Taking Flight

Like many of us in this pandemic, I’ve picked up a hobby over the last year. It’s been fun learning to build, fly, and eventually wreck these little winged terrors.

January 22, 2022

Memory Lane

Weird to think that some of these images are over 16 years old…

January 19, 2022

Death By a Thousand Cuts

One of the issues with game development that’s become more apparent over the years was dealing with splitting time between new game development and bug fixes/maintenance. When we first released games, they were much simpler, and as a result had less bugs to deal with. You could spend the majority of your time working on new features. Nowadays, our games have become so large that as the solo developer, even I can’t keep everything in my head straight on how certain systems were implemented....

February 3, 2017 · Alex

Setting up Multiple PlayerControllers in UE4

Use: UGameplayStatics::CreatePlayer(World, Index,bSpawnActor) (Docs). When creating a custom game mode it wasn’t clear in the documentation how ones goes about: Spawning a playercontroller Spawning a pawn assigning both to each other and possessing the pawn with the controller So I basically did it all manually inside InitGame(). This cropped up some unwieldy UI focusing bugs. Once I replaced it with a call to CreatePlayer() things started working as intended. Hope this helps anyone who’s starting out in UE4 with C++....

December 1, 2016 · Alex

This Online World

“If the byline on your article doesn’t enlarge its readership then you don’t have much of a value. All you’re doing is using the distribution network of a company. That makes you expendable. They can find someone else just like you. “ – Clay Davis Quite an interesting read regarding the business of writing for a living. I don’t 100% agree with all the conclusions he argues for, but when put through the lens of indie games I think a lot can be applicable as well....

May 16, 2016 · Alex

Testing, Testing, Testing, 1,2,3…

With each game release I’ve noticed I’ve committed less and less time to writing the ‘fun bits’ and more time spent trying to mitigate complexity and find ways to make as many things as testable as possible. I guess that’s the nature of the beast once you go beyond your average ‘asteroids’ clone. With the recent announcement of SFT getting asynchronous play in the coming months, I’ve been scoping out my dev schedule for what needs to happen to make it reality, and the only issue that I keep circling back to is “how the hell do I make all of this testable/bug free”....

May 3, 2016 · Alex

The little details…

Early on in the development of SFT I had concerns about how I was going to do text rendering on the cards in such a way that things stay readable regardless of resolution, while keeping fonts looking nice. I ran into aliasing issues as well as pixelation, since all the fonts being rendered were simply bitmap textures on top of cards that are flipping, rotating, and scaling in 3D space. I had read about SDF (signed distance fields) font assets for text rendering and was wanting to get something implemented for SFT’s cards....

February 13, 2016 · Alex

Player Preference for Role Selection

Taking the “conflict” out of shared roles: https://vine.co/v/inaDFBXgFUB We opted to do a ‘ranked preference’ for role selection in SFT. Instead of players joining/leaving and selecting anywhere from 1-3 players to control and then having more UI flow when conflicts arise, or a character is left unselected, or a few other scenarios, we simply take everyone’s preference list and the game deals out character roles based on them. If there’s a “tie” (for instance two or more have captain as their first choice) it’ll be random who gets it....

February 11, 2016 · Alex

Animations In SFT

Finally got another card ability animation implemented into SFT: https://vine.co/v/i12I565Q9zg The method and architecture I’m using for driving game logic I think has served me well for the past few years. I shipped Outwitters on the basics, and expanded the gameplay “engine” for SFT, which allowed for real-time multiplayer (albeit in sometimes hokey ways). The drawback is I haven’t found a good way to untangle it from the animation layer. It’s all 100% unit-testable, but when it comes to driving user input visuals for card play, it’s still a mess of:...

February 10, 2016 · Alex

Closing in on Alpha

So much work left to do, but we're hitting a point where the game is fully-playable with basic graphics online and off. Hope to write more about some of the technical challenges soon! A delivery made! But barely! Sign up on http://t.co/Y9RSqo47n9 for release updates on SFT! #indiegames pic.twitter.com/pvanWLGG26 — One Man Left Studios (@OneManLeft) September 10, 2015

September 10, 2015 · Alex