Showing posts from August, 2013

Moping, A Realm Reborn, And Fostering New Habits

In closure with the issue I mentioned at the end of the last entry, it is ever the case that I'm my own toughest critic.  I am fleeing from the situation because my fear of mistakes has been heightened to an extent that it is causing me to make more mistakes.  This is a spiral of inevitable failure, and so I'm getting while the getting is good.  I don't know if fleeing from what I considered a no-win situation was the right thing to do, though, because I'm extremely disappointed in myself for being unable meet everyone's expectations.

A note for if I ever become a boss of somebody: don't immediately raise the stakes to, "Stop making mistakes or you'll lose your job."  It's already implied that gross incompetence is bad for your job security, so mentioning this is just indicates to them the gravity of how close they are to the chopping block.  It might be a good move if that individual is slacking off, but when the individual is already …

One Step Forward, All The Steps Back

On the heels of yesterday's blog entry, I put some thought into how to marry my high concept (of a compelling narrative engine) with the low concept (the game/interface).  I came up with an idea that would work for Game Maker, a development platform that is highly graphical (and consequently must obscure some of the logic beneath the graphics).

What I have decided to do is to start with a "status screen."  Of course, games are full of all kinds of status screens, and traditionally what they will do is display data about what's going on in the game so it's understandable to the player.  However, this status screen will go a bit further.

Understand that, in Game Maker, all the logic of the game must be attached to a GUI element of some sort.  The actual dynamic content generation mechanisms will actually be built into this status screen, which will be treated as a "room" to Game Maker.  (Different "rooms" in Game Maker can be more than virtual g…

That Terrible And Compelling World Coming To Your Pocket

I'm sure that putting my personal problems in perspective with the rest of the world is quite humbling.
You might be feeling a bit of concern over the fact that Syria is having a miserable time right now, while I'm whining about how I don't have enough free time to do everything I want to do.  Somewhere on the planet, about 11 million children die of starvation every year, while (like many Americans) I'm having difficulty losing weight.  Then there's that little problem about how human life on this planet may be a generation or two away from ending because our carbon footprint will actually drive the very temperature of the planet too high for people to live.  Meanwhile, I wish I was a developer for computer games that may exist only to cause people to spend precious time away from solving this and other problems. As I'm writing this, my email feed pops up a reminder of a few more headlines of lesser concern.  I suppose the take away from this is that concern is…

Invaders: Dragons On One End, Aliens On The Other

Since the last post, I've been working too hard to have much time for leisurely pursuits.  Just yesterday was the worst of it: I got up at 8am to get to work by 9am, was scheduled for a 3 hour lunch too far from home to drive there and back, and ended up returning home by 8:30pm.  The very next day, I was expected to be up at 7am and, assuming I need 10 hours in bed (mostly tossing and turning, I'm afraid) that was barely enough time there to get cleaned up and ready for work the following day.

That's miserable; I couldn't live if I had to be away from my precious computer for 12 hours every single day.  Fortunately, even though this is my second week of working 6 days a week, this is a really unusual schedule.  I can't complain: I volunteered for it, after all.  I knew that sitting around on my rump in front of my computer is not particularly beneficial to anyone... at least, not until I get around to actually developing something of worth using the computer.


A Crisis Of Free Time

I've worked six days this week, and next week will be much the same.  I got this gig back in November, and I am glad to have a part in society's great machine, but this is the first time I've had so many hours at once, but unfortunately I've far too much planned for the time I have left.

Current priority: trying to finish Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The past few blog entries here have all been about trying to finish Skyrim, a game whose remarkably dense content defies finishing.  Part of it is because I keep getting an inventory full of a junk, and it takes quite a bit of time to sell it off.  Another part of that is because I keep getting side quests dumped on me, and I have a tendency to roleplay a Dovahkiin who likes to take care of business.

Supposing I started ignoring a lot of the loot I find and completely blow off the side quests that land in my character's journal, it's possible that I could finish the main quests of Skyrim, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn insi…

Kicking Skyrim's Ass Day 9-10: Miraak's Defeat Looms

Though progress has slowed a bit in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (thanks to an unusually thick obligation of real life work that is ongoing for at least another week now) I managed to push my current save game up to 50 hours invested in my current character.  That's a fairly great achievement considering I was completely sick of this game after 450 hours of playing it before I started this character.
As I mentioned in the last entry, I think the Dragonborn expansion has proven a good reason to come back for a second look.  Over the past couple days, I completed two dungeons that were part of the main quest line involving confronting the titular antagonist, the first dragonborn, a former dragon priest named Miraak.

The first such dungeon was the Temple of Miraak itself.  Nordic ruins like these are as common as dirt in Skyrim, but this temple stood apart with a great deal of custom chambers specially created for this expansion.  At the end of the dungeon was a meeting with Miraak himsel…

Kicking Skyrim's Ass Day 8-9: Dragonborn

I mentioned earlier that, since so many quests in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim seem determined to have me traipse all over the continent, I should probably go ahead and earn the ability to ride dragons.  On top of that, a quest to unlock exploding bolts for my crossbow was automatically outsourced to a spare dungeon in Solstheim.  Having cleared out a significant bulk of junk quests in Skyrim, I decided Dawnguard could wait: I was off to this new continent to try out the Dragonborn expansion at last.

I really had no idea this expansion would so totally hit the spot.
I should have known.  Of the many important artifacts gathering dust in the back of my mind, one of them was the knowledge that a significant impediment to my enjoyment of Skyrim was that I was redoing the same old locations for the nth time.  The really nice thing about Dragonborn is that it delivers a fresh new continent, Solstheim, full of 100% new locations.  In fact, it actually completely isolates the player away from th…

Kicking Skyrim's Ass Day 6-7: Officially Legendary

The play time is conveniently recorded as part of the name of each save game file.  So I can say with certainty that I only had 24 hours invested in this latest playthrough two days ago, and am now up to 38 hours. You're quite the time sink, Skryim.

My last entry here was about my exploits on Sunday and Monday devolving rapidly into getting entangled in the same old quests despite myself.  Tuesday and Wednesday were more or less the same.  It's all gone in a blur.  I can't remember what I did for certain, although I do have one screenshot to show for it.
There I am re-forging the Gauldur Amulet.  I took a screenshot because I was shouted by Unyielding Force up onto this ledge you are not supposed to get to.  An invisible wall stopped me from getting down.   Apparently, that same wall won't stop you from ragdolling up there around a corner.  Stuck, I had to reload my last save, which was fortunately not a major set back.

For the most part, what I did since the last en…

Kicking Skyrim's Ass Day 4-5: Skyrim Kicks My Ass

I started this latest run at Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim thinking that I was tired of its bullshit; it was unacceptable to have put 450 hours into this game without having completed it.   So, whether Skyrim liked it or not, it's time to complete this game.  I was going to kick this game's ass.

However, as of the last couples days, it seems that Skyrim has gained the upper hand in this fight.

The root of the problem was that I had thought to myself, "Wow, my quest log is getting too bloated to look at, so I better do some of these quests."

On Sunday, I recorded doing the following:
Retrieved Dawnbreaker, which turned out to be a marvelous weapon for Lydia.Disrupted the summoning of the wolf queen, freeing her spirit to cause trouble elsewhere.Delved to the bottom of a draugr infested tomb to recover some words of power the Greybeards told me about.Killed a dragon to complete a bounty.Cleared out a den of vampires west of Solitude for the court mage.Got to the bottom of a …

Kicking Skyrim's Ass, Day 3: Halfway Through Dawnguard

To start the Dawnguard expansion, I first had to go the very lower right corner of the map, past Riften.  Starting fresh out of Whiterun, that was actually a rather ponderous walk over broken terrain.  I suppose I could have just hired a wagon to take me to Riften, but I had a couple of things to do along the way.  I know I'm trying to avoid getting distracted from beating this game, but Skyrim makes it tough to do when it keeps dangling rewards for traveling slightly off the beaten path.

Just east of Whiterun were two easy quests involved clearing areas of Skyrim's most common fauna: bandits.  There are far more bands of thieves in Skyrim than could possibly be financed by their victims, but that's just standard fantasy fare, isn't it?   In any case, I was glad to have something to break up the monotony of the trip, and I rose some bandits with a raise zombie spell just for the irony of having them turn on each other.

When I reached Riften, I decided to poke my nose…