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  Whatcha Doin? 04:07 PM -- Sun April 28, 2019  

Well, I can't answer that for you (feel free to do so in the comments!), but for me, here's what I'm doing! I've gone into Youtube and immersed myself in Blender and Unreal Engine tutorials. Just all kinds of stuff, trying to learn crazy things.

Don't take that too far - it doesn't mean I'm working on a 3D game, and the previous clause doesn't mean I'm working on a 2D game. What you should take from this info is to know that I'm not making a game at all! I'm just learning for now.

It's fun to do these things... it's like a game maker program rather than actual game development. Especially using the Blueprints system in Unreal - it's basically just snapping together colored blocks and messing around. And what's amazing about that is that the results you get are really quite impressive, especially when the "colored blocks" you use are actually models and textures created by AAA developers (Unreal offers a pile of free assets from their defunct games).

Anyway, that's just an update on what I'm up to, since I haven't shared anything in a while. I am also watching my way through the entire MCU movieverse to (much too late) prepare for Avengers: Endgame. I totally did not need the preparation, but it's a fun project for sure. So far I am finding my opinions of the movies almost completely flipped from the original viewing. There's some really great stuff in the original Captain America and Thor movies, and some real misfires in the Iron Man movies. Though the original Avengers (which is what I'm up to so far) is still really great. So far it's the top of my list. Developing that many characters in such a real way, all in one movie, is quite a feat.
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  Robot Wants YOU! 09:07 PM -- Thu April 4, 2019  

Robot is out! Go get him NOW NOW NOW! THIS IS NOT A WARNING!

We have two versions: Buy it on Steam for online leaderboards (friends-only), or buy it on Itch.io for DRM-free with local leaderboards (on your own computer only). The Steam version includes Steam achievements and cloud saves, but of course the non-Steam version has the same achievements built in. No cloud saves, though. It's really a matter of what platform you like your games on!

Either way, the gameplay is identical, and you'll have access to both Linux and Windows versions of the game. Reports from testers indicate you can get the Linux build to work on a Mac if you have some tech skills (use Wine or similar software).

I'm so excited to finally have concluded this much-much-longer-than-I-thought-it-would-be chapter of my life. This game is awesome, you will like it. There's a ton of great stuff inside. So go help Robot get things, and I'll go take a nap.
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  Robot Wants To Be Done! 10:37 AM -- Tue March 26, 2019  

It's so close now even Robot can taste it... Everything on the game is done, except for a few technical widget-wobbits (sending high scores to Steam basically, which we had working within a week of starting, and just have to re-enable and test out), and of course the last few bugs. Soon, Robot, soon...

I'm already feeling the mystery and wonder of what I shall do with my life at that point. I started doing an Unreal Engine tutorial though! Pretty fun so far, but I'm only in the "scribble terrain and then walk through it with the default character" stage, not the "deal with conflicting object formats, weird transforms, and scripting" stage. For the actual future of what I do, I'm kind of torn between two extremes: cranking out tiny games galore, and spending years and years on a monstrous masterpiece. The several different "dream games" I have in my head are all in the latter category (of course, why wouldn't they be?), but the idea of doing something like game-a-week for a year, or game-a-month, or just fiddling around, that all sounds nice. Then there's also vacation. I mean probably before any next project there's vacation, right? I dunno, we'll see. It might be good to do some learning here, and that's why I'm trying out this tutorial. Whatever I do, I just wanna have some fun with it.
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  Robot Wants Release Date 08:56 AM -- Mon March 4, 2019  

Just a little heads up, maybe with a quick link to the awesome trailer:

To let you know, Robot is coming out this month! Probably not until just about the end of this month, but it's coming! The game is finally feature-complete, and we are working on fixing bugs and polishing up the last bits to make it perfectamundo. Prepare yourself!!
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  Games As A Product 01:37 PM -- Sat February 23, 2019  

Hey, I'm gonna legit blog! Here's a thing I'm thinking about!

"Games as a service" is the big buzzword these days. It's all over the place - even very straightforward single-player type games like Tomb Raider have this whole schedule of DLC releases and new features coming out for the year after release. What game doesn't have a Season Pass these days (which just means "pay triple for this game to get all the content; you basically bought a large demo")? And of course they all have multiplayer modes.

But why? Do we need every game to have a multiplayer mode? Do we need to continue on in the same game over and over with new missions and - more commonly - grinding the same content to unlock new outfits and colors and hats and horses? I would definitely say no. The thing is, if I 'buy in' to a game that is a service, then that's really the only game I can dedicate myself to. All the other games are out for me, because I'm too busy on the big service. This is a thing that happened to me with World of Warcraft for about 8 years of my life. I miss the NES days of popping in one game for an hour and then doing another one. I don't even like playing big RPGs because I know I'll forget where I am in them by the time I play them next.

And multiplayer is a bigger issue itself - if I'm going to play a multiplayer game, why would I play the little side mode in a game like Tomb Raider instead of playing a dedicated multiplayer game with millions of players like Overwatch? Obviously it depends on the gameplay and what I like to play, but the big issue is that the dedicated game is going to be around for years, and have a big audience. It's like an actual sport of sorts. Whereas the multiplayer mode in a single-player game is going to die off in a matter of a month or a year, and it's necessarily limited in scope. Imagine if all that multiplayer development time had gone into great content for the single player campaign.

What I'm trying to say is that games should not be a service. Or at least not every AAA game! For multiplayer-only games, it makes sense. You need to keep cranking things out to keep the audience interested. But a single player game should be just that. A consumable piece of entertainment, like a movie or a book. I'm not opposed to DLC, I'm just opposed to the idea that the game is this weird organic mass that is going to grow and change over time in response to player desires. That isn't art, it's pure commerce. A game should express the creator's intent and be put out into the world to be appreciated or hated for what it is, not massaged over time (and polished of all its rough edges AKA interesting things) to assuage any complaints.

Of course, as a developer, I have strong feelings about this because I like to be done with one idea when I am done, and move on to others! I don't want to be buried in that same system for years. I put out my piece, and let it be judged. I'll release patches to fix bugs, and on rare occasions, a bit of DLC that was an itch I needed to scratch. But I have thousands of ideas in my head, and if I focused on one thing for years (as I did recently!), they all just go by the wayside, and I grow old and die a bitter man. Nobody wants that.

These thoughts are brought to you by the combination of recently buying a Switch and feeling the "single player game that doesn't even touch the internet" feeling that I hadn't realized I missed so much, as well as all the hatred over the new game Anthem and the big schedule of releases they have planned to fix it all for you. I honestly expect that in 6 months, Anthem will be a game I really want to play (it certainly looks like it should be awesome!), and great news for me - it's gonna be cheap by then too!

And lest you think Anthem counters my argument since it's likely going to get better by being a service, I have to point out that it was launched in such a pitiable state entirely because they knew they were going to enhance it over time. If it were a one-shot game, it would not have been released until it was actually good.

So yeah, Robot Wants It All will be done soon, and that's it for that. Then it's on to the next adventure!
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  Robot Wants More Justice 05:49 PM -- Thu February 14, 2019  

Hey look, it's the first boss in Robot Wants Justice! Also a Durpoid being rescued by Puppy at the same time, which is a happy coincidence for my screenshot.

We're definitely in the home stretch now and yesterday was the first time it actually felt like it (probably because I finished the final boss of Justice, and thus the classic map is done). So here's your progress update for this week:
  • RWIC easy map done!
  • RWIC remix map
  • RWJ classic map done!
  • RWJ easy map
  • RWJ remix map
  • Finishing up 3 of the bonus features - just one left unfinished!
  • 20 8 Achievements to go!
  • 6 5 Awards - these are incredibly tricky to come up with.
  • an ever-increasing number of bugs to fix of course. Still true again! I suspect RWJ will come with a lot of scary ones once the testers get a hold of it.
  • polish! - Someday!
There are a lot of other little tasks (or big) that this list doesn't really show. For instance today has been completely spent implementing all 12 Mutators for RWJ. I'm so close to done too, just one to go... but it's a big one.

So the plan currently is a release sometime in March. I hope. I am going to be go on a cruise in March, so that's a week gone there, but we're so close that I think we can make this happen. I'm so excited to be done! GO ROBOT GO!
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  Robot Wants More Sekrits 11:42 AM -- Tue January 22, 2019  

I have no comment about the above picture, because there are fun surprises to be found in this game! Although I will say I stole the oyster art from my old game Scuba Jim.

Sadly, I have given up on Twitch streaming. I kept knowing I needed to do it, but making excuses or finding reasons not to. It took about 5 seconds of analysis to recognize that I was avoiding it because I don't like to be in the public eye! So I quit. I mean I could do it again sometime, but I'm definitely not scheduling it again. It's just not me to do that kind of thing, and my actual life pushes me constantly out of my comfort zone, so why throw in my own added pushing? Admittedly, there are reasons to do so, but they're not compelling enough for me, so I remain in my botcave, cranking out awesome content comfortably with jammin' tunes playing (that was the worst - not being able to listen to copyrighted music while on the stream!). It's made me much more productive!

To revisit the to-do list from our last post, here's how things have changed:
  • RWIC easy map done!
  • RWIC remix map
  • RWJ about half of the classic map (and enemies, etc. Actually making the game work)
  • RWJ easy map
  • RWJ remix map
  • Finishing up 3 of the bonus features - one remains in a very early state, one just needs tweaks, and one is about 75% done. These are big big fun things, which feel like whole alternate games.
  • 20 17 Achievements (I think the 20 was wrong, because I've done more than 3 since then...)
  • 6 Awards - somehow still 6 even though I did add one!
  • an ever-increasing number of bugs to fix of course. Still true, but boy did we knock a massive pile of them off
  • polish! - keep dreaming on this one!

So the big takeaway here is that I got lots of bonus games done, which are huge and awesome, and the RWIC Easy map, and I did not so much as touch Robot Wants Justice. Which is sad. But I'm having so much fun working on one of the bonus games... it's just right up my alley. Almost done though, then we'll see!
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  Robot Wants SEKRITS 08:24 AM -- Sat January 12, 2019  

Over the past week or so, I've been working really hard on some bonus features in Robot Wants It All. In total there are 6 bonuses - one for each game. They range from meh little things, like the kind of bonuses you get in other games, to awesome whole new game modes. I'm really having fun with the one related to Robot Wants Fishy, but alas, they are all secret, so you'll just have to find out when the game launches.

In progress news, the following things remain:
  • RWIC easy map
  • RWIC remix map
  • RWJ about half of the classic map (and enemies, etc. Actually making the game work)
  • RWJ easy map
  • RWJ remix map
  • Finishing up 3 of the bonus features
  • 20 Achievements
  • 6 Awards
  • an ever-increasing number of bugs to fix of course
  • polish!
That's about it! So, I guess I'll go focus in on those and actually get somewhere.
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  Robot Still Wants Ice Cream 09:15 AM -- Wed January 2, 2019  

Look, Robot Wants Ice Cream is now fully implemented (including all the special skins and mutators from this game) in Robot Wants It All! That's the last old game. Robot Wants Justice is around halfway done, whatever that means.

The home stretch, of course, is called a stretch for a reason, though it was greatly stretched out by several weeks last month where I was way too busy with life stuff to do any work. But we are still moving along, and it should (still) be a couple of months until release. It might always be a couple of months until release, because that's how game development works. But it's closer than it was on our last update, anyway.

It's kind of a shame that RWIC is the 4th game in the series, because it's far and away the easiest and most accessible. You kinda just bounce around murdering everything, with no real puzzle or challenge (except the final boss, who still is a lot easier than anything in the earlier games!). It would make a nice intro to the whole thing. It's a lot of fun to play for sure, especially with all the interesting variations added in Robot Wants It All.

Robot really encompasses quite a spectrum, from the ultra-hardcore precision skill of Robot Wants Puppy, to the mindless blasting of Robot Wants Ice Cream. I'm not entirely sure where Robot Wants Justice fits in that spectrum, but it's somewhere closer to the Puppy end of things. Hopefully not too close, but a little puzzling challenge is good.
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  Robot Wants Updates 11:23 AM -- Thu November 15, 2018  

Long time no see! We are in the ... the home stretch??? ... of Robot Wants It All. If it is the home stretch, you should warm up first because it is looking to be a long stretch. At this point, Robot Wants Ice Cream is nearly 100% (the original that is - we still need to make Easy and Remix maps for it), and Robot Wants Justice is maybe 40% or so. Those were the last two games, so we can see the end in sight. There's a lot of fiddly bits, achievements, and bonuses to go.

I made this great schedule which had us finishing on November 20th. That schedule is currently completely covered in red ink. But there was a big stall on both of those games for a while, and now those are both making great progress, so maybe the schedule isn't so much too quick for us to meet, it just needed a big gap before it started. Maybe? If so, we're about a month from launch. But in all honesty that's unlikely. I would love a 2018 release for this game, but like every game ever made, it just glides right along deadlines like a greased Ash Penguin. Speaking of which, here they are:

Now the thing with that picture that really frustrates me is that I ran into some crazy color-space issues creating it! I have NEVER encountered this before, but the picture you see above is much brighter and more washed-out than the actual game, and I tried a whole bunch of different settings and a lot of googling to fix it, and... well, I could take a new shot and darken it artificially to get the right thing, but then I don't know if that'll come up dark on some peoples' screens. It's all about the browser using color space info. I don't know what on earth it's doing. Or why it decided to do it just today. I've been posting screenshots for quite a few years! I know color space is a thing, but ah... I digress. You can download the image and view it outside the browser if you really want to see correct colors (or maybe it is correct on your screen, maybe it's just my browser).

The point is: the game looks darker and more colorful than that. But hey, those are Ash Penguins which live in a volcano! Also, it's Robot exploding from their attack. You'll see that a lot when playing.

Back to work on that. I'll try to keep more updates coming at a reasonable pace because exciting stuff is indeed happening. The first boss in Robot Wants Justice is done, as well as what you might call the second boss, but, well, you'll see when you play it.
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