Devlog #5 Pretty much on the start line now

Devlog #5 Pretty much on the start line now

Devlog #5 Pretty much on the start line now

SECTIONS

1. Reminding Myself 2. Print Stuff 3. The Book 4. In The Peripherals 5. Back To The Game 6. Music  7. Lifeboats   8. next 

1. reminding myself

So it’s been nearly two months since i last did a devlog, and i feel like my consistency really isn’t going the way I really wanted to go on when I start doing them. In terms of a weekly update.

It’s not like I haven’t been working towards my goals, but I’ve got to remind myself that the whole point in me doing these devlogs in the first place, is not to vent about how I’m not achieving what I want to do ultimately. 

The actual point is to go over everything I’ve done, so I can figure out if I am moving in the right direction. 

So to follow on from my to-do list that I made at the end of my last devlog, I’d say I definitely  know that I’ve not done what I wrote and that’s ok, it was down to me simply not having the time because of everything else that has had to take priority,.

There’re a few things I’ll quickly list off here for the agenda;

  • I modded my printer with a continuous ink system,
  • I got a new cutter alongside my other one, 
  • I’m ready to start offering the public certain services in terms of printing,
  • I’ve been writing a book,
  • I joined the lifeboats,

there’s a few other things as well but I’ll get to those.

2. print stuff

Like I said, I modded my printer with a continuous ink system which allows me to just print as much as I want now, providing I have the ink of course. I’ve been testing out different medias making sure that the sizes translate correctly. There’s also other general maintenance on things which are part of the whole setup process. I’ll probably never bring that up again.  In short I’d say I’m pretty much on the start line now.

So again, I’m now pretty much at the point where I can start offering services to the public, and also we’ve had a good idea for a Local type magazine, like a community magazine. 

There isn’t one in the area at the moment and it could be a good avenue for everybody in all honesty. I’ve already worked out the cost of what it’s going to be approximately; to get it to every single house in this town to people for free, and it’s definitely a doable thing and should be quite profitable on my end.. I’ve just got to think about it for a little bit, and talk to a lot more of the locals.

3. the book

Like I said earlier I’m writing a book, well in actuality I’m writing two. The first is a Rip Damon book, which is actually more of an art book with some accompanying poetry. 

The second is a science fiction book about a solitary Android Who who explores the galaxy searching for interesting planets. And surprisingly I’m actually a good chunk through writing both of them.

I find straight forward creative writing like this much easier, and it’s also a quicker way of getting some peripherals out there. It’s nice because smaller projects like these are doable in a shorter amount of time. Specially when the premise is so simple. I’ll write more about them in the future. 

The main R3cords story is something that’s constantly playing on my mind, specially where I want to go with it. I’ve not had the time to draw for it but I feel that there is more story that I need to work on and just solely write at the moment. 

In truth I’ve not actually written any Canon for the story recently, but I’ve got story arcs, and ultimately where I’d like to take the story with how I would like to build the characters, more importantly their backgrounds. In short I’ve been constantly adding pieces to it the story,  there’s just no build of the actual end product yet. (The comic book). 

Which is fine because it’s not like I can put it out there at the moment anyway. If I did it’d just be sitting there, and no one would be looking at it. Which is also something I have to think about, how do I get people to just look at what I’m doing…

4. in the peripherals

Now although i’m not getting into heavy details about the books right now, the Rip Damon book is definitely going to build upon his background. Telling some of his story but its main premise is as a current day piece based around the music that he has already done. This isn’t so much an in-depth look into his character and history, although it’s an in-depth look into the art he creates in some way. Which is ultimately, connected via his own perception.

I really like the idea of having peripherals linked to the characters, that people can connect and link to in some way. Like with the Rip Damon book and books I have planned for the future; I want something physical to go through so people actually have something that they can look through and spend time with. The idea being that you can look through these things whilst listening to the music as it’s supposed to all fit together.

It’s very much the same thing with what I’m doing with the game, any games that I produced are under the name Gus Studios which is get your sword. So obviously no she’s not actually a real person in real life, she is the mascot. The idea and image being that she’s the one who creates it and does everything herself. So any game created through Gus Studios is intrinsically linked to Kat (Get Ur Sword).

I like this idea because it gives me something that I can creatively play with, which has nothing to do with the main story line. But is still connected to it. In some way. Because by proxy it belongs to one of the characters from the story.

And this is the thing that I wanting with Rip Damon, this current book is a little tough because the output is obviously very different for this one, it’s more of an extension upon the music he creates. His personal stuff will be more or art and poetry based and being more him delving into the depths of himself in a very introspective way. Maybe he could write a story..

The two characters I’m still a little uncertain on regarding the more real-world things, the peripherals. Are the ones for Chase lumen and Prince of Darkness.

I did have a terrible idea for Prince of Darkness where I was going to do some kind of real life version of him for YouTube channel with myself wearing a mask. But upon reflection, I don’t like the the crossover of the media. I would prefer him just stay a cartoon and in that realm and not have multiple versions of any of them.

But still, of course there is the V-Tuber side of it but also I don’t think it’s a good idea for me anyway. Not that I don’t like YouTube or enjoy making videos, it’s just for the character I don’t think a vtuber who’s communicating in this world as somebody… it just doesn’t make sense to me why. And I feel like it could destroy his character. So no, not that.

If I was going to do a YouTube thing though, it would have to be me talking about it. I’m not so much into the idea of an making the entire thing an ARG or pretending that the world is all real. Although the peripherals are a way to help immerse you in to the story and simply connect.

I was thinking when I’m doing the work for the r3cords comic I could just simply record what I’m doing, and then talk about something completely different. I watch enough Youtube to know pretty much all the YouTube dramas that are going on  and there’s plenty of things going on out there in the world why not talk about them. While I’m doing my art.

I feel that that be a nice way to possibly connect to an audience I could possibly even talk to, obviously, that being if people want to listen to me you know.. It’s not a bad idea. I’ll just be doing my own thing but talking about things I’m interesting in, joining in on discussions I want to be a part of.

I’m definitely going to be ticking a few boxes that work for me. I’ll have to set it up and figure out that it’s definitely something I can do on top of everything else. I don’t see why not.

But still, I’m still stuck on what to do with Chase Lumen and Prince Of Darkness for their real world peripherals.

5. back to the game

I’ve had about zero time to work on the game, which is something I’m definitely trying to sort out. I feel that come winter time I should find a lot more time. Which is actually, (providing we stay on trend to every other year ) is usually the case. Because during the winter is when I do most of my work on games.

I know I should only really update on the things that are actually done but, I guess it’s just me telling myself that it is in my mind. And not something that I’m letting myself forget about. I am only just one person after all.

6. music

 I have managed to take what time I can, when having both the spare time and the need, to work on music; And because of that I’ve managed to put quite a few tracks together along with lyrics to a lot of them as well. I can’t say I’ve had the time to dedicate to recording vocals though, which was absolutely something I intended to get done over the summer but some might say that the universe just said no to that one.

So a lot of what I’ve done has been for Chase Lumen and Earblood. I found a lot of the music I’ve been creating at the minute tends to have a lot more aggression to it so it tends to favor being for Earblood over anything else that I’m doing.

I’ve been meaning to put a new album together sorry for Prince of Darkness because I really haven’t done anything as POD in a while. It’s easy enough to create as his music is very relaxing and almost playful, I was however wondering if I could should I should go in a different direction with music in the future.

It’s my fault that I haven’t done it yet. But if I can put my mind to it, like to just set a day aside. I could probably come up with a new idea for an entire album for Prince of Darkness and put something together, definitely. I’d love to have something out by the end of this year ear.

I don’t feel it’s too important to produce an Rip Damon music right now though. Those two albums that are already out there are actually being listened too. But there’s no-one talking about them, although quite a few of the tracks have been added to peoples playlists. 

The slow growth is absolutely my own fault. I’m not exactly shoving it in people’s faces or anything so it doesn’t really matter on that front. I’m Just wanting to work more on his character and peripherals, so there are just things there. Simply because I just want to do them.

The Chase Lumen albums I’ve been working on are a big priority. I want to fully record and finish one of them, having that done before the first quarter of next year. The lyrics will have quite a bit to do with the main story, without actually telling it.

For instance; Playing With A Thunderstorm For Fifteen Minutes, is pretty much the centerpiece of the first part of the story. The challenge a gave myself to put my twist on it is, how do I tell this story without it just being completely about the music. I’m not writing a musical.

And I get that to some it might sound counterproductive or contradicting, but it’s away to to make it digestible without it being a giant cheese piece, if that makes sense.

There will be two main protagonist groups in the story, but it’s the way that I’m going to tell it which will will not be as obvious as people would expect it to be. I love the idea of a centerpiece that isn’t really the centerpiece.

7. Lifeboats

So like I said earlier; I’ve joined the lifeboats, the RNLI.

Its something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid but was never really been able to do. Simply because of my vicinity away from a station, so now I’m able to do it and I’m just doing it. It’s something that’s getting me out of the house and it’s quickly becoming the main social aspect of my life.

Also ever since I got the beeper I have been responding to calls; or as they call them shouts, whenever and whatever they are, it’s good fun.

Although I feel like I could be in trouble at the next staff meeting as I signed up for training last Sunday but never turned up for it. I planned on going and was looking forward to it. But I was a day back… somehow I lost a day. I literally thought it was tomorrow.

Coincidentally two hours after I was supposed to be there we had a shout and obviously I got out for that, but Damn. I’m just angry at myself for not keeping track of the days. It’s such a stupid thing, and it’s only my fault.

Still I hope it doesn’t reflect on me too much, I know it’s hard getting people to trust you and little slip ups like that don’t exactly help. But it’s still fun, I’ve just have to try harder and keep it all together you know..

8. Next Step

I’m just going to keep this list as it was in the last devlog, as I have done very much, but nothing on this list.

Here’s my todo list for the game:

  • name every single character
  • Write dialogue

 

For the comic:

  • Storyboarding
  • layout design

 

 

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

D.Stuart

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DevLog #4 Nearly Landed

DevLog #4 Nearly Landed

DevLog #4 Nearly Landed

SECTIONS

1. The Move 2. My Print Company 3. We Won The Lottery 4. Back To The Game 5. R3cords Story Starting Soon Step 6. next

1. The Move

So.. It’s been about 8 or 9 months now, I’m not so much finding a little more free time, but I’m getting more of an urge to just carry on with everything else I want to do. Of course, once I’ve gotten through the obligatory priorities. 

There were a lot of issues during the move, the landlord to the new place was a real pain about the whole thing. Here’s an annoying point. We didn’t find out until moving in that he was selling the place. But at least the tenancy contract stays and was apart of the sale. 

However, because he was just so un-cooperative with the estate agents the dates would get pushed forwards and then forwards again. so we were loosing money on deposits for moving guys and also paying the extra rent. Whilst also being pressured to move by the previous landlord as they had a new tenant waiting.

We spent all December and January with everything packed up and sleeping on the floor. All whilst continuously being told “Yeah, just three more days, and it’ll be ready.” Again and again. It sucked and there were some mistakes, and personally I think it was a big risk in the first place, as money was tight. This has made it tighter. But also more the reason to work harder.

I just remember finally getting the keys and all I wanted to do was just get our quick belongings, and bed and just get in there. We’d arrange the moving guys for the next day. So we did that, but it had to be done in two runs because we also had to get the cats. Also it’d give them a chance to familiarize themselves with the place before bringing everything over.

So we had back to the other town, get the cats, laptop, mobile internet and some food, the bed stuff is already there. It’s like and hour and a halve drive and at this point in time it’s about 01:45 in the morning, and we’re about a minute away from the new place. I need the toilet real bad, I’m hungry and I just want to get into my new home, it’s been two months of unexpected hell. 

Blue flashing lights appear in my rear view mirror. All I can think is “nope, not for me.” I just carry on, I literally just pulled on to my street and stopped in front of my house. And the police pull up on the road, blocking it off. I step out. The first police officer steps out. I ask if they’d pulled me over. They say yes. I explode with literally everything that happened over the last two months at the poor guy. 

He says “ah I thought it was a little strange you being from so far away at this time. You need to change the address on your car.” I swear as I nodded, after saying “yeah thanks, will do” my teeth almost shattered due to me clenching my mouth so hard. I wanted to poop, I wanted to pee, I wanted my pot noodle and I wanted to just go into my new house and it was like nobody would frigging let me.

But anyways, it’s been about seven months now, and everything’s good it’s nice but in terms of my own business, it’s been so hard. That’s literally the only way I can conclusively explain that one in a single word. Just hard. 

2. MY Print Company

I initially got a small funding injection from a government scheme called the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, or just NEA. Funnily enough I was one of the last people to get on to the scheme because it’s been discontinued.  With this money injection I’ve been able to get a fair but of equipment, for finishing as well as printing.

I also funded some of it myself with the money I made from some NFT’s I managed to sell in December. Even the label has made small amounts too which also helped. All of that cash injection, even though it’s not really what most people would say is a lot of money.

But here’s the thing, investing the money you’ve managed to save and scrape together into anything, when you’ve got nothing, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There’s all the different bills, and then there’s food. Sounds simple, I know. But it’s near on impossible. Things break down, pets get ill, time seems to speed up until it gets to all the worst parts.

But we’ve done it, it’s been a slow strategy, it had to be because there was no other way of doing it. I was getting a weekly small cash injection of sixty five pounds for a while which was then reduced to around thirty odd after so long. It’s helped so much, but it’s just so slow waiting another week for that extra bit I need. As I watch my list of stuff I need slowly reduce in size month after month.

On the day I got my first print job in, I wasn’t as well equipped as now so I only offered work to my extended circle. Who I knew I could cater for. On that day, everything that I needed to use, broke. The printer broke and my trimmer just wouldn’t clamp on to the paper. It was tragic.

So I did what I had too, I managed to get the printer parts for free from the distributer. I also got a fifty percent refund on the trimmer, in which I ended using a fraction of that money to modify the trimmer with. I knew if I just replaced the part, I’d end up with the same problem very soon, as well as having to wait six to eight weeks for the parts to come from china for some reason.

So I took the original clamp system out and got a welders quick release clamp, for a tenner. It’s a hundred times faster and works perfect for equal stacks because I don’t have to adjust the clamp distance. I just use a piece of acrylic on top of the paper to spread the weight of the clamp pressing down. You might not get what I mean, but it basically made something really tedious into something slightly fun to use, which matters in work like that.

I’ve got two more things left to do before I can go completely public, it’s that last little bit of funding and also unfortunately, more time. I have to modify my newest printer and I also need some better quality paper than what I’ve got. Once it’s all done and in, I’m hoping to be inundated and struggling to cope with all the work I’m going to be getting. Like how I want to win the lottery. So you could say my business has nearly landed. 

3. We won the lottery

That reminds me, we’ve been playing the “Set For Life” lottery game recently where you could win something like ten grand a month for about thirty years or something like that. It seems like the greatest thing ever, I’d be able to just start my animation studio, game development studio and obviously grow my print company into a fully fledged print factory.

And we won!! Not the jackpot… Obviously, otherwise I’d have started this DevLog a little differently. It was fifteen pounds, but that little win. Man… Bittersweet. 

4. Back to the game

All I’ve managed to do with the game since my last DevLog is just look it over a few times. I recorded myself playing through what I’ve done so far. Been meaning to set up my microphone to record the voice over for it. Normally I would have done it at the time but I haven’t had any. 

I’ve just made sure to always just go over everything I’ve done with the game every so often, because I don’t want to abandon the project… If I did, I feel like I’d be disrespecting myself somehow. I know it’s weird but, I just don’t want to have ever wasted that time. Hopefully by winter time I’m back into the swing of it. That said, I’m more than likely going to write dialogue and draw all or most of the scenery. 

Other than that, there’s no change to how it’s going to be, as I begrudgingly end with “yet.”  

5. R3cords Story Starting Soon

So this year, a very few times I actually managed to pull in my attention, summon up the energy. Some might say I miraculously manifested profound creativity from the depths of procrastination. However, I’d say prioritization. In short, I actually managed to write the first part of the R3cords story that I want to go on with.

I introduce Chase Lumen and a few other characters straight off the bat, the way I’ve wrote this is a kind of introduction to how I want to tell everything else going forwards. So I will be using it as a kind of pilot I guess.

I wont be animating it just yet, and it’ll be more of a comic for now. I think It’ll be the easiest way to simply get my stuff out there. This way I can build up an audience and also start building the funding I’ll need to get the help with animating. Unless I think of something else.

But also building up an audience in general is something that wouldn’t only be encouraging. But pretty much vital not for me, but everyone around me. I could carry on doing all of this for the rest of my life, it’s all in there, I’m just getting it out. Doing, all of this. Is what gives me a sense of purpose, when I am I’m at my happiest, I get lost in it, immersion.   

It just doesn’t pay the bills, and the people that love me feel that I deserve something for everything that I do and continue to, like get a big win with it, like popularity, money or fame. You know… All the things you can’t really chase. I’d love so much to just be able to buy the meal when we’re all out with the family and friends. I’d love to not be juggling with the cash, week in week out. 

I’d love people to stop saying that it’s such a shame that I’m not anywhere, because I’m so soooo talented. I know it’s a nice thing to say on the surface, but it feels like a kick sometimes. Specially when you’re low, which is usually when they say it to try and cheer you up. And yeah that was me, in tiny fleeting sporadic moments of the past.

But yeah, now I’m past it. I know where I am with it all… And it’s all my fault I am where I am with everything. Because I just haven’t been sharing everything out to the world, to the level that I should be sharing out everything. This is partially (larger in part) because of finances. And also partially because of where I’ve been able to put my attention. 

But still, things are moving forwards and I’m doing something, no matter how small, I’m doing at least one thing towards everything… So again, like I said earlier. My business has nearly landed. And I know that those close to me are getting very impatient waiting for something to happen…Like it should just take off like that. Well I’m not ready for take off just yet. Gotta get that fuel ready first… 

6. Next Step

I can’t promise a weekly update atm, but I will update next when I’ve done at least something with everything.

Here’s my todo list for the game:

  • name every single character
  • Write dialogue

 

For the comic:

  • Storyboarding
  • layout design

 

 

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

D.Stuart

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DevLog #3 It’s Mostly Just Me Venting Off This Time

DevLog #3 It’s Mostly Just Me Venting Off This Time

DevLog #3 It’s Mostly Just Me Venting Off This Time

SECTIONS

1. Moving Home 2. Ideas 3. Working Them In 4. Venting 5. How I don't Want To Animate 6. Choosing An Animation Software 7. Print 8. Next Step

1. Moving Home

It’s been a hectic week, I’ve spent a few nights away from home. Like I said at the end of the last DevLog we’re in the process of a move, so there’s been some travelling around and more than the usual amount of paperwork to get done. Although that’s down to this particular estate company I guess.

So anyways, I’ve had some time away from my work, so I got the chance to let myself mentally drift away from it for a bit. However, by the end of the night I actually came up with three new peripherals that will be implemented into the overall project at a later date.

2. Ideas

The first was a basic one, being hidden none related secondary stories within some of the short story games (SSGm) they have their own continuations. It’s a basic idea but it’ll be implemented in a way which keeps each SSGm that little bit more immersive and engaging. The second idea is directly linked to this that is an awards/collectable based system that will be implemented.

So even though, as the player you won’t need any kind of installs to play any SSGm you will be able to keep track of of the story and other collectables you find, as you play via an app on your phone. I’m keeping this vague enough that It’s not much unlike the awards systems that already exist, but my idea is more progressive and I just can’t share it fully just yet.

The third idea involves AR and is something that I haven’t actually worked with before, so it will be a new tree to climb. But from what I hear Godot has a new architecture that was introduced into its engine based around AR and VR. Godot is something I’m already quite familiar with, I’m well practiced with GDScript (Godot’s own scripting language), it’s very simple to use and very a quick one to learn too.

I’ll not be investing any practical time into this just yet though, I’ve got far too much on and I’m still setting up the foundation code for the SSGm. So Level_oneland should provide a majority of the base code to work with once finished.

3. Working them in

I’ll probably brush up on Godot’s new features by putting on some Youtube videos in the background whilst I work, and occasionally flick through the documentation on the site. At least then I’ll have some idea on how to approach it when I get round to it.

I’ve also got some research to do for the second idea I have, I’m going to talk to a guy I know who’s a specialist in this particular area for some advice. So that particular one can sit on the back burners for a little while as well.

The first idea also, will sit on the back-burners lol. Although I will make a start on that instantly, as soon as I start with the SSGm. I’ve actually already wrote quite a bit for it already, there’re quite a few ideas to come back to also. It’s a fun one to do, so this one is more of a useful use of procrastination.

I get to goof off or whatever, but I also still get to put it to use. So again, I’m not actually wasting time whilst wasting time. It’s also an excellent way of keeping any options open for the future, It’d just be terrible to get locked into the one thing, and then that’s the only thing you can do.

4. Venting

I say that because it just seems really unsafe, like what if you didn’t plan properly and spent a real significant amount of time on something, before you realised it’s just not going to work in any way? I just don’t get how you could grow out of or past something that just didn’t work if that was all there was.

Like, lets say an app for example; That absolutely nobody asked for, lets say it provides a service, but it only adds on extra steps to whatever it is that you want, but as it turns out; You could just do the same as what the app does yourself, without all the extra steps added on each time. Back in the day I’m sure we’d just rip the canvas down and start over I guess, but this is today.

And yes, I have absolutely wasted a lot of my time for a very long time in the past. Even when I didn’t know I was. One of the hardest things to learn I think, is learning how to see value past your own vanity, whilst also catering for it just enough so that it doesn’t cancel itself out. I mean that partially in the sense that you should never tell yourself you can achieve the impossible, because obviously it’s impossible.

Just do what you know and learn what you don’t. Because that is what you can do… Wow, this DevLog has actually diverged into a tangent of digressional gratification, bordering on cliché circumlocution if ever… And actually, so did that sentence now I think about it… Yeah, I had to snap myself out of that one, I’ve just realized how stressed i’ve been feeling recently.

5. How I don’t want to animate

I’ve not managed once this week to really just sit down and get any work done. That’s ok though, because I’ve managed to give a lot more thought to the planning. So once Level_oneland is finished I’ll be making an immediate start on the SSGm, I’ve also been thinking about the best ways to draw out all the content in the most efficient way possible, and which programs there are out there that allow for the level of technical ability I need.

Now up until now, I’ve only ever used photoshop to draw everything in, as well as animating in. Because of this, I know that animating in photoshop is not a realistic option for just myself alone. And hiring any other artists or animators at this point in time is also not an option.

So I personally know that to animate, Photoshop is not good for me, it might be for someone else but it’s not for me. Obviously it’ll always be my go to program for doing most artworks, but not for animation. I really like Adobe character Animator. But I hate everything that anyone has ever done with it, although I believe that’s just because people don’t do enough with the animation, and most I’ve seen cross the shortcut threshold a little too much, making them look lazy an automated.

Like rubbery robots. I also feel like you loose a lot of the quality you could have, specially when you want things like atmosphere or lighting to interact with the character. I know you could rig it in, I looked into to, but why bother. I’m not going to rig in every possible light effect onto a character, it just seems like a waste of time, plus the characters file would probably add actual weight to my hard drive. And that’s just one character.

I had a long think about it, mostly about what I don’t want. Like I don’t want to work on a single layer, import into another program, edit its movement, change its shape in another program, import that one in, edit the scene in another scene, import that in another program, draw over the edit. composite in another program, edit in another blahblah bluerghhh. No. I don’t want to do that.

It’s tedious enough already, but on the base level it’s actually fun. I want it to feel fast and fun to for me to do. Each scene should be unique, and the character position and angle should reflect this. Obviously certain things can be recycled. But it’s about keeping things fresh, not using the exact same assets and angles every time.

 

6. Choosing An Animation Software

I feel like Blender is going to be the program of choice in regards to animating, I know it’s most commonly known more as a 3d sculpting software. But it does have 2d features too, which allows you to layer 2d images within a 3d environment, so it’s not one or the other. It’s both at the same time. And I can use open shader language. The editing is quick and easy, and I can do it all. The only problem I have with it, is my experience on blender.

The last time I used it was when they experimented with it also being a game engine, a version that would definitely be considered ancient now. So these 2d features I’m talking about are quite new to me, I’ve actually never used them. But I know what’s possible, and I’ve watched a few people work with the new features (pretty sure the features are actually a few years old now, but) it seems like it’s a fit for me.

So yeah, I’d rather learn some new blender features and get quick with it again over time, than miserably and torturously and eventually achieving what I want with Adobe. It’s a feature thing, solely about this project, and I feel it’s the best decision. I’ll know soon enough though.

The SSGm scenes will be low energy, including subtle movements, high detail and low head count. There will be 2d Multi angle shots of scenery, unique angles of characters relevant to these shots, as well as exposition shots. In terms of scope all of this will amount to around 80% of the work I’ll be doing, the rest will be story and script writing, voice acting and work within the game engine, as I should already have a large amount of the required code I’ll need, from Level_oneland. Even though the end product of each will be completely different in the delivery of aesthetic and gameplay.

7. Print

The last thing I’m to be doing this week, is setting up a domain for a small printing company I’m starting it to help with the incoming funding. It’ll coincide with the move so I’ll get to start in a new town which is pretty cool. I know it seems a little off subject but obviously I’m not earning any money through R3cords at the minute, I’m still building and this print business is actually a part of the plan. And even relates to one of the ideas I mentioned earlier. I absolutely need my own print company if I’m going to be selling any kind of peripherals.

Plus it’s an extra avenue that opens up a lot of opportunity in terms of incoming trade that isn’t relevant to R3cords, I even have an idea in print where there is surprisingly a massive gap in the market for. Although I wont be able to do that particular venture for quite a while yet, I’ll be starting very small with it. Just so you know, I was a fully professional print operator for six years (In two extremely high volume places), as well as other previous smaller print ventures and pretty much having it as a hobby since school. So I’m not just clutching at straws, it’s something I know how to do quite well.

8. Next Step

I’m just going to copy and paste last weeks “next step” section, seem as though I didn’t get any work done. Hahaha. 

So this week, (hopefully) I’ll focus my energy on;

  • Drawing NPC’s
  • Drawing Locations
  • Animating NPC’s
  • Animating Locations
  • Parallel project extra artworks

Hopefully I’ll get the time to tick all of this off as I’m in the process of moving home so it’s a little hectic in life atm. But still, right now I’m very much in the habit of doing at least one thing a day no matter how small the task is.  

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

D.Stuart

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DevLog #2 Welcome to R3cords

DevLog #2 Welcome to R3cords

DevLog #2 Welcome to R3cords

SECTIONS

1. A little Bit About Myself 2. R3cords 2019 3. R3cords 2020 4. R3cords 2021 5. R3cords News 6. Music 7. DevLogs 8. Level_oneland 9. Fight Mechanics Logic 10. The Next Step

1. A little bit about myself

I realized after the last DevLog that I really need to make a full introduction on the idea of what R3cords actually is, so I’m going to have to go back in time quite a bit, because in short I’ve been building this idea since the summer of 2018. And by January 2019 I’d actually officially started it. Although the biggest problem at that exact point in time was being that I knew exactly what I wanted, and there was this huge picture in my head of exactly what I want R3cords to be. But I had no idea on how the hell I was supposed to actually do it. But I do know what I am, what I can do, and what I could absolutely achieve. Don’t get me wrong though, i’m extremely harsh on myself when it comes to being realistic, especially when it comes to a healthy self debate with the ego. I know how much work I have, but it’s my work.

At the core of it, I’m an artist. I’ve explored every medium available to myself at some point, to experiment or to play with, and also to simply just see how I connect. I’m not going to list everything I’ve ever done or do, because I think R3cords is enough. It’s an amalgamation of every artform I love, and its a story I need to tell. I’m one of those people who just wants to do everything, not in a “just let me do it” sense, but in more of a “always doing a project and learning” kind of way. If I’m between projects I tend to start researching into anything that captures my attention for however long, before going back to my passions.

Leading up to starting R3cords (my work), I was taking time away from my own stuff and I ended up researching into self-perpetual energy and carbon nanotubes. I had an idea but there was no option for putting it into practice, so I drifted to something else even more fantastical. I think it was something like a neoprene and carbon fibre body suit with these spring stilts, an extendable pole and it also involved exploring Antartica. To be honest, I don’t know where I was going with that one. Traverse methods in hazardous environment research maybe.

2. R3cords 2019

Anyway, going back to my passions. So it was January 2019 when I finally started R3cords, I made it an official thing. A record label, strangely enough also not, a record label. Still officially R3cords is an independant label, the current nature of the business is “suppliying goods and services to the music industry”. But that’s not quite what my ultimate vision is. I want it to be an entertainment brand.

I want it to be a record label, that’s also a game, within its own universe, within ours. It’s not exactly a very authodox business model, at least where the music industry’s concerned. But to be honest I don’t care about that, because ultimately I want to marry multiple industries into what I do anyway. Like I said, I’m an artist and I can only do what I already know or what I’m prepared to learn about. It’s my work.

So, between starting and all the way up to now, it’s not been an easy road. 2019 was actually one of the hardest years of my life and as a result R3cords did end up taking a backseat. I lost my job, I went homeless for a few weeks, I was under so much stress I developed a stomach ulcer that I still comes back today in times of stress. I have to take a damn pill everyday for it, and that’s just a reminder of that year. But! Even taking everything into account, R3cords was still this little beacon for me.

It was something I could focus towards, because I’ve always known what I want it to be. So when I could, I’d work on some music, i’d write and draw. Even though I couldn’t really share most of it at that point, at least I was still doing it, and that’s what mattered. The best metaphor for what R3cords was to me at that point would have to be, a very very tall ladder in a very very deep hole.

3. R3cords 2020

2020, I managed to get a few jobs. Lost them, for no fault of my own. I managed to make a start on the website, although I was still trying to figure out how to tell the story, I’ll get back to that in a second. So I just kind of left it to one side as more of a placeholder page, and spent most of my time prototyping how I would like to actually tell my stories visually. I did the normal writing music and stories throughout the year in my spare time, whilst also trying to figure out where I should direct the exact angle of attention from a narration/ narrative stand point when I do.

For a few months I actually chased the idea of putting everything into a game that I would update on a regular basis. So my label would be a building you could explore in the city I’d began building. I still actually like the idea. It was a first person game. The biggest problem I had with it though was the accessibility problem, the story telling issues, the regular updates, and pretty much the general scope of everything.

It seemed like the more I did the more of a mountain of problems I was left looking at in terms of making it all possible. A simple first person game doom style RPG in Godot?, yeah I could do that! But it just didn’t fit my vision. Specially when it came to how much I want to do. It makes a lot more sense to me having every story as it’s own separate entity and focused. Still, I can come up with plenty of arguments why I could be wrong, I’ve got more reasons I’m right and there’s the fact I’m just simply not going to get to do it way.

4. R3cords 2021

But I can proudly say that this year 2021, I feel like I’ve made so much progress with everything. When it finally clicked on how I could actually present it in a way that to me leaves no limits. In terms of how I will be able to express my storytelling. It’s just very exciting, and I can’t wait to get it all out there. It feels almost like the snowball effect, mixed with launching a car in high gear. Bear in mind, this is in terms of the amount of work I’m getting done. It’s a slow, small start. But As I’ve done more, I’ve then picked up more speed. Something that seemed like a difficult mountain to climb, now feels like pleasant hill, And I’m finally getting to enjoy the sights. That’s enough metaphors, for now I think. Haha.

This year at the time of writing this 2021, I’ve pretty much spent all my spare time working on all the characters backgrounds, and tightening the art style that I’m going to be using for R3cords. I also started to populate the site towards the end of the summer, so I can start to visually see things coming together, although there’s still a vital component missing.

It’s still kind of there, as there’s still the real world aspect to the brand, at this point it’s mostly just the music which is out there to stream. But now you can at least read some of the stories. So I don’t know if I will have changed it in the future (I probably will), but right now the site has three main sections, ‘R3cords News’, ‘Music’ and ‘Dev Logs’.

5. R3cords News

R3cords News at this point in time is the main place to experience the R3cords storyline, the idea is you can start wherever you like in any particular storyline that grabs your interest, and proceed from there. On the R3cords news page, you can interact with the R3cords News twitter, there’s also a video that will play the most recent post on the R3cords News youtube channel.

These videos will pretty much be a round up of all the latest articles that would have been released. Kind of like the introduction to a news show, giving an outline of all the recent stories without delving to much into the juicy bits. It’s a way of guiding you to the articles by immersing you within the universe as soon as you hit the page.

6. Music

The music section is pretty much self explanatory to be honest, it simply showcases all the releases to date. The release pages have direct links to the releases on the most common streaming services out there. I plan on adding sections to the release pages containing all the relevant artists stories. Still, I really don’t want there to be any kind of gate sitting there. Blocking people who just want to find the music on it’s own.

Like you shouldn’t have to learn the story behind a particular track to listen to it, you also shouldn’t need to know what R3cords is all about just to be able listen to anything. But still when it comes down to it, music is one of my big passions, it might even be the biggest in all honesty, and at this moment in time it’s the only form of monetization which will help me push R3cords further.

7. DevLogs

The third section is for the DevLogs which again, I’m not sure if I’ll ever change it but right now, I’m feeling like the most likeliest people to visit my site, are either people I already know in person. Or perhaps other developers that might have stumbled across me trying to fit in to some community somewhere out there, maybe in a game developers forum or something like that. Which actually brings me back to the whole game thing, because that’s what this is actually supposed to be right, somehow. Don’t worry, it makes sense in my head, a record label that’s a game, yeah! Makes complete sense to me, no joke. I know what I’m doing, I just don’t like explaining it to much right now, because there’s no reason why other people like me wont just do this in time. It’s simple really.

So this week, like I said previously I’m intending to post a new DevLog each week, it’ll most likely be an ongoing series and most probably at this point in time, my main method of populating the site. Right now i’m concentrating more on developing Level_oneland whilst also developing the main mechanics for R3cords, over everything else. This week however, when there was time spare, over a three day period I did a lot admin on the site. Designing the R3cords News page and redesigned other aspects of the site. The intention is to prepare the pages for when the game aspect comes into the works. Just thinking about that, is bringing a smile to my face.

8. Level_oneland Update

Now onto Level_oneland. I wouldn’t say I’ve had the most productive week, even though I definitely got a lot done in all honesty. It just wasn’t anything massively fun to do, because a lot of my time was spent on writing macros and tidying up the script. Anyone out there who codes already probably knows that it’s quite important to this, it’s a quality of life thing.

As in the quality of your life will be better, specially when you’ve got hundreds to thousands of lines of code to trawl through to find something like a simple spelling mistake or forgotten symbol. Which only hurts even more when you can’t read the error messages because it’s in Japanese. Obviously I’ve got nothing against the language itself, its my own fault, maybe I should learn it. But I don’t… So maybe I’m just lazy.

Level_oneland now has its world map, which will be used as the main method of getting to any of its locations. The map is currently on its first iteration, the building positions are final, the coloring however is not. This means that all the script for the clickable areas do not need to be changed in the future. There are thirty two of these locations, and all with each of there own explorable areas. The idea being that when I add the new areas in they’ll just kind of snap on to what already exists.

The next part I did was a little unnecessary at this stage, but as I’m putting a demo together, I thought that making a start with the sound design for this first section will help me in the long run as I didn’t have the opportunity to do as much of the artwork as I’d hoped for this week. With that, I improved the games progression method in reference to the storyline. Which is also in reference to the script tidying I did earlier. Along with that I improved all the dialogue at the opening section of the game, so you can get a much better feel for the main characters personality.

9. Fight Mechanics Logic

Now you might remember if you read through last weeks DevLog how I said I had the fight mechanics for the game on the “back burners”. Well I did, and although I haven’t really coded the mechanics of it just yet. I did come up with the logic for how it’ll work. It’s nothing groundbreaking I’m sure, it’s just the logic for how my version of a turn based battle system is going to work.

On the enemy turn there will be always be a fractional chance on whether it will attack defend or heal, in which the chances change depending on how much health it has at any given time. For example it has more chance of healing itself if its health is low. I also put a lot of thought into how and when particular moves and counter moves would be processed to intuitively react to the players decisions. I’ll post my notes. below;

10. The Next step

I’d say this week has actually been quite productive, more than what it felt like in all honesty. I managed to work on some music for the game yesterday, nearly forgot about that. Well I didn’t, because I listened through it while I was typing this up! I nearly forgot to mention it, which is something I don’t normally do. Log things.

I’ll get better at this… Anyways I think I actually managed to tick a few things of the list, so it’s looking pretty good for the next step after this to come soon. So this week, I’ll focus my energy on;

  • Drawing NPC’s
  • Drawing Locations
  • Animating NPC’s
  • Animating Locations
  • Parallel project extra artworks

Hopefully I’ll get the time to tick all of this off as I’m in the process of moving home so it’s a little hectic in life atm. But still, right now I’m very much in the habit of doing at least one thing a day no matter how small the task is.  

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

D.Stuart

 

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DevLog #1, Level_oneland

DevLog #1, Level_oneland

DevLog #1, Level_oneland

SECTIONS

1. Introduction 2. The Concept 3. A Parallel Project 4. Choosing An Engine 5. The Kill Mechanic 6. Other Mechanics 7. The Next Steps

Introduction

I woke up one morning, back in early January 2020 with this idea I wanted to use in a game. I’d been juggling with a few ideas for a few days at this point, and in all honesty, all of these ideas were pretty much the same thing. And at this point, I was mostly focused on the story element and the visual aspects of it, which I know isn’t the best way to start with a game idea. But I already knew that I wanted it to be a point and click adventure game. So, I felt like I didn’t need to think that hard in terms of gameplay at this point, and just concept some kind of story that I really liked the idea of.

Now, I also really love retro pixel aesthetics, I love drawing it but I do it in a more progressive way. I’m not much of a purist, to be honest, and I’m the same when it comes to chiptune music. I love using, or at the least recreating the synth sounds from back in the day; Much like the ones you’d find on the commodore 64 and the Gameboy. But with that, I also like using modern effects along with them. Which in, “my ears”; allows you to make the sound feel so much more fuller, which was definitely something that wasn’t achievable back then.

The Concept

So anyways; I had the idea in my head, what I wanted the game to be. A horror, point and click adventure game. It’s nothing too ambitious for my skill-set, and I know everything that I would want to do for the game is absolutely achievable on my own, in terms of development. The thing was at that point in time, I was still working on other projects, so I wouldn’t actually start working on this game until a year and 10 months after posting my original concept on Instagram. The reason for that being that I basically story boarded the entire story on my iPad within an hour, and then set up a release schedule to let them trickle out over the next few days as posts. So I could just store them on Instagram as a proof of work and an easy place to find them when I got back round to it. 

So the concept story that I posted on Instagram was spread out across 33 posts. And here’s the thing, I posted them in reverse order which actually lost me quite a few followers. But the point was so when you go through the profile they’ll be in the correct order. You see, I only really use Instagram at the minute for storing concepts and proof dating anyway, but still… If you were one of those people who unfollowed… I’m sorry if I confused you to the point where you just had to unfollow me, lol. Anyway, I wanted to add sound to it all as well using it as a way to help tell the story in context with the visuals.

I recently did a post in October 2021 which has a video made from the Instagram posts, it was a little more stylized with some chromatic aberration and scan lines, I added some glitch effects in the transitions. It was all to just drive up the creepy aspect in concept more than anything. I won’t be using this particular visual effect style in the actual game though, it’s overused. The aesthetics in the art style will absolutely be mirrored from the Instagram concept posts, and I’m planning on upping the detailing by quite a few levels.

A Parallel Project

Just for a minute I’m going to quickly talk about the overall project, that being R3cords; So, there’s a much bigger story behind the game overall in which it connects to many other projects I’m doing parallel. For example; within the R3cords universe this game is actually being created by a character within its own narrative. So this game alone will be  be its own thing, where you don’t need to know or have any knowledge of the surrounding story to play or understand it. So in short, this game is also a part of a story in which it is being created by one of the characters within the fictional R3cords universe. My next dev log will be focused more on talking about R3cords, as I intend on laying more foundations to accelerate its development in its entirety.

Choosing An Engine

So past the point of posting the concept, over the course of the year I’d occasionally find the time to ponder about how I might approach this project. I’d quite often be drawn to approaching more towards sound design as a prominent gameplay element. And over the year, up until recently. When I had some spare time, I prototyped a few snippets solely based around responsive sound design to just figure out what is actually possible in the engine that I chose to develop with. And as you do, there was the inevitable running into a few dead ends, a few no-goes and some possible workarounds. I also miraculously experienced that rare and beautiful feeling of simply making something overly complicated, actually work exactly the way you wanted it to, on the first try.

Now the choice of engine was a bit of a debate for myself because I know exactly what I want to do and I have goals for what I want my output to be. So an engine focused on rapid development within a very specific genre is a must. At first, I went to Godot, because I’d already made a few prototypes on it before, so I thought if I lay the baseline I could set it up nice and easy. But the problem is that it absolutely isn’t focused enough, all the extra possibilities in what you can do are just too distracting for this project. I’d be here forever, getting nowhere. So I fired up Adventure Game Studio, which I used to play about with many years ago, and it’s pretty much exactly what I want. But I’m not fluent enough with C, and I didn’t want to spend the next few weeks bouncing around GitHub and others, finding snippets that I could just write myself in JS. There is also a lack of targeted platform options when exporting.

So I found Tyranobuilder, and it’s actually a visual novel game engine. And for what I want to achieve it’s actually perfect. Because the thing about how visual novels work is that they’re pretty much the same as point and click adventures. From a functioning standpoint that is. But of course, in form, they are actually very very different. Which is something you’ll definitely already know if you’ve ever played one. Anyways; So again this engine’s perfect because all the relevant mechanics are already catered for, and it uses JavaScript (easy stuff) along with its own Tyranoscript, which is mostly just for macros and settings. The cherry being that it also caters with a drag and drop feature, which actually makes prototyping scenarios incredibly quick and easy. Especially while you’ve got one hand wrapped around a big mug of coffee.

The Kill Mechanic

So what I’ve done so far is put together the main kill mechanic, which I thought was going to be the hardest thing to put together. But I actually managed to get it working within a few hours without initially even knowing where to start. So I was kind of left scratching my head on what to do next because I thought it was going to take me a few days. But it didn’t and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t have an exact next step!.. So I made a short list, listing all the next things I need to do make things playable… Not to look nice, just… “You do things and things happen and things just work in the right way”, kind of playable… You know, just little baby steps.

I’ll get into the details of the kill mechanic another time, in fact I don’t really need to tell you exactly how it works but I can tell you what it’s like, I guess. Because in truth it’s not exactly anything that hasn’t been done before… So imagine playing Friday the 13th on the Commodore 64, and for those of you that haven’t, there’s mechanic where Jason goes around killing the NPC’s. It’s like that. Only the main difference is that it actually works properly and you can’t kill the NPC’s. To be honest when I was a kid, I thought that you actually played as Jason because all I did was kill everyone. I also thought the notifications of the “actual” Jason killing people were either glitches or delayed reactions. But yeah anyway like I said, the kill mechanic is kind of like that.

 

Other Mechanics

I’m currently putting thought into the fight mechanics, a quick note; Something about my style of work is that I do a lot more thinking about what I need to do, rather than just “throwing things at the wall until something sticks”. I get a lot less of that hopeless/ useless feeling this way, haha. Now, while I’m working on the fight mechanics in the back of my mind. I’ve been working on the visual assets to make the first section of the game playable, so I can put a playable demo together. Getting the visuals on there is also a nice way to see the world you’re building, obviously.. But in all honesty it’s more about being able to actually see the visuals I’ve built in my head, and get a taste of what it’s going to be.

I forgot to mention there’s more than just the kill mechanic, there’s also a procedurally created puzzle which has a different solution every time you start a new game. Which also involves all the NPC’s, which in turn also involves the kill mechanic. In-which if an NPC who is a part of the puzzle gets killed, there is now certain steps you have to take which involves a secondary puzzle to solve in order to get to the solution from the killed NPC. Now when I say puzzle in this sense, I don’t mean a sudoku or a jigsaw or anything like that… I mean something more along the lines of one of the greatest traditional point and click adventure game tropes… Investigating and learning information to pass it along in order to gain new information. Yes, one of the greatest and most legendary game mechanics ever known!!

The Next Step

So the next step is:

  • Drawing up the locations, along with the relevant NPC’s
  • Tightening up all the script on the way.
  • There’s also a bit of animating.
  • Writing the relevant extra dialogue.
  • Work on the parallel projects – More storyline to write.
  • Web maintenance – Visual updates, and TLC.
  • Getting ready for the next album launch – Artworks.

I’m aiming to have it all done by the end of the week, so I can get onto the step after that. But you know, life happens and all that! So it might be two weeks instead. I will however do at least one dev log a week from this point on.

Thanks for reading 🙂

D.Stuart

Next DevLog

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