A new post about This Just In has been posted over at the game’s blog:

http://thisjustingame.tumblr.com/post/37874969381/meet-alice

This post is about one of the game’s three main characters, ALICE!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

Load times in video games suck.

Unfortunately they are a necessary evil, but with a little planning they can be greatly reduced.

I have written an asset system for This Just In, which will smartly load in needed assets, and dump unneeded assets to both minimize both memory usage and loading times. (Assets being things like graphics and sound.)

The most basic step in this is making sure that when a scene transition is hit, using set intersection between the scene being exited and the scene being loaded, to figure out which assets from the last scene need to be kept, and which discarded.

Maybe this will explain:

The scene being exited had Gabby and Alice images loaded. The scene being transitioned to need Gabby and a background image. The most efficient course of action, then, is to keep the Gabby image loaded, discard the Alice image, and load the background image.

This is just the basic loading operation, though. The real magic of my asset system is the ability to smartly decide which assets are ‘needed’ for the next scene.

In creating the game, there is an asset chart quietly held in the game engine. This chart has information on every scene, which assets are needed when, and general player usage information. It know when it’s okay to have to load, when it’s not, and how what the player will typically be transitioning from scene to scene.

Take going from the game to the status menu. This is something that will be happening constantly, and shouldn’t have to load. So any time the player is in a situation in which the menu is going to be used, all of the game assets AND the menu assets will be held so there is never a loading pause going back and forth. (Anyone remember the PS1 Chrono Trigger port?)

Another example would be cut scenes. The cut scene probably won’t use many of the assets from the game, and vice versa. Stopping to dump those assets, load the cut scene ones, only to dump the cut scene assets and RELOAD all of the assets from the game is very inefficient. This assets system will be smart enough to realize that the game assets should stay in memory, and the cut scene assets will be loaded on top of that, played and then dumped. resulting in only one short asset load at the beginning of the scene, and no loading at the end.

Another constraint is memory. Some systems might not be able to hold everything suggested by the asset system in memory without crashing, and so the asset system will smartly prioritize which assets to hold based on memory constraints as well. This will mean loading times might be a bit a bit longer on low memory systems, but they also won’t run out of memory and crash, whereas high memory systems will have very few loading screens, due to the ability to hold more in memory.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

I’ve been away for a while. I’m sure you know the deal, I’ll skip the excuses.

I have some cool stuff in the works. Major revisions to the Sandroid code, for instance. Updating them to work properly in Android 4, new features, etc.

Also working on a cool app to help in setting up for the board game Dominion, which can be a pretty feisty game to set up when you have some expansions in the mix.

The most exciting thing, however, is a very large project. I wrote a post a while back describing writing the beginning of a game engine. That game engine has kept on evolving, and is now being used in an indie game.

This Just In

This Just In is a new indie game under development for Windows, Linux, and Android. It’s a shooter that combines elements of bullet hell shooters like Touhou or Mushi-hime with persistent character growth like in RPGs, with a humorous story set in a 1930′s style world. Expect lots of surprises!

Gabby, Alice, and Hilda, the three main characters.

This will also mark the debut of RSVM, my bullet pattern language, in a game. I will be writing about the development of the engine and the game as it goes on!

There is a blog just for the game in which myself and the 2 other team members will be posting, here: This Just In Game

A background concept painting for This Just In.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

We were going to eat lunch at our favorite curry restaurant, Homemade Curry Time, but it was too busy and we didn’t want to wait for a seat, so we started walking and found a strange Japanese restaurant. They had English menus, so ordering wasn’t a problem. But our own curiosity was, because when we looked at the menu, and saw “raw horse meat,” we knew we had to try it. And try it we did.

It wasn’t bad, actually. I’m not saying I’m going ask for Mr. Ed next time I’m at Applebee’s, but at least now if someone tricks me into eating horse meat, I’ll be able to say “been there, done that.”

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Apr 042012
 

Even though the last few days have been rainy, cold and windy, much has happened since I last posted. We’ve seen so much and been to a lot of very interesting places. And the weather seems like it’s going to cooperate, for a little while at least.

Here are a couple of videos. The first one is a Pachinko machine based on the anime, Jigoku Shoujo. Sorry that the video is sideways, but I think you can get the idea without having to turn your head.

Second, we have a video of Akihabara on a busy Sunday. So busy, in fact, that the street is actually closed off for pedestrian traffic. Watch us strut through Tokyo like the Ghostbusters through Times Square.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Mar 212012
 

Being in Tokyo, you’d imagine the car traffic to be along the lines of New York or a bigger city, but it’s really never any worse than rush hour Youngstown. There are however a lot of bicycles.  Here is a department store on a weekday night, and just look at all of the bicycles parked out front.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

We went looking for a ramen shop, but since most of them were closed, we ended up finding a strange restaurant a few blocks from our apartment, and were not disappointed. Inside the shop was basically a bar-style counter, and the cooks were right on the other side making the food (imagine Warren’s Hot Dog Shoppe, but without the big dining room area).

Next to the door was a board with pictures and names of all the foods and buttons next to each choice. You pressed the button of the food you wanted, and then inserted the money, or swiped the magical Suica card (more on the lovely Suica card in a later post), and out came a ticket. Next you brought the ticket up to the counter, and the cooks made your food. It was a pretty convenient system for Americans, since the difficult Kanji involved in the names of some of the meals would have made ordering difficult otherwise.

We got curry and kimchi pork bowls, and the food was quite delicious (reasonably priced too). We’ll definitely  be going back eventually. And next time I’m going to get a beef bowl with a raw egg on top.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

In the USA, arcades have more or less been relegated to children’s restaurants (Chuck E. Cheese), novelty establishments (roller rinks/Laser Tag),  and small towns unaffected by the passage of time since the 70s (Geneva-on-the-Lake). But here in Japan, they are very much alive. This picture alone shows 3 arcades, one of which is under renovation, but all of which are about 6 stories high and crowded (well except the closed one is probably crowded by workers, not arcade patrons). Club Sega on the left, Taito Station (the one that says GAME) and another Club Sega on the right, are three arcades in one city block. Crazy.

All of the games are 100 Yen, with some of the older games giving multiple plays for that. It’s a price that can add up quickly, but it’s still neat to see something that is basically dead in America be so thriving and alive.

We only played a few games: Persona 4 The Ultimate Mayonaka Arena, Pop’n Music Fantasia, and Mushihime-Sama, but it was still a good time, and a fun atmosphere to get lost in for an hour or so.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

Quick story before I turn in for the night.

We were sitting in our apartment when we heard what sounded like a man’s voice singing outside. And began to get louder. And louder. “Yakimooooooo yakimooooo,” it sang. It was too strange to ignore, so we didn’t. Camera in tow, we went outside and investigated its source.

We ran back to the apartment to find out what yakimo meant, only to discover that it was a sweet potato. Apparently in Japan, they have trucks equipped with wood-burning stoves, that drive around selling sweet potatoes, and playing a sing-song melody. Like an ice cream truck, but with potatoes. And arguably creepier music. Needless to say, we ran back to find him (not hard, since his loudspeaker was still blaring) and bought some sweet potatoes.

YakimOOOOOOO

And they were delicious.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 

(this post is by Andrew, Nathan’s brother)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost a week since we arrived in Japan. So much has happened already, and here in this blog I’m going to chronicle it.

We’d been talking about making this trip forever, and now it’s finally happening. It’s almost too exciting to handle. We’re going to be living in Japan for two months. Nathan has been to Japan several times before, but only for a couple of weeks at a time. And this is my first ever time. Actually it’s my first time out of the country, not counting Canada (which you never should; it’s just USA’s hat.)

We’ve spent the last week just figuring out how not to die, (where to get food, that sort of thing) and Tokyo’s confounding garbage disposing laws.

Seriously, just look at this. They also sent a 30 page instruction document,
but it’s all in Japanese using some particularly violent kanji

Some interesting things that have happened thus far:

While looking at a map trying to figure out how to get to the lease office, and we weren’t standing there 2 minutes before a stranger came up and helped us find our way there. It was way out of her way, but she was very insistent on leading us there. It was a strange experience, coming from the USA, especially since the last state we were in was New Jersey (oh snap!)

We ate teriyaki burgers at McDonald’s.

We heard shouting and tumbling that we thought was our upstairs neighbors, but it turned out we are right next door to some kind of acrobatic gym with people tumbling all day and into the night. Fun fun fun!

 

That’s it for now. The next week and on will be much more interesting, and I will be posting regularly. Please look forward to our stories from Japan.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
© 2011 Youkai Country Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha