Category: Weekly Updates
Well, time to get THIS thing out of the way!
I sort of started working on the new version of the site a few days ago, but I encountered database issues and had to stop and contact my webhost's customer support people via email, which is a slow process by its nature but also because I'm always scared of replying to emails or something...
Actually, maybe I could mention something about it here; maybe some of you know of this problem. I only want to hear what you know, though, if you actually have experience with this; I don't want you giving me fragments of facts that you sort of know, or doing Google searches for the problem as if I haven't done that myself already. I know how eager people are to help even if they don't actually know anything (years of hearing "I don't know the first thing about games, but I want to help you work on yours" makes me aware of this), but such, uh, 'help' is often not exactly appreciated since while the good intentions are there, it's not actually very, well, helpful. It's also a bit patronising if you assume that despite my experience, you can solve the issue that I can't despite you lacking any experience in this field... or something.
If you have experience with a thing called 'phpMyAdmin', then keep reading; if not, skip to the next paragraph or something, please.
I've been using phpMyAdmin for years now to monitor and manually edit my databases; my hosts have always provided it for that purpose. It's been fine for all those years, until relatively recently... Now, for whatever reason, it isn't showing the latest entries anymore. Like, say, if the most recent account is #9400 or something, then I can check the members table and it only shows up to about #9240, and if I run an SQL query directly to fetch row #9333 or something, it tells me that the row doesn't exist. It affects every table; it's like looking into a version from the past.
If I try to edit the data in this database, it doesn't affect it properly; I tried editing someone's username, and it showed up as changed in phpMyAdmin, but when I look on their page, it ISN'T change, which again feels like I'm working with an archived version. However, it only affects phpyMyAdmin; obviously submitting data using the on-site forms works just fine, so they're being stored *somewhere*. I think that I also created a new database for the new site, but when I tried to access that database with code, it acted like it didn't exist.
So if you have any direct experience with this issue and know how to fix it, then any help would be appreciated, thank you.
Because of that, I've been unable to make much progress with the site, but I've stopped for some other reasons too.
Firstly, for a while now - months, years, maybe - I've been considering working with my girlfriend... I mean, it is one of the most obvious things in the world; I struggle with the visual aspects of my games, she's great at art, she wants a use for her art, making games alone is slow, we both make games... So we've talked about it before and sort of planned things, but nothing's really ever come of it.
It's due to personality issues, like neither of us being great at working in a team, or wanting to be assertive or something like that.
One thing that bothers her, it seems, is contributing ideas to projects that I've basically designed and asked her to contribute to, because then it'd feel like she was intruding, even if I tell her that I *want* her ideas... So a better solution would be to plan ideas together from the start.
Based on this line of thinking, and for various practical reasons as well, rather than just having a site of my own to showcase my games, perhaps we'll start a new site together that belongs to us both, and which can show off our shared projects as well as our own personal things like my music and her art.
We still need to talk more about it and decide on things, but it's a bit pointless to work on the site until I've decided what to do.
I've been using my not-working-on-the-site-time wisely, though! I've done loads of work on Miasmon.
Mainly I've just been doing sprites for the monsters... I wonder how much work people assume goes into sprites? I mean, they're *just pixels*, so that's basically like doing no work at all, right? You can just spend a minute or two in Paint and then you're done, right!?
But no... As I mentioned on Twitter a few days ago, I worked from morning until night one day and managed to make about ten monster sprites.
Most of that time wasn't actually doing the pixel art; that took maybe between half an hour and an hour for each one. *Designing* the monsters, though, took a while, because I'm trying to come up with actually mildly interesting designs rather than just things like palette swaps or, well, boring things. I'm probably putting more effort in than I did with Beast Signer's monsters, anyway. I don't know if the designs actually ARE interesting, since I'm not exactly a professional designer or anything, but I am trying!
There'll be about 68 monsters in the first part (as you may remember or might not actually know, Miasmon will be divided into three instalments); maybe I'll add 2 more to make the number up to 70, though. I've done the sprites and designs for about 42 of them, maybe, leaving quite a few still left to do.
And then I've got to do sprites for the trainer types, too, hmm...
Most of the monsters are evolved forms, and many of those won't actually be possible to get in the first chapter thing because I might use a level cap (just so then I don't need to do the particle effects for high-level moves). You won't really have as much choice about what to train as in Pokemon, but I am just one person making this.
I'll obviously add more monsters in subsequent chapters.
I've also been redoing the battle system's GUI... or 'Graphical User Interface', for those of you who don't know what that means but would probably pretend you did anyway. o_O
It was originally essentially a copy of the Pokemon style of GUI; all the battle stuff was reported at the bottom in a box thing using text, and when you did damage, no numbers were explicitly shown.
However, I kept finding it annoying during testing; for some reason, I'm fine with Pokemon battles, but it felt very clunky and unsatisfying in what I'd managed to design. The code was also less elegant than I'd prefer.
So I've been trying to redo it to be more like MARDEK, where things that you do are shown visually rather than reported with text; when you deal damage, the floaty numbers come up, and they're coloured differently depending on whether the enemy is weak or resistant to that element, etc...
Here's what the old version looked like:
And here's the new version:
I personally think it looks a lot more open, modern, 'sleek', and other such things, but I'm sure that due to the nature of human preferences, some people would prefer the first one... I'll go with what I feel best anyway, since I've already done most of it now.
That's all for this week, I think. I'm hoping that Miasmon will be very close to completion in a week or two, so expect to see it in maybe three or four years!!1 : D