So, I've been learning how to make games now for a little under 4 years. While I always had wanted to be a game designer, I never had put much serious thought into it growing up.
Instead, what I did was dedicate many years to music. I got my first instrument at the age of 15, which was a Squire bass guitar.
For the next few years playing bass was basically all I did. It was fun. This eventually lead to me joining my first band, The Pegleg Pirate Squad.
This is all that remains of that online. A teaser video I made in high school.
As with most bands, it didn't work out. Oh well.
Years would pass and I taught myself some basic guitar. Later on I would join up with some cool dudes and make a band called Watch Your Step! where I would play some guitar.
We might have been a bunch of dirty punk boys, but it was a lot of fun. Once again, it didn't work out.
After a couple more years of floating about, I decided to give the music more try. This time with The Nash and myself back on bass.
I was going through a pretty shitty time in my life and things quickly got out of control and ultimately I decided that maybe music wasn't what I should be doing. So... what?
I remember it started with a conversation with my brother. Somehow we had gotten on the topic of game development, and how many developers recommended having a portfolio of projects, rather than a degree, when searching for jobs in the industry. This lead to my discovery of the game engine Unity, and many long nights of following online tutorials after work.
So, yay; I was learning to make games, but holy shit is it hard to do with no real instructor, no direction, and no technological skill. Needless to say, I often found myself doubting myself, asking myself why was I doing this, and trying to figure out if I really enjoyed going through all the stress.
When I would really start to think about why I wanted to do this it always brought me back to the same place:
Somewhere around the age of 7 things went to shit in my family, and slowly video games transitioned from something that my parents would use as a treat, to something they used as a distraction. By the age of 9 or 10 the only life that existed was the one inside the TV screen. What was once a five member household became three, and that's being generous. Countless nights were spent staying up until 5 or 6 in the morning playing N64 with my brother, often while drinking coffee neither of us knew how to properly make. Castlevania 64, Jet Force Gemini, Pokemon Stadium, Hybird Heaven, Ocarina of Time, these were my reasons to get up in the morning. Or maybe it was Monster Rancher, or Chrono Cross, or Digimon World. Don't even get me started on Lunar: Silver Star Story; that game fucked up my entire world. What I'm trying to say is video games were extremely important to me, and kept me from getting into too much trouble.
When I needed an emotional crutch, or an escape from a depressing reality, I had video games. Now that I'm older I feel it is my responsibility to give back/pass it on.
Does anyone know if Games as Therapy exists? Because I think that should be a legit form of help.
Seriously though, Lunar. That game. <3
Welcome back to another episode of Blogs with Joel. We took a short recess last week due to the Christmas holiday, but we're back with more fun things to talk about.
So, first of all, Happy 2018. Welcome to another year. I hope you keep on the grind and your dreams come closer to fruition.
Do I have any goals for this year? Kind of. For the most part I'm just going to stay the course. Keep focused on developing The Ovate Order(TOO) and stay consistent with my diet and work out routine. I do have one actual 'goal' for the year though, which brings me to my next point...
NYS Game Development Challenge 2018
So, last year RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) started doing this awesome thing where they host a competition of sorts where the winners obtain funding for their game development, among a slew of other benefits through working with the RIT community.
I entered TOO into it last year, but failed to place among the finalists. This year I plan on placing as a finalist.
However, let's talk about failing for a minute. Failing is awesome. It's the best thing you can ever do for yourself. Why is that? Because when you fail you are left with only two options; the first option is to give up. Now, no one likes to admit they've given up, so a lot of times we tell ourselves, or people around us, things like "I didn't really want it anyways" or "I didn't even really try as hard as I could." This is a great tactic at avoiding the reality of the failure, and the pain that comes with realizing that maybe you aren't as good at that thing as you thought you were.
The second option is to get better. Now, this is when the awesome shit happens. Once you realize you're a failure you're able to really start trying, and start pushing yourself to that next level.
You never really know who you are until you fail. So, I hope all of you people out there fail. A lot. Like, all the time.
While we're on the topic of learning...
Hitting Rock Bottom
Another great tool for unlocking your inner Rocky is having to deal with that awesome sensation of hitting rock bottom. That point in your life where it really couldn't get any worse. I love it, it's probably one of my favorite places. They say nothing motivates like pain, and if you've ever had the pleasure of hitting rock bottom you know it's quite a painful place to be. However, if you're able to get your shit together and climb back up from the bottom, you have basically unlocked the secret to accomplishing anything you want in life.
That being said, I encourage everyone reading this to completely fuck your life up, intentionally, to the point where it seems like there is no coming back. Then, fix that shit. Cool, now you're ready to own the world.
Sounds risky? Yeah, probably is.
Yeah, if there's ever a sequel that will be what it's called. People will be like, "Yo, you got that TOO 2!?" and their friends will think they are talking about that shit dancers wear. It'll be the greatest comedic act of 2025.
For now I'll focus on TOO. So, I've been taking my time with this new area I've been working on. I think it's going to come out really cool. I'll be posting some pics and whatnot on the homepage within the next couple days, but basically it's an old energy reactor. It's not part of the main story line, but fits into a side quest involving a very bizarre town secluded away on the northern coast of the island. Strange times will ensue.
I think once I have gotten all of its art pieces done I will be moving on to the next little continent. I need to do a little research on the local geography of its real-world counter part beforehand, but I think it's going to be really neat.
Check out the links on the side bar to hit up my Twitter, IG, and Facebook. I post things, sometimes.
Peace out, human scout.
-New Year, New Meowth
So, I wasn't sure if I was going to be doing this weekly, but it seems like I am.
Where to start?
I guess we'll start it off with some current events. If you're a loyal Islander, you may recall a post I made a few weeks back about taking Saturdays off from my day job(s) in order to get some big chunks of work done on The Ovate Order.
Well, that backfired.
While I have moved my shift to the morning in an attempt to reclaim the heft of the day for game dev purposes, I am still working Saturdays, and have actually picked up an additional Friday shift. So, I'm back to being really busy 7 days a week.
This isn't all bad, though. Now with a couple extra bucks each month I am thinking about finally moving out of my studio apartment into a full blown 1 bedroom! Woah! I initially moved into this studio as a transitional apartment. I had just moved back from Mexico with my girlfriend at the time, and was looking for a place to rent ASAP. At the time it was almost perfect; cheap, located walking distance to my job, and most importantly, available. However, as I spend more and more time at home working on The Ovate Order, I realize it would be greatly beneficial to have a separate room for sleeping/relaxing. Having my work station looming over me every minute while I am home is bad for the sanity.
We'll see how it goes. Tentacles crossed.
The Ovate Otter
Order? Otter? Whatever.
So, as I said last post I've just been doing art assets... and I think I'm going to stick with that game plan for a while. Since time is a hot commodity right now I need to work fast, and out of all the things I could possibly work on right now, the art is going to be the quickest to get done. I've discussed managing all aspects of development with other solo devs, and it's pretty much the general consensus that switching from art, to sound design, to coding, to writing dialogue/text on a daily or weekly basis only slows down development.
This is one of the areas of development that gets me the most excited. To me it's through the art that I can really start to see the world 'come alive.' So, be sure to check out my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook in the coming weeks to get the low down on new art assets including environments, spell effects, enemies, etc!
Butt Weight, There's More
Oh you thought it was over? It's never over.
There's one more thing I feel I should talk about, at least a little, and that's working out. That shit is something I do religiously. 4 nights a week, 2(ish) hours a night. Miss one day and I feel like I'm going to revert back into a puddle of ooze. Unhealthy? Naaah. While it may lead to odd eating habits and the fear of 'losing my gains,' physical exercise is one of the best natural mood enhancers ever. Depressed? Work out. Angry? Work out. Anxious? Work out. Your mood will level out in no time.
Now I know what you may be thinking. "IDK Joely, for working out so much you kind of look like a blob of Jello wrapped around Quasimodo . WTF bro. Do you even lift?"
First of all: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OloLS5kTrVs
Second of all: I was like 230lbs of blubber until I was 19. All I did was play video games and eat pizza for like 10 years straight. In that time I lost all my muscle mass, and gained a whole lot of fat. Then in my early 20's I went on this awesome diet called Not Eating and lost even more muscle mass. My lowest weight was around 150lbs, and at 6'0" that's pretty damn low. So, the past 2-ish years of lifting weights has basically been just rebuilding everything I never used. It's been a long ass journey, but I now have around 8 consecutive months of working out under my belt and I almost look like a fully formed human. It's awesome.
One day I will look like Chiaotzu and my quest will be over.
It is I, Joel. The one and only. The multiple and many.
While I hope for the heft of this Blog to be related to game dev, thoughts on the game industry, and developments here on Piko Island, I have created this internet diary in order to give myself a platform to which I can spew nonsense from my brain into a written format.
But Why Tho?
Recently I have been filling my head with psychological whoo-hah, and one thing, which was said to be 'beneficial' to the human being, was writing. So, I figured I'd give it a go. I always liked writing as a youngling.
In addition, I have been introduced to this new idea of 'not being a tyrant to yourself.' The gist of it is that you shouldn't force yourself to always be working, or creating. Your mind/body/subconscious/pitiful little soul needs to be treated kindly, and rewarded for doing good things. I guess there have been studies that show decreases in general happiness, and increases in cortisol levels when humans are put through constant stress. Science and shit. Who's got time for that, tho?
I Am Doom Slayer
So, in an attempt to wring some enjoyment from life, I decided to play Doom (2016), and maybe finally beat it. It has been going well. I killed some demons, some demons killed me. In the end I felt like we came to a mutual understanding. I gave them hugs with my fists, and bullets. Rip and tear.
Perhaps one of my favorite features of the game was collecting those adorable little Doom Guy dolls. Their proportions are just so fantastically crafted. I really felt good about saving them from the hordes of demons on Mars and in Hell. It reminded me of when I was a child and I would try to protect my stuffed animals from the Satan Spawn which dwelled in my closet and outside of my window. I really hope whoever suggested that feature got a promotion.
Doom does a pretty good job at setting itself apart from other FPS these days. While the level design is clearly more structured as 'room to room', I was catching a lot of Halo vibes from some of the larger battles. It almost felt as if The Flood could appear at any moment. However, towards the middle of the campaign it seems as if Doom begins to struggle with it's identity.
1 In the beginning Doom was very upfront about it's 'fuck your bullshit, I'm here to kill' approach. 2 The Doom Slayer did not think twice about destroying computers, comm terminals, etc, in his quest for blood. 3 However, at some point he becomes complacent. 4 As players, we are then forced to wait for unskippable dialogue scenes to finish. 5 Usually this wouldn't bother me, I enjoy plot to my games, but Doom had me gearing up for a slaughter fest, not story time with Wall-E.
Minor grievances aside, I have enjoyed my time with Doom. Hell is, indeed, a nice place to visit.
Piko is Still Here. Say 'Hi' Lil P.
That's Piko saying Hi.
So, on the game dev front I have basically just been doing art for the past few weeks. Following the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, I took a week (ish?) to process some things, and really think about the future of The Ovate Order. I know the future holds great things, but I also know that it's only going to get more difficult as development continues.
So, in order to completely block out all those negative thoughts I've been making lots of new art assets! Mama always said, you can't be sad with a wacom pen in hand!
Happy Land got some sweet new additions (it's punny because they're candy), and I've started planning some reactor stuff, and underground mishaps.
So, yeah. Art. It's fun. I'm struggling to not post every little new thing I make. I want to share it, but I also want to leave some things to, you know, be discovered while playing the game.
I think that's it for this week's episode.
Like, seriously. An episode of mental instability.
Peace out ya'll.