Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm now seeing that it has been quite some time I've written. And here I was hoping that I would write at least once every other week. Who knew that it take time to actually write?

Here's the long and short of it. Seth and I were working diligently on getting those finally elements into Oh! Gnomes!. In fact, Seth had parachutes and the dynamically difficulty working pretty well. And then something tragic happened. Seth updated the Unity package to include my work regarding bushes and his weeks of work disappeared. Ok. So it's not the most tragic event in the world. But I'm sure anybody that has lost that amount of work can attest to, it certainly does take the wind out of one's sails. But we're back and running. I think we're all looking forward to polishing the final bits on Oh! Gnomes! (especially when Unity 3.5 releases).

In the mean time, Karl has been working through the cards for Ghost. They progressively get better and better with each card. I keep joking with him that he'll have to go back and revisit the first couple cards now that he found the art style. But then those cards will be better than the later cards and he'll have to revisit those cards...and he'll be trapped in an infinite loop of making it better. Seriously though, he's only got about 3 more cards to make and then he's onto modeling the players and ghosts.

While he's been doing that, I've been continuing on making the board game solid. I got it to a pretty solid working state and played it with various folk. And the more I played it, the more I realized that it wasn't quite the game that I was intending to design. It played alright, yet it was horribly chaotic (the same way Ghost Stories is chaotic). This forced the lot of us to sit down and reevaluate the player-loop. Needless to say, it received a massive restructuring. We went from an action-point system (different actions had different costs) to a phase-based system. This made the game far more accessible, requiring the player to only think about 1 action at a time. Additionally we introduced room effects making some rooms more or less desirable than others. There are still a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but even in its horribly broken state, it already feels significantly better. Of course, all of the restructuring code have been avoided if I would have just made a paper prototype to start with...sigh...I should know better.

Alright. I think that's it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And The Gnomes Continue

Sales are happening on Oh! Gnomes!...we are all very excited to see any sales. And we are even more excited because we got a some feedback from fans (primarily friends but if they like it...they're fans). With that feedback we decided that there are certain features that are indeed missing. So here's the major features we are planning to address.
  1. Bushes that gnomes spawn under. You have to squish the bush before you squish or fling the gnome.
  2. Parachutes for when gnomes spawn from the sky. If you want to squish the gnome in the sky, you have to squish the gnome and not the parachute.
  3. Magic Pixie that you earn after surviving so many gnome waves. You can send her out to retrieve stolen coins in the field and return them to the Groundling.
  4. Augmented's just that awesome. But unfortunately, it will be released for Android before iPhone. The iPhone library isn't released yet (I'm sad too).
  5. Psuedo-dynamic Difficulty that tries to maintain player-flow.
  6. Various bugs. Yeah. We found some.
We want to hear your ideas for how to improve our game. Thanks for your input thus far.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heroes Who Hunt Ghosts

Artist's Log: Net date 0611.5

After being impounded for what seemed like ages, we have finally gotten our clearance from the iOS council. I admit that after spending all those weeks stuck on the ipod-3 station, watching as our applications were rejected one after another, tensions were running high. We'd certainly expected some hardships along the way, but the particulars of this setback had been especially frustrating. We are free and clear to continue our mission though, and I've been preparing for this for days now.

Our next destination is the Ghost system, only a couple of genres away from the Gnome world. I'm relieved that for the first portion of our survey, I won't be needing to wrangle with our 3d workflow, cobbled together from little more than free ware and string. No, the first part of the survey is being handled almost exclusively by the 2d workflow that, while old and outdated, at least doesn't give us many surprises.

I've already managed to produce these images of some of their greatest heroes.

These proved particularly difficult, and while I am very pleased with the results, I do wonder what they might have looked like if I had gotten them in a different setting. I made several attempts to capture some images while they were in town, but all of the abstract artwork, heraldry and symbolic carvings in the background proved too cumbersome. In the end I was forced to settle for some images in their natural habitats, but I think they turned out just fine regardless.

I look forward to tomorrow, when I return to my studies of the planet's native life forms. Spooks, ghosts, things-that-go-bump-in-the-night is what I believe they are called by the locals.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Augmented Reality is Just Plain Cool

We're continuing to go back-and-forth with Apple. Gotta love when you can play the game on our devices but nobody else can. Well...while we've been waiting, we decided to bring back augmented reality (AR) for Oh! Gnomes! For those of you that aren't familiar with AR, it is the idea of virtual images being superimposed on actual reality. With Oh! Gnomes!, the player points his Android at an image on the table and instead of the camera being constrained to a fixed orbit around the Groundling, the player can move the camera upwards-and-downwards, and inwards-and-outwards, and sidewards. It's kinda like a Wonka-vator. Anyway, we're hoping to have something here shortly for our Android enabled users.

And while we aren't adding new features to Oh! Gnomes!, we are continuing our work on Ghost. There is something strangely satisfying about rolling dice. Even if they are virtual dice. Karl is creating some beautiful cards for the ghosts and players. Once we get our final player cards, I'll post them and share the pretty.