Archive for October, 2013

Date: October 30th, 2013
Cate: development

Work archeology, Part 2

This entry is a continuation of Work Archeology, Part 1

Atom Zombie Smasher

Here’s how the development of Atom Zombie Smasher fared.



The September spike is me implementing a sprawling metagame component to the game.

The October dip is when I learned my metagame was garbage.

The November spike is me working on the part that did work, the cityscape component.

Release: January 24












Quadrilateral Cowboy

Here’s how the development of Quadrilateral Cowboy is going so far.



The other three monthly graphs consist of one mountain hump. QC has been a rollercoaster of humps.






Unlike the other hourly graphs, QC is one smooth hump (with a dip for noontime lunch). I’ve been trying to do a better job at keeping more regular work hours, so it’s nice to see that reflected here.


Et al

You need momentum to reach a certain speed, and you need time to gain momentum. For me, that time seems to be 2-3pm, with Wednesday being the most productive day.

With that being said: when you have to choose between you and your work, choose yourself. It’s lovely to be productive, but probably not worth it once you’ve become a burnt-out husk of a human being.

In short: eat your lunch.


Continued in Work Archeology, Part 3

Date: October 29th, 2013
Cate: announcement, Quadrilateral Cowboy

Announcement time

I’m happy to announce today Tynan Wales will be joining the Quadrilateral Cowboy team. He’ll be working on everything design and will be bringing his expertise from a ton of games, including Bioshock 2.

Welcome Tynan!

Date: October 28th, 2013
Cate: development

Work archeology, Part 1

I was interested in taking a peek into my working habits. One way of doing this is by analyzing source control logs.

What’s source control? Imagine you’re typing a term paper. You neurotically press ctrl+S to save every few seconds, because you never know when your computer might decide to burst into flames.

Source control is basically the equivalent of pressing ctrl+S on your entire game project. Two big benefits are:

  1. it gives me peace of mind knowing a backup exists on some remote server machine, and
  2. if I break the game (this happens a lot), I can do the equivalent of “undo” and revert my game project to a previous revision.


By taking a look into how often you check in (save) files, you get an estimate as to when and how often you’re working. We’ll start by taking a look into the first Blendo game that used source control, Flotilla.



To the right is my monthly check in tally for Flotilla’s development.

Release: February 27, 2010



Here’s the total check ins per day.

I busted my butt every day, with Sunday somehow being the most busy. I don’t recommend doing this.



Here’s the tally for total check ins per hour.

I got sleep. That’s good.

I worked all day long. That’s bad. Seriously, don’t do that.



Air Forte

I next made Air Forte. Here’s what Air Forte’s development ended up looking like.



I used new technology for Air Forte.

New technology is a wonderful thing and a terrifying red flag. New technology introduces a lot of unknowns, so I tried to scope Air Forte to be as manageable as possible. As a result of that scope, Air Forte’s development cycle was shorter than Flotilla’s.

Release: July 17, 2010



Sundays went from most-busy to least-busy (thank goodness).

Wednesday remains the most active weekday.



See that dip at the 12 PM hour? That’s me not working, and instead eating lunch. Always eat lunch.

Et al

I’ll next continue with log data from Atom Zombie Smasher and the in-progress Quadrilateral Cowboy.

To be continued, dear reader.

And for those interested in the visualization program that created these images: it’s a program I wrote using the C# binding of SFML. Here are the files:

Blendo SVN vis (binary)
Blendo SVN vis (source code)

To use it:
1. Go to TortoiseSVN > Show Log > Show All
2. Select everything (ctrl+a)
3. Right-click > Copy to Clipboard
4. Paste into a text file. Save the text file.
5. Run Blendo SVN vis. Select the text file.


Continued in Work Archeology, Part 2

Date: October 28th, 2013
Cate: sketch

Monday Sketch: Manifesto


Time-lapse recording of sketch:


Date: October 21st, 2013
Cate: sketch

Monday Sketch: Night Ride

A warm nighttime hoverbike ride.


Hi-resolution download:
click here

Time-lapse recording of the sketch:

Date: October 14th, 2013
Cate: sketch

Monday Sketch: Central Park

Central Park wintertime


Date: October 1st, 2013
Cate: development, Thirty Flights of Loving

Thirty Flights of Loving prototype

Back in 2008 when Gravity Bone was being made, it went through a number of prototypes. At some point or another the game had grappling hooks, hacking minigames, handgrenade trick throws, granular door opening, and other experimental/goofy stuff during in its development.

One of those prototypes played with the idea of cutting and editing. This prototype would eventually become Thirty Flights of Loving. There’s always a first draft, so here’s video footage of that 2008 prototype:

I have to admit the gun was included mostly because I wanted to see how well I could fake some depth-of-field effects. If I remember correctly, the gun model consists of a couple of quad planes.

The prototype dialogue makes me cringe. Hats off to anyone tackling dialogue systems and dialogue writing.

Et al

When I got around to working on Thirty Flights of Loving proper (2013), almost 5 years had passed since the original prototype’s creation. Stuffing a project into a drawer and returning back to it years later is a luxury. You’ll have taken an all-new perspective, gained months’ worth of brain percolation, and will have let go of some preciousness and preconceptions about the work-in-progress. The common adage is “kill your babies,” but I’d append to that: “and keep ’em in your drawer.”