, as I actually love my bad habits too much to give them up already. Although taking up jogging may be a good one. I used to run ~6 kilometers about three times in a week to a place where my friends gathered... to end up with a beer and a cigarette, very healthy. Nevertheless, after two years I finally had that Mike & Jim Ab-Pro belly. Leading to a girlfriend, leading to get well fed by her, leading to getting lazy as you don't have to score a girl anymore, leading to gain 25 kilograms again :) Oh, when she complains about that, I have some words to defend myself:
"At least you don't have to be jealous & nervous for the competition of other girls, as they don't look at me anymore"
1-0 for the Fatman.

Well, 2010 was a bumpy year for many. Quite a few big disasters here and there, a record when it comes to the death toll actually. Leslie Nielsen died, North Korea barks again, half of the Polish government died in a plane crash on an already terrible place. The Economical crisis saga continues, eating jobs along with it. Cancer took the lives of a couple of beloved ones, and Holland took a relative drastic turn in the political spectrum. Even worse, it seems the iPhone alarm didn’t work on 1 January. Thank God I’m still using an old Prince of Bell air Buzzer. My phone isn’t even capable of calling, let alone running a real-time clock!

For me personally, 2010 was an easy ride. Nothing really changed, except that our little girl learned how to talk my ears of. When it comes to game-development, a few milestones were set though. This blog is exactly one year old now, but the desire to make a game was already there after playing Doom2 when I was 11 years old. I've been trying to do something for years and years, but so far I never really shared it with another person. Don't like to enter the spotlights, so starting a blog to announce something was quite a big step.

Sooner than I expected, this blog would get the attention of a few readers. Thank you for that! Getting noticed and receiving some feedback is what it makes all worth it. Sure I know sites like these won’t reach Perez Hilton statistics, but really, it boosts the enthusiasm and devotion for this project. In fact, it triggered to make a very first movie of a real project: "Tower 22". Placing that movie on Youtube and getting all the positive feedback was something I could only dream of when 2010 started. Who the hell would be interested in the programming attempts of yet another fool on the internet?

As a cherry on the pie, and what I expected least, was to form a small team in 2010 already as well. Initially I intended to delay such a request for help until I really got something awesome to show. But hey, what the heck. I've been way too passive on this whole game-programming thing for too long, just go for it! Wait too long and… as Acda & de Munnik sing:
“van al zijn jongensdromen was alleen het oud worden behaald”
Which means something like “from all his youth(boys) dreams, only “getting old” has been realized.

And so the prayers were answered. Not with my 14 year old nephew who would like to help after learning Java and MS Paint for 2 months. But with real creative people, some of them with actual experience in the (commercial) game-biz.

Quickie by Julio. Making ideas for the environment in a second demo...

All in all, 2010 was a fabulous year for this project. And the nice thing about a blog is that you write your own history/diary as you go, this whole course has been documented so far. Nice for the grandchildren around the hearth over 30 years. But we have to look forward. There is no game yet. In fact, the whole thing has just begun! Besides implementing new techniques into the Engine, 2011 will be the year where I hopefully learn how to instruct a small team. Hey, it's not easy to make fun & challenging assignments for five hungry men! Let's hope we as a team can lift this project to a next level;

Game & Team
- Player character (not that rusty box-robot)
- Making a more definite game-plan, including environment sketches
- Documenting those ideas in a private(sorry!) Wiki
- Second (and maybe third) demo movie with more gore, more atmosphere, and more advanced techniques
- Creating a real sound library instead of "borrowing" it from other sources
- Maybe looking for another modeler/mapper when Demo #2 releases

- Volumetric light-shafts & fog
- More lights & better shadows
- Geometry shaders
- Upgraded real-time G.I. (ambient lighting)
- FMOD sound library
- Upgraded AI module
- Upgraded Physics module, possibly with the help of a second programmer

As for this Blog, a few things may change as well. As expected, the poll turned out that most of the visitors would like to see some more technical specs. Not a surprise, although I won't turn this blog into Nehe, Humus3D or the likes. I still like to maintain the non-technical aspect as well. So, after some puzzling I thought about:

- 1 week a technical post, the other week a non or less technical post. So, you know when to skip a post ;)
- Can't guarantee a post every Sunday / Monday anymore. Man, I'm just too busy!
- But, hopefully some of the other team members can occasionally write about their sound / modeling / drawing or writing experiences. Meet the Creative side!
- Trying to make a few more short game-stories. Not revealing clues though.
- To make the technical info somewhat more accessible, a new “indexing” page that refers to other history Blog posts. Well, just have a look the
“blog index” page to see what I mean.

Next week I'll tell you something about either Geometry shaders or Light shafts. Well, a happy 2011 to all of you!

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