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.
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.
Burst! – Over the past two weeks, I polished Burst! quite a bit and added some new features, including long notes, the ability to hit a beat perfectly, and a song selection screen. I also created a build for the game designer to look over. He has since released a video to show off the latest gameplay.
Shattered Soul – I didn’t do any development on it, but the game designer requested a new build to record an update video. The videos he released a couple months ago show a build that was outdated from the moment he filmed it and don’t depict the current state of the game. He figured he ought to remedy that. You can find the new video here.
The Twelfth Hour – I finished a rough rewrite of Chapter 9 and most of Chapter 10. I also unofficially started rewriting Chapter 11, taking pieces of it and moving them to 10 and vice versa. A significant portion of 11 is going to get axed, and it’s going to feel great. Wahaha!
Burst! – I finished Burst!’s Song Editor for Team KAIZEN last week. Well, for now anyway. The audio engineer, my brother, informed me that most of the game’s music wasn’t included in the project I inherited. I’ll have to add those once he’s finished editing them and making final decisions with the game designer. If it needs more tools, I’ll, of course, implement those as well, but in the meantime, I’m on to polishing Burst! itself. Good Lord! I don’t know if it’s me or the people I work with, but I keep inheriting undocumented spaghetti code!
The Twelfth Hour – Chapter 9 is taking longer than expected, but I’m about three-fourths of the way through it. I might go on to Chapter 10 since I never finished writing it in the first place, and many of the changes I made in the previous two chapters have also affected this one. Who knows? Perhaps I will continue rewriting until I reach the end of the book. Chapter 11 is also massive and in need of changes and pruning. It’s okay though. In the last draft I wrote of this book, I completely rewrote more than half of it. Before that, I rewrote the entire book at least three times. Now I’m down to less than half, and I haven’t even started changing major events yet, though I think I’m about to start. So I am getting closer to a final draft! I swear.
Sakuracon – I made the decision recently to go to Sakuracon with some friends this year. For fun, I also decided to submit The Lightbringer to the AMV contest. I just sent it in last night and haven’t heard back yet, but if all goes well, it’ll at least play at some point during the weekend in the AMV room.
Burst! – I’m almost done adding new features to Burst!’s song editor to improve its usability. Once that’s done, I’ll polish it and bug test. Then, game designers can use it to map button presses to the beat of songs for the actual game. I’m hoping to finish this up by the end of the month. Next, I’ll work on Burst! itself.
The Twelfth Hour – I wrote like mad and finished a rough rewrite of Chapter 8 this week. I’m a bit surprised it came together so quickly. I started with no idea how I was going to fit all these scenes together or if they would even work, but miraculously, all the pieces fell into place. O.o Next week, I’m hoping to finish a rough rewrite of Chapter 9. It depends if I can continue this speedy pace. After all, I’m also starting this chapter with no idea what I’m doing. 😛 It’s also massive and bloated… Then, I go back to Chapter 8, make a plan, and start revising because rough rewrites for me either produce an excess of description or dialog with nothing else.
Critters – I finished editing the latest novel I took on from Critters. I think this is the first amateur novel I’ve read that had a satisfying ending. O.O It was great!