Burst! – I’m still integrating the new database into the Burst! Song Editor, and I haven’t even allowed users to edit their own songs yet. At least the Song Editor is getting a much-needed facelift. Hopefully, I can work out most of the migration kinks so transitioning Burst! to the new database will be fairly straightforward.
The Twelfth Hour – I’m about three-fourths of the way through editing Chapter 8, and so far, my estimate of how long it’ll take me to finish revising the book has been scarily accurate, which is both encouraging and discouraging. On one hand, the book won’t be edited to the best of my ability any sooner than November/December. On the other hand, holy crap! I’ll be done editing the book in November/December! I hope my accuracy continues anyway. Next week, I’m taking a short break to write a plot synopsis. Since my last horribly failed attempt, I’ve thought of a different approach that I want to try for fun. Also, MisCon is coming up next weekend. What!? It’s been a year since I started editing this!? I’d kind of like to bring a couple copies of the synopsis to the convention, just in case. I even have elevator pitches prepared that I had some fun crafting for a future #PitMad event. Also, in the event John Pitt’s remembers me from last year and gives a crap, I can prove I’m making progress… or that I’m as incoherent as ever. 😛
OokiiSoraCon – The script I wrote for the secret OokiiSoraCon project has been approved. I can also reveal that it’s a short game built with RPG Maker MV that teaches convention etiquette. Attendees will be able to play it at the convention for a fast and fun way to learn about OokiiSoraCon and its rules and policies. Now I’m programming it… in five weeks while staying on schedule with Burst! and The Twelfth Hour. We’ll see how this goes, but I’m super excited about it. It’s been fun to write and build, and I hope our attendees find it entertaining to play as well. 😀
Burst! – The PC version of Burst! now accepts mouse input in the menus, and I added a Quit option to the Main Menu. Hurray for being able to exit the game without force quitting! Also, I updated the game’s project to the latest version of Unity (2018) from version 5.6, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Now I’m overhauling the song database and database interface code in preparation to allow users to create beat maps for and play their own songs.
The Twelfth Hour – In the past couple weeks, I reacquainted myself with the first half of The Twelfth Hour. I’ve been iterating on the second half for quite a while and needed a refresher. I edited a few sections, including the opening, and made notes on potential things to add and improve later. Then, I made a formal estimate of when I’ll finish revising and start looking for beta readers. At the moment, it looks like somewhere between November and December, around the same time as the late-end of the release window for Burst!. I also made the plan for revising Chapter 8. As soon as I’m done editing Chapter 7 (changing a few details I determined I wanted to modify while speed-writing the second half of the book), I can jump right into that.
OokiiSoraCon – I also added a bunch of stuff to the OokiiSoraCon website. Among other things, you can now see our current panels, events, vendors, and artists! Additionally, I got to play around with Google’s Map API in order to add a map to the Hotel|Travel page. Finally, I wrote a script for a top-secret project. 🙂 We’ll see how much of it I can share in the coming weeks.
Burst! – Since my last update, I made a plan with the founder of Team KAIZEN to release Burst! on Steam at the end of August this year. It might take a little more time to finish than I think, but even if we miss August, I think sometime this year is doable. On the programming side of things, I finished the framework for switching between PlayStation and keyboard icons and created interfaces where the player can view their locked and unlocked items. Next, I’ll work on getting the menus to accept mouse input. Additionally, I’m acting as somewhat of a project manager, coordinating the artists, the lead designer, a voice actor, and the audio engineer/level designer to make sure we get the project and all its parts done on schedule. We’ll see how that goes. 🙂
The Twelfth Hour – Chapter 12 is roughly edited, which kind of means that another draft of the book is done! I’m attempting to make an estimate of how long it will take me to finish revising the book just to see how accurate I can get. I’ve been working on my writing habits and gathering a lot of data about it. Judging by that, I currently edit/write about 500 words a day. If I know that and the current number of words in Chapters 8-12, then I should be able to calculate roughly how long it will take to edit those chapters. It’s not a short amount of time, and it won’t include the minor editing I need to do in the first half of the book, but it’ll be nice to have something to look forward to and a more concrete way to see my progress.
Other – Also since my last update, I became OokiiSoraCon’s Web Content Manager. I’m currently working on editing the website and making it look nicer and more consistent. You can watch my progress live and shame me when I fail to get stuff done fast enough or nice enough. 😛 I also made a plan to finish editing The Winds of Eshra, the sequel to The Messenger of Eshra, by the end of June (regardless of whether the author will use my suggestions or not). I can print it off and edit it on paper, so it’ll be a nice excuse to get away from the computer and sit outside in the sun!
SakuraCon – Last weekend, I went to SakuraCon in Seattle. I’m still recovering and getting my work schedule back to full speed, but I’m writing an update anyway! I was somewhat disappointed that there wasn’t a panel dedicated to terrible full-CGI anime this year, but I did see the world premiere of Fist of the Blue Sky, a full-CGI anime that prequels Fist of the North Star. The animation is only slightly more passable than Berserk, but go watch it anyway! I believe episodes are now being released weekly on Crunchyroll. Additionally, after reading mention of a mysterious full-CGI movie he’s working on, I went to a Q&A panel for voice actor John Swasey. Lucky me! In the only panel of his I managed to go to, I got to see a trailer for The Perfect Khan, a CGI-movie animated in… Africa or India I want to say… by a company that’s now bankrupt. A company Swasey works with bought the rights, rewrote the script to be dirty and ridiculous, and recorded a new dub to accompany the terrible animation. They plan to distribute it on a service like Amazon Prime or Netflix. This is definitely one I’ll watch for. 😀 In other CGI movie-related news that is completely unrelated to SakuraCon, I saw The Emoji Movie. It was horrible, so horrible in fact that Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars was far more entertaining.
OokiiSoraCon – It’s convention season, and since I have several friends dedicating a good chunk of their time and effort to organizing it, I decided to volunteer for a new convention in Helena, MT called OokiiSoraCon. At the moment, I’m doing some advertising and editing for them and helping with a top-secret project. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might create a CGI-movie presentation for a panel as well. The convention happens June 22nd-24th. If you’re interested, check out our website, like us on Facebook, and pre-register now for $35!
Burst! and The Twelfth Hour – High scores and unlockable items are officially visible in Burst!’s interface. Now I’m working a little on the PC version of the game, which replaces the PlayStation icons with letters corresponding to keyboard keys. Next, I’ll be modifying the editor and the game so that players of the PC version can create and play levels from their own music. As predicted, Burst! went back to taking up the majority of my programming time, but it was also a strange week. Perhaps I will go back to dedicating a little time to my .NET project next week. Finally, I’m a quarter of the way into Chapter 12 of The Twelfth Hour! So close to the end, and then, it’s all about refinement!
Burst! – The STEAM Expo in Great Falls was yesterday. Team KAIZEN edutained about 500 kids with the latest versions of Burst! and Shattered Soul and some VR demos. Before the Expo, I added a thumbs-up flag that uses Unity’s built-in cloth effect to Burst!’s adorable helicopter and worked together with my brother to add a new song to the game. I also added a system for loading and saving the player’s high scores and unlocked fireworks, colors, and songs, but none of it’s visible to the player yet, so it doesn’t really count. 😛 You can see the latest version of Burst! here, and if you want to help Team KAIZEN continue making games and teaching programming and game development, we’re currently entered into the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. You can vote for us daily until April 4th here.
Other Programming Jobs – FirstGroup America asked me to update the PDF Splitter application I built for them this week. I may also be creating a simple website for them soon. Additionally, I had about eight job interviews, technical interviews, and phone screenings for three jobs since my last update. They covered the spectrum from the worst to the best job interview I’ve ever done. The last technical interview I did this week was so horrible that I pretty much immediately started a new web development project just to prove that I can do it. Also, if I’m going to build a website for FirstGroup America, I should probably practice first. 🙂 The website I’m building is a mix between Adventurous Reader and That’sNotAnArgument.com. It should be interesting and demonstrative, but we’ll see how far I get with it. It’s quite possible that Burst! or another job will take higher priority.
The Twelfth Hour – I’m back to being most of the way through Chapter 11. I can feel it getting closer to what I want it to be! So close! I think once I make it to the end of this speed write, I might go back to the beginning, rewrite the beginning per the critiques I received from Critters, and add in some details throughout that have become important to building up to the information revealed at the end before I start the heavy-duty editing of Chapter 8 and beyond.
Here’s a new video of Burst!’s latest features, including updated menus, new fireworks, firework sound effects, flashing windows that visualize the audio, a helicopter, a new song, and more!
It’s been almost a month since my last update. O.O But that’s not because I haven’t been doing anything!
Burst! – I replaced Burst!’s old fireworks with prettier third-party fireworks. I added a smoke effect when the player misses a beat. I added a helicopter that flies around the world and crashes! I added windows that flash! And I did a bunch of other random things. Now I’m working on the Song Editor again, adding the ability to multi-select, copy, and paste beats. The great reveal of this next version of Burst! will be March 24th at the STEAM Expo in Great Falls, MT.
The Twelfth Hour – I made it most of the way through speed-writing Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 when suddenly I had an epiphany and realized how all the pieces from Chapter 8 to the end fit together. So, I started speed-writing again back at Chapter 8. It’s going faster this time because now I actually know where I’m going, and it’s more about tightening up the pieces and removing those that aren’t needed or don’t fit. I’m now most of the way through Chapter 9 and hoping to get through that and most of Chapter 10 next week.
Other – What else did I do? I watched a crap ton of the Olympics coverage. I started editing another novel. The Winds of Eshra is the sequel to The Messenger of Eshra, another novel that I helped edit (though I don’t think many of my suggestions made it into the final novel O.o). I turned in five job applications, had one job interview with a random recruiter, and completed a coding challenge as part of a technical interview. I also helped my brother write two cover letters for job applications… Then, I made a video tribute to a friend of mine who passed away last weekend. Among other things, I’ll be traveling to Montana for his funeral next week. It’ll be fun to reunite with some of my friends, but I wish it were under better circumstances.