Category Archives: Uncategorized

A hard drive died

Unfortunately the 2TB Seagate Barracuda in the Phenom II PC died. That had all the videos I recorded on it, many of which I wanted to upload in the long run. Things like the ASRock BIOS and its update procedure, A8 9600 benchmarks, and of course a lot of 2200G stuff. Plus other unrelated stuff.

Of course, none of it was backed up.

This obviously puts a dent into my plans to create a useful blog and YouTube channel, something that already became harder recently due to having even less time for it than before, and with this setback became even harder.

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Another PC is breathing better

Remember that PC whose RAM I wanted to upgrade? I did that this weekend, but first had to clean it. Here are the before and after pics:

before.jpg

after.jpg

Not perfect, but I didn’t want to disassemble it. Vacuum plus wipes plus compressor then vacuum and wipes again.

So PC had its bath, had RAM upgraded from 2GB to 6GB (unfortunately I didn’t find all 4 2GB DIMMs I had, so made do with 2x1GB + 2x2GB). Also got a new DVD drive (I discovered when I tried to run MemTest86 that the drive wouldn’t open). Now it has another 10 years ahead. 🙂

I hate that a phone is my ID

I carry a phone on me most of the time, but sometimes I leave it behind (such as when I’m with my family) and I often forget to charge it. I’m just not that much of a big phone user to care (I guess my age is showing).

Problem is, when my phone dies or isn’t with me, I’m much more limited these days than I was in the past, because even if I have another way to go on the internet, such as a PC or my wife’s phone, at some places (such as Gmail) the only way to verify my identity is my phone.

This catch-22 where I need to access a service in another way because I don’t have a phone and I can’t access it because I don’t have a phone is pretty annoying.

Let Curators curate for Steam Direct

Valve recently said that it will replace Greenlight with Steam Direct, a method by which developers pay per game to get it on Steam, and (presumably) get the money back if the game sells well.

The idea of payment that’s refunded for games that sell well should work for reducing the number of throwaway games, or at least those which don’t sell well. Developers with successful games will spend less than those with many games that don’t sell. Successful games will get the developers back their money, while developers with many failed games will have to pay more.

The problem is that making a decent game isn’t enough to get sales, and that developers with little up-front money could have a hard time getting in if the fee is high.

Valve is asking the public’s opinion about the fee (a range of $100 to $5000 was mentioned), and already there’s reponse of people willing to pay for other devs. This, in my opinion, is the right way to go: put a high monetary barrier, and allow others to function as curators. This means that games liked by others get in, and those without fans will have a tougher time getting in.

But why not have Valve integrate this ability into the process? Why not keep something like Greenlight and allow it to be used in a sense like crowdfunding, allowing others on Steam to pay for the game to enter the store? Having this as part of Steam is better for Valve and for Steam than having it all happen outside of Steam, because the path for developers will be clear, Steam users get involved, on Valve’s turf, and Valve helps make a contribution towards indie development.

In particular, curators could be made into editors and publishers, putting their money where their mouth is and helping get the games they’re interested in onto steam.

Read on for more analysis and details.

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RPG Maker VX Ace from scratch – part 1, the cutscene

Some month ago I started playing with RPG Maker VX Ace. I’ve wanted to create a game for a long while, but lack of free time makes it hard to do something complex, so I decided to try what I hoped was a simple tool but good enough to tell a (silly) story.

Jumping into RPG Maker development was a little harder than I had hoped. The standard tutorials I found early on didn’t seem to address what I was most interested in, which was creating interaction rather than creating a world.

I decided to create a small project to learn interaction, and figured it could be helpful to others if I documented what I learned. Unfortunately, as with many things, life and other interests took over (full time job plus little kids don’t leave that much free time), and I haven’t touched this for a while.

Still, I figured I’d still post what I’ve done so far, in the hope that it will help someone. RPG Maker VX Ace is often sold at a deep discount, and is a neat tool for game development, so I imagine that there will always be new users looking for help.

Note that I’m still a beginner. I’ve only played a little with RPG Maker, and what I did is based on my experimentation and what I’ve read on the web. Some of what I write here may not be the best way to achieve the goals. Comments and advice are welcome.

You can download the project containing what I’ve published until now (the first three pages of this tutorial).

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