Thursday, December 28, 2006

5 things you dont know about me

This is some new internet blog 'meme' apparently. so here goes:

1) I used to build bridges for a living. Only small ones, footbridges.
2) I once went round Richard E grant's house to show him how to use an apple computer.
3) Lemmy from motorhead once apologised to me for spilling my drink in a bar.
4) I won an award at my school for economics and was presented with it by clement freud.
5) My first set of teeth did not fall out. They had to be sawed off my jawbone. This is very rare.

your turn.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

HP photosmart printer is USELESS

I guess the first warning sign would be that a MINIMAL install for EXPERTS with everything but the essential items ticked, is a 350 MB install.
350 MB.

350 MB

For a fucking printer driver.
Not only that, but this memory-hogging bullshit installs unremovable windows services which even survive me going back to an old restore point in an attempt to flush this sub-standard badly coded bullshit from my PC.
Nice work HP, you managed to write something mroe destructive to my PC than a virus. and yout ricked me into paying for it.
all I want my printer to do, is to print. it cant een do that.

what a pile of shit

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Design headache

I'm trying to design a sort of 'mini-game' for my new music-biz game. I'm finding it very difficult. I had come up with one idea, which I implemented, but have decided I don't like.
I'm been beavering away on some ancillary stuff since then, changing some of the simulation stuff 'behind' the game, stripping out bits of kudos code I won't use, and doing some visual effects (very early ones) for the 'gig' part of the game. Hey, I'm using multi-texturing for the first time. w00t.
Hopefully I can get myself a better mini-game design over Christmas,.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Def Leppard

Always annoyed me because they were from sheffield, yet tried to sound really american. They were also really 'precise', and all looked a bit too clean-cut for my liking.
Good album production (for the time), but a little too tidy if you ask me.
I saw extreme at the astoria once before they were a success and it was flipping brilliant. Then I saw them 6 months later at the Hammersmith Odeon after they had been number 1 in the charts, and they were so clinical and polished I wanted to vomit. I also met them briefly at one of those record signing things, when I was a jobbing session guitarist. They were dead arrogant and miserable. A few weeks earlier I'd met Little Angels, and they were really nice guys.

Where did all the rock n roll go?

I will usher in a new era of appreciation for permed-hair and spandex with my new game. Just you watch.


If you are liable to split your sides at the sight of pompous heavy metal bands DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK:

I actually saw them live once. Supporting someone else. Can't remember who. might have been anthrax or testament.

Edit Edit:
holy crap this ones even more awesome:

Monday, December 18, 2006

Smell The Glove

So I'm serious enough about recreating the vibe of cheesy rock bands who take themselves too seriously that I just ordered a book on the history of Black Sabbath, which should be filled with all kinds of spinal-tap style amusement.

For those who are NEW, this is because my new game is a sort of music-biz-life-sim-tycoon thing, based on the same rough template as the superb KUDOS.
Kudos came second (after virtual villagers) in Game Tunnels 'sim game of the year'. Coming second is cool, but coming first would have been better. I guess I need to pull out more stops with the next game.

Recent efforts have concentrated on doing some minimal eye-candy for the 'gig' screen, that will have an image that reflects how big / small / grubby a venue you played at, how many people turned up, and what amazing light show you had.
For now its just a few layered spotlights and fairly rubbish particle effects and 'bang' noises.
Still, that sounds like some of my first gigs.

I just recoded the auditionee stuff so that it uses a pre-defined database of hopefulls, rather than random generation. Predefined entries let me define better characters whose name match their personality and instrument of choice etc.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thousands of cars

and a million guitars are screaming with power in the air
We've found a place where the decibels race, our army of rock will be there.


Dontyajust love rock music lyrics?
I'm trying to last another week without buying any sounds or artwork for the new game. I really need to get mroe gameplay stuff coded before I splash out on any assets.
Sales are slowing a little, I guess everyone is dashing around buying useless tinsel covered crap for xmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

collecting visual inspiration

In those tedious TV makeover shows where they redesign some poor sods house, they tend to ask the people to put together a collection of imagery that they like the look of, to serve as inspiration for the designers. I always thought it was a bit arty and poncy, but I've started doing the same thing for my games.

My new game is based on the music business, so I've started collecting a pile of images on those lines, to inspire the visual design for the game. Pictures of guitars and amps, of gold records and mixing desks, famous rock stars etc etc. I changed my windows desktop to be an album cover from a band I like, and have been listening to classic rock in the car and while I work.
I'm lucky in the respect that I play guitar and used to work as a guitar teacher and occasional live / session muso, so I'm fairly familiar with how it all works etc.
I think that people making games, or TV programs, movies, or writing books should absolutely surround themselves with the imagery of what it is they are making. If you are working on a WW2 FPS, your office *should* be as full of WW2 stuff as you can make it. If your doing a city building sim, fill your office with architectural drawings and posters of city skylines.
I'm going to have to dig out my bullet belt and leather trousers.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Good games, bad games...

I gave into my trek fanboyism and ordered star trek : legacy.
Then I read some threads on the 'official forums' about how much th PC version (released in the US) sucks, and today I cancelled it.
Gah.... release a demo FFS you idiots.

But on a good note, here's a 'Good' game, it has a demo and everything:

Ancient Empires Lux. It's like Risk, but better, and with AI. Give it a try.

I had to get something fixed on my car today. How tedious, but I could sit in their reception area with my laptop and do some work on the rock star game, so it was actually time well spent without distractions.
No web access FTW!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


No it's not another plug for the excellent award winning 'Democracy' again, but a request that you take five minutes of your day to go here:

to the premier indie games website (game tunnel) and vote for KUDOS as the players chocie game of 2006.
I need all the publicity I can get, and I really appreciate anyone who goes there and votes for me. You will need to register on their forums, which only takes a few mins, but I really appreciate it.
You wouldn't want kudos to lose now would you? WOULD YOU?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I'm not currently working on Starship Tycoon 2. It's on hold, and I hope to return to it at some stage. I'm working on a different game idea. (yes I know shoot me now, I'm mad).
It's based on the Kudos code, but it's not a normal expansion pack. I don't have real screenshots yet, so heres a clue:

I've dated chicks with a smaller chest than the one on the right.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Good sales, but can't buy this house...

I spent quite a long time making really amateurish games that didn't sell well, and were not really especially good.
Then I started working out what I was doing, ignored the graphics stuff and got heavily into game design.
Since then, I've done better and better. At first it was a nice secondary income. Then at some stage, I bought a nearly-new car, cash, purely with my games earnings. I thought I was pretty lucky then.
Then I left the industry and worked for myself, and thought I'd have to tighten my belt a bit.
happily, things just got better and better, and now I'm doing fairly nicely from it. Nothing too outrageous, but a comfortable living. Happy times indeed.

Unfortunately house prices near me can be a bit steep. Check out this house that's about 5 minutes drive from mine. It's a tad pricey, I think you'll agree...

Expensive House near cliffski

Some people must sell a LOT of stuff.