It’s the end of another month and the beginning of a new year, which means it’s progress report time… or is it? It seems I’ve had an unannounced hiatus over the past few months.
I would like to start by apologising for my lack of activity. Turns out moving house really took its toll on me, and the holiday season only wore me down further. Regardless, that’s no excuse for slacking on my work, and I will strive to resume working to the previous standards (or beyond) that I established in 2018.
While this progress report will mainly focus on game development efforts made in January 2019, I will also include notable bits and pieces from September to December 2018 as well.
If you enjoyed my experimental foray into YouTube from early last year, do stick around until the end, because I have some ideas going forward that I would like to run by you all.
What Tina’s been up to with Magical Miracle Mira
Starting off, back in September I enhanced Miracle Ninja’s wallslide with a curved friction modifier. This means that she’ll stick to the wall at first and then slowly start sliding down, as seen below:
Moving back to January, for Miracle Fire I’ve been experimenting with particle effects to give a smoother and more convincing flamethrower effect. However, it’s proving difficult to make the particles function as “bullets”, so I’m unsure if I’ll keep this approach or not. For now, here’s Sniper Joe from the Mega Man series getting owned.
Speaking of particle effects, they really are a “low effort, high reward” thing. Here’s another I’ve been playing with.
However, Miracle Drill is where I spend the bulk of my work in January, and that’s where things get really interesting. That’s right, I’ve finally started working on Miracle Drill! So what can Mira’s Drill costume do for her? Simple, it gives her giant drill arms. Observe:
This was the result of my first game dev stream of the new year, and the first I’ve done since 2016. I’ll talk about streaming a bit more at the end of this post, but I hope to make this a weekly or bi-weekly thing.
Of course, it’s very much a work in progress, but the need to have smooth melee combos that were easy to design demanded some particularly robust programming to suit. The inputs are handled using a simple flowchart system similar to the one we employed for Nazi Slam, but her speed and various attack flags are actually handled by her animations! (I plan to have hitboxes controlled with animations too, but that can be February Tina’s problem. 😉)
Some examples of Miracle Drill’s speed curves. The white tabs at the top are animation events that control other things.
These enhancements will also carry over to Miracle Ninja’s melee attacks too, but for now I’m focusing on Drill while I fully develop the melee attack systems.
As for the animations, that’s something Dana and I are still working together on together. Here’s two different attempts at hand animating a drill attack we made in our spare time.
Tina’s attempt on the right, Dana’s on the left.
Here’s a Twitter Moment with all my game dev Tweets for the month of January.
Speaking of Dana, what has she been up to anyway? Let’s go over to her.
In other news… did someone say retro gaming?
(Tina’s note: Dana has generally been too unwell to work on game dev stuff full time. However, she’s been spending her few good days on some personal projects of her own!)
First things first, my long-time-coming guide to repairing and restoring games and consoles was finally uploaded!
This is still a “Version 1” so if anything needs clarification, elaboration, or is just plain missing, please give us that feedback!
In terms of more “fun” projects, we now have a nice Retropie box; I hand crafted the case from closed cell PVC foam board (a type of thick plastic that is easily cut) and car body filler (fast setting fibreglass based resin) - the case was custom built to accommodate additions made to the Raspberry Pi of a fan, smart power button, and power indicator.
Take a look!
And finally, we obtained a new CRT TV from someone in the local community; I spent a lot of time studying the internal circuit board, the service manual, and datasheets for key components, and successfully implemented RGB input for maximum quality potential!
The mod itself is currently unfinished as we're awaiting the delivery of special components like a SCART socket, but the important (and most difficult) part is that the input works and displays correctly.
Here's a glimpse of how things stand:
If you want to see some more in depth overviews of any of my projects, Tina has expressed interest in making YouTube videos about them. Speaking of which, how is that going anyway? Let’s go back to her.
“What ever happened to your YouTube commentary videos?”
So this is an interesting question I get sometimes. (Mostly from my mother, bless her.)
The response to my Sonic Forces video was encouraging. While it didn’t generate much in views (only finally reaching 1000 views this month), it did generate a ton of engagement through comments. While this is largely down to being in the right place at the right time with the video’s topical subject matter, I did have a lot of fun making it, and I’ve been wanting to get back into it for a while.
While I did lay the groundwork for a couple other videos last year, I ended up scrapping them for various reasons. However, if I can find the time and spoons between game development and various life commitments, then I do still have several ideas in the works, some even with half-written scripts and b-roll footage ready to go, covering all sorts of subject matter, from informational videos on obscure gaming history, to more review commentary videos of weird and wonderful games.
Whether or not I see these through to completion depends on if it’s something people want to see, so please let me know if you’re interested in this sort of thing or if I should just stick to making video games instead in the comments below. I’ll be posting a more detailed overview of my YouTube plans in a separate post once things develop further.
Of course, driving engagement also means interacting with the community, which is why I’ve been making an effort to stream more often over on my Twitch channel, with the goal of having regular streams twice a week.
While I haven’t got a concrete schedule yet, the general idea is that I do a game dev stream on Friday afternoon, and a video game stream some time on the weekend or Monday evening. The week before last I pulled off a successful game dev stream where I developed Miracle Drill’s attack combos, and just last weekend I played Jackbox games with friends like I used to years ago. Like a lot of things, the key to building success on streaming services is to just be persistent and keep trying, but these early successes are promising!
Follow me on Twitch using the link above (or on my Patreon profile) if you haven’t already. I’ve also considered streaming to YouTube for my regularly scheduled gaming streams too. I’ll keep you all posted on any developments, but for now, I’ll mainly be streaming on Twitch.