Bet you thought I forgot or quit, huh? Bet you thought I wasn't going to be bringing this back up again.
Ok, first of all, I'm going to explain the absence of work on this particular project. Right from the start, I needed a special needle. "Professionals" said I needed either a ballpoint or stretch needle. I went all the way down to Walmart, a store I hate going to because they suck, in blustering summer heat, got a sunburn on my arms, picked up a ballpoint needle, it didn't work. Later I went all the way back down to Walmart, still in blistering summer heat, only to find they have no stretch needles. I've decided I'm done going shopping here. I'm tired of making the 12 mile round trip only to come home empty-handed. This place sucks.
Once I got the needle, by ordering online, it was then all matter of splitting the old, flawed seem, and removing it. Not hard to do, just time consuming. I had a foot and a half of janky, messed up seam to remove and I just didn't have the energy to put up with it.
One morning not all that long ago, my computer was having one of its long startups. It does this thing where the Starting Windows screen just kind of sits there for a long time. I usually go make breakfast and by the time I get done, it's finished, but not this time. Sometimes it takes extra long, and this was one of those times. I took the opportunity to split the seam with my seam ripper, and then set it aside for sewing, later. That took a lot of working up to, because every time I thought about going back to the sewing, I remembered sitting there, unjamming the machine over and over and over and just how frustrating it was. So I put off getting back into it.
Fast forward a little ways to today. Both a really long startup, and a really, really long update configuring process. Even though I had to do a little extra work for breakfast this morning, my computer was still in the boot-up phase. So I decided I'd install the new needle and give it a spin.
Found out my sewing machine is crap.
Not only is it made of brittle, Chinese plastic, you see that metal part in the above image that sticks way off to the right? You have to loosen that to get the needle out. There's a little screw on the end. But want to know the best part?
I was trying to get the new one in, and couldn't quite get it up in there. I thought maybe the screw was in the way a bit, so I loosened it more. Turns out, the way in which you install and remove needles, that little screw on the end, it what's holding the whole part on. Loosen it enough, and the whole thing just comes off.
Singer Brilliance.... yeah.... brilliant...
I miss the Husqvarna Viking Lilly.
Anyway, having it come off like that helped me figure out that the needle was getting caught and that's why it wasn't going in. After installing it, (and getting the piece back on without the needle falling out) that's the end of my troubles, right?
Wrong. In accordance with the laws of "Nothing Can Ever Be Easy" the stretch needle (which doesn't look even slightly different from a ballpoint, I might add) still doesn't work. It's by the same exact company and everything. It might be that the needle is just too big, and I need a smaller one, but since no one in the area sells them, and this is the only size I could find online, I'm out of luck. Unless I want to take another 39 mile walk to the big fabric store. But considering I can't be perfectly sure they'll even have what I'm looking for, I'm not going to risk it, especially not in 100 degree weather. It's been an exceptionally hot summer. That's what happens when you live where I live. If there's a super cold winter, it's followed directly by a super hot summer. Early this year, it snowed harder than it's ever snowed in my entire life, so I have a feeling it's going to be breaking 103 to 104 frequently, this summer.
39 miles in 100 degree weather, on foot? I may be tough, but I'm not invincible. That trip's going to have to wait until later this year. Or at the very least, until my mom moves back down here. (Turns out she hates where she moved to and is planning on returning. And we used to have this thing set up where I help her out with certain things in exchange for driving me places. I once loaned her $300 at the drop of a hat, because she broke down in the middle of nowhere and needed money to send her car in to the shop, and couldn't afford it.)
Anyway, there is some good news, though. I fiddled with the settings on the machine a little, and I figured out how to get it to stop slipping every other stitch. It may not have anything to do with the needle, and everything to do with how garbage this machine likely is. I want to get it replaced, but state-of-the-art machines are ball-bustingly expensive. And if I had the money to drop $3000 on a new machine, I wouldn't be having to make my own Mocap suit.
But if it turns out this thing is really as junk as it's making itself out to be, I'm going to have to replace it eventually, because I've got so many cool projects I want to do.
I've got this one Vasto Lorde Ichigo cosplay I want to do....
And I'm not going to be able to do it well if this is a trend on all fabrics with this machine.
So I got it to stop slipping as many stitches. It does still miss some, but the seam does appear to still be strong and stretchy, and that's all I need. I doubt it's going to hold for long, but that doesn't matter. All I need, for the moment, is a prototype so I know where to put the markers, and so I can start testing cameras and finding some tracking software. I just hope I'll be able to do that part, or all I've managed to do is waste a bunch of time and money.
I don't need to get into 3D right now, but I do need to be able to motion capture as cheaply as possible if I'm going to do 3D at all. I hate 2D animation, I dread 3D animation. It's just too easy to screw up, and it will look stiff and poorly made unless you're willing to spend a lot of time puppeteering. I can't spend that much time working on one thing over and over, so that's not for me.
Hence the project. Anyway, my hope is little by little to get this suit sewn up. Unless something important comes up while finishing this, (like I can't do it for whatever reason and have to suck it up and buy a unitard) I probably won't be posting another update until I get finished with that step.
That might take some time, as this is taking a back seat to my current game project.
Somewhere in my last post, I made a rather large show of complaining my ass off about how stupid it is to try and challenge yourself to only use a specific set of colors, or to use few colors, etc.
Frankly, I find it to be a waste of time. I'm pretty sure you can get the same effect with Photoshop filters. I don't need to prove to myself I can limit colors for a project and still do well.
To me, limited colors are a weak excuse to feel like you did something tough. "Yeah, I conquered a challenge! I pretended like I didn't have a full box of crayons!" Outside once or twice, or really crippling color limits, like making an image with a hard limit of just 3 colors total, selected totally at random via a computer randomizer, it's pointless to me, and I don't consider it an accomplishment.
In the post, I mentioned that I prefer to set challenges that actually make things tough. Limited colors don't leave me wondering "How will I do it? Can I even do it?" With limited colors, that answer is "Yes, I can. It's not even question at this point." It doesn't even take creativity to do it. Just skill and experience.
But I figured I'd put my money where my mouth is and show how I tend to challenge myself in ways I deem to be worthy.
For my slightly ego-stroking game about a character who was once me, I've set the following challenges:
1. No Spikes
Ever since Sonic the Hedgehog, spikes have been a go to for game developers wanting environmental hazards in their game, both indie and AAA. I'm not exaggerating when I say there are likely thousands of games out there, maybe even tens of thousands, in which the most common environmental hazard is a spike of some kind. Sure, Sonic didn't invent it, but I guarantee you he was the one who cemented it as the gaming industry's biggest cliche.
No spikes. Instead, I have to be creative with my environmental hazards.
2. No Inexplicable Floating Platforms
This one may not seem very tough at a glance, really all I have to do is show how they attach to the environment somehow, or give them a means by which they are suspended in open air, but it will require some tricky level design to make sure there are zero platforms that float in the air without some reason or method.
I'm also not allowed to take the easy way out by putting magic levitating platforms in all over the place. The platforms have to fit the level's themes. So, for example, no crystal powered floating platforms in the streets of downtown, modern LA, and no jet/propeller powered floating platforms in medieval Europe.
3. No Bottomless Pits
I think the bottomless pit trap is a cop out. Character doesn't die of fall damage, but will die if you fall down a bottomless pit trap. Sonic: no fall damage, but several levels from first all the way up to modern all have bottomless pits to die in. Mario: Only game he suffers fall damage in is in Super Mario 64, and yet the bottomless pit has been a staple from the start. Crash Bandicoot, Super Smash Bros, Castlevania, Megaman, Earthworm Jim... all these games have the character jump from any height they like, and it doesn't kill them, but fall down a pit trap and you die instantly. It makes no sense, and it's kind of lazy.
4. Complete Avoidance Of The Water Level Cliche
That's right, I have set myself a challenge to do without an industry golden staple: the water level. It wouldn't be much of a difficult anyway, because my character's semi-aquatic and can actually breathe underwater. It would be more of a chore. Unless you're going to be Sonic the Hedgehog about it and make it so drowning is a thing, water levels just get really frustrating. I think the classic Sonic games and Mario Bros 3 are the only games that ever did water levels right. Sonic, because part of the challenge is drowning (the drowning alarm sound still haunts me...), and Mario 3 because not all of it is under water.
5. No Weird Levels
The video game industry is full of weird environments. I'm going to pick on a few of my favorites here, so keep in mind these are all games I actually really like. First off Mario Bros 3 and Pipe Land. What purpose does Pipe Land serve? Who built a sprawling landscape of pipes, and why?
Earthworm Jim 2 and Iso 9000. It's a level built entirely on piles of paper. I know the game's not exactly known for making a lot of sense, most of the rest of the game is at least grounded in reality, so why a world made of paper piles?
Zelda Ocarina of Time and Jabu Jabu's Belly. Frankly, this game's water level is a perfect example of why I'm taking challenge 4, but I think the inside Jabu Jabu stage of the game is far too perfect an example of "Weird Levels". Why is the digestive track of poor Jabu shaped that way? And who thought a level inside a giant fish was a good idea? (I'm well aware that Turtle Land from Mario Land 2 is even worse. You go inside a giant turtle, and then inside the giant turtle is a giant whale, which you also go into.)
I'm not allowed to do anything that doesn't make at least a little sense. Any level in the game has to be something you'd go "Ok, I can see why this place exists."
6. No Cliche Enemies
This means no zombies, no skeletons, no sine wave enemies, no goblins, no ninjas, no spiders, no bats, no dragons (but that's mostly something I do out of principle, due to being one of the most cliche), no spoopy ghosts, and no Russians.
7. No Cut Scenes
The entire game has to be conveyed without the use of a single major cut scene. Maybe a cinematic at the beginning, and a cinematic at the end just to establish and close the story, but I want the middle to be pristine.
8. NO HANDHOLDING
The entire game has to be totally hands-off. Players must be allowed to make mistakes, and solve puzzles and make it through the game without a tutorial and without a single line of text. You want challenge? It doesn't get much more difficult than the combination of 7 and 8.
Yeah, I could take the weak approach and limit the colors I'm allowed to use, or instead I could challenge myself with a real test of creativity and ability. Some of these, especially 1 and 2, I don't know if I'll even be able to live up to. And that's what makes these challenges worthy of me taking them. There has to be some level of doubt in my mind, and it takes a lot more effort to avoid using a specific element than just avoiding some colors.
I hope other game developers and pixel artists see this and learn something. A challenge has to take effort, otherwise it's a waste of time. The tougher the challenge, the more recognition you'll get for even attempting it, first of all, and even more so for completing it.
Everyone in the world is familiar with the man who jumped the Grand Canyon, but no one has ever heard of the guy who drew a picture without the use of the color blue, or wrote a book without using the letter 'E'. (The second one is a real thing. Look it up.)
Before I go into it.... somehow I got almost 400 page views yesterday, but only 8 unique visitors.
Either I got 1 person visiting nearly 400 times, 8 people visiting roughly 50 times, a bot landed on my blog and spazzed out, or something else happened.
I thought it was because the critic I mentioned previously had done that LP. Nope. In fact, I swung by her Twitch to see. Turns out she lied through her teeth about being a game critic and wussed out of LPing my game. She has a grand total of.... <drum roll here> two whole videos, neither of which are games I've even played, let alone worked on. So it couldn't have been related to her.
Not a clue in hell what to make of the page view to unique visitor ratio on the 29th. Just found it interesting.
Anyway, enough suspense. Here it is.
The newer one (above) is a little too slow for the beat. Instead it has a certain unintended bravado that is best accompanied by the Title Screen/Stage 09 music from Cho Aniki Legend of the Holy Protein.
Yes, "Holy Protein" is a euphemism... The game is a softcore homoerotic, side-scrolling shooter. And when I say "homoerotic", I mean what the scouter says about its homoerotic level is that it's well over 9000. It's about two scantily dressed, heavily muscular men who gyrate their hips until they fire "holy protein" out of holes in their skulls at other muscular men with little clothing.
Japan is weird.
I'm sorry this one took so long. As I've mentioned multiple times on this blog: I hate animating. I'm just not able to work on the same thing over and over. So I'd do maybe a frame, or half a frame, and then do something else, and maybe come back later and do a negligible amount of work. In essence, I did about half a frame a day, except for the last two. Those I did in full on the same day.
Another large part of why it took so long was his tail... which I'm only just noticing is actually really cute the way he flip-flops it as he walks. At first, I just had it kind of bounce up and down while he walked. It didn't look good. Then I tried having it straighten and curl a little as he walked, and that looked even worse. Finally, I took a page from an old Guilmon sprite sheet I had. When Guilmon ran in Digimon Battle Spirit, his tail would swing from side to side following his contacting leg. (Basically, his tail would swing back and forth to avoid kicking his own tail as he walked.)
I really liked how it looked, and at first I emulated it as closely as my character's tail would allow me to. (His name is Bastendorf, which is why I don't refer to him by name. I may go into why this character and I have the same name at the bottom of this post, but for now....)
The animation just didn't look right, though. Guilmon's Digimon Battle Spirit sprite is old to say the least. The swing of his tail is stiff and didn't look good on my character. I had to fiddle with the sway of the tail until it looked more natural and graceful. I did this by adding easing to his tail sway motion. And it took so god damn long to manage a perfect loop with easing in only 8 frames. Pretty sure it took at least two hours. Long enough to get through 4 videos, each 30 minutes long. (I listen to podcasts while I work, sometimes)
For those who aren't familiar with the jargon of animation, essentially what I did was make it so that there's a brief frame on either end where the bulkier area of his tail changes direction, and the less heavy, less dense, last few inches of his tail gets momentarily left behind in the motion. It'd be like allowing your wrist to hang limp while waving your arm. Your arm will move normally, but your hand will struggle to keep up, as it's still subject to momentum, even though the direction has changed. In a nutshell: An object in motion stays in motion. He would swing his tail the other way, and the latter portion of his tail would briefly remain in motion.
Pixel art, an animation lesson, and physics lesson all in the same post. I'm actually kind of proud I managed that.
Doing the walking animation a piece at a time it actually how I did the older one. It seems to work really well for me. Because it allows me to animate without sitting there working for hours, doing much the same thing over and over.
I've decided I'm going to split this post in to two parts. Maybe even 3 if I remember to explain why I have a character with my same name. I've done this because this part is a little unrelated to the above. You can quit here if you only care about the sprite. The rest will be about the prospect of Kickstarting the game.
Onto the meat.
I've been thinking quite a bit about what I'd offer if I did a Kickstarter/GoFundMe/Patreon. Is it only Kickstarter that has the donation reward tier system? Now I have to check.
Ok, I knew Patreon is a constant donation thing already. So rather than a pool, it's more like a port you pump funds into. You're a patron, rather than a donor. GoFundMe doesn't seem to allow a reward system, so fuck that. I may end up using Kickstarter or Patreon, because I might be able to do a donation tier reward thing with Patreon. I'm sure as hell not going to use one where I ask for money without giving out thank you gifts.
Anyway, I've been thinking about that. This is what I've come up with so far, in terms of rewards. (Red text is my commentary.)
$1 – Take pride in knowing you contributed, however small, to something.
It's a dollar. What do you expect? Not sure if Kickstarter even allows 1 dollar donations, but in case it does, I do want to at least acknowledge the 1 dollar donations in some way.
$5 – Officially consider yourself pretty rad, plus get a generalized, impersonal credit in the game's credits.
Ok, I realize these first two aren't exactly rewards. But why should people expect something special for donating the bare minimum? A five spot is what you give to those bell-ringing Santas around Christmas time so you can feel like you at least made a difference. It's hardly worth more than a thanks.
$20 – One random desktop wallpaper related to the game, plus your name in the credits.
Honestly, I don't know if people really care about desktop wallpapers, but $20 is starting to approach a point where it's no longer fair to not give out actual rewards. I've seen Let's Play channels where they have a wallpaper of their favorite game. I figured that if people are willing to put Minecraft on their desktop, then maybe potential fans of my game will want to do the same.
$50 – All desktop wallpapers related to the game, and instead of a lame entry in the credits screen, a 32x32 pixel-art portrait of you will appear somewhere in the game.
When you're poor like me, $50 is a lot of money. Donators of this tier deserve more recognition than previous. 50 is one of those amounts of money you put on something big like a bet between friends, or a lottery ticket. It's not enough money to help much on its own, but it's worth more than a text-credit and the equivalent of a gift card. (Let's face it. A gift card is something you give someone when you feel obligated to get them a gift, but don't give enough of a shit about them to give them something meaningful. And that's kind of what the desktop wallpaper represents. I mean, at least I'm not pretending like it's a big deal, right?)
$100 – An exclusive desktop wallpaper reserved only for $100+ donors, with your name on it. Plus all previous rewards.
A hundred is something you put on a more serious bet, or a dare. It's also a universally recognized number milestone. So it deserves something a little more special. Since I don't run any special VIP Accessible forums or anything, all I can really offer is a more special desktop background at this tier. But don't worry, from here on out, the lame prizes die off pretty quick. It's not simply images you put on your desktop all the way down the list.
$250 – Be part of the beta testing phase, get an official poster related to the game, and an optional 250+ donor t-shirt, plus previous tier rewards, and the game is completely free to you, including all potential future expansion packs, etc.
I'm not perfectly sure if I can do official posters and t-shirts, I'm just an indie dev, but I thought it would be cool to try out. I'd definitely look into it before launching the Kickstarter, but if not, the rest of this donor tier should make up for it.
Some people like to beta test games. I don't know why, but that seems to be a fairly popular reward. But more than that, I think if you donate this much money, you've earned the game. Why make people who donate this much also buy the game? It hardly seems fair to me.
I don't like DLC, but I do like expansion packs. They usually add to the game and make it better. Those, if I do make them for this game, would also be free for this level of contribution.
$500 – All previous rewards, but instead of a 2D portrait of yourself, a large, 100px, stone statue of yourself will appear in the game, you'll receive an exclusive desktop wallpaper reserved only for $500+ donors, and physical copy of Bastendorf's (the character) jacket, hand sewn by me, along with a physical sketch of one of the characters of your choosing, drawn by me.
Unless you're middle class and above, this kind of money isn't a joke. You don't just casually say "Oh yeah, I lost $500. No big deal. You catch last night's game?" People who donate this much money deserve cool prizes. This is like the upper tier prizes on those school fundraisers when you were a kid.
I know I'm not someone important or special. I absolutely get that. I don't want you to think the "drawn by me" part is ego related. It's more that I think it would be more meaningful if I did it myself, rather than getting someone else to do it. I'm multi-talented, so I think at this level, I could put some of my other skills to use as a reward. So I'm offering a drawing as well as making use of my fiber arts skill.
$1000 – An exclusive, completely unique wallpaper that no one, not even other similar-tier donors can have, plus all previous rewards, except instead of a statue of stone, you get one of gold that will appear in the game. You can also receive in the mail a 6 inch main character figurine hand made by me, along with a flash drive full of assets that don't quite make it to the game that would otherwise go completely unseen, and exclusive video time-lapses of me working on in-game assets, and instead of just 1 sketch, you'll receive 3 greyscale drawings related to the game.
A thousand dollars is something I've only had a total of three times in my life. This is why the reward scales so much between this tier and the last. Each 1000+ donor gets their wallpaper, completely unique from not only lower tier backgrounds, but also from each other. No image will be alike, at this level.
One of my many talents is sculpting. I happen to have special model-maker's clay, and some experience die casting and mold making. For this tier, most of the rewards are optional, but at this point you deserve a fairly big show of my gratitude. That's why I would make an effort to hand craft a figure of the game's main character for you to have.
I also think at a thousand dollars, you deserve something most people never get to see regarding games: failed, removed, discarded, and beta assets. Some games come with commentary on the development, as well. Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance had that kind of thing in there. But rather than just blither pointlessly about the game, and the process behind it, my goal would be to show you some of the design phase in full.
$2000 – All previous rewards, except instead of a statue of gold, you get one of diamond that will appear in the game, that will be larger than the others. In addition to the 6 inch figure, you also get a life-sized Bastendorf decorative figure, also hand made by me, and the jacket will have your name (or other words) embroidered onto it. Plus, included in the flashdrive will be a video time-lapse of the creation process involved in making your totally unique diamond statue credit. All 3 greyscale drawings will be your choice of image (within limitations), and will be inked.
Yeah, 2000 isn't exactly a milestone level above the previous tier, but I'm a nobody so I didn't exactly aim for the kind of reward targets Mighty Number 9 had up. However, I still think that if you're insane enough to donate this much money to help me, a total nobody, out with this project, you deserve something truly cool. Something that would really show my gratitude. But I'm not special enough to do a "dinner with Keiji Inafune" type reward. "Oh boy, you get to spend $2000 dollars to have lunch with a total loser/nobody! #Excite!"
Yeah, I can't get away with doing that. But what I can do is do something no other indie dev would do. Bear in mind that the character of the game is only 7 years old, so life-sized would only be couple feet tall. Maybe 3 and a half feet to 4 feet. I've honestly never bothered to calculate his height.
$5000 – All previous rewards, except instead of a statue of diamond, you get an entire section of the game dedicated to you, your own Chris Houlihan room. Your 6 inch figure could be unique from the previous versions, and in addition to the life-sized figure and the embroidered jacket, you can also receive a life-sized, cosplay replica of whichever one of Bastendorf's main swords you wish to have, also handcrafted by me. Plus, included in the flashdrive will be a time-lapse of the creation process involved in making your in-game credit reward and step-by-step progressive photos of your sword as it's being made. You will also get a large, hand-drawn, colored image in addition to the 3 greyscale ones.
I can already hear my readers: "You actually think anyone will contribute this much to someone who has never really published a game before now?" No, I don't. I fully expect the top 4 reward tiers will go entirely untouched. Realistically, I think all but the first 3 will go totally unclaimed.
This isn't done expecting people will contribute five thousand dollars. This is done because I want to have the opportunity to do something genuinely cool for anyone with the testicular fortitude to spend this much money to help out. Is it likely to happen? Hell no. Could it still happen? Absolutely. And on the off chance that it does, I want to be able to show my love and appreciation to that person in a way no one else would for their supporters.
Years ago, Atari held a contest related to their games called SwordQuest. The prize was real life treasure. It was never confirmed if it was genuine stuff, but among the treasures were a sword and a crown made of real gems and real gold. This was the contest all other contests hoped to live up to. Sadly, it fell apart and the treasure is rumored to have been kept by someone from Atari.
That's the kind of developer I am. Er, not the kind that promises fantastic rewards only to renege on them later. "Hey, thanks for the million dollars! Here's a half finished game! Fuck you, I'm off to live like a god!" Rather, I'm the kind of dev who would absolutely love doing grandiose things for his fans and supporters.
Like for example, let's say I were the developer behind Twisted Metal. I would start a massive tournament and commission an auto company to build maybe Sweet Tooth's van or something like that, and offer that as the grand prize.
Or Halo. I'd rent out a large building and host a Halo-themed laser tag tournament. Or even a just-for-fun laser tag arena.
The larger reward tiers aren't blind arrogance, but more like the 200,000 ticket prizes at an arcade. There's every reasonable expectation no one will ever get them, but they're there.
I want to do cool things for people, but I'm not going to do it for peanuts. Especially considering how much time and effort that it would take to make something like a life-sized statue of my character. So I wouldn't be willing to push the reward down to a lower tier. If you want the show of gratitude, you'd have to earn that gratitude. Plus, knowing there's a chance, however slim, that I might get to do something cool like that for someone is exhilarating.
Anyway, the reason I chose to share the rewards I thought up when I'm not even sure if I can finish this game enough to go to a Kickstarter or not, is to leave it open for suggestions. I'm fully aware some of the lower tier rewards are kind of shit, and that's why I'm open to suggestion.
Still here? Damn you are dedicated if you read up til now.
Well, as promised, here it is: Why the character and I share the same. It gets a little more NSFW beyond this point, and kind of TMI. I'm going to explain it fully.
It's not something I make obvious, but also not something I make much of an effort to hide: I'm a furry degenerate. I've been a furry degenerate between 11 to 14 years.
Good fucking god I've been at this a long time...
Anyway, I was a horny, teenage furfag trying to define himself and his fursona. I heard there was porn on SecondLife, so I decided I'd sign up. While I was still a frequent player, I learned to build, and built my own avatar. SecondLife allows for players to build virtual skins to wear over the top of the default avatar. Naturally, furries figured out how to make themselves into anthropomorphic animals by making skins and accessories for their avatars. I picked up that skill.
Ever since I was a small boy, I've felt a love for dragons that went beyond that of any other animal. If there was one creature I adored most of all, it was dragons by orders of magnitude. Naturally, when I grew up, that adoration only grew stronger and stronger. When I became a furry, naturally the animal I loved more than any other animal, real or mythical, became the foundation for my fursona. For the normies, "fursona" is a portmanteau of "furry" and "persona".
After years of work, I finally defined my fursona. I was a blue dragon. The more I started to build the details of this creature that I played, the more invested in it I became. Eventually my fursona started getting a story. I was developing an interest in weapons at the time, and I played with giving my avatar weapons as a kind of accessory. Eventually I settled on a sword. I think that was the first trait about my fursona that was totally separate from the real life me.
There were now 3 Bastendorfs. The irl Bastendorf, the fursona played by the irl Bastendorf, and a character who was starting to develop. I started to try to explain and rationalize why my fursona was a swordsman even though I myself love blunt weapons more. Slowly, a story began to form. I would toy with this story in my head when I was slacking off in class. Eventually, as I worked out the story, Bastendorf the character started to develop a different personality to my own.
The more his personality developed, the more invested in him and his story I became, and the more I developed him. Over time, there became a very big difference in the furry who is Bastendorf and the character who is Bastendorf, though he still has my name, and I still use his appearance as my fursona. Or rather, he still has my name and takes the physical appearance of my fursona. It's a little complicated, and tough to explain.
You can kind of think of it like Tim Allen and Tim Taylor. Tim Allen clearly plays Tim Taylor, but Tim the actor is different from Tim the character. One runs a tool show, the other is a comedian. And that's how it is with me. Same name, but one's an evil-slaying swordsman, the other is a computer nerd. This is why I tend not to refer to him by name despite the fact that he has a name. It's to keep down the confusion. As can be easily seen, the blog is also named after me. New visitors would get really mixed up.
It would be like if Zelda Williams became the voice actor for Princess Zelda and someone walked in on a conversation about both the character of Zelda, and her hypothetical VA, Zelda Williams.
There's a reason the character is two decades younger than me, though. I wanted to begin at the beginning of his adventures, and his adventures begin when he's 7. There is significance to that age, but this post is long enough, and it will be revealed in the game, so I might as well not go into it here.
I think that about wraps up a post that's going to take way too long to proofread. If you want to see the evolution of my fursona's appearance and the story behind it, that's all here: The Evolution of a Fursona And Character.
All that movement, all that energy, all that character, just 4 frames.
It's really too bad I absolutely hate animating. Avo only knows what untapped potential I could have if I could get over the fact that animating is so dull and tiresome...
I may post one of his locomotive animations if I end up particularly proud of how they turn out, so either this, his walking, or running animation will be all you get until I have an environment set up at the least.
See, the plan is to hopefully set up a GoFundMe or Patreon page for the game, that way I can crowd fund an animator at my skill level to help me out some on the animating, if it gets to the point of needing to split the burden, and I need something appealing for people to see. I'd totally fund the animator myself, if I could afford one. Last time I hired a budget animator, it went terribly.
Animator: "What do you need?"
Me: "Nothing special. Here are all the character elements, just give him some ambient movement. I'm not too picky on this one, just as long as it looks good"
Animator: "Sure, no problem. $90, and I want all of it up front. I do offer unlimited free adjustments, though."
(I of course paid him in full, because he had a fantastic portfolio. 2 days later, he comes back with the finished product.)
Me: "That looks great! Only issue with it is that you left out his hoodie strings. You didn't even put them in the file."
Animator: "Oh, sorry. No one will notice, so they're not that important."
Me: "Well, the only issue is that he's a 400px-tall sprite, and you can clearly see the holes the strings were meant to come out of. I included them with his assets, I'd like for them to be used, please."
Animator: "Well, they're an insignificant detail, what do you expect me to do with them?"
Me: "Just make em sway like loose strings would... that'll be fine. They don't even need to move much. I'm not too picky about it, I'd just like for them to be there."
(Next was the walking animation, and again there was nothing specific I was looking for. I just told him to make the character walk. Again, $90 up front, and again 2 days to complete.)
Me: "I like it, but he's sort of just swinging his legs. He needs to pick up his knees just a little more. Also one arm hyper extends while swinging, but not by much, so it's nothing more than a small tweak. Other than that, it's perfect, and I love it!"
Animator: "All the time with these adjustments! Why don't you just tell me exactly what you want ahead of time so I don't have to waste time fixing it making adjustments later!?"
Yeah, he just exploded on me for taking advantage of his unlimited free adjustments to fix mistakes in his animations, and seemed to expect me to have a list of details to things such as subtly moving in an idle animation, and a universal walking animation, all things his portfolio covered as well, so it's not like he'd never done it before.
I met his demands for the proceeding animation, made a list of what I wanted, paid for it, and I got screwed. He posted a partially finished jumping animation something he explained was pre-emptive of having to adjust the full animation if I had changes to make. I asked if he could do it over, because I didn't like it, and even offered to pay extra and give examples. He completely stopped responding. I even gave him two months in case he was busy with something else or just needed more time, checking in every so often. Nothing. He ran off with my money.
I'm not exactly wealthy. In fact, I'm practically living in poverty. I have little in the way of furniture because even something like a $300 couch would be all I'd be able to buy for the whole month. (I did mention it would look like I'm squatting here.)
My only options are A: do it myself. Or B: hire someone who probably charges a lot of money.
If I do it myself, it will take a long time, and run the risk of killing my interest in the project.
If I hire someone else, I'll need help funding it, otherwise I'll either be buying one animation from them per month, or I just flat won't be able to afford someone who can match the ability shown above. The funding money will also go into things like music, because I can't compose worth a damn, and musicians also usually charge around $200-$500 per track. And believe me when I say I've been screwed by budget musicians, too.
I even had one composer agree to do a free trial because he had no portfolio. He was recommended to me by another guy who was quite talented and who I'd worked with a few times at that point. My regular had been mentoring this new guy, so he talking him into a free test trial with me. The agreement was, if I liked the music, I'd pay for them and hire him, and he charged as little as $30 per track. If I didn't like it, it was free. He asked what I wanted, I told him I wanted something heroic sounding, with trumpets. When he asked what I meant, I linked him this: 3D Dot Game Heroes - Advancing Along The Coast as it was the best example I could think of, and this guy didn't speak English.
I had to translate to and from French just to communicate with him, and I had no idea how to explain the concept in a way he'd understand, and wouldn't be broken through translation software. So I linked him the track as an example and he assured me he understood what I meant and that he could pull it off, and offered 2 tracks that fell under the "free trial" agreement.
What I got back sounded like a computer ate up sheet music, got violently ill, and vomited back the notes, and this guy looked at the notes on the floor, and used that arrangement to produce midi files which he then sent to me. A friend of mine, who was beside me when I opened the files for the first time, made the best comment: "That's supposed to be music? It sounds like little more than noise."
There was no melody. It was just notes. 'Noise' was an apt description. But it gets better. When I politely told him I couldn't use them and wasn't interested in working with him, not only did he renege on the free trial agreement, he also demanded the same asking price of his professional mentor: $120 for 2 minutes of music. He wanted the same amount that a talented musician asked for, for 40 seconds of ear-bleeding noise, explaining that he wanted to be compensated for his "hard work", and completely ignored the fact that he agreed that if I didn't like them, we'd part ways and I'd suffer no costs. I honestly wish I'd hung on to those files to show you just how bad they were... They had to be witnessed to be believed.
But this guy bugged me for a month afterwards, looking for the cash he demanded. Honest to god that was the only time I've refused to pay for something I asked for. I make a point to pay in full for the time that goes into work done for me, even if I don't like what I get, or can't use it. It takes a high level of unusable crap for me to refuse compensation, even beyond the agreement we had.
As you can see, this is my dilemma: expense. I have run into some talented budget musicians, and they've gotten every penny I've ever owed (some even just taking my money and giving me nothing in return) but none of them really understood the concept of a "memorable, strong melody" despite numerous examples. I'm never not equipped with examples...
That is why I need help. To afford to hire people with the skill I'm looking for, and ones with work ethics. Tired of dickbags running off with my money...
So to make sure I get the funding required, I need to have something tangible. However, at the same time, I can't accept money and then cancel the project. And that's the part that makes me hesitate to go forward with this. I don't want to take money if I can't commit.
Yes, I know... I don't need to be reminded that people donated to me on Patreon for a game I promised, and it got nowhere. I'm not trying to hide that fact. I'll be open and honest about it.
But that's how I'm different from every other failed developer who took money from people, failed, and didn't refund them: I haven't touched that money. Every last dime is still sitting in my Patreon account, waiting for me to return to that game.
(It may end up going to this game, but this game will be better than that one was turning out by a long shot, so I'm sure no one will mind. It's not like it was a large sum of money anyway. It was, like, $14 from 7 people total. I've forbidden myself from spending much time looking at it, so it could be $14, or $17, I can't remember. I haven't seen it in over a year. I could check, but looking at it makes me feel guilty, so I tend to avoid it. I've also spoken to each of them and they said they wouldn't be mad if I used their money on a different game, so long as I'm not pocketing it.)
Anyway, I'm doing too much rambling, now, and not enough working, so... I'm going to end it here. I could go on and on about things I often think about when a project is on my workbench, but my game isn't going to develop itself, and the more time I spend ranting and expressing concerns for it, the less time I have in the day, today, to actually make any real progress.
Since it was part of my last post, it's been on my mind since yesterday.
he(Right click on it and click View Image to see the full view.)
This is now one of my most favorite images for a lot of reasons, but primarily because it shows both the evolution of a character and an artist together. However, when I showed this to a friend just now, he picked out the ones he liked the most, and it made me realize there's even more to this image than I thought.
Not only does it paint a picture of growth, it also paints one of struggle.
When I first started game development in 2003, I had been under the impression that I was waiting for everything to become clear to me. By way of reinforcement, I was mislead by teachers to believe that I'd suddenly see the light and start drawing and developing games like a pro as soon as I got to college. I was waiting for that day to come instead of working towards that goal. "Just take it when you get to college. You'll learn so much more there." I believed the lie...
It wasn't until high school that I started to realize I was wasting my time and college was no different from any other grade level, just harder, and that's when I dug in for myself.
The first few years, the character above didn't exist. I didn't have access to the internet at home, hell, no one did. I had no idea how it worked. My first introduction to the internet was only three years prior, in middle school, and my first time getting totally unsupervised use was a year after, for some dumb school assignment. And that's when I accidentally discovered there was porn on the internet. That was the greatest half hour of my 12 year old life....
Ahem... as I was saying... I didn't have internet, and I didn't know how to use it as well as I do now. So what I did was grab images from a bunch of NES classics off fan sites that had them posted. Namely Super Mario 1 and 3, and Kirby's Adventure, put them on some 3.5 Floppy disks (yes, I had 3.5 floppies in 2003, and I had a computer that still took them, and so did my school) and saved them to take home. For the first year of high school, I practiced at home on Game Maker 6, badly imitating NES sprites as best I could... on MS Paint... the old one... with only 3 undos. I eventually moved on to Sega Genesis sprites. In my Junior year, I had a laptop and was told about RPG Maker 2003 and iDraw, which was a step up from MS Paint.
At about 2008, the character above was starting to take form for the first time, and I had learned to shade by practicing drawing with a mouse in GIMP.
I didn't have much of a style, and the character was still mostly under development at the time, so when next I drew him, I went back into a fully black outline, (as was how I drew back then), and used a lot more color, sticking more to his actual design and to less how I wanted him to look.
Actually, the drawing above comes sometime between the second and third sprites, but I still had more on an idea of how I wanted him. You can tell because his earlier design didn't have a green jaw. The green, after it was added, stopped just at the end of his neck.
In 2009, I went back to his old palette, because I liked it better. I was still struggling with how to do away with the outline back then. But I was learning how to make it stand out much less.
Half way through making the sprite sheet for the 4th one, the character underwent a massive physical change. There actually exists a previous version of that one.
Towards the end of 2009, you can actually see that I started to dabble with ways of getting rid of the outline. The sprite, however, was ugly, and after doing quite a few frames of animation for it, I eventually ditched it. Surprisingly, that was one of my more ambitious projects at the time.
2010 was when I explored the possibility of doing an RPG with the character instead of a platformer, which all but the first sprite on the list would have been. As you can see, I lapsed back into my old ways with the outline. I was stuck in this mindset that the way I was doing things was the only way to do things, but I was never able to figure out why other, better sprite artists were able to do so much better than me. It was a really brutal position to be in.
2011 was a step forward for me. I was going to get the game done. I'd even won a concept contest and was set to collab with someone. But in the middle of the project, he vanished, his Youtube channel when completely dormant, and he stopped responding to me. He posted one more video after that, and was never seen nor heard from again.
The latter 2011 one was an attempt at doing my character in more HD than ever before. It's clear just by looking at it that I was kind of starting to get the hang of spriting, but still had no real idea of how to utilize shading properly.
2012, the big one, was just for fun. It was my attempt at doing a super detailed sprite, and also to practice pixel art in GIMP so I could stop relying on iDraw. He was never meant to be so muscular. But I started with his chest, and just started adding details where I thought it would look the best. When the torso was done, he looked really toned and muscular, and really hot, so I ran with it and made the rest of him muscular to match his torso. That was once my magnum opus... It's has an enormous impact on not only his my skill, but also on his design.
Surprisingly, I still didn't get it at the time. I didn't understand why the 2012 giant sprite looked so good, and I lapsed back into the style of the second one from 2011. I wish I could show you the transition, but I didn't draw him in that time, so it happened with other sprites, some of which I don't have any more. I deleted them due to being inferior or unnecessary.
2013 was the first version of him done in Photoshop, and was based heavily on the giant one that came before it. Shocker, I still didn't really get why it looked good. I had managed to break free of the rigid ideas I had of doing sprites, but I still wasn't quite there, yet. But I proved to myself that I could easily do it again if I wanted to, so there had at least been progress.
In 2015, I took the same design and condensed it down further, probably because he just didn't look young enough, still. By then I had a handle on my new style, but still had more growth to under go, even though I didn't realize it.
After cancelling work on the project for an 11th time, I started to get things I hadn't gotten before. I started to understand things that I had been blind to for 9 years.
The last sprite in the image, finished literally just today, is a result of everything just sort of suddenly clicking all at once while listening to Mountain King from the Atari game by the same name. It's still kind of a work in progress, because issues with shading makes him look kind of fat, when he's really just puffing his chest out like the giant sprite, but it's an order of magnitude better than all previous attempts, and all previous sprites, including ones that aren't just this character.
That's a little better. Consider this the first teaser and only a small taste of what's hopefully to come.
I still have a long way to go, but not bad for some nobody with no college-level education though, huh?
Holy shit, you know what I just noticed?
Despite the countless changes I've made to his design, his outfit has remained unchanged for 9 years. Blue jacket, orange collar, no sleeves, no zipper or buttons, and too short for him.
His eyes have always been the same, as well. No matter how I changed his colors, his eyes have always been yellow.
It's really cool to see.
The remake of Savage isn't going even remotely well. Why? I can't work with my original premise.
As I whined about in my Pointless Ramble Thing, I need to redo it satisfactorily. And I tried, and I failed straight out of the gate. I'm still going to do it. I have to, otherwise it will continue to eat at me. But I need inspiration and ideas. Those are easy for me to come by, but when it comes to really difficult things like the demanding and specific RPG remake I've got cut out for me, that kind of ideamancy takes a lot of time. Days, weeks, months... years...
I'm dropping my RPG Remake already. I know, I know! I'm hyper aware of my pattern of starting and stopping game projects. I don't need to be reminded. I depress myself enough with that fact on all on my own.
I'm like Leonardo da Vinci: quite possibly the greatest game developer to ever live, if I could ever get anything done. It's believed da Vinci had procrastination problems and had a hard time finishing projects before losing interest in them, just like me.
But like I mentioned before, it doesn't all just get sucked into a black hole and vanish. I'm like da Vinci, but I'm also kind of like a saiyan: Each time a project defeats me, I get a zenkai boost from it. (I'm getting better and better at lots of things related to game development as time goes on, is what that translates to.)
And though I stop working on a project, I never stop thinking about them. I still think about shit I was trying to make back in 2003, when I first started game development. Case in point: A lot of you newer readers may not be familiar with it, but way back when I started this blog, when I was slightly less shit at life, I was doing really well on a project of mine. Some screenshots can be viewed in the following posts:
It doesn't look that bad, honestly, and it controlled really well. So what happened to it? Tedium happened. If you don't want to read another blog for context, it's fine, I'm about to sum it up.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I had started digging the project's grave right from the very start. It's meant to be along the lines of a Metroidvania, and takes place mostly inside a castle, save for the first few screens where you're outside. When I got down to level design, it got so old, so quick, just doing the same thing over and over, that I could not continue. I got so sick and tired of it, I think I only got 8 rooms of the castle done before completely loathing having to do any more.
It's nothing new... I'm pretty sure I started attempts on this particular game in 2005 at the earliest. It's where this comes from:
This is an image I compiled. Each sprite in this image is a snapshot, in chronological order, from different attempts at doing this particular game. It's all the same character just stretched over a long-ass time. You can even see how his design changed over the years, and you can even see where I advanced my style stage by stage, starting with kicking my black outline habit. And these are just the ones I was still able to find. I'm sure there are at least 5 that got erased along the way. I was hard on myself, and if I didn't like the way a game was going, it was common for me to delete it along with all the assets, in a fit of rage and depression.
Being a teenager sucked...
Recently (April at the furthest), I was listening to an old game's music... can't remember if it was one of the classic Sonic games, Kirby's Adventure, Jazz Jackrabbit, or what, but I was struck by this feeling of disappointment. On retrospect, I think it was Jazz Jackrabbit that was the inspiration... Regardless, I realized that I was making a huge mistake by having the castle he was exploring be exactly the same from room to room. It wasn't going to be identical, mind you, each room was going to have different layouts with different platforming elements, but what you see in the screenshot link is how every room in the castle would look, with the exception of color palette swaps every time you fought a boss. And while listening to that music, I decided I couldn't just allow myself to do it that way.
Today, (at the time of posting this, anyway) I was listening to some more music from classic games, Dance of the Flame Spirit from the old game Mountain King on the Atari 2600, and I was struck with serious inspiration.
"But how!? The game is literally as minimalist as it gets!"
Couldn't tell you if I tried... I haven't the foggiest how the hell got the kind of inspiration I did from a stick man on an all-black background... It just came to me like a bolt of lightning.
Fun Fact: That game used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid.
I've improved so much since I last worked on my game back then, and learned a lot over the year and a half I was working on other things, (or rather, failing at working on other things) so the game will need a ground-up rebuild. But I think it will benefit from it immensely.
I'll post screen shots when I have something worth seeing. Here's hoping the scope of the project isn't too much for one guy to handle, now, because I'm going to be giving this one my all.
If you think you've seen the scope of my abilities, prepare your buns, because you've seen nothing yet...
Ok, who would win in a fight?
A color palette style that has been lionized to obscene proportions, that all the greatest pixel artists of all time live and die by and has been foisted on hundreds if not thousands of other pixel artists as the absolute best system ever.
A hot pink cat. (A cat that is colored hot pink, I mean. Not a pink cat that is hot.)
Well, if the title of this post tells you anything, the titanic, tyrannical behemoth that is the limited palette has finally run into a sprite it just can't pixel. I've been waiting so long for a defeat this large. Can you tell I'm really thrilled? Because I am really thrilled.
In the following image, I used 5 different palettes, 3 of them by the greatest, most admired pixel artists I could find, 1 computer generated one, and my own.
Note that the palettes used in the upper row are used by their respective artists, and are used for every single one of their images.
Syosa - defeated. Fool - defeated. Even Kaiseto, who used the most reds and pinks, stood no chance against my character's bright pink armor. (Her eye lenses weren't taken into account.) There was more to Kaiseto's than that, but I couldn't be bothered to copy the entire palette over. Those were his only red and pink colors anyway.
The computer generated color ramp came the closest, and it still couldn't do it.
"But Bastendorf, real life has a range of hues! It doesn't look like that in real life!"
It's called "HOT PINK". Not "semi-sorta almost hot pink if you squint your eyes and pretend rose is hot pink". It's a fluorescent color, fluorescent colors really exist and they really look fluorescent. Crazy right? It's almost as if art imitates life or something like that and desaturating everything is wrong.
This is how you know the limited palette is weak and rigidly sticking to it, like the idolized legends do their own, is stupid. Look at those real life photos and then tell me which of the palettes come closest to being hot pink. Here's a hint: the bottom 2 are near perfect, the 8 upper ones are all way off. The greatest pixel artists there are wouldn't be able to draw my character without breaking their precious palettes, or without getting her color entirely wrong.
"But Bastendorf, it's not weak! It's a show of your skill to be able to make great art even with a limited palette! It's a show of strength!"
No. You don't control the limited palette, the limited palette controls you. That's weakness. It's impressive to be able to make great pixel art despite limitations, but when you cloister yourself inside a single, super-rigid color palette range that you run to every single time you want to do pixel art, then you're not strong. You can't function without a handicap.
"Then just don't make your character hot pink!"
If anyone uses this excuse, you can see what I mean. The palette controls you. It's weakness. I will not bow to the "rules". The cat's armor is hot pink. The science is settled.
"The palettes you used aren't meant for characters with her color requirements!"
Weakness. If their palettes are unable to handle a character wearing bright pink armor, but mine can, which palette is superior? The one that can't, or the one that can? Mr. Incredible can't move the Earth, Superman can. Which superhero is weaker, the one who can't, or the one who can? If you were hiring an employee to do important writing work for your business, two people applied, one can't spell but the other can, who is the superior choice in employee?
"Your character uses more colors than the palettes can handle. It's not fair!"
That's why I grabbed Kaiseto's palette to make it more fair, and took the reds and pinks from it. His color ramps were large enough to handle her sprite detail and still failed, where mine was also able to handle her sprite detail, and succeeded.
"You should reduce the detail anyway. She uses too many colors."
I bow to no sprite rules. She only uses 12 colors. 7 pinks, 4 blues, and black. That's not a lot. And I'm not removing black, because unlike Fool and Syosa, Kaiseto and I aren't afraid of #000000.
"But if you zoom all the way out to 100%, most of the colors blend together anyway! You don't need that many!"
She's not designed to be viewed at 100%. She's a video game sprite. The vast majority of 2D video game sprites are viewed at 200%. And at 200% all of her colors are distinguishable from each other, and all of her details matter.
Yeah, as you can see, I've heard every retarded excuse in the book already. These people really don't like free thinkers. "He's not using the approved methods! Quick browbeat him!" I could probably reduce the number of colors to 11 by removing the one redundant one in her lenses, but the rest is important to the shape, color, and material of her armor. You're welcome to try reducing colors beyond that if you want the challenge, though. (Be aware that her darkest color comes more heavily into use on her walking frames, so it's not entirely pointless.)
If these guys are unable to use hot pink, and yet they're called masters, I guess that makes me the final boss? What's above master rank? Grandmaster rank? Platinum rank? S Rank?
You're welcome to put your rigid, limited palette to the test against my sprite, or if you have a friend or know another "master" pixel artist everyone idolized who is willing to try, you can link them to this post and challenge them against my palette breaker character. So far her kill count is 3. 4 if you count the person who made the color ramp generator.
I'm in a really tight bind with my RPG remake.
You see, on the one hand, I don't want to just do the same crappy story over again and end up with another shit, half-assed game I'm still not proud of.
But on the other hand, I don't want a remake of a crappy RPG I made one time years ago to be anything deep, meaningful, or special.
I hate this intellectual property. I can't do anything with it because I don't want to do anything with it, but at the same time, I feel compelled to fix what I created.
I want it to be how it was, only improved. But how it was is total shit, and that part makes me want to just dump the IP all together. But I can't. There's a character in the game I want to work on more. I can't just abandon her like that. She deserves better. I love her too much to let go of her.
Would she work in another RPG? Most certainly. She has a background story that makes her compatible with just about any RPG I please. I could put her in Phantasy Star, I could put her in Final Fantasy, I could put her in Bravely Default, Super Mario RPG would be a tough sell, and require a lot more work explaining why she's there, but it would work. She wouldn't even have to be in an RPG. She's uniquely versatile that way.
But like I said above, I haven't been able to shake the feeling that I could have and should have done better on the game since I finished it in 2008. Artists of all stripes will know exactly what I'm talking about. You look back on your earliest creation, the one you were so proud of, and go "This is so awful, I could do so much better." Well, that's what this is for me.
But I just can't bring myself to make it something special with a really good storyline, like Final Fantasy 6 or 7, or Phantasy Star 1 or 4. I'm afraid that if I do, it won't feel like the game I once created and it will keep bugging me, but I'm afraid that if I don't, it will just be a different flavor of shit and I'll just be ashamed of it, and it will go back to bugging me. Aiming for a middle ground isn't going well, either, because there's not a lot there to go off in the first place. The original game had no meat. You begin the game, the plot happens, you grind for 4 hours, and then you go and beat the final boss.
Even after mostly rebuilding the beginning of the game, I still can't squeeze mid-way plot out of it. And now you see why I hate this IP. The plot is too generic. Most revenge story plots, where the goal is clear, are that way: Something happens, hero seeks revenge, hero grows stronger, faces villain, gets revenge. That's what my game is, even if I didn't realize it at the time, and that's what it does. But there's nothing really to make the "hero grows stronger" part more interesting. It's just a massive grindfest with plot stapled on at the beginning and the end, and a far-too-large world map it takes place on. (Though I have solved that problem mostly by way of hacking out the large, empty bodies of water.)
I can't change the plot because that would fundamentally change my game, and as mentioned, it's been nagging me for nearly a decade that I didn't do better, so I can't deviate from what I have or I could risk living with that unsatisfied feeling for even longer.
I also did something stupid while trying to compensate for how much exposition the beginning used to have, and how long the intro cut scene is, and ended up far over extending the beginning. I put way too much work into it. At the rate it's going, the intro could end up being a massive chunk of the play time. I have to do something to fix it... all of it... before it drives me crazy.
I hate what I've created. It tortures me...
After doing a ton of research on what causes the thread to bind up and how to stop fabric from getting dragged into the machine, I was hoping I'd have some good news. I don't.
At least, not 100%.
The good news is that I had a few things set wrong on my machine. Upper-thread and lower thread tension is important. I didn't know proper bobbin tension tests, because the machine I learned on was the Husqvarna Viking, which does away with the bobbin-case, so I didn't have to worry about the bobbin tension. I also needed an upper thread tension of about 5. That solved the jamming.
It was suggested that I put tissue paper under the fabric to get it started, to prevent it from getting dragged into the machine. This means sewing the tissue paper into the garment, but it can easily be ripped out, and I already had some tissue paper laying around for other projects a year or two ago. It works.
The bad news...
Part of this requires me to do a zigzag stitch, which is a type of stretch stitch, which is why straight-stitch plates wouldn't work.
I ended up getting half way through my first seam before realizing every other stitch was being skipped by the machine. The thread would go in on the right just fine, but when it would switch to do the left stitch, the thread would come back out, every single time. So I ended up with a straight stitch and an extremely puckered seam.
According to a little more research, I have to either try a larger needle, or I have to get a stretch needle. I found out what a stretch needle is, finally. It's a ballpoint needle that's designed a little differently, specifically to avoid skipped stitches.
Fuck my life.
Life Advice: Never listen to the professionals. They never have a clue in fucking hell what they're talking about. Retards, every single last one of them. 10 different god damn "professionals" assured me "You need a jersey needle, you need a jersey needle, you need a jersey needle." Which is the official term for regular ballpoint needles. Not a single one of those bastards mentioned a stretch needle. No, I had to find out about those on a hobbyist blog.
I'm very quickly running out of patience. If I can't figure this out, I'm moving on with plain clothes from the Goodwill/Salvation Army, and I'll finish the god damn unitard version when I can afford to drop $400+ on a faggot serger.
Back to the store again. Hopefully I don't get another sunburn.
Update: I don't know why I keep going to Walmart. Ever since the smaller ones closed down in favor of the larger ones, the store has gone straight to hell.
I think it goes without saying that they didn't have what I need. I'm never going there again. I got lucky, one time, in a moment of desperation, but that's once in a 5 year streak I've left that store and not been disappointed.
Update 2: Found some on Amazon that aren't Add-On items. Only problem is that they won't arrive until June. So I won't know until then whether this is a waste of money or not.
This week has been kind of a bitch. It'll just get right into it.
Last week, I found out I needed a special type of needle to sew lycra. I'm glad I was lazy on starting, because if I had started sewing before learning this, I would have been tearing my suit up with my sharp needles.
From what I found out, I need a ballpoint needle for lycra. Sharp needles just ruin it. I was thunderstruck. I'd never heard of this type of needle before in my life. I thought they only made them sharp.
I immediately scoured the internet. They were either too expensive with shipping, or only sold as an add-on item. (Means you can't buy them alone, you have to buy them along with something else, or 4 other add-on items.) I'd have to go find them, because I wasn't going to spend $7 extra on shipping for a set of needles, and I sure as hell couldn't afford to buy something else to add them on.
I hopped on Google Earth and tried every keyword I could think of. Fabric store, quilting store, sewing store, knitting store...
There was no way around it, I'd have to go a long-ass way to get them.
I chose a destination. It was the same distance as Joann's from my long-ass fabric run when I was trying to get down to Ross Disappointment Store. (How the hell does a clothing store not sell black sweatshirts and sweatpants in the fall?) But it was easier to get to since I didn't have to cross a highway along the way, and it was way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. That kind of obscure, out-of-the-way fabric store has to have all kinds of things I've never heard of. And with the store so out of the way , they'd have to be in stock because there's no way they get many customers after the same things I need. Perfect!
I left my house at 12:12PM. The trip was grueling. It was 83-ish degrees out and there was nowhere near the amount of shade I thought there'd be along the way. It was all barren out there. All of it's mostly croperty. (A word I made up to pass the time, describing a crop-property.)
It took a long time to get there, and I was sweating my ass off. So I stood in the shade outside the store for a few minutes. My deodorant I'd applied before leaving was still kicking, so I couldn't have smelled too bad.
You know that sinking feeling when something you struggled for turns out to be a massive disappointment? That's the first thing that came to me as I walked in. Half the store was reserved for a sewing class room that aimed to teach sewing, and 1/4th the remaining store was closed off by displays. The actual store was smaller than my living room. And my livingroom is small.
And to make matters worse, the only person there didn't even run the store. She was just a friend while the owner was on vacation, and didn't know a damn thing about anything in the store.
I found a set of ballpoint needles, but they only had one in stock. I grabbed them, paid for em, and walked out the store.
You know that feeling when you're walking along and realize you made a huge mistake, and almost swear out loud? As I was looking over these needles, I realized they're the third largest size available, and I needed something 4 sizes smaller.
Fortunately, they only cost me tree-fiddy. No, I'm serious, they literally were $3.50.
I had a lot of time to plan where I'd go next as I made the disappointing trip back, scowling at all the lower-middle-class country-side homes, and judging each one of them for how rundown their fences were, and how shabby and uninteresting their giant yards were.
I made it back to civilization and immediately headed for the next nearest store. It was a ways off, but I could still get there, even though I was exhausted and aching all over.
They were closed. I arrived at 5:05PM, they had closed up at 5PM sharp. A guy, looked like the manager, noticed me walk up and check the schedule and then my phone for the time, and he came out to ask what I needed. I thought he was going be a total bro and let me just grab what I came for and go. Nope, he came to say he wasn't open and mocked me by assuring the item I wanted was in stock, and refused to let me just allow him to just take my cash and keep the change.
He invited me back tomorrow saying they'd be open, and then went back inside. Hell no. I'm not coming back to that store ever again. I'd sooner peacefully drive the truck of peace through their store front, screaming "Who the fuck closes at 5PM on a weekday!? You're not a goddamn bank!" than ever go there, now.
Yeah, I was pissed. Fortunately they were right across the way from a Fred Meyer, which is pretty much just like Walmart, K-mart, Target, etc. So I hurried over there, knowing they wouldn't let me down.
50% of the interior of the store was blocked off by plastic curtains. They were still permitting customers to enter, but they had literal construction workers, hard hats and all, building shelves in the middle of the store.
I wandered for a few minutes, discovering I was in a hell of a bad way. I was nowhere near home, and I was already losing the ability to remain on my feet, I felt very near blacking out, I was thirsty as shit because their drinking fountain had filled my stomach, but not quenched my thirst, and I was hungry. I'd eaten before I'd left, but wasn't expecting to be out so long. So I didn't have food or water.
I rested at the store, meandered a bit, but couldn't find their fabric department. (A lot of their stuff had been moved around to keep their store running during the renovation. A clever idea, but made it a bitch to find anything). Eventually I gave in and asked an employee. She laughed about it and said it was fine. The renovation actually made it hard on the employees as well. Nothing was where it usually was, and even they were having trouble helping customers.
She found me the isle. It had been reduced to an abysmal 2x2 hanging shelf space to make room for their other craft sections, and they were hurting on shipments because they had no room in their store. They didn't have what I needed.
The lady was cool though. She used Siri on her phone to help me find other fabric stores in the area.
Each and every last one of them were closed. Save for Joann's... 20 miles away. I looked down at my sunburnt arms, and compared how much it hurt to stand with how far away it was. No way in hell I could make that. I was even doubting I could make it the 6 miles home.
I couldn't believe how shit my luck had been. I bought a pre-made lunch at the deli and a refrigerated drink and headed to the last store I could think of, while blocking out how much pain I was in. It was only two parking lots and a street away.
Imagine my surprise, after all these years of complete and total disappointment, Walmart, out of all stores, pulls through. Swallowing my hatred of the store and momentarily setting aside my vow to never shop there again, I went in, fully expecting to be disappointed yet again. But not only did they have the needles I needed and in the size I needed, they also had the brand they were talking about in the video I was watching for tips on how to sew with stretch fabric without a serger.
I grabbed them, checked out, and ate on the way back home.
I know some of you might be wondering how I made it back. Well, I took a souple 10 minute breaks in places I found where I could sit along the way. Like between the cunt store that closed and Fred Meyer. There was a little pavilion with benches. And on the way back to my place, there was a car wash, where I was able to sit by a vacuum pump and rest.
Soon as I got back, I sat down and calculated the distance I'd traveled. 63-ish miles, not including wandering around the stores. almost twice the length of my first super long trip.
What was more amazing than the distance I'd traveled was that my deodorant had managed to survive 7 hours of me walking in direct sunlight, in a shirt that is 100% polyester, and still worked at completely masking my sweating-pit stink.
I took a shower, medicated my sunburn, and started to rest. The shower wasn't easy, by the way. It still ached to stand, and my forearms had sunburns so the water stung like fuck against my skin. (I wore a hat which protected my face, my hair shielded my ears, I had a shirt shielding most of my torso, I popped the collar on it to protect my neck, and sweatpants protected my thighs and lower legs. I only got burns from 4 inches below my elbow, down to my knuckles. Still peeling, too.)
Divided into parts, because this one is long.
As I rested from my nightmarish walk, the second big issue hit me. It had been well over a week since I placed my order for the supplies to turn my unitard into a mocap suit.
I went to the website and contacted support wondering if it was shipped to the wrong place, or still in transit, or maybe lost among some papers on someone's desk.
Took a while, and I had to answer some questions about my order, but finally, just today, they got back to me. Turns out that's pretty much exactly what happened. They discovered my shipment had never been processed. They took my money and my order just sat on someone's desk for just a day short of 2 weeks. They were very apologetic and offered to overnight my package to me.
I'm not really mad. Just glad for this enormous delay, because if I had been finished with sewing my suit, despite ordering those materials in advance, I would have been waiting all this time with no idea that my stuff wasn't even on the way.
Anyway, after the support ticket was filed, I dug my new needles out of the fridge (they were in same bag as my leftovers, which I lazily tossed in the fridge when I got back) and immediately exchanged the needle. I was setting up to get started when I realized "You know, I have a sunburn all over my arms. First of all, I've got this gross gel medicine goop all over me, and second, it's not going to feel too good if these pins jab me while I'm working, or if I accidentally bump part of my sewing machine with my sunburnt hand while I work." So I decided I'd put it off until my burns stopped hurting so much.
That was 2 to 3 days ago. But after struggling to rotate my mattress without scraping my arms on it and hurting myself, I came to the hard realization that my mattress had finally had it. Within two days of rotating it, I was already starting to sink into a deep, hard pit. Damn near felt 3 inches deep and stiff as a wooden board. And to make matters worse, my $150 pillow sucks, and it's summer time, meaning it's started to get warm here. If you thought I was sleeping like hell before...
I sleep like crap in the summer even on good mattresses. I cannot sleep when it's warm. I need it to be cool or freezing in my room. The last few days it's been getting warmer here. Summer is starting to arrive.
My sleep was truly abysmal. I'd sleep for a while, wake up, try to find a spot that wasn't hard and uncomfortable, go back to sleep, and wake up again a little later and repeat. For the last few days I've had to increase my caffeine intake just to survive the day. Typically, half a cup of 30mg caffeinated energy drink in the morning to wake me up and half a cup of 30mg caffeinated energy drink in the afternoon to shave off the midday slump was doing me just fine.
But lately, as mentioned in a previous post, I've had to double my caffeine dosage to 60mg, but my system seems to handle caffeine really well, so it did nothing. I had to start drinking a full cup (about 8 ounces) in the morning, and another full cup in the afternoon.
During the portion of time my mattress was reaching the end of its usefulness, I had to start downing 3 full 8oz glasses of 60mg caffeinated energy drink just to make it the whole day.
And before you start worrying about me, according to my weight, the caffeine website I visited calculated that my safe limit is 6 servings at 60mg, or 6 full 8oz glasses in a day.
I was sore all over every single morning, and struggled to stay awake pretty much the entire day. It was horrible.
You may have noticed that I've been talking about my mattress in the past tense. So what did I do?
Well, a while back I asked my mom if she'd be willing to trade mattresses with me. I'd give her my horrid mattress, and she'd give me the old guest mattress I used while visiting her for the week of Christmas last year.
She agreed, the only issue was transport. Her vehicle had no roof-racks, and she had no friends with trucks willing to let her borrow one, and she couldn't afford to rent a moving van. So we sat on it for a month until I could afford to give her the money for the van to transport the mattresses.
Just yesterday (at the time of posting this) we made the exchange and we moved the old mattress in and the crap one out. I'm not sleeping so well just yet, because it's warm as I mentioned above, and I need to do something about my pillow, but last night was fairly good sleep compared to how I've been sleeping. And on top of that, it's an older mattress. Those last a lot longer than newer ones, plus, it's two-sided, so not only can I rotate it, I can also flip it. But it gets better. It's much lighter than my crap one, so it will be much easier for me to move around any time it comes time to flip or rotate.
My battle with shit sleep isn't quite over yet, but it's just improved massively.
In fact, I'm feeling well enough to start sewing today. Hopefully I'll have this thing done soon. As for the cameras, I've decided I'm not wasting money on the studio part of this until I have a suit with which to test the setup. Would be a massive waste of time and money if I bought the cameras and built the studio just to find out the cameras I bought aren't able to pick up my movements. And considering the software has to be cheap and also work with cameras, that will have to be something I research, too. So better to have the suit first.
Main body all pinned up and receiving adjustments.
I didn't really expect to do this post, especially after going through the trouble of adding two additional progress updates to 7a, but I'm going for it mostly because the internet is full of those obnoxious naysayers.
You know the ones. They call you a fake or liar when there's nothing to see every 15 minutes. The "pics or it didn't happen" crowd.
This took way longer than it should have, and for a reason that played a part in me deciding to write this.
God damn I am tired... You know what sucks? Caffeine doesn't really work on me. 5 Hour Energy? More like 5 Hour Nope. Stuff tastes like crap and didn't do a damn thing. Total waste of money.
I recently ramped up my regular caffeine dosage to double. (I was drinking energy drinks with 30mg of caffeine, and I switched it up to one with 60mg of caffeine.) Nothing. I'll admit it does take the edge off a tiny bit, but it doesn't seem to have the effect on me that coffee seems to have on a lot of people.
Anyway, rant-tangent over, I wanted to issue a warning to anyone who might be following along with my little project. The pieces I cut out were shown to have a 3/8ths inch seam allowance. I suck ass at sewing seems, so I decided I'd go up a full size, that way I'd get larger pieces and have around an inch of seam allowance. This is something my Basic Fiber Arts teacher taught me: "Always cut more than you think you'll need". I usually give my self a half inch of seam allowance just in case something goes really wrong.
Well, despite cutting my suit a size larger than I was instructed to, it's still too small.
I almost couldn't pin the major seams.
Frankly, this pattern is retarded. It had me cut the pieces into 4, meaning there's going to be a big, stupid seam running up the front. If it weren't for that, I likely wouldn't have had the issue, and it wouldn't have taken as long to solve it. I had to adjust each pin like 12 times, and I may have lost some seam allowance in the process. Though that might just be the bulges from last post. Fingers crossed, I guess.
Anyway, lesson is: Don't buy crappy patterns from 30 years ago. And give yourself more seam allowance than you'll need.
I just looked and found out I may be immune to normal, safe doses of caffeine. 5 Hour Energy is supposed to have 100mg of caffeine in it, and according to literally one source, the safe dosage per day is 200. Since 5 Hour Energy did nothing at all, doubling the dosage may not help anything.
I might have to try Death Wish or maybe I should try Bio Hazard. Some like their coffee black, I like my coffee deadly.
Alright, my dress form is here.
Actually, that's a lie. It arrived a day early, so it was actually here on the 11th. I've just been too lazy to bother with the setup. That's the problem, though. Geniuses (which I totally am) tend to have weird bouts of laziness with bursts of lasting energy in between. At least, according to the video I watched, and my own personal experience. 10 Signs You're Actually A Genius
Though the title says "10 Signs", there are actually 11 signs. Guess they couldn't count. I fit all but 3. Traveling, alcoholism, and blue eyes are the only traits from the list I don't have. Frankly they should have kicked the blue-eyed one because that one's just too far fetched. Blue eyes are extremely common.
My place looks like someone's squatting here, but the messier my place is, the more creative I seem to be. Which is convenient because I can't be assed to clean it. So it seems to support the claim.
This is why I got an adjustable one. I didn't want to try to find a stationary one in my size, because I'm a relatively small male, and all the male non-adjustable ones were designed with this really large, muscular body. I could pass myself off as a high school student. Maybe even a middle school student at a stretch... if I shaved and put on a sideways skater hat. So there's no way a body-builder-sized dress form would work for me.
If you plan on getting one of these things, be careful of the kind you get. This one doesn't seem to get very large. Thankfully I'm only a little bigger than the default size, so this one suits me fine. If you're larger than a twink-ass male (my chest is about 34 and 1/2 inches around, for scale) you'd probably be better off getting one for men, and a higher quality one. But I couldn't find one for men under $200 and since this project is for absolute cheapness, I couldn't bear the $200. But not to worry, I'll include instructions on how to make a dress form for like $18, that will perfectly fit you no matter how huge you are. It only requires that you have a buddy to help you. Which I don't have because I'm pathetic.
There's still a bit of setup to do to get it to my size, once that gets done, I get to start pinning and fitting the suit. Still waiting on the marker materials mentioned in my last post. Really glad I ordered that crap early. Had no idea it would take this long to get here. I've had few problems ordering from these guys in the past, so it's a little annoying for them to be taking so long. Thankfully I have a lot of work to do before I get to that part, so it could be a lot worse than it is. But hopefully I don't end up held up on waiting for those damn supplies.
Enough procrastination. I need to get this dress form setup.
Update: If you are a larger male than I am, definitely do not get a female dress form. And if you're a fat male or female, you'll probably have to get creative, go to a tailor, or get someone to help you fit your suit if you're custom making one like me. This thing really does not like my lack of hourglass figure. It's looking like I'm going to have to make some modifications to it just to get it to fit my body shape properly. I'm going to have to saw some of the hips off to get rid of a massive bulge on each side caused by trying to get the hips to match the torso to get rid of the hourglass shape. The poor thing bowed out really far.
For any feminists reading this: It serves as a powerful reminder than men are built different, even the effeminate, smaller ones like me. My midsection is so much wider than this thing was designed for that I had to extend it to its limit. But my pelvis is so narrow, it might not even be able to take my shape properly.
It looks like I might end up having to tear this thing apart and do away with the 'adjustable' part. (Or at the very least, redesign it a little). The pelvis is as closed/small as I can get it, and it's still 3 inches too much larger than mine.
Update 2: I got it set up.
Sadly, it's not quite perfect. I'm 3 inches taller than it is. Or rather, my torso is 3 inches longer than this one. It can't get any longer than it currently is, not without taking a hacksaw to it and doing some heavy duty modification. Fortunately for me, I live by the philosophy of "Eh, good enough."
I also read online that professionals tend to find these things helpful, but overall flawed and pointless. Their posture is usually too perfect, and they can't account for every difference in body shape.
This is why, if you have someone to help, you don't need one of these things. They can fit using you as a model and not one of these. Though, they really should have some idea of what they're doing. You can't just ask your Superbowl Night buddy to help you out.
The only person I know, who knows how to sew as well as I do, is my mom, and she lives some 80 miles away, and I didn't want to drag her all the way out here, making her miss work and use up gas, just to help me with this. And I sure as hell don't want to wear something with a hundred sharp pins in it, so I'm not going to be using my own body to fit my suit.
Plus, I can stick pins into this thing, unlike with myself. Well, I mean, I could... but it would hurt, I'd bleed all over my project, and I'd risk hitting something important and dying from it, so I'm better off using this.
Sadly this thing is cheap in more than just price, and all those dials you can see all over it were fairly hard to turn, and it's left me all worn after staying up so late last night. I'm going to try to power through, and get all the pinning done. Need me some more caffeine.
I raised this thing way up so that I wouldn't have to bend clear over like I had to when I was cutting, so it should take less effort and cause less strain this time.
And once again, so that I don't get anyone disappointed or mad at me: I'm not going to be teaching anyone how to sew. It's too complicated to go into in text form. Sewing is best taught live and in person, or through video, and I just don't have the energy or enthusiasm to record a video tutorial. Plus, there are a million and a half different machines out there, and it's just not possible for me to cover them all. I've only ever used two machines, and more modern ones at that.
Wow, yeah, that's right. I've had my Singer for 4 years, and I've never used it. Pretty sure I only used my Brother twice, and the Viking for a semester. So, as you can imagine, I'm hardly qualified to be teaching one of these things. But if you'd like, I can some tutorials that best explain how to use a sewing machine and I'll throw them in the guide.
Now I'm just procrastinating again... back to work before I fall into lethargy.
I said I was working on my RPG a while ago, but that's not going too well. I forgot how much I hated creating character sprites for RPGs, and since the sprites I'm using are all custom rather than the RPGMakerMV defaults, I have to make every single character and NPC from scratch. Last time I did it, I just used slightly modified versions of default sprites. Some sprites didn't get any edits at all. In fact, there was only one character in the entire game that was fully custom.
It's going... just not going very well. I kind of need to do some character sprite work before I can move on, and I've done some, but am now dragging my feet.
As for the mocap suit, I haven't forgotten it or put it off. The dress form is in the mail. I managed to find an adjustable one for surprisingly cheap, under $100, but there's a catch. First, it's for women. I couldn't find a male adjustable dress form for under $200. (But muh pink tax, though!)
Second, it has to be shipped from clear across the United States, by ground or shipping would push the price over $100. So it's going to take another week to arrive. (Hopefully it's not smashed or too terribly broken when I get it.)
In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of thinking. How would I test this suit I'm making? I have no easier 3D projects on hand, and I definitely lack the funds to do one of my bigger 3D projects, so how am I going to see how well this home built studio of mine will work?
Well, that I don't have easier 3D projects on hand is a bit of a lie. While on a walk at 4 in the morning this last Friday, I suddenly remembered an older one I had come up with back in 2012-ish.
It'll end up being a spiritual successor to a game I made in 2011 called Slaughter House. The premise is that you play a sociopath with a large house, and the goal is to kill as many people as possible. Sound familiar? That's because Hatred basically copied the concept. Postal is also quite similar, but I wasn't aware of Postal at the time I made the game.
You can actually play it here. But it's not very good. You play as some guy, can't remember if I gave him a name or not, and your plan is to throw a house party at your place, invite as many people as possible, and slaughter as many as you can get away with. Get it? Manslaughter at the house-party? You're in a house and slaughtering people... Slaughter House... yeah it's not even remotely clever. Anyway, its a shoddy, buggy arcade type game. The ideas are all there, it just lacks mechanics to make it more interesting. There are glaring problems with it, but it's a 6 year old game, and I made it using mostly Game Maker's drag and drop method, which can be really hard to makes games with. (Uses absolutely no script language.)
I'm not going to go too into detail on my plans with my old IP, or into any detail at all, aside from mentioning my previous game, for my usual reason: I don't want it stolen. But also because I really shouldn't be going on and on about how great my ideas are and what I'm currently working on if I constantly lack the commitment to finish them. I look like an ass when I do that, I feel like an ass when I do that, and it makes it so much more disheartening when I stop working on them, after I've spent so long showing all my work on it. Though, my last one was doing fine, I just hit a really deep rut after I got back from visiting my family the week of Christmas, and I've had a hell of a time escaping it. While I'm in this kind of position, I can't work on a game that requires that much scripting effort. I make enough really stupid mistakes coding my games without being extremely tired and forgetful.
I've had a few good up-days where I have my energy back, but I'm not sure what's causing them, and I have no idea what I can do to start guaranteeing I have more. They seem to coincide with my long, by-foot trips into the next city over, like that massive, 39 mile one I did just to get the fabric for my mocap suit for example. I had lots of energy after that. It lasted a few days, actually, before finally fizzling back out and returning me to being hopelessly tired every day. I had assumed that maybe it was the exercise that did it, but as mentioned above, I've been going on walks more, lately. Last night was my 3rd in a row, and they usually last about an hour, but it's had no effect. That doesn't rule out exercise as a possible solution, though. When I have to go into the next city over to get something, it usually takes me 3 to 4 hours, because it's a 12 mile round trip.
Not doing so good with my bed, either. In fact, my neck has been stiff for days, now. I woke up with the stiffest neck I've had in my whole life, and it hasn't fully gone away. It's still quite painful, too.
Anyway, whatever. My dress form is supposed to be here on Friday. The mocap studio project will resume then. It will probably take maybe a day or two to sew everything up, mostly because I can't be assed to sit in front of my sewing machine all day. Then I have to order my materials for making the markers which will probably take a few days to arrive. Then it will probably take a few days after that to make all the markers, because there are quite a few needed, and I'll likely only be able to make one at a time.
Come to think of it, I would be better off buying them now, that way, while I'm waiting for my damn dress form to get here, the materials for the markers will be shipping.
You see, this is why I don't want to work on my previous project. I'm really fucking dumb lately. I could have bought ahead and had those things by now, and been ready for when I need them. Who knows how much I'd screw up my game if I tried, if something as simple as ordering multiple things to save waiting time completely slips my mind?
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.