Game Development

Blog 832: Exon: Mobile

Sometimes in life, you have to admit that you’ve been a fool. I’ve had to admit that I’ve been a fool about many things over the eight years of working on Exon, and today is… well it’s just another in a long line of admissions of foolishness. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it, right?

So I’d been focusing on Exon as a mouse-and-keyboard PC game, but I realise that most people aren’t remotely interested in that. No, if I want real human beings to actually play my game, I need to go out to meet them — I need to be on mobile. So I’m reworking Exon for mobile. How hard can it be?

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Game Development

Blog 831: Load Order

I went down to London to see Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark at the Royal Albert Hall this week. That was on Monday, and since I got the train back on the Tuesday, I figured I might as well take the rest of the week off work too. Go hard or go home, am I right? (Or in this case, do both.)

That gave me a few days to work on something a bit meatier than usual, the kind of work that I shy away from because, while it may be necessary, it’s complex and scary. Why did somebody so full of fear take up solo game development? That’s a question I ask myself every day.

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Game Development

Blog 827: Variables

RPGs need to have memories. Characters need to remember that they’ve been spoken to. Quests need to remember that their objectives have been ticked off. Incidental asides need to remember that they’ve already occurred. Enemies need to remember that they’ve been killed.

A lot of these cases are handled automatically by the appropriate subsystem. For example, Exon has a whole, discrete quest system that handles objectives, their completion states and how they show up in the Datavault.

But sometimes that’s not quite right. Sometimes, you just need a dangling Boolean flag that can be checked now and again.

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Game Development

Blog 826: Fragment v0.03

Look at me, with my monthly update cadence. How long will it last? As long as there are bugs to fix, I imagine, and it looks like there is still no shortage. When will I get to actually shipping some “new content”, that mythical “rest of the prologue”? Well, I’ve started working on the next couple of levels, but it’s still early days so they’re staying behind the Insert Disc 2 message for now (but I’m sure if you’re a l33t h4X0r you can datamine their skeletons from the archives).

Actually “no new content” is a bit of a lie — I’ve finally implemented the inventory weight limit! Read all about how and why I’m going to frustrate you below (or just head over to Itch and take on the burden for yourself).

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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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