The Times they are a changin

My adventures in becoming a game programmer have led me to learn more about myself then just technical-oriented stuff. I've learned a lot about myself as a person. I learned that my real passion is for technical oriented things because it fuels my love of creative works (games, movies, books, etc). I learned that when time is against you, you must divide and conquer and you must do it fast.

I'm not sure why I opened with that, I think its a note to myself really. Anyhoos, to the point! I've been working on Zombocolypse for a while now (roughly a month) and progress was sort of moving forward at a decent pace. The more I got into it however, the more I wanted to pull out. Making a shooter game should be a piece of cake. But for the love of everything holy, I don't like making it! I came to the realization that my real love for personal work is off the wall kind of experimentations. I used to do that all the time and I loved it so much. The shooter game has led to less and less of this and more frustration with my personal work. I spent the last couple of days after break rewriting my entire collision system to provide a much more interesting map making tool. This redesign caused me to rip apart and toss a lot of old code that I admit was poorly designed in the first place. Now I have an enviroment to create some fun experimental collision demos. This has effectively put a stop to Zombocolypse. Now I am going to venture into some more "experimental" gameplay.

People who have looked at my work have always like my collision-oriented stuff (springs, blobs) the most. This is stuff that I am more interested in ultimately and I'm going to make it my focus for my game. I am not sure what the game will be but I'm gonna keep it more focused in this "goofy" category and less action-oriented.

I think, I am ultimately trying to make a game Laura would play.

Next goal: get a demo where you drive a blob around a level. See ya then.

The H Grid

So I just wanted to post that my Hierarchical Grid is working! Its not 100% optimized but it does allow me to create several static shapes to form the world geometry. This is pretty neat but is requiring some serious rewriting of my collision code. Still more work to do but now my level collision is independent of the tile map! The next step is to create some new rendering methods to draw in polygons. If I can do this, then I can actually create some truly odd levels.

Live Free or Die Naturally

Happy Die-hard day everyone!

The State of Naveen

Hi everyone. Man o' man it has been so friggin long since I much has gone on and I've just gotten lazy with keeping this blog up to date. I'm gonna just sit here with some tunes and hammer out everything that has been going on with me (as much as I can recall at this hour).

School has been going well. I finished last months classes pretty decently and I'm about to finish my AI course tommorow (or later today depending on how you look at it). AI has been a complete blast. Our teacher, Jerimiah, has been on of the best teachers I've ever met in my academic career. His care for his students understanding of the subject matter is incredible. He has provided extremely good documentation (to the point that I never actually went and picked up my books). The labs were not exactly challenging but did teach me a whole hell of a lot. The best thing has been just asking Jermiah questions and bugging him pretty much every day of class. We were required to do a research project (which I just wrapped up) for the class. We were given the option of programming a little virtual robot to compete in a deathmatch (in Java using a nice API to control the bot) and then the choice of making something about a topic we did in class, etc. I chose the later and took the current state of the zombie game and put some AI driven agents to fight the zombies. Overall the experience was really awesome.

The whole project has really gotten me into AI. I think the main reason I got into was how much all my collision and linear algebra experience came into play. The topics were so intertwined. Its because of this that I have already created a list of todo's to re haul how world geometry is created in my game. While this will put my game behind a bit, I am more then certain the new technique will allow for a much better game. The main problem is that right now I am using a uniform grid for spatial partitioning and world geometry that is linked with my tile map. While this is relatively simple it limits objects size (the size of a tile) and also makes for fairly limited world collision. The new approach is going to be researching hierarchical grid structures over break (mostly during down time from all of the weddingness...more on that below). This allows for a grid that has cells of varying sizes that lie in different "levels". Its all a little fresh in my mind but I've outlined a portion in my collision bible (Christopher Erickson's Real-Time Collision ) that'll give me a good start. My plans include to replace the "fill in this tile as collidable" in the map editor to where the user will be able to draw shapes for world geometry. Fortunately the last part should not be that hard since I can port over my drawing tool code from my Animation Editor.

If all the above nonsense can be pulled off, then I am hoping to make levels that will not feel so damn "tiley" (which will result from a separation of the tile map and the collision grid) and take more advantage of all the "advanced" 2d collision I spent over six months researching!

I am simply getting giddy over this stuff I am such a nerd. Sadly this stuff pulls me away from getting on to making a game..but I think this will make the game that much cooler when it finally gets made.


So my new moto has become "Have Data, Will Follow." It is my new practice to try and start with data first in all my designs before getting wrapped up in implementation. If you have a simple way to create data, you can create better implementation.


I am extremely psyched about going home Wednesday. My middle brother Praveen (aka Sexual Chocolate...hehehehe) is getting married to Jennie Allen on Thursday then Saturday (Hindu/Catholic weddings respectively). I got bumped up several months ago from an usher like role to a groomsmen. This'll be a first for me and mah family. I am extremely excited to be around so much of my family. They are just that loud and fantastic.


So Hellgate is here. While I like the core game play, they game has so many bugs that its a real disappointment. Being a fan, I'm willing to stick with the game and watch as they patch it. Flagship is already going nuts working on fixes for the game. I admit that they've already lost a lot of potential fans with the bugs.

On a more positive note, I've gotten really into three odd ball games: Simpsons, Picross DS, and Orcs & Elves DS. First off, Simpsons is just fucking hilarious. The game play is so so, but the humor and simpsons content is so entertaining that its worth going through. Picross DS is just mind-bindingly addictive and next to a cup of coffee, is a great way to get your brain going in the morning. Orcs & Elves is probably one of the most addictive DS games I've ever played. Its amazing combination of turn-based and twitch game play makes for the perfect portable experience. The DS games have come at a perfect time for me since I've decided to take Laura's advice and do something else when my mind hits a problem. The results always come faster that way. Damn that girl is smart. Good thing I'm sticking with her for life.

Thats it! I'm out!