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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

rktcr: Looking for a few good testers

Rktcr is a physics-based action-platformer-turned-puzzle-platformer; that is, it's an action game meant to be played thoughtfully at much slower than real-time. I'm currently in what I call the alpha stage of development.

The goal of the alpha is to shake down this basic gameplay and to find a good set of levels. Levels have some portals (entrances/exits) and some gems. Each level can be played in 16 orientations (8 gravity directions + mirroring). And it should be reasonably interesting (that is, one should be able to get between different pairs of portals, possibly collecting a gem) in at least a few of those orientations.

Here's where you come in

I'm looking for alpha testers to help (for a few hours each week):

  1. Find bugs (out-of-memory, crashes, sound glitches).
  2. Provide gameplay feedback. See how the controls and physics feel to you. Record your thoughts on easy and difficult elements of the game.
  3. Think about new levels. Can you do something with the rktcr that isn't exploited by a level yet?
  4. (Most importantly:) Make paths. Play through levels in orientations they have not yet been played, and contribute the resulting paths to a repository on github.

Knowing which paths are feasible is important for the second (and as-yet nonexistent) level of gameplay, wherein levels are assembled into worlds.

In compensation, you'll get a thanks in the game credits and a free copy of the game if it's ever finished.


NOTE: Currently, I'm only testing on Windows and Linux, as I don't have a MacOS machine to run builds on.

If you are interested in becoming an alpha tester:

  • Make a github account; you'll need this to access the paths repository.
  • Make a skype account; screen sharing is useful for complaining about glitches and debugging crashes.
  • Make a google account; google docs is good for writing up your feedback, and google drive is good for distributing files.
  • Record your system information (cpu, graphics, os version). On windows, if you have steam: Steam > Help > System Information -- though I don't need/want/care about the "Installed Software" part of the info. On linux `uname -a`, `cat /proc/cpuinfo`, and `glxinfo`.

And, critically, have a conversation with me via e-mail, google chat, or in person about games, gameplay, what you like, and what you don't like (my contact info is on the about page). I'd like to make sure that my testers are able to think analytically about gameplay and mechanics.

Monday, October 15, 2012

TCHOW Goals #2 - What's happening?

I've been in Pittsburgh for two weeks now, and I'm getting settled in. So how am I doing in various areas of this TCHOW project?

Make Games

rktcr. I've been able to spend some good time on rktcr; enough that I'm thinking about starting to write development updates. Indeed, I'm getting to a point where the low-level gameplay is mostly finished, as is the pool of prospective levels. I'd like to send out another alpha version soon.

Two major tasks remain in rktcr: world-gen and story/cutscenes. The first is a programming task, which could prove unfeasible, requiring a fair amount of restructuring of the level2 concept of this game. The second is an art generation task, which requires me to sit down and do some serious inkscape-ing (for characters) and vim-ing (for story).

Puzzle. The potential puzzle/plot collaboration hasn't moved forward much. I'd like to work on creating some example plot, but I'm a bit worried about burning out on writing before getting to rktcr's plots. This is probably not going to be a problem, but I worry nonetheless.

Have a Social Life

This is ticking along nicely.

I've reconnected with old friends and acquaintances. (Some of which I didn't even know were still in town!) I also have friendly neighbors. I could certainly stand to do more social things, but I also don't feel isolated.

Additionally, I've been making use of OkCupid, which has resulted a couple of dates and a few interesting conversations so far. (Also, unexpectedly, a lot of good book, movie, and music recommendations.) However, it's also a fair amount of yelling into the wind.

Lose Thirty Pounds

No progress (not that I expected much). However, that's not going to prevent me from continuing rock climbing -- it's just good fun.

Monday, October 1, 2012

TCHOW Goals #1 - I'm here now

I've arrived, and my stuff should be here by the end of the day. As good a time as any to start thinking about my goals for the next 2 years (22 months, really).

Here they are, briefly:

  1. Finish and release rktcr.
  2. Have a social life.
  3. Lose 30 pounds.

In more detail:

I'd like to finish and release more than one game, but rktcr is first up. Right now, it's at a rough alpha stage. The day-to-day is mostly final, though more content is required. The sound design is, I'd say, 30% complete. The higher level story arcs are conceptualized but not written. Layer three is conceptualized, but may or may not make it into the game.

Given that I dedicate every morning to making progress, I think that I'm going to get to a beta-able stage before January, and be able to release by March. I'm also pulling these numbers out of thin air, as I don't have my punchlist handy.

"Social Life," here means both reconnecting with old Pittsburgh acquaintances and meeting new people both for friendship and dating. This is probably important for my continued happiness and sanity. And, working alone, I will get much less automatic human contact during the day.

I've started an OkCupid account and found that there are quite a few reasonable-seeming folks on there. It seems like it's going to be useful for finding folks to socialize with; which (if any) of those social contacts become romantic remains to be seen. (Also: this is a goal I won't report on further in this venue.)

Losing 30 pounds is an unrealistic goal -- you've got to have one, right? What I'm actually interested in doing is getting out to the climbing gym at least once every two days, and improving my skills. Of course, some weight loss (or conversion of fat -> muscle, at least) would definitely help in that improvement.