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Weekend update…

This weekend was somewhat divided. I actually played a bit, and I worked on Fizzle. ;Þ

Nekoyoubi Texture Pack

The gang got together and played some Minecraft on our server a bit this weekend, which is really only development related because it pushed me to update my texture pack. Yeah… it had been a bit, and a few things since 1.5 hadn’t been implemented so I needed to get to it. Here are a few of the changes I recently made to the pack:

  • Diamond tools and sword, armor, and item (raw) now match the spectral style of the ore and block. No more teal diamonds.
  • Iron door item now matches the rusted gate appropriately.
  • The loading background is now wood planks (by request).
  • Obsidian (finally) has been smoothed and yet made more jagged at the same time. Looks a bit more glassy, IMO.
  • Glowstone (that’s right, a nether block!) has been massively altered. It’s now an obsidian block with a light (think recessed lighting).
  • Beds in inventory are now purple-sheeted properly.
  • Signs and ladders now reflect the “richer” wood of the rest of the pack.
  • Terracotta clay is now also terracotta in the inventory as well.
  • Fixed the broken redstone dust.

You can check out the post about it here: http://nekoyoubi.com/2011/05/08/my-minecraft-texture-pack/

You can download the Nekoyoubi texture pack here: http://bit.ly/nekoyoubitp

Fizzle

I worked a bit more with the RageSpline resources in Fizzle this weekend. Specifically, I drew some of the spell icons (fireball, iceblock, levitate, heal, and vines). I would show a screenshot here, I think it may be too soon for that, as they may be better to show off once they are mechanically written into the game.

I also converted Fizzle back to a side-scroll platformer (from a third-person platformer) for mechanical reasons. To be completely honest, I just think it will play more fun this way.

I am working on a training level at the moment, but as soon as I have it playing through in its solid mechanical form, I will screenshot and create the “official” page for it.

Logos

No… Not Legos; Logos! I’ve been trying my damnedest to create the logo that I actually see in my head – which amazingly has remained the same for many months now, but having no artistic skill (drawing, that is) is making it impossible for me to bring it out of my dome and immortalize it in pixel.

So now I look for the in between. ;(

If I can’t create my ideal logo very soon, I’ll need something to hold me over. What should it be? I’m not asking because I think anyone’s really reading this and cares. I’m asking because maybe it will keep nagging at me until something springs out at me.

If you do care though and want to throw an idea (or design if you’re really bored), please feel free. I would love to hear some IMOs, as I could really use a nudge on this one! 😉

My Minecraft Texture Pack…

I’ve had this for a while, but apparently forgot to post until now. ;Þ

If you play Minecraft, give my texture pack a whirl. The people who’ve been using it for a while seem to like it, so who knows!

You can see its post on the official Minecraft forums here:
http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=1021&t=212479

And you can download it from this link here: http://bit.ly/nekoyoubitp

Let me know what you think if you get a chance.

I don’t work on this that often (as I don’t have as much time as I’d like with work and my game development, but I do try to keep it updated with the patches. As of right now (1.5_01) it is up-to-date.

Oh, I almost forgot… here are a couple of preview screenshots:

Nekoyoubi's Texture Pack

PlayMaker…

I just got done jotting down some thoughts on RageSpline yesterday and I thought “why in the world haven’t I written a review of PlayMaker yet?!”, so here goes.

First off, @Unity3D, that review system in the Asset Store should get some love. Real reviews are more than just testimonies, and there’s no way someone can write an honest review in there. 😉

We’re here about PlayMaker though, not Unity, so I’ll get started by saying that I’ve only had PlayMaker now for about a month now, but in that time I’ve had many small projects (and one big one) that use it, so I think I know enough about it now to write a decent summary and review on the product.

Marketing

Not joking, PlayMaker is marketed through the Asset Store (and Twitter… @CaitlynUnity!) as a way to write games in Unity without having to write any code. Let me break down what that really means – as to be honest, as cool as that sounds, it was almost a turn-off immediately.

PlayMaker can enable you to create a game without writing a single line of code, yes. The problem with the statement is that to a developer (what I actually pay the bills with), the idea of an extension to Unity that would constrain me to some WYSIWYG process wire-up was not at all something I wanted.

I did however, get very interested in the lack of a need to rewrite tiny scripts every few minutes for the simplest things (e.g. spin an object, turn a light on, etc…). Fortunately, I was interested enough that I went and found some videos and got the real sales pitch.

Reality

Wow, how far from the marketing. After looking over the videos provided by Hutong Games (its creator) I was floored. It wasn’t a “you don’t have to know how to code” at all! Also, unfortunately, to sum it up in a similar expression would be a great insult to the product, so here are a few of the things it actually is.

It’s a solid FSM. It’s a visual scripting tool. It’s a hierarchical logic framework. It’s a time saver. It’s a code-snippet storer. It’s an inspiration engine.

That’s the reality; so much more than the pitch.

FSM

As a finite-state machine, PlayMaker does its job with style and grace. Hell, it even adds per-state debugging to your game with zero-effort. Write cleaner logical processes and game states; trust me, without help this can get unwieldy.

Support

Hutong Games offers the most amazing support compared to any third-party developers that I’ve ever known… in any industry. They make sure PlayMaker is well documented, they offer professional videos, and have an amazing community that is always willing to help.

Growth

The improvements that made it into it right as I got into it were pretty significant (v1.1), and while 90% of what is discussed as needed are actions (the bits of visual scripting that let you do with PlayMaker), the suggestions that the community has raised have been addressed and are looking to make an even brighter future for the extension.

Price

At first, I was reluctant to buy this at its current $100 (USD) price point. I mean, I’m just an after-work indie. I have a very limited budget for things like this, so to me $100 was a lot.

I basically just used the expected “lift” from not having to write those simple scripts I mentioned before as the basis and justification of the cost. Wow. If only I had broadened my perspective. I wouldn’t have waited a second.

If you think about it, for most of us (older) indies, we are new to awesome engines like Unity3D being free. I remember paying $100 for my indie license to Torque (as I’m sure many others do as well). Given how drastically PlayMaker changes the way you write games, it almost feels like jumping into a new-and-improved Unity. So here’s the way I would suggest looking at the cost:

“Old indie-engine” == $100 || “New amazing indie-engine” == (Unity + PlayMaker) == $100

tl;dr

If you write games in Unity, can afford $100, and aren’t an idiot… you’ve already bought PlayMaker.

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