2017 - A Review

December 21st, 2017, 7:32pm

2017 is nearly over. Finally. It's been a whirlwind of a year for most folks, with probably a lot more downs than ups. That being the case, I'd like to look back at the year positively and say a few words about some of the stuff I worked on this year.

das WAV

Screenshot of das WAV, my submission to GGJ '17 with John Futscher, Anthony Swinnich and Mark Zorn

Probably one of the most fun things I worked on this year was creating the art and animations (in addition to contributing to the general game design) for Space Harrier-meets-Surf Nazis Must Die arcade mashup das WAV, created for Global Game Jam 2017. The theme for that particular jam was "waves." Being appropriately vague, John Futscher, Anthony Swinnich, Mark Zorn and I started spitballing ideas that quickly devolved into obscure references and bad jokes that wound up turning into this bizarre title. What started as wanting to recreate the opening to Top Secret concluded as an amalgamation of every dumb idea we could come up with, from killer seagulls to skull-mounted missiles vomited from a giant mecha surf Hitler. I'd be lying if I said political climate and world events didn't steer my ideation at the time. Plus, it's always fun to shoot video game Nazis (see: Wolfenstein).

Carbon v0.00000001a

Screenshot of the pre-alpha build of Carbon, shown at the 2017 BGS Showcase

I've seen mention that 2018 is year of the mech game, but I've been pissing and moaning aboutworking on my own mech game for the better part of a year or more. Carbon started out as a multiplayer-only mech combat concept, which got reworked into a procedurally generated level mech combat sim concept. Much of the generation work came out of my entry into BGSjam8, Rebus, which was a twin-stick shooter hastily slapped onto a broken 2D dungeon generator. It wasn't until the 2017 BGS Showcase that I actually made something reasonably playable (so long as you didn't try to restart the level you just played).

I've got plenty more I want to do with Carbon, but I'll get into that later.

ANYYES Album Art

Front cover of ANYYES by HangOnGetReady

This one was a long time in the making. At least two years ago Anthony Swinnich saw a bit of Blender art I'd made and asked if he could use it for the album artwork for his upcoming chiptune EP. I said sure, just lemme clean it up a bit. Cut to this spring, when it was finally released. The art on the cover actually isn't the original piece, but inspired by it. I couldn't find the original .blend, and even if I could I know my skills had improved drastically since then, so it was best if I just recreated the original with my newfound knowledge. My only regret with this is there wasn't ever a vinyl release, as I really designed it with the 12" format in mind.

Bit Crushed 2.0 Visuals

This screen was actually from an unused bit of code made for visuals, but you wouldn't know it unless you read this alt tag or were at the show

This one was kinda nuts. Back in my senior year of college, I experimented with creating real-time performance visuals, but never really took it much further than the work I put into my capstone. It's one of those things that I occasionally go "man, I should do that again sometime." On one of those occasions Anthony Swinnich must've been within earshot, because he asked me to take over visuals duty at the chiptune show he was putting together. After a minor internal debate as to whether or not I had the time to, I agreed. A few months later I was hastily putting together midi-controlled graphics powered by Unity, the results of which are featured in the clip below.

As stressful as it was (PRO DEV TIP: Don't wait until just before the showrelease to make and test a build), it ended up being pretty cool. I liked the look of it, and performing was a blast.

What Else

There's a lot of other stuff I didn't include on here but is worth mentioning. Some of those things include:

The "getting engaged" bullet is a pretty big one, as prepping for the wedding has been a year-long project in the works. That's both exciting and exhausting, and it'll be concluding in what'll hopefully be a pretty great party in a couple weeks.

What's Next?

That's the big question now, isn't it. Global Game Jam '18 is coming up, so I'm pretty excited about that. Plus there's going to be plenty more BGSjams to partake in, and I imagine I'll make something for at least one of them.

But the big thing is gonna be Carbon. If 2018 is indeed year of the mech game, then I'm gunning for 2018 like there's no tomorrow. Hopefully there is a tomorrow though - otherwise we won't get year of the mech game. I've already started laying the groundwork for the project inbetween working on other things, and starting in mid-January I'll have much more time to invest into it. A big part of why I wanted to put together this new blog (hey, another thing I did in 2017) was so I had a place I enjoyed documenting my game dev progress on moving forward. I guess what I'm trying to say is "Watch this space 'cause kool stuff is coming".

In the meantime, as always, follow me on Twitter for the latest latest. Catch you in 2018.