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In search of new balance

Changes are always difficult but embracing the fact that changes are inevitable gives you a liberating opportunity to react toward them  in the way you are most comfortable with.

After staying way too long in the corporate world (8 years in support IT)  the first job and city change seemed to be very difficult… but it proved to be the best thing I could make for my life at that point.

The second “professional jump” to new job and new city turned out to be way easier than the first move. I got seasoned by first changes.

The most important thing is to go forward as soon as you make the decision. Dont wait for the counter offer, dont waste time on expressing how much you suffer because organization goals do not align with your personal goals. Just go. They will not miss you and the sooner you forget about the past and focus on building your future the better for you.

As soon as I made the decision that it’s time for me to go (it was in December 2016) I immediatly focused just on things that would get me closer to acheiving the goal. I entered “Terminator mode” as would Michał Marcinkowski form Transhuman Design call it.

Now that I managed to secure the job contract after probation period (at least for now:  embrace the fact that nothing in life is certain and permanent),  I can focus on getting the stability back.

This new situation got me off balance. I must adjust my habbits to gain back my full productivity.

Before February my life was based on certain bricks:

  1. Job which was less and less demanding, but needed to generate certain financial stabilization
  2. personal project and game james (work after work) which helped me improve skills
  3. capoeira to give me a proper dose of physical activity
  4. Family and Relationship time
  5. Sleep and Rest

Due to the fact that huge chunk of time was occupied by point 1 and 2 it was hard for me to put a descent focus on 3,4 and 5.

Now my life looks slightly different:

  1. Job where I grow and learn new things with each and every day
  2. 2 times more of capoeira (now since I live in the city where my Group has a head quarter it would be a sin not to use this opportunity)
  3. Personal projects
  4. Family and relationship time
  5. Sleep and rest

Now since I moved the need to fulfill my curosity and urge to learn new things to working hours, I can spend less time on point 3 and more time on point 4 and 5…

I still have the problem with the last one – getting a proper sleep since I got acustomed to do gamedev long after normal day working hours. I made the decision not to participate in any on site Game Jams so I can focus more on delivering long term projects. I might consider attending online Ludum Dare but we shall see. Short term plans must make way for more long term projects and obligations.

Time to find another center of weight 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Changes

TL;DR version: I got a job as a Junior C# (Unity) developer in Warsaw. I’m moving out of current city and hopefully my Fiancee joins me soon. It’s going to be tough but I am more than ready.

Fingers crossed!

Pinball Zombie Slasher

After gathering first feedback I’ve decided to make certain design changes:

  1. Game will no longer be about Samurai on Ice.
    Now Samurai will need to run away from Zombies, slashing through anything in his way.
  2. Kill Zombies while performing combos for extra points
  3. Game will have endless procedural generated levels

 

To do:

  • Add a wall blocker certain level distance. The wall will need to be destroyed by bashing through.
  • Add bonuses and pick ups
  • Change rapid break into “launch a super charger” which can be activated after killing certain amount of zombies.

If you with to join open alpha tests then click on THIS LINK

 

New Project: Zombie Slasher on Ice

I’ve decided to redo some of the old game jam games with better gameplay.

For the first round my choice is the Game which I made together with my Fiancee during HUUUGE Game Jam in December 2016.

More about the original game jam project in the postmortem HERE

My choice was to make it an mobile arcade game based on wacky physics, lot of screen shake nad explosions.

You swipe on screen to “throw” the Samurai and give him momentum and tap to make him stop. The challenge here is that since the stop is kind of radical it overheats your player sandals. You cannot stop again if the sandals are not cold enough. If samurai is moving he is automatically attacking the zombies. Zombies can only hurt the player if he is not moving. Zombies also leave a poison toxic pond after their death which deals a small damage if player touches it.

So far it looks like this:

GameDev Resolutions?

Since I’m a bit of self-improvement geek I do make new years resolutions as well as the others. On the contrary to most of the people, I tend to treat this seriously (fortunately not dead seriously) and I at least try to approach this process in more structural way. Somehow I managed to complete major milestones last year with new method (i.e. drop weight, publish a game, become debt free) so I guess I’ll continue the process this year as well.

I won’t bother you with my private life resolusions but let’s focus on the ones related with Game Development:

  1. Make a full game with better gameplay.
  2. Improve OOP C# coding in Unity +, learn more about shaders, 3D games in general, networking, maths and algorithms
  3. Improve game theory skills
  4. Learn more about game economy
  5. Redo old Game Jam games to see if I could make the old concepts in a better way

As you can see all those goals are related with one another. This raises the chance of clearing out the list.

Fingers crossed 🙂

 

 

“Post” Postmortem of Unholy Showdown

Preface

Colleague of mine who works with me in my current workplace as a Lead Designer noticed one thing missing in my Postmortem of Unholy Showdown – I need more analytical approach to design issues.

I’ll try to cover this topic in following post.

Issues Identified:

Here is the list of major issues that I managed to identify with testers at various stages of development:

Unclear gameplay

Most of the testers played the game as a single player even though my primary design decision was to base the game on local multiplayer. This caused confusion and unclear feedback the game gave to players on many stages. The solution was either to redesign the game to single player only or implement an online turn based multiplayer. The problem here again was with getting the feedback too late. I consider this as the worst design “sin” of mine.

No time pressure

Paper / Rock / Scissors is based on time pressure and simultaneous players decisions. This game is turned based but each player can take as long as they want to make the choice and then pass the phone to another player. This made the gameplay simply boring. Again, it was too late to make a change with the resources and time I had to finish the project.

Solution?

  • add a timer to each player rounds
  • redesign the game so players must make up their mind in the same time

No random or “Cheat” factor

The beauty of Paper / Rock / Scissors game is the art of bluff. The game was not giving that psychological super power of allowing players to “fake” their moves. This could give interesting results combined with the time pressure factor.

Solution?

  • hide buttons during time pressured rounds while players make choices in the same time.

Conclusion

This was a great learning experience. I leveled up my technical skill but I must focus more on the design aspects during my next game making process and get feedback sooner. At some point I ventured into sort of a dead end, call it “the point of no return”. I strongly encourage anyone with gamedev aspiration to do such a task as well. The next project will be definitely better and more solid design-wise.

[EDIT Comment by Michał Rudziński]

“I would point out some other problems, from a pure design standpoint. I didn’t mentioned it before, because you said that Gameplay isn’t subject to change, and to be honest rock paper scissors in it’s simplest form (contrary to systems used in some RTS games where units follow rps philosophy) is deeply flawed even in it’s real time version, even so called psychological meta game is only a illusion built on randomness without any real choice or strategy”

Unholy Showdown Postmortem is ready

Always the most important part for me in all projects are the post mortems – lessons I took, mistakes I must avoid, etc.

Please read the Unholy Showdown Postmortem available HERE

 

Here’s the current state of game.

 

Available on Google Play HERE

Houston. We’re live and good to go.

 

So yeah… I’ve done it. Not perfect but at least it’s finished 🙂

You can get it here: http://bit.ly/unholy_showdown

Where are we with Unholy Showdown?

I am approaching the last line of delivery phase. I am positive I can finish this before the end of this year. One may say: about damn time. I must admit this took way too long time but it is worth it. Don’t expect much about the gameplay. The game is strictly for educational purposes only. I just want to deliver something as less crappy as possible and then move on to something more fun with all the knowledge I managed to get throught the whole process.

So far I was able to implement:

  • whole game loop with finishers
  • all the menus, credits and end screens (Demon win screen is work in progress)
  • one obligatory in-app purchase (no need to pay anything, just for me to learn how to add those sort of things)
  • Unity Ads

To do:

  • tweak some animations and remove certain pixel art graphics in favor to more hi-res versions
  • add leaderboards
  • add the remaining achievement pictures

Here is the intro to Unholy Showdown with my not so professional voice over 🙂

 

Year 2016 in one Slide

Whoa… this year is already over! How is that even possible?!

A lot of things happened. I really have no spare time at all at the moment.

The time just goes faster and faster. More news about Unholy Showdown soon 🙂

  • Dropped weight by 12 kg
  • Met my Role Model (Henry Rollins)
  • Got Engaged <3
  • Delivered a mobile game
  • created capoeira group
  • Co-formed Kurki Collective
  • I own Amiga 1200 Tower
  • 3 Game James (7 in total)
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