Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Goodbye fender…

Many years ago I had long hair, a leather jacket and even leather trousers and a bullet belt. Oh yes. I was a rock-n-roll wild child geetar-hero wannabee. I was even in a few bands, and played maybe 100 gigs around the south of England with them. I still have fond memories of kebab places in chelmsford (great times man…great times…), sleeping on the beach in cornwall, and one gig somewhere where the local biker gang was ‘security’ for the gig. It was all very rolling stones, only with less money and longer guitar solos.

Me (on left) and dave hobbs, in the band ‘blazon’ playing at some pub in hastings. “HELLO CLEVELAND!”

Anyway, today marks the end of an era of sorts, because I threw my old fender amp in a skip at a recycling center. It was a bit crackly and unreliable, and not really worth anything, and it’s fine because I got a lovely new modern fender amp last Christmas anyway, so it was redundant. Still… that trusty little box followed me around the UK and belted out many a sweep-picked arpeggio, I can tell you. It was kinda sad to throw it out, but then you can’t lug around all your childhood possessions your whole life. That’s living in the past, and I tend to think of my boat building self, my guitar-playing self and my suit-wearing IT consultant self as like my previous hosts, in DS9 speak, and you can never go back. I’ve still got the trusty ibanez guitar though, the one with the cool monkeygrip handle :D.

Dave Hobbs, me, Stu Clark and Mark ‘it’s not a perm’ Susans. I think we were ‘power metal’? posing before one of our many gigs at Tiverton, in Devon.

It’s a sign of age when your youthful exuberance was captured on celluloid, not binary.

Gratuitous Space Battles version 1.61 is live

…for direct bought copies, and will be updating on steam soon (as soon as I find the right instructions for it…doh!). Copies auto-update over the next 24 hours.

What are the changes? well…

version 1.61
1) Bug Fix: Drag selecting now launches ship inspector for the first selected ship, not the first ship in the fleet…ooops.
2) New feature: Support for the cruiser decoy projector module.
3) Bug Fix: AI now works differently, and less stupidly when assessing which target to move towards.
4) New feature: pulse-glow effect now supports two new variables ‘min alpha’ and ‘max alpha’
5) Support for new two-stage missiles.
6) Bug fix: Ensuring that regardless of framerate or missile speed, missiles that would hit, will actually hit.
7) Support for new multi-point tractor beams.
8) Improved design of load-ship dialog in the design screen so it scales to fill the available space and shows (and can sort by) hull name too.
9) Support for modding plasma torpedoes to use style CUSTOM and plasma_texture = “” for custom effects
10) Support for weapons firing from cloaked ships using the “fire_while_cloaked=1” setting
11) Reverted the Area-of-effect code so it only happens on hits, not misses, as requested.
12) Added support for modded music.
13) Fixed obscure timing issue where when at 4x speed and a low FPS, theoretically some very-rapid fire weapons may have been ‘dropping’ shots. Game now supports multiple shots per frame.
14) Removed now redundant ‘internet news’ dialog.
15) Stats summary screen now closes properly when exiting the stats screen without closing it.
16) restricted race field for modules now supports comma-separated list for multiple races (for modders)
17) races can now be locked out of all vanilla tech (for modders)
18) hulls can now be hidden from the player (for modders)

So there is a lot of mod support stuff and preparatory stuff for the upcoming ‘outcasts’ race expansion. Plus the big things are the better design loader dialog, and the changes to AI, area-of-effect weapons and a bit of a rapid-fire timing bug problem.

I suspect all of today will be GSB/Outcasts related, probably the weekend too…

Hmmm…big todo list

So… most of this week is probably going to be spent doing early preparatory code on the mystery ‘new’ game, which I plan to talk about in January, although don’t expect nice screenshots until at least march. The reason for that is all the intervening stuff, not least Christmas and it’s traditional disruption, and some tedious decorating to do, but I’m also going to to visit friends in Australia. Yes Australia.

I am not a big fan of long haul flights, 90% because of environmental concerns, 10% because I find them horrid. Words were had, discussions took place, much grumbling was done… But close friend of mine is out there for a few years, I should go visit at least once. Added to this I am going to GDC in March in the US for the first time ever. Not a good year for my carbon footprint :(

So in between all this there is the final testing and polishing and release of GSB 1.61 followed soon after (I hope) by the groovy ‘Outcasts’ Expansion pack for the game. Then there will be a lot of playing RedShirt, and moaning about tooltips, knowing me. And of course at some stage it’s release and promotion. (Yay!). I also plan to do some website improving stuff around February too.

Which means proper work on the next game will probably be Feb-March-April-May, assuming that the behind-the-scenes stuff I’m currently doing is finished by the end of this year. Realistically that game will dominate most of 2013 in terms of polishing, releasing and promoting, which means if I had an urge to make GSB 2, that would be end 2013/2014. Who can predict that far ahead?