Month: May 2006


I have a (bad?) habit of considering just about everything a teaching moment for my daughter. She’ll ask me some simple question and I’ll grin evilly and she’ll sigh, knowing that she’s going to have to listen to me explain something in nauseating detail for the next half-hour or so.

So we are driving up to Grandma’s yesterday and we pass a sign touting how AT&T and SBC have merged again and I tell my daughter about how they were forced to break up in the mid-Eighties because the government felt that AT&T was misusing its monopoly power. Then I said, “Okay, now the government is letting the smaller companies like SBC rejoin AT&T again. Why do you think the government is allowing that?”

And she replied, “Um…so you can talk about it?”

A fine bit of snark, that. I was actually pretty proud, even though it was directed towards me.

She did quickly come up with the answer that I was looking for (that the telephone companies now have viable competition from cellphones and the internet) so I was proud of her for that, too.

Star Revolution Update 4

Finally, a new image!

It's almost tactical combat!

This isn’t really a screenshot of Star Revolution. It’s a screenshot of a prototype of the tactical combat system I’m working up. I’m going to actually release this prototype when it’s completed (I’m hoping by the end of the weekend) and let you guys rip it to bits for me. If you’ve played any turn-based tactial games in the past (Jagged Alliance, Final Fantasy Tactics, Front Mission 3 or 4, Advance Wars, etc) you shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out how the system works, but I’m hoping that the changes I’ve made will make combat go a little faster and look a little more fluid.

Yay! Wait…

Hey, whaddayaknow? Gamasutra has started a game development podcast! Awesome!

First topic: the demographics of video game players.



This just warms the cockles of my heart. (For the record, that’s the full tile sheet for Ultima VI. That site also contains full maps and tile sheets for The Savage Empire and Martian Dreams, as well.)

It’s also pretty surprising. Ultima VI was the biggest tile-based RPG of its time – the world was represented by a single map that was 1024×1024 tiles in size. The world felt large and varied, but now that I look at the tile sheet…there aren’t nearly as many individual things on it as I thought there would be. The tilesheet has 2048 tiles, but many tiles are taken up by multiple animation frames for a single object. A full 64 tiles are used just to animate the water! The designers did a good job of making different parts of the world feel different, despite the limitation.

Once again, I’m having trouble finding decent terrain tiles for Star Revolution. Not only am I having trouble finding Earthlike tiles, I can’t even begin to figure out how to find or generate tiles for non-Earthlike environments. This is all going to have to be solved, of course.

If You Wait by the River Long Enough…

…you will see the body of your enemy float by.

Or Lucas will finally get around to releasing the version of Star Wars that you really want.

Also check out the the trailer for Lego Star Wars II on that page. That game looks like it’s going to be very, very fun.


See, this is why I probably shouldn’t have a blog. I’m inherently boring. I just don’t do enough that is interesting.

And I haven’t done enough on Star Revolution to warrant an update.

So, here’s some random stuff based on what I’ve done in the last week or so.

* I watched My Neighbors the Yamadas. Charming, funny stuff, though very Japanese. If you try it, don’t be surprised if you don’t get everything. The movie is based on a Japanese daily comic strip – imagine a Japanese version of Peanuts that includes the parents as well as the children. Most of the movie feels like very short skits that are basically animated versions of daily comics, but there are longer set pieces in there as well. My favorite part is near the beginning, when Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother) get married.

I initially tried to watch it subtitled, but I kept missing things because the pretty animation kept distracting me from the text at the bottom, so I switched to the dubbed track. The dub was suprisingly good. When I’d heard Jim Belushi was going to voice Takashi, I was worried, but he actually does a very good job. Molly Shannon also does very well as Matsuko (she makes Matsuko’s voice sound appropriately robust). The only voice I didn’t like was…

Okay, let me make something clear here – I love Tress MacNeille. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long, long time. But I just didn’t like her as the grandmother, Shige, because she used the same “old lady” voice that she’s been using for years for characters like Agnes on the Simpsons or Mom on Futurama. If I hadn’t heard the same voice used in so many other contexts, it probably would have been fine.

* I also watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Loved it. An absolutely fantastic visualization of the classic children’s book…and I’ll be honest, I can’t understand why people freaked out over the Christian allegory in it; that was actually de-emphasized in the movie. I was expecting us to get some really decent fantasy movies in the wake of Lord of the Rings’ success, and I’m glad this was one of them. Now we need a great movie version of The Hobbit!

* In the wake of watching My Neighbors the Yamadas, I googled “life in Japan” and came up with this site. This is the site of Dan Laurson, who very luckily got to go to Japan on a collegiate foreign exchange program. Fortunately for us, he brought his digital camera and is good at website design.

* I mentioned briefly in a previous post that I was basing my new GUI design for Star Revolution on the concept of an immediate-mode GUI. Here’s the video presentation I watched that convinced me to give this idea a chance. So far it’s working out well! I’ll be honest, I wish that there were more podcasts and vidcasts about game development. And I don’t mean “Oooh, let’s talk about what EA did this week!”, I mean nuts & bolts, “Here’s how I implemented this effect in HLSL” kind of stuff.

And that’s it for now, I think.