VulpesHilarianus's News

So I've Been Getting Up To Shenanigans

2017-03-28 17:16:07 by VulpesHilarianus
Updated

Shenanigans! Fun! Or not. I've been dual-tracking my learning process and doing the necessary homework to be able to create both 2D and 3D games. And since I suck at actually modelling humans I decided to draw them instead. Which I still suck at, but not nearly as badly. And so to warmup doing 2D animation in Blender I did that High Class Woman thing. And then today I finally figured out how to smoothly change animations without the game freaking out, and decided to push further. I've been trying to figure this out for a while and originally went with a plug-in to solve the issue, but if I've learned anything it's that Blender already has the internal capability. I just need to stop being stupid and find where it is. What originally started as me faffing about with Ghost Sweeper Mikami sprites eventually ended up in drawing keyframes for basic gameplay animations and battling my crippling Carpal Tunnel syndrome. I lost when it was all over (typing with one hand right now) but at least I got the keyframes for the idle and run cycles done. Blender's still being weird about anti-aliasing large sprites, so there's white edges around shit and I don't like that. Plus if you look at the running animation there's two frames where for some reason there's black pixels above the breasts. I think those were things I thought I had erased when drawing the frames but couldn't see, and Blender's AA is giving them a border and making them more apparent. Still, for what was basically my lunch hour I'd say I got a lot done.

 

 

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Ups and downs, ups and downs. Like a rollercoaster. Or a malfunctioning toaster. But anyways, it's been a hell of a weird journey. I stuck with Blender despite knowing the shortcomings, and at this point it's not the limits of the software that are my problem. Plenty of issues I found before like particle systems that don't bog the game have been rightly circumvented. It might just be because of sheer stupid on my part leading me down a lucky path. Who knows. But then there are other issues. Like forgetting to save and losing an hour or two of work. I always know in the back of my mind that doing testing for linked objects or soft bodies might crash Blender, but a lot of the time I forget to save. Another problem is carpal tunnel syndrome. It's hit me hard. I can't even play guitar right now with how bad my hand cramps, and the shaking's making it hard to draw. I've been spending the last few months with either a mouse or a Wacom pen in my hand building models, testing mechanics, or painting textures, and it's become very apparent. All of this time spent at my desk is ripping my chair apart as well. I've completely smashed the cushioning flat, and rubbed off all the fake leather stuff. Sometimes I wake up slumped over onto my keyboard and realize I've got sheets of it stuck to my back. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so stupid, that way I could learn these systems and get things done faster. Or just code all this shit manually. But hey, I'm this deep in. Can't stop now. Well, unless somebody wants to help me. Then I could at least take a break.

Also, I would post videos or pictures or something, but all I've been working on is mundane crap. Stuff like testing fire, seeing if chained events occur, creating an inventory system (I'm going to kill myself trying to get THAT to work), and doing basic asset creation. So, nothing really cool I can show off. Still need to draw up the NPC and PC designs. And model them. I hate modelling humans. Every time I do I get weird deforms around the armpits where the breasts move with the upper arm on females, or I have trouble rigging the faces so the mouths move properly. I might just use animated textures for the mouths. Because FUUUUCK doing weight painting. God I hate weight painting. I hate weight painting almost as much as I hate guys who wear top knots. I'm ranting again aren't I? Sorry, lack of sleep. Time for a nap, then back to work!



So here's a thing: I've been making games. Or trying to. Or, really trying to learn how to make fragments of games. So far I've got plenty of awesome stuff down. Like building levels. Or getting the character to move. Or having the moon fall out of the sky because I forgot to exclude it from the gravity simulation. That was a fun one.

But yeah, this stuff isn't a joke. It's hard going, and there's no real way to "instinct" your way through it like you can with animation or music. There are hard set rules in how these systems operate, and you really don't have creative freedom in creating the rules yourself.

What makes it harder on me is that I can't even touch the boundaries of the rules. At least, not fully. Because I can't code for shit. I learned barely enough Python to keep myself afloat, but since I haven't needed it I've long since forgotten it. And yet I can't forget that Route 117 has two Triathlete Trainers with level 37 Dodrios, despite Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire coming out over fourteen years ago at this point. Anyways, I'm going forward with this without knowing how to code, solely relying on the tools given to me since I can't make new ones for myself.

But the two biggest problems come with the position I've put myself in. The first half of that is that I don't have money to fund co-creators to work on this with me. Unless somebody wants to do it for free, I'm on my own. And secondly, I'm working in possibly the most under-utilized and worst documented game engine to exist: Blender Game Engine. Almost everything I've learned at this point was by accident, ruinous experimentation, or taking hours-long strolls through the BlenderArtists forums to see what games they were working on.

I've found two things out at this point. 1.) Almost everybody working in BGE decides to move to Unity or Unreal, and 2.) The amount of released games for a game engine that's almost seventeen years old at this point is absolutely tiny, and they're all proofs of concept rather than ready retail releases.

But I'm not deterred. In fact, this makes me want to go forward even more. It might be my stubbornness. It might be my laziness, not wanting to switch engines when I'm this far into having complete competency with this one. It might also be pride, refusing to allow me to go through easy mode by using Unity or Godot. In the end, what I make of this will be proof for a lot of people and a milestone for myself. And if I can do it using this convoluted mess of a game engine, I can do it with anything. 

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So for a while I've been jumping from project to project. Keeping multiple things running at once and moving either onto a new project or returning to an old one as I see fit or as I learn new things. It's how I plan, it's how I work, and it's how I keep from burning out. But lately I've been having problems. I've got too many things running, and I feel I've put too many things in storage. I see what I'm doing, and I realize I'm not getting anything done because as soon as I get bored or start to slow down I move to something else. At this point I don't know what else to do, as it's how I've been doing things for close to ten years now. And I feel that if I focus on one project I'll burn myself out faster than normal.

What's compounding the fact is that I'm constantly used to learning new things as I rotate what I'm working on. What worked for one project might not work for another, and I need to learn a new way to deal with this new problem or retool the methods I already use. And I've learned, and I've honed, and I've advanced far faster than some other people who do what I do. And I realize that at times, I'm going to plateau. I'm going to hit a stretch where I'm not going to advance any further for a while, and I need to deal with that.

And I've hit the longest plateau I've seen in a while. Months. Almost a year at this point. And I fear I'm going backwards in some respects. My work now seems worse than before. My anatomy studies are all wrong. My music sounds empty. My writing is just me complaining. My work in 3D is just me meddling with textures. I'm a mess. I haven't cut my hair in forever. I haven't shaved in months. I've barely ventured outside to go driving, which is something I love to do. All of this because I want to beat this plateau. All because this is the hardest barrier I've faced in my career as an artist so far, and because I want to perfect my skills even further and not stagnate.

I've been stagnating.

And I know why.

I sit, huddled at my workstation, drinking obscene amounts of Pepsi, working in FL Studio, in Paint Tool SAI, in Blender, in Notepad... And everything that happens never gets released. Because it never gets finished. All of my projects, all of my work, all of my scraps, they all get left in limbo because I never bother to finish them. There's always something to add. Always that idea that I could come back and notice a flaw to fix. Always that nagging sense that it's not the best it could be.

And it's causing me to stop, right there in the middle of the plateau. Right there with the mountains behind me, more ahead of me, and desert all around. I feel like I'm in a safe spot when I'm not. I feel best when I'm working, and climbing the mountains to release something is extremely hard. I'm working myself in circles, following my own footsteps, instead of choosing one direction and following it.

I'ma stop. I'ma stop. 'Cause this is starting to piss me off.



So, like... Yeah. I guess I'm taking in commissions now.

3$ for a basic sketch. Monochrome, of course.
5$ for linework. Again, monochrome.
10$ for a full colour piece. That includes shading, yes.

So. Yeah. That's... A thing now. I've got a bunch of free time, so just ask and I'll start pretty soon.



So I was wondering... If I put together a collection of songs or something, would you guys be willing to pay $1 for it? Say like, ten unreleased, fully finished songs in an album or something that you guys could do anything with, plus the source files or MIDIs or something. Maybe set it up as a pay what you want or something, so if you don't want to you can just get it for free. I dunno. I mean, I'd like to get some thoughts on this to see if I could get something out of it. Like a hundred bucks or something to get some new equipment like a sound card would be nice, which is why I'm asking this. So uh, yeah... Just tell me yea or nay on the idea I suppose.



Hey guys, Vee here. Now, recently I know you guys have seen a slowdown in the amount of songs I've been putting out. Well, there's two reasons for that. One is that I'm bolstering my library of samples, VSTs, and other things, and the second reason is that I'm dedicating quite a bit of my time to learning game development. Right now I'm split between Unity 5.3 and Blender Game Engine for 2.76. Unity's a lot easier to use, but a lot more restrictive. Blender's got more freedom and better graphical fidelity, but it's a pain in the ass and tends to fuck up a lot if you're taking too many shortcuts. Honeslty I'd like some help with Unity. Specifically there are a few things that I'd like to learn, such as animating characters imported from Blender and creating menus. I'm so new to Unity compared to Blender that I don't even know how to make a door move. Hell, I don't even know how to program the camera to follow the player. That being said, I'm an idiot when it comes to learning abstract or non-visual concepts, and usually need somebody to show me how it's done before I can figure out how to do it myself. It's even worse with things like 3D modelling where something can be so specific that if I make the slightest deviation to fit what I'm doing better that everything's fucked beyond recognition. It's why I can't code for shit after all.

If one of you guys are willing to help me, I'm willing to lend any of my more polished skills from character design to script writing to put towards your projects.

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  I have to say you guys, thank you. I mostly post things on here as experiments. Most of it isn't finished work. When I was going through my stuff after posting Multifaceted Tentacle Leprechaun I noticed that another one of my songs, My Trip To Nightwell, had apparently garnered over 800 ears and had a 5/5 score. For an experimental song to get a 5/5 from you guys is amazing, and I just wanted to say thank you. Things like this will keep me going during the times when I'm producing the same thing over and over again without making any progress.

  Here's to hoping you guys get more stuff like My Trip To Nightwell from me in the future.


 



  Well, I managed to go ahead and reinstall FL Studio and some of my old VSTs on my new computer Breakwater. Problem is... Every single one of my old projects I was planning on polishing up and releasing was lost. Nothing could be saved from the old harddrive. Hilariously, I have a lot of old versions of VSTs, and when one of them came up as "You need the registration key" no matter how many times I entered it. Cue me sitting in a phone call for three hours with Luminox trying to tell them I had my key, and them telling me that Purity was no longer supported and the key wouldn't work. Eventually I wore down the customer service guy and they gave me a new key for free since they didn't have anything that directly replaced Purity. Another win for my bull-headed ways.

  Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things and release more stuff now that everything's fixed and I have a newer, better computer. El-Monstro will be missed, but Breakwater's here to stay it seems.

 

  As an aside, I'm also getting into 3D modelling using Blender 2.76, so anyone who'd be willing to help me or would like to collaborate on projects that'd be totally great. Really the only things I have no clue how to do in Blender are doing texturing (it's a pain in the ass to unwrap things that are high-poly and I haven't taken the time to learn) and proper animation using the program's internal animation tools. Help with either of those would be great.

 

  Anyways, now that everything's fixed and I've got things in order I guess it's onwards to the future. Here's to hoping it'll be good.



  Recently there've been some pretty serious power outages at my house happening at least once a week, and in this case four times this week. As such, because my power company are a bunch of cheap assholes that refuse to upkeep and upgrade their systems my computer got shut off at a bad time. This southern-style deep fried the drive my copy of FL Studio was on, turning the file system to RAW and sending the MFT to a far away land filled with lost wandering souls trying to hide from the giant Steve Buschemi eyes that are in the sky. It felt like a kick in the gut when everything I had disappeared after the lights came back on.

  But not to worry! I know some very capable guys who'll be willing to do... "stuff" to pull all my files and projects off the dead drive. Or at least I hope. If not, I have a (very VERY old) backup I made of the drive that I can use. Sort of. I think. Here's to wondering if I can get this done today.