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Nutritious, Malicious Crow

Having recently run out of excuses, I've really been putting the screws to myself to get to work on developing something. The current status goes something like this:
  • Though I shelled out for both Construct 2 and Clickteam Fusion 2.5, it seems to me that these pieces of software are intended for a different audience than me: people with decent visual skills but weak programming skills.  I am pretty much the opposite of that.
  • I installed libGDX last weekend and found it to be pretty powerful and effective programming API, but it would seem to be overkill in an important fundamental: I don't actually want to have to code my own engine
My short visit with libGDX immediately brought into focus that, while a custom engine is capable of much greater fidelity and efficiency towards a given game design, the available generic game engines have been programmed by those who may know more about engine programming than I ever will!

So, despite all the waffling I have been doing over the past couple months, there was only ever really two choices of engine for me: GameMaker or Unity.  This is because they are both accessible generic game engines that have enough potential for programming to be potentially viable for me to use.  In so deciding this, I have located the most comfortable of mediums for me.
Speaking of the culinary prowess of crows...

GameMaker is definitely the easier of the two; Unity is pretty powerful, but you need a lot more technical knowledge get most things done in it... it might be harder to get familiar with Unity than it is a full programming library like libGDX!   As long as I do not want to go through the trouble of learning Unity, I am stuck with GameMaker.

There is no need to pessimistic about it.  Yes, GameMaker has a really non-standard interface for its room editor, but it functions.  Yes, I have to navigate awkwardly through GameMaker's GUI to get at the scripts I attached in object events, but it is nice to have them neatly sorted under every event like that.   Yes, being limited to only one active room at a time introduces difficulties in simulation, but few such difficulties are really insurmountable with GM programming experience and global variable use.

It is time I start eating crow.   The truth of the matter is, GameMaker is advanced enough that my issues with it are largely because its developers are better at making games than I am.   It is looking like I have almost as many bad game development habits to unlearn as I do to learn.

For example, I have been wanting to make something akin to a graphical roguelike, telling myself that tiles are more powerful due to their ability to model virtual space.  However, I am wakening to the idea that tiles are just easier for those who do not have access to a graphic engine.  Once you have one, tiles are of lesser fidelity.  I need to get used to the GameMaker way of doing things, where games are made in pixels, sprites, surfaces, and such - and tiles are merely a cosmetic tool in the drawer.

Now Watching: Black Butler.

It is not every day you see an anime based in Victoria-era London.  This one is basically a radically different take to Batman.

Ceil Phantomhive was orphaned on his tenth birthday as his mansion burned down with his parents in it.  It was an act of foul play by London occultists, and Ceil strikes back by entering a blood pact with a demon: his soul as payment upon completing his revenge.  The demon, who he names Sebastien, takes the form of his butler.  The titular black butler's supernatural physical prowess is supplemented by being practically perfect in every other way.  As Sebastien is fond of saying, he is "merely one Hell of a Butler."

The overall point of this setting is for Ceil to strut around as a cold intellectual with a fortune and a pimp cane whilst a glorious manservant caters to his every need so perfectly that it is ambiguously homoerotic.  The formula works just fine with these two characters alone, but there are a smaller number of other (incredibly incompetent) household staffers who largely act as comedy relief and straight men for the incredible feats the two main characters.

The Batman analogy tightens as the series continues and it is revealed Ceil is Batman to the Queen being the commissioner Gordan, only publicly, as Ceil is renowned as the Queen's personal watchdog against crime.  Ceil is young, and his naivety occasionally shows, but he is otherwise sharp enough to make a worthy detective.   The main analogical difference is that half of Batman has been split off into Sebastien, who has the lion's share of the physical fight on crime as well as the secrecy: no one but Ceil knows his true nature.  Like a good butler, Sebastien is also the wise guide to his charge... of course, there is a vaguely sinister undertone, as he is a monster hanging around to reap Ceil's soul upon the completion of his wish, but apparently the young boy's soul is worth overwhelmingly impeccable and earnest service.

I am not sure what the Japanese find so fascinating about the supernatural, but they certainly employ it to great effect here.   Just about every boogeyman you can expect to mosey out of a closet makes an appearance.   Victorian references abound amidst the ghost stories, borrowing Jack The Ripper, the Hope Diamond, and what is probably an allusion towards the Hound Of The Baskervilles, and this is just in the first few episodes.  Throughout, there is a nice accent of gallows humor that sets off the mood just right, I feel a bit of an Adams Family vibe at times.

Black Butler is pretty much free on Hulu now.  (Egads, I would pay so much to circumvent Hulu's stupid ad delivery engine right now.)  It can also be streamed from Funimation, who has done a pretty decent English dub (what better way to present an English accent)?

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