overworldtheme: (defeated)
Saturday, May 24th, 2014 02:35 pm
[Cross-posted from the Vision Riders Blog, with some minor additions at the end.]

Sorry for the lack of updates, but this has really been an all-around horrible week.

If you've been following me on Twitter, you probably already know that I've been having trouble with my desktop computer. Around Tuesday or so it randomly decided that it wasn't Direct3d compatible anymore. On a Windows machine, this of course spells major trouble. Not only does it render most games unplayable, it makes it virtually impossible to get any sort of work done. Even browsing the internet can be a chore because Windows is chugging along mostly on CPU-generated software graphics. OpenGL appears works just fine, and the display is going out correctly to both monitors, the computer just refuses to interface with or even recognize Direct3d.

I've tried everything. I've reseated the video card (multiple times), uninstalled and reinstalled the video card drivers (multiple times), installed older versions of the drivers, started up with all non-Microsoft services shut down, even messed around with the Windows registry and system BIOS. Nothing. The only thing I haven't tried is wiping the main hard drive and reinstalling Windows, but to give you an idea of just how long it's been since I've had a good system upgrade, the only Windows install disc I have is for XP service pack 1.

The entire reinstall process will take days in and of itself. I'll have to download install all the updates to bring XP up-to-date (well, as much as XP can be), find and reinstall all my work software, reconfigure all the settings back to how they were, troubleshoot all the new issues that inevitably pop up... I'm getting worn out just thinking about it. And, while this should fix the issue, if it's a hardware issue with the motherboard/CPU or the video card, I'll have done it all for naught.

This has been a long time coming. My computer's failure was inevitable, and I knew it. I've only had minor upgrades to my system over the past decade, mostly with hand-me-down-parts, and the last one was five or six years ago. I've had lots of issues with my computer over the past few years, becoming increasingly worse, and I knew it was only a matter of time before it finally gave out. It's part of why I put so much effort into getting Another Star finished before that happened. Sales from the game were supposed to help pay for a major overhaul of my system, but that didn't work out.

Thankfully, I still have a laptop, which despite some minor issues of its own is functional. It's not really designed for anything other than playing DVDs and surfing the internet, but it works at least. I suppose I'll have to be switching over to it for my main system. However, with the lack of storage space and processing power, I'm not sure how long it's going to hold up as a work machine, especially for a freelance artist.

Only time will tell.

I'd hoped to begin major work on my next game soon. The prototype was up and running, and I was almost ready to begin working on actual levels. It looked a lot better in screenshots, so I had hoped that it would get people interested in Another Star as a way to see the new game finished.

I'm not sure how well that's going to pan out now, though, without my desktop. Especially if I can't even accept freelance work because my laptop can't handle it. I have a lot to think about over the weekend as to what to do now and how to move forward. Maybe a future in art/design just wasn't meant to be. But if that's the case, what do I do with my life?
overworldtheme: (vision riders)
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 11:54 am
(Just realized that I didn't crosspost this from the Vision Riders blog. By the way, please to be upvoting Another Star on the Greenlights. Thank you!)

I hate Steam Greenlight. I really do. I even wrote at length about why.

A lot of people are asking me if Another Star will ever be on Steam Greenlight. Back in August, I stated that I didn't know the answer to that question.

Truth be told, I’m not sure I care that Another Star has a tiny chance of getting through. I’m not sure I care that I’m losing sales by not putting the game there. Out of principle, I simply cannot stand the very idea of submitting it. I may yet give in, but the whole thing ticks me off and I’d rather just say “screw it”.


The problem is, principles don't pay the bills. They don't put food on the table. They don't fund future projects, or even help keep hardware and software up-to-date. Valve has a virtual monopoly on the PC games market with Steam. A large number of gamers will not even consider buying a game if it's not already on the service. It's a sad, sorry state of affairs, but it's the way things are, and despite Valve's continued, empty promises that they're going to overhaul the system it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon.

That said, Greenlight has improved since I wrote both of those entries, even if only a little. At this point, I can say with certainty that Another Star will eventually be on Steam Greenlight. I'm still not comfortable with the service, but at least it's gotten to the point where I don't immediately gag at the thought of it. (It's more of a slow, delayed reaction now.)

The problem at the moment is cash. Steam's horrendous $100 gate is effectively shutting me out for the time being. Moreover, it's not a free ticket to success. The money I have right now is already set aside for things like bills and groceries, and my credit card is just about maxed out. I can't justify buying what amounts to a lottery ticket at this exact moment in time. Later in the month, however, I should have a bit more money to work with, and I'll try to get Another Star up on Greenlight then.

To be clear, I'm not asking for a handout. I'm just asking for patience. If you have $100 to pay for someone's Steam Greenlight fee, please find someone who needs and deserves it more than me. There are a lot of struggling developers out there who deserve a shot. I have more money on the way, but a lot of them don't.
overworldtheme: (tales of cress)
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 06:55 pm
(Crossposted from the Vision Riders Blog.)

So, what's been up with Vision Riders lately? This is an excellent question. There's a lot I've been meaning to write about for the past year but keep putting off because of life and just plain uncertainty. But now's a good time to share some of this stuff, so I figure I might as well just dive in.

First off, the major news. Vision Riders Entertainment, as a Texas corporation, was dissolved on November 27th of last year. This means that I can no longer put that nifty little “Inc.” at the end of its name. To me this was sort of the end of an era. I'd put a lot of work into Vision Riders but never got any of the animation it was created for off the ground, and I wasn't getting any freelance work. The past six years have been very demoralizing and stressful, and a lot of the time it's hard not to feel like a failure. But it looks like the roller coaster ride isn't quite over yet, and things may actually be looking up for a change!

I'll likely be reforming Vision Riders as a limited liability corporation here in Kentucky for the release of Junction. From there the fate of the company (and, by extension, my career) as well as the direction it takes, if any, will be very much dependent on how the game performs. If it tallies around $10,000 to $15,000 in sales, though that may not sound like much I'd have enough to get by for a year while I work on another game or other project. Anything below that I might still be able to keep going, but I'd have to start getting freelance work again to make it pan out. More likely I'd be closing up shop and looking for a more permanent job, possibly in a different career considering the state of the industry and the economy.

So that's where things stand, in a nutshell. But you may also be wondering what's up with some of my older projects and what happened to them, so I think it'd be prudent of me to list them and explain their individual fates.

Cut for length. Click here to continue reading. )
overworldtheme: (tales of cress)
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 06:53 pm
It's official! I'm now taking artwork commissions. Visit this page for information. Not completely wedded to the pricing set up, though.
overworldtheme: (iccari)
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 03:10 pm
I'm really strapped for cash now, life is about to be turned upside down, and Junction is going absolutely nowhere. I'm going to see if I can't get a few quick freelance jobs so that I don't crash and burn any more than I already have. If I'm lucky I can get my career out of this tailspin, although I seriously doubt that's going to happen at this point.

To that end, I'll probably be taking art commission here soon, so if anyone is interested or knows someone who would be interested, let me know. I should have pricing up here (and elsewhere on the internet) soon.
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overworldtheme: (defeated)
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 04:25 pm
I suppose I should elaborate on my last entry for clarity.

On February 14th of 2007 the paperwork for my company, "Vision Riders Entertainment, Inc." (full legal name), went through and was registered with the state of Texas. After leaving Texas I have worked off and on (and with numerous pitfalls and missteps) to close out the corporation. This is in part because the venture failed, but also because for a company Vision Riders' size it didn't really make sense to operate as an out-of-state entity.

I closed out all the company's accounts, cleared everything up with the IRS, and made sure all the company's other obligations were fulfilled, but because I was out-of-state I had difficulty getting things straightened out with the state of Texas so that I could dissolve the actual entity. Finally, a couple days before Thanksgiving I got my Certificate of Account Status from the comptroller's office letting me know that everything had been made good with them, and so after Thanksgiving I turned around and filed for termination with the Secretary of State. I got an email this morning letting me know that it had gone through yesterday.

I will probably file a DBA with Hardin County here in Kentucky so that I can release Junction under the Vision Riders Entertainment name (if the game ever gets that far), so the company isn't completely "dead", I suppose, but despite the fact the company has been virtually defunct for two years now, the fact it's official is still a huge blow to the gut.

Also I'll miss being able to put that little "Inc." at the end.
overworldtheme: (defeated)
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 09:43 am
Vision Riders Entertainment, Inc.

2/14/2007 - 11/27/2012
R.I.P.
overworldtheme: (defeated)
Friday, July 6th, 2012 05:40 pm
Please read this, even if you don't want to play my game, "Junction", and even if you really don't care about it at all. I am in serious need of advice and input. I hate to sound desperate and all, but I am, so I'm risking making myself look (more) like an idiot. I'll try to make this quick.

Junction is probably the absolute worst kind of game for me to be trying to sell. It wasn't my first choice of game to make, but I thought it was going to be a quick project, and so it was okay if it didn't do so well. It didn't need to make a lot to be marginally successful. Instead it's been in development on and off for almost three years.

First things first. I'm not stupid. Junction is a commercial venture, yes, but it's not going to be some break-out indie title. It's not going to make enough money to justify the hundreds of hours I've poured into it. It may not even make back the couple thousand dollars I spent specifically on its production. But I would like it to do well enough to have a chance to make another game, maybe even keep my Vision Riders venture afloat, or if nothing else have it be notable enough on my resume to actually get a full-time job.

The game has several major issues working against it, but two really stand out. The first is that it's an adventure game; namely, a point-and-click adventure game. There's actually been a lot of successful games in this genre recently, but it's very much a niche, and a niche that's become very crowded. Add to this that Junction looks more akin to a visual novel than a western-style adventure game and you run into a problem: it's hard to show the game off. With, say, an action game, or a first-person shooter, or an RPG you can get people interested by posting videos of the gameplay and passing screenshots around. It's harder for me to do that with Junction, especially without spoiling anything since it relies so heavily on its story. It's a basically a step up from trying to make a commercial for a novel, which I always thought was tacky. (Oh look, watch the dust jacket pan across the screen again!)

This is what I need the most help with. I've fished the latest beta around a couple indie game places and I'm getting absolutely no interest. I need a way to get people to actually look at it for a change. I thought about a weekly update blog, but the genre just doesn't lend itself to that. I mean, what am I going to post? "Oh, today I rewote the dialogue in this section over here." Yeah, that kind of thing doesn't make as good a screenshot as adding a new enemy sprite or reworking a multiplayer map for balance. Is there even anything I can do leading up to release, or do I have to wait until after it's out to trumpet it? Any ideas at all.

The second is something completely different, and it's my own fault for painting myself into a corner by being so weird. When I said recently that I enjoy role-playing, I meant it. Junction is a tale told in the second person, narrated to "you" the protagonist. ("You pick up the object and put it in your inventory." "A cold breeze blows against your skin." That sort of thing.)

Yet, you're not a classic adventure game ageless-faceless-gender-neutral-culturally-ambiguous-adventure-person. Though the story is a conspiracy-theory-inspired tale, you play as an adult woman who has a son, a husband, and a backstory. It's a bizarre perspective, but like I said, I'm weird like that and it's just how the story ended up coming together. I think I shot myself in the foot with it, though. I'm afraid it will turn too many people off--especially guys--to imagine themself as a mother and wife in a video game. But I don't want to switch to a first-or-third person narration. Am I being stupid over this? Do I need to rewrite everything so that these predefined relationships aren't so direct? Or is this something I should just run with and promote it as a unique aspect of the game?

Sorry for being so selfish and asking for help. I know how busy most of you are, and I don't expect you to just throw whatever you're doing aside and write a big long advice column in response. A sentence or two is enough if that's all you have to say, and if you don't have anything thing to say that's fine too. I'll understand. (And if you only read the first paragraph and this one, don't feel bad either.) But I'm getting really anxious about this. Nothing I'm doing is connecting with anyone, and if I can't find some way to make my own projects work (with or without freelancing on the side) and I can't find an illustration/animation/design-related job, then what future do I even have in the arts?
overworldtheme: (programming)
Friday, February 26th, 2010 08:47 pm
So, my new adventure game engine is up and running. About the only major things left to implement are the inventory and conversation/keyword systems. The sad thing is this game already has more gameplay after a mere week of work than AetherFall had after six months. T_T

So far you can navigate the world, investigate and interact with objects, talk to people (though the related keywords aren't implemented yet so you can't ask about things), answer questions given to you, and so on and so forth. Now I've just got to figure out some puzzles. I'm horrible at coming up with puzzles! Which makes it all the more strange that one of the few things I ever managed to finish was a puzzle game. lolwut

I also need to start working on the graphics. Right now it's practically an old-fashioned text adventure--but played with an XBox 360 controller?
overworldtheme: (Default)
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 04:01 pm
Later on in the week, I may go over a bit of "real life" stuff that I have neglected to mention for the past six months because I like to talk it's kind of a big deal. For now though you'll have to do with me ranting about work.

Anyway, I just finished inking Friday's page. Of course, I still need to color it, and that's a job in and of itself. Hopefully I should get back to a regular--or at least a semi-regular--schedule soon.

After I finish out this chapter, I'm thinking about going back to the beginning and retouching/coloring Chapter 1. I've been afraid for some time that the subpar art in the first couple of chapters might be turning new readers off, and if that's the case, it's a problem that must be mended. I've also considered adding a "Chapter 0" of sorts, a short prologue to make the early story more enticing. As it is, I think the lack of suspense early on makes it harder for people to get into it.

I've also considered moving updates from Friday to Monday, which gives me the weekend to kind of "cushion" things if I fall behind on a page. However, I'm not sure how helpful that is in the long run. I'll probably also set it up the way Vision Riders was planned to be in the beginning: each "update day" you'll get either a new page of Swordmaster Odyssey or a new Under a Different Moon chapter (or maybe even something else). In other words, every Vision Riders production would share the same update day, but it wouldn't be the same series to be updated every week. (This would be akin to Homestar Runner where you may get a SBEmail, or a toon, or a Teen Girl Squad, or some other nonsense depending on how The Brothers Chaps feel at the time.) Obviously, this has both positive and negative aspects, the positive being that it gives me the chance to switch things up when I get bored of one series and work on the other for awhile, the negative being that it wouldn't be as much fun for a person who likes one series and not the other. Meh. I'll work it out later.

Speaking of Under a Different Moon, I'm hoping to get the first chapter up in February. Not sure how the series will pan out, since non-fanfiction online novels/webseriels tend to have a really bad track record. I'm hoping the illustrations will offset that and get people more interested in the narrative. That being said, it really doesn't matter. I need to finish it for my own sake before I go bananas. It's a cliche story with cliche characters in a cliche fantasy setting, but it just won't go away for some reason. It needs to be finished and done with so I can move on to more important things.

As for the video game I'm working on... I don't know what to do about it anymore. I can't think small, and so everything balloons in scope until I can't contain it anymore. I really want to work on a game, but I just can't seem to come up with anything that I can actually pull off. Bah! I'll probably come back after Under a Different Moon gets close to wrapping up and see what I can do about it.

Well, that's about it. Now that I've bored you to death, see you at your funeral! -_-
overworldtheme: (defeated)
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 01:31 pm
A pity that I must be both lazy and a perfectionist. Nothing ever lives up to my standards, and since I have not the resolve or patience to push things further, nothing ever will. Because I am not one or the other, I am doomed to never finish anything. All I can do is sit here and pout over how short of the mark everything is coming up lately while housework piles up around me, ever more unfinished.

Pathetic.
overworldtheme: (ffta sacrifice)
Friday, May 29th, 2009 11:30 am
Oh, wow. I made this website back in 2004 when I was still working for DEC. :o
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overworldtheme: (Default)
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 06:11 pm
Bah! I hate putting up fiberglass insulation. Stuff itches like it's going out of style, even when you go out of your way to handle it with care. -_-
overworldtheme: (bunnies)
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 01:38 pm
Four years later and everyone is still only looking for art team leaders. I'm beginning to wonder if that's all they have; maybe the studios are just a bunch of art department heads with no one under them.
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overworldtheme: (video games)
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 02:02 pm
"You know, I'd really like to make a game."

"Hmm... What's that?"

"A game. I'd like to make one. An RPG, I think, I'd really like to make the kind that I've always wanted to play."

"You don't have the time to do that."

"Oh, come on, I've got plenty of time."

"No you don't. You don't even finish the work you're supposed to be doing. Swordmaster Odyssey is down to a page a week and you haven't made progress on any animation since January."

"Yeah I know, but I'd really like to do it."

"And I just told you, you do not have the time."

"I could make the time."

"No you can't--you should be looking for work."

"I can do both."

"You won't even finish it anyway."

"Yes I will."

"No you will not. You never finished even the last two."

"That's because the programming was sloppy; I hadn't worked with ActionScript for gaming applications before. I had to start over."

"Look, just forget. You have bills. Go color your stupid page for this week and see if you can't find a job somewhere."

"You don't love me anymore." ;_;

"...What the...?"

*Ahem* "Sorry about that last part. It just came out on its own."
overworldtheme: (animation)
Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 04:20 pm
Booya!

Now I just have to tie up the loose ends and tweak a few things here and there. Blows the ugly old site layout away.
overworldtheme: (tales of veigue)
Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 10:25 am
Curse my lack of skill and these stupid backgrounds! That's it! I've had it! I'm going with my original plan for the animation's enviroments: fat, sketchy lines with rough, blocky coloring that goes outside the lines whenever I feel like it.

...

Now watch as I change my mind again in a week. T_T
overworldtheme: (defeated)
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 11:48 am
It's like this page refuses to be colored. Hmm... I'm running low on time... At worst, SMOdyssey is going on haitus. :/

I might go back and try to color some early, easier pages (say, clean up chapter 1 where everything's bright and sunny and the backgrounds practically consist of nothing but sand and clear skies) to get the style down. Bah. I knew this would come back to bite me. Everything does. -_-
overworldtheme: (animation)
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 10:50 am
You can now view the My Brother clip on YouTube, or on the My Brother updates page.
overworldtheme: (animation)
Monday, December 8th, 2008 08:27 pm
Screen grab from "My Brother"
Animation in this scene is finished, but it's not to the "final color" stage yet.

Bigger version here.