Reflection on Some Recent Stuff

Been a while since I’ve posted a non-alpha anything. Thought I’d just fill ya guys in on what happens around this here graveyard of a blog!

I’d recently taken an impromptu break from programming Dominance. I had sort of gotten down on myself and had lost my work direction a bit. I spent a couple weeks doing a new piece of concept art (Here and also seen here), doing a small, unfinished race mod for Skyrim (Mostly to learn how to use their god-damn, proprietary .NIF files) as well as buying Die by the Sword from Amazon (Fun old game. If you’ve got 6 bucks, go check it out!) and writing a bit of music.
I’ll start at the top.

The concept art is of a feline character and and a young jackal-esque kid sitting on a hillside. In the background there is (an attempt at) a burning village in a copse of fir trees. While the piece isn’t amazing and the village isn’t recognizable as more than a discolored blob against the night sky, I did learn a bit about lighting and such. I didn’t measure the hours it took to make, but I finished it over the course of about 2 weeks, working on and off at it.

I was talking to a pal at school while I was firing up Blender3D and we both decided that dwarves in Skyrim would be cool. So I pulled the .NIF file, extracted a .obj head mesh and set to work. After an hour or so of tinkering with the mesh, I had a usable head. It was different enough form the human shape that it would be easily distinguishable and had all the features I could want from the Tolkien lore dwarves. Worked on getting it into Skyrim, but I’m no good with the .NIF format yet, so it is unfinished. I need to get the hang of Skyrim’s Creation Kit if I want to finish this mod. Don’t worry though, this is a side-fun-project that won’t interfere much at all.

Die by the Sword is a pretty awesome game, produced by Treyarch before they got on their CoD cookie-cutter wagon of screaming-12-year-old fame, published in the late nineties. Rather than doing what every other game out there was doing, Treyarch had produced this innovative, challenging and just plain bad ass piece of design gold. I love this game a lot and especially the combat. Featuring “VSIM” input, DbtS sports full analog control over your characters weapon. You could use the numpad, a joystick, a gamepad, or your mouse to move your sword. Not only that, but the combat and movement were based entirely on physics. You could decapitate an enemy, but it was hard because you had to clip them pretty hard in the head and if they managed to get their weapon in front of yours, the attack was effectively blocked. The game never went big though. It was overshadowed by the release of Tomb Raider and the learning curve was just too steep for the average user. That’s a shame because this game is worth it, once you have the combat down. DbtS has a single player story mode that isn’t without it’s flaws, of course, but the game really shines in Arena mode, especially if you’ve got a few friends to fight over a network. I’ve even managed to learn how to parry and need to work on my follow through. As is, I can parry, but if my enemy’s weapon locks with mine, I usually get an axe to the left hip or something. Need to work on that.
I mention this mostly because the game has inspired me a bit. I could probably start getting into 3D games right now, if I wanted. All I’d have to do to start would be setting up OpenGL and writing that all-pants-crapping first vertex shader. After that, it’s as downhill as 3D gets. Or I could do it in Unity3D, which isn’t a terrible option at all, to be honest.
I won’t just yet though, but when I do I’d like to do some sort of clone of Die by the Sword, or at least use a lot of inspiration from it. Not sure if anyone would be interested in seeing me struggle through a bunch of terrifying 3D programming, but I would probably enjoy it, at least a little, and learn a lot of important crap too 😀

I got mad at myself for not being able to write music. So, I popped open my favorite music software Synthfont, a totally free, ultra awesome midi music software, and start plucking away at some notes. I had a drum lick and a 4-bar melody from a little work a few months back and decided to start finishing it. Not done yet, but I will keep working on it, on and off, and post here once it’s done.

I’ve also worked on my Lojban a little, so that I can eventually use it in-game. That’s one design choice I’m still able to solidly stand by without getting unusually anxious. I can use Lojban in game because it sounds awesome and learn it to keep my brain working hard on all fronts.

So, after all that, I’m ready to get back to work, starting tonight.
First on my to do list is to get the climbing system working. I started on it a few weeks ago, but haven’t continued. After that, I need to start working on better animations. This means A LOT more spirtes, which I’m slow at making. I’ll probably do low quality, programmer sprites instead of the relatively nice ones I’ve been using. After that, I am tentatively planning to work on some early gameplay. We’ll see though, once I get there.

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