My Latest Vimeos


0.0 hrs / 2 wks

Gamer Cards


Editor progress never shared (previously unseen!)

So, back when I worked on my game a while back, I knew I needed to be able to edit and create levels.  I began working on an editor.  I looked back through the archives and found out that I had not shared any information on it (that I can find).  So here it is, partially working.  The Blonk Editor.

Screenshot of me loading the Prototype 1 level:


Some Options

So, in preparation for a glorious 2017 resurrection of my game development hobby, I made some purchases earlier this year that I figured couldn’t hurt, especially at the cost they were at (thank goodness for Humble Bundle!).

The first purchase I made was a bundle that included GameMaker Studio Pro

The bundle I got included the source code to a bunch of games.  That was a good start, that I should be able to sick the boys on and see if they are really motivated to make something.

I also this week saw a bundle that included the following:

And more.  I’m sure there is more, since I like to hoard things.

When you couple that up with all the other amazing free tools that are out there, along with the other stuff I’ve purchased in the past, I definitely have more than enough to make a few simple games.  

Now the hard part: converting the energy into actual work!   Also, that minor thing of keeping a 10, 7 and 5 yr old’s attention span…

It’s almost 2017…

Wow, it has been a long time since I have updated this blog.  It is time to dust this thing off and give an update of what has happened since the last time I posted.   Regarding Blonk, I’ve dusted the code off a couple of times since the last time I posted a video.  In that time, I updated to XNA 4.0 and also started to migrate the code out of XNA (since it is officially dead).  I started working with MonoGame sometime back in 2014.  I started updating all the code to work with the latest versions of the libraries, including Farseer, MPE and others.  Those all started to go the way of XNA, so I began evaluating options.  That was now a couple of years ago, so not much has changed.   In more recent news, earlier this year I was looking at the code again and my kids were watching some of my videos.  I heard things like “that’s cool Dad, what game is that?”  It was really neat when I got to tell them that that was actually a game that I had been working on.  The look on their faces was pretty priceless.  What came next was unexpected.  They all asked if they could help.  I was speechless.  I had never thought of that before.  Back when I started, most of them weren’t even born yet, or definitely couldn’t think for themselves.  Now, they are all interested in things and want to contribute.  Light bulb…  So, this is me announcing my intention to take them up on their offer.  In 2017, I will be putting them to work.  There are some difficult choices ahead.  I will post a few more progress updates as things go along. Choices to be made:

  • Continue on with Monogame?
  • Shift to a different engine?
  • What particles?
  • What physics engine?
  • Change in language?  (Probably not, I am too invested in C# to go anywhere else.
  • Switch to 2.5 D?
  • Try a different 

July Progress Update

So here is a video of my latest progress of where I am to date.

Lot’s more to come soon.  Hopefully I will be able to show off my level editor next week.

New Beginnings, again

I started working again.  Yay!  It has been almost a year since I had time to devote to my little prototype/game project.  I’m not entirely sure how I lost my motivation (it all started with work), but once it was gone, it was very hard to get it back again.  Ironically, I’m also not entirely sure what caused it to come back again, but hey, when its here, run with it right?

A couple weeks ago, the desire to pick it back up again hit me.  I’ve had the desire before, but what stopped me was knowing what I was going to have to hurdle to get the ball actually working again.  It was like the restitution coefficient (physics on the brain again …) was so high, I couldn’t even get the thing going.  I knew I was going to have to figure out all my problems that I was having with the physics, etc.  When I loaded the solution back up into Visual Studio, I knew I was going to have to update my middleware libs (Farseer Physics from 2.01 to 2.1.3 and Mercury Particle Engine from 3.0.0 to 3.1.0) and XNA itself (from 3 to 3.1).  That didn’t seem like a very exciting prospect, but I bit the bullet and gave it a go.

As it turns out, it only took me 1 day (a few hours), to update all 3 of those things and get my project compiling the same way it had in the past.  Then I had to take time to read through all my code again and try and figure out what the heck it was that I was doing.  That ended up taking much more time than the new integrations.  Once I had a handle on what I was trying to do, I started looking into the problems I had previously (see last year’s final posts on the prototype to see).

The physics just didn’t want to cooperate entirely, and the blocks didn’t really want to stack.  At that time, one of the developers of Farseer Physics (FP) told me to look into their method, which they called inactivity.  I tried using it and it did not do what I needed, no matter how much I tweaked.  I then looked into Box2DX, a csharp port of Box2D, and found that it had what I wanted, which it called sleep.  Essentially, it kept a list of bodies that are directly in contact with one another.  If all those bodies weren’t moving, it would put them to sleep.  Otherwise, they would wake up.  I decided that that was what I needed, so I was going to add it to FP myself.  Before doing so, I decided to post on FP’s forum and ask if there was any progress to my previous issues with the Inactivity Controller.  I was pointed to their development version (FP3), which is still being developed.  They also pointed out to me that there was a new Box2D port to XNA, which they, in turn, ported into FP3.  This was very fortuitous, since it already had the sleeping bodies that I was after.

This then led me to then upgrade the FP lib again, but this time, it broke everything.  This was different, though, because I knew that it was going to lead to some light at the end of the tunnel.  Now, here I am about 3 nights later, and I decided its about time to rewrite my whole prototype while I’m redoing the code, to get it more ready for a game.  That sounds like a setback, but I’ve already made more progress in a few hours than I had made in weeks before stopping.  I think this means I am now officially pumped, and anyone who still reads this (probably nobody) can expect the videos to start up again very soon.

Is the PS3 the best console of this generation?

I have to start out and say that I am a fan of Xbox and I do like Microsoft, just so people can categorize my opinion accordingly.  I have always payed attention to the console market, even when I wasn’t playing anything myself.  Historically, I have owned almost every console ever made.  And when I didn’t own them, I had friends that did (Neo Geo and Turbo Graphics 16 anyone?).  More recently, I bought an Xbox, and modded the heck out of it.  XBMC was the greatest thing on a console ever known to man.  Nowadays, I have been a happy 360 owner for almost 3 years now, even when I got the dreaded RROD.

So, the slim came out and I had to finally enter into Sony’s world.  I had a PS2, but was peer-pressured into it.  While I did not want one, there was enough on there that let me know that Sony did have a few things going for it.  One thing that I HATE about Sony is their hype machine.  When PS2 was coming out, it was the “Emotion Engine” and how it was supposed to create the first video games that could make you cry.  I think Sony did probably deliver the tears when people got one, brought it home, popped in a game, and discovered that it wasn’t anything like the promises.  This time around, it was the “Cell” and how it was supposed to be the best newest thing ever.  It was supposed to change the world, electronics, PC’s and all that.  So far it hasn’t done any of that, so I have to admit that I am a skeptic just out of duty.  Any company that uses tactics like that gets put on my I-don’t-trust-anything-you-say list (Apple anyone?).

So, it shows up and I have to then decide what games am I going to get?  I’ve been paying attention, so I know I need to get Metal Gear, and play Flower, and a few other gems.  That is really all I am interested in at this point.  I just want to know what the PS3 can do that the Xbox360 can’t.  So, exclusives titles and anything that might somehow prove to me that this thing is superior to my (still) cheaper Xbox360 and my Wii.

So far, I picked up MGS2, MotorStorm, Lair (I know this isn’t a good example, but I actually thought of getting a PS3 for this game), and Flower.  There’s others, but I can’t recall them right now (not a good sign ;)).  At the time of this writing, I still am interested in picking up the Uncharted Games and LBP, but the funds are forthcoming.  I am absolutely looking forward to The Last Guardian too.

So, like I said, I am really interested in seeing how the PS3 is better than the Xbox, if it is.  I liked the simplistic interface on bootup, but after using it, looks aren’t enough.  The simple truth is that it pales in comparison to NXE (Xbox360’s dashboard).  The Wii’s is also simplistic, but I only use the Wii for Mario Kart or Zelda, so it’s not really in the running here in my book.  So the interface isn’t there yet, what about the games?

So, I put in MGS2 and figured I’d give it a go.  I’d heard that it was Sony’s Gears of War (or is that Killzone???), so I was ready to be impressed.  The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t play.  It had to “install” first.  WTF???  Install?  Is this a PC or a console, I was confused.  I’ve never had the wonderful experience of installing a game (other than an arcade game) onto a console before, so I was a bit shocked.  Okay, so just a minute or two right?  I can handle that.  NOPE!  It was like 15 minutes (or maybe it just seemed like that).  Who cares?  That is entirely ridiculous.  Remember folks, we’re talking about a big hard drive and the Cell processor standard here.  These are all features Sony has been shoving in my face.  I am an intelligent consumer so I figure if a company is going to tell me their product is the best, that it is the best in everything.  So far, I have to admit, Sony is living up to my expectations.

Okay, so I am just hoping for it to suck right?  It must be just me projecting my desires and tainting the results.  MGS2 finally finished and I tell it to start a new game.  The credits start, and some video.  Well, and by “some,” I mean the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.  Maybe it’s because I know nothing about Metal Gear at all, so it just doesn’t make sense to me right?  Okay, so I take a crap and come back and its still going, but it now is more of a cinematic.  It looks like the action is going to start soon.  The uber hardcore looking guy (who incidentally looks like he stole the bandanna off of CliffyB’s main character) is a bit cheesy, but okay, lets see if he can grow on me.  The first level begins.  It’s a tutorial level, so I figure I will get the ropes here.  I always had a hard time transitioning to the PS2 controller from the xbox one, so a little warm-up will do me good.

Umm, so how do I put this gently?  That is the worst beginning level I have ever seen.  I died about 30 times.  It was one of those things where I was a little distracted the first time they told me what to do, so I missed it.  I figured I would die and it would explain it again, right?  Nope.  They just assumed that I got it the first time and was just retarded and couldn’t figure out how to move.  Look here folks, I pwned at SOCOM when I played friends, so I know how to move.  I also hold some of the top scores in the world in Droplitz, so my eye-hand coordination is pretty good.  If I can’t get past this level, it’s not because I suck, it’s because its the worst level ever.  Anyways, I think I played about 20 more minutes after that, and I haven’t touched it since.  I will go back and play it again some day, but my experience was ruined, so I need some cool-down time (read: I need to get old enough that my brain has lost those memories) before I go back to MGS2.

Okay, lest you think that I am just a hater, it get’s better, so keep reading.  The next game I tried was Motor Storm.  I had tried this in stores a few times years ago and had liked what I saw.  The same held true now that I had it in my living room on my HDTV.  I didn’t even let my son taint my opinion of this game (he’s 3 and LOVES trucks, cars, anything with wheels); needless to say, he loves it.  Motor Storm is why I bought a PS3.  It’s not the deepest game, but then again, it’s a racing game.  How deep does it need to be?  When I come home from work and just want to get my mind off, there’s nothing like picking up a controller and then racing a crazy course against good AI (but not too good <- Mario Kart Wii anyone?).  Okay, score some points for Sony here.  This game shows off what it can do, and how pretty it can look.  That being said, I know the Xbox360 has games that look this pretty.  It definitely started to let me think I hadn’t just wasted my money, though.

I don’t think I need to go into great detail on anything else I have done with my PS3 since then.  I’ve downloaded a ton of demos.  Most looks great, but I don’t have tons of time to play, so they’re just reminders that this device can do things my PC can’t.  I tried Flower and some other little arcade games.  Flower stands out and is really cool, but is no Braid.  What I mean by that is that I had Braid and it changed the way I thought about games.   I know Braid has since been ported to PS3, but in my mind its a 360 game, because that is where it changed my thinking about games, so the point goes to Xbox on that one.

The PS3 scores some more points in that it streams a few movies that my 360 does horribly, so that is good.  I also like their movie menu better than Xbox’s.  When I am streaming movies from my PC, it’s quicker to navigate on the PS3 than the 360.  That being said, there are a bunch of movies that stream fine from the 360, that the PS3 chokes on, so they are equal here.  The Xbox ends up taking the win because of Netflix.  I joined Netflix because I took the trial on my Xbox.  I decided to have Netflix ship their disc to me for the PS3 (can’t have too many options right?) and then I found out that I had to have the disc in EACH AND EVERY TIME I WANT TO USE NETFLIX?????  Wow, just wow.  Sony sure knows how to screw things up don’t they?  If I didn’t have a 360 which I stream from all the time, I would give them a piece of my mind over that BS.  Lucky for them, the interface is crappy anyways, and we use the 360 every day.

The PS3 so far hasn’t become something we use every day, while the 360 has.  Granted, we had 2 years to get used to using the 360, but it’s just easier.  I have a harmony remote that works perfectly on all our devices.  Now, apparently, I need to buy a $40 adapter to get it to work with my PS3.  That’s just dumb.  So far, nothing about the PS3 has been simple and easy.  It hasn’t made my life any easier and better and I haven’t seen anything that makes me think it is the best.  I’m sure I will love The Last Guardian, and some other select games that come out.  I’m sure my son will love LBP when I finally get it, but until then, the PS3 is doing what it has earned in my books:  collecting dust.

The final result:  the PS3 met every expectation I had for it, and then some, which is to say that it sucked even more than I thought it would.  It is definitely not the best console of this generation.  It currently gets used more than my Wii, but that’s just until the next Zelda game comes our or if I get the new Mario for Christmas.  Sorry Sony, but I knew it all along.  You made a cool device, but it’s nowhere near as cool as you think (and say) it is.  It’s nice that it has Blueray; at least I know I will use it someday (although I still refuse to pay for Bluerays because they are still overpriced).

Breaking the silence

For all 4 readers I have, it’s been right around 3 months since my last post.  I have a number of posts bottled up in my mind that are screaming to get out, so I figured rather than jump right in, I’d break the silence here and then follow with the posts as I complete them.  I have been super busy with work still, and that probably won’t change for a few more months, at least; but fear not, I have been programming!  Too bad it has been stuff for work, but it definitely has been reminding me that I need to get back to my game.  I still have yet to see anything that is similar to it, so I still feel that Blonk (the name I came up with for my game) has a place in the world.

Since I got a PS3, I figured I would write a review from my perspective as a Xbox Live subscriber, and someone who typically dislikes the tactics of Sony.  I will also start reviewing some other games that I have played recently, which I feel are worthy of praise.  Expect those soon (hopefully this weekend).

All work and no play make Jerky a dull boy

So if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been busy lately.  As I sit here babysitting a 4-hour file transfer for work, I am realizing that I’ve been working waaaaaay too much lately.  The good news is that I do good work, and make sure that stuff gets done.  The bad news is that it comes at the expense of my hobbies.  I’ve had way to many things going on that have been keeping me from my blog/twitter/etc.  

There is some good that came from it all though: 
1) I found the joys of Netflix!  Holy cow how did we ever live without Netflix?!?!?  My wife and I would DVR our favorite shows, but on nights when there aren’t any of them (most nights since summer started), we are stuck with nothing to watch.  This leads to some pretty crappy television time.  On one of those nights, while I was on my 360, I decided to try out their Netflix trial.  It’s been pretty great so far.  I get about 2-3 movies a week in the mail, and then have a massive list of streaming movies that are ready to go when all else fails. 

2) This leads to another good from it all:  The IT Crowd is the funniest darn show I’ve seen in a long, long, long time.  I stumbled upon it on Netflix’s streaming shows and I have gone through the first two seasons (in one night!).  My favorite had to be the episode where they go to the theatre.  I almost wet myself about 8 times during that one.  I was trying to hold my new baby while watching it, but it turns out that he doesn’t sleep while his Dad is coughing up a lung due to excessive laughter.  How did I go this long without knowing about this great show?!?!

3)  I bought Fallout 3 on steam on Sale.  I’ve only played a couple hours worth, but so far its pretty fun.  I remember playing the original Fallout long ago, and I must say:  Fallout 3 stays pretty close with its atmosphere.  I’ve got over 3 hours left of waiting tonight, so after I write this post, I think I’m going to play some more.

Well, even with the work lately, I’m still not quite done.  We’re doing a ton of projects at work, which unfortunately are fun.  I am truly a IT nerd when I get so excited about SAN’s and offsite replication.  Not to mention new websites, new networking equipment, network redesigns with more VLAN’s and new Cisco equipment.  Those are just a few of the reasons why my game/prototype has gone dormant for the last couple months.  Plus the fact that there is a 6-week old baby here at home and that should be enough of an excuse.

Well, I just wanted to prove that I still am alive.  ‘Til next time.

How I Beat “Being Struck By Lightning is Probably the Best Way That You Could Die On Account of All of Its Awesomeness”

Ok, so I don’t just try and make games, but I can play them too.  I am quite proud of this one, since this game required more skill than any I have ever played and beat before.  Here is my attempts of the final level of the game.  This level is the hardest by a long shot.

Props go out to lokiji for making a game that wasn’t watered down.  It’s only a few levels, but they are sweet.

Life vs. Hobby – take 1 of many

This is my first Life vs. Hobby post.  I say first because I’ve been doing this long enough to know that there will be many more.  I was pretty lucky while working on Project Wish that life didn’t get in the way more than it did.  Having no kids yet helped quite a bit.  Having a nice wife also helped :).  In fact, it got in the way so little, that I was able to do more than I had ever dreamed going into it.  Things are not so easy this time around.  Lucky for me (and my family), I am a wiser person now. 

Wisdom comes from setting proper priorities, folks.  You can’t live life like a video game for very long before you find out that hard way that RL is going to win every time.  You can’t ditch class and expect to glide through college like you did high school.  You can’t do crappy work and not show up and expect to keep you minimum wage job.  You can’t put your hobby first over your real life, no matter what, and expect to be happy later.  I am no Damon Grow, that’s for sure.  That dude has some balls, to semi-ditch his family for his dream,  or at least watch them semi-ditch him (however you look at it).  I’m lucky that my hobby/dream never went to that extreme, or rather, I never let it.  Make no mistake, it is all about your own personal choice(s).  Addiction to your hobby is not a good excuse when it comes down to screwing up your life. 

Anyways, enough of that rant that probably nobody will ever read.  My site has been sitting here practically untouched for long enough.  I knew I needed to post, so that was my justification for the update I now give.  My second child was born about 2 1/2 weeks ago, so I have been making the smart choice to help out my wife when I am at home, and not just stay up late.  That would make me a zombie, which isn’t much help to her during the night, when babies like to wake up.

My game is still sitting here.  Visual Studio is still open, from over a month ago, but yet remains unmodified.  That being said, I have spent some time working on my music skills.  My game idea is more than just a simple concept.  I plan on making the complete game experience by having good music, along with good graphics and gameplay (my fingers are crossed on all of those things).  I had spent some time using Fruity Loops back for Project Wish, so I whipped it out again to get myself going.  I’ve got some musical ideas going around, so I figured I would get them down before I forget.

Other than that, things are going well with kid #2, so I hope that that means I will be back to programming this month sometime.  Hopefully I will even get some videos to post.