Game Development

Blog 825: My Milkshape Brings All the Models to the Unity

I’ve been using Milkshape 3D for all my modelling and animation needs since I first discovered it in my Warcraft III days (though it wasn’t until Guesst finally cracked animation export to MDX that I really got going). To be fair it was the first 3D modelling and animation tool I ever used, but I fell in love nonetheless. It’s very simple; you might say it’s lacking in features, but I say it’s clean and focused, and it’s ideally suited to working on the low-poly creatures, vehicles and decorations that I enjoy/am capable of making.

There is one tiny wrinkle: in order to get that artwork into Unity, I have to export it to an interchange format. That’s a whole extra three or four clicks! What if… what if Unity could understand Milkshape files directly?

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Game Development

Blog 823: Fragment v0.02

Of course Exon: Fragment is full of bugs; I’m only one man and it’s composed of flexible systems that can interact with each other in ways I could never have anticipated. Also people have deliberately been trying to break it rather than just playing it naturally… But hey, that’s exactly why I’ve released this chunk quietly: so I can get all that stuff sorted before launching into the rest of the game.

But what stuff I’ve got to deal with, ooft.

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Game Development

Blog 822: Exon: Fragment OUT NOW

For how many years have I been saying “this year I’ll release something”? Too many to count, I’ll wager. But this year — for real this time — this year I’m actually doing it. Have I wasted all those years trying to build something in which nobody has the slightest interest, or have I hit upon a formula that will spark joy in its players?

Only one way to find out: download Exon: Fragment from itch.io now.

Do I want your feedback? … Uh… honestly? Only if it’s nice. I’ve put… rather a lot into this. (But if you’re already following me, you probably know that by now.)

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Game Development

Blog 820: Use the Tools Available

My bots in Exon have been annoying me for a while. They’ve been totally serviceable, they’ve just not been using the Energy Thrower — the ranged EMP stun gun that can be picked up in the Arena. They have been picking it up, just never using it. They’ve been charging with the Rocket Boosters. They’ve beem pinging away with the Shard Rifle and zapping with the Laser Rifle. But not the Energy Thrower. It’s a powerful piece of equipment! They should be using it!

Maybe one month before releasing the demo is a poor time to completely annihilate and rebuild your bots’ equipment/ability usage logic, but on the other hand, bots using their abilities against you is kinda the whole game. Also I put loads of effort into that electric stun effect, I want you to see it more often.

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Game Development

Blog 817: Growing Pains

I noticed recently that Exon now runs like shit on my big game-dev laptop.

This is a problem for two reasons: one, the game looks like it’s from the late 90s so I feel like it should be able to run on at least a 5-year-old laptop; and two, half the reason I even bought the laptop was so that I could use it to demo the game out in the wild. If it can’t demo the game, it’s basically useless. (Okay, that’s a bit harsh; it’s still useful as a dev machine so I can work in Levels for a bit each week. Please come visit me on Friday and Saturday afternoons!)

It is, thus, time to descend into the Profiler to find out what the hell is going on…

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Game Development

Blog 815: The Next Level

The Exon Academy is complete! The first level of the first campaign of Exon is fully playable, a self-contained lump of quests along with the tentpole minigame of The Arena. Bookended by the “Insert Disc 2” notice that appears if you actually try to leave the area, it could be shipped as a demo — give or take any traditional bugs that still linger.

But I’m not going to do that just yet, because with the first level complete, it’s now time to… make more levels.

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Game Development

Blog 813: Closing the Loop

I am currently finding myself in a weird position with Exon. The first level — the Exon Academy and surrounding environs — is almost done, and so I’m starting to really want to move on to different levels… but I also don’t want to start making more levels until I’ve really, truly finished something. Especially when that something is very conveniently packagable as, oh I don’t know, a first release maybe?

The eternal temptation.

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Game Development

Blog 809: Raiding the Datavault

I was starting to flesh out the third section of the tutorial when I realised I was missing a screen. (What do you mean, I keep getting distracted from the minimum shippable vertical slice level?) One of the primary ways you’ll be able to get into places you’re not supposed to be is by finding the codes to keypad locks, except… well, then you need somewhere to store those codes, so you don’t forget them. You need a Notepad.

Then I realised that there was another missing piece of the datavault: the area map. How can you find your way around without a map? (Quite easily, my levels are not going to be particularly large, but indulge me, please.)

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