Game Development

Blog 836: You Have Been Waylaid

Random encounters have been on my mind a lot recently, because I’ve been playing Final Fantasy VII for the first time. However, even before I was 25 years late to that seminal JRPG party, the well-established Baldur’s Gate influence ensured that random encounters would be on Exon‘s roadmap. In the mood for a break from working on the dark underground mine levels (and the obligatory Towers of Hanoi puzzle within), I decided it was high time I got some sun-soaked wilderness battle arenas in there.

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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 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 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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