Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year? A New Decade.

Here we are, with only a few minutes left in the first decade of the 21st century. I have guests over so I shall not stay long, but wherever you are, whatever you're doing and whoever you're with, enjoy it.

What sort of New Years Resolution's have we drummed up this year? I've got just one so far, eat healthier! I never get involved in making these sort of pledges, but if 2010 has proven one to me, it's that sticking to a plan is actually not too tough, once you get into the swing of it. Indeed there does need to be that underlying motivation, it doesn't pull itself out of the air, but the most valuable thing I will take with me into the next decade, is to at least try. What harm is it to try? If you fail, you're situation may not be any better, but it won't be any worse either.

I will write a blog, on this very site, in exactly 10 years time. My decade resolution if you like, is to be happy. Happy with my career, happy with my relationships, happy with life. What started out in early 2010 as an attempt to get my life back on track, will hopefully have come full circle and at this time, 10 years from now, that I can say: I've done it. What I achieve in the coming decade is up to me. What you achieve in the coming decade is up to you. The world is our oyster. Plan ahead, stick to you're plan and we shall reap the rewards together.

Craggy Island will be released on the 16th January, 2011.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

First of all, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays! Have been trying desperately to get more festive this year. Not that it's going too well; the tree's only went up 2 days ago and most of the decorations are still in their boxes.. I have been out buying lots of presents though, even on my tiny budget. I've managed to buy lots of small little things which helps in covering that up somewhat. I visited my brother this evening, man is it cold out. I de-iced the door locks, drove 10 minutes and the locks were frozen again. The visit was cut short however when we realized that none of us had a house key with us; somehow everyone had managed leave theirs behind, so we were officially locked out. The keys were sitting on a table in the hall, so we constructed a device consisting of a broom, tape and multiple clothes hangers, in attend to feed it through the letterbox and fish the keys off the table.

That had fail written all over it and low and behold, it failed, miserably. This was about 15minutes ago. How did I get inside? A broken handle on a bedroom window at the rear of the house saved the day. The window doesnt actually lock shut, so it can just be pushed open. Had to get the neighbours ladder and climb up and across a roof to get to the window, then climb in. Normally not such a big deal, but the roof tiles were extremely slippy with the ice and were dislodging slightly under my weight. Sort of sprained my hand in the procedure, but it could have gone much worse. Anyway, inside and warm again, hurray!

Craggy progress! Ok, so releasing before christmas at this stage seems unlikely. Theres a few reasons for that. The final stages of gameplay are still being finished and it will need a bit of testing/balancing before a release. Voice over work is not far off completion, only 3-4 parts left to do, hopefully they shouldn't take too long! Target release date was around about now, I do apologize to anyone that might be looking forward to this, such is the nature of modding I guess, real life gets in the way all the time. I will say that I've been working around the clock on this though, my very little bit of free time does indeed feel like a very small part of my week.

Anyway, just a quick update and with that, a revised release date of the first week or two of January, it would take something pretty drastic to delay it any further than that. I just don't want to release until its 100%.

If I don't blog before christmas, have a good one, be good and above all, be festive!



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snowed under..

Figuratively and literally. Poor Ireland has seen some of it's worst snowfall over the past week; it's put the country at a complete stand-still. Luckily I live 5 minute's from work, so I've swapped the comforts of my car for wellies and a brolly. Seems the worst of it has past now, everything is turning to dirty slush. It was also budget day today, with everyones eye's glued firmly to the TV as news of next year's cutback's were announced.

It hasn't entirely effected me personally, I'll be down about a tenner a week; but the worst of it comes from a hike in college registration fees from next year onwards. €500 extra per year; could be worse I suppose. This budget will really hurt lower paid workers and those on social welfare. It's a sorry state of affair's over here, I can see a huge amount of emigration occurring over the next 5 years and rightfully so. The government has made a total shambles of the economy and we're the one's who have to pay for their incompetence.

Enough ranting then and onto Craggy Island progress!

Where are we.. Well Dahlia got her voice work back to me, she did a stunning job. She also drew on her film expertise and gave me some direction for how I should be shooting scene's. I've now revisited the majority of stages and reworked the camera's and dialogue emotions to at least some degree. It is by no means an easy task, its so time consuming and the pressure is beginning to mount as my target release date draws ever-closer.

Voice work is going a little slower than planned. While there is a large chunk of it done; I'm having trouble filling the last few male spots. Hopefully we'll see some movement on this over the weekend; I'd like to be hitting the 75% mark at least, by Sunday.

Timelord is working away on the final encounter and setting up VFX spawns for it. The scripting is done for that part but we ran into issue's with it last night, hopefully it won't take much work to sort it out. He is also working on getting the character templates to work, I have pulled my hair out with this for the majority of last week, might have to look at alternate routes if the issue persists. A part from these addition's, there is a small list of bug fixes and code tweaks that are needed to round off the project. Nothing major, nothing more than an hour or two's work I predict.

Oh! I did the final render for the Island itself, along with finalizing the atmosphere, sky and sea. I'm very pleased with the final result, it came out better than expected. Looking forward to showing you that.

I'm pretty exhausted. I gotta tell you, for my next project, I sure as hell will be looking to join or build a small team, there is just so much work involved in even a small module, it's incredible. I don't regret 2 manning it, in fact I wouldn't change that. It's been a steep learning curve and wake up call as to just how much effort goes into building content. I don't mean to frighten anyone away from it, nor do I mean to come off the wrong way here, but no wonder the majority of mod's never see the light of day; it really is that much of a commitment. I'm proud of myself for sticking it out, whereas I have given up on far easier things in the past.

Some people have asked me if I will release CI without full VO or otherwise, but the answer to that question is no. I know that it might be a mistake to not release as soon as a playable version is ready, but I feel strongly about holding it back until its at a quality level I'm totally happy with; which includes full VO and polish throughout. I want it to make as strong an impression as possible upon release. Craggy Island won't be perfect, thats a given. The script is not too sharp, the structure could be much better and it could be longer, more innovative.. the list goes on. But somewhere in the whole thing, as long as you come away with some sort of experience, good or bad (hopefully the former!) my goal will be fulfilled. You're feedback will pave the way for my future projects. While I think we've certainly struck one or two components on the head in CI, I'm very curious to here the opinion's of the players. You certainly begin to lose perspective when you work with something so closely for so long.

Anyway, I need my 8 hour's sleep, so I'll leave it at that.