Sunday, December 31, 2017

"Good" New Year's resolutions

Whoops, another year through the drain. And? Any new T22 stuff out yet?! Easy, I'm working on it... working on it for the last 7 years or so. When it's done, remember?

I'm lazy by nature, which means I'm very good at postponing things, and that, whatever task it is, it needs to be "important enough" before I do anything about it. For instance, changing underwear is only important enough if hordes of flies are surrounding me, and I only call the fire-fighters when the couch I'm sitting on is starting to boil.

BUT, if I do engage, I'm 250% on it, and nothing less. Whether that is programming a new bean harvester or digging a hole in the garden, I won't stop until its done. No time to relax, eat, or sleep. And with kids, construction plans for a new house, and two jobs, there is actually always some "important" work to do. Hence, I don't even have time to be sick. I'm walking with headaches, chills and snotty noses for the past seven weeks now, but didn't take time to sleep or stay home Which is just dumb.

What’s really important?
I honestly can't remember the last time that I came home and just dropped in the sofa to watch a nice movie, eyes half closed. Pretty much every day, including the weekends, I would be "working" till 1:30 A.M. Kids to bed, girl to bed, and then spend the rest of the night doing overwork, manage the household, or Tower22. Or digging holes, in the middle of the night.

Now I'm not complaining, because it has always been that way, and I prefer doing something "useful" over watching TV, sleeping, or even playing games. But last years, I felt all this work is feeling more and more like an obsession. My ego can't say no, so if somebody at works asks to write 100 pages of very boring stuff, I'll be writing 100 pages of boring stuff the next few days till deep night. It is hard to enjoy playing a videogame or have a stroll in the forest with my kids, because there is always this little puppet in my head. Tapping his watch, "c'mon lazy asshole, there is a job to do! You promised X to finish your work tomorrow, you promised yourself to finish bathroom drawings for your new house, you promised people to finish Tower22".

I'm getting a bit older, and I feel my health and family are a bit suffering from this. A guy needs his beer, TV and sleep (and some physical exercise as well b.t.w.). And a kid deserves a father that is patient, doesn't pack bags after 5 minutes fishing because he has other "work to do". A girl deserves a guy that treats her as the most important thing in the world, not his boss or hobbies. And me-myself deserves to enjoy the time spent with them, rather than feeling rushed. That little voice in my head needs to STFU.

Keep rolling rolling

So... what is this? An emotional excuse, followed by the End of Tower22 then? No, of course not. Habits don't change. And I prefer programming on T22 (or working in general) over watching stupid TV shows any time. I can't lay down on the beach for more than 6 seconds. But I do need to calm down a bit, somehow. T22 needs to be a hobby, not an obligation, not a sick obsession. Now as you may have noticed, I already did calm down on T22 for the last years. Not necessarily because I wanted that, but because other work took over, like a slow but merciless stream of lava. The amount diaper-duty grew with our new boy (three years old now), and real work didn't ease up on me either, bringing more tasks, more responsibilities, and people to take care of.

Nonetheless, I actually did spend dozens of hours in T22, but more behind the scenes. As you may have red here, the plan still is to give you boys & girls at least a playable demo. And from there on we shall see if there is sufficient demand to develop this further. Without fans, it's pretty hard to keep working on something (that's when things become an obsession eventually). And yeah, I haven't seen many fans last years. Which makes perfect sense because this blog isn't showing much, and the overall timespan is taking too long now.

But it's pretty dang hard to create a (good) demo as well, mostly alone. For one thing, making all the assets is just (too) much, but also making the Game Great Again is difficult when you are programming tiny pixels and boring technical details for the same rooms for years and years. Basically, I have no clue if the current product would do a good job in scaring people, as the original movie once did. Obviously the project as a whole was/is too ambitious to accomplish in its current shape, with just a few people.

Then again, I still do believe it's a matter of making that boulder roll. It has enough potential energy, but getting the goddamn thing rolling in the first place simply takes more than just a few people, and the project has always been stuck there, more or less. Partially because of the giant mass (read high demands and ambitions), partially because I did a poor job at assembling more manpower.

 Same shit, different package.

2018 New Year resolution: Sub-Sub-Demo
The playable demo I've been working on is pretty advanced in terms of (3D)environments, plot, scripting and programming. But without awesome artwork & sound (whether that would be high quality 3D props or going for the somewhat simpler pixelated route, as proposed in the previous post) and some more special horror-ingredients (= unique ideas), it would still feel half-finished, thus simply not fun or scary for the player.

So I thought, why not make two demos? By grabbing a relative small sub-part of the larger demo, and work that one out in big detail. In the worst case, I should be capable of doing that alone mostly, although I do expect some of the guys would still give me a helping hand just as long the goals are simple and short-term. It's really just a matter of making assets. Now that sub-demo would deliver gameplay for 5, maybe 10 minutes only, whereas the full demo was replayable and more like 40+ minutes. But being small in size, its more realistic to finish, and it's one of the scarier parts of the larger demo. Thus more interesting for you, and more likely to get the much-needed attention.

If you like the small-demo, we can proceed with the larger demo of course (it's already there anyway), if we manage to find some helpers that is. But if the demo is liked, that should be less of a problem.

Although (Summer) 2018 should certainly possible, I'm not going to promise any dates. As said, I need to calm down. And no, actually I can't calm down much since there is a new house to build within a few months. At least, I'm not laying the bricks as that would be disastrous, yet I do have to manage a hundred things and constantly kick ass to keep things going at the construction site. And the forecast at the other two jobs seems stormy so far as well... But I'll keep trying! Don’t think I forgot about you!
The very first time that seven years of working on T22 / Engine22 actually paid of: I was able to create or new house in the game and give my family a "Sneak Preview" (but using some of the horror assets / textures).