Sunday, March 26, 2023

First game jam in GameMaker AND all by myself!!!!!

The game is up here on my! It's a zip file but I promise it's not a virus! What do I have to say about this short project in which I only used thirds of the 9 day jam?


The post mortem from this project is, don't expect to do stellar with your school work AND do a fun jam, one will have to suffer. It could be maddening, watching the 'ball' hit around and spear itself onto spikes while you can only watch. Still, that's what the original game 'brick breaker' is about, enjoying the bricks breaking...It's only fair when the spikes can be avoided due to SKILL (moving left and right) soshite, it's a bit cruel. 

I struggled with the level progression, it's very clunky. I struggled with the 'resetting' of the rooms when dead and yadda yadda, all the linear stuff drove me batshit. I wonder why.

I enjoyed making the animated bricks and designing the strange levels. I admit for time reasons (and sanity) I didn't play all 5 stages through without dying (those ceiling spikes are brutal...) before submitting to jam. I removed ceiling spikes before submitting and hope that makes it more fair a game.

I wanted to focus on the delight of hitting the different bricks, so focused a lot on getting the corresponding color coming out of the exploding animation, wayyy too much time spent on that but hey, it's worth it. 

The local Adelaide game dev scene (AGD) has often made me self conscious, a bit of imposters syndrome involved there because of my trauma, but I'm really pleased with the vibe I felt on their discord and although it was a jam of only 14 games, that pretty great turnout for Adelaide. It makes me proud to be a part of something local.

Anyways, my hands are aching from all the coding and writing I've done today, that is a good sign. It's a familiar ache that says, you've worked pretty damn hard. Invertebreaker(s) may not look like much, but I hope someone enjoys it! Cheers!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

AGD Slam Jam 2 progress

 I decided to join in the AGD Slam Jam 2 a few days late since it's run by local Adelaide game devs. I was considering, heck I need to get back into GameMaker programming, since it's been a few months of avoiding it altogether.

I turned back to FriendlyCosmonauts tutorial for a 'brick break' style game. I had followed her tutorial word-for-word to make a pong game years back, it maybe must've been 2021 I think. I failed miserably at implementing any sort of charm into the game, as I barely knew if and switch statements etc.  

This time, I started with chat GPT since I wanted to see what it could teach me. For better or worse, it taught me nearly nothing, as much of the code was broken or outdated GML from 2012 and such, using view_xview and other unused functions. Well, I had to suck it up and code it myself. 

 I found it easier than I had anticipated, as many of my previous GML games were fairly broken. I kept it simple, using brick objects I painted on per level. The creature bounces off of the walls using a formula that reversed the hspeed and vspeed. If I just dumped it here well, that would ruin the mystery.
move_bounce_all(true) truly proved very useful, as all the bouncing is due to that, I think it's convincing enough for a pixel art game made entirely by me. I've even managed to spit out some dumpy music just for fun, but it'll probably end up more a maddening contribution than anything.

Anyways, I should probably get back to it. I have yet to make it progress to levels as it jumps to level 3, the smiley face one. All the somewhat linear things are the ones I find hardest to conceptualise, how one thing links up to another. Might ask my dad for help, or plan it out like real devs do. Once that's done, maybe I can design some powerups for speed, enlargement and something else fun.

Procrastination bloggin' over and out. I should be working on an essay or Japanese damngg.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Goodbye Mom. We Fed the Lobsters.

We held a memorial event for my mom two days ago. She passed away from brain cancer in early 2020  and my life was changed forever. At our property on beautiful Kangaroo Island, around 20 people turned up, some from the USA and some from Adelaide. 

After tributes, my dad and I kayaked out to sprinkle moms ashes into the bay by our home on North Cape. She had wanted us to 'feed the lobsters' with her ashes. They will be happy.

Kangaroo Island is a very special place for me. I have roamed the hillsides and stumbled the pebbled shores many times in search of adventure. In the twilit magic hours, I feel the power of the landscape beckon me across the dry grassy knolls, finding majesty in every thing, living or not. 

I don't know if all the guests felt this magic, as they seemed concerned with the amount of walking required to ascend back up to the house from the beach, but I am grateful for whoever decided to show up. Around half of them waited for a car trip up instead of the hard climb, but I raced ahead. Needing to be alone amongst the impassive bleached white rocks and dry grass for a moment.

I am drowning in a abyss of "PTSD" (grief, despair, trauma, whatever you wanna cruelly diminish down to a 4 letter word) at any given moment. The only things that pull me out of it is focusing on something else; such as good storytelling conversation, (trying to) draw, dancing, game programming (sometimes), writing (narrative or blogs) and music appreciation. Those pastimes are basically all I got to distract me from a physical and mental pain I feel tensing my body, something that says I am worthless (in intimate ways I wont mention here) and that dying is an easier option than enduring this constant hell. I can't tell if my psychological wounds are healing.

Weirdly, somedays the pain fades down to nothing, on those days I accept, hey, I eat, sleep and shit like everyone else. I decide then to put up boundaries that say, hey I've been through hell. I respect myself where others wont understand this hurt. I need to go about life with cloth dressings on these wounds and armour on top, just to survive in a world that doesn't understand how to not 'press buttons' which hurt me. So I have to be strong in navigating this world, not getting triggered when people use the word 'psychotic' unbelievably wrong, in the fact that people ask why I'm not doing animations, blah blah more petty shit that isn't worth the words on the screen.

Yet my mom was unbelievably strong in the face of cancer, something to truly cry about. I know she would want me to be tougher. If I couldn't draw, she would remind me I'm still Vela. She would probably tell me to do crocheting or underwater basket weaving, something new, or she would probably tell me my art was still great. I don't know. 

It feels like she is with me till this day, I have moments thinking "Oh shouldn't mom be here right now?" more often than not. I thought this when we gathered down at the beach. I also am a spiritual person now and tentatively believe in the afterlife, but I won't get into that. 

I have witnessed mystifyingly beautiful things along this journey called life. I'm especially grateful for every day I can do a little doodle like the ones below, it may not happen every day but that's all it has to be. When I was out there kayaking, I remember I'm not Vela-the-Amazingly-Awesome-Artist-Who-Needs-to-Prove-Herself-to-Everyone.

I'm Vela. The little feisty redheaded daughter of Susie and Alan.

 That, I'll always be. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

I Want to be a Mother

I want to be a mother.

Currently without a partner, the future of my love is looking bleak.

Would I be a good mother? 

Am I smart enough, kind enough to teach and nurture?

If I went to a sperm bank, do I lie to everyone? 

Artificial insemination sounds scary and sad.

What would I say to the child, who never had a dad?

I love you?

or that they were made using glass tubes and freaky appliances?

Would they think it was cool? Achievement unlocked in this scifi world that’s changing fast.

I want to get my BA degree first. Am I mentally stable enough to handle such a thing?

I miss my mom. She was legendary. Yet, I want to do this for myself. 

I think of holding my own baby in my arms. Crying. 

I think of giving my child everything and more than my mom gave me. I cry again.

There are people having children that really shouldn't. Absolute bozos that don't respect the sanctity of bringing a living thing into this world. Just another trophy.

There is a stigma around it all, if you don't have that perfect loving partner in tow. This would be definitely yet another painful subject in my life, as if I don't already have enough of those.

It would be my baby and just mine alone.

I imagine my belly getting bigger, part of a sacred, cosmic experience.

I think it would make me happy. Happier than any degree, achievement or anything.

A reward after enduring hell? All thanks to scientists in white coats, something I once despised.

No. It isn't right to call it any sort of reward. It's simply an experience I want to have.

It hurts. It hurts, it hurts so much.

I want to be a mother.