Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Email subscriptions have been migrated to Mailchimp

Some minor housekeeping here: the free blog-to-email (RSS-to-email) service I use, Feedburner, was acquired by Google some moons ago and thus it is now discontinuing various services... such as its core blog-to-email service. 

So I've been forced to move all email subscribers to Mailchimp instead, which offers its own free blog-to-email service that it too will likely arbitrarily discontinue someday.

But until that fateful day, enjoy the slightly more readable emails. I've tried to disable Mailchimp's creepy marketing tracking as much as possible, but sorry in advance for any inconvenience. If you want to unsubscribe, please use the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email. 

Or if you're reading this post on the website (which is the vast majority of you) then you can choose to subscribe and have new blog posts sent to your email inbox instead. Emails will be rare, and I do not use your address for any other purpose / anyway I don't want to have to login to Mailchimp ever again.

Thanks for your attention and have a lovely day / night.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Getting started with HaxeFlixel in 2021

Warning: this is a fairly technical game developer-y post. If you came here for gay sex, I'm sorry.

For an upcoming project commission, I'm making a 2D game with crowd simulation and simple controls that works well on mobile browsers. (Reminder: for iOS, that means WebGL 1.0 and no WASM.) The engine should be able to render and simulate 200+ lightweight game objects -- frame-animated sprites with simple collision, no fancy physics or shaders.

Which game engine should I use to maximize ease of learning and compatibility, and manage hundreds of simple objects on-screen? Here was my thought process:

  • Unity WebGL: way too heavy and slow for mobile browsers, and maybe overkill for a no-physics 2D game anyway. (Although the Lil Nas X 3D twerking game runs surprisingly well on iOS's WebGL 1.0, I wonder how much they had to optimize?)
  • Unity Project Tiny: as far as I can tell, Project Tiny and its DOTS dependency is still in early development. The random caveats and various in-dev inconsistencies with regular Unity would also be frustrating. And as with many other Unity side projects, its long term future feels really hazy.
  • Construct: seems ok, and I think I could've gotten used to the visual block scripting, but overall the pricing and licensing feels weirdly restrictive. I have to pay to use more than 2 JS files? I have to pay to use more than 1 font, or make an animation more than 5 seconds long? These are some really bizarre artificial resource limits.
  • Phaser: seems popular enough with decent TypeScript support, but I want the option of building out to a native executable without a weird Electron wrapper or something. Their monetization model (free open source base but you pay for "premium plugins" and tools) is one of the more generous ways to go about this, I get it, but it still feels weird to me and reminds me of Construct.
  • Godot: I've wanted to try Godot for ages, but in the end I felt like I didn't have a good sense of what its HTML5 Web export could do + learning enough of the "Godot way" and GDScript would've taken a while. It's also in the middle of a big break between v3.0 and v4.0, and ideally I'd like to wait until like v4.2 to commit to learning it.
  • Heaps: promising and some people get great results with it, but maybe still too early in public lifecycle for a total newbie like me, with not enough samples / docs / robust official tutorials to learn from yet. If or when I do try out Heaps, I'll probably try using Deepnight's gameBase project template.

In the end, I chose to build this particular project with HaxeFlixel. This post details my early impressions, thoughts, confusion, advice, etc. with learning it.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Updates from antipodes, year 2021

Hey all, it's been a while. Here's a brief update on my life --

I've successfully moved to New Zealand and I currently reside in Auckland. I'm currently working as a remote contractor on a secret project under NDA, but I imagine we'll probably announce sometime this year if everything goes well. 

I'm still working on some personal projects:

  • I have two gay games that are 95% done, they just need some playtesting and polish, but finding an in-person playtesting group in Auckland has been a bit challenging. Regardless I'll probably be releasing these games this March and April. 
  • This will be the year I attempt to finish my bigger long term project -- a sex work deckbuilder game called Macho Cam. That's about 60% done. I need to redo the card system for the 5th time.
  • For the long-awaited Radiator 3 release, my plan was to wait for Unity HDRP to get finalized before attempting to port the entire Radiator codebase from Unity 5.6 (I know, I know) to Unity 202x. But maybe I should just stick to the built-in 3D pipeline anyway.
  • I've also been contributing a lot to everyone's favorite Unity dialogue system Yarn Spinner and I've been trying to clean up my dialogue tool Merino, all of which might see its official v2.0 public release this year.
  • Most of my Quake mapping is on hold, as I dedicate my level design energies to a different engine-agnostic project. More to announce there when it's ready, which will, again, hopefully be this year.

For those who happen to be in New Zealand, I'll be giving a short in-person talk about sex games at Play By Play, which I'm told is a bit like the kiwi equivalent of the Indiecade conference track -- and it's all part of the larger in-person New Zealand Games Festival in Wellington, April 19-25, 2021. I'll be around for most of Play By Play, so feel free to say hello if you see me... Unless the country suddenly plunges into lockdown that week?

Hope everyone is having a tolerable 2021 so far. Good luck out there.