Monthly archives: January, 2014

Game Jam to Shipped Game

After this year’s global game jam, I wanted to share some experiences about shipping games to encourage first timers to get their games out there. First thing you need to understand is that you are not near to done. Our industry usually thinks in terms of features but this is misleading. We think “Camera system, it works… Done!”, but what we really we need to ask is “is this feature shippable?”. And in there lies the rub, what is shippable to you?

Game jams are rapid prototyping sessions. They are hugely valuable to determine if you are heading down the right track. They help to find the fun fast, so you know the general direction you will be taking on your game creation voyage. If your prototype is not fun to you, its probably not a good idea to pursue it. I am speaking from the heart here, spending may hours of time I will never get back trying to make something that is not inherently fun, fun. If you have a choice, and as indies you do, don’t to it if your prototype is not fun right now.

Once you have the fun, its time to do time estimates. It does not matter if you schedule or you scrum, you still need to estimate time. If you are new to scheduling, once you are done, double your time! I mean it. As developers, we are hugely optimistic and love what we do and sometimes we forget the bad times. Shit happens……




MonoDevelop Syntax Highlighing Themes

Setting up your workspace is usually a tedious thing. You have everything how you like it and then, you upgrade. Then you have to invest hours to get it back to a zen state of mind. I am that way with my syntax highlighting. After using the traditional white Visual Studio default color scheme for so long that I had to get glasses from the glare, I decided to make a code coloring scheme that was easy on my eyes and still has come Collective Mass flare to it. I had it all going in VS but then moved to Mono. Arg!!! As luck would have it, MonoDevelop does allow you to set your theme, its just a little bit tricky because you have to add the .xml extension onto it to get the system to recognize. In a hope that my hours of faffing around would be a benefit to others, I am sharing my scheme, just download from the link below.

http://www.collectivemass.com/downloads/collectivemass.xml

To install it, on Mac, go to MonoDevelop->Preferences and then in the options window that comes up, under the title “Text Editor”, select “Syntax Highlighting”. Once there, just click on “Add” and select the file above.

I hope this is of use to some of you. If you are know a little css, you can edit this theme and make it your own. The more cool themes, the better!



Lists and Linq in Unity, do it!

I have been using C# for many years now in game dev and I love it. Most hardcore C++ guys have always given me grief but I still think the language is beautiful! Yes yes, its memory managed but thats a whole beast unto its self. At least I don’t have to spend a week looking for an illusive overwrite or leak. But each unto their own, we all make games and in todays world, fast to market is a big deal, especially with little to no budget.

One of the great things in C# is Lists. For those of you who don’t know them, they are basically dynamic arrays with a whole host of special functions. They are wonderful things, especially for inventory systems. There is a lot of debate about if they are significantly slower than arrays but the general rule is don’t add to them in a critical update loop. Besides being able to add and remove items dynamically, you can also just bake the list to an array using ToArray(). This way you can have a list that you use to manage your stack and once you are done, you can just bake it out.

So what I want to chat about here is Linq, which is C#’s look up language for lists. I always stayed away from it, erring and my years for “Doing things the right way” but Linq used in the right way can save you a lot of time. I have started using it for my data structure look…




Top 5 Coffee Shops in LA

So I thought I would start this blog out with a little refreshment. After living on four continents, I have been exposed to a large sample set of coffee and user expectations. So far, I must say that Oslo has the best espresso I have ever had the privilege of having. It was religious. Big ups to Tim Wendelboe. Sydney, in general, has the best espressos. Walk into any coffee joint and 9 out of ten, it will do justice. Plus, a flat white is a glorious invention if done correctly. The States, however, has been a bit of a let down when it comes to espresso. However, they do drip coffee better than most places on this planet. Most countries ignore a good cup o drip but its a staple here.

After living in LA for three years and now proud to call it my home, I want to share a few good spots to get a good espresso or espresso & cow juice drink.

#1 Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe
Great espresso, not snobby and pretty friendly. I saw a Sam Rockwell in there once so it has to be good! If you go, ask for a Gibraltar.

#2 Intellligentsia
Look, there coffee is really good but the snobbery is a bit of a turn off to me. any coffee shop needs to deal with people just needing a fix to a connoisseur.

#3 Conservatory for Coffee, Tea & Cocoa
With a roaster right in the doorway, you know these guys and gals know what…