New Year, Very Yes

Hello again!  Let’s start off this post the way I start nearly every other one:  “It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, sorry about that.”  It’s a recurring theme.

Fall and Winter 2013 were very busy, and there were a lot of changes.  I started a new job back in October as a team lead for 4 developers, so I’ve been getting used to that, the new office, new software and processes and people, and haven’t been doing much game development outside of that.  It’s occupied a lot of my mental processes.

Looking back on 2013, my brain and my feelings want to classify it as a tough year, even though I learned quite a bit and ended up better off at the end of the year than the start.  Tiff tells me that I was probably more stressed than I realized, and it showed.  The fact that she could see it in my face and my actions means that it was worse than I thought, since I’m generally pretty good at keeping my emotions in.  I’ve gotten a lot better in the past few weeks, and I’ve started looking further ahead and planning again, instead of just focusing on today and tomorrow.  Living a day at a time really messes with my motivation and sense of well being.

But anyway, enough of that.  I was just looking around today at one of my Oculus Rift demos, “Aurumancer”, and I found out that 2 completely unrelated Let’s Play videos had been made for it back in August.  I didn’t even know those existed!  One is in Spanish and the other German, and it was great to see those as I was thinking about making a video lately.  So here they are for your viewing entertainment.

Oculus Rift – Dungeon Run! from “German Let’s Play”

RPM: Aurumancer en el Oculus Rift

Maybe I should keep working on Aurumancer?  Hmmm.

Also, I should probably put up a page about Let’s Plays and other videos that use our game imagery, since that’s been a thing with game developers and Youtube lately.  In the meantime, anyone has permission to record and/or broadcast game content of any games, demos, or prototypes made by Perceptive Pumpkin Productions, LLC.

Here’s to a great year of gaming, and best of luck and success to all of you.  Happy playing!

“One word can bring you ’round: Changes!”

It’s been a weird and busy summer, and I unfortunately haven’t been keeping up with development, or with the website.  So let me tell you a little bit about what’s been going on.  From May to July, I was working on Aurumancer, my prototype Oculus Rift project. It’s the first 3D game I’ve attempted (and my first VR / Rift project), but even so, it received a good bit of interest from the Oculus forums and Twitter. Aurumancer could be a great little game for the Rift if I focus on it and continue developing it.

When August rolled around, the Oculus team and Indiecade held a 3-week VRJam to find new and innovative games for the Rift. I decided to participate, and started writing “Space Blocks”, a cross between Tetrisphere and Boom Blox set in space. I met the first two milestones, but due to lack of progress, I didn’t submit the game in the end. At the moment, it’s barely a game at all, but I may flesh it out into something more substantial later on.

I still struggle with the fact that I finished my first game project and released it, yet every project since then remains dropped and unfinished. I work on a new idea for a few weeks or a month, then lose interest and move on to something else. As a result, it’s been a year since my last commercial game release. This is something I have to change.

Within this past year, there’ve been many days where I came home from my day job and have had no interest in further programming. I’d been working fairly hard during the day, and on some days I had to commute 3+ hrs roundtrip (even longer when traffic was bad) in order to support one particular customer. It’s draining and it made me question the stability of my position. Looking ahead, I felt that my future would be much the same.

So, last week, I gave my resignation at my current company, after being there for 5 years.  It was a good run and I felt it was time to move on (and some of my team mates may be reading this right now.  Hi guys, welcome!).  I don’t have nearly enough savings or revenue to go full-time game developer at the moment, so I ended up accepting a new position with a government contractor.  The new position will allow me to run my own team, in a stable environment, for a substantially higher salary.  I’m always on the lookout for additional revenue streams! 8)

Those are the current goings on. It’s been a crazy year, especially this past summer, and the future will bring some big changes with it. I’m hoping these changes are going to be for the better, but ultimately, that’s up to me. While I’m not ready to be a full-time independent yet, I think I’m moving in the right direction towards that future. This is a long-winded way of saying that I hope to write and release more games in the near future. I think it’s going to take some time to settle into my new day job, so I’ll probably be in a bit of a game dev drought for a few more months. But who knows. The way I am with (lack of) decision making, I could start or continue a project next week.

Until next time, happy gaming!

Aurumancer Update

I’ve just updated the demo with several additions and fixes. You can download it from here: Here’s what’s in this update.

  • Added Xbox360 Controller support
  • Added a “Menu Room” that shows you controls and whatnot. Still trying to figure out UIs with the Rift.
  • Coins will now be drawn to you and be automatically collected. It’s almost as if you were a wizard with gold!
  • Added Fire Demons, which take a lot more damage, and added ice effect to Ice Demons.
  • Dungeons now have randomized light colors. Some people may hate having blue/green/red dungeons, so let me know your feedback.
  • Added sounds to the demon punches, so you’ll know you’re getting hit!
  • Fixed the doors. They’re now the correct size, perform the correct rotations, and you can leave doors open or close them again.
  • Cleaned up player, exit, statue and treasure chest instantiations. However, it looks like sometimes the player may miss the dungeon and fall through the world. Reset if this happens, and let me know if it occurs.
  • New spell effect blasts monsters with a cone of fire / molten gold in front of the player. The spell costs 50 coins per cast.
  • I probably forgot something, so we’ll discover it together!

Features that we’re looking to add are secret rooms, better exits, more creatures, leveling, skill / spell trees, and a home base / castle, among other things. Let me know what you think and what else you’d like to see!

Aurumancer – Sorcerer of Gold

Hi there!  Been a while, lots of busy stuff, you’ve heard it before.  I’ve been messing with the Oculus Rift quite a bit in the past month, and now have a small game demo available.  The game is tentatively called “Aurumancer”, and you kill demons with coins. Sound cool?  You can download the demo here:

Keep in mind this is for individuals who have an Oculus Rift to use it with.  Although you can play the game without it, just by looking at one side of the screen.  It’s how I’ve been developing most of the time, anyway.

Here are the controls:

  • WASD – Move Forward, Back, Left, Right
  • Space – Jump
  • Hold Left Mouse – Fire coins!
  • Right Mouse Click – Push enemies away from you, costs 20 coins
  • I – Toggle the help menu (shows this information, pretty much)
  • E – Open doors
  • F1 – Reset level (helpful if you get stuck!)
  • Esc – Quit game
Let me know what you think on Twitter @ShiftyPumpkin.  Happy gaming!