Keram's Book Report

Notes & Reflections on Books n Stuff I Have Experienced

Page: Indie Game Devlog – “October”

Jan 18th 2024

Huge day – created some arrays for phrases and words that characters would say – random word insertions to make dialogue a little more dynamic than just the same old canned phrases. This is something I have been messing around for years, going back to when I first start coding BASIC on my Vic 20!

So basically I just made a script that has a bunch of arrays called stuff like teen_hello_surly, teen_hello_punky, etc then make a short function to choose a phrase randomly that might be called get_random_teen_hello_surly and then insert into dialogic using {WordRand (the name of the singleton).get_random_teen_hello_surly()} and stick that into the dialogue.

Of course the better pattern would be to create a simpler function that with a placeholder for the name of each array without having to writei a separate function for each.

But then I got a reply from the creator of Dialogic on a random Twitter (ugh, ‘X’) account of  mine telling me that this phrase insertion randomization is (of course it is) already built into Dialogic:

<item 1/item 2/item 3>

That easy.

Even so, I prefer having these options in arrays which I can constantly extend and expand and call from anywhere in any dialogue, as opposed to doing the bespoke at the time of the dialogue.

Part 2.

Hooboy, dont even get me started on my obsession with lighting. I got a certificate in cinematography at UCLA Extension about 15 years ago, and havent stopped thinking about Gordon Wilis, Roger Deakins, Vittoria Storaro, Jordan Cronenweth, ever since. I go crazy with tuning lighting in Unity, in Blender, for Web3D. Now it’s 2D in Godot 4’s turn. I have a lot to learn and experiment with, but for now POintLight2D, LightOcculuder2D, tilemap occluders, CanvasModulate are my friends. I will also have to start paying a lot more attention to the profiler to see what impact this stuff is having. But it’s 2D…how bad can it be…right?

I do know already that there is a nice lightmap baking node, so once I have something like a real level design lightly glued down, we can go there.

Here is a little teeny screenie, for my own timestamp of where we were

from ‘October’ Copyright 2024 K Malicki-Sanchez

Part 3

Used a nice design pattern to implement a UI SFX system that dynamically find the corresponding UI sound when a UI interaction is clicked (rather than hard coding these to each button/affordance). It works great.

Part 4

Speaking of UI, finally moved away from the pixel style retro font and over to the much more readable and accessible font that was also used in Celeste – because hey, it worked really well there. Bought a commercial license, dropped it in and wouldnt look back.

Jan 17 2024

I started thinking about this game around 2019, maybe earlier. Spending halloweens in the neighborhood where I grew up with my parents was like being in a Secret Garden of autumnal phenomenology. For several years I would dictate or scribble notes or take pictures on my walks, imagining what sort of format, genre, mechanics, aesthetic could capture the experience. Over the subsequent years, Halloween decor became increasinbly bombastic around the neighborhood until such point that the austere carved pumkins and makeshift broomsticks and bedsheets gave way to two-story infalatable internally lit effigies to Dreamworks IP.

These days it is a mix of Stranger Things, strangers who get dropped off by the busload, laser-lit raves and t-shirt cannons and those houses that just leave the lights off and pray it will end soon.

So I finally found the basis for a game, and in particular, after several aborted attempts with Unreal Engine and Unity, tried out Godot. It was a match made in heaven. Couple with with the fact that ChatGPT was there to accelerate learning from my questions about GDScript – the native scripting language for Godot and huge pratfall by Unity’s board of directors and stockholders that saw an exodus away from the venerable and ubiquitous platform to the open sourced, free license of Godot, a freakish credit limit increase form my bank, and everything came into alignment.

So I will start to capture the current stage of the process, because I know my future self will probaby be glad I did. Codename (and probably actual name: “October”).

Already have a coupon for the Steam page, lots to learn and prep to get that going, but we almost have a slice of a game and it looks pretty good too.

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