For those not in the know, in 2012 I began working on some indie game development. This later turned into incorporating a business, doing a fair chunk of design, pixel art, music, and marketing before development ended up coming to a halt. My partner and I went our separate ways, and this led to me taking my short contract in Scotland in the first place.
Earlier this the year, I had begun tinkering with a new project and learning Unity when I first saw that my partner was falling behind on programming our original project. My experiences here in Scotland have made me really want to get back into working on this Unity project, and so I’ve decided to revisit it.
There’s a bit of a time gap between Vlog 6 and 7; in that time I was redesigning my website, going through Unity tutorials, and doing some preliminary planning for the game. By the time I felt it was worth making an update, I had decided that Unity is not the direction I want to take this game.
It’s a bit of a tough decision as I’ve already invested a considerable amount of time into Unity and like the tools… but I feel that as a one person team, I’m going to have to use whatever tools I can to get the job done efficiently. I think that for what I have in mind now, Adventure Game Studio is going to be the tool that makes this project the easiest, and so I’m going to be pursuing that going forward.
If you’re interested in game dev yourself, you may wish to check out some of these tools:
- Adventure Game Studio – Game development package for adventure games
- Aseprite – Animated Sprite Editor
- Famitracker – a free windows tracker for producing music for the NES/Famicom-systems
- Graphics Gale – Powerful tool for spriting and pixel art.
- Little Sound DJ – A tool used by the original Game Boy/Emulators to create chiptunes with the Game Boy sound chip.
- PETileMapper – An importer for getting pixel art created with Pyxel Edit easily into Unity.
- Pyxel Edit – Pixel art editor designed to make tilesets easy
- Solarus -The free and open-source Action-RPG engine
- Unity – 3D and 2D game development environment with multiplatform publishing
After sleeping in Rubha Hunish, it was an early day out. We headed westward over to Uig for breakfast and I had a savoury haggis and cheese panini with a glass of orange juice.
After fueling up, we headed down to the Fairy Pools, a very beautiful part of Skye. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side and, while even though in poor weather it was a great experience, my photos of the area aren’t worth getting excited about. I did take a timelapse here which will be shown in the future.
From there, we made our way back up to Uig to take the ferry over to the Isle of Lewis. We found ourselves making a tough decision, when we were told that return tickets had been sold out for the following day and that we would be gambling on whether or not we could return the next day or the one after. Realizing that it would be our one and only chance to see Lewis, we decided to just go with it and took the ferry.
At the north part of Lewis, is the Calanais/Callanish Standing Stones, where we made our camp for the night on a sheltered hill. In the morning, we explored the north a bit before heading back and queueing in the wait list for the ferry.
While luck wasn’t on our side this far with weather, it was on our side with the queue, and we were able to get onto the ferry. The weather even cleared up while we were on the ferry, and by the time we were back in Skye, the sky was perfect.
We headed east to Staffin to hunt for fossilized dinosaur prints, before setting up camp in a sheep shearing pen at the base of the Quiraing. Oddly enough, though we were in an area designed to hold sheep, it was probably the furthest we’d camped from sheep while on Skye. It was however, my first encounter with Nettles. These plants are bastards, and everyone in Europe seems to be aware of them from an early age.
On the final part of our trip in Skye, we began with a hike of the Quiraing, and then continued on to explore Dunvegan, Fairy Glen, and Eilean Donan (neither of which I have video of) before returning to Glasgow.
All in all, Skye is a visually stunning place. For photos of it, head on over to my flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/allegrodigital/sets/72157645154973935/
Being unexpectedly out of work isn’t a good situation to find yourself in, and it’s especially difficult when you find yourself in that position in a brand new continent.
I made the decision to change my flight, leaving myself with a couple of weeks to look around. I figured that with no money coming in, it made sense to return home. I was surprised however that it was now peak season for air transport, and changing a ticket on short notice was actually going to cost me more than my return flight had in the first place. Eff that. If it’s cheaper to remain in one place and patiently wait for my original flight date, then that’s what I’m going to do.
This disappointment in realizing I couldn’t change my flights came right as I was about to start a week trip to Skye, so I tried to just ignore the situation and enjoy my road trip. Day one of this trip meant driving from Glasgow, to Rubha Hunish and making camp at the northern-most point of Skye.
The drive from Glasgow up to Rubha Hunish isn’t bad at all. We took the route up across the bridge which meant getting a brief stop at Eilean Donan. We only stopped here this day to stretch our legs and get a quick time lapse since the clouds were nice… but our plans involved actually stopping here on the way back to properly explore.
Keep in mind that some of the more northern roads in Scotland become one track paths. Expect polite waves from other drivers as you take turns letting each other pass, and expect sheep to indignantly bleat as you honk your horn to get them off the path in front of you.
Once out at Rubha Hunish, it’s a short walk out to The Lookout. Bothies, and the overall attitude toward wild camping are absolutely fantastic aspects of Scotland. I wish more places in the world were this friendly towards those who want to get away from it all. Just cause you’re out in the middle of nowhere however, don’t expect to be alone. Bothies are popular, and you need to get there early if you want to claim space in one. I anticipated that though, and brought camping gear with me.
Keep in mind that Scotland gets quite boggy in areas. While our view of the sunset was stunning, it did take a good bit of hunting to find a dry enough spot to pitch our tent for the night. Still though, I absolutely recommend you find your way out here if you’re looking for a place to sleep on the Isle of Skye.
After hiking from Stirling, I needed to take a few days off to let my feet recover. Be glad that I’ve decided to spare you the video detailing how I lanced my blisters and covered myself in tape. I used my downtime to plan a more realistic tour around Scotland, and after a couple of days decided to give walking another try. This time, I caught a train out to an area that had been on the top of my to-see-list since before departing for this fair country: Dunnottar Castle (Dùn Fhoithear, “fort on the shelving slope”).
These ruins have as rich of a history as one might hope for, and are very inspiring to look at. I imagine it must have truly been epic in it’s heyday. I’ve been taking heaps of time lapse videos in Scotland, like the two that I mention in the above video. While I haven’t had a chance yet to process them for you (or myself) to look at, I hope to edit them together into one video at some point so they can all be seen at once.
Some of the photos from this day trip can be seen on my Flickr page.
When trying to decide whether I could walk around Scotland, I decided to do a trial. Google was estimating that the distance I wanted to do would take three weeks… I needed to see how accurate Google’s esimates were, as well as whether my body could even handle long treks after years of being a couch potato. Google seems to think that a 25+ mile walk (from Stirling to Glasgow) will take 8h33 min. Not knowing what a mile is, I figured that’s as good of as an estimate as any. It turns out that it’s not.
I should mention that the first 8 photos over here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/allegrodigital/sets/72157645096283521/ were taken while on this walk.
As promised, here is part 2 in my ongoing set of video blogs. This is from mid May when I was still trying to figure out how to spend my time in Scotland and could be interpreted as a bit of a travel blog. I’m shooting a time lapse video during this with my Canon 7D. I’ve taken a number of time lapse videos so far while here in Scotland, but have not yet taken the time to process them all. You’ll have to wait just a little longer for that.
Hi again! If you’ve been trying to visit in the past few days, you may have had the (mis)fortune of watching me tinker with the website! That’s right dawg, I’ve was workin’ mah magic on this website of mine while it was live. Dangerous!
In recent memory, I’d been working on an indie game project with a little company I helped set up called Sprixelsoft. Unfortunately, independent development isn’t for everyone, and unfortunately it ended up not being for my partner. We decided to wrap things up earlier than I would have preferred, but later than we should have and so as you may already be aware, Super Hematoma is shelved. Read More >
Hey world! Allegro Digital is (for the most part) functional again! If you look around, you’ll see that the other parts of the website have all been updated. I’m still ironing out the blog’s css/php to get it looking the way I want, but I decided that as the content is functional it makes sense to leave it up for the time being rather than the “Under Construction” page that’s been visible for the past couple of days.
Hope to get it working as expected in the next day!
The biggest collaboration in the gaming industry
A few weeks ago, Twitch Plays Pokémon made headlines when 75,000 fans came together to play a single game of Pokémon. The event not only cemented Pokémon’s status as a worldwide favorite, but also showed what a community of gamers from all over the world could accomplish in 390 hours. Although playing with strangers, using an unconventional UI, and battling the immaturity of trolls, Twitch successfully beat the Elite Four, showing that with hard work and perseverance, the gaming community can conquer all.
But it’s not only the players that have come together for a greater purpose. Just recently, the Global Game Jam 2014 was held, bringing together thousands of developers, designers, and producers in a push to create as many independent games as possible — all over the course of one weekend.
The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is an annual event that is simultaneously held in physical locations around the world. Exploring the process of game development, narrative exploration, and even visual design, the event calls upon all game developers and poses a challenge in the form of a secret theme, which developers will have to base a game on. The event takes off on Friday afternoon, and ends on Sunday afternoon, meaning developers have only two days to complete a fully-functional game.
This year’s secret theme was the quote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” In the event’s opening keynote, Naughty Dog alumnus Richard Lemarchand challenged developers to create games that were experimental, and designer Kaho Abe called for games that reflected personal experiences, leading the way to these concepts being accepted into the mainstream.
Unsurprisingly, many developers and students poked fun at the hugely successful game “Candy Crush Saga”, and many others opted to focus on social games, following the trend that developers have now begun shifting to mobile and social gaming.
This would be enforced a few days later, with 20-year industry veteran Jim Veevaert leaving Zynga and console gaming to move to social gaming firm IGT. IGT, whose games are found on castlejackpot.com as well as in various land-based casinos, is one of the biggest developers in the world, and Veevaert says he’s never going back to console development. “The market here is so wide open, it’s amazing. And we see how fast games can grow… It’s incredible.”
GGJ also saw a host of other developers creating games for the mobile platform. Indie developer Exient, who worked on Angry Birds Go with Rovio, entered the provocatively-titled “Edge of Perception Saga: Crush the Candy Scrolls”, a perspective-shifting puzzle platformer. There was even a game designed to be played by licking your smart phone’s touch screen, and a game that used the concept of the “selfie” and turned it into an interactive experience with “extra bonuses for a duck face”.
All in all, GGJ brought together 23,198 developers from 488 locations in 72 countries, creating 4,290 games