So the pads didn't work out. They're too hard to lay on. Instead, I put them back under my mattress in just such a way that it would cause my bed to have a slope right where my lower back is, and on top of that, I bought a brand new pillow.
I slept great. It was still pretty terrible, but it was comparatively better than usual and I had more energy.... for one night only.
Unfortunately, there really is no improving this mattress, as I've found out. After the first night, it got so flat and warn out that it now it feels like I'm sleeping directly on the springs. Its gotten so hard in the middle, I'm honestly surprised I'm not in more pain each morning.
The pillow is fantastic, though. $50 for it, and I'm not regretting it. Hell, when the company asked me for a review and I said: "Meh, it's not that good. Little too light for my liking." They emailed me back saying "Hey, we'll pay for you to return it, and we'll fully customize your pillow for free: thickness, firmness, size, you name it. We offer unlimited free modifications."
Now that's what I call a policy!
I think this will end up being my last post about my bed. Someone on Twitter was like "You whine all the time on your blog." (Hi, racist! I know you're reading this!)
My complaining is 1) Cathartic. It's how I relieve stress about things. 2) Frequently done for a) Humor, b) Advice/Tips (as in with my Don't Trust Anyone post), c) Relatability. And 3) My decision.
Normally I wouldn't give a fuck what this person thinks and I'd go on doing this as normal, but it made me realize that probably no one gives a shit about how I'm trying to improve my sleep. So I'm stopping.
Hell, I wasn't even going to do this one, but I figured that since that racist piece of shit thinks my poor sleep is a made up excuse, I might as well post one more.
I guess I've mostly just been blogging about my attempts to improve my quality of sleep to show people that this really is a thing I'm struggling with, and that I really am trying to solve it.
So I'm not even going to bother with going over a next step in trying to overcome this thing.
But maybe I won't. She was a total dumbass anyway.
"You failed to come up with a camera mount solution in your last mocap post. Lol, you're useless."
Even though that post was 4 fucking days ago and I do have a solution to it now. What am I supposed to do? "Oh hey guis! I just wanted to let you know I figured it out! Kthxbai!"
I don't know. It'll come down to how I feel about it in the end. If I feel like I'm wasting my time and annoying people, I'll stop mentioning my poor sleep. And you'll just have to guess when my energy is returning.
So making a dress form didn't really work out. It came out like crap. But I've wasted enough time and money, and ruined a nice, expensive pair of scissors on this damn thing, so I'm not going to bother starting over. I'll just work on other parts of the suit, suck it up, and buy a damn dress form next month.
It's fine, I can use a dress form for other things down the road, like cosplay, Halloween costumes and whatever so it's not like I'll be buying it just for this project.
I'll add details for making a dress form to my plans so that if you don't want to have to buy a dress form, but are making your suit from scratch like I am, you don't have to buy one if you're better at making the dress form than I am. I apparently suck ass at it, and can't get anyone to help me without dragging someone almost a hundred miles for it.
I guess it's not really that big a deal. I couldn't finish the suit this month even if the dress form came out perfect. I had to loan some money to someone, so I can't afford the materials I need to make the markers anymore. Not without potentially starving to death, anyway. The only store in my town to buy food at is stupidly expensive. I also bought a stupidly expensive pillow. If I'd been smarter with my money, I could have finished this month, but I wasn't so I can't.
That's alright, though. All this bull with the dress form made me realize part of the studio plan needs redesigning. This will give me ample time to rethink how I'll do it. This also might just give me enough time to think of a way of making the studio rig adjustable. Originally, the cameras were just going to be stationary. But what if I could design it so that the cameras could be adjusted and adapted to any studio space? What if devs would like to be able to have the flexibility to move their studio between projects? Not all indie devs have the luxury of having a huge, dedicated studio, and sometimes if they are able to rent a studio, maybe after their project, they have to end their lease on their space at some point. Sometimes, for one reason or another, you just can't mount cameras to the walls like AAA mocap studios want you to be able to do.
Like me for instance. I'm not allowed to put anything larger than a thumb-tack in my walls. And I'm definitely not allowed to hang anything from the ceiling, or the window frames, or put anything out on my back porch, or set items in my window sills.... I hate this place. Fucking authoritarian ass-hats.
Sometimes you can't mount things to walls or ceilings. It would also be a pain in the ass to move wall-mounted cameras to another location, especially if that location was in an asymmetrical room. Not going to help to have cameras that need mounting if one half of the room is retarded.
There are tripods, but the most advantageous position for mocap cameras is high up off the floor. Higher than any tripod I've ever seen. I'm sure they exist, but I bet they're expensive, plus tripods seem to break easy. My old microphone stage stand doesn't even come all the way up to my head, and it's a rickety pile of crap. It was a rickety pile of crap even brand new. I want the cameras to be up near the ceiling, which is like, 9 feet up or so in my apartment, and I want to be guaranteed that the cameras aren't going to just topple over if my cats walk by them. Naturally, they'll knock them over anyway, because they're cats, and cats knock things over, but I want to reduce the number of times my cameras crash to the floor. I'll think of something.
As you can see, I put a lot of thought into this project. I'm not going to be half-assing this. (Well, half-assing it in its fashion anyway. Really the entire project is a half-assed mocap studio already, but you get what I mean.)
I didn't want to do two posts today, but I realized that I have a reputation for dropping projects, and with how long this is taking me, I'm sure people are starting to wonder if I've given up.
The purpose of this update is to tell you that I haven't. In fact, I'm not even taking a break from it. I've got all the material cut out and my sewing machine has been ready and waiting to sew for days, now. I'm just a little caught up on making one of these:
Once the dress form is complete, I'll be able to fit my mocap suit, and start sewing. Once I have my suit in order, I'll start making markers for it. When I have the suit complete, I'll start working on the best, cheapest solutions to actually collecting the motion data, and once I have all that figured out, I'll post my finished plans in full.
Why am I withholding my steps/plans if I plan on releasing it for free? Because I don't want people following along step-by-step in case I fuck up. I'll suffer the cost of trial and error so you don't have to. I blow the money making mistakes to save you from wasting money following my mistakes.
If this has been something you're interested in, stay tuned. I may be taking a while, but I'm gradually getting there.
I'm sure I've given this advice before, but now it's time I shared a little tale to go with my warning.
In 2012, I had an idea for a game I was going to do. I was psyched. It was going to be a huge hit, I could feel it in my gut. At the end of 2012, I moved to where I live now. Things got a little hellish, money became tight, I put the project on hold. In 2014 I found out one of my idols, a legend of the industry, was now fully open to working with smaller developers, and was even available for work.
Unfortunately, I can't reveal who this is, because it would be my word against his word... and all of his most loyal fans, and I can't exactly prove this happened, but let's call him The Betrayer. If you're clever and are able to connect enough dots to figure out who I'm talking about, please keep it to yourself. There's nothing I can do to fight this. I have to take the blow and use it as a warning to prevent it happening to others.
I idolized The Betrayer. He worked on multiple industry mega-hits. His work has been an incredible influence both on my childhood, and the childhoods of countless others. So I was thrilled by the prospect of getting my idol on board. I emailed him.
He responded saying he was excited to get to work with me. After coming down from the mother of all nerdgasms, I composed myself and began emailing back and forth about myself, answering his questions. Finally it came down to how much his time would cost me, and one final question "What kind of game are you working on?"
I gave him a very vague abstract just to give him an idea of what the game would be, and told him that if I was allowed enough time, I could launch a project Kickstarter and we could begin.
He didn't respond back. I gave him a follow up message, offering to show him images of the project and concept art at its stage of development at that time. No reply. I thought nothing of it, assumed he was busy, and started prepping everything I'd need to launch the Kickstarter. I decided I'd get back to him once I could prove this was a project I was taking seriously.
Fast forward a few months later. Another company suddenly announces a game with a project abstract identical to mine. The only things that are missing are the details I kept as vague as possible: characters, plot, plans, etc.
Production on my project grinds to a complete halt. I knew there was no way I'd be able to beat a full team of developers already with their own Kickstarter running. They were way ahead of me, and were working far too fast. I allow the project to slip into the shadows and collect dust. I have a feeling I've been betrayed, but can't really find a way to substantiate it enough to convince myself.
My project goes ice cold. I don't want to seem like a copycat, so the entire project, work and all, get archived and I move to something else, brokenhearted and depressed.
Fast forward to this year, this month. I discover, by way of The Betrayer's Twitter account that not only is he part of the stolen project, he's also a major contributor of it, and is highly invested in it.
As of writing this, I'm now convinced he took my idea and gave it to someone else.
Like I said, it's my word versus the word of a highly-beloved, AAA industry legend, and I have no real way to prove this was my idea first, and that he was the one who stole it, so I can't name names without suffering the wrath of his fanboys... But my idol betrayed me. I loved him and his work, I trusted him, and I was stabbed in the back and left face down in the mud.
You may be wondering, at this point "Can't you just do it anyway?"
Yes, I can indeed. The developers made huge mistakes both in development and in the public's opinion. I can do it myself, without The Betrayer, and I can do it better than him and his treacherous team. Mr. Betrayer sprang too early to swipe my idea. With my momentary hesitance, hoping to avoid seeming too eager, my vagueness saved me. They don't have my characters, my plot, my ideas, my world. All they got was the abstract.
I can still do it, but I'm going to wait a few more years. Wait until their project launches and when the dust settles on their bitter failure and no one remembers who they are, I'll pull my project back out of the drawer.
Let this story serve as a lesson, dear indie devs: don't make my mistake. Don't trust anyone. Not your brother, not your sister, not your best friend, not your husband, wife, son, daughter, mom or dad, and not even your biggest childhood idol. As kind and great as they may seem on the outside, they're all human on the inside. Swayed by money, tempted by fame and glory. Promise someone wealth and fame, and watch how quickly and easily they turn on you.
The hardest truth to this industry, you have no friends.
No, that's not completely true, but you should treat it like it is. You never know who you can trust. People like Phil Fish and The Betrayer are around every corner waiting to take advantage of you. And in the real world, cheaters do sometimes win.
You might now be wondering "How do you build a team if you can't trust anyone?"
I'm afraid I don't have the answer to that, as I have found no one in this industry I can trust. Composers, animators, AAA developers, I'm learning that this is a dog-stab-dog-in-the-back industry. I have yet to figure out how to find people that can be trusted. And now you know why, when I talk about my projects, I'm as vague as humanly possible: Not naming the game, not revealing character names, or even putting off naming them to make it easier to avoid revealing their names, and never telling the plot or premise of my games. It's reasons like my anecdote that keep me quiet.
Can you trust me? You can, but you shouldn't. I can't be trusted to hear an idea and not forget where it came from and not end up assuming it's my own.
Example: Years ago, when I was a young teenager with no access to the internet, I had thought the Epic of Gilgamesh was my idea, right down to Gilgamesh himself. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it sounded familiar, but I wasn't sure why. When I eventually got access to the internet, I looked up "Gilgamesh" to try to figure out why he was so familiar to me, and turns out, I'd somehow heard of his story, forgotten where I'd gotten it from, and got it in my head that I had thought him up on my own.
I can't be trusted, either.
Don't let yourself fall prey the way I did. Take steps the way I do to avoid your ideas being stolen. And don't act like it couldn't happen to you, because it definitely can, and the looser your lips, the more likely it is that someone will snatch it, and likely get away with it, just like The Betrayer will get away with it, and probably has gotten away with it multiple times.
Back in 2012, I had been working on a game that had to be put off because a competitor indie dev announced a game that was far too similar to mine, and I didn't want to look like a copycat.
In this game, the main villain was supposed to be a mentally ill, gender-confused character with some kind of personality disorder. He would switch between referring to himself as male or female at random, and scream at his cohorts if they use the wrong pronouns at the wrong time. Little did I know that only two years later, mentally ill people matching my villain character exactly would come oozing out of the woodwork like some kind of semi-viscous, liquid cancer.
Think that's crazy? Get this: the character was also supposed to be fairly wealthy, with his big motivational drive being he was mad at his parents for not giving him enough attention.
At the time, I wasn't aware of Tumblr or feminism (beyond Elevatorgate). I had come up with the idea based on the popular Justin Bieber joke at the time: people calling him a girl, and kind of ran with it.
Unfortunately, the fact that people matching this character type are a dime a dozen now, means I have to completely redesign the character. He won't be anything new or interesting if I leave him how he is... he'd just be your average Tumblrite.
What a waste of a good character.
I've hit a little pothole in my road to designing the cheapest mocap system I can. Remember how I said it's hard to find cameras? Mocap Update 3
Little mocap recap: I went down to the store, got fabric, ordered a pattern off the internet, and the pattern arrived 2 days late.... While waiting for it to come in the mail, I looked into cameras a little deeper. It's not working out as well as I'd hoped.
I'd found a type of software that uses webcams to track the position of a bright green light in 3D space, but that system was used for virtual, 3D drawing with a single light to track position and render it out into a 3D mesh, not movement tracking with several lights. Considering I absolutely cannot find anyone with a mocap system under several thousand dollars, I've decided I'd have to start looking outside the money-hungry industry.
I can probably use similar software to that light-tracking 3D drawing software I saw, but it means I'd have to redesign my suit. It also ramps up the cost of making the suit a bit, and also increases the working time, and technical know-how requirements of making the suit.
This is the pothole... My design could possibly go from a "simple arts and crafts level" to "intermediate DIY level". For those of you who aren't as avid a do-it-yourself-er as I am, that would be like going from Kiaoken to Super Saiyan 2.
I'm still waiting on someone to reply to me with information on his company's cameras, but I'm not too impressed by what I've seen, so far.
First, despite the website allowing a custom camera count input, it still automatically changed from 3 cameras to 4, after I submitted the request form, that, or the custom input part of the form is broken, and it just defaulted to the standard minimum of 4.
Second, despite the form requiring me to fill out what I need them for, the dimensions of my studio, and the number of cameras I require, the dude who emailed me insisted on asking me directly what I'd need them for, how many I needed, and the dimensions of my capture space.... Fantastic use of a form, guys. Really makes me a whole-lot confident you have any idea what you're doing.
Third, it took 2 days for him to ask his questions. First email was like "Are you comfortable talking openly about your needs? Oh, and I won't be in the office until tomorrow, so I can't reply back until then." And then when he asked his questions, he either didn't like what I asked for and did the classy corporate move of deciding not to reply back, or he took Friday and the weekend off, and hasn't seen my email yet.
I fucking hate dealing with corporations directly. This is why I don't do "contact us for a quote" setups. They always use it as a vetting process to unfairly discriminate against people who aren't mega corporations. They want Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, big name brands, and they use their "receive a quote" as a handy cover to prevent plebeian indie devs like me from soiling their precious fucking crap with our peasant indie-grime. It's bullshit.
Come tomorrow, if Cubicle Von Corporateman hasn't replied back, I'm going to assume his corporate boner went limp when I gave him my budgetary limit, and I'm going to approve my redesign, and start finding mocap methods that circumvent the industry guardians.
I mean, look at this! This embarrassing typo was found on a website for a different company. These are the industry standard "professionals".
That message is also a lie... They completely ignored me the first time. I went back a week or two later to make a second request, and they gave me a bullshit quote. Their site says their cameras are $600... $600 x 6 = $8500. That's off by more than double...
Every site claims that 6 cameras are the absolute minimum for game engine motion capture. Screw the rules, I have green hair!
I've made a little progress constructing my guide, and a little progress constructing my suit. I have two of the four major pieces cut out. There's more to do than that, but the 4 major pieces are the body pieces. (For some reason, this pattern has a seam running up the middle in the front...
I've been a little lazy cutting out the pieces, because the only surface in my apartment big enough for full body cutouts is my bed. I can't use the floor, because my bedroom is too small, and I can't use the living room floor because there's no way my cats wouldn't be all over my materials and supplies, getting their hair in it, sticking their claws in my fabric and ruining it, and playing with and wrecking the crinkly pattern paper.
So I have to close myself in my bedroom and use the bed. My bed isn't exactly tall, nor is it sitting on a frame, because bed frames are stupid, and I don't own one. It's like those table cloth protectors. You got a table cloth to protect your table, but then people decided that they wanted to keep the table cloth nice, too, so now there are protectors for your table protectors... I already have a bed stand, that's the box spring. I don't need a stand for my stand.
But this means that I have to bend over. I have to bend over my bed to set up my cardboard cutting board, I have to bend over to lay out and adjust the fabric so it's straight, I have to bend over to lay out the pattern sheet, bend over to cut out the pattern piece, bend over to pin the pattern piece to the fabric, which is time consuming, because you have to pin every couple inches, and bend over to cut the fabric out, which is also very time consuming, because you need to be as accurate as possible while cutting, so you can't rush. Cutting out the pattern, pinning the pattern, and cutting the fabric are made even more time consuming by the fact that I'm making something the size of my adult body.
Albeit a short, adult body, but 5 feet is still a lot of pinning and cutting. (I told you I'm a computer nerd, twink. Shortness kind of runs in the family.... I'm actually 2 inches taller than my mom, and my brother.) And, no, I'm not 5 feet tall, I'm 5' 6". The design excludes my head, obviously. And my feet, for that matter, so it's probably something more like 4' 10" of fabric...
By the time I have a piece cut out, my back is aching. And when you have to cut, pin, and cut again 5 feet of material 4 times, you definitely want to take a break if your back is hurting after just 1. I can only imagine how much more this would suck if I were 6 feet or more and had to bend over further and deal with an extra foot or more of fabric.
Anyway, I plan on doing more, today. (My back is already aching just thinking about how much my back is going to hurt...)
And as for redesigning my suit, I think I have exactly the idea I need to make use of the new style I'll be looking into. The redesign is kind of convenient, because I was getting a little stuck on my previous one. That doesn't necessarily mean I have this one 100% worked out, but the new design allows for more options.
But not to worry, I'll figure it out. I've always been a smart little bastard. The first thing I remember really taking charge on was learning to wipe my own ass. Those early years where you're still too young for school, and too old for diapers is rough. I remember how much it would suck, having to use the big toilet. I'd be stranded on the toilet sometimes for minutes, waiting for mom to come rescue me, and when you're that young, a minute can seem like an eternity. At some point, mom started getting more busy. Or, that's what it seemed to my just-post-toddler brain. Now that I look back on it, she probably realized she had a little more freedom now that her child was not only becoming more independent, but showing levels of intelligence, behavior, and rational thinking that meant I wasn't going to be doing retarded shit if she took her eyes off me for a minute.
Either way, one day, I was stranded on the toilet longer than I'd ever been. Sadly, the best kept memories are the most embarrassing. Mom had gone outside to do something in the yard. Hell if I remember what, I barely paid attention to things at that age. Couldn't even get me to read a 12 page book for crying out loud. Anyway, she wasn't able to hear me calling for her. It ended up being my grand-dad who had to come wipe my ass. It was the first time I'd ever felt real, lasting humiliation in my life. But that day was turning point, I decided I was done being stranded, and I didn't want to have something like a grand-parent wiping my ass to happen ever again.
Pretty next-level thinking for a kid who had only recently been potty trained... Anyway, the very next time I had to have someone wipe my ass, I paid close attention to the steps involved, and that was the last time someone else had to wipe my ass for me.
The next most significant moment in my life was tying my own shoes, so... again, fairly young, but by this time, I was in school. (Probably 2nd or 3rd grade). When you're the oldest child, you quickly start to understand that your siblings come first, and it can be hellish, especially for a little kid. I would have to wait for my parents to tie my shoe laces, often both of my brothers coming before me. So I'd have to sit there, waiting however long it took (probably only a few minutes or so, but again, when you're a kid, a minute can seem like so long) for them to get to me, and when my siblings struggled and fought getting dressed, it would take that much longer to get to me.
And once again, I was getting sick of relying on someone else. Sometimes I wanted to play outside, or sometimes I got sick of sitting there with loose laces, waiting as they got my siblings ready to go ahead of me. After a string of too-many-long-waits-in-a-row for my laces to be tied, I took the same initiative I'd taken before, and I silently watched as my dad tied my laces, memorized the steps to doing a bow knot, and that was the last time anyone had to tie my laces for me.
Two of my absolutely oldest memories are of me disliking having to rely on someone else who is too busy to always get to me right away, and instead of someone having to teach me how to do it, to be independent, I taught myself. Essentially I got tired of how things were run, and took it upon my little-kid-self to do something about it.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is how a do-it-yourself-er is born.
It still amazes me that I was that smart at such a young age... I'm pretty damn impressed with my kid-self. If I could go back in time, I'd give myself a high-five, because kid-me deserves it. Unfortunately I grew up into an idiot.
Anyway, now that my auto-fellatio is finished, don't worry too much about the steps being tougher for the completion of the suit. No matter how hard I have to work to make this quest a reality, I'm still going to go into complete detail making my instructions, and I'm still giving it all away for free. My goal is to put the power of motion capture into the hands of indies, not to make money, and not to hoard it for myself.
The power is yours!
(Ok, I know that show is dumb and preachy as fuck, but that's still one of the coolest lines ever...)
The floor didn't pan out. After the initial first good night, it went down hill, and there was no stopping it. There just wasn't enough lower back support. My mattress, after getting a week's break from being used, actually went back to being decent for a short time, but now it's back to as bad as it was. And as a result, my energy has taken another dive. Also, my cats decided they would protest my new on-the-floor arrangement by sleeping on my bare mattress and peeing on my floor setup....
In a desperate bid to get some use out of this mattress, I've decided to destroy my bed fixer. It's several bars of foam sewn into a cover. The cover has sections between each of the bars allowing them to be pulled away from each other, or pushed together, making it longer or shorter. I'm taking them out of the cover so I can glue them one on top of the other, doubling them up to stick them under my mattress to hopefully fix the sag in it.
...Now that I look at these things, maybe the smarter thing to do would be to design something to give me the back support I need. The only issue is, I can only do one or the other. The glue I'm going to use does not unglue, and these things are expensive, so I don't know if I want to buy another one if one way doesn't work out.
I'm aware that there are posturepedic mattresses, but the only posturepedic company within a 1000 mile radius of where I live has 6000 reviews, and it took me until page 12 of their reviews to find a rating above 1 star.
"My mattress came with a huge stain on it. Company refused to use my warranty to replace it."
"It was extremely late, and when I got it, it had mildew. No replacement."
"I had to buy a mattress from them 3 times, and not a one of them showed up."
"Mine was made improperly, had to use my warranty straight away."
"It was falling apart at the seams. When I replaced it, the new one had stains all over it."
"My mattress looks like it was melted. Could not reach company for warranty replacement."
Stuff like that. Real "company from hell" type comments. Probably cheap, Chinese labor. Oh, and remember when I said it took 12 pages to find a review over 1 star? It was a 2 star. I gave up searching dozens of pages in, unable to find a single good review. The highest I think I I saw was 3 stars, after pouring over something like 500 reviews.
I think what I'll do is try to design a bed of sorts with these foam bars, and find one that works. They might be a little too thick for that, though.
Oh, and remember how in the beginning of this I said my cats kept peeing on my bed because they didn't like it? Well, turns out that was a great test for the moisture barrier. Their pee managed to get through my thick blanket, through the sheet, and soak the moisture barrier, and that's were it stopped. The second time they peed on my mattress, a tiny bit of it managed to get through to the pad below it, but very, very little.
It might be worth buying if you have a child, or elderly person with mild bedwetting, or if you have pets like I do. Pets who think the only way to let me know they don't like something is by freakin' peeing on it minutes before I'm exhausted and ready for bed, so that I have to stay up an hour and a half later than I intended to, washing all of my damn bedding in weak, coin op washers and driers.... And one of them was the night of my grueling 39 mile walk that left me unable to stand! So I had to go all the way out to where the machines are to clean my bedding while it hurt to walk.
They lost their last can of tuna for that one. I bought them a bunch of tuna because I love my cats and I like giving them treats once in a while. There was one tuna can left, and now it's going straight to me.
Ok, I'm done ranting... For those who are on baited breath, waiting for my mocap project, I'll be updating tomorrow. Because I'm not really all that rested for writing. Didn't even want to waste what little energy I have writing this one, but here I am anyway...
For those of you who have never played modern Sonic games, this creature is called a Chao. They were introduced in Sonic Adventure 2 as a digital pet you could raise in an environment called a Chao Garden. You got to hatch them, train them, and do little mini games with them.
In 1998, the entire world fell in love with these things... everyone in the world except me. And every time I tell people I don't absolutely adore the Chao, I get the same baffled response: "What!? How!? I love them! They're so cute and wonderful! They're the best part of the series!"
Well, I've decided to finally publicly reveal why.
If everyone in the world is Goku, I'm Broly. And for those who don't get that reference, I'll put it in other terms: while everyone in the world fell madly in love with the Chao, I fell into deep loathing.
Everyone got to play in their Chao Gardens and experience the Chao for how cute and lovable they are. My experience was exactly the opposite.
I was poor. My family was poor. We were lucky enough to get a Nintendo 64, when the latest and greatest consoles were Gamecube and PS2. The Saturn and Dreamcast vanished from stores here within a year of their release. You couldn't get them anymore. And my family didn't have the money for a console that soon. The Dreamcast past me by. The one and only time I got to play Sonic Adventure (not sure which one it was) was for 30 seconds while at a Toys R Us. That was literally it.
My first exposure to the Chao was in middle school, right after learning what the internet was. (I told you, my family was poor. I didn't know what the internet was until 2002.) As soon as I had unsupervised access to the internet, I immediately starting looking up pictures of naked women. (Obviously, lol) But once I started to get down how the internet worked, I started looking into some of my favorite games.
Naturally, the first game that came to mind was the game with the biggest impact on my life: the Sonic series. And at the time, I'd only ever played Sonics 1-3, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Spinball, and the 30 seconds of Sonic Adventure. I hadn't even gotten to play Sonic and Knuckles or Sonic CD. (Still haven't played Sonic CD for that matter.) Oh, and I did watch some of the cartoons and got to read the Super Sonic vs Hyper Knuckles comic.
I found the Chao on wiki sites describing the canon characters. It annoyed me that people thought those things were Sonic characters, but I ignored it. All I knew is that they were stupid-looking, and one character I'd never seen before was basically conjoined twins with one. (Cream the Rabbit and Cheese Chao. Cringe...)
Sometime between the start of 2004 and the end of 2005, I rented Sonic Heroes.... and was introduced to Chao in the form of this thing...
So I got Omochao without Chao Garden as a flipside. If it stopped there, I'd just hate Omochao... but he was just the tip of an iceberg.
While playing Sonic Heroes, I completed Team Sonic and Team Dark first before taking on Team Rose and Team Chaotix. And let me tell you... Team Rose is one of the hardest to get through. Not because it's hard. No, it's actually the easiest. It's hard to get through because it's annoying. It was probably that play through alone that made me hate the Chao so deeply. Guess who's on Team Rose.
Cream is looking for her Chao-slave's friend, Chocola, and big is looking for his pet frog, Froggy.
After hours of listening to "Froggy!" "Chocola Chao!" "Froggy!" "Chocola Chao!" "Froggy!" "Chocola Chao!" all I wanted was for the whole team to die in some hilariously tragic accident, along with Froggy and Chocola Chao. I completed the game with Team Rose our of sheer principle, but principle was the only thing driving me at about Casino Park in the game...
After enduring that, next came Shadow the Hedgehog, shortly after. And in Shadow the Hedgehog, guess what annoying little cunt you have to help search for which annoying little kid and her floating little tumor for a whole level?
If you guessed Amy, looking for Cream, you're unfortunately very correct. It's not a particularly easy level, either. In fact, I had to switch to the emerald path just to shut her up, because I couldn't take it any more.
First you have to find Cream, then her annoying, flying bug. You eventually come across a room full of Chao crawling around, reminiscent of the Chao Garden. Keep in mind, I wasn't even aware the Chao Garden was a thing by the time I got here, and this is after Omochao and Team Rose. So it's just a room full of annoying, to me.
So we come up on this room full of Chao, and they all look alike, so I figured that one of them must be Cheese. I wander around, waiting for Amy to tell me which one was Cheese. Spoiler: none of them are, so I wasted a good 10 minutes trying to find him among them.
Out of desperation, I start running, and as Shadow runs fairly fast, he's pretty destructive. I end up hitting and hurting a Chao by accident, only to get lectured by Amy about not hurting them. As I'm trying to figure out where Cheese "Cancer Spawn" Chao is, after already resetting the stage in case I missed him, I end up back in the Chao room and accidentally hurting another Chao. It's rather hard to avoid. They're all over, they wander around, and unless you walk, you're going to end up hurting one. It's also grating to be in that room, because every damn Chao feels the need to remind you that it's a Chao, Pokemon style. So unless you know exactly where to look for Cheese, you're subject to a room full of creatures squeeling "Chao Chao!"...
I'm guessing I didn't take too kindly to the Sonic series' Obsessed Girlfriend character lecturing me about accidentally hurting another cancer blob... because my Dark Shadow urges came out like an angry nest of hornets. I'm assuming you're supposed to feel bad about hurting the Chao, but as I mentioned already, I didn't get the Chao Garden.
Let's just say I had a little too much fun playing wack-a-mole instead of looking for Cheese.
After finding out you can only attack each of the Chao one time, and inflicting trauma on the bunch, I did eventually find Cheese.
And finally... Sonic Battle came along to seal it. All of the main characters are in Sonic Battle, and you have to fight them all. Including Cream the Rabbit. She typically starts the battle by shyly saying "Go easy on me!". Considering she's just a child, and begged me to go easy on her, I assumed this would be an easy battle. Wrong...
She's actually the toughest character for a very large chunk of the game, and that's including Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Shadow, Rouge, Amy, and E-102 Gamma. Only Chaos, final Sonic, Eggman, and final Emerl are harder. Short battle short, she kicked my ass, over and over and over. Whether you fight her up close, or keep your distance, her stupid cancer blob will hit you, even if you try to flee to the other side of the field to heal up, Cheese can still attack you, and you can't really attack him.
The only way I beat her was by spamming Shadow's chaos powers, keeping her from healing, while trying to keep my health up.
Emerl... the Gizoid, is actually canon. He has the power to clone moves and powers just by watching them. And in the actual canon chapter that Emerl is in, he beats everyone before finally losing to... you guessed it... Cream. How does a small child beat an unstoppable super-machine? Cheese gets in the way and blocks his view so he can't analyze Cream's moves or see her attacking him.
That bitch beats a character no one else could, simply by using her tumorous blob-thing to cheat for her...
Fate sealed. One missing factor most likely sent me in entirely the opposite direction from everyone else.
And now you know why I hate the Chao. I do tend to wonder what I've been missing out on, by missing Sonic Adventure. I have no excuse not to buy it, really. Now that I have my own money and can buy things off the internet, I could easily get a Dreamcast and stop missing out on Dreamcast gems.
And, sorry... for those of you hoping that it will change my mind once I finally get Chao Garden... it's too late. I'll never see them as anything more than annoying, tumorous blobs. You're going to need a time machine to change my hate. It's like they say: first impressions are everything.
While waiting for my pattern to arrive in the mail, I decided I'd go take another look at cameras, this time using different words. One site that kept coming up had a range of mocap cameras, and all showed their prices. So I decided to inquire about their hardware.
He recommended that I used their second most expensive camera over their cheapest, as well as 8 of them for a grand total of $8,570. Sounds like I'm being upsold... Also not sure how 8 x $600 camera = $8.5k.....
It's not easy finding cheap cameras. All the companies want you to buy their entire bundle: Software, 8-20 cameras, a suit, head cam, mounts, and also pay for them to come into your studio and do the installation. Essentially they want you to hand over your wallet so they can turn it upside down and shake it.
People have a really, REALLY skewed sense of the word "affordable". I saw one site claim it was affordable for mocap, found out they wanted $3200 per camera, and only allowed you to buy as few as 6. Almost $20,000 is not affordable!
It's starting to seem like I'm going to have to build my own cameras in addition to the suit, just to circumvent the money grubbing "No, you have to buy all of our stuff! 100 cameras, 12 suits, 40 software licenses to all 6 of our software products, and you need a minimum of 5 studios to pay us for installation at." companies. Why can't I just buy a single camera? What if one breaks? Do I have to buy 8 cameras, mounts, another suit, and installation just to replace the one broken one? It's beyond ludicrous that they do it this way.
Whatever. Once my suit is ready, I'm going to look into alternate camera options, including building my own possibly using Arduino or something. I'll also put instructions for whatever I end up going with in the plans.
Well damn... apparently you guys like this little crusade of mine...
Only time I did better than this was on my Arc Continuum review...
That really motivates me to do this project.
The following is actually slightly old... as it was written the night of, but went unfinished until today.
So, plans changed. I went to Ross Dress For Less expecting to find exactly what I was looking for. They must have changed at some point sine I was last there with my mom years and years ago, because they didn't have a single, solitary, long-sleeved shirt in the entire store. Plenty of hispanic people, but not a single pair of sweat pants or sweatshirts, no leotards, nothing even resembling what I needed.
No big deal, right? Just go to a different clothing store! I did. There was another store right by them. 99.5% womens' clothing, the rest was mens' tees. I can wear womens' clothing since I'm a twink, but it was all “vogue”, "high fashion" crap. Ultra specialized, expensive clothing for women, bright patterns and overpriced clothes for men. Even if I could have justified buying something white or another color and dying it black, I couldn't justify $30-60 price tags.
I walked out of there pissed to no end. I walked 19.8 miles in pouring down rain (Buses don't run on weekends, here. Brilliant, huh?), without an umbrella, in icy cold wind, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a hoodie, and I was about to walk 19.8 miles home empty-handed.
Ok, in my defense, it was a reasonable day when I left. Overcast, light drizzle, mildly cool out, I thought I would be fine. Even as I was walking, the rain itself wasn't even sure if it was going to rain. It kept cutting out. Just in and out with the pin-sized rain drops for an hour. A quarter of the way there, the rain kicked up with a vengeance. (Probably what I get for mocking it, frankly.)
And get this... I'm not even joking, there was an umbrella abandoned on the side of the railroad, within 5 feet of me, an hour before the rain really hit. I saw it, and said “Hey, that would be pretty handy! I could totally grab that!” And do you know what intelligent thing I did? “Nah, it's not raining that bad. It would just be a waste to bring it.”
I forgot my motto for absolutely everything ever.... It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. The one time I forget my motto, I end up sorely regretting it.
So I walk out of the second store. It's getting late, I'm getting sinister looks from ugly, rainbow-haired, ham beasts due to my hoodie saying Meninism on the front, stores are closing and I had a whole 20 miles to go, to get back home. The clouds were storm clouds as far as the eye could see, so it was getting dark extra early.
And that's when it caught my eye. Across the parking lot, cast in immaculate light where the clouds had parted: Joann's.
Ok, I'm exaggerating... it was still raining, and the sky was completely coated in clouds, but I still noticed the store, and was stuck by brilliance. I immediately went over there. They were way past closing (it was 6:30PM, they close at 6PM). Apparently they're pretty lax on their time, or their door sign's time is way out of date, because they allowed me to walk right in. I was there for almost an hour and no one complained.
For those of you who don't know, Joann's is a fabric store. One I've been to a few times, actually. And as luck would have it, among my many, many talents, I also happen to know how to work a sewing machine. And as luck would also have it, I also already have a sewing machine and an entire box of sewing supplies I got from a dead lady. (She was a senior at the retirement home my mom worked at, she kicked the bucket rather abruptly, and her family didn't want the huge kit she had, so mom took it and gave it to me. Sterling silver thimble. Score!)
Also, just FYI, sewing is not sissy or lame... Being able to sew is not only artistic, but it's one of the most practical skills a person can have. Need a costume? Make one. Favorite outfit splits a seam? Fix it. Lose a button? Sew on a new one. Zipper breaks? Replace it. Clothes don't fit right? Hem them. Hole in the knee of your jeans? A denim needle and strong machine can turn those into shorts easy. Embarrassing hole the crotch of your pants? Stitch it up. Wish an outfit had pockets? Add them. Hole in your pocket? Close it. Need a special bag? Design and make it. Sewing is one of the most overpowered skills there are.
(Warning: If this has inspired you to learn to sew, keep your fingers away from the needle, or wear thimbles on your fingers. I've seen someone stitch themselves before. It wasn't pretty. Went all the way to the bone. She had to go to the hospital to make sure it wasn't stuck in the bone of her finger. It wasn't, thankfully, but it was pretty gruesome looking.)
Anyway, back on track. So not only did I have my own sewing supplies I got from a house that got abandoned full of stuff (it was our house, people were squatting in it illegally, when we told them they had a week to get out, they burned rubber and left a lot of stuff. No, they weren't poor or homeless.) I also had the supplies I got from the old lady, and my own sewing machine.
After speaking with an employee, I was directed to the best fabric for my plans, and I bought a few yards. The whole time, I was the only male in the entire store...
Sadly, I still left mildly disappointed. They were all sold out of patterns I needed. A pattern, different from a print, is kind of like plans, or schematics, for clothing. You don't need a pattern to make something, but it can be very helpful to have them, because clothing is REALLY easy to royally screw up on. (Even with a pattern, a pair of sweatpants I made 11 years ago turned out too small for me because I messed up.)
Oh yeah, and it had started raining even harder while I was in the store, it had gotten much colder, and the wind had picked up. By the time I had gotten to the other end of the parking lot, I was already freezing. There was no way in blue-blazing hell I was going to walk 4 hours back home in monsoon weather. I had to make an emergency stop at the nearby Fred Meyer and pick up a weather resistant jacket, which I wore over my hoodie.
You might be thinking “Bas, you idiot! You were wearing shorts! A jacket isn't going to help! Why didn't you get weather resistant sweat pants to go with it?”
Because I had already thought I was spending $44.95 for a $90 jacket, and wasn't about to spend another $60 on pants. Turns out the mark-down price was totally wrong, it was a double sale, so I only spent $28 on the jacket when I got to the register. I didn't feel like going back for pants, though. They had $140 jackets with heat coils in them. Wish I had had the kind of money to afford those...
So you might be wondering how I got home in pouring down rain and icy wind wearing shorts. Didn't bother me that much, frankly. The jacket was all I needed for the entire trip.
Yes, I did get sick. It's currently 76 degrees in my apartment and my teeth are chattering like it's 30 degrees in here.
Was it worth it? Nope. Well, ok, somewhat. I can barely walk, by the time I got home, I couldn't stand without severe pain. I had to drag my tall chair into the kitchen in order to cook my dinner on the stove because it was so painful to stand, it nearly made me break out into tears from distress to be on my feet for even 20 seconds. After resting for a few hours, I can stand up, but humorously, I walk like a disfigured freak because I walk with a double limp now. A 39+ mile trip has left my leg muscles stiff and sore. I almost couldn't get back home because the pain was excruciating on the last two miles. I actually had to sit at a bus stop before the last block stretch because it hurt so bad it felt like my shin bones had split vertically. Even as I was only 10 feet from my door, I had to sit on the public bench for a good two minutes because it hurt so bad. I'm also sick, as mentioned above. I'm suffering severe chills even though I should be burning up after running my heater for so long and at such a high temp. And I'm going to end up going over my mocap suit budget goal of $30 (fabric's expensive). And the trip cost me all together $56 including the emergency jacket.
But on the plus side, it did get me to stop dragging my feet and buy the new jacket I wanted to get. 50% polyester just isn't good for freezing temperatures. It also showed me that my new shoes are so much better than my old ones. 12 miles in my old ones would have left my feet blistered. 40 miles in my new ones, and I don't have a single blister on the bottoms of my feet. And third and finally, if I make my own suit from scratch, rather than buy a base, I can customize it in any way I want. The suit is now completely under my control. All I need are patterns.
Before I get on with it, for those who are worried about me... I'm fine. My trip was on the 18th, at the time of writing this it's the 20th (well, the 1 AM on the 21st) By the time I went to bed that night, (well, technically it was the next day, because it was sunup) I had already stopped limping and regained the ability to stand without mind-encompassing pain. By morning, I was no longer suffering from chills, and it no longer hurt to walk. Today, my leg muscles are just a little sore and stiff, but I'm perfectly fine. How well do I feel? Well enough to walk 2 miles from the hardware store carrying a 2inch by 4inch by 12foot douglas fir board on my shoulder, twice, in two hours. I may be a 5' 6" computer nerd, twink, but I'm a tough 5' 6" computer nerd, twink.
I heal like a beast lately. I once burnt my finger pretty bad on my hot glue gun, and by the very next day it didn't hurt a bit. I couldn't even see the red mark anymore.
(Oh, and no, the boards have absolutely nothing to do with motion capture. It's part of a completely different and totally unrelated project.)
Anyway... as mentioned, I was in Joann's for an hour, scrounging through their pattern selection. I couldn't believe it... No normal clothing. It was all vogue, all fashion, all dresses, tuxedos, designer clothing, etc, and as per usual, it was 90% womens'. I was looking for either a one-piece outfit (not the anime...) or a two-piece that I could just make into one piece. If you've never sewn an outfit before, waistbands can be a massive pain in the ass, so I wanted to make my suit into a single item so that I didn't have to try to sew a pair of pants.
I grabbed catalogue book after catalogue book... Captain America costume pattern? Sold out. Deadpool costume pattern? Sold out. Batman costume pattern? Kids only. Superman costume pattern? Kids only. Ninja Turtles costume pattern? Sew-on decals only. Spiderman costume pattern? Iron-on logo and web decal only. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy costume pattern? Obviously women only, but in stock. They were the only one-piece items they still had in stock.
You know.... that suddenly just hit me. I've been all over the place this year, trying to shop for project parts or electronics, and no matter where I go, anything I went there looking for is out. Walmart for bike chains? The entire bike accessories isle is barren. Fred Meyer for bike chains? Everything related to bike chains is sold out. Big 5 Sporting Goods store? They sell bikes, but no bike chains. Walmart for Rust-oleum? Nope. They don't sell anything Rust-oleum. Fred Meyer for Rust-oleum? Nope. Nothing Rust-oleum there either. Home Depot for Rust-oleum? Sold out. Walmart for sweatpants because shorts and jeans are no good for freezing weather? Out of stock except for 4XL and 6XL, and I'm a size medium... (also, their sweatpants displays were loaded up with sweatshirts....) Fred Meyer for sweatpants? $60-$120 for ultra performance weather proof sweats, sold out of literally everything else. And those are the only stores within 6 miles of me.
I hate living here.... I'm getting really sick of this place. I've lived here my whole life, and it wasn't always this bad. It's just that lately it's been falling apart. And it's not just one city. It's all over the valley. Hell, until the new mayor was elected, my city was dying a very slow and gradual death. (3 whole plazas, all three of them were more than half vacant, and in the 4 years I've lived here, shops kept leaving, and none were moving in. You know it's a bad sign when no one wants to rent out your stores.)
Back on topic. Like I said, I couldn't believe it. A store that would be the go-to place for costumes and cosplay didn't have any costume patterns in the style I was looking for. Or they were sold out when they did. They didn't even have a generic leotard pattern. I figured "well, if I got a mens' leotard with legs, I could just add sleeves to the design, and it would be fine." Nope.
I had to leave the store with only my fabric, and as I said in part one, it was cold, pouring down rain, and getting really late, and I had a 4 hour walk ahead of me after already taking a 4 hour walk to get there. I couldn't exactly look around for other fabric stores. They'd likely be closed, and it would have been a waste of time, anyway.
When I got home, I searched for pattern stores online. Huge mistake. Went to fabric.com, and it's even worse searching the website for something than it was searching the catalogues in the store.
So I went to Amazon instead, and decided on a Batman costume pattern. We're talking old school, Adam West Batman.
You know the one....
I'm not doing, I'm not doing it, I'm not doing it...
Resisted! Thank god! Thought I was going to lose that battle...
As soon as my pattern arrives, I'll begin putting together my project guide.
For those who don't have a sewing machine, or a friend/family with a sewing machine, don't worry. I'll be going over alternate options for making a mocap suit.
And for anyone just tuning in: Like I said in my previous post, I'm going to be documenting everything in my design from suit to studio to software in a crusade to make dirt cheap mocapping available to all indies, and I'll be giving away my complete guide absolutely free, once it's done.
So let's take a look at the damage so far...
Suit Budget Goal: $30
My Spending: Fabric $23.37 (on sale), Anti-fray Seam Protector $4.99, Pattern $10.95 + $7.36 S&H. Total = $46.67
Yep... thanks to my area being really shit for buying specific items, I went almost $17 over my goal. But hey, $47 for something that would cost around $3000, give or take, if bought from suppliers, is a damn good deal all the same!
That's just how much it will end up costing me, specifically, though. If you want to follow my steps to the letter, but don't have a sewing machine, you'd have to buy one, and mine was $260 or so, if memory serves. It was 5 years ago... I don't remember how much it costed at the time. Although, hang on...
Mine is a Singer Brilliance, digital sewing machine, which can be picked up on Amazon ranging from $90 to $220. I also have an entire box full of thread of many different colors, needles of every variety, pins, buttons, snaps, a pair of ultra sharp scissors, a seam ripper, and a fairly heavy-duty hot glue gun, plus experience in sewing. (I took Fiber Arts in high school, because I didn't know what "fiber arts" meant. I showed up to find the room full of sewing machines, and decided I'd take the class anyway. Turned out to be a smart move.)
My guide will cover all the projected costs, no matter what you choose to do to make yours. It will also give tips on selecting a sewing machine for people interested in getting one. However, if you don't already know how to use one of the machines, you'll have to learn how, because I'm not going to teach you. Too much to cover, and way too many different kinds of machines to account for.
Warning: Don't just run out and buy any old sewing machine. There is a difference, and a very big one. For example: Older sewing machines are extremely complicated compared to newer designs, and are a nightmare to set up. Newer ones have a better bobbin system that saves a lot of the hassle of trying to get it ready to sew. They also come with more intuitive stitch selections, and often come with many, many more stitch types than the older models. My mom's machine was ancient and only had 14 stitch types, mine has 99. (Yes, stitch type matters, too.)
My machine is a Singer Brilliance, but you might want to get a Husqvarna Viking, which is far superior to mine (although insanely more expensive.) The Viking was the first machine I learned how to use. It was a Husqvarna Viking Lily 555. I had a Brother at some point (sewing machine, not sibling) but it wasn't a digital one and I didn't like it. It also had too few stitch kinds. I think I only had it for a year before buying my Singer and giving my Brother to my mom, because her old one was super warn out, and old as shit. (That sounded really weird... "I gave my Brother to my mom"... "Here, mom, I don't want my brother anymore. You can have him. I have a singer now, and he's much better.")
Anyway, I can't get started until I have my pattern, and it's supposed to take until Saturday to get here. But that's ok... It gives me plenty of time to think about how to do the markers. I want them to be removable so that the suit can be machine washable. I have cats, and cat hair gets everywhere, and on everything. Also mocapping is sweaty business.... you're doing a lot of physical activity in your suit, so in order to avoid having suits get nasty from body oils and sweat, I need to find a way of making these things washable, but also to do the washing part without wrecking the all-important markers. I've given it some thought already, (8 hours of walking gives you plenty of time to think) but I don't have anything solid just yet. I'm still working on how to accomplish that without making them stick way off the suit. And I'm still working out the marker size. Some suits have them really small, some suits have them relatively large, and some have a size in between.
Either way, it will all be in the plans.
I don't usually do two posts in a day, but since I was updating I figured I'd update something else.
In a post from a little while ago, I mentioned I was going to look into mocap on the super cheap for indie devs. Sadly, there isn't exactly a comprehensive how-to guide on doing this, yet, so I had to do a bunch of research. I have my plan... sort of.
The issue is, I'm just making this up as I go. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find anyone willing to reveal how they made their DIY mocap suits. Bastards!
But after messing around with my pet-urine finder (it's literally just a flashlight made of blacklight LEDs) I think I have my mocap suit design.
The downside, though, is that I couldn't find any way to use the mocap suit and a typical camera together. There is a system that requires no mocap suit and two Kinects, but I don't have one Kinect, let alone two. And I don't care how much cheaper the Kinect is... I'm not buying one.
According to my research, you need to have motion tracking cameras. At least 4 of them, but 6-14 is the recommended amount. These things aren't cheap, though. They're also tough to find...
Google: "Here are the top results on motion ACTIVATED cameras :D"
No, Google! God damn it, I said motion TRACKING!
Google: "You want cameras activated by motion, right?"
All of my fury...
I found companies that specialize in selling mocap equipment, but there's some kind of retarded growing trend where the company refuses to give you the price of their fucking equipment unless you sign up for an account and/or ask them to quote you.
I'm going to be a little looser with my language than normal (on here, anyway), but if you're the kind of person who does this, you can eat a bag of dicks, asshole. I don't want to jump though your god damn hoops. You either show me your prices and quote me for shipping, or I'll go look for someone who does and you won't get my money. FYI, just because I'd have to go through an extra dozen steps and then wait for your ass to get back to me just to find out how much your shit costs absolutely doesn't guarantee I'm buying from you, just in case you thought that I'd be all like "Well, I guess went through all that trouble, no sense in turning back now." Protip: Go fuck yourself. You'd be more likely to guarantee my purchase if it didn't take me fricking 2-8 business days waiting for your dumbass to email me back to in order to find out how much you want for your fucking product!
If my rant was anything to go by, I found it extremely hard to find the cheapest cameras. Shopping around doesn't work when cunts hide their prices behind email price quotes. Hell, I found one that actually expected me to phone in and get a quote. Too much effort. And the one I actually did email hasn't responded back in well over 3 weeks. This is the problem with requiring someone to put in a company name in order to receive a fucking product cost. If your vetting process requires a big-ass, reputable, Google-able company name to go into the request form, you fuck indies all over the world.
I believe I have everything I need to know to design a suit. I'll be going down to Ross Dress For Less, because I'm a cheap piece of shit, and I'll be looking to find a base for the suit. Once I have that, I'll be researching where the best places to put the markers are, and how many markers are necessary.
When the suit is complete, I'll compile a list of supplies and costs that I used to construct it, and instructions on how to position the markers on the suit.
I've been unsuccessful in finding cameras that, when purchased in bulk, rang up to under $5000. This is because only one site was willing to straight up just tell me their price. Others hid their prices from me. Google also failed to find me suitable substitutes for industry standard cameras. I will continue searching and report what I decide.
From talks I've read on forums, there's no way to rent a studio for under 10 grand. If, like me, you're looking for mocap anytime on the dirt-cheap, this is not going to be an option. If you're a middle-class prick with a couple grand to just blow whenever you feel like, or are a larger indie dev team and not some hopeless, near-destitute solo indie dev like me, the best options seemed to be universities that specialize in 3D animation, as they're usually equipped with such studios, and there's a chance they'll rent them out. However, you're probably looking at spending 12-30+ thousand dollars per session.
I've seen a few fairly good rigs done by indie teams. I'm talking about the studio rig, not the 3D model. Both teams bought an office and converted them into a studio, but I can't just waltz on down to the plaza and buy/rent an empty storefront, so I'm working on ways to set up my mocap in the middle of my apartment. That way there are no fees or other restrictions to go through just to have a studio to use. As per with the suit, I'll be going into full detail when I construct my studio with materials list and instructions.
I've neglected looking into software, as I already have 3DStudio Max, which fully supports mocap data. When it comes closer to being go time, I'll put more research effort into finding software that doesn't have to be rented, and costs under $1000.
My stated goal is to get mocap technology into the hands of indie devs for as absolutely cheap as possible. I will not be hoarding my plans and methods like everyone else. My goal is to create a DIY mocap set up tutorial and give my plans away for free, because I'm too nice to sell the plans/design.
I will be constructing a step by-step tutorial as I go.
The suit. As mentioned, I want this to be doable to even solo indies like me, so I'm going to be looking for the cheapest route, so I'm going down to Ross Dress For Less, which is essentially a thrift shop, to pick up the cheapest base I can find for a mocap suit.
Budgeting Goal: Under $30 for the full suit.
Note: This will not be a quick project. Due to budgeting restrictions, and other things I'm working on, I'll have to spread it out, especially when it comes to the cameras. It may be that I'll need to buy only a single camera a month. I'll try to get away with 3, but we'll see. I may need 4 after all.
Ok, sleeping with my bed fixer mat under the pad was a terrible idea. It's actually worse than my bed by quite a bit. It's firm, but not exactly intended to be slept on. It's intended to go under the mattress to stop it from sagging.
It's dense and doesn't have much give, or contour effect to it, but it has just enough give that it's worse than sleeping on my bed or on the floor. Every so often, I'd wake up with weird pressure points that ached, I'd have to change laying position, then go back to sleep. This happened all night long, and I got terrible sleep and a lot of lower back pain from it after just two nights.
So, now I've removed that, and will no longer be using it.
Extra note: There's a moisture barrier between my sheet and the pad I'm using. I was told that mattresses and foam wear out faster due to body sweat, which gets especially bad in the summer and on extra hot days. So I bought a moisture barrier to try and help the pad last longer. Didn't help my mattress last longer... but I've had the pad for a while now, and it's still good so far. Don't exactly have a control system to test whether or not the moisture barrier does anything, but eh. I'm not exactly made of money.
For the first time in I'm-not-sure-how-long, but definitely since December at the least, I've woken up almost completely fatigue-free.
What did I do?
I slept on the floor.
I was getting sick and damn tired of wasting my energy rotating around my heavy mattress only to get the same results over and over: waking up just as fatigued, if not more so, than when I went to bed. I kept muttering to myself "I swear I'd sleep better if I just slept on the floor." So last night, I did it.
I didn't sleep directly on the carpet, of course... I took the 2 inch pad I'd bought off my bed, as well as my bed sheets and set up on the floor that way. Naturally, sleeping on a 2 inch foam pad on the hard floor is far from very comfortable, so I still woke up with back pain, and all of my pillows suck so bad that even stacking two of them up will still leave them flat within minutes, so that's another issue with my sleep. But for the first time in so long, I have more energy. Not exactly get-up-and-go energy, but I don't feel like stopping the world and getting off for the rest of the day, and any improvement is still an improvement.
How do two pillows flatten out to less than the thickness of one pillow? No idea. They aren't even that old.
"For the best night's sleep in the whole wide world, visit MyPillow.com" Yeah, eat my ass... My MyPillow wore out to pancake-flatness in as little as 3 months. It was really nice for the first two weeks, but now my 12+ year old memory foam pillow is better than it, and it's just as flat. I bought a new memory foam pillow, but it didn't last much longer than MyPillow. Not entirely sure how my first foam pillow lasted so long... must have been a top quality one. Sadly, it has no tags. That or I cut them off and don't remember, so I have no way of buying another one.
I'm going to be buying one of these, though. https://onpurple.com/pillow And I'll let you know how it turns out. Let me check that price tag.
Jesus fucking Christ on a stick... a hundred bucks for a pillow? I really like their video, though. That thing looks amazing to sleep on. And that's considering the fact that I've tried every pillow kind there is. Polyester, feather (an itchy, pokey, uncomfortable nightmare), memory foam, foam chunks (that's what MyPillow supposedly is, from reviews I've read) cooling gel foam (it's bullshit. If they promise it stays cool using cooling gel, it's a lie. My "cooling" gel pillow ended up warmer than any of my other pillows, all using the exact same pillowcase. And it wore out in about a month) I've tried it all, and so far my first memory foam pillow was the best pillow I ever had. It lasted around 12 years before becoming unusable. And despite what you might imagine, it wasn't ultra hot. It might actually be foam latex. I don't know. I was a teenager when I got it, and I didn't really care about that kind of thing back then, because I never would have imagined I'd have to deal with poor sleep on a crap mattress/pillow combo.
So what I'm going to do is shove my mattress fixer under my pad and sleep on the floor. I'm also going to wait until I can afford a friggin hundred dollar pillow, and replace mine. My mattress fixer is an extendable mat made of regular foam blocks. They can be pushed together, or pulled away from each other to make the mat longer or shorter. My pad is 2 inches thick and is made of foam latex with holes that run through it so that it doesn't get super hot. (This information is for those who are suffering similarly, and want to try to follow along.)
Purple also makes a mattress, but like hell I can afford one of those... I'm also aware of the Dormeo, but they won't give me prices on their website, they don't seem to ship, and their closest store to me is around 400 miles away, so fuck them. I'll let you know how my plans and condition change as I start making moves to combat this.
For those of you who have been following me closely, you already know there's something wrong with me. For those who haven't, there's either something wrong with my body, or not having a good mattress for the last 7 years is finally have a serious effect on my health.
Regardless of what the cause is, the result is the same: I'm too fatigued to work on my games. You guys have only had a small taste of my issues. In my very last post, I spoke of logic and reasoning, and memory troubles. My example isn't even half of it. After living this way for 2 months, I can safely say that coding isn't a thing I'm going to be able to do. Programming with any form of script is entirely logic driven. You need to be able to think of other ways of going about something, and if you mess up, you need to have a mind sharp enough to figure it out.
Sharp is not a thing my mind has been consistently for a while. If it were any more blunt, it would be the head of a sledgehammer... Example: I was working on a small project last month, and it required glue. I went to the hardware store, picked up rubber cement, and began the long, tedious process of carefully brushing the glue on.
If you've never used rubber cement before, it uses a little, extremely inefficient brush and you paint it on.
I ended running out of glue before the project was finished, and as was headed back to the store I realized it would have been a hell of a lot faster to just buy spay adhesive. It's essentially the same thing, but takes a hell of a lot less effort to apply. This was 4 and a half days later. Considering how that went, I can already imagine trying to write in code.
But that doesn't mean I'm not up to making games. I've gotten a little of my creative drive back and I think I can get back into making games earlier than I expected to. It won't be my current project, the one I'd been showing off before my energy hit zero. That one requires me to be on a level of focus and mental sharpness that I haven't been on for around 3 years now. (Not to any predictable degree anyway.) It's required me to write logic and AI I've never tried before. It was a struggle even before December.
Instead, I bought RPG Maker MV, and I'll be trying to work on that. RPG Maker is... well... what the hell does it sound like it is? Lol. It's a program that allows for the construction of RPGs. (That's Role-Playing Game, not Rocket Propelled Grenade.) RPG Maker is designed to do all of the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is tell it how your game goes, and it takes care of the rest, with absolutely no mandatory knowledge of scripting.
This won't be a new project by any definition of the word. In 2003 I got RPG Maker and started screwing with the program. In 2007 I found that old project of mine and decided I was going to finish it for the hell of it. In 2008 I finished it.
It's called Savage. You can play it here >>>>PLAY IT<<<< but you need RPG Maker 2003 and the RPG RT. It's easy enough to find RPGM2k3. I think the download of my game also includes the RPG_RT installer. If not, here's the file. No guarantee it will work, and I don't think it can be played on MacOS, but there's little I can do about that. Try running it on a Windows XP virtual machine if it doesn't work.
Warning: It's shit. It was made 14 years ago. "Talented" isn't a word I'd use to describe myself at the time. I wouldn't even call it "meh". No, I'm serious, this is your last warning. The game is fucking awful. Do not play it. You won't enjoy it. It's a boring grindfest with no story. I'm not even trying to elicit sympathy, or use reverse psychology, or being unreasonably hard on myself. I don't even enjoy playing it. I couldn't even get my RPG fanatic best friend to play it for more than 15 minutes. You will not enjoy it.
In 2014, I decided I was going to redo the game on RPG Maker VX Ace, which was the newest RPG Maker at the time. It was going to receive a massive overhaul. But then GamerGate started and I got a little side tracked with the whole ordeal, and stopped working on it. In the beginning of 2016, I downloaded the trial to RPG Maker MV, which is now the newest version, and started migrating the game over. But then my trial ran out, I couldn't afford the full version because I had other things to get at the time, and I let the project go cold. I put off doing it because I didn't want my first serious release to be a remake. Last night, I found some of my old files and decided I'd buy the full version of RPG Maker MV. This morning, I realized it wouldn't be that hard to finish it, and I might be able to pull it off if my energy doesn't decline too far to do pixel art. So, not a new project. It's getting back into an old project that was a remake of an older project that was a remake or an even older project.
There's still the small problem of not wanting to have my first game be a remake... I don't know why I hate that thought so much, but it feels cheap what with all the fucking remakes, reboots, definitive editions and shit coming out. But I think since the game sucked so bad, a HEAVY ground-up rebuild can be justified. I still don't feel right about going this long without successfully finishing anything only to just release a remake of something I already did, but I'm still going to try.
My logic and reasoning skills have been way off since December 29th. Sometimes it's really hard to analyze something. Example: I went down to the store and bought pens because I had forgotten I already had pens, and didn't know where I had put them. I found my original pens in a fairly obvious place when I had more energy.
It took until I was waking up repeatedly throughout the night, multiple nights in a row to remember that my mattress is god awful. Once that was in the forefront of my mind, the gears finally started turning, and I came up with a theory: What if there's nothing wrong with me at all?
Of course there's something actually wrong with me, I'm at wit's end with how far my quality of life has deteriorated. But what I mean is, what if what's wrong with me has been my mattress all along?
In my current... lack of... brain.... shut up, I've forgotten how to words! You get what I'm trying to say! In my current state, it was easy to convince myself that there's been something wrong with me for years. Like I had some kind of medical issue. My energy has been slowly fading over time, and it hit the lowest point in my entire life December 29th, 2016.
But lately, my mind's gears and pistons have been pumping away. It's taken a few days to completely gather this idea, but here it is...
When was the last time I had a lot of energy? 2010. Ever since then, it's been steadily down hill. I had peaks and valleys along the way, but much like Twitter's popularity, it's been fluctuating in an ever downward direction, very slowly.
When was the point at which it got its worst? The morning of December 29th, 2016. I woke up and didn't have the energy to get out of bed for at least another 10 minutes. I was too weak to lift the weight of my own 139lbs twink body. When I finally was able to get up, I had so little strength, I nearly fell over due to being too weak to stand on one foot long enough to step over one of my cats. I haven been that weak since, but my amount of energy each day has diminished further since then, and my memory, creativity, and other important mental functions have degraded so badly that I'm starting to forget even the most basic things. IE: My computer's log-in password. It's been the same password for over a decade. Thankfully I've been able to remember really vital stuff, but for how long?
Is there anything at all that can coincide with my fading energy? Check this out.
When was the last time I had a lot of energy? 2010. It also happens that this was when I got my own room for the first time in my life. My own room meant my own bed, which meant moving from the bunk bed I'd slept on for over a decade to a larger mattress and box spring.
Ever since then, it's been steadily down hill. I had peaks and valleys along the way, but much like Twitter's popularity, it's been fluctuating in an ever downward direction, very slowly. It also happens that I've switched mattresses frequently ever since then, desperately hoping to find a better one. Just my luck, each time I've bought a mattress, new or used, it's been progressively worse than the previous one. In 2014 I saved up, went to a mattress store and bought one of their most expensive, thickest-padded mattresses. It was fantastic at first, but just after the factory's 2 month warrant expired, it wore out rapidly. It's the worst mattress I've ever had. I swear to god I'd sleep better of I just slept on the floor. I still have that mattress right now. Rotating it does nothing to help, I can't flip it over, because it's one-sided. I put a 2 inch foam pad on top and a mattress fixer under it, and I'm still getting the worst sleep of my life.
When was the point at which it got its worst? The morning of December 29th, 2016. On December 21st, 2016, I went up to visit my mom for Christmas. I visited for a whole week. While I stayed there, I used a guest mattress that was not unlike my bunk bed mattress. Even though I slept fantastically on it, I didn't find I had more energy in the morning. I returned home December 28th, 2016, and slept on my current mattress that night. When did my condition become the worst yet? The morning after going back to using my mattress again after a week using a different one.
Coincidence? Bullshit! That my mattress endeavors line up perfectly with the decline of my physical wellness is just coincidence is just as likely as a rock thrown at the Earth from the moon having the force of over 200 nuclear bombs.
You might be thinking... words... that I just forgot. God damn it. I had this in my head literally 2 seconds before I started typing this same paragraph...
Oh right! You might be thinking that given my propensity for logic and science I'd be able to draw a connection between all of my mattresses. And you'd be wrong. I am incredibly stupid.
But! Although it has taken me far too many agonizing years of hellish suffering to figure it out, I do think I may have finally pinpointed the problem all of my mattresses have shared, now that I've started to think about what made mom's guest mattress remind me so much of my old one. Softness. Every single time I went out to buy a mattress, I went looking for a softer, more comfortable mattress than my previous one. How well does that analysis hold? Well, I bought a highly soft pillow-top mattress. Softest mattress I've ever owned. I've never been more fatigued day in and day out in all my life. Not even high school, with my 60lbs backpack, and waking up at 6AM to get all the way over to school on time made me this fatigued.
Why did mom's guest mattress remind my of my bunk bed mattress? It was firm. My old bunk bed mattress was quite firm. But I was a dumb kid when I first got it, so I didn't know any better. I only realized how hard my mattress had been when I had pleuritis/pleurisy some time in 2009. I was in constant agony, and my bed was way too firm to sleep on, so I slept on the couch for two and a half weeks until the pain had finally subsided. Going back to my bunk bed after sleeping on the plush couch made me realize how firm it was. It felt like sleeping on concrete.
(That's hyperbole, of course, but it still felt like concrete.)
That's the exact same firmness my mom's guest mattress was. It was, for all intents and purposes, just like my bunk bed mattress, and a level of firmness not a single one of my mattresses after I gave up my bunk bed even came close to. And for those thinking it, no. It wasn't the same mattress. My bunk bed mattress was blue with pink roses all over it. The guest one was white with a golden sun embroidered on the side.
Armed with that knowledge.... I don't know what I'm going to do. Even if I could afford another new mattress, I have no way of transporting it home since I don't have a vehicle. And if I'm going to buy a new mattress for the 8th freakin time, I'm going to want to make sure it's of perfect firmness. So I'll need to be able to test it in person.
You know what's funny, though? The mattress place I bought hell's mattress from went out of business only shortly after I bought my mattress, so even if I had gotten their 5 year warranty, I would have been fucked anyway.
Have to doubt them going out of business was a coincidence, either. I'm not saying I'm responsible, but if my mattress is anything to go by, I'm surprised I didn't find their store burnt down instead.