Archive for the ‘Overwind says…’ Category

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Parallel Worlds

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

So, summer got silly, and I got sidetracked again, so the plan to get Quantangled done in about six months, that seemed oh-so-plausible back in February slipped a little. Or a little more than a little, but not a lot. But don’t worry, it is progressing, it is coming! Maybe not by the end of 2012, but hey, everyone was busy this year anyway…

I’ve been sorting out a lot of the underlying code in recent months, making it more suitable to build a decent sized game on, rather than leaving it in the early bodge-it-together experimental prototyping state some of it was in (by necessity, of the fact, that I was prototyping and experimenting!)

This has made it difficult to really show much in terms of visual progress, but now this is coming together, that visual progress should start to explode exponentially like an explodey thing. To mark the start of this phase, I have produced another development video, showing a few new work-in-progress graphics and features, including the jump to parallel worlds!

See here:

Development Video 2 – Parallel Worlds

Here’s hoping I can keep up the pace and possibly even create some form of playable demo in the near future. That would be cool, but there’s lots to do before then…

Overwind.

Tramping On

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

A month or so ago I decided to do another short, silly project. I came up with Bob the Tramp. Bob lives in a park and drinks booze and rummages bins. Even though the gameplay is, err, not quite up to tripple-A strength (unlike Bob’s drink of choice) – I found it strangely captivating making Bob sleep on the bench and buy more alcohol. This could be slightly worrying considering the idea was initially a joke about a possible future I might find myself in if I’m not careful. And once again this was supposed to be a really quick project (like, 48hr code-jam style) that lasted several times longer than it should have done due to my slightly OCD personality. Oh well. How long will you keep Bob drunk in the park?

Rain, rain, you can stay…

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Rain, rain, you can stay, hang around and make them play! The British Summer may be shaping up to be yet another complete washout, but surely that’s good for game sales, gaming, and especially game development. Certainly that shiny thing in the sky we used to know and worship causes a fair number of distractions. I should know, it only appeared for a few hours yesterday afternoon / evening and today I have a hangover. Those two facts are directly related, cause and effect. I can still taste the garlic sauce from my midnight kebab. That shiny thing is dangerous!

Fortunately the weather geeks are telling us that it’s going to keep raining on a regular basis for most of the foreseeable future. This is good. Honestly. It means I’ll be able to concentrate on development of Quantangled. It means more people might wander into the Rezzed PC Games show in Brighton instead of wandering aimlessly up and down the beach scoffing at the fact that a “99” icecream costs way more than 99p. Unfortunately it means everyone’s going to keep whingeing about the weather in their Facebook status updates for the next 2 months. Oh well…

Business-wise I’ve recently been sorting out business cards and Overwound-branded t-shirts. Hopefully I’ll have a cool t-shirt shop incorporated into my webpage sometime soon to help fund game development. I might have to sell a lot of t-shirts though, so I’ll have to keep thinking up wicked slogans and funky designs. I’ll try not to let all that distract me from actually programming, but at least I now feel more prepared for the various game shows and industry networking events that I keep meaning to attend (but invariably fail to miserably).

Oh look, there’s that shiny thing again…

Mayday Madness

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Hotdamnit – I’m still not very good at this blogging thing, frequency-wise anyway. It’s the 1st of May, or at least it was a few hours ago. Production on Quantangled continues in varying combinations of small bursts, quick fits and longer, more drawn out ponderances. Hopefully that will all average out to somewhere around steady-ish. I really, really would like to release Quantangled this year, but I think it’s still too early to tell exactly how long it’s going to take at the moment.

Part of the reason for my uncertainty is that I’ve been having a bit of a restructure of the control code, simplifying it to something more intuitive, although that means some of the user-interface code I’d previously done will also require an overhaul. Still, it’s all for the better, honestly. It might even, eventually, allow me to shoehorn it onto some kind of mobile computing touch screen device. That’s not an immediate concern, however, I’m still focussing on PC and Mac as target machines. Although this is all necessary and productive, visually it doesn’t look like much has changed, although I’ve added a few more graphics and sparkly particle systems along the way. I’m longing to get onto the next phase now, building more puzzles and blocking out the rough level structure, then I’ll have a much more tangible sense of achievement and a clearer image of my overall progress, at least until I approach the end phase, then it’ll be back to polishing the minutiae that eat up my precious man hours like some kind of tropical flesh eating disease. Sorry, got a bit dramatic for a moment there…

A few weeks back I produced and uploaded a concept video on Youtube, it even says coming 2012 – that’s commitment! I’ve also created a Quantangled page on the website and a Facebook page for it with a big, funky timeline-header image, so that’s most of my web and social media crosses ticked, other than the really, insanely important part of telling people that stuff is there, you know, that marketing stuff that traditionally indies are really rubbish at.

I’m hoping not to be really rubbish at marketing, but it’s still too early to unleash my best moves in that arena. Pity, actually, as this week/weekend’s SciFi London festival would have been a good place to start on that. Fortunately there’s a few more choice events on the calendar this year that I’m keeping an eye on, although I haven’t worked out how to turn the Olympics into a marketing opportunity yet. The Olympic torch does pass within 300 yards of my flat though, but I’m not sure Hackney Council would appreciate me spray-painting my website address along the public highway in 20 foot tall letters that can be read by the BBC helicopters, so I might put that particular guerilla-marketing plan on hold…

Introducing Quantangled

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I could have called this entry “Blimey, where did January go? Again!” as it feels like I’m in the same place as last year, although that would be to gloss over all the stuff I’ve done in the year since, even if it’s only slowly populating the site with content and a lot of the work I’ve done remains invisible outside of my hidey-hole.

Instead, let’s concentrate on the year ahead, and my main game project. This has previously gone unnamed, or referred to as project Q. So, allow me to formerly introduce Quantangled. I’m getting serious about this. So serious it sometimes terrifies me. It’s ambitious. Maybe too ambitious. I’m planning to develop it in about 6 months. It will be awesome.

Quantangled is an action adventure platform game with puzzle elements and a heavy science fiction influence, featuring quantum entanglement, teleportation, cloning and parallel dimensions. Your character has control of these features on their super-powered smart phone. Quantum entanglement and jumping dimensions? Now there’s an app for that, too…

I’m currently working on a formal Game Design Document, a schedule and other supporting design documents. There’s an enormous amount to do for just one person in 6 months which is why I’m getting serious in the planning (it may even have to be split into two games though I’d rather not do that). A lot of the design has evolved in rough note form over the last 17 – 22 months or so since the original conception, and it’s actually two separate game ideas that I realised would work much better if blended into one.

New pages for the game will appear on the site in due course, along with development videos on the Overwound Games channel on Youtube. I’m excited, and I plan to share that excitement. Hold on tight, folks, 2012 is about to get awesome…

Overwind

New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Happy New Year from Overwound Entertainment! Blog updates were a bit thin on the ground last year, so hopefully they’ll be a bit more frequent in 2012. They should be, there’ll be lots to talk about if all goes to plan. I’ve been working on various things over the holiday period (whatever a holiday is) and making decisions on which projects to prioritise and am more determined than ever to get some cool new stuff out the door. There’ll be some new announcements about games very soon, and there’ll be some new fiction available to read online as well. Stay tuned folks, 2012 should be a big year!

First Release!

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Oh man, I’ve finally got a game ready to put up on the site! I took a break from the bigger, more serious projects to eat a slice from the cake of light relief. Sometimes you need to work on something a little more frivolous to help you refocus. I thought I’d throw together a quick, simple game in a couple of days, but I allowed it to grow out of control.

You can play it online and read more about it on its page here:

 100 Rooms

Now that’s out of the way, I can get back to finishing off the Mesh Tools project, and then get on with the bigger games, Quantangled and Haze.

Doing a short project was fun though, so I might do another quick one here and there, but probably smaller than 100 Rooms turned out to be. Stay tuned…

The Hardest Mile

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Motivation, motivation, motivation.

Any sensible, self-employed person will tell you that you need self motivation in spades. And they’re not wrong. Unfortunately I’m not a sensible person, and my motivation falters.

I’m nearing the end of my Mesh Tools project. That is a relief, because I’ve been working on it for far too long, with little prospect of earning enough back from it to justify the time spent. I’m hoping that eventually it will prove its worth in other ways.

And yet, like most projects, the closer I get to the end, the more I find there is to do. The more things occur to me that make me think – that would be cool, I should really do that, add that feature too. Fortunately my years in the industry have hardened me to these temptations, made it easier to say – no, that’s a version two feature, that one’s for a whole other project.

Still, it seems I’ve had ‘about two weeks worth’ of work left for about two months now. All too often a week goes past where I barely touch the code, I get distracted by other projects and hobbies, I feel sick for a few days and it throws me out of whack, I become the king of procrastination. We’ve just had E3 week, the biggest trade show in the industry calendar. It’s all too easy to make following the drip-feed of hardware and software announcements and big conferences a full-time, fifteen-hours-a-day concern, backed up with hours of reading the gossiping, discussions and flame-wars of our passionate community.

Motivation, motivation.

It can, however, be good to take the occasional break for reflection. Of that I’m sure we can all agree. Last week, although I somehow didn’t write any code, I did create a new page on the website for Mesh Tools [ http://www.overwound.com/meshtools.html ]. Spending a few hours taking screen grabs and tidying them up, editing html tables to present them nicely (I’m doing all this the ‘old fashioned’ way!) and simply writing out the features currently implemented allowed that moment of reflection. The screenshots were worth the thousands of codewords. ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘I’ve actually done quite a lot of stuff!’

And still, it needs to be finished. My todo list is still substantial. My buglist is not empty. Other concerns creep in. The cost of acquiring a Mac for compatibility testing. The additional web accounts and management involved in getting it packaged and into an online store. What am I cooking for dinner tonight… Ooh, it’s sunny outside, 22C, be nice to go for a walk…

Motivation…

The last mile is the hardest. The hurdles aren’t getting any higher, they aren’t getting any more frequent, but sometimes it feels like each one takes more effort to clear. I will soldier on. I feel I must finish this project before starting the next one, no matter how eager I am to move on. I know the satisfaction of finishing it will be a huge boost. I just need to stay focussed.

Though perhaps I’ll just have a short walk around the park first…

The sun is shining, the weather is fine…

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Woop woop! My mind is currently running a few volts above normal. Possibly because it’s now 2 days after Saturday night and I’m no longer hungover. Possibly because the milk in my Earl Grey has nearly turned and taken on a slight hallucinogenic property. Actually no, I’m not hallucinating, sadly, so that’s not it. It could well be the effect of all the sunshine pouring in through the windows…

It’s now mid-April, Easter is nearly upon us, and we’re expecting temperatures between 20 and 24 Celcius here in London all week. That’s ten degrees above ‘average’ for the time of year, although anyone else who lives here can tell you we’ve had a heatwave almost every April without fail since the start of the 21st century. And that’s like a century ago, space people! Sorry, just popped a capacitor.

The temptation to sit in the park and gawp at the pretty joggers (and laugh maniacally at the other ones) followed by sitting in the local beer gardens gawping at the office worker refugees (you follow the pattern here) is damn near overwhelming. However, software doesn’t get written by worshipping the sun, and unwritten software doesn’t pay for alcoholic lubrication. I must resist!

Right. Software. I’ve gone a bit OCD on the Unity mesh tools recently. I really, really, really must finish these soon and get them released so that I can concentrate on making games again. Especially as I keep coming up with more and more awesome ideas for both existing projects (or nearly existing projects) and completely new ones. And not least because I probably can’t make any serious money from them. At least not enough to pay the rent, and that’s a relatively serious concern.

On the plus side, I’ve added some awesome functionality to my set of mesh tools. I’ve got a cool lathe / extrude function. I’ve got a twist and a bend function. I’ve implemented a pretty solid undo / redo feature into my editable mesh class, and I’m toying with a paste / brush style level building tool that’s a little bit of a nod to the Unreal editor.

Ooh, ooh – (there goes another capacitor) – and talking of Unreal, I’ve made a rather funky step / staircase builder which is one of the rather useful functions in their CSG toolset and very useful for people sketching out level designs in the editor that don’t want to keep popping in and out of their 3D modelling packages all the time just to add another step, etc.

One cool thing I realised while making this is that although I just implemented the straight and spiral style staircases where Unreal also offers curved, you can turn my straight staircases into Unreal-style curved ones using my bend function. Yeeeeah, that probably sounds mental to most of you doesn’t it?! Nevermind…

Fortunately I’m nearly finished with all this stuff. (I hope. I really hope!)
I’ve got a few more minor functions to add or finish off, and possibly a slightly complicated merge function to write, when I’m in a suitably adventurous mood, and then some tidying up, polishing and thorough testing to do. And a manual to write. In fact, I’m hoping to put the manual online before release, to get feedback from the community.

I’m also thinking it might be time to invest in a Mac, for cross-platform testing and development purposes. In the long run it will be worth it. In the short term it’s hard to justify the gross expense of it (damn you Apple!) so I might well be trying to rent or borrow one off someone.

Hmmm, it’s past 5pm, maybe I’ll just go and cool my overheating capacitors in a nice cool vat of beer, and with any luck some hopelessly inebriated office working refugee will leave their shiny new untracable-and-insured-by-the-company Macbook behind. Obviously I’d try my very best to reunite them with it first, a postit note in the corner of the pub window should suffice…

…meh, it’d never happen, and I’d be daft enough to hand it to the barstaff, who’ll probably just hock it on ebay within 24hrs, pffft!