05/01/2020 – I Finally Succumbed To The Botnet

A fairly entertaining Xmas break. Shenmue III ended up being both terrible and exactly what it should be, Death Stranding was a very interesting game, and my computer broke. Again.

So about a year ago now, my storage drive failed, and soon after my motherboard. This time, the remaining hard drive kicked the bucket. And seeing how Win7 is getting killed later this month, I finally decided to upgrade.

This time, I bought a 4TB HDD to go along with a 2TB I bought to replace the one that failed, and installed a NVME SSD that I had being sitting on since May. And then went about installing Win10.

The first installation had a problem where part of it got installed onto my old SSD, and formatting said SSD caused the whole thing to be completely ignored on boot. So I did it over with just the NVME SSD and it worked just fine after, and then added the SSD after making an unallocated drive.

Today, I spent most of my time reinstalling all my previous applications. It took longer than expected due to my sister visiting and causing the Internet to fucking tank.

Anyway, that’s been my life since Christmas. Not doing much other than fixing this thing. Check in three months from now when something else eventually breaks.

Moving on to the real reason you may be visiting; my next Den post featuring my Top 10s of the year. It’s coming, but seeing as I was dealing with all that bullshit for two to three weeks, I feel like taking some extra time to play some of the games I was rushing to play before the end of the year. Particularly Bloodstained.

Happy New Year. I hope it’s better than last year. Guess we’ll see.

-Adam

08/04/2019 – Bullet Hell Lane Shooter Has Been Shelved

You’ll find more information on this post.

So after the last post I made; I decided to rebuild most of my PC, do a fresh install of Windows, and reinstall a bunch of stuff. I’m now generally back up and running again and haven’t had too many issues with the upgrade (Except for Metro Exodus, which I’ll get to later).

But looking at BHLS, I decided that it would need to be rebuilt. And then I lost all motivation to rebuild it because frankly, Unity is a pain to deal with.

So today I’ve decided to completely wipe my whiteboard clean and start something new… Or get back to finishing my “Gaming Backlog Sorter” that I was working on at one point. Either way, Visual Studio is gonna get reinstalled. And maybe I’ll fiddle around with Godot. Maybe.

Getting back to Metro Exodus; it runs like shit. Even though I’m getting above 60FPS most of the time, the stuttering is insufferable. It makes playing the game really difficult. I managed to help it by moving the game to my SSD, but the issue still persists. The only real solution is to set the graphics settings on low. So I’m thinking it’s a texture streaming issue or something. Either way, it’s very annoying.

It also doesn’t help that the game really isn’t grabbing me at all. The stealth is awful, the AI is awful, the enemies are irritating to fight most of the time because the visual feedback and bullet sponginess is terrible, and the gunplay is crap. It’s desperately trying to be STALKER-like, but ends up eating it’s own identity to do so. Throw that in with the performance problems and the game just ends up being a real pain.

At least the gun customisation is neat. Pulling up to a encounter, pulling out the backpack, and then switching out parts to take advantage of the situation is one of the few parts I like.

And to end on a happy note: Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 are really good games. Thank you Capcom for finally digging yourself out of that hole and making games people actually want.

That’s it for now. Don’t know when the next post will be, but I’m sure it’ll be a happier one.
I hope.

-Adam

19/02/2018 – Motherboard Failure

So after months, if not years, of problems with my PC, it finally got to the point where it became more or less unusable.

To summarise; my PSU died and had to be replaced, the on-board sound died over a year ago, one of my internal HDDs died, the USB ports on my rear I/O died, and now my motherboard decided that everything connected to the rear I/O (minus my keyboard and mouse) and everything connected to the SATA ports (Except my C Drive) are no longer recognised.

So right now I’m using my ITX machine. I’ve ordered new parts to replace the Motherboard, CPU, and RAM. I’ll talk about the new specs once the parts get in and once I’ve done all the work to get my rig back up and running. But the most interesting thing is that I’ve bought a Windows 10 install. So that’ll be fun.

As for game development stuff, everything is kind of on-hold right now. My data is safe. I have it backed up in my repo, and I’m pretty sure my HDD still works properly.

I hate computers sometimes.
Or most of the time.
All the time.

Computers suck. Live out in the woods instead.

Tetris 99 is fun.

-Adam

15/11/2017 – UI Design and Flashcarts

Hello again.

I’ve been busy working on the new game, so I haven’t really had much to discuss for this blog. Again, if you want to keep up to date (Or mostly up to date) with that you can check out the itch.io page. But the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a sort of content creator which lets me make stuff for the game without having the code everything. Unity’s UI is decent enough for the job even with a few weird bugs and specifics. It does remind me how much I hate Unity’s hierarchy system because it doesn’t let you access the children of an object without jumping through some hoops.

Anyway, UI design is difficult when you only have so many tools to work with. You have to jerry-rig it a bit and try and mash different UI components in a way that kind of makes sense. In the system I have, there’s a thing where I define what happens on each specific lane, and to do that I originally had the idea of using tabs, which Unity doesn’t natively support so I had to build my own version of it. Then I realised that for later parts of the game, there would be so many damn tabs that you wouldn’t be able to navigate it. So I settled on a drop down menu instead.

Persistent data was another thing I thought about. One issue was keeping data contained in input fields to stay, which I solved by just toggling which containers of game objects that contained all the additional menu stuff would be enabled at a given time. The other issue I made for myself was whenever I generate new waves, lanes, or lane sequences; it would delete all the information that was there, and put fresh new objects there. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to fixing this issue though.

In the grand scheme of things, pretty small stuff, but surprising in what it does to the user experience especially considering how convenient everything is nowadays. Stuff really needs to work and be presentable. You can’t just do one or the other.

Moving on, I got a GBA Flashcart. This one.

I haven’t given it too much of a test drive because I’ve been busy with other things, but I can at least say it works. I have a 4GB Micro SD loaded into it, and considering how small most GBA games are, I don’t think I’ll be replacing it. The good news is that I can now play Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance without the game deleting my save because the battery on the cartridge died.

There’s other stuff to talk about but it’s mostly anime and games, and I should probably save that for The Den. Whenever I get around to a new one of those. I will say (And I sure hope I didn’t previously talk about this) that I read the book Masters of DOOM. And if you haven’t read that book, you should. I found it very difficult to put it down. Excellent read.

That’s all for now, till next time.

-Adam

14/09/2017 – Apparently There’s A Thing Called “Programmer Day”

It recently came to my attention that every 256th day of the year is Programmer Day. In other words, September 13th (Or 12th on Leap Years).

Anyway, I’m still working on my game, which you can take a gander at the progress I’ve made on the Itch.io page for it. It’s going well, but I’ll admit, I’m behind my personal goal of having it be somewhat more showable. But at the very least, you can kind of see the ideas coming together.

So onto something more recent. I had a PC problem the other day where Chrome would crash on start-up due to an error in ntdll.dll file in my system32 folder. After uninstalling and reinstalling it several times, trying to install Firefox, a couple of virus scans, and mucking about with some system files; I eventually tried using Safe Mode and found that it launched there fine. So after a quick Google search, I decided to do a clean boot of my PC.

No, that’s not a clean install of Windows. More of a turning off of all the additional start-up processes and restarting the PC. Which worked. So there’s a possibility that there was probably a conflict somewhere, that said, I’m too lazy to figure out where. As long as it works I should probably leave it for now.

Other than that, Destiny 2 is out. And I’m playing it.
I wish I could stop.

That’s all for now. Keeping it short this time. Like I said, I post updates for the game on the Itch.io page, so check that out if you want to know what I’m up to game development wise.

-Adam

The Den – 20/08/2017-28/08/2017

It’s been over a year and half since I last did this. I’m not going to talk about every game I’ve played since then. I’m also going to expand it beyond games and anime a bit.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

The last time I played Valkyria Chronicles, I got myself stuck two missions before the end, fighting a tank boss. And biggest problem I was finding was that I had basically screwed myself. You see, when I played it on PS3 I didn’t know quite a few things, like; You can replay Skirmish missions, what a lot of the different characters potentials were, and the fact that the old guy at the cemetery is RNG based and has a 1-in-10 chance of actually giving you anything (More on that in a bit).

So when I started the remastered version, I decided to do some research and properly figure out the game’s mechanics. But also figure out how to play the game more efficiently so that I could take less time getting back to the point I was previously at. Unfortunately it’s made me hate the game more because I’ve started to rely to heavily on the RNG in it. Missing shots, taking more damage than I would like, and so on; would pretty much lead to me reloading my last save.

On the subject of RNG, I never that old git was on a RNG. So back when I looked up walkthroughs for the game, I would wonder how people got certain skills I didn’t have. Turns out you have to save at the start of every chapter and reload that save until he gives you what you want. It’s stupid as tedious.

The game is great still, but horribly balanced. It’s either too easy or bullshit hard. Worth a look into though.

Castlevania Aria of Sorrow / Dawn of Sorrow

So I played Dawn of Sorrow first. It’s a fantastic game, touchscreen gimmicks notwithstanding. The soul system is an interesting mechanic that lets the player mess around with various powers and gives them a variety with combat encounters. Although like anything that lets players build their own setup, there are a certain combination of souls that will be the most effective.

The movement, which is similar to Symphony Of The Night, continues to be extremely tight, although the platforming can be a little dodgy at times. The game also manages to stay surprisingly challenging all the way to the end, providing you don’t cheese the crap out of everything.

Speaking of cheesing, when I got the Claimh Solais, EVERYTHING DIED VERY QUICKLY AND IT WAS GREAT.

Aria of Sorrow by comparison is significantly easier. There were only two bosses that gave me even a bit of trouble (Death and Julius), and one gameplay section (The Trials). Even then, it’s probably easier than even SOTN is. Shorter too, I completed it in over 6 hours. The Soul system technically originated from this game, but frankly it’s used rather poorly. Also, locking out the true ending unless you grind for specific souls is pretty daft.

I started Circle Of The Moon, but found it rather unforgiving. It throws quite a lot at you considering it’s the beginning of the game and you can only use the whip. I’ll try to get back to it, but I might end up skipping it for Harmony of Dissonance.

UPDATE: I found COTM too slow, so I started Dissonance.

Owning a Gameboy Micro

This thing is freaking tiny!

So I bought one of these things so I could play those Castlevania games, and because the idea of a tiny portable game device seemed fun.

It’s better to hold than a 3DS at least, but it’s tiny size doesn’t really do much for me in terms of comfort. My fingers start to cramp and the sweat on my hands starts to cause my hands to burn (Fun Fact: Your hands are slightly acidic). Additionally, the tiny screen makes it really difficult for me to read.

Now you maybe wondering why I didn’t buy an SP. Two reasons.

  1. SP doesn’t solve the issue I have with the 3DS which is that it’s uncomfortable to hold.
  2. No headphone jack

As for specific problems with the one I bought, there’s only one. The screen plates (It came with two) are a bit scratched up, and I need to either replace them, or find someway of cleaning them.

Anyway, I think it’s neat, but it hurts my hands still.

DOOM I & II

After reading Masters Of DOOM (Which I highly recommend), I got a craving for DOOM. Unfortunately the DOSBox version kept giving me graphical errors, so I ended up switching to the Chocolate DOOM source port.

But anyway, DOOM is still one of the best damn video games ever Goddamn made. The Chocolate DOOM version pretty much retains everything and adds better mouse support, which is great. Also, the last few levels are real fucking hard. Shit like “The floor is lava, and you need to walk through it to go to teleporters to get some keys to open doors to use more teleporters over more lava, so you can activate the bridge that gets you to the exit”. Fun stuff.

But DOOM II. Holy shit. It’s like they took the difficulty of the last few missions of the first game, and then ramped it up to 11. It’s been a while since I played the game, and I must have been playing it on a easier difficulty before now, because there have been multiple times where I enter a room full of really bad things that have a really bad day. But man, the Super Shotgun is still the greatest damn thing.

BLOOD: One Unit Whole Blood

I haven’t played a ton of BLOOD, but it seems even more unforgiving than DOOM. I need to give this more time, it seems neat though.

Dunkirk

It’s a good movie, but not entirely historically accurate. Particularly the way the Spitfires manoeuvre. I won’t go into extreme detail, but Spitfires were often associated with large sweeping movements due to the way the fuel was fed into the engine, traditional manoeuvres would cause the engine to stall.

I haven’t done a ton of research to really rip the film apart, but overall, I thought it was worth a watch.

Anime Roundup

Alright, quickfire opinions.

Tsurezure Children

Heart Attacks: The Anime. It’s a really good romance anime and all the character interactions are so damn cute.

18if

Not the best anime, but it’s so weird that I can’t help but recommend it. Each episode has a wildly different story that focuses on different problems, and the art style sometimes drastically changes to represent a whole different perception of the world. Give it a look.

Koi To Uso

KANASHII KANASHII KANASHII, URESHII URESHII URESHII
The anime is OK, but I think it only makes me get increasingly more angry at government intervention into individual rights. Opening song is awesome though.

New Game

I didn’t think an anime about cute girls doing game development things would resonate with me as heavily as it has. And now the second season is out and really fleshing out more of the characters and really digging into the realities of game development. I wish it had more programming focus though.

GJ-bu

This has been on my list for a while, and man, it’s great. It’s a slice of life anime with great characters and a comforting atmosphere. It’ll probably engross anyone that watches it, and make them hate the fact that it ends.

OK, so this post ended up getting put on hold for a week, so if it comes off as half-rushed, that would be the reason. Sorry about that. It’ll be a while till the next one.

-ADMAN

20/05/2016 – Mobile VR 2: Electric Boogaloo, Uncharted 4, and Dealing With Boredom

Hello again.

So that previous mobile VR headset, well turns out that the lenses were fucked. On the inside of it, the plastic was corrugated, so everything I looked at was blurry as shit no matter what I did. So I ended up replacing the thing entirely. Now I have the VIGICA RIEM 2.

This headset actually has a magnet switch (Albeit on the wrong side, so I had to switch it), lense adjusters, suction cup grip for the phone, and generally fits better. But most importantly, the lenses are smooth plastic.

It certainly an improvement over the previous piece of crap I had. Actually it’s so good, since I start using it, my previous complaints about getting motion sick have been minimal at best. So I imagine the clearer picture helps a lot with that. Additionally, it’s Google Cardboard compatible out of the box, although the model I have didn’t have the QR code, but luckily someone had generated one.

That being said, I still can’t see the point of it outside of being a head-mounted display. A decent one at that, but only that.

Now. Uncharted 4.

After the disappointment that was Uncharted 3, I didn’t have that high of expectations going into 4. And after playing a good chunk of The Last Of Us and despising it for it’s animation systems and combat, I really thought it was going to have the same issues.

Thankfully, Naughty Dog have learnt and improved.

Pretty game is pretty.

Pretty game is pretty.

The gameplay systems have been improved where combat is concerned. Gunplay is relatively tight (Although they decided to reinvent the wheel and change how aiming and recoil is handled AGAIN) and enemies a little less bullet spongy. Additionally, other than maybe 3 areas of the game, you can use stealth to get through all your encounters. You could do this in Uncharted 2 as well, but the systems have been significantly improved here with indicators showing when an enemy sees you and so on. And should you want it, you can turn these features off.

The dialogue is good, general quips are still pretty interesting and the interactions between characters works in a believable way. The main two villains aren’t great. The main guy is kind of an arsehole in a “I’m a rich guy who wants to become famous, despite already having fame and fortune from my parents” way, which OK, it works but come on. The other is a woman who just seems over-powered for SOME REASON, but ultimately does the “You guys are crazy I’m out” thing right at end of the game. And frankly that just makes her existence seem pointless.

My biggest problem with the game is that it’s not very memorable. No particular events stand out in my mind like Nazi stuff in Uncharted 1, or the train level in 2, or the desert scene in 3. This might change as time goes on and I think about the game again, but who knows.

The in-game graphics filters are great.

The in-game graphics filters are great.

Well, that’s my two cents on that.

The other game I started working on is near completion now. Just needs some adjustments and extras and it’ll be ready for release on Android.

It should of been finished weeks ago, but unfortunately I’ve been having a problem with keeping myself motivated. I’ve barely been doing anything. I just sit in my chair and browse the Internet all day sometimes and listen to the same songs I’ve heard before and then complain about how bored I am. I can’t even be arsed to go through my staggering backlog of games. So if there’s something I can give Uncharted 4 credit for, it’s making me motivated to do SOMETHING other than slowly dying in front of two LCD monitors.

Now that I’ve gotten past the mental block, maybe I’ll actually be productive again.

And I’ll call the Enterprise Centre soon. I sent them an e-mail a few days ago but never got a reply.

-Adam

P.S.

I’ll be updating this site with stuff I’ve done from Uni soonish. I need to clean up this damn room first.

28/02/2016 – Mobile VR

This is my first post in 2016.

Right, well, first off; I am still working on a game. It’s not the same game I was working on the last I made a post though. That game is currently shelved until I finish the one I’m working on. And the one I’m working on is basically an advanced Pong clone, because I wanted to make something for Android. Surprisingly, I’ve learned a lot more about using Unity with mobile platforms and more of the APIs it has.

Regardless, you’re gonna be waiting a little longer for a release. I’m kinda busy sorting out paperwork, which is almost done.

But onto the main topic; Mobile VR.

I recently got a Mobile VR headset, a DESTEK 3D Virtual Reality Headset. I got this one partly because my phone is small, and I prefer the sturdiness of plastic rather than cardboard. Thing is, this isn’t Google Cardboard. It has a NFC sticker on it, but not the QR code the Cardboard app asks for. You can still run it though.

Add it to the other pictures of white guys with VR headsets I guess.

Add it to the other pictures of white guys with VR headsets I guess.

There’s a bunch of VR apps to mess with, but I only messed around with Cardboard and the YouTube apps, along with the Unity Demo App for Cardboard.

It’s not a bad effect, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to it, so you can get a screen-door effect sometimes. A lot of the apps I looked at required me to stand up and move around to see things, the only stuff for sitting down VR were side-by-side video players. I’ll get to the point with that, it’s kinda shitty. I felt like shit after like 5 minutes and had to lie down.

There’s already plenty of information on why that happens, but I feel not making me stand up in the middle of my room, spinning around like a spastic; would of helped minimize the nausea I had. I seriously hope those developing apps don’t have the intention of designing them in ways that fucks with people’s sense of balance or world placement. Maybe they’ll get the message after a few videos of people smashing into their living room objects.

As for the headset itself (Minus the phone part, obviously), it’s mostly comfortable. That is providing you don’t wear glasses like me. In that case, expect them to become embedded into the sides of your nose. To be fair, it did come with extra padding, and I used that to ease up on that issue, but be fair warned regardless. The lenses are fine, mostly clear. There is a weird blurring, but I’m not sure if that’s the lenses, my glasses being dirty, or my poor eyesight without my glasses.

So in general, I like the idea of VR, but less like the idea of people not taking into account how people’s bodies react to it. Then again, Mobile VR and something like the Rift or Vive are very different machines. If you want to develop the mobile stuff, consider slower things where you turn have to turn around as much. But holy Hell does this stuff make my stomach turn. I’ll keep at it to see if my body can become accustomed to it and not be sick as a dog after minutes, but fuck man.

Either way, if you wanna buy into it, Google Cardboard is cheap and supports any phone/tablet display from 4.7″ to 6″, with some of them going larger.

Now I just need to stop goofing around and finish these things I start.

-Adam

10/03/2015 – New 3DS Impressions and More.

I’ll be short with my impressions of the New 3DS (Specifically the XL version). It’s a better handheld. The decreased load times, generally better performance, significantly improved 3D to the point it actually works, and a C-Stick.

That being said, the shitty ergonomic design that makes it difficult to hold for long periods remains, and frankly the improvements are not really enough of a justification to upgrade unless you really are in the market for a new one.

In my case, my old one went to my half-brother to replace his DS which was pretty much on its way out anyway.

In terms of games, getting to play Monster Hunter 4 at 60FPS is neat, but I don’t have much time for games these days.

I still prefer the Vita.

So that’s that.

In terms of life, I’m almost about to enter the part of the year where I go completely off the grid to complete coursework. And on that subject, a small rant.

The lack of documentation for building a music visualizer is mind-boggling. People have created them, made some really pretty ones, but nobody has really documented the low-level process of building one from scratch.

It’s taken me 7 months of hitting my head on a keyboard to finally reach a point where I understand exactly what it is doing from a processing standpoint. Something that I should have completed within the first month of this project. The problem is that my project is specifically focused on the data processing aspect of the audio. General audio APIs like FMOD or OpenAL don’t really give me what I want.

I’ll do a full write up on my project once Uni is finished, just so somebody somewhere doesn’t hit their head against a wall as hard as I did.

And finally, I’m entering Three Thing Game again. I’ll make a post about it after the event.

-Adam

13/12/2014 – A Suggestion For VR Developers

Although this is probably brought on from the amount of Sword Art Online I’ve watched recently (It’s not a good show regardless), there is an aspect of VR Gaming which worries me.

It’s no secret that imbeciles have somehow managed to die while playing video games for an absurd amount of hours, and I can’t help but feel VR isn’t going to help. Now the obvious solution to this problem is to force the user out of the game and take a break. I know it’s not a well liked solution to this problem, but a forced reality check every 8 hours or so is probably the only way to get people to stop.

I’m not saying we limit their daily playtime or anything. I know the Chinese government implemented time restrictions on certain games, but this is slightly different. You should be able to go back and keep playing. It’s more like one of those things of “Hey stop, get some food, drink something, and use the bathroom; then come back”.

To be honest, most people probably wouldn’t notice. I’m pretty sure only the dedicatedly stupid can play a game for more than 8 hours without even a bathroom break or food. But it is certainly something to think about.

And this goes without saying, although SAO seems like a cool concept, don’t actually implement a system where the headset kills your players.

I’ll make another post once this semester is over with. So probably a week or two from now.

-Adam