Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Abandon Hope!

...all ye who enter here! Oh just kidding, I've not given up the ghost. Not yet, anyway.

It's a little disconcerting to note that so much time has passed since my last entry, but then that is how these things go. Writing in my blog has simply not felt terribly compelling to me in a very long time - this is a lie - I am just really busy with all of the other things in my life. But it is true to a degree, 10 years ago I was fairly prolific and it built up speed for some time after that before sort of crashing following my philosophical evolution ("spend more time producing content, not promotion"). It doesn't mean I don't miss doing this however.

I think the larger issue is, in independent development, one grows weary of talking about "up and coming projects" after a certain statute of limitations has expired. It's now been years since I've last released a proper Headcase Games production, and that feels rather lame - especially if I am going to come in here, and say, well, anything.

Ultimately I am not going to feel too terrible about it; I would had my production completely ceased, and it has certainly not done that. It's not been deep-freeze'd either. Things of such a nature have just been on an extreme back-seat as my career has changed focus (discussed at length elsewhere in this blog) so, those things go, not too terribly surprising. And although I was fairly certain I would release 3 games over the course of the summer, now we are staring almost dead in the cold eyes of the end of 2014 and I am still empty-handed. I still hold that at least ONE game MAY see release before light-out... I know better than to make such a promise. But we will see.

On that end, I'll make some noise about the current state of affairs (because, I can!) Blast Rover has been "close to done" for well over a year now.. I accept most of the responsibility for the fact that this has not turned into a reality. The game simply was HUGE and the amount of assets that needed to be built for it were enormous. Also, I became strict with the idea that the game needed to support 4K - "future proofing" and all of that (as if there could ever be such a thing in tech, grump). Supporting 4K + HD + SD for all assets involved, it's been a nightmare. Mind you this is a game with a fair amount of 2D tilesets/sprite work in it. I built a fair amount of the assets (characters) as 3D models and rendered with a toon shader, but the lion's share of everything else were painstakingly and anal-retentively rendered as vector graphics which were trying very much NOT to look like vector graphics (because I hate the vector flash look that so many games use today). So it's been a long slog to say the least. But it has also been very much a labor of love. Regardless of what this thing is once it releases, it's been pure joy to work on the project. I won't lie and say there weren't periods where I got burned out and simply wished it would go away, with such a long and involved development I would be lying - but between the presentation and the gameplay I am very pleased with what we have accomplished. For me that is a huge reward.

Anyway the game is fairly wrapped up at this point, I am putting some "icing on the cake"assets together and getting ready to ship it out for testing/etc. A couple serious issues to address still, but it can't possibly be much longer now (heh heh... heh heh.... heh hehhhh-hh-h-h)

Trapdoor has always been on-and-off'ing in the background, I feel somewhat ashamed to realize it's been unfinished for like 3 years as well. Such a simple little game.. why? But again it's been a victim of circumstances. It pleases me to say that this past year, late spring actually, it started to get quite far along and a lot of the pieces finally snapped together. Along with everything else, of course, it tends to gather dust when I look away for more than a few minutes... but I believe most of it's assets are done as well. I still need to regroup the UI and touch up some ingame stuff - and ALSO convert everything to run properly with Android (that's pretty close, just not.. done.. yet). The coming weeks will see if we can get this thing into a presentable state such that it might have a candidate to submit by the year's end. We will see.

Jump Burger is kind of the tragedy of the group. The app that started the furthest out (2014 in fact) and got the most work done, the quickest.... but it was supposed to be wrapped up in the middle of the summer. At this point I have little expectation that it will ever see a release, at least in it's current trajectory. It was intended as a kind of throwaway experiment, but it actually turned into what I'd consider was really an ideal little mobile experience in many regards. It's a little depressing. So I can wholeheartedly promise that it won't release by the year's end. I have no idea when, or even if. Maybe I will learn to program myself, and just take care of it.. who knows...

GunHead must be mentioned, if only because it has been so long since it has been on my mind and I still consider it a "dream project" of mine. The working prototype was actually really excellent, and I miss having it very much. Not true either - I am glad it no longer resides on my phone, because that is a depressing reminder that we were on course with something quite fun (a 2D side-scroller run and gun that FELT GREAT on iOS!) If I ever get some cash together, I will just hire someone and give them all the assets and designs and get it made exactly how I want it. Even if the thing bombs in the marketplace, I don't really care, I just want to have a Contra on my phone that makes sense and is FUN!

Anyway there's the state of things. I have a billion other things to say about mobile/games/tech/industry/society/augmented reality/drama in my life/getting old/etc and would love to go on ad on in this journal, but it is late and I want to get back to designing Blast Rover icons. See ya later.