Category Archives: Life

Things related to our personal life.

How do you describe your job to non-developers?

Sorry honey, I’ll be right there in a click or two. Just need to tighten up this game design first

The evolution of how I’ve described my job to non developers:

  • 1989 – “I’m a BBS door author”
  • 1993 – “I’m a programmer”
  • 1997 – “I’m a game developer”
  • 2003 – “I’m an indie game developer”
  • 2013 – “I’m a game designer”

I like “game designer” as it sounds more glamorous.  It evokes the TV stereotype of the pensive genius sitting on the beach, tapping out creative masterpieces between sips of wine.  I want people to think that’s what I do all day.

To fellow developers I say “tiny two person indie dev team” to make it clear that we do the arting and coding and aren’t just “idea people” looking for someone to make our game or whatever.

The mundane truth

The experience of running a tiny indie game company from home for nearly thirty years is more like being a rat desperately jumping between sinking ships as technologies and digital storefronts boom and bust in never ending cycles.

You stay flexible or you’re done.

Pair programming with Cosmo in 2003

It’s fighting with software libraries, editors and engines.  It’s figuring out why ssl stopped working on our websites.  It’s dealing with soul killing (well, for me, anyway) things like conventions and marketing.

All things considered, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.

My PUBG story: Someone is shooting at me

The RTsoft PUBG squad both online and IRL.  Akiko, June, Cosmo.  Pic taken by Seth

A true story from PUBG

“I think I hear footsteps outside” Akiko whispered.  I was confident we’d be safe, at least for a while, in the mountain shack we’d found.  Our blessed respite from the cruel world of PUBG was about to be shattered.

“Stay here, I’ll check it out”.  I opened the door and creeped around the outside of the building.  “They think they can come here and threaten… ” I didn’t get a chance to finish my thought as it was unceremoniously interrupted by a shotgun blast to the back of my head.

Akiko screamed as she watched through the window. I fell to my knees and tried in vain to crawl back to the door.  He stood over me, gun in hand, preparing a second shot to end my suffering.

But the shot didn’t come.  He’d noticed movement inside the house.  The bastard turned his attention toward my wife and there was nothing I could do about it.

In a panic, hands shaking, Akiko burst from the cabin firing wildly.  But alas, her bullets did not meet their intended target.

The cutthroat returned fire and brutally put her down.  I collapse only inches from her sprawled body.  She died trying to save me.

Why PUBG is good

PUBG (and the survival/battle royale rules that Brendan Greene and others have developed and tweaked) breaks with tradition in a lot of ways:

  • There is no story (other than your own)
  • There is no voice acting (other than the occasional grunt)
  • There are no cut scenes
  • There is no text chat
  • Name labels are not drawn over enemies
  • A single round can last up to 35 minutes
  • Matchmaker ignores skill/ratings and just puts everybody together
  • It can be unfair.  It’s not designed to be fair

You are dumped into a large open world with random loot and vehicle placements.  It supports varied play styles, you can rambo it up and shoot everyone, or be stealthy and win without firing a shot.  There really isn’t a wrong way to play.

A big part of the allure is the variety of situations that can occur due to randomness.  No two games are alike.  The scavenging aspect is a form of slot machine gambling (the good kind, not to be confused with money sucking loot crates), will you find that 8x scope in that bathroom or just another pair of shoes?

If you can find the right pieces for your gun, you can sort of create a matching set that gives you an advantage.  Looting more houses gives you more lottery tickets to scratch.

In some ways it takes inspiration from games like FTL or Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space in that random loot drives a game that lasts less than an hour.  This combined with solid FPS gunplay and huge worlds (the “can’t find other players” problem has been neatly solved by an ever-shrinking playfield) present an amazing experience.

Loot crate controversy!

Jim Sterling is doing the Lord’s work by calling out the recent crate madness. I don’t think people should support premium games that give a clear round-winning advantage to those who spend more, play a different game instead.

I’ve never bought a loot crate in any game.  PUBG’s cosmetic crates don’t bother me.  I just sell the ones I naturally earn through gameplay via the Steam store. I’ve made $40+ US  doing that so hey, it paid for the game. <shrug>

PUBG Bugs and technical considerations

Nothing is perfect.  Cheating is rampant.  To give you an idea, over 1.5 MILLION accounts have been banned from PUBG. (that’s $45M in purchased copies, it’s insane)

I suspect the recent rubber-banding issues were from new anti-hack security, the more accurately you want to check and verify player actions, the slower the server gets. (I have a lot of experience with this…)

I play on the KR/JPN servers and latency is often an issue.  PUBG does not give us any in-game tools to clearly check our latency which is a bummer because it DOES matter when resolving “who shot first”.

The future

People were ready for a game mode that cut out the fluff and just presented the meat.  As usual, after a hit like this, over saturation will occur and soon enough, we’ll be ready for the next thing…

How to waste less time on Facebook

Wasting too much time on Facebook? Being bombarded with targeted videos in your feed that turn you into a drooling fool for hours?

If so: Get F.B. Purity!

I’ve been using this free browser plug-in for months now. I configured it so I only see real content from friends, and ignore the shares and likes. Refreshing.

I circled in this pic where you can add some custom settings to get rid of more stuff.

I don’t mind frittering away time online – but I want to consciously choose when and how I waste hours upon hours of my life.

Also, if you really can’t stand baby or cat pics, they’ve got you covered:

Try Rogue-Life, a tiny free game I made

rogue-life

Ludumdare is a game jam where they announce a theme and you make a game over the weekend just for fun and practice.

It’s a fantastic way to get your game design juices flowing as hey, no matter how bad you fail, it was only a couple days.  The time-pressure if only having a few days and HAVING to release whatever you have is great for those that like to quit projects halfway, like me.

About the “game” I made:

Rogue-Life is a weird experimental thing that crosses a board game, a rogue-like, and the hollow illusion of controlling that random dungeon of existence we’ve each received.

Can you find meaning before you “Grow” old and die? There are 5 of them to find.

Tips:

  • You are always aging (even while standing still), and you will eventually die
  • Don’t waste your life on the wrong jobs, different jobs give different emotional benefits as well as pay. For instance, a Soup Kitchen pays $0 but raises your Self Acceptance
  • Some lives cannot be happy or successful no matter what you do
  • Overcoming an obstacle (the pad-locked doors) give a bonus to all stats
  • Your stats change with age. For instance, your Physical will go down as you enter old age, and your Self Acceptance takes a hit in your teenage years
  • Meanings are marked by trophies icons – you can zoom out with your mouse wheel to see where they are easier

I’m not ever sure if it’s possible to find all “meaning” in a single life before dying. 3 out 5 is my best.

Post-mortem:

Good:

  • Well, I made what I set out to do
  • It’s funny in weird and unexpected ways, like to accept lack of control and chaos (one of the meanings) you may need to murder someone
  • “Pushing” against a job to continue working there is a nice easy way to control things
  • Got a bit more comfortable with Unity and WegGL

Bad:

  • It’s kind of boring. You end up pushing against everything without even reading what’s happening
  • The more text and numbers I removed, the better it plays. But don’t feel like doing that
  • The random stuff is way too random, each life is completely different and some don’t make sense. Hey, maybe that’s fitting though

For the daring, you can play the game in your web browser here.  Probably doesn’t work right on mobile as you need arrow keys to control stuff.