Sunday, October 9, 2016

Blog #7

So yesterday was the 4 year anniversary of the Toolkitz label. What joy!

Well, half at least.

On the one hand, 4 years of doing what I've doing is great but on the other hand, this ended up being a one man celebration. I was really hoping by this time I actually succeeded in getting some kind of recognition, but so far I have yet to do so. All my games, stories, comics, what have you, haven't exactly been hits. Probably has something to do with me not know how exactly to let people know about it.

But you know what, even if I am alone on this, I am still proud that for 4 years I have been creating content. I feel good about having my ideas be public, even if the public doesn't notice. I don't like the idea of having my ideas being stuck in my head and I have plenty more to share.

However, for 2017, I want something to happen. As much as I am enjoying myself making content, I do wish to create something that the people will follow. I do want a following but I know I just can't ask for it and it's not even making something that they will like but it's as simple as getting the word out there, which is a challenge I've been struggling with for the past 4 years now. I have no idea how to get my work in front of the people but I want 2017 to be the year that I succeed in doing so.

So yeah, happy 4th anniversary for Toolkitz and let's make year 5 the year that things really get off the ground.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Blog #6

So finally I managed to finish the YouTube game, Wunderkind. It's a QTE style game where you have to click on an annotation as fast as possible. It was suppose to only take a month but apparently my other project, Animals Hybrid, took 3 times longer to finish. Well I got fed up with that game and just hurriedly finished it to no fanfare, no surprise there. I did get a few compliments and wows from the few who did see it, but didn't get the big push I was looking for. Though I feel I can still get people to pay attention to it if I can get some people to play it and make a video of it, which is a challenge in of itself. I'll take a look at some YouTubers, contact them, and see if they are willing to play it.

Aside from that, my YouTube game's first chapter has been completed. The game is called Wunderkind and it's a fantasy based QTE style game. Though the first chapter took a month, I'm aiming to make the next chapters in a matter of 2 weeks or less, which is gonna be a challenge as the first chapter had me drawing 64 slides and each took 2 hours to draw, so in order to fulfill this order, I'll have to cut that time to half.

But that's easy compared to getting people to check it out, let alone subscribing. I have no idea how I'm going to advertise this but perhaps my previous game can kinda get the door open with that. So I'll see what I can do to get the ball rolling.

You can check out Wunderkind on the YouTube channel:

And you can check out the first chapter here:

That's all I have to say for now. Until next time.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blog #5

Aaaand it's been shelved.


Alright so, last time I said Fractured Particles was back. Well... no.

I got a confession to make. I want Fractured Particles to come to fruition for sure but that game requires so much work put into it yet I have no idea how to get people to play it. It's a bit of a daunting task to get that game to be played. One of the reasons why I believe it is difficult is because not everyone will want to play it. At least that's how I feel. Not to mention work gets in the way and I have to both work and market that game at the same time and it's really cutting into my productivity time.

Oh who am I kidding. Those are all really excuses.

Truth be told, I rather produce than market and FP has a huge commitment required put into it, even with it's simplistic style. I believe that I have to lower my work load even more, and that is why I decided put FP on hold, put the other project I was working on in hiatus, and cancel the fan game. I'm working from step 1 again.

Yet again, I've started another project. Two of them in fact. This time, however, these are very quick projects. They are not huge by any means like my previous ones were. I'm working on two games, one that is being made for YouTube and one that will take a week to finish.

Now firstly, what do I mean "for YouTube"? I'm working on a series of videos but these are going to be quick time events. Pretty much how it work's is that you watch the video and at certain times you have to click on a annotation to proceed or else the video ends. It's like  a big quick time event for YouTube. I can actually finish this project in a month or two complete so I'm banking on that.

The other project is something much more simpler. It's actually a silly game where you have to collect animals, only the animals are horrible abominations. The game is called Hybrid Animals and I aim to finish it by the end of this week so watch out for that.

Yes, I know, I keep picking up and quitting projects. That's been my problem for quite a while. The truth is, I really want people to play my games and I know that simply posting them online will not cut it. I have to advertise but advertising and producing at the same time is real grunt work. I prefer to finish the product first and then proceed to get people's attention, which is a very difficult task. I'm hoping by creating a project that has low work load could probably elevate this hurdle that I have.

So yes I have started new projects on top of other projects that are on hold, but I promise you this: I will no longer pick up any more projects. I'm banking on these two to actually get somewhere. Anything else will result in a casual game which I do not want to do.

By the end of this month something good will come from this I'm sure, so be sure to stay tuned.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Blog #4

Well hello again.

It's been quite a while since I last made contact. During my absence, I was working on another game, but after much struggling, I realized that perhaps that game shouldn't be a top priority. I wanted to make that game for advertising purposes because it was suppose to be a fan game in hopes of bringing in people automatically. Well now I realized that perhaps that may not be the case. I did make a game before that was suppose to do just that but it failed to bring in anyone. Looks like I'm back to trying to market the old fashion way.

Regardless, I have not given up on that game but it is going to take a backseat to everything else. In fact, I actually started another game on top of the fan game so I have 3 games under my belt now. Yes, I am crazy about making games but not necessarily marketing them. At the moment everything is hush hush but eventually I'll reveal what my game is about.

Regardless, with all that said, Fractured Particles is back in production. Its been like 2 months or so since I last touched that game that I need to familiarize myself with the system once again, and when this is done, I'm going to improve the demo and finally add it to Steam Greenlight, hoping to take off the marketing from there.

A new version of the demo will be made with new features including a new location to visit, new enemies, and maybe a mini game. There will also be new additions to the story telling such as new cutscenes ad maybe a reworked intro. I have quite a bit of new plans for this game so let's see where it goes from here.

Yes, my friends. Fractured Particles is back.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blog #3

A new life is about to begin: mine.

So here's the thing: last blog entry I wrote, I was thinking of finding a new job in transcription but I believe I was just making light of it.

The face I must of made when I found a job doing just that the very next day, and even more so when I found out I got paid the following week from it. Yes! I found a new job in transcribing. It's not high paying right now but I love it better than my current job (which I quit got fired from). The site says I can make upwards of $700+ after 60 days of working so it's going to be a struggle for those 60 days, but thankfully I have some funding on my bank account to survive those two months. However, since this is an online job, I'm not sure if that is a guarantee. Regardless, a job is a job and I nailed one. So that means my position here in North Carolina is over. I am going to move out to Los Angeles next week.

Sorry about spilling that out. This isn't suppose to be a personal blog but I insist to mention my current position in life because it does affect Fractured Particles. So with that said, I must announce that I am putting aside Fractured Particles for now. With the current situation I have about moving out on my own in one of the biggest cities in the US (thus making it one of the most expensive), the project is being put aside.

However, that is only one reason.

Marketing a new IP is very difficult, especially when you're a nobody. I'm am very happy with everyone who has said so many nice things about the game, and am super grateful to those who have made videos about the game; you have my undying gratitude for sure. However, I feel that it may not be enough to get everyone's attention. Not to mention I am starving to do some programming again. Marketing is fine but I really just want to create games. If I had someone to help me spread the word about my game, I would for certain have them do it for me, but that luxury is something I don't have. So what can I do to continue programming while still getting the message across about the game? Make another game.

So Fractured Particles is going in hiatus for a few months but a new game is going to be created, so be sure to stick around for that.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Blog #2

The second blog my friends.

Every had one those days where life seems to be a burden on you? I kinda feel that way right now. I am very unsatisfied with my current job. No, it's not a bad job, it's actually quite a nice job I have: sorting out invoices. Well, that's my main job but I do other things like make phone calls and other clerical work.  I'm not happy with it at all so I have made a decision to quit and find another job, and this time find a job that I really love. I want some kind typing job and want to have my own hours. So what is the solution? Freelance typing. Yes, I'm going to aim to get by commissions. We'll see what happens.

But enough about my life, let's get back to Fractured Particles. Last week I talked about the starting of the project with the particle system, so I'll elaborate a bit on that, but I won't reveal all my secrets, especially after that little mishap where I accidentally uploaded a build of the demo with the test room! (don't bother looking for it; I quickly fix it) As I explained last week, the particle system went from 1200 pixels before slowdown to 2500, but here's the strange thing. If you exceed 2500, the game starts to slow down, but if you continue to grab pixels and exceed a number like 5000, the game returns to regular speed and it slows down once it reaches 9000. I don't know why it does that or if it still does it. This was quite a while ago while I was still experimenting with the particle effect so I don't know if it still applies.  Regardless, I capped it at 2500 because of two reasons:

  • Players are not going to put up with slow down, even for a little bit.
  • I don't think more pixels for the effect are necessary.
Though one upside to having more pixels available would be that I can use larger sprites, but that would just make battles way too long. But what about the bosses? They're larger than the enemies. I actually used a trick for that involving two sprites, but I won't get into that because that in itself is also complicated.

Now, how exactly does the particle system in the current game work? Here's the process I use to make it so that each pixel of an enemy is counted for:
  1. Whenever you get into a battle, the game analyzes every single pixel of the enemy, hence the loading screen before each battle, giving each and every single pixel stats.
  2. When you use a pixel eater on the enemy, there is a variable that is used to count every single pixel. Each pixel is assigned a number and when that variable reaches said number, it activates the pixel and gives it its coordinates.
  3. Once the pixel is activated, it follows instructions given to fly around the player, thus appearing to be separating from the sprite in real time.
In case you didn't know, this is a loading screen. Don't tell me you were actually interested in the enemy names!
Yes, I said 'appear' because it's actually an illusion. The sprite is still fully formed and the pixels that you grab from it are actually separate, as in the pixel you take from the enemy is just a copy with the same color data. When you take a pixel from the enemy, before the pixel flies off, it leaves behind a black dot, so in reality, the sprite is being covered by black dots while another pixel with the same color data is flying towards you, completing the illusion.

The explosion is the same except every single pixel of the sprite is activated at once.

Look at them pretty pixels.

There you have it! The secret behind the custom particle effect, in a very simple form at least. It's a bit more complicated when you get down to the core program, but that pretty much sums it up in simple terms.

But of course, it won't matter if people don't know about it, so once again, I'm aiming to spread the word out on this project. I'm planning on sending e-mails to various YouTubers in hopes of some of them playing my game and get exposure. I've had some playtesters upload the playtest version, even though it wasn't that good and needed improvements, and I am very thankful for that. I just wish the game didn't suck, lol. But this time, the game is looking better so it's time to get it out into the public. However the e-mails will have to wait. I'm going to do a bit of a soft launch by getting some players from a few ads. I'll be posting an ad on Reddit and on a service called Project Wonderful and see if I can get some players from there.

So that's it for my blog. What will I blog about next? I don't know but we'll see what happens.

Thanks for reading this blog. Please share the game with your friends through FaceBook and Twitter and I'll see you guys later.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

New Toolkitz devlog

Welcome to the new devlog for all of Toolkitz products, which at current there is only one. This devlog will be used for any and all future products under the Toolkitz name, with the only current product right now is Fractured Particles.

However, even though this is the start of a public devlog, I've actually been keeping records and diaries of all games that have been worked on under the Toolkitz name for the past three years and Fractured Particles is no exception. This is why I can tell you with confidence that Fractured Particles began life in November 9th, 2015 at 3:32 pm. That was when I had the idea for the game's battle system and made a tech demo of it. This is an excerpt from the diary that I wrote on that faithful day:
"However, there is the problem of the limiations[sic]. I can only have up to around 1200 particles before it starts slowing down. I'm going to have to figure out how to make up for that limitation as I need to add more graphical features... Aside from that, today I just tested out the particle system, how the particles will be drained, and testing how much limit can the game handle. I still need to test out commanding the taking of the particles."
The diary of Fractured Particles, all in it's sickening glory.

When Fractured Particles (which at the time, the game was called Pixela) was just starting out, I was actually using objects for the particle effects. It lead to more control of each pixel to allow an awesome effect where after taking the pixels of the target, not only would that pixel be independent, but it would arrange itself on top of the player in a specific position where it would create a carbon copy of the sprite and always aim to target that spot on top of the player every time Lexi moved. In simpler terms, the idea was to steal the pixels of the enemy and have the pixels form the shape of the sprite you stole from the victim, albeit not perfectly as the pixel would continuously "shiver" in place, and when the player moved, the pixels would catch up to the player to form the sprite.

It's hard to explain but it was cool nonetheless. If I knew I was going to be nostalgic about it, I probably would've saved that tech demo. Though in a way, it is still possible to create it as the code for that particular effect is still in the game, but I'm sure it's going to be a heck of a lot of trouble to implement back.

Now, the reason why I decided to abjure the idea was that, as you read above, it slowed the game down when 1200 of them were on the screen. That may sound like a lot but consider that a sprite that's 40 * 30 is around 1200 sprites in of itself and that size is really limiting to creating sprites for enemies. The current system in place can have up to 2500 before slow down so I just upgraded to having a sprite that's 50 * 50, which makes a bit of a difference.

So yeah, that's how the beginning came to be. What's that? You wanted to learn more about the particle system in the game? Well that's a topic for another blog post, so if there is demand to learn more about Fractured Particles, leave me a comment and I'll make another post about the technical details behind the game.

I guess that's it for the first post. I actually had no plan on what the first post for this blog was going to be, so I decided to simply ramble on until I figured I had enough. Until next time my friends.

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