I have a belief that anyone trying to create anything will inadvertently create self portraits of themselves over and over again without even realising.

I have started working on some pixel art for a new project and was very proud of some alterations I made on my ‘Ding sprite’ from Ego to make him a low level dungeon-crawling adventurer.



I thought that looked pretty good, until my girlfriend noticed the following things:

1) That’s probably closer to my actual hair colour anyway.

2) I appear to be wearing that particular tee-shirt today.

Right down to the V-neck.

Score one for extra confidence in a theory, lose one for falling back into artistic self-insertion habits.

I am ever trying to learn the art of Game Design through trial and error, or as I like to call it, error and error (which if you learn by making mistakes is twice as efficient).

One element of the design process that routinely throws roadblocks up in my path is the graphical development.  When you start making your game, it is inevitably not going to look like a polished game unless you’re making text only interactive fiction, and even then you might end up changing the font.  This is unavoidable and is something that you shouldn’t be worried about, but there’s a balancing act here whereby you need to get it looking like something you’re at least partially happy with, otherwise you’re not going to work on the game at all.

I am awful at working on things at the best of times, but I so frequently get stumped by the issue of working with placeholder graphics.  I want the game to look like its polished state from phase one and that urge can damage development and general productivity.

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Chaotic Tortoise Studios (CTS) is an indie games development studio that exists largely only in my mind.

I like this sprite. This sprite is not a problem. I will probably post this sprite a lot because I like this sprite.

I’ve always appreciated that to make a video game it takes a lot of work and mastery of several different disciplines.  Despite this, I’ve discovered that I never actually really appreciated just how much of this work and mastery goes in to making even the crummiest of games.  Never again will I outright dismiss a title as bad or worthless without first spending a bit of time checking the small minor details that I have overlooked. 

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Despite being on the cusp of launching into my career as a profeshnul riter, I’ve been doing more work on fabricating my own computer games.  Putting the two together, I intend to therefore keep an ad-hoc log of my development process / journey / odyssey.  

 I’d like to say this is with the high-minded intention of helping other no-hope-want-to-be-developers like myself, but to be honest, it’s probably because I just like the sound of my own typing.

 Additional Notes:

All development-diary-like entries will now be included under the category Chaotic Tortoise Studios, and will be prefaced by CTS, because three letter acronyms (or as I call them, TLAs) are brilliant and everybody loves them.

HU-logoA while ago, I mentioned that I had written up a syllabus for my own course in programming which centred largely around C++ and then later on elements of ActionScript 2.0.  Needless to say this was a dismal failure and never quite got off the ground.

Whenever I’m studying something or have something quasi-professional that needs doing, pretty much anything else in the world becomes more interesting and appealing to me.  I understand this is not a phenomenon unique to me and it was an ongoing joke in a previous house that I lived in that you could tell when a lot of us had essay or project deadlines because the place was spotlessly clean.  This instinct to do something other than what my brain things it SHOULD be doing triggered around about the time I had something in my hands that looked vaguely like a course syllabus.

Of course, in this case, I had the last laugh over my bloody minded brain, as the poor thing jumped on to something different but that is in the same field and has instead for the last few days been trapped in a prison made of Flash and ActionScript 3.0, one of the programming languages that powers flash.

When I have something worthy of publication I will of course share, but for now I shall just have to state how much I’m enjoying finally getting some programming knowledge under my belt.  Up until now, it’s been like my dutch:  I understand more than I can speak, but I don’t understand much.  Now, my programming is at the level whereby I could probably reliably ask for directions to the railway station, even if I won’t necessarily understand the answer given to me.