Month: January 2009

First Rejection

Well, my first rejection came from Spacetime Studios.

It was really disappointing because two of the company’s founders are Anthony Sommers and Cinco Barnes, two old friends of mine from Origin. So it’s almost like a “Ex-Origin employees make good” studio and I would have loved to have been a part of that.

Also, they are doing some pretty cool stuff…

But I knew it would be tough to get a position there when I went to their open house. They were mobbed by about two hundred people – artists, designers and programmers – and I saw several people there I knew were more experienced than me.

I will say that the programming test for Spacetime was actually pretty fun to complete, because it involved actually implementing a subsystem based on a design document instead of answering C++ trivia questions. (I remember once being asked what private inheritance was. I answered the question correctly, but for crying out loud has anyone in the history of programming ever used private inheritance?)

Anyway, good luck to the Spacetime guys…I wish them all the best.

Hayao Miyazaki Makes Ramen for His Staff

This is my favorite segment from the “Making of Spirited Away” special on the DVD. It turns out that crunching on an animated movie is a lot like crunching on a video game. The staff starts making dinner in rotation and one night, it’s the director’s turn…

Planitia’s Final Fate

Recent events have hammered home one thing to me…that I should be getting paid for most of the code I write.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s starting to rankle that I’ve spent two+ years on Planitia and I won’t see any income from it. I will not reneg on my promise to make Planitia free and release the source, but frankly I just don’t have much more time to spend on it.

So here’s what’s going to happen with Planitia:

I’ll be adding a tutorial mode to explain the basic concepts of the game to new players.

I’ll be implementing the last two god powers that don’t work at all (which are currently Flamestrike and Armageddon) and tweaking a couple others (Golem should not allow you to place the golem, it should appear automatically at one of your cities and randomly seek out an enemy city).

I’ll be implementing “idle” animations for the military units so that they don’t just stop dead in mid-stride…that looks weird.

And that’s it. Planitia will be done.

And it’ll be done by the end of next week.

Now, that’s not to say that I won’t fix bugs or make improvements if people suggest them; just that it won’t be high-priority.

I need to move on to a project that can actually make me money, because lord knows I need some.

By the same token…dear lord, I don’t want to do this…but you’ll be seeing ads on this website soon. I’m going to make them as unobtrusive as possible, but if this site can at least pay for itself I’d be much happier.

And I’ll also be putting up a Paypal link for donations. If you’ve played Inaria or Planitia and enjoyed them, or if my articles have helped you in any way, you may now slip me money!

Frankly, I hate doing this…but I don’t feel I have a choice. I also feel it’s the next natural step in my development as a game programmer.

Let’s Play Starflight! 13: Puttering Around

I really must apologize for this video…I was almost not going to post it and then…well, you’ll see. I swear the next video will be more exciting.

Name That Game 60!

This game is notable because it’s based on a short story by a famous author, who was heavily involved in this game’s development – going so far as to voice the game’s main villain.

It’s also notable because the game can’t really be won – there are multiple endings and they are all bad. But one is much less bad than the others.

Name and developer, please!

Dwarf Fortress Video Tutorials

If you’re like me, you’re fascinated by both the concept of Dwarf Fortress and the depth of its world simulation, but you just cannot crack the shell of that abysmal interface to get at the sweet, gooey gaming goodness inside.

Well, someone going by the handle of Captain_Duck has finally decided to make some video tutorials for Dwarf Fortress, and they are actually pretty good. I would embed one but YouTube won’t let me embed a high-quality video and you need to watch these in high-quality so you can read the text. Stupid YouTube.

Will this get me into Dwarf Fortress? Maybe. I don’t really have time for it right now (major update to Planitia coming up this week) but perhaps later, now that I understand a little better what is going on…

Name That Game 59!

Frankly, I can’t say anything about the development of this game without giving huge clues as to what it is, so I’ll just present the screenshot.

Name and developer, please! If you win, I’ll FTOL your TAC and SCAN your STS for you.

More Game Voyeurism

Would you like to watch two great Starcraft II players play a game while the lead designer comments on it?

If you’re like me, of course you would.

Planitia Update 35: A Little Somethin’-Somethin’

Okay, a minor update to Planitia. Click here to download.

* The game should no longer crash when you try to create a golem.

* “Skirmish Mode” has been renamed “Single Player”

* The second mouse pointer has been eliminated.

* Single player mode now pits you against one enemy AI instead of three. This should make it easier to play as well as help with performance until I can get some optimizations in.

* More logging to help find other crashers.

Again, please feel free to try it out. I’m trying to get the game looking as professional as I can with the resources I’ve got; if you want to make suggestions feel free, either in the comments or by emailing me at

Weird Fact of the Day

Lori Alan, who was the voice of the Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3…

…is also the voice of Diane Simmons on Family Guy…

…and the voice of Pearl on Spongebob Squarepants.


That is all.