Friday, 30 November 2012

Hello cruel world

Phew...what an eventful few weeks. I "think" the freelance project is out the door now, at least its gone to submission and hopefully will pass. Its not been a fun final month or so I have to say. I won't be doing that again any time soon.
I don't have an NDA or anything in place, but its normally bad form to discuss a projects title before its released so I'll wait till its on the store before I give details. Its a nice game though...a basic idea taken to an extreme that gives a good playing experience...with cute graphics, was pushing the limits a bit though, I hope it doesn't suffer on any older shitty machines.

But on the plus side I got paid (or at least I'm waiting for my invoices to be paid) to learn a new system. Thats always cool.

Playstation Mobile has just been launched and my title will be one of the 1st mainstream titles on the PSM store.  Sadly no royalties but it'll still be cool to see it there.

I had to work out my project list the other week for a new CV for work...this is my 72nd coding! I wonder if I can get up to 80 or 100 before I kick the bucket? Its harder to do projects now though, in the old days I chucked games out in 6-8 weeks, these days its much more involved, and I find my need to make money is not so great these days so the project needs to interest me in  some way, (like learning something new)... So maybe 1 or 2 PSM's before learning excitment dies.

There's a lot wrong with the development of PSM, but it is a new system so we must make allowances and hope the SDK developers take note of all the issues the beta users of which I was one have raised.

But there is a lot right with it too, were it not for the stress of trying to hit deadlines, theres a lot to explore in the PSM SDK that makes it fun and relatively easy to code on, bugs aside. The excellent simulator include with the development tools is super. The IDE is a custom version of Mono which is quite usable if you don't need to go too deep into it.

C# was not as painful as expected either, though in truth I really avoided most C# coding style in an effort to keep the project moving forward. I hate OOP at the best of times but in this case with a new SDK and new devices it might be been very hard to follow.

Getting things up and running is mostly pretty easy, though like many "cover all" systems the attempt to support multiple different devices is problematic, with both CPU/GPU performances to cope with and the dreaded differences in screen sizes...annoying when you spend an hour formatting a screen of credits only to be told it does not work on machine X which you don't have to test on.

But I liked it, even though I cursed it many times due to stupid and time consuming bugs,  I might have a go at doing a couple of game ideas myself in the new year once I've recovered...this time no deadlines!

Of course someone at Sony cocked it up..and it seems that Dutch developers have been excluded from the needed publisher status to sell their wares on the stores, and by extension to get licenses to run their games on devices...shocking considering so many of them contributed to the beta. I've stayed on the 0.992 release of the SDK to avoid problems, for now..but I do think someone needs to accept that such an excluson is shameful for the very large Dutch indie community who worked hard on the beta. My game thankfully is being published by a UK company, working with Sony so no problems there.

Anyway....the projects over, I don't really need to worry about publisher status just now, I hope they will fix it by the time I get round to having something worth publishing. In the meantime I can get my evenings and weekends back to myself, my bands and my school work love life!
Amazingly despite the work and other hassles,  my love life is starting to look up...Have to say any new g/f that can tolorate me working all hours and squeezing her in when I can,  is probably a we'll have to see what can be done about that.
Now that there's going to be more time available I'll have to try and practice that squeezing a bit more :D


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Moon on a stick

I should probably clarify, the moon on a stick comment below was something I've had in my funnies folder for years, one of my ex employees used to say it constantly whenever we asked him for something even remotely hard in a project.  I think he sent it to me one time, it makes me chuckle.. I heard he quit games development and moved into java accouting for the harm game coding can do to your phyche when you resort to java coding is there?

Some recent stress with the freelance project reminded me of it and I dug it out for a bit of levity, not as a direct comment on the freelance project though it is apt in some ways.

I have not really enjoyed the way the project has been running in the last weeks, and indeed moons on sticks were asked for...directly in one humourous exchange, probably as a result of reading this blog. Not sure yet if the joke was fully understood.

Its a pretty little game, nearly done and I look forward to signing off and moving on to something else less stressful, maybe next year I might have a go at porting some old titles to it.

The ups and downs of games relentless charge to get product out in time are hard to cope with, it puts people under pressure and causes stress and division which is not a good thing to work with when you are a creative bod needing to focus on minute details.

Playstation Mobile however has proven to be an interesting challenge, buggy yes, resticted, for sure, stupid memory limits, yup, and diversity of targets (oh god remember j2me??) but it is easier to get things up and running than Android or IOS so if they can fix the bugs, I'll give it another go sometime.
I just wonder if its worth the effort with so few target machines around.....since I'm not on a royalty I'll never know but am certainly curious to see if this is going to be a viable market.

I have a meeting with Sony next Month, to disucss PSM development issues. among other things, I might find out if its something worth continuing with seriously, or just dabbling in for fun


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

MRI Results

I like that they phone you here when they have important results. especially as I'd almost run out of snooze presses on the phone at 8-30am.

Had an MRI last Thursday for the odd Migraines I detailed a few weeks ago which have not returned since.
MRI results show I'm perfectly normal. Clearly something wrong with the machine then eh??

Just another getting old symptom.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Should be a standard response.

Dear client,
I am sorry to tell you your request for the Moon on a Stick is not possible, I have tried to explain this to you in various different ways, politely, simply, forcefully, aggressively and most recently,  just plain go fuck yourself. viz.That you cannot have what you ask for in the time you need, with the resources we have available.

Regardless of the way I express it, the problem still remains. It can't be done, please stop asking so I can stop refusing and we can prevent further escalation, whereupon you may find your moon stick lodged somewhere painful, but which hopefully will result in you being too distracted to ask for your unreasonable request for some time

Please advise on how you want to move forward rather than suggestions of a different type of stick the result of which has already been described.

Lots of love…

A pissed off coder.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

2nd Gig

My 2nd ever gig, this time with my NHTV band StarrCase was thrust upon me this week when at very very short notice, we were asked to join in a Battle of the Bands event in Breda.

When I say short, an I mean short, 3 days, and no chance to bascially we did a live rehearsal..

I won't pretend it was any good, we were all over the place, especially when we could not actually hear ourselves play.. We were told amps would be there for us to use but they were not, so we had to use the PA, it worked ok for guitars kinda, but my bass just didn't come through at all and I ended up thinking my bass was not working and doing test scales I could not hear mid song, but the audience

But all things considered with the lack of rehearsal we did pretty well, in a true Rock and roll style :D

Pics to follow soon.

(oh we didn't win, but the competition was brilliant so we don't feel to bad...we had fun and money was raised for charideee so all good)


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ah Marking, how I have missed you

The deluge has started, and am expecting an overwhelming flood on Friday but will try to keep on top of it all, though I seldom do :D

Quality levels are variable this year, we've got a very mixed bag of  1st year students, some nice clever things, but also some wtf are are you doing...
Still, we get this every year. The 1st batch of, this is not really for me,  have started to drift off and the, omg this is hard, lot will probably quit soon too.

Leaving lots of lovley nice new coders for us to mess with their minds.

I had the honour yesterday to chair my 1st Graduation presentation for a student who started when I did, It was wonderful to see how much he had progressed, though he was already one of the brighter ones his graduation project was amazing.
I know I can't take much credit, since I only really do the basic stuff and he was well above that when he started but still...I felt immense pride in seeing him pass his graduation presentation and knowing he'll be getting his diploma.

The Drums saga...hmm well I'm a little bummed, my extension pack of extra tom and crash arrived, but he wasn't able to supply a dual zone cymbal as hoped and put a single in the box and refunded the extra cost, so now I have a spare single..since I don't want to use it...

More strange was rather than another 14" tom, they sent an 8" tom..Apparently I'm supposed to move my 10" top tom over and all the others as well so I now have an 8,10,12,14 tom system.

Ermm... why? I was expecting another 14 to go on the end of my current 14 but it seems they only do the 8...on the plus side it is a dual trigger so more rim shots, but I'm not too happy with it...

I don't like that its smaller...

I just got used to hitting the 10 and 12, now I have to be more accurate on the top toms hitting an 8 and 10.

Also...I hate to admit..its not very good, it triggers rim shots randomly when doing any kind of rolls...I mailed them about it but got no reply over what to do about it, ideally I want a replacment 10" and send this thing back.

Turning it the other way on the rack has improved the false triggers but still it happens, I'm not pleased....we'll have to see if Nigel at Traps is willing to deal with my complaint or just ignore it.

The final insult, the pack was missing one bracket to actually mount the now shifted 14" Tom...he did respond to a request to send that out to me at least...I am hoping...probably in vain that he will also have sent a 10" tom...though I am probably hoping for too much.

I'll persevere with the 8" for now, but in future I need to be more careful about what I am asking for. But I do think if they are going to give you an extension kit at least another 10" or a 14" makes sense.

At least the new HiHat switch was in the box and works fine...lets hope it lasts..I bought a Roland hihat pedal as well as a back up but it does not seem to work on the Traps Brain..I'll need to get a friend with a Roland kit to try it for me to make sure its not faulty then sell it on.

Now if I can just get some time to play it..the freelance project is in its final stages and taking up a lot of my spare time, I find I'm now banging drums to relax rather than any concentrated learning but still its progressing, I bought a beginers dumrs course on DVD/Book and will start on it soon.