Individual self-assessment

I get melancholy at the end of every quarter.

1) What work did you you contribute to your game/team this quarter (similar to how you’d list it on a resume)?

I designed a website, recorded videos, wrote articles, created social media accounts, posted on said social media accounts, took minutes during sprint reviews, shoutcasted tournaments, and wrote spell descriptions.

2) How do you feel about how your game progressed during the quarter?

Major League Magic progressed extremely well. We’ve made big strides on every level, with the very successful implementation of terrain alteration being the biggest success. We’re getting some decent numbers on social media, but I didn’t do nearly enough marketing. I should have tweeted at least ten times as often, I barely touched the Facebook page, and in general anything I finish should have been done at least a week earlier. We also could have made more success on art, but what we managed to accomplish with the better-looking UI does wonders towards making the game look better.

3) Was there anything that you struggled with?

The sheer volume of content marketers need to release to get anything to happen. I just couldn’t find things to tweet about, and it took me far too long to actually make the social medias to tweet from. My excuse I kept using was “I’m waiting for us to get better art”, but considering we literally just our first few updated art assets yesterday, we’d have been SOL if I’d truly waited that long. Also I never actually started that weekly dev stream I’d been planning due to not being able to come up with stuff to dev stream about. The team never really kept me in the loop as to what they were working on, unlike Medical Necessity and personal projects where I always knew exactly the progress we’d made every week. If this game fails, it will largely be my fault due to shoddy marketing.

4) What you are working to improve next quarter?

I need to apply to more jobs. I need to finish my self-assigned jobs faster (I was more than able to finish things on Ahmet’s or the college’s pace, but the assignments were too slow and I should have finished things long before anyone asked for them.) I need to be more involved with the team and less of a free agent doing his own thing in the corner of the lab. This master’s ends in two months and I have nothing lined up. Again. After five years of not being able to break into the games industry, I’m about ready to give up if this college program ends and even that wasn’t able to turn me into somebody companies would want to hire.

 

New trailer

For whatever reason I’m turning into more and more of a videographer. Guess that’s to be expected when my YouTube channel is the only thing taking off of my various creative enterprises, not that I’m complaining.

Interesting conundrum with the new trailer I made for Major League Magic. People who have never seen the game before like it, and people who are familiar with the game have a bunch of things they think I should change. So far I’ve mostly committed to keeping it as it is for that reason, so have a look if you want. Don’t tell anyone though, it hasn’t officially gone live yet:

In less than a week we’re going to The Mix, and I’m gonna dress up in a wizard’s costume and drum up hype for the game. We’re gonna have two monitors setup for players to fight each other, and a third bigger monitor letting the crowd see what’s going on. I’m pretty excited, I think this could go super well.

But before that I need to make a press kit, and I’m trying to create a small backlog of Payday videos so my YouTube channel doesn’t take a 2-week break at the same time I do. Gonna travel to see my brother graduate college, then visiting a friend in St. Louis for the rest of the summer off.

More Exciting YouTube Happenstances

Last time I used this title I wrote about YouTube, programming and LinkedIn. I have more updates on two of those fronts.

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Believe it or not, lowered viewer duration is a good thing when the decision that launched your viewerbase is “my videos do not exceed two minutes”

The YouTube channel is exceeding all my expectations, with a huge boost in subscribers, comments, and views ever since I switched to a Tuesday/Friday schedule and started aggressively promoting it on social media. My main goal right now is to keep this momentum (or, at worse, maintain my current viewerbase) until Overkill releases Overkill’s The Walking Dead, and try to get my foot in that door on the ground floor. Best case scenario for me is that the game has an initially disappointing response, but Overkill saves it through consistent hard work and frequent patches (which is what happened with Payday 2 and RAID WWII, so odds are good that’s how it’s going to pan out). Runner-up situation is that the game is just straight good from the word go, but that’ll mean I have a lot more competition (like what happened to me with Overwatch.) Either way, I’m just super happy that after two years of releasing videos, they’ve finally started gaining traction.

In other news, the newest C++ assignment was kicking my ass until I spoke to the professor. It’s called “the flocking assignment” because it involves creating a bunch of birds (aka triangles) that chill in a big cloud and disperse with the press of buttons. It’s another SFML assignment and even the actual programmers are having trouble with it. After about ten hours with the tutors last weekend, I finally just spoke to the professor because I wanted to work on my final exam instead of this. He crunched the numbers, and I can still pass the class even if I get a zero because I’ve turned every other assignment in, so thank god. I’ll still probably turn in what I got for partial credit. Looking forward to the final project, by the way, its a Clickteam Fusion assignment where the player fights enemies in a procedurally-generated environment by grabbing procedural-generated weapons. Or at least that’s the goal. At the moment I’m still working on the procedural-generated environment. Should have more to report later.

RIP Gang of Five

Good thing I archived all the Darwin’s Soldiers RPs in Google Drive, because their home forum has bitten the dust as of 10pm tonight. The admins are working on resurrecting all the forum content on a new host, and best of luck to them, but when I have to trawl through the Darwin’s Soldiers Wiki and TV Tropes pages and fix all the hotlinks, I’m making these Google Docs the primary links. At least those (hopefully) aren’t going anywhere.

I took the opportunity to create one with the three posted chapters of f-22’s story “the Disease“. If he ever posts more chapters I’ll have to go paste them here, but it’s been months so I’m not holding my breath

Streaming and Streaking

Lot of cool things happened in various directions, so I thought I’d give a little compilation for the record.

First, I shoutcasted a Forzebreak tournament and it went really well!

The Forzebreak team was really appreciative, we got almost 50 people watching on Twitch because various students tweeted their friends, and I get to add another game to my shoutcasting portfolio. I didn’t do half bad considering they literally didn’t have an observer mode, forcing me to cast the game from the sole perspective of Player 4, but overall it was great practice for the upcoming tournament this Friday for Major League Magic.

Forzebreak is lucky they had their tournament when they did, because my YouTube channel recently experienced something of a boon. Two weeks ago, I released yet another video, this time a lightning-fast chronicle of The Only 5 Weapons Worth Using in Payday 2, and for some reason people really, really liked it. I gained 1800 views, 180 thumbs-up and 40 new subscribers overnight, and to capitalize on this new audience I accelerated my videography pace to twice a week. I also nailed down an exact schedule; I’m now releasing a new video every Tuesday and Friday, each one under two minutes and chronicling a top 5 list in Payday 2. I’ve also started promoting my videos on Twitter, Steam, and reddit, and so far its resulted in my videos gaining far more viewers than I’m used to. Overkill contacted me on Discord and added me to their private content-creators channel, where I’m currently talking to other Payday 2 videographers in the hopes of maybe convincing one of them to do a crossover with me. I’ll keep you posted.

In other news, I ran Bay to Breakers naked yesterday, and holy god am I exhausted. I’d only started running about a week prior, and I hadn’t run nearly as far as the 7.5 miles in Bay to Breakers, but I actually completed the marathon without stopping. Sure, there were many times I downgraded from a jog to a basic walk, but I never fully stopped, and completed the marathon in about 2 hours. Afterwards, I followed a bunch of people to the Uber/Lyft pickup point, where my phone cheerfully informed me it would be $200 to drive home. Not even remotely interested in paying that much (and woefully underinformed as to how the Bart works; most people I’ve spoken to said I should have used it to leave the city), I chose to queue up the route home via walking, then just start hiking. I didn’t expect to finish the trip (it was a 14.5 hour walk according to Google Maps), but I knew every step I took would decrease the cost of my Uber, especially as the hours ticked by and everybody else went home and the surge ended. In the end, I walked another 8 miles over the course of two hours, which adds up to a full marathon-length in total. But my Uber home was only $30, so I’m not complaining. I’m not leaving my room today for anything, though, my legs are sore beyond belief.

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In order to keep this post at least somewhat programming-focused, I also finished another homework assignment for ProcGen class. This one used a new program called Substance Designer, which created textures with stuff like normals, materials, and roughs. The overall UI was like, connecting squares of data with little lines, which took some understanding but was overall really understandable. I feel motivate to get better with Substance Designer because textures are the sort of thing I don’t have much experience creating, and I don’t like using other people’s content, so it’s something I’ll need to learn if I ever hope to move into the 3D space.

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We had to create a rusty metal and a more creative texture. Mine was like golden liquid with a blue moss on top, I guess. Reminds me of UCSB’s colors.

Citizen Kane rap

Tried my hand at rapping again, my friend was making a YouTube parody and asked for a Citizen Kane rap because she liked what I’d done for Rap Who Was Mars. Dunno if she’s gonna end up using it, but it was fun to write.

I used someone else’s music for the background, mostly because my microphone picked up this really shrill trill in the background that was unpleasant to listen to without music covering it up. I’m not a huge fan of the song though, it doesn’t really fit my beat at all and I plan on making my own music going forward. I grabbed the free version of Fruity Loops so hopefully my future raps will have original background compositions

Making trees in Unity

Turns out trees are blessedly easy to make in Unity, so for once the assignment went swimmingly. Well, the second time: the first time materials were bugging out and we downloaded three different tree packs from the Asset store and they didn’t come with the properly-designed textures.

Unity literally comes with ‘tree’ as an available 3D object, and when you add it you can just start fiddling with its settings to make trees. Though I did keep getting this crash when trying to add textures to leaves, but I got around it by creating my own texture and applying an alpha channel.