Summer 2010 Post-Mortem: Nucleus and Things

So one week from today starts the Fall Quarter at SCAD, and I’ve had a busy summer (and haven’t posted much for a while). So I’ll take time out today to review what all’s occurred and share some thoughts on it.

On the whole, excited to be headed back to classes, and I’m taking this week to finally really kick back and make sure I’m recharged for the impending hectic classwork that comes with being an ITGM grad student.


Nucleus

Anyone who’s been watching this space at all knows that the big project of the summer has been Nucleus, my impending Windows Phone Game. I got a huge amount done and learned even more, and I’m very pleased with my progress on it over these summer weeks. It isn’t quite as far along as I’d hoped, but farther along than I’d feared, so that’s a big plus.

Most of the most major of major stuff is done, with the exception of the planned particle effects. Since my last major update, I’ve gotten a nice background effect working (though it needs a little tuning yet), re-written the stabilization code to work more reliably, fixed a bug in game over state detection, and allowed the game to reset to the initial state properly.

I’m reasonably confident that even with classwork on my plate, I can check off the rest of the to-do list by Christmas at the latest and get the game up on the Marketplace. Perhaps not to as high a degree of polish as I’d like, but enough. The key problem is the lack of a real device on a day-to-day basis; there’s only so much the emulator can do for you.

GameLib

Part of working on Nucleus was getting a library together that could be re-used for basic game needs and tasks in preparation for the work I’m going to have to do at SCAD this year. This went rather well, and developing Nucleus on top of it was a great idea—working on a game in parallel with the library helped me better understand how the library needed to work. A lot of things I thought were a good idea at first needed changing, and it was good to have those changes happen sooner than later.

I didn’t get ALL the functionality I wanted in place, but it’s a solid foundation of framework going forward.

The Game Community Site

It has been an intention of mine and Syd’s to start a gamer community site dedicated to all sorts of gaming, built out of our successful CO guild. Because that guild enjoys playing together and many people are starting to branch into new games, it seemed like an excellent idea to transition to a multi-game community, rather than see people leave and fall out of touch.

We had planned to do this in the Fall after securing hosting, but a friend of ours loaned us soe webspace, and we decided one night to jump the gun and at least work on getting the technology working and a beta site put together. Well, the toughest portions of that are done, and we’ve gotten the site into a fit beta state now, and moved some of our guilds into it. People haven’t shifted over to quite the extent I was hoping, but I think perhaps the “beta” label is making some of them wary. I’m not surprised; I rather expected a rocky transitionary period.

With any luck, come Fall, we can see some more progress on that front.

Fitness

This summer, I set a goal of actually making progress on getting into shape. This is probably where I’ve done best, though it doesn’t show as much as I’d like yet. It’s hard to maintain a regimen while in classes, and it’s hard to maintain one in an Atlanta summer. But I managed the summer, and feel some definite progress made that I can be proud of. As a bonus, making it through the summer makes keeping it up during classes easier.

I also learned that fitness progress feels great when you’re not making code progress, and vice-versa. Getting into shape and making a game at the same time helped me be more disciplined about both, which is fantastic. Motivation is key in both activities.

My Game Queue

This was mostly a failure, but I’m okay with it. I did get some serious game time and progress in at various points. I got a bit further in CO and STO(re-capped my level in STO!), got some serious time in on Infamous and God of War 2, and made serious headway in several other titles, though I didn’t finish any of them yet. Still, considering I didn’t manage this because of so much other stuff going well, I’m alright with it.

So, that’s Summer 2010. It’s been a busy one, despite very little money made. that said, a lot of solid foundations laid, and I’m feeling pretty good about the immediate future (and even a ways past that).

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