Happy Birthday, Blank

Infinite Blank is one year old today. (June 5; I’m writing this as it ends)

Things are a bit slow now.  The laptop problems (fixed now) combined with a bit of old-fashioned summer indolence turned into a few weeks of doing nothing.  And now I’m starting to get involved with my summer work; a commercial game I’m doing with Plaid Notion.  It’s a shame for something like Infinite Blank to be a side project, as important as community and momentum are to it, but it is.

That said, all is certainly not lost.  I’m hoping to be able to juggle Blank development with my other project starting in another week or two.  Since they’ll be running much of the same code, there will be a decent amount of crossover.  I don’t have so much left to do for 0.3.0, I’m getting into productive habits with my other projects, and I plan to enter the project into Indiecade 2011, which gives me hard deadlines.

Still, the situation is far from ideal.  If in the end I find I can’t devote as much time to this project as I should, I’ll look into opensourcing it.

In 0.3.0 or one of the versions following it, I plan to launch an experiment in what kind of system people like best for quality control in worlds.  It’s something a lot of people have spoken up about, and if something autonomous and player-run can be put together, my absence won’t be a factor.  My thinking is that any systems I develop can be implemented as alternate main worlds, and the one which is best-liked will be played most.  It’s my hope that creativity and effort rather than artistic merit would be the basis for judgment.

Anyway.  No new versions, no deadlines, no promises for now.  This is a project close to my heart, and by far the most unique of any I’m working on.  Unlike the others, however (and as much as I like to say it has a dev-team of one thousand) I’m making this alone, and it can be a bit hard to stay motivated.  But I’m not dead, and neither is the Blank.

Happy Birthday, Blank–
–Evan

Crap. Another hitch.

Hey, guys.  :(

This is my laptop a few weeks ago.  At the time I was able to wiggle the screen to get it to quit this.  These last few days it’s become almost unusable, and I’m going to need to get it repaired.  This will delay the promised update a little while. I’m probably going to do a little tinkering of my own now, since I know what part is causing the problem.  If I can fix it (or, heck, just get it more stable for now) I won’t have to wait until Monday to get it to a shop.

The inability to use my computer has hilariously prompted me to get into drawing more; I tried out watercolor paints and did some sketching with a friend yesterday.  We also constructed a makeshift lightbox for tracing.  We’ll see if I get any fun ideas for Infinite Blank!

In other news, Blankcube (the server) has been moved to its new home for the summer, resting comfortably on an academic T100 line which ought to provide all the bandwidth needed.  This happened on April 27, causing a little downtime. It’ll stay here on campus as I embark on summer adventures. (as in go home)

One last thing worth mentioning: Prior the computer blowup, I was working on a pre-made palette for the painter with a better distribution of colors than the current, randomized one. (This tends to help the world look a bit more cohesive, and helps non-art folks like me make good choices about color relations.)  The plan is to have 24 “base” colors and a bar that selects highlight and shadow tones for them.  (Lighter and darker versions for shading)  In the future I’ll probably be ditching the “paint pots” look for color selection in favor of a more intuitive system.  The existing HSV/RGB controls will stay where they are and will be joined at some point by a color mixer.

Of course, this all comes AFTER I get the game feeling a little less broken. :)

Sorry for being slooooowwww…
–Celluslowse

Back to work

All right!

I’m mostly done for now with the side project I was working on with my friend; it didn’t have any luck at the competition (due to it being a little lackluster when submitted) but another event a few days later awarded “best demo” to a somewhat improved version of the game.  For the curious, I might put up a demo.  Anyway, it all took a bit longer than expected; now it’s time to get back on the Blank.

I’m setting an few goals for the short term:  by Thursday of this week, I plan to have the new map-screen with “fog of war” for unexplored areas, fixed favorite points, and world entry points (essentially freebie favorite points) all implemented.  These features all improve the navigability of Infinite Blank’s terrain and help out with getting to someplace drawable, which has thus far been a huge problem.  For release 0.2.91 (Friday) I should have drawable avatars re-implemented, along with the long-promised “climbing hook” and possibly new wall materials.

In the meantime I’ll keep working on the math for the new Painter (layer tools are finally coming!) though I’ve made an update that should solve a lot of the current problems with it — it now runs faster and produces fewer errors, though editing cells created before the change actually produces more “cracks”.  I’ll also make those “flashes” less visible.

With any luck this “prerelease” business won’t carry on too long.

Over and out–
–Cellulose

Busy busy busy

Hey, all.

I haven’t been around very much and that mini-update isn’t ready yet; I’d like to explain why.  I’m a student, and I’ve got other projects going all the time (most of them unrelated to academics) — I’m currently crunching with a friend on a game development project related to a class we’re taking, which we’ve been procrastinating work on for our own reasons.  Mine was Infinite Blank, mostly.  Anyway, I’m going to need to focus on that for as much as the next week, meaning buggy, feature-starved 0.2.9 is going to stick around a while longer unless I can sneak in a bit of tinkering before then.

On the upside, an important piece of code that’s needed for this other project (used there to model shattering rock!) is the missing piece in the creation of a bug-free painter tool in Infinite Blank.  It’ll also make layers and some other planned features way easier to implement.

One other thing I’m tinkering with (much to the chagrin of my project partner) is the audio system in my engine; it now supports microphone input and lower latency sound.  It’s actually rather fancy, and most of that won’t show up in Infinite Blank any time soon; however, I’ve wanted for a while to make a voice-controlled tool for composing music.  That is, a tool that lets users sing or hum a tune and converts that into instrumental sound.  I think it would be an excellent addition to this creativity-focused game!  (Assuming I can overcome the technical hurdles in implementing it)

Thus are today’s pipe dreams–
–Cellulose

Cellulose Says Hi (Day 1 review)

Hello, Citizens of the Blank.

The response to the prerelease was sudden!  The temp world is up to 150 cells as of 24 hours after launch.  For the most part things are going smoothly, but there was one little hitch…

I made the poor decision of using a temporary admin password, “cellulosesayshi”, which was compiled into all the copies of the game that were released.  I knew it would be possible to find, but didn’t expect it to happen so quickly!  Some clever fellow scanned a copy of the program and lightly graffitied a few cells (leaving them unpassworded) I’ve fixed the bug in response and apologize to anyone who didn’t want their cell edited.  I have at least one friend who was a little frustrated about their work getting broken into.

To  M :  thanks for being relatively courteous, but I’ll be avoiding such vulnerabilities in the future.

That aside, things are going as well as expected and I’m getting a ton of feedback on things I need to work on.  I’ll be releasing a probably-optional update adding multiple entry points and fixing favorites soon, and giving a lot of thought to changes to the painter, new wall colors for things like ladders and water, and other stuff.  Not to mention various crash bugs and some kind of moderation scheme for 0.3.0.  Again, this is a prerelease, so it’s got a lot of problems I still haven’t fixed.  Let’s just hope I can tackle them in short order.

I’ve got one more thing to say, but someone else already said it for me!

<3

That’s all for now–
Cellulose

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