Monday, August 25, 2014

Random Update

Between moving country, searching for a new job and trying to get up to speed in said job, I haven't really had much to say on the blog. But I recently finished assembling a model I've been working on for a very long time, and I decided it justified a post. Here's a couple of teaser photos:
After an unholy amount of effort the design finally came out looking pretty good.
The money shot! This was actually taken earlier, before I had fixed the pattern.
The model is one of my very favourite 40K models, I bought it at least three years ago and started working on the conversion about two years ago, but gave up when I couldn't find a good way to make the bases the way I wanted. However, when I finally managed to fit a battery in a normal(ish) looking base, I started looking at him again. Then I got busy with Warmachine models, then with moving and job hunting, then with Warmachine models again. And when I finally did start working on it again, I spent ages on little details that I wanted exactly right. I decided that it was finished and then realized I had forgotten something or wanted to change something about three times before I finally ran out of things to do. And (with the exception of the subject of the photos), all of the things I was doing were really very minor and subtle and most people probably would never notice if I don't point them out. But if I didn't do them, I would know. And I would never be happy with it.

Other than that, I finished assembling my Nyss grunts (Cylena still has a bit of work), and did some work on another model I'm trying to get to light up. Unfortunately I won't be able to paint any of them any time soon as it seems the only way to get spray primer in this country is to ship it in via surface post, which takes like two months. I did do a bunch of painting on another big project I've been meaning to finish for over two years though, I was very happy with that, though there's some more work to do yet.

I haven't been able to play very much Warmachine, but I gave my friends a few demo games. The Decimator is pretty good in battle box games; much more fun than the Destroyer anyway. We played on a plain table without any terrain and only a few painted models, but I'm planning on getting my hands on some nicer terrain, hopefully that will make it more enjoyable for people.

I've also started looking at my game engine again. OK, this needs a bit of background I think. At my last job, I was spending a good number of hours a day staring at a computer monitor coding, then coming back home and spending more hours staring at a computer monitor coding. Progress had slowed and I was getting tired, so eventually I decided to try to spend my limited free time on hobbies that didn't involve staring at a computer screen. Well, not quite as much any way.

Now let me back up a bit. Several years ago, I bought a laptop. Not my first, but the first one that I bought for myself. It was pretty much a middle spec deal, but it was nice and small (for the time). I really liked it, and still do. But a few years later I needed something more powerful for some work. So I ended up buying the most powerful laptop I could locally get off-the-shelf. It was a rather large laptop that I never really liked very much, but it did everything I needed it to at the time. I kept it for work and the older laptop for personal use. Until the older laptop started overheating and shutting down, so I retired it and moved to the larger one exclusively.

Recently I decided to try to see if I could get some use out of the older one, so I had the insides cleaned up - which seemed to solve the overheating problem - and installed...

No, hold on, let me back up again. Microsoft sucks. I've tried not to hate them, but lately they've really, really been getting on my nerves. I'm not going to go into it right now, but I'm done. No more Microsoft products for me. I've just been given a mac at my new job, and while I can see that it has a lot of great things going for it, there's annoying differences in the basic interface that make it a little uncomfortable for me.

... and installed Ubuntu on it. After a couple of false starts, I got it working properly. And it's very nice. It has the simplicity that Windows is missing and the comfort and familiarity that I'm not getting from my Mac. So yeah, I'm thinking it's on it's way to becoming my favourite OS. I'm hoping to convert my other laptop eventually, but I can't be bothered right now.

So I've been enjoying getting to use my old laptop again; I find it's keyboard and scrollpad very comfortable, the battery life has improved under Ubuntu, and unlike my larger laptop it doesn't burn me when I try to actually use it on my lap (yeah, that one might need the dust cleaned out as well).

What was I talking about? Oh yes, my game engine. Well, after resigning from my last job, I decided to try to do some reading up on computer stuff. That didn't get very far, but it did lead to a renewed interest in my engine. Hearing about old friends releasing their own games didn't hurt. Plus, one of my friends has a PS4 and it's been a struggle for him to find local multiplayer games, so I figured there's a market there...

Here's the thing. I used to work in Visual Studio, but now I want to start working in Ubuntu, so I've been converting my engine over to work with makefiles. It's actually been fun so far, but I've found myself wanting to change a lot of things in the engine itself, which has slowed things down a lot. Plus I want to go through and integrate unit tests into everything. So right now it looks like it's going to take a lot of work to get the engine actually running at all again, but hopefully when (if) it's done it will be more modular and more portable. Which is important if I ever get to the point of actually trying to produce something that other people can play.

What about game ideas? Well, I've had a few small ones. Nothing major, just small tweaks on standard formula, but it's all stuff that sounds fun to me and hey, it's a start. I'd love to be able to start posting about my engine again on this blog, so hopefully I can build up and sustain some momentum for a while. Fingers crossed.