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July-September 2001 (oldest-to-newest)

8 Jul 2001 - Behind the scenes

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I am still working on the game - more than ever in fact. I just have some things to figure out about how to proceed. So until that gets sorted the stuff here will be sprase -- programming-wise at least.

I finally began Shenmue in earnest. It's quite neat. The voice acting needs some work; they talk way too slowly and repeat stuff too much. On the other hand, it's not Resident Evil.

1 Aug 2001 - Okay, here's the situation

Screw it, I'm gonna blab. I miss updating the page and it's been far too long since the last one. Here's the scoop. As the regular readers know (all five of you) I've been working on a NUON game in my spare time. I'm treating it very much like I did the Yaroze - meaning I work on it in my spare time with no real deadline and no real hope of getting it published (OPM cover discs notwithstanding).

I've been having such a blast working on it, and NUON in general, that I recently inquired about making it my job. Can you imagine getting paid for doing something you would do anyway for free? Anyway, while there was a distinct lack of "YES" in response, there also wasn't a "NO".

So I'm retaining some hope that eventually this will happen and I can work on the game full or part time (with the pleasant side effect of freeing up my evenings and weekends for game *playing* - imagine that). I really can't imagine why they wouldn't want me to do this, what with the distinct lack of original NUON games. It's probably just a matter of proving myself. So I'll keep plunking away at it and hopefully it will become evident to TPTB that this is a Good Thing.

Game Progress I got the final item in the renderer working yesterday. While it probably won't look like much to someone on the outside, I'm quite chuffed (for lack of a better American word) about how it worked out. Next comes the round of bug fixes and code optimization.

13 Aug 2001 - API work

I put some major time into Shenmue weekend before last. I'm at the beginning of disc 3 now and loving it. It took me a while to really get into the game. In the beginning there was a lot of "ask the same question to everyone you meet until you get the answer", but not so much any more. Plus now there's more QTE's and free battles to spice things up.

Game Progress With the assembly-level routines feature-complete I've started work on the C-level API which uses them. I got my first object to display today using the actual data structures and functions. I'm a bit concerned about performance at this point, but I'll hold judgement until I get a proper real-time game-like test going. Incidentally that will also be when I can finally post screen shots.

23 Aug 2001 - I'm sorry, who are you?

I was back in Virginia for my 10th high school reunion this past weekend. It was...odd. I recognized almost no one by sight. Everyone hung out in the same group of people that they did in high school - meaning I didn't talk to many people. Not that I really wanted to since I thought many of them were annoying at the time. Still, a few good friends showed up that I hadn't seen in quite a while. That made the evening worthwhile despite the $70 fee, crappy food, and overpriced cash bar.

Game Progress API work continues as I worked out a rather annoying bug last week. It took me three days to track down that bastard. With it, and a couple others, squashed the API is more robust now. There's still lots to do of course, but I'm hoping things will fall into place more quickly since most everything I do now is in C. My goal is to get an object editor running so I can play with things in real time on the system.

30 Aug 2001 - API work continues

This weekend is a long one due to Labor Day and I'm spending it gaming! A friend of ours belongs to a fraternity that gets together every Labor Day weekend. They play games for three days straight non-stop. A different person hosts it each year (rotating between east coast, mid-country, and west coast). This year is our friend's turn to host and he invited us!

To clarify we're talking board games here, not console or computer games. Stuff like Settlers of Catan, Acquire, Wiz War, and just about any other game people want to bring. It will be exhausting, but oh so much fun!

I rented Klonoa 2 and Red Faction for PS2 recently (for $1 each!). I only got around to playing Klonoa and it's a really fun game. It's an excellent side scroller with great visuals and animation. The plot is as contrived as side-scroller plots tend to be, but who cares? I'll need to rent it a couple more times (or buy it) to finish it.

I really need to get back into Shenmue and finish it off. I recently bought Crazy Taxi 2 and Floigan Brothers and haven't had a chance to try them at all. Guess the flood of games around the holiday season is starting early this year.

Game Progress I'm slowly adding more features to the API. Whereas before I only had a simple object displaying, I can now rotate, scale, and texture them. I also laid the groundwork for animation so hopefully will have that going soon.

4 Sep 2001 - Gaming nirvana

That was the most fun weekend I have had in a long time. Gaming started Friday evening, going through Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Despite the fact that I had to leave on Sunday I still had a blast. Most everyone got three hours of sleep each night (I chickened out Saturday night and got seven hours).

Here's an incomplete list of the games played:

*=Link leads to a review rather than the manufacturer's page

And those are just the ones I know about off the top of my head. I'm sure many more were played Sunday and Monday.

The first game we played was Telephone Pictionary which was great. You can play it with any number of people and it generated a lot of laughs. I haven't laughed so hard in who knows how long! I'll explain how to play in a subsequent update once I get a chance to scan in some examples.

Sunday was spent with the in-laws. We played some golf on Monday and had an excellent barbecue at the clubhouse afterward. Plus I shot my usual crappy round of golf...

7 Sep 2001 - A request

I'm trying to track down the January 1997 (#25) issue of Next Generation. It's the one focusing on the Yaroze. If anyone has a copy (or know someone that does) I would be willing to buy it off of you. Please contact me.

Stupid me used to have it, but threw it out while doing some cleaning. At least I had the sense to keep the issues which featured "Project X" on the masthead.

13 Sep 2001 - holy crap

words escape me at the moment...

17 Sep 2001 - What a week

I don't know what I could say that hasn't been said already regarding recent events. So if you'll pardon me I'll just jump back into the swing of things with this update.

During the game-fest last Labor Day weekend the first thing we played was a game called Telephone Pictionary. It's called such because it's similar to the children's game where someone whispers a phrase into one person's ear who whispers it to the next and so on. By the end the phrase has become something else entirely.

Here's how to play. Each person has a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. They begin by writing a phrase at the top of the page. Then everyone passes their paper to the left. Everyone looks at the phrase given to them and draws it directly beneath. Then they fold over the page so as to hide the phrase - meaning only the picture they drew is visible. Then everyone passes to the left again. This time everyone tries to guess the phrase based on the picture. They write down, in words, the phrase that best suits what they think it is. Next they fold over the page again so as to hide the picture, leaving only the phrase they just wrote. And so it goes alternating phrases and pictures. After a while the game is over and everyone can unfold the entire paper and read the progression of phrases/pictures. It's quite hilarious. Here's an example:

The first phrase was "don't have a cow man". This became "don't hop on hogs" followed by "walking your dog while jumping on a pogo stick".

The dog/pogo stick theme stayed for a while.

Finally, continued on the back of the page we end up with "American Gladiators" and "American army".

Depending on your mix of people you can get some pretty wild stuff. This was just one of over 40 pages we created over two games. Some other pages ended up with phrases such as "gun sex", "fire-breathing chicken", and "love your pet, but don't LOVE your pet".

It's interesting to see what phrases survive the longest. The aforementioned "fire-breathing chicken" stuck around for a while. Also, "singing in the rain" and "puppy love" proved their ability to be drawn (and understood) quite well. Fun game!

This past weekend was California Extreme 2001. People from the area bring arcade games (and pinballs) from their own personal collection all to one place. There's a cover charge to get in, and all the games are set to free play. There were around 100 arcade games and just about as many pinballs. It's a geek's dream and for two days I was living it. Someone brought a Space Ace machine too so I was in heaven. I learned that I have lost my touch at the game, but it was good to play on an original machine rather than other inferior versions (PC, Sega CD, DVD video). I'll post photos sometime if I remember to upload them.

Game Progress Even though the game engine I'm writing uses a non-standard rendering method, I knew all along that I would need routines to draw sprites. I finally got around to writing the code last week. The sprites are somewhat limited given that they have to be 16x16 pixels, but I'm not planning to use a lot of them anyway. They can rotate, scale, and have varying levels of translucency.

I mentioned animation before. Before I got into this sprite business I did have the initial animation code working. I haven't tested it thoroughly yet, but I was happy it worked pretty much right away.

28 Sep 2001 - Er...

Sorry for the lack of updates. Life has been crazy lately. Things are afoot right now which I cannot talk about. I will update as I can.

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