Unrequested Fission Surplus [entries|friends|calendar]
Mark Sachs
Just a guy made of dots and lines.

[ website | Project Apollo ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
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And me still writing 1911 on all my checks, too. [02 Jan 2011|12:57am]
[ mood | bluh! ]

2011, huh? Well, a year with a name like that -- seriously, the only more cyberpunk year than 2011 will be 2019 and possibly 2017 -- had just better bring some really futuristic stuff. Like, I dunno, self-driving cars. Or discovering Earth-sized planets around other suns. Or the bad guys' doomsday weapon program being crippled by a weaponized computer virus. Something wild like that. YOU CAN DO IT, 2011, DON'T LET ME DOWN.

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Afterlife Blues update. [31 Dec 2010|12:16am]
[ mood | bluh ]

Just about done with this bit here. As mentioned, the next update will be Friday the 7th of January in the distant future year 2011.

Status update on Neon Galaxy at the Tumblr. Short summary: No, there won't be an alpha out by the end of the year after all, but nonetheless I am extremely pleased with the progress I've been making on the game. Cautiously optimistic that it will actually join the very short list of things I've managed to complete in my life. I have to start thinking of some ways to get a bit more attention for it.

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Put your helmet on, we'll be reaching speeds of three! [29 Dec 2010|01:59pm]
[ mood | glub ]

Wrote an article over on the ol' Tumblr about optimization in Neon Galaxy. So if you like the more techie sorta things I post here on occasion, you might want to check it out.

(I'm sometimes a little hesitant to share detailed information on how and what I code, for fear of revealing hideous naïvete on my part, but eh, what the hell.)

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Afterlife Blues update. [29 Dec 2010|12:33am]
[ mood | bluh ]

Wait, no, but seriously, the bad guy might be allowed to get in one punch or something but afterwards the heroes should always win effortlessly!

I did want to mention that I was watching the Stargate SG-1 pilot episode on DVD while drawing today's experiment. Man, I'd forgotten how good that show was.

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HEY PROGRAM WHERE'S YOUR DISK [26 Dec 2010|06:44pm]
[ mood | bluh ]

So I braved the foul weather to see Tron: Legacy today. (At the movie theater literally across the street, so don't go assuming it was too much hardship.) The executive summary is that it's not bad. My thoughts, in no particular order:

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In completely unrelated news, there are new posts over on the ol' Tumblr with more chatter about Neon Galaxy work. I got the entire between-level shop working, and it'll even kick you back into another level when you're done shopping, which is a nice accomplishment. Getting pretty close to having all the basic pieces of a game here.

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Afterlife Blues update. [25 Dec 2010|12:39am]
[ mood | seasonal ]

It's a Christmas miracle!

Hmm, was there anything I actually wanted to mention here? Well, as I said, fight scenes are really fun to draw. I'd never realized that before. Man, imagine all the time I've spent drawing comics where people talk to each other and work out their problems when instead they could have been throwing punches and exchanging gunfire!

Oh, and speaking of people talking to each other and exchanging gunfire, I finished playing through all the Mass Effect 2 DLC yesterday. Started with Firewalker, then did Kasumi's Stolen Memory, then Overlord, and finally Lair of the Shadow Broker... and that was the right choice, as it was pretty much a straight line of increasing awesomeness from beginning to end. Shadow Broker in particular is a magnificent addition to the game; if you buy only one DLC, get this one. The aforementioned Lair is easily the most spectacular environment in all of ME2, there's lots of fun fighting and conversations, and it solidly wraps up the Liara plotline which was kind of sitting on the floor at the end of the original game (in fact, it did an amazing thing by actually getting me to like Liara, at least a little bit.) You even unlock what I can only describe as a cheat room at the end. But oddly enough, my favorite part of Shadow Broker is a little epilogue scene after the main story ends. I'll put in a spoiler...

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On That Day, Forty-Two Years Ago [24 Dec 2010|06:55pm]


Merry Christmas to you and yours!
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Mayfly Studio update. [21 Dec 2010|11:33pm]
[ mood | thimking ]

I wrote an article on my Tumblr noodling around some ideas for a game based on exploration. Please check it out and add your thoughts in the newly-enabled comments section over there (you can use your Livejournal as OpenID to comment); I'd be interested to hear how the idea strikes people, and if it triggers other ideas in turn.

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Afterlife Blues update. [21 Dec 2010|12:30am]
[ mood | bluh ]

Wait, what is this? The heroes are always supposed to win effortlessly!

Also, curse you and your astronomical phenomena, Jon, by mentioning it you predictably jinxed the weather. It's been snowing all day here in the Boston area and is supposed to continue through Wednesday.

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A Miracle of Science update. [19 Dec 2010|07:48pm]
[ mood | bluh ]

Two more uncolored pages down today! Except I noticed that another page towards the end is only half colored, so that's three more to go. Of course, lazy past me colored everything on that new page except Dryden. Man, that guy is such an ass, he causes me so much trouble.

On the plus side, today was the last time in my life I will ever have to color Pindar or the ball lightning gun. From this point, things can only get better!

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Progris Riport [19 Dec 2010|01:03am]
[ mood | bluh ]

Two more MoS pages colored, four to go (plus the cover for Book 2.) Turns out there's something that's more of a pain to color than Pindar or the ball lightning gun: Pindar getting shot with the ball lightning gun. Sigh.

Also, there's a minor update on the Mayfly Studio Tumblr, talking about the end-of-level escape sequence.

In other news, I started playing Uncharted 2 today. Uh, I guess somebody let Naughty Dog know that I like train levels, because holy crap is that ever the biggest, most elaborate train level I've ever seen in my life. Wow. It's hard to picture how they're going to top it in the rest of the game.

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Afterlife Blues update. [18 Dec 2010|12:35am]
[ mood | rise up ]

It looks like we weren't quite done with this bit after all.

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Mayfly Studio update. [16 Dec 2010|12:52am]
[ mood | bluh ]

I've added a few posts to the ol' Tumblr, so if you like clicking on hyperlinks and then reading what you find at the other end this is your lucky day.

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Afterlife Blues update. [14 Dec 2010|12:19am]
[ mood | listening ]

Page 200! I guess in theory we should have a celebratory CG or something but ehh, I'd rather get the comic finished. I've never been fond of the webcomics habit of interrupting the story with CGs or fanart or whichever, though thankfully it doesn't happen nearly as often now as it used to back in the day.

In Neon Galaxy update news, I've uploaded a few more posts to the Mayfly Studio Tumblr, so check 'em out if you're into that.

So. I haven't talked about podcasts lately, have I? Since my employers moved to a new office several miles away I now have just enough of a commute that it's worth piling 'em up again. Here's what I'm regularly listening to these days, all available on iTunes:

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come ON [13 Dec 2010|04:41pm]
[ mood | crimony ]

I'm a little sick of coding after the binge I've been on for the past few weeks, but I still felt like being productive on my day off today. Soooo, at long last I've been coloring some of the last couple of missing A Miracle of Science pages. Three down, seven to go, and I have the following comments:

1. Spending so much time looking closely at my old art style is really making "The Road" hit home for me.

2. Pindar is in every single one of these god damned pages. And Benjamin's ball lightning gun is in at least half of them. Both of them are the most ridiculously complicated things to color you can imagine, with a million little struts and pieces and doodads all in random shades... no wonder I've been putting the job off for so long. This sort of thing is a major reason why Afterlife Blues is done in pencil. Although even then, is anything in AB nearly as intricate and gaudy as this nonsense? Well, besides the cars and backgrounds, I guess. ...And Bethany's gun collection.

In summary, jeeeeeeeez. Although I'll grant the bit where Pindar picks the police van up, hoists it over his shoulder and carries it away is pretty amusing.

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Mayfly Studio update. [12 Dec 2010|12:13am]
[ mood | bluhhhh ]

I've updated my Tumblr with two new posts on Neon Galaxy: here and here. Check it out. Y'know, if you're into that.

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Introducing Mayfly Studio. [10 Dec 2010|12:34am]
[ mood | bluhhhh ]

All right, I did it. My programming devblog or whatever is now up and located at mayflystudio.tumblr.com. I encourage you to check it out since it's all slick and cool and Web 2.0 and stuff, and I'll be using it to post progress updates on my games as well as to link to interesting articles on indie game design and development. You can use your Livejournal ID to log into the comments system and post there too.

So in conclusion, I have just two words for you: en-joy!

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Afterlife Blues update. [07 Dec 2010|12:20am]
[ mood | bluhhhh ]

Comic updated here. It's dynamic!

In Neon Galaxy news, nothing flashy today. I fixed some small bugs having to do with object sorting and whatnot, created a new model for the level entrance, added command-line arguments to make it easier to test custom levels, and wrote a text-displaying object for the third tedious time. Though I could write that in my sleep at this point, and the experience of doing it nearly did put me to sleep, it was still needed. I can now animate text nicely as it appears onscreen and add lots of new text animations, which will in turn support a whole lot of UI stuff that's currently not implemented.

...You know, now that I'm taking it way more seriously I'm suddenly thinking that I should have an official devblog for my game stuff instead of just mixing it in with everything else on the LJ. Perhaps this is my golden opportunity to get a Tumblr at long last.

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My Tank Has The Hugest Treads [05 Dec 2010|11:10pm]
[ mood | bluhhh ]

First off, I'd just like to mention that if you want to convert videos so that your Mac can stream them to an Xbox 360, ignore all other alternatives and download Handbrake. After a few hours of frustration, contradiction, output with video but no sound or output with sound but no video, and so on, I obtained this tool and BAM it just worked. I should note that if you're converting a video with soft subtitles, you'll need to obtain the newest nightly build of Handbrake which has better facilities for identifying the sub channel and burning them into the output.

Okay, that aside, here's the latest Neon Galaxy stuff. It includes BIG explosions and irritating physics problems. Let's get to it.

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Afterlife Blues update and Neon Galaxy update. [04 Dec 2010|12:24am]
[ mood | bluh ]

It is a page. A rather good one, I'd say. It makes the useful point that a high-tech infiltration suit may seem cool at first, but the moment you get caught you're just some chump in a fetish outfit.

I have been continuing to work on Neon Galaxy, just without anything flashy to show off: mostly a lot of bug fixes and beefing up the animation system to get the exit door actually opening when the level ends. Yeah, it sounds trivial, but among other things I needed to be able to scale things around a point behind their center. And I needed to be able to set arbitrary colors for the glow around points. And I needed to be able to animate object colors as well as positional information. And I needed to be able to specify alpha values in colors read from XML files. And, and, and... Overall this experience just reinforces Mark's Iron Law of Software Development: there's always something.

I'm hoping by the end of the weekend to have the end-of-level sequence fully functional. That includes a nice reactor explosion, some bells and whistles during the escape, transitioning to an intermission sequence when you reach the door, and at least the "congratulations, you win" part of the intermission. My pledge to get this game to alpha by the end of the year was, perhaps... optimistic. But then again, I meant -- or at least from now on will claim to have meant -- traditional software development alpha, i.e. an internal build which is basically functional but needs a whole lot of polish before it can move on. Not game industry-style alpha, i.e. the version you pick up off the shelf at Gamestop for $60. OH ZING

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