A Word

Hey. Yeah, uh… Yeah. Ahem. Guess it’s been a while, eh? Yeah, it’s still me; I’m still here. I just kinda took a cooler for a while since there really wasn’t anything interesting going on… Nothing noteworthy, really.

Well… That’s not totally true. But for a while, I was thinking, “well, there’s no real point to posting if I don’t have a new game or song to share, or even progress on something. No one wants to just read what’s on my mind… That’s what Facebook is for. As a matter of fact, that’s what a lot of people find annoying about Facebook–tons of useless crap that no one wants to hear about. I don’t want my site to be like that.” And yet, here we are.

It’s not that I’ve gotten rusty at my craft. In fact, Theo and I and a few other guys we know are banding together to create a game for mobile devices, using Unity. We only really decided to do this a few weeks ago, but even still, it’s been fun prototyping different game concepts and trying them out (Unity is great for that). I’m also working on another Unity project of my own, which hopefully I’ll develop alongside the team project (after all, I gotta do something while I wait for the rest of the team to catch up, smirk smirk).

And I’m still practicing guitar almost daily. Been trying to rally Theo to practice and record the guitar part to our next song… Though he’s apparently busy (playing SKYRIM! I know! Skyrim. Guy has Diablo 3, and I wouldn’t blame him for wasting time on that (because, after all, I am too), but frickin’ Skyrim! Some people…). But yeah. I still remember playing and recording myself on camera last year… I plan to do that again (at some point. Maybe).

In other news… Hm, let’s see… Uh, well, I turned 24 in April. And… Oh, yeah; skydiving. Did that. And didn’t die! That’s another reason I wanted to post; to prove I did it and survived:

See that? That’s what they make you do: hang halfway out of the airplane for a bit, just chillin’ until they push you out. It was tandem, so I wasn’t worried. I was, however, surprised at how hard it was to breathe. Though, with a wind of 120 mph in my face, I guess I should’ve expected that.

So. That’s…about it for now I guess. I’ll try and get more amusing things to show for next post. And… Maybe next post will be sooner than 3 months away.

Things (And a Side of Stuff)

Hey, hey. Yep; still alive. I know… Didn’t I say there would me more frequent blog posts? Maybe by “more” I meant “less.” Nah, I mean, I hate going so long without a post, but, let’s be honest… Who really cares? No, I mean, I guess I’m so busy doing stuff that I don’t feel like taking time out to write about it!

If only that were the case. While I have been doing a lot of work on my RPG battle engine, I’ve also been hittin’ the Team Fortress 2 pretty hard. I know I gotta stop; this is not healthy. I’m hoping I get bored of the game soon… But it’s a good time when played with friends.

It’s not like work is particularly brutal lately. I’ve been moved over to our social games department and we’re preparing for a Facebook game release soon. So while that experience is pretty stressful, it’s also a little bit exciting. That is, if our online games take off and generous rewards are to be had by all… Even still though, working with Flash is a decent change of pace, even though the end product is still a slot machine. I still get my C++ fix at home with my RPG code.

Really soon! I’m putting together a little RPG battle package (in console form) to sort of test out the gameplay of my battle system. I’ve made a lot of progress (or so I keep saying), and I plan to show it soon.

Pow! Kyaaa!

Hey! So, I know it probably seems like I haven’t been doing much in the way of game development lately… In fact, it probably seems like I haven’t been doing much of anything constructive lately… That’s fair; I haven’t given any evidence that says otherwise. Until NOW:

RPG battle system screenshot

Hah! See? Game stuff! I made that. Made what? A bunch of boring text on a still-more-boring console window? Mike, you’re losing your touch. I weep for the future; specifically, yours. Honestly now… No! No no! This is actually version 0.0000001 of my super RPG game idea! It’s just the battle system so far, but I determined that that would be the best place to start.

I know it doesn’t look like much right now, but there’s a lot going on under the hood. A little while back I posted a picture of a proposed code architecture diagram. I’ve since made some changes to that design and then (or, at the same time) turned that spec into a working implementation. TL/DR: I have a working turn-based RPG battle system here.

Right now I just have some characters in a battle scene (me and my friends Abe and Damon versus a bat, a robot and a wad of gunk) with placeholder AI that makes random decisions based on their available skills. So, no; you can’t play it at the moment… You just watch the exchange of the characters whacking each other with random attacks.

Wow. Random crap going on, and you can’t even control it. Some game, Mike. Way to go. Seriously, who gave this guy a college degree? I know what you’re thinking, but… This is actually very important in a not-very-obvious way. See, I need to make sure that the attacks and their effects–not just damage, but other effects, like flying, regenerating health, shields–actually work correctly, and so far they do. I even have a move that, when used, coats the battle floor with ice, making it hard to do melee attacks. Once I have most of the attack types in, I plan on using this console program to run simulations of battle scenarios to find out things like “are these enemies too hard? Do the heroes fail too often? Or maybe certain attacks are way too potent or weak?” That kind of stuff’s for later, but it’s in my mind.

So yeah; there’s a lot brewing.. I just need to be more diligent with setting aside time to work on this. I do like it; it doesn’t feel like a chore. But it’s a challenge, and after a long day of work, I don’t necessarily like challenges! But if I can drag myself to the gym–something I don’t particularly enjoy–then I can sure find time to wedge this cool stuff in.

Stop SOPA!

So much for “more frequent blog posts”… But today is important! No, I don’t have any side project updates (but I will soon; bear with me)… It actually has to do with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that’s currently in Congress, and how awful it is.

Don’t know what SOPA is? Well, don’t take my word on it–as you can see, I’m not objective. But it’d behoove you to do a little research and find out for yourself. I’d point you over to Wikipedia but they–along with thousands of other web sites and blogs big and small–are blacking out today as a way to raise awareness. Because if you don’t know about this legislation, you really should–and then you should contact your state’s congressmen and urge them to oppose it.

On the surface, it seems benevolent: SOPA claims to target online piracy and copyright infringement. But after reading into it, there are plenty of things to freak out about. Probably the thing that peeves me the most is not the drastic censorship measures contained within, but that the law leaves the burden of proof on the web site accused of housing copyrighted content. In other words, the site is guilty until proven innocent! That’s right: if someone were to complain that mikebelotti.com is hosting a file–an image of a screenshot of a game, even–that is copyrighted by another company, I’d basically be toast. My site host would drop me, I’d instantly lose any advertisers I had, and my web address would pretty much be dead to the Internet–all on an accusation.

Of course, I would never knowingly post content copyrighted by anyone other than me, but still… Like I said, don’t cite me as your SOPA info source–I’m not unbiased. But it shouldn’t take you long to come to the conclusion that this bill should not be passed in its current form.

Enter Title Here!

Howdy! Happy new year and all that. This post is mostly pointless… I mean, I have no stats to share, or a compiled timeline of significant happenings from 2011, or anything like that. No new years’ resolutions either. So, um…yeah…

Oh, the blog? Yeah, I’m using WordPress now. So, from now on, things should be more organized and coherent, and leaving comments should be easier. I know I’ve always been about doing things myself and not relying on anyone else, but… Well, sometimes, that’s kind of stupid. For what I want, WordPress looks like it’ll do. So here’s to more organized (and more frequent?) blog posts in the new year!

Testing… 1, 2, etc.

This is just a test post. Nothing interesting here… There’s no point in actually reading any further. There’s no point in writing any more either. For all intents and purposes, this new WordPress blog format should integrate nicely into the site. Agreement?