Update

Dear readers,

this is where we stand with Scout’s Journey and otherwise:

  • There is now Unreal-capable hardware available. I’m currently trying to install the Linux version of Unreal from git. The current development rig has 8GB RAM and a Nvidia 1050Ti GPU. This should do nicely for a while.
  • I’m still polishing off the script. The plot has been finished for a couple months, I’m just editing and pulling in some stringers in a couple places. This is not a major effort, though.
  • I’m seriously looking into C++ programming again. I am capable of it but I’m doing some reading and practice as a refresher. One thing I’m quite seriously looking at is to port my little curses-based RPG (roguelike), DSAHack, from C to C++ with classes. This makes a lot of sense and it’ll be a good practice project.
  • As soon as things are running with Unreal, there will be renewed focus on Blender modelling, especially props and environments, and successively characters.
  • I’m still looking at doing videos and I’ll probably have a server and domain at some point to host a lot more stuff than this blog ever could.
  • I’ve been dealing with some personal upheaval in recent months but I’m looking relatively fine now.
  • You want to help, you want to partner up, you want to collaborate, you want to learn C++ with me, you want to give feedback, drop me a line. I’m aware I didn’t answer all comments recently, that’s simply because I was busy.

In short, radio silence doesn’t always mean bad things.

Jonas

 

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Oh please. Of course encrypted e-mail is still secure.

Various media have hyped a recently publicized paper about vulnerabilities of PGP encrypted e-mail, saying things like “e-mail no longer a secure method of communication“.

This is a load of BS.

Werner Koch, author of GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), has stated that such exploits have been known for almost 20 years and countermeasures have long been developed. GPG throws a hard error (since 2015) if the countermeasure is not detected upon decryption.

Enigmail, the Mozilla Thunderbird PGP addon, includes a fix (since February) that prevents any content being rendered to the user if GPG throws this error. This basically fixes the problem.

Claiming that PGP has been broken, the encryption itself has been broken, and telling users to not send encrypted e-mails anymore is WRONG.

I have to wonder if this is some kind of scheme or cyberattack meant to discredit email encryption as a whole. The use of encryption is obviously a thorn in the side of various agencies and third parties who would like you to stop using it.

In short: Use GnuPG and Enigmail, use the latest versions, disable loading third-party content from the web, or disable viewing HTML mails completely (if you’re paranoid, you probably did this already). Don’t panic.

 


Crap of War

“Games journalists” are very excited about the latest installment in the God of War franchise, a game about brutalizing everything that walks, because Kratos is a dad now (that seems to be a thing as game developers get older – what can we do with Kratos? Oh right, make him a dad, because we can relate to that now).

Aww. He cares so much about his son that he teaches him to charge headlong into danger, instead of away from it, because Kratos totally doesn’t want the boy to become like himself.

… Smart move, Kratos.

Hand the boy a weapon and he’ll grow up to become an upstanding, peace-loving citizen, and be real good at solving problems without resorting to violence. I’m sure.

I might have more to say about it, depending on the exact way it butchers Norse mythology, in a while. But seriously, this is a thing about dismembering monsters yet everybody finds a ton of highly philosophical things to say about it?

Hand me the acid, please.


No Bingo

_protagonistbingo

Rock Paper Shotgun had an article about “Male Protagonist Bingo”, demonstrating how well-known videogame protagonists easily fill over half the card.

Naturally, I played Bingo for Scout, but no bingo for her…

Then again, someone should probably create a “Female Protagonist Bingo” card. I wonder what that would look like. “Lara Croft Clone”, “Edgy Tattoo”, “Skin Tight Suit”, “Boob Armour”, “Healer”, “Underage”, might be a good beginning, but we can keep “Military Rank”, “Supernatural Powers” and “Psychological Problems”, I think.

And… here is the female protagonist bingo. *cough*

And here is the original blog post by wundergeek. It’s the truth, all of it.


Old dog, new tricks.

Here’s a snippet you probably haven’t heard. I tried to introduce more dynamics, having these strings swell in and out to mimic a real orchestra.

I picked up a few new tricks recently, such as  using pink noise to balance the mix (google it) and doing better gainstaging in Reaper, meaning the meters aren’t flashing red anymore at all. I now mix closer to -18dB than 0dB. This gives one additional headroom, which makes things a lot more relaxed. I also started to use mid/side processing on the mix bus (this allows me to control the middle and sides of the stereo spectrum separately).

On top of that, I’m trying to measure loudness with a LUFS meter on the master bus. If you’ve never heard of LUFS, I can’t blame you, it’s something used in broadcasting to determine average loudness. Youtube and other streaming services actually limit the LUFS your video can have. Now, if I could just find out what their actual numbers are. They seem to change these limits unpredictably. If you’re too loud, your video gets limited (try right clicking on a youtube video and click “stats for nerds” if you’re interested).

Furthermore, I’m using some new plugins. I might as well mention what they are:

I also now use a dedicated mix bus in Reaper, so I can have the Master set at 0 db and measure the loudness there more precisely. All the effects have moved to the mix bus, except the loudness maximizer, LUFS meter and Pink. This became necessary because you can’t have post-fader plugins on the Master in Reaper. Loudness needs to be measured after the last fader, though.

So, a whole bunch of esoteric music stuff is being done right now. Other things as well. I’ll continue to post updates.

 

… And, of course, there is an easier way to do the swelling strings effect. Buried in the depths of Reaper, there is a plugin that allows to simply do it with bezier curves, aka envelopes. It’s called ReaControlMIDI and I don’t know why they don’t make that the default on new MIDI tracks. Reaper is awesome, but a lot of its functionality is hidden in obscure plugins or menus.

reacontrolmidi

Of course, I only find this plugin months later, while watching random youtube videos. *sigh* Feels almost like Linux! Home sweet home!

 


New Theme WIP

 

New WIP of this theme. It contains quite a lot of new music and should also sound much better than the version from last year (it’s two and a half times as long!). Let me know what you think in the comments.

If you’re wondering who the heck Esperanza is, she’s the main impact character in the game, an enemy who befriends Scout and turns into an ally. A strong but tragic character with a lot of moral greyness to her.

I’ve been adding snippets to the themes and intend to use those on their own wherever appropriate to underscore moments in the game. That’s why there are lots of different feelings collected under the roof of one theme.  They’re a little like a library.

 

Edit: There is a high quality Ogg Vorbis version of this music available here. In case anyone doesn’t want to stop short of the full sonic goodness. Youtube isn’t too kind to the quality of uploaded music. By the way, this is classical music, which means it doesn’t conform to the standards of the “loudness war”, which translates to: turn it up some.

Edit 2: An alternative Ogg Vorbis version using convolution reverb (based on characteristics of real-world concert rooms) instead of algorithmic (“digital”) reverb can be found here.

The sound is different because the virtual orchestra is playing in a “real” space. I’m impressed by convolution reverb – it sounds “richer” where algorithmic sounds “cleaner”. Not sure which way I prefer yet. (The convolution reverb plugin used was Liquid Sonics Reverberate LE. The algo reverb plugin was Variety of Sound Epic Verb).


Script excerpt.

Since I was asked for it, I decided to post an excerpt from the main script. Please understand that I can’t post the full script or the detailed synopsis with plot points.

Let’s just say what I’m linking here is the first ten percent of the main script. Most game projects don’t make this kind of stuff available to their community. I’m trusting you guys with this. Take note that this is copyrighted material, made available for informational and educational purposes only.

Without further ado, here is the first 20 pages of the Scout’s Journey main script! The PDF opens in a new tab.

You’re invited to join Scout (and some minor characters) as she begins her adventure! Enjoy!

Feedback always welcome!