As of last weekend, I’m transitioning to a new website. gatesmediablog.wordpress.com will be around for a while longer, until I change the links on my social media accounts, but for all the latest updates and content, follow my new website here.
OokiiSoraCon – The pop culture convention in Helena happened last weekend! About 400 people attended it over three days, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. While we did have a few hiccups behind the scenes, overall, we had a good first year! During opening ceremonies, the convention chair played OokiiSoraCon Rules and Policies: The Game for an audience of about 100 people and voice-acted the dialog with the members of Zapp’s Spaceship of Love, the convention’s guests of honor. Everyone found it hilarious, and we received compliments on the game throughout the weekend. Once the board and the convention’s volunteers recover and we start holding meetings again, I’ll bring up the possibility of sharing it online for all to see.
The Twelfth Hour – Despite how busy I’ve been (including volunteering over 50 hours in four days during the course of the convention O.o), I managed to finish editing Chapter 9 and make a plan for editing Chapter 10. I’m still on schedule! While Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 were fairly easy to edit in this draft, however, I have a feeling Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 are going to be a pain. They are longer than I would like, and a crap-ton of stuff happens in them. I do know how to fix a couple problems though. Two scenes don’t feel quite right emotionally, and past experience has shown that whenever that happens, the problem is always that the protagonist isn’t angry enough. And indeed, that is the problem. In another two scenes, I realized I needed the sidekick in the scene, but I had the love interest instead. That’s a new and bizarre mistake.
Tic Tac Toe – The job I applied for a few weeks ago came back to life the moment I got home from Montana. The CEO invited me to finish my Tic Tac Toe game and apply for two new openings for temporary positions in the company. In the space of two days, I finished the project and then had a two-hour-long interview. @.@ I’ll find out next week if I got the job or not, but regardless, I’ll have an even better project to add to my portfolio. It was also nice to hear from someone with much more experience than me that I actually have decent UI/UX design skills and coding style. After spending my entire career working mostly alone, making up coding standards, figuring out how to use design code and interface as I go, and hardly ever having getting any feedback on that stuff, that’s pretty validating. O.O
Team KAIZEN – After OokiiSoraCon, I made a trip to Great Falls to visit the owners of Team KAIZEN. We met a new member of our team and discussed what his role would be, we talked about some exciting opportunities that have come up in the wake of E3, and we talked about Burst! and Shattered Soul. Hint: If the job I applied for doesn’t come to fruition you just might see more articles and videos from me. 🙂 I also gave the author of Winds of Eshra the notes I had on her book. In other Burst!-related news, while this job opportunity and OokiiSoraCon continue to slow progress on it, I did implement Undo and Redo functions in the Burst! Song Editor as well as the ability for users to swap between PlayStation and keyboard control schemes and icons.
OokiiSoraCon Rules and Policies: The Game – I finished programming the OokiiSoraCon video game. We may make some cosmetic changes before the convention, but I don’t plan on adding anything else content-wise… this year at least. 🙂
Writing – I finished editing Chapter 8 of The Twelfth Hour, and I’m currently about 1/3 of the way through Chapter 9. Despite taking a break to write the plot synopsis and all the other things I’ve been doing the past few weeks, I’m still a few days ahead of schedule. Nothing exciting happened at MisCon aside from buying a couple new books, including a J.A. Pitts novel. I also finished editing the novel Winds of Eshra and rereading its prequel Messenger of Eshra. I’ll likely meet with the author after OokiiSoraCon to talk about the books and my notes.
Unity Development – A couple days before MisCon three weeks ago, I applied for a random Unity developer position at a video game studio that creates games mostly for phones and tablets in a remote work environment. The CEO invited me to go through their interview process, which was much more time consuming than I expected. It involved creating a Tic Tac Toe game in Unity in several steps and sending the code for review after each step. While I had fun doing it, created something that I could add to my portfolio, and learned some new things about Unity, the position I was applying for was filled before I finished the interview process and now I’m three weeks behind on Burst!. The good news is that with the OokiiSoraCon game finished, Winds of Eshra edited, and my latest attempt at job hunting ended, I’m back to working on nothing except Burst! and The Twelfth Hour. Well, there’s still OokiiSoraCon itself June 22-24, but I hope I can catch up on Burst! as the summer continues.
Team KAIZEN also got some exciting news last week. Burst! will be pitched at the Big Indie Pitch on Wednesday during E3! If we “win” the contest, we’ll get access to help with marketing the game to a larger audience. Even if we don’t win, my contact at Extra Life would like to write about the game for the Extra Life Community website.
And that’s what happened in the past three weeks…
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!