Monday, December 31, 2012

Last blog post of 2012

[December 31, 2011]
For 2012, I want it to be a year of personal discovery. While I've spent 2010 and 2011 becoming 

more outgoing and social than I have been, I want 2012 to be a year where I take risks. I want to graduate college this year and maybe start up a studio. I want to release Selatria to a wide audience. There is so much I'd like to do, and there is so much I've done this year as well that I thought I would have never done.

I wrote that a year ago, I don't remember writing that at all.


Well here it is, the last post of 2012. This year was full of great things, and unfortunate tragedies.

But regarding 2011 goals, I guess it lingered in my head because for the most part, I was able to get most of the above done. At the time, I was hoping I could finish the game by the end of the year, but university at said no to that. (Not literally, but difficult classes had priority.) The last quarters were very stressful, I guess because I didn't manage my courses as well as I would have liked and saved the most difficult courses for last. You know, the ones that are only offered once or twice a year, and if you don't do well, you're essentially screwed.

I also don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions. People start them for the first couple of days and they fall flat and then that's the end of that. 

Anyway, 2013 goals! They're not something that came out of my head and said I would like to start precisely on January 1st. Most of these have been ongoing and just carried over because I couldn't finish it in December due to time constraints.

-Begin the fundraising phase for Selatria
-Attend at least three trips to Mexico to feed orphans
-I am going to stop a very self-destructive habit I've had for the last few years.
-Finish Selatria
-Do well on my job interview in a few days.


Life is looking up. Bring it on, 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #2

Hey all! Back with my second development log! I've been pretty much at the studio for the past few days overseeing the recording of Selatria Chapter 2 lines! Recording went very well! I was surprised that everyone's schedules worked out and could gather together and record between the holidays. And that was a hell of a lot of lines!

After some technical difficulties on the first day, Shadoe was able to fill in with some of her equipment and saved the day as far as recording goes.

Here is a collection of some of the photos from the last two days!

A small video of recording a line for a future antagonist!

That's about it for now! I need to talk to some people about what the plans are going to be, and begin production on a new game trailer that showcases some of the new cut-scenes, music and art that has been added since our last trailer which was showcased earlier.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #1

Hey all! I'm planning to write this new section of development logs in order to track the progress of the studio. Well, at least for now. After the studio is all set up and running, I'm going to be using the development log for a lot of things. Game progress, Kickstarter/Indiegogo backer updates, etc.

First of all, I wanted to say thanks to two of my friends Paul and Matt they've been invaluable help in order to get this started and off the ground from the get-go. For the past two weeks or so we've been cleaning up the office space we'll be using. It was originally a bunch of dusty unused rooms that we've cleaned up and set things up in order to get things running.

The office has a development room, kitchen, bathroom, Lead Programmer's (Matt's) office, Human Resources (Paul's) office, and my own office is going to be in the main development room.

I wanted to get some FAQs of the studio out of the way, too! 


Whim Independent Studios - An independent game development company. Established in 2009, but became official in late 2012 once the proper forms were filled out. Currently producing Selatria and an upcoming game on the Unity engine.


I wanted to put together a small game studio in San Bernardino that develops games. We don't have one. Most game companies require years of experience in order to get that dream position. I want to lead a team to do games and people can use the small company in order to build that needed experience or stick around if they wish.

Either way, it's a win-win situation.


San Bernardino, CA. About 60 miles east of Los Angeles. I am not planning on posting the exact address for a while. :) You'll need to be a member of the Selatria or the game studio to get that information!


Our first meeting will be January 12th, 2013. We're currently cleaning the studio and making preparations.


I'll only post the people who were confirmed to be on board for now. The team is subject to change, and we'll see who will be affiliated with us come the 12th. :)

Here is who committed so far!

Paul Vela (Co-Founder, Human Resources/Finances)
Matthew Estrada (Co-Founder, Lead Programmer)
Jonathan Dishaw (Unity Designer/Programmer)
Robert Reynolds (Unity Designer/Programmer)
Kevin de la Cueva (3D Modeler/Programmer)
Gerren Willis (Programmer)
Andrew Franks (3D Modeler)
Nikolay Figurin (User Interface/Pixel Artist)
Kyle Elder (Programmer/Designer)
Christopher Nuño (Composer) 
Donald Brown (Sound Designer/SFX)


Hmm, picture time?

Human Resources/Contracts Room (Paul dubs this as the room "where imagination goes to die"):

Whim Independent Studios Mascot(?)

One of the studio computers that had to be taken home for repairs. :(

The studio itself will get pictures soon. I was thinking of showing pictures of it as we clean it up, but it wouldn't do it justice. The walls still need cleaning and possibly paint before its ready for the public eye, and I'm going to be restricting who can see it to current team members first and once things are ready for public view, pictures will be in a future post!

Until next time!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Selatria - Development Blog Entry 12/10: Dev Team Changes and Updated Screenshots

Hey readers! An update of what's being worked on. Selatria as a whole is coming along very nicely. Once the cutscenes and the battles for Chapter 2 are completed, we'll be officially 1/3 of the way through the project!

The goal is to get finished with that around the end of the year and do each chapter in a two month time frame after that. The last two months will be for testing/playing through the game and implementing side-quests with the overall goal to be finished/released on August 20. :)

My policy for removing team members:

With such a volatile project, the development team is constantly changing and reforming. There's been some development team changes. Unfortunately, with a team where most people are working for free, it's hard to expect new things in a quick amount of time. I'm really hoping to get that changed with the upcoming game fundraiser and pre-order openings to where I can begin commissioning the current team AND get new people to continue helping with the project.

If I notice a team member is not contributing at all without letting me know (and I'm normally very lenient - I give a few months or so.) I typically replace them, and any resources they've submitted (if they've submitted any) if they are worth the loss.

If the person submitted assets that I intend on using, they stay in the group and will always have a share in the project. So if you got dropped from the project, don't take it personally. You would be more than welcome to come back if you show me you're willing to do something.

I don't know, though... is that policy fair? At least I think it's fair. This is why I need a human resources person. Someone's gotta lay down the law. Especially after money changes hands.


New Selatria Team Member!

We have a new sprite artist for the project! Her name is Hannah Bottenberg. You'll get to see some of her work in the redesign of the Hat character, and the designs of some upcoming yet-to-be-announced characters! She's a very talented artist and writer and a lot of the team recommended her even before I even asked! I'm happy that she agreed to join along.


Updated Ability Animations:

Instead of trying to find artists to improve the animations from a visual standpoint, I decided to go into the scripting and play with how animations are coded. I came up with a few of my own. Some attacks will be flashy (the higher level ones) and some of them will have them hop across the screen. It fits right in with the tone of the game and looks smooth. I think you'll like it.

Here's an example of Number 016 hopping across the screen assassin-style for one of the redone abilities.


Video Development Log Coming Soon!

I've been putting it off for a few months, but I'm going to be launching a monthly video development log starting in January from the new game design studio I'm working on setting up. It will launch on my personal YouTube account. It will go along with the fundraising pitch on IndieGogo and Kickstarter. Both of which will start once all of the legal stuff regarding Selatria and the team members are finalized.   


I also got a neat free phone cover the other day. Decided to get the logo of the game etched in it. I know, bad quality webcam is bad. Anyone have the Song of Time handy?

That's the end of my rant for now. Until next time! Stay tuned in January for the beginning of pre-orders of the game and fundraising for the project!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Game Design Philosophy: Cutscene Design - Decision Making

One of my favorite aspects of designing cutscenes (and why it takes me so damn long), is that I put in a lot of decision-making for the player.

It's always nice to have 1 or 2 rational options, and a troll option that has you make the cha

racter look like a jackass and pisses everyone else off.

Unfortunately, I was rushed on releasing the demo on time so I never got to do as much as I wanted, so I'm going back and adding troll options everywhere! Perhaps there may be an in-game reward for pissing off enough people. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Codecademy: Website that teaches coding. -- My thoughts

 I posted the story on Facebook the other day. I was talking to my friend from college a week or so ago, and he got me hooked on this webpage called Codecademy, that he's used in his web programming class. I gave it a try and when I saw the different scripting languages that were supported, I became hooked.

I've been using Ruby to work on Selatria for the longest while, and I was happy to see a web track for that. 

The website gives little nifty achievements (called badges) on your profile if you make enough progress in their tutorial courses (called tracks), and it's a great positive reinforcement to keep going and working towards completing the track. There are also bonus achievements for working on activities on consecutive days (building a streak).

Here is a list of the possible tracks (if you decide to take any of them, I would highly recommend signing up first so it records progress immediately):

Although this website won't teach you high-level languages like C/C++/Java/etc or the more concepts behind them (pointers/linked lists/vectors/Big-O notation, etc...) but I think Codecademy provides a great foundation to branch into them later.

Personally, I wish I had a better understanding of the syntax in the transition from the initial 100-level Visual Basic course to the more advanced 200+ level programming courses I took in college. (I initially struggled with the concepts of loops/object-oriented programming early on.) -- I wish this site was around back then to learn these scripting languages before going straight into a high-level one.

I would suggest this site to any programmer who would also like to branch into C++/Java. Python and JavaScript are two scripting languages that would be nice to learn beforehand.

Hmm, anyway. I have my Codecademy profile here. (It's also on the top of the blog too. I'm in this for the long haul.) I would like to see yours as well! :) Feel free to let me know your username if you decide to take it up. Would love to have discussions on it. My goal is to stay 100% on tracks in order to keep the knowledge fresh in my head.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Game Design Philosophy: Selatria -- Primer System

(Fans of Western RPGs will like this post. Maybe.)

I always like seeing when people play games and use or power up their characters to do things the way they were unintended. But at the same time, I like to limit the characters to what they can do. It can always go in two ways:

If you limit the player too much, the game becomes predictable and monotonous.
If you give the player too much freedom in character development, then everyone can learn and be maxed on everything. That's no fun either.

The use of primers will be needed in order to fight some of the tougher optional bosses, but will not be required in order to advance through the storyline.

An infinite number of primers can be bought, and while there will be a chance that one can get stat bonuses from them, after a certain number of uses of the primer, the character will only be able to get HP or AP in 1 point increments in order to prevent the game from becoming too easy.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Small Life Rant

Four people at a table playing 3DS, guy comes up and asks if any of them have girlfriends. Treats it like problem when all respond with "No".

It's never good to be judgmental, I know plenty of nerds that have girlfriends. Also: How is playing a 3DS any different than using a smartphone while waiting on food?

That's the end of my rant on that. Night, night!