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Tagged: patreon

[blog] Some memorable levels

Another Patreon request from Nova Dasterin:

Maybe something about level design. In relation to a vertical shmup since I’m working on one of those.

I’ve been thinking about level design a lot lately, seeing as how I’ve started… designing levels. Shmups are probably the genre I’m the worst at, but perhaps some general principles will apply universally.

And speaking of general principles, that’s something I’ve been thinking about too.

I’ve been struggling to create a more expansive tileset for a platformer, due to two general problems: figuring out what I want to show, and figuring out how to show it with a limited size and palette. I’ve been browsing through a lot of pixel art from games I remember fondly in the hopes of finding some inspiration, but so far all I’ve done is very nearly copy a dirt tile someone submitted to my potluck project.

Recently I realized that I might have been going about looking for inspiration all wrong. I’ve been sifting through stuff in the hopes of finding something that would create some flash of enlightenment, but so far that aimless tourism has only found me a thing or two to copy.

I don’t want to copy a small chunk of the final product; I want to understand the underlying ideas that led the artist to create what they did in the first place. Or, no, that’s not quite right either. I don’t want someone else’s ideas; I want to identify what I like, figure out why I like it, and turn that into some kinda of general design idea. Find the underlying themes that appeal to me and figure out some principles that I could apply. You know, examine stuff critically.

I haven’t had time to take a deeper look at pixel art this way, so I’ll try it right now with level design. Here, then, are some levels from various games that stand out to me for whatever reason; the feelings they evoke when I think about them; and my best effort at unearthing some design principles from those feelings.

[blog] Digital painter rundown

Another patron post! IndustrialRobot asks:

You should totally write about drawing/image manipulation programs! (Inspired by https://eev.ee/blog/2015/05/31/text-editor-rundown/)

This is a little trickier than a text editor comparison — while most text editors are cross-platform, quite a few digital art programs are not. So I’m effectively unable to even try a decent chunk of the offerings. I’m also still a relatively new artist, and image editors are much harder to briefly compare than text editors…

Right, now that your expectations have been suitably lowered:

[blog] Teaching tech

A sponsored post from an anonymous patron:

I would kinda like to hear about any thoughts you have on technical teaching or technical writing. Pedagogy is something I care about. But I don’t know how much you do, so feel free to ignore this suggestion :)

Good news: I care enough that I’m trying to write a sorta-kinda-teaching book!

Ironically, one of the biggest problems I’ve had with writing the introduction to that book is that I keep accidentally rambling on for pages about problems and difficulties with teaching technical subjects. So maybe this is a good chance to get it out of my system.

[blog] Introspection

This month, IndustrialRobot has generously donated in order to ask:

How do you go about learning about yourself? Has your view of yourself changed recently? How did you handle it?

Whoof. That’s incredibly abstract and open-ended — there’s a lot I could say, but most of it is hard to turn into words.

[blog] Why LÖVE?

This month, IndustrialRobot asked my opinion of FOSS game engines — or, more specifically, why I chose LĂ–VE.

The short version is that it sort of landed in my lap, I tried it, I liked it, and I don’t know of anything I might like better. The long version is…

[blog] Python FAQ: Why should I use Python 3?

Part of my Python FAQ, which is doomed to never be finished.

The short answer is: because it’s the actively-developed version of the language, and you should use it for the same reason you’d use 2.7 instead of 2.6.

If you’re here, I’m guessing that’s not enough. You need something to sweeten the deal. Well, friend, I have got a whole mess of sugar cubes just for you.

And once you’re convinced, you may enjoy the companion article, how to port to Python 3! It also has some more details on the diffences between Python 2 and 3, whereas this article doesn’t focus too much on the features removed in Python 3.

[blog] Embedding Lua vs Python

Nova Dasterin asks, with money:

How about usage of Lua for game development? Love2d etc. Also http://lexaloffle.com/pico-8.php which I recently heard about.

clarification: thoughts on Lua as a ‘good choice’, also Lua vs Python for that subject (gamedev)

There are a couple ways I can interpret this, so I’ll go with: all of them.

(edit: you may be interested in a subsequent post about the game I actually made for the PICO-8!)

[blog] My first computer

This month — March, okay, today is March 36th — Vladimir Costescu is sponsoring an exciting post about:

How about this: write about your very first computer (e.g. when you were a kid or whatever) and some notable things you did with it / enjoyed about it. If you’ve ever built your own computer from parts, feel free to talk about that too.

[blog] VD

This month — which I will pretend is still February, because time zones or something — Vladimir Costescu has sponsored a post on:

OK, how about this: write a post on what you think about (the concept of) Valentine’s Day. Bonus points if you write a brief commentary on this video and work it into the post somehow.

I… I’m afraid I don’t know how to work death metal performed by vampires into a post about anything else.

But Valentine’s Day, I think I can do.

[blog] I made cheesecake

If you were not aware, I have a Patreon tier that’s essentially: I will work on whatever you want for a day, then write about it. I made the tier assuming that people would force me to do programming, e.g. actually work on veekun for once. So far it’s been about half that, and half “hey try this thing you haven’t really done before”.

Last month, @amazingant asked me to cook something, so I decided to try making pretzels, and half-seriously ended the post suggesting that he should have me make cheesecake next.

Well, guess what I had to do this month.

[blog] Writing

This month Vladimir brings us:

Er, hmm, maybe do a piece on what your writing process is like (because yay meta).

Indeed. This could only be more meta if I described the process I used for writing this article specifically.

So here’s the process I used for writing this article specifically.

[blog] I made pretzels

@amazingant has bought a day of my time, and requested that I spend it on:

Cook something! Don’t make one of those meal-in-a-box (or can) things (e.g. hamburger helper, “manwich” sandwiches, etc.), no frozen dinners, and heating something with the stove or oven must be involved.

Don’t worry, I do know what “cook” means! It includes baking, right? I’m going to say it includes baking.

[dev] Did some Spline work, again

Sketch is still buying days of my time, which is super cool of him. Continuing from last month, he asked that I make it possible to disable normal editing and only accept proposals on the wiki.

After some internal debate about how to add a real configuration system, I realized this could just be expressed with permissions, so I wrote some little permissions UI. And actually added them to the proposal code. Which is good.

I wanted to have a nice way to iterate all possible permissions from whatever plugins are currently active, but the way permissions work right now is kind of fucked up anyway, so in the end I just hardcoded a list of existing permissions. Oh, well. I’ll get around to it.

Also I added CSRF protection everywhere. Whoops. Like I said, spline is still lacking in a lot of niceties, such as “being ready for production use”. But it’s getting there, one architecture astronauting session at a time.

While I was in there I finally added UI so Glip can attach videos and cutscenes to Floraverse pages without my intervention. It was pretty easy and I don’t know why I subjected myself to messing with the db manually for so long.

This isn’t very long or exciting; it was my project and I knew what I was doing, and there was a lot of pondering involved, and I don’t have anything to complain about.

Which is why I’m using it to start off a dev log, containing shorter posts about things I have done that don’t merit some deep dive into obscure technology. I also started keeping a notebook (a real, physical notebook) for jotting down stuff I do every day, and maybe I’ll summarize it once a week or so. I’ll also post about little “releases” like Mario Maker levels. In fact I might go make backdated posts for all the levels I’ve made so far.

Remember, if you’re following via the Atom feed and only want to see the blog, there’s a feed with only blog posts.

I’m not sure what this means for the projects page, which has always been kind of a mess. It’s also annoying that you can’t easily filter by project, because they’re just tags, and it’s not obvious which tags are projects. I’ll figure this out as I go, I suppose.

[blog] ZDoom on a Wii U GamePad with a Raspberry Pi

Well. That was the idea, anyway. SPOILERS: It didn’t work.

Vladimir Costescu has upped the ante and bought a day of my time this month, requesting:

It would be cool to read about you tinkering with a Raspberry Pi or similar cheap device and trying to get it to do cool stuff (where “cool stuff” is left up to your discretion).

Well it just so happens that I already have a Raspberry Pi. I got it at PyCon US, I think three years ago, when they gave every single attendee a Pi for free. I thought it was super duper cool and I spent a whole afternoon tinkering in their Raspberry Pi lab and then I came home and put it in a drawer forever because I had no idea what to use it for.

At first I thought it would be cool to rig something that would download a random wad from idgames (like vectorpoem‘s WADINFO.TXT) and just launch it and let you play it. A teeny tiny portable Doom box.

Then I realized you’d still need a mouse and keyboard (well, at least a keyboard) to actually play, which is a little bit more cumbersome and detracts from the portability a bit.

But I remembered hearing about a Linux-only project that had managed to interface with the Wii U GamePad. Run ZDoom on a light wireless controller with gyros and everything? That sounds awesome.

So off I went.

[blog] Internet novelty: testing personality

This month, Vladimir Costescu has requested (with dollars):

For this month’s funded post, I’d like to see you write about personality typing, with an emphasis on Myers-Briggs / Jungian typology. This means I’d like to see you write mostly about MBTI and dig a bit into cognitive stack theory, but if you happen to have tidbits of knowledge about other methodologies (e.g. Big Five, Enneagram, etc.) already in your mental data banks, it would be cool to hear about them too.

Don’t worry: I don’t know anything about cognitive stack theory, or even what that means. But that’s never stopped me before!

[blog] My search history is now full of illegal drug terms

Someone has generously pledged a pile of money and asked me to write about the War on Drugs. Preliminary research reveals that this is not actually anything to do with programming, which confuses and bewilders me, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

My gut reaction is to say “it’s bad”, on the basis of victimless crime and right to private action and all that, but that doesn’t make for a very interesting post, and there are plenty of thinkpieces along those lines anyway. I’ll try to do a teeny bit of research, so I’m not just paraphrasing Wikipedia.

[blog] Text editor rundown

As part of my experiment to monetize my personal brand, or however we’re describing this now, I have a milestone that lets a patron impose a blog topic of their choosing on me. What could possibly go wrong?

And so, this month, Russ brings us:

You should totally write about text editors.

I totally should. I mean, wait, no I shouldn’t. I haven’t seriously used a text editor other than Vim for years.

Thankfully this was a moderately vague request, so here’s what I’ve done: I’ve subjected myself to all these hip shiny text editors that I haven’t been bothering with and taken notes of my initial impressions. I only had a few hours to devote to each, so this won’t really be a fair comparison… but you know, life isn’t fair, so eat your peas and do your homework.