A Year Spent Frozen in Time

It’s like time is paused, that’s how it feels. As we head into another lockdown, I found myself absently sifting through my games library on Steam. It has the ability to sort by date last played, which is a harrowing experience that makes you realise actually how little time you have for games in your life these days. Some of my favourites have gone unplayed for literally years. There are games I have been big into lately and feel I played “the other day” that I haven’t touched since this time last year.

But it isn’t just that, of course. The rhythm of the day has settled into a kind of mantra: keep working, stay home, don’t socialise because it’s not worth the hassle. The patterns are starting to etch permanence onto how I think. I forgot there was a time when children could stay with other people if they actually wanted them there. I forgot that normally, I don’t need to sidestep back a meter if my dad wants to pass me in the hall.

In any case, the sensation is like time isn’t moving. Or–it is, alarmingly so, but nothing is changing; as the months fly off the calendar. I feel like the stress has aged me ten years. We’re all holding out for a return to normality, I know, but it helps to remind oneself that there is such a thing.

Speaking of returning to normality, it’s the US election. I wonder if there’ll be a return to sane & actually respectable statesmanship too? I’m not holding out much hope on that one.

Final Defenders it is! – Devblog

In my previous post I explained how I was having some titling issues with my current project: the remake of my first proper game. Well, I finally settled on the new name: “Final Defenders“. So without any more unnecessary ado, let’s take a look at where we’re at!

Final Defenders title screen in its current form

I’ll start with a recap of what the game is. In Final Defenders, you are one of the brave volunteers of the Anidran Defence Force tasked with holding off an invasion from a big consortium of interplanetary ass-hats: the Five Worlds Legion. You, and up to 3 of your friends, have only a trusty turret with which to defend the skies above your cities from this menace.

Continue reading

The Finalist of Battles

So the subject of numbers in titles has popped into my head again and the trend of erasing them is just as prevalent and irritating now as it was then (The upcoming MS Flight Simulator is particularly silly: its official name is actually more vague than its shorthand nickname, “MS Flight Simulator 2020”, which is necessary to figure out what you’re actually talking about). But while this annoys me, the reason it comes to my attention lately is because I might end up being guilty of it myself.

See, I’m working toward releasing a game: the current plan is to get the new version of Final Battle out to itch.io by August 30th (hold me to this, people). And when I say “the new version of Final Battle”, I’m deliberately skirting my dilemma. Because internally, I’ve been calling it Final Battle III, but I don’t know if I should. In fact, I might even call it The Final Battle. WHhhuuaaaa–

OK, so there are currently multiple versions of the Final Battle. There is the very first original one I made in Games Factory but never quite finished. There is the “remastered” version; overhauled many years later and released as Final Battle Remastered on this site only. As this is the first one to see daylight, it’s effectively “Final Battle 1”.

Final Battle 2… is a gravestone. Allow me to explain:

Continue reading

How to set up the Space Navigator in Blender 2.83+

It’s about time this blog started being a source of actually useful knowledge, and I’m going to start simple. This is something I struggled to find just about anything on when googling recently: the 3DConnexion Space Navigator is a neat little “3D Mouse” I’ve had for many years now; useful in any program where you want to get around a 3D space via multiple directions and angles at once. So, for the other 7 people out there with a Space Navigator, looking to use it on Blender but can’t seem to configure it out: fear not! Got you covered.

The 3DConnexion Space Navigator in its native habitat; an idealised infinite plane of whitespace
Continue reading

Anything you can do, (A)I can do better

Aha! When I said I was aiming to post more regularly, I meant it this time!

Part of the reason for slow updates here are the length of my posts. So going forward, I may be making them a little snappier. Shorter, less substance, more viewings… the, uh, Youtube paradigm of content creation.

Oh no, nope, wait, that’s a terrible analogy. I don’t want to do that at all. And I’m being unfair to Youtube. Many content creators there are doing a great job of producing longer, more in-depth videos. I mean, I’m assuming. I don’t know, I don’t watch them; they’re too long.

Continue reading

хаппи индэпэндэнс даи!

Yesterday’s post may have made it seem like today was all about the lightening of the UK Coronavirus lockdown, but there was one other big aspect of today’s date! Yes, you guessed it, celebration of the liberation from unscrupulous tyranny Alison’s first birthday! A year old already, good grief. Happy Birthday, poppet.

Also, I recently realised that you could automate the process I use to write Azbuka, the “fictional language” of Cloudgazer (actually just transliterated English written in the cyrillic alphabet). Thankfully, I learned my lesson here and instead of launching into yet another project to make said tool, I had a look to see if someone else had done it already. They have!

The Covid-19 Update

Tomorrow the UK will significantly loosen its lockdown precautions and –boy– it’s been a fun few months hey? Feels as though this year is going to be like one of those days where you wait for everyone to be free, spending time procrastinating and not really doing anything; only to have it all fall through and just end up going to bed, making a note to try again tomorrow.

It shouldn’t have to, though. For someone like me with all the resources (besides time) still very much at my disposal for what I do, it should’ve been an opportunity for me to get on unhindered and somehow maximise on the situation. And what is the situation, exactly?

Yes, given that this is the single biggest change to human behaviour to have happened in my lifetime, I should probably say something about it. Covid-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, crept up on just about everyone. At first it was a foreign news story. Then it was a casually-dismissed threat, laughed off by arrogant politicians. Then it was a real issue, with a creeping wave of precautions. But eventually, it became apparent that containment had failed and we were all going to need to do something drastic.

Far too many ignored the warnings and carried on regardless. In the UK, as in many places, government was eventually forced to bring in a lockdown: no travel except essential, no visitors even family, work from home except if that isn’t possible; in which cases, don’t work at all unless you’re providing essentials for people to live. If you’re reading this today, you probably wonder why I’m bothering to explain it; just about everyone has seen something similar happen where they live; it may not be unprecedented as a pandemic, but as a social change there really has never been anything so sudden, widespread and life-altering. And the crazy thing is, if I’d posted this blog even just the start of this year, it would read like just another weird “what if” science-fiction scenario.

Continue reading

Windows 10 May Give You Cancer (But Only If You Eat It)

Another click-bait title? Seriously? (Is it still click-bait when nobody reads your blog, or does that simply make it harder to swallow that you’re doing it for the lols?)

Anyway — so recently I was looking into getting a new compact PC to play Planet Zoo on the TV in the dining room. While researching such devices, I came across this rather severe little asterisk footnote at the end of the specifications block:

“Additional taxes and fees may apply. WARNING: This product can expose you to Antimony oxide (Antimony trioxide), which is known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov”

This would appear to suggest that not only does the industrial chemical Antimony trioxide give you cancer (the State of California knows this), but it is also somehow packaged with the entirely package-less Windows 10 software. In other words, Windows 10 gives you cancer! …says the State of California, anyway. Shots fired.

Continue reading

Presumptive Prescription of Proactive Procrastination Prevention

It’s around this time of year I get all nostalgic for videogames I got as Xmas presents: Age of Empires, Baldur’s Gate 2… Mount & Blade Warband. Actually, I didn’t get that one as a present, so I’m not sure where the association comes from. But I’m also reminded of where I was this time last year, and it seems like every year it gets more unbelievable how little I’ve progressed.

This time last year, I was attempting NaNoWriMo again in order to finish the sequel (or one of them) to Cloudgazer. In it, there’s a scene where we get a look into the past of the main character Kiy, shortly after he became separated from his little sister Julene. There is this one scene where a young Kiy is bracing himself for the harsh reality that it may take him as long as a year to find her, as unbearable as that sounds. Those who read the first book (and the start of this one) know however, that Kiy will still be looking for her some 11 years later. I can sympathise with Kiy here, as I feel this is how so many of my project timescales go when I think back to the aspirations of my younger self.

Continue reading