Love the mood swing.
It has come to my attention that my former art teacher, Mr. Warnholz, has passed in 2014. I am very sad that I won’t have the opportunity to speak with him again. He was my teacher in the early 90s.
Only over time I realized how important and fundamental his lessons had been. His art course was much more than that, it was a broad – and deep – treatment of most subjects of art on a level that could have passed for a university education. I was lucky enough to have him as my teacher for several years.
From the architecture of Greek temples to classical sculpture to the old masters to theater, he taught it all. He taught me that shadows have a colour and how to paint a grey picture using primary colours. He taught the mixing of colour with light and with pigment. He taught still life and perspective and composition and printing. Most of all, he was a knowledgeable and reasonable man and a well educated art historian as well as a teacher. I remember some incompetent museum staff learning this the hard way: “My good man, I am an art historian.” He had no patience for bullshit, but always for his students.
During school, I found his course demanding and at times dry. But it was, in fact, excellent, and would always keep my attention. I would not realize how complete an education he had delivered until I again took up my own art studies years later. I owe him much, not just in the way of information. His obvious love of the arts was even more infectious.
O captain! my captain! Our fearful trip is done
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring
But O heart, heart, heart
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my captain lies,
fallen cold and dead.
We lost one of the good ones.
And some people get so riled up about it, you could think the world was at stake.
id Software’s new shooter title is getting slammed by PC gamers for not delivering whatever it was they wanted. It’s dumb and sluggish because it was made for consoles! For casual gamers! The developer is ignoring the splendid marketing opportunity that is PC gaming! They’re practically throwing away money! You can only carry two guns at a time and it’s all geared towards newbies! All that massive skill PC gamers built up since the 90s goes to waste because any gamepad wielding console kiddie can just pick up the demon spawn and blow everyone away! Imagine that, it’s practically socialism! Real players use a mouse and keyboard and have a gaming rig instead of some shitty console! In my day, we didn’t have everything handed to us! Everything has gone to hell.
At the same time, Playstation and xbox gamers seem to like it well enough. How come?
I’m of the opinion that, for gaming, a gamepad is generally the most comfortable controller. I don’t like it if both my hands have to be glued to stationary input devices (keyboard and mouse) for an extended amount of time. That feels like work. I like sitting back and having some freedom to physically move around and change position. A gamepad allows me to do that. I’ve always loved gamepads since I first used one for this reason alone. Ergonomics. I’m not chained to a certain position and my fingers can easily reach all controls. It’s successful for a reason.
Good games are good games by design, not by virtue of the input device they are made for. There are tons of great console games to prove it. Heck, great mobile games too.
Keyboard-and-mouse does allow for more precision when it comes to quick turns and aiming, but it is hopelessly outdated as a default input method for games because it’s uncomfortable and most games don’t require the extra precision. 90s games used it because that was what people had. Twenty years later, people have USB gamepads and Xboxes / Playstations so that’s what games get made for. The gamepad won because it’s the better, more ergonomic, more comfortable option in 99% of all cases. The other 1% (twitchy shooters, esports) are a niche market.
It’s not that “consoles are bad”. Consoles are great at delivering affordable, easy to control gaming systems to millions of households. Gamepads are great for the aforementioned reasons. It’s just that the people complaining about the lack of PC-exclusive mouse-driven twitch shooters are finding themselves a minority and not liking it. To a degree, I can understand that. I grew up with keyboard and mouse driven games, too. But very soon, I was spending the majority of my gaming time on my Playstation with such classics as Final Fantasy, Vagrant Story, Metal Gear Solid, and Tomb Raider. And I loved it. Doom and Quake were cool, but where I’m concerned, the original Playstation’s roster of famous games was as cool. And the gamepad seemed so much more stress free.
It’s not that “console ports suck.” Console ports are an attempt to bring the most popular games to a platform that’s typically not geared towards gaming. Yes, some people have “gaming rigs”. But the majority of PC users don’t, the majority of PCs are home office systems and laptops, and that makes the majority of PCs less suited to play games on than game consoles. Incidentally, that’s why consoles sell like hotcakes. Consoles won because they’re easy-to-use dedicated gaming systems for the people.
All the major games are coming to consoles first and foremost these days. We remaining dinosaurs of the keyboard-and-mouse age, those of us that don’t participate in esports anyway, should probably buy consoles and just enjoy the ride. We need to come down from our masochistic 90s trip. And our equally masochistic internet hissy fit whenever another game is released only to disappoint us. Ah, it feels so good to endure the righteous suffering of the enlightened few! Or does it? Is self-inflicted ordeal your thing? Maybe not. Maybe it’s just that we have become snarky, entitled assholes without noticing. “Everything has gone to shit” is our war cry. I fall for it myself sometimes. But it’s really not healthy.
Maybe it’s us who need porting, not the games.
Now get off my lawn.
Damn, Blender. You made me spend hours breaking my head about how to merge edges at their intersection. And then I find out you can’t do it. How is this not part of the standard functionality? I’m surprised. You made me jump through hoops, old friend.
I had to do that switch wheel in two parts because all the control edges would create ridges in the outer ring. So I decided to chop it up and sort of do the middle part as a floater. This is all going to get baked down anyway. I’m a bit rusty on the high poly modelling side!
The CERP rifle got a make-over in GIMP. I decided that the shoulder stock is movable. A magazine will have to fit in there somehow – perhaps remove the stock, or rotate it somehow, to exchange the magazine.
Two additional themes joined the growing pile of SJ soundtrack material recently. These are work in progress and might appear in the finished game in various different guises. “Building blocks” would describe these pretty well.
The first is a heroic adventure type theme. I’m not sure where it will end up. For one, I’ll probably add stuff to it as I go. The other is a horns-and-trombones fanfare that sounds a bit like troops marching along. Maybe this will end up being the theme for Naruuk, the Star-Eater, although probably in a more evil sounding variation.
These are fun to make. I knocked each of them together in Reaper in a couple hours, using Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra and the EpicVerb plugin by Variety of Sound.
The actual soundtrack will have to be cobbled together from various dynamic bits and pieces and will probably be one of the last things that get done, simply because it needs to be fitted to cinematics and so forth. It’s never too early to start producing material, though. The more there is to choose from, the better!
There’s several other themes that have never been uploaded here, so audio friends have something to look forward to!
The script to Scout’s Journey is developing continuously. Some really nice feedback I got recently made it clear to me that some things need to be better explained or prepared. I have ways to do that and am currently implementing the required changes. The player should understand these things much better now. This is where feedback really comes in handy.
The character of Scout has been under scrutiny. Her reaction to various terrible events (and there are terrible things in this game, believe me, it’ll have to ship with a trigger warning) was often too cold. She is a little more emotional now, but still far from touchy-feely. She is a soldier after all. This emotional side to her character practically requires any combat to be of a steep difficulty with retreat always a viable option – we have to avoid the “emotional cutscenes, mindless brutality in gameplay” problem that plagues some other games. I’m doing that by making the two ends meet somewhere in the middle. You can kill for your food in Scout’s Journey, but it won’t be a casual thing. Going up against a fully stocked faction battle group armed to the teeth won’t be easy. The enemy is as tough as you. Gotta use those smarts, place a few traps, put devious plans into action to soften up the target before you strike. Bring some friends or exploit inter-faction warfare, maybe. Or just stay hidden, listen in on a patrol and learn a profitable code or a password.
The plot is also slightly shorter now. A dozen scenes have been cut from the script, especially those that neither moved the main plot nor dealt with Scout’s character development or any subplots. The largest amount of worldbuilding takes place in logfiles (both audio and text), lore, quests, dialog and environmental storytelling now. The script contains two flashbacks treating the parts of the story that happened before Scout came along, but that’s it.
The scenes of the introduction have been pared down and reordered so the story starts with the main character instead of the exposition. The entire thing has a more solid feel now.
Did I say earlier that the story was finished, or that writing was easy? Hahaa, well, reality called. It’s actually unbelievably friggin’ hard. But on the upside, the script is basically there. The script outline is complete, the ending stands, the middle has subplots and twists, the plot is a solid thing, the characters are in place. Large parts have been written out in long-form, dialogue script already. It’s just about fixing it up and polishing now. The last 10% are the hardest.
For your entertainment, you may read a recently written audio log (one page) here.