Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A cuban writer, nominated to Phillip K. Dick award

A couple of days ago I received news about my friend Yoss: he is nominated to Phillip K. Dick award! I c&p from the official site:

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust and the award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.

 I wish him luck, but just being nominated is a great achievement (one more in his curriculum), for him and for cuban science fiction.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Revisiting the game story

I have been reworking the game storyline, taking into consideration some ideas from a friend, who worked as second writer in the early stages of the project. I'm not happy at all with my current work. Although I set some important points in terms of plot twists and emotion, it lacks the required depth and fails to offer a living world, with several factions.

I focused too much in providing choice, in the form of having a way to join one or another faction, instead of providing a couple of them that will be always unreachable, or simply opposed from the beginning. After all, a villain is always needed! And the storyline was too much a line. Too linear. Now I have to open the choices available to the player after the brief introductory quest.

Of course, the final storyline should be tweaked by at least one more writer. An open world RPG is too big to be written by one man.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Minimap!

Yep, we have minimap, actually, it is more like a satellite view. I made a quick proof of concept yesterday, while watching Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay Packers game. I had the overall idea, but with the help of a nice tutorial, I completed the blank spaces, which were related to redirecting the Render to Texture to an UI element (a Raw Image) and how to place markers (use an specific layer, cull that layer in normal camera, and all layers but that one in minimap camera).

Still have a few issues to solve (what happens if the marker is inside a building or covered by something?), but eventually I will solve them. First I have to spend some time to deal with the coroutine hell that became the AI, and implement some way to tune the behavior of each entity, other than writing a custom script for each one.

Anyway, Iḿ  quite happy with the progress so far. Considering I'm not a great programmer, I have achieved some interesting things, and others are pending until I can get the required hardware.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I have finished Deus Ex: Mankind divided

One of the problems that comes with being a writer, is that you start analyzing everything you read. Sometimes you think you would have written it in a different way, or simply you see a pattern: this guy is going to die, or this is going to end this way.

Yesterday I finished Deus Ex: Mankind divided, one of the titles I wanted to play last year. Took me a bit to get it, just to find that my hardware is not enough and I had to avoid using weapons: impossible to aim with only 15-18 frames per second. I urgently need a better video card, and a PSU to feed it. The game itself is not bad, the only complaint I have is about the story.

Deus Ex felt like a bit short to me, with a quite basic plot. Except for a couple of decisions (do this or that, not both), the dialogs are mostly useless cinematics that provide information at the cost of wasting gameplay time, and do not add any complexities to the storyline.

And why do I expected a better story? Well, because Deus Ex is an RPG, despite being a first person, action (or stealth) game. And because I expected a bit more from a writing team of 6-7 people that earn in a month 10 times my annual salary. C'mon, guys! I'm working alone and my RPG plot is already better!

Anyway, it is a good game, as I said. No reason to discard it just because of lack of storyline depth. I strongly advise that you play it, if you haven't already.

Monday, January 16, 2017

New year, lot of work

Same as December, January started with an offensive to my 5th novel. I'm very close to finishing it and not too soon, as the next ideas are pushing to get out. Perhaps my next book will play a bit with old style mystery novels and new weird, although I also have a more traditional fantasy plot in mind.

Then I switched to programming for a couple of days. The prototype received some interesting features like working conditionals in dialog branches, my very own AI/sensory system and trading. The base for the quest system is already there, but may require lot of work to be functional.

Currently, the protoype is just a lot of subsystems, like a workbench where I test ideas. It wasn't supposed to be, but my previous project had too many issues to be corrected and I discarded it. The work I'm doing is aimed to improve a couple of details, and presenting a video in a conference about game development next saturday. Maybe I will share it here too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Put a Linux in your life

Last monday, after the year's end/new year torment finished, I went to visit a friend. For paying the due congratulations and such, but mostly to see if I could put my hands on latest Deus Ex game.

I had to remove the hard drive from my PC, but the game worth the risk and I was extra careful while carrying it. We copied and even tested the game from my drive, before I took it home. And then I found that there were no signs of the game in the hard disk. I even had the same 90Gb free.

Ok, if you copy 75 gigabytes to a drive, use those in some way, and they they dissapear, there is somethign really wrong with your disk or OS. I forced Windows to do a drive scan, just to find that I had 75 gigabytes lost, without any way to find where.

But, no panic. I had Linux Mint. After booting to Linux, I found the lost files, which were hidden for Windows. Of course, the game was useless, but at least I could recover 75 Gb without formatting the disk.

It is good to have a serious OS for emergency cases, don't you think?