Friday, 25 December 2015

Steam - Slightly Buggered Right Now

Steam has been pretty borked today. When I go to log in, it shows me other people's details. I nearly crapped myself when I noticed two items in the cart that I hadn't put there. I swear I went into full-on OMGHACK mode, but it turns out to be not as bad as it first seems.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Live Cheap: Instant Noodles, But Awesomer

When it comes to tips on living cheaply, instant noodles are kind've obvious. If someone gave you tips on how to stay healthy and then said "try not to cut your arm off", that's the kind of obvious we're talking about here. But WHAT IF.. that person showed you how you could avoid cutting your arm off in a completely awesome way? Huh? You'd be impressed then, I bet. Well, here it is - how to make completely awesome instant noodles.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thoughts from the Shower: Supernatural and Diversity

I'm a fan of Supernatural. I love the show and have watched every episode from all 11 series so far. I've also watched loads of outtakes and on-set videos with the actors messing around, and just yesterday I spent some time reading through the Twitter feeds of the three main characters - Jensen Ackles, Jared Padelecki and Misha Collins. They really seem like a nice bunch.

This morning, I was reading some articles about Donald Trump and Ben Carson (I'm not going to link, 'cos I don't actually like either of them).

When I had my shower today, my thoughts somehow went from US politics to Supernatural. Let me explain how...

Friday, 13 November 2015

Spriter Pro and GameMaker

Well, the last two posts were about old retro stuff for now, this one's more about the new things. And back to game development, too. Lovely, shiny, new dev stuff..

A few weeks ago, I got a copy of Spriter Pro cheap from Bundle Stars. In the last couple of days, I've had a chance to play around with it a little. Spriter is a 2D animation program, aimed at game developers. I've managed to make a character and animated it walking, so I'm going to use that example to give an idea of how Spriter works.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

More Old Stuff

Maybe I should call this stuff "retro" instead of "old", it sounds so much better..

Anyway, here's a couple of photos I took. The timestamp says 2006, but I'm pretty sure that was just when I resized them and saved them.

A hoverfly, long since deceased

An underpass and a cow. An undercow?

Unfortunately, I don't have the originals, so these are the biggest versions I have. If I remember right, they were taken in Hertfordshire, along a canal path. Looking at Google Maps, I believe it was along the River Gade, just West of Garston.

Writing this, I'm starting to remember a bit more. It must have been around 15-18 years ago (1997-2000). My camera at the time was a Nikon.. an F60, most likely, in a nice champagne colour. It was my first decent camera and I'd just recently bought a lightweight tripod and a cheap macro lens from a camera shop in Watford (there were a couple up the top end of town, near the big nightclub whose name I've forgotten due to it changing so often). Anyway, it was a really hot, sunny day, and I'd wandered North up the canal path taking various snaps of things along the way. I remember it was my first time going around with a camera bag and tripod and I was feeling a little self-conscious about it.

It was dark by the time I got back that day. I'd basically walked from Garston to Kings Langley, then back down to Bushey, before walking back to Garston. I'm not much good at estimating distances, but I reckon that's about 20 miles or so. I probably slept well that night.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Some Old Stuff

The other day, a friend of mine showed me a picture she'd taken, which reminded me of a picture I'd taken years back. So then I had to see if I could hunt down the picture..

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Thoughts from the Shower: Parasitic BRAIN WORMS!

I love showers. They provide great thinking time. I've been meaning to post some of those thoughts for a while, but today's shower provided me with a moment of musing that I thought worth recording.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Tools and Resources

I just realised, I was going to put a list of resources together. I completely forgot because it was just kind've in an earlier post. Now there'll be this post just for these things and it'll be updated as I find new stuff.


Well, I didn't die, which is always nice.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Wish Me Luck!

I bought a bike on Sunday and I'm about to ride to work and back. I haven't ridden a bike in over ten years and I'm in East London, where a lot of drivers seem to view indicating and stopping for lights as optional. For these reasons, I suspect I'm going to die. If there are no more posts from me, you know what's happened. I love you all*

*except for those of you who are assholes, obviously.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Parallax Scrolling

I am now a proud owner of a shiny new GameMaker Studio PROFESSIONAL, thanks to Humble Bundle. You can get it here if you're like, really quick (it finishes in 20 minutes, I just checked).

Anyway, one of the differences between the Professional version and the free one is that there is no limit on the number of objects you can have in your game. To be honest, I hadn't realised that was a limitation until recently, but luckily that was just before the Humble Bundle went up. Lucky timing..

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Note: Updated TWICE at the end.

Yup, back. Sorta. Thanks to the wonders of tethering, I can get online again, in a slightly slow fashion. Actually, I've been doing this for a while now, I just haven't had anything important to post.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Time Off!

There's probably going to be a drought of posts for a while. My home internet, which was included in the bills (I rent) is now not included in the bills. As I'm kind've looking for other places to live, I'm not going to bother taking out a contract because they tend to be for 18 months unless you want to pay through the nose.

Also, things are also busy at work, so I'm not getting online much anyway. Normal service will resume shortly (fingers crossed!).

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A Bit More Detail (on GameMaker Physics)

The Story So Far...

My last post covered a little about how to get a physics-enabled, player-controlled object moving about using GameMaker, but it probably assumes some level of familiarity with GameMaker that not everyone will have. I was a bit excited at just getting things working and wanted to get those thoughts down quick. As promised, here's a bit more detail about the topic.

Now, my own project is a Lander-style game, so this tutorial will be mostly about rotation and thrust, but the concepts should be similar for any 2D physics-based game.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Physics in GameMaker

Well, things have been pretty quiet around here lately. That's partly because of work, partly because of other stuff, and partly because I've been stuck. I started a new GameMaker project, but it's a physics-based one and there doesn't seem to be a lot of information around about the physics stuff in GameMaker. I'll explain the problem I had and then the solution.

Monday, 25 May 2015

I Do Overcomplicate Things Sometimes...

I was watching some of Tom Francis's Make A Games With No Experience tutorials today, and I noticed something that made me facepalm.

Back in this post, I had a problem with randomly moving objects going offscreen. In order to try and solve this, I limited the distance that objects could choose to travel to and then, within that range, checked for problem locations such as screen edges. Once those problem locations were located, the object... actually, it's not worth going into - point is, it was a horribly convoluted method of doing things. Tom Francis used four lines of code that would have saved me a lot of time. Here's what he used:

Friday, 15 May 2015

Lines and Music, Mostly

It's been a little quiet on the blogging front lately, mainly because I've not really done too much on the game. Most of the basics have been in place for a while now, what's left is tweaking around the edges - prettying things up, making things more intuitive and so on. Yesterday, I added some lines connecting the player to any people they were influencing. God, was that a nightmare...

Sunday, 3 May 2015

I Think It's A Game

Looks like I ended up taking a bit of time away from GameMaker. No real reason apart from I'm a lazy bastard. Still, tonight, I got back into it for a bit and although I don't think I really added much, I think it's now at a stage where it can be called a "game". Basic, unbalanced, in need of tweaking, but still - just about - a game.

Monday, 20 April 2015

More Baby Pics

 Another two flowers on my venus flytrap opened up today:
Isn't she just adorable?

Friday, 17 April 2015

Venus Flytraps Have Flowers?

I guess logically, they would have. It's not something I've ever given much thought to in the past. I was starting to get a bit worried when a really long green stalk started growing up from my flytrap. I bought it less than a year ago, so I'm not really familiar with it's cycles. At first, I thought it was going to just be a regular leaf, but it carried on growing up... and up...

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Now That's Interesting...

Another milestone dev session tonight. Amongst a few other things, I decided to add code in so that the buildings now spawn people. Neutral buildings spawn neutral people, light buildings spawn light people and dark buildings spawn dark people. Neutrals have a 1/1000 chance to spawn, dark 1/2000 and light 1/4000. I thought that over time, there would be more and more neutrals, but instead something quite interesting happened.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Wizard Jam!

Idle Thumbs are hosting a game jam, Wizard Jam. It's running from April 10-24. Looks like there's lots of help available with a whole bunch of game engines, programming languages and tools (including GameMaker, which I've been using).


Came up with an awesome gnocchi recipe last night. It was so awesome, I ate it and fell asleep in front of the TV last night. That's how awesome it was.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Possibly the Point of No Return

Oh, this is great! I just had a "yes, it's starting to come together" moment. Just a minor thing, but it felt like a milestone.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Random Movement

I wrote in a previous post that I wanted to fix the way the player could run off the screen edge. That was easy enough. I basically put the following:

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

Blogging has been temporarily disrupted by having to do some actual work. Hopefully back at the weekend!

ps - did you know there's a bit in VLC that lets you adjust the synchronising of an audio track with the movie? Found it the other day.

Right-click > Interface > Track Synchronization

Frigging awesome.

Monday, 6 April 2015

A Sort of Amateur Dev Diary Thing, I Guess - Part 2

Now, as I said in Part 1 - and as implied by the title too, I reckon - I'm trying to make a game. I should probably talk about that, if the rest of this diary is to make any sense. It's a bit hard to judge how I'm getting on if nobody has a clue about what I'm trying to achieve.

Personally, I love reading interviews with game devs. What I've found is that, when it comes to interviews, the big devs will chat about techy stuff more, and the indies will focus on concepts. Techy stuff interests me, but it's the conceptual stuff that I really like. Games like Papers, Please or Braid are of more interest to me than the latest Battlefield game (I can't even be arsed searching for a link).

A Sort of Amateur Dev Diary Thing, I Guess - Part 1

For some time now, I've had an interest in videogames. Today, I started trying to make one. I've had a minor dalliance with GameMaker Studio before but it didn't really lead anywhere, mostly because I had no real idea of what I wanted to achieve. Unless I have a destination in mind, I tend to wander aimlessly before getting sidetr - ooh, shiny!