Friday, October 31, 2003

More deadline stuff, buggy code, awfull bugs etc etc. And no biscuits during debugging bugger.
Game is looking very cool though. On the indei side, I sold a copy of StarLines today. Hurrah! I am considering making the new version $24.95, an extra $5 on the existing version. We will see how I feel when its finished.
Off on holiday tommorow so no blog updates for a while.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Kind of a deadline at lionhead tonite so might be working late. Hangover from last night does not help, But I am making great progress against bugs.
Have quit eve online yet again, this time for good. People just take the game far too seriously, games should be fun, not a race. After all even if you beat everyone, you dont actually get a million pounds or anything. I don't think its the game for me, which is cool as it leaves some free time to work on StarLines and also play Battlefield.
My new PC turns up next week (when I'm away) so soon I'll be shooting down planes at super high graphics detail.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Retail stores for games suck.
I just bought Discworld noir for £5. superb. went to install it and it asks for CD3, fine except I only have 2 discs here. This sucks. If this was a shareware game I could redownload it. Worse still Ive emailed customer services and I KNOW it will be ignored. I think this is the last time I buy a computer game in a shop, its just not worth it.

milestone day so darned busy. Movies is looking great, being able to adjust the backdrops on some sets is going to make the game so cool, and some of the robot costumes are hilarious. This is going to be a great game.
Got my 128MB memory stick for my camera. hurrah

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Sandra bullock cannot act and she appears in films with dreadfull scripts. These are clearly facts.
I've been doing yet more graphics for starlines, I have a grand plan to start getting beta testers to play it in the next few weeks, Sales today have been extremely good, sold a few copies of StarLines this weekend through RealGames, plus sold a Space Battle Bundle, 1 copy of Asteroid Miner and 1 or 2 copies of StarLines as shareware.
Hopefully sales of the new version will be even better.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Digital camera is still a novelty, hence this cat picture:

I've been struggling to redo some of the graphics for StarLines, but my modeling skills still suck.
Heres a first class cabin image:

and heres an engine:

I am crap at art

Friday, October 24, 2003

Digital cameras rock. I just got mine and its awesome, very very cool indeed. Its a sony cybershot. expect lots of cat pictures soon.
Also its last day of our milestone for the Movies, much work to do, Just been coding mad scientists for the research facility.
Being married to a scientist puts me on dodgy ground here, as My coded scientists are all male, get paid nothing, and have no desires except to go to the toilet and think.
They also walk slowly all the time and never stray from the research facility.
Stereotyping? moi?

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Wow havent updated the blog in a while. Been reading some of the great free tutorials on 3DStudio MAX at, in an attempt to brush up my modeling skills so that StarLines INC has some decent graphics this time around.
Sales have been fairly average, but I've managed toi justify buying a digital camera somehow, mainly to take holiday snaps of iceland with. It arrives tommorow.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Been a good few days. Went to see Bill Bailey live who was hilarious although trying to get to and from London by train was less so.
Also confirmed that I've been paid by a publisher, which means I have the cash for a digital camera and my new PC. w00t.
Various other games stuff is happening, got some mexican publisher interested in some games, also a company called realore want to sell Komnbat Kars as an affiliate, maybe I'll even make a few dollars from that game after all.
StarLines is looking pretty cool now, not far off doing a low key re-release of it to a few beta testers maybe...
And to top it all, got a check from RealGames for $270 this morning, which cant be a bad way to start the day ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Recently my work PC blew up almost entirely, resulting in a new hard disk. Thats fine, the old disk was still readable, I could copy over my BF1942 directory to the new drive no problem.
Except now It wont let me play because its asking for a CD key, says mine is invalid.
If I go to reinstall the game it expects me to have the manual with me.
Well I havent got it. its probably lost or at home somewhere, and this winds me up. If i pay £30 for a game, I SHOUDL BE ABLE TO PLAY IT! Why isnt this CD key printed on the box, the back of the box, the CD itself, the addenda thing inside the box...
Its crazy that If I have lost the manual, effectivly I cant play the game.
When this happens to one of my customers, they can email me and within 12 hours approx they will get an email back with their reg code. What are my chances of getting the same customer support from EA?
Meanwhile I can't play Eve online at all because the whole system is down for maintenence. So much for online gaming.
Someone really needs to teach big games companies a thing or two about customer service.
Or not..
Leaves more customers for the indie game developer ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Its amazing how much progress you can make on work when you are motivated. Ive got some serious stuff done on StarLines this weekedn, inbetween mining asteroids and manufacturing spaceships in Eve online. Ive given up trying to stop playing that game, its like crack cocaine.
Only a few weeks until my stonking new PC turns up, which means that I will have decent frame rates in Medal of Honour and BF1942 at last, not to mention no more stuttering during combat in Eve Online.
Downloaded and played Alien Flux today. Great game, 2D shooter thats damn hard.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Well my new PC from Mesh will be a few weeks. I opted for a 256 MB Video card, 2.8 gig pentium and no monitor (my lovely iiyama flat panel will stay ;))
Been mostly biug fixing at work. Ive been trying to do this zero-defect software development thing, which is more an attitude than anything else. You find some very obscure bugs that way, and get more and more confident about the stability of your code.
Ive just been discussing with work people how it should never be needed for people to work real late the night before a demo/release/milestone etc.
I always try and liken this kind of thing to launching a spaceship or a missile. You wouldnt fiddle with the code of space shuttle 10 hours before takeoff(although judging by recent events it seems that way). You get to a point, WAY before release, where there is a lock on features, and you make damn sure that every bug fix after that point doesnt introduce any more bugs.
The tendency amongst coders is to put in a quick bodge fix, once they have spotted the problem, without reallky analysing what went wrong, and what the ramifications are.
Personally I reckon that in the last month of a project, ANY code change shousl be looked over and approved by at least 1 other coder, and there is a good argument for all coders to work in pairs, doing end-of-week brief code reviews of each others work.
Of course this doesnt happen much in game dev, but methinks it should.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Trying to buy a new PC
Its not difficult. what I want is a pentium PC without a monitor, ordered online and delivered to where I work. These guys have great prices and exactly what I want but can only deliver to my home address.
Ive emaield them to ask why and got no reply and they dotn answer the phone. A sure way to lsoe my business They insist you have a monitor unless you phone them, when they become pushy sales people, although they will let me have a PC without a monitor then. (why not online?)
Evesham: Expensive
Anyone got any recomendations? It shouldnt be this hard to spend money...
Onan unrelated note Ive finally redone the main desktop window for StarLines and its looking better than ever before. hurrah!

Friday, October 03, 2003

Back at work today, and managed to get some work done on fun stuff. Peter (Molyneux) had decreed that one of the factors determining how well stars in The Movies get on is their age difference, another is their relative stardom, a third being their sex. This meant some rewriting of code on my part, the old Friends system wasnt up to the job, so I ended up writing a whole new 'Karma' system to represent the interaction of peoples chemistrys and the creation and withering of friendships and relationships.
This was all good fun, especially the bit where I had to decide exactly how big an age difference you can have bwteen two people before it affects their relationship ;)
The challenge of course is to get all this kind of code to update in real time without bringing the system to its knees. Some of the code in the movies is adaptive, with its processing interval adjusting to that bit of codes relevance. I may have to do the same for the relationship gubbins.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Still got a bit of a sore throat and head from this damn bug. At least some kind frenchmen had bought PIMS biscuits to work today, which is a bit of a Movies Dept craze.
Read an interesting discussion today about whether games sites like mine should offer a demo or not, or just persuade people to buy the game unplayed. IU'm a big fan of try-before-you buy myself, so I dont see my policy on that changing anytime soon.
I'm seriously considering buying a new PC, so I've been reading a few PC magazines. The views on budget PCs in these mags really annoys me. I've read that "this machine is ok if you just want to surf the web and write emails, but for games its a total no-no" when discussing a 2.4 gig athlon with 256 MB RAM and onboard video.
This is total crap. You can play hundreds of games on a machine that good, I'm sure most of mine would run quite happily. This crazed assumption that everyone needs a gig of RAM and a 256 MB Video card is insane. StarLines runs quite happily with 16 or even 8MB of video memory.
Its sad to think that Joe public is so comprehensively conned by sales people into buying a PC of a spec they just dont need. I recently recommended a low spec PC to some friends, who are perfectly happy now surfing the web, listening to music and playing Medal of Honour with all the options turned up, on a damn cheap machine.
Dont spend over £1000 on a PC, you are just throwing money away ;)
BTW I'm an MCSE and ex PC repair dude, so I know a bit about PC hardware ;)