A few months ago one of my favorite podcasts ended. I was actually on Composer Quest a few times as a guest, and the host even stayed with me for a night during his World Tour. All in all, Charlie made a very cool thing, and I’ll miss it.
I recently completed a new web app called Raffler that lets you take a list of items (usually names) and then “raffle” them (i.e. randomly choose one). It’s an extension of an older web app I made called Just Pick One, but except for some neat animation I added on the front-end design, the back-end logic was largely the same as always: one big honkin’
funcs.js file full of global variables and methods. Bad Mike, I know, I know, but it’s just how I function when I build from scratch.
The sweet rock band I’m currently in, Fly Like Venus, is getting more legit everyday.
The RPM Challenge is an annual, um, challenge to make an album of music in a month. That’s 35 minutes or 10 songs, whichever comes first. I completed it once in 2010, which was when I made my first album of both music and lyrics.
I have a new album of music out. It’s a 5-track EP called Gray.
Note: these albums didn’t necessarily come out in 2016, but I listened to them A LOT in 2016 (I’m behind on a few things)
Presenting: Utterly, a macOS app that puts a GUI on top of Apple’s built-in speech synthesis technology.
My previous attempt, Utter, has been rewritten with state-of-the-art tools and the newest of operating system version. Also, I added a picture of a cow to the app itself (instead of just the icon).
The Github Game Off is over, and my “finished” product is Axeracer (source). It’s a simple, one-track racing game that has you piloting a little insect car thing with axes for antennae, all the better to “hack” through the grassy track on your way to the finish line.
This post is not meant to go over every detail of the game, but just to hit on some of the highlights.
Spurred on by Github’s Game Off game jam, and inspired by Hook, Line, and Thinker, I’ve decided to use Pico-8 as my game engine workplace, as writing everything from scratch can be a bit of an ordeal. An all-in-one minimalist design shop, Pico-8 has the ability to do the cart, sprites, and audio all in one neat little package.
The band I’m in, Fly Like Venus, played their first show recently! It was at the Company Pub and Kitchen, which is a pretty nice venue, with its own stage and crew. We got it on video and it can be viewed in the little box below.
As an addendum to the last post, I would be remiss to forget to talk about Fly Like Venus for a little bit.
The last time I updated this site, which has gone from a dump of my old LiveJournal, to a fairly recurring life blog, to a mainly defunct music blog, I had just recently become a father. In the following, oh, year and a half, I’ve been a little preoccupied with doing that thing.
However, I’ve found time, carved into the recesses of the night, to finish a couple more albums of music.
For the most part, Gem Warrior is done. What a blast it has been! I’m not sure I’ve worked so hard on a project in a long time.
I made a game!
How do I know I’m done? Besides the relative burnout I feel from working on it for a while, the features I most wanted to implement are in, and all the bugs that have cropped up (that I know ;P) are fixed. There is a world of Jool, a player to control, levels and abilities to attain, items to get and use (and equip if appropriate), monsters to fight, some people to talk to, and a final boss to defeat. It’s as complete a game as I’m willing to make it.
Now, for the first time, I’m going to take a little walk through how the game works, both game-wise and code-wise, which will be long and detailed. However, if you are making a game in Ruby (or whatever), I think it may be enlightening.
Much progress has been made on Gem Warrior since last I posted, and I’ve learned a bunch about Ruby and how to properly structure a game. I’ve also come to a fairly good stopping point where people can start to actually beta test the game and I can get much needed feedback outside of the echo chamber of my own head.
A game where you’re typing words on a command line is not exactly “modern gaming”, but it has a certain charm that tugs at a (hopefully) shared computing nostalgia. Also, it’s a lot easier to program something where the output is text, rather than graphics.
Thus, I’ve embarked on a game development project called Gem Warrior, a roguelite text adventure, (eventually) replete with a juicy command list, glorious monsters, and a hyperkeen randomized world that challenges you to discover its seemingly boundless majesties, and defeat an Evil Guy to Win the Day!
I’ve been interested in sound and audio for a long time now. Probably from the time I heard my first beep or click from a child’s toy (can’t be sure), my mind got hooked on these air fluctuations and how to make more of them. Once I got into playing guitar and messing around on computers and patterned air movements (i.e. music), this became a fully-realized obsession. Even with all of the complexity inherent in my musical endeavors, the simple things still feel good, and if I can make a simple Ruby gem that can beep at you, then by Thor’s hammer I will!
While working on a tool in Ruby to make sampler tracks out of several album components, I realized I did not yet know enough about how to manipulate audio to do what I wanted. I needed to approach it from a different vantage point, and a different language altogether. So, I decided to see what the state of audio on the web was, having not done much beyond hosting and downloading MP3s years ago.
Spoiler: it’s pretty frickin’ cool now, guys.