April 26th, 2013
It is that time of the year again. Every April, August and December, the Ludum Dare Game Jam takes place over the internet.
The goal of the Ludum Dare Jam is to make a computer game, from scratch, in 48 hours. This means imagining the game, writing the code, drawing the graphics, making the sounds, and putting everything together in a weekend. It may seem like very little time to create a game, but many pretty impressive games have been made.
I really like Ludum Dare. When I entered CS college, I had dreams about making a game (who doesn’t?) – but to a multitude of factors and excuses, I never got around coming even close to a complete game. However, Ludum Dare’s tight format: the time constraint, the “start from scratch” constraint, somehow makes me much more porductive – and every Ludum Dare I managed to finish some sort of mini game (the first and last ones are my favorites).
So, three times per year, I relive my dream of being a game developer for a weekend.
This time around, I’m using a new java gaming library – libGDX. Unlike Slick2D, which I used the previous times, libGDX is a bit lower level, allowing for example direct access to openGL directives. It also has Android support, which was a big selling point for me – I can make games for my own Nexus
Hoping for a fun and fulfilling weekend!
March 30th, 2013
Today I was catching up on the “Extra Credits” video series, and I saw two things that really made me go “WTF!” about gaming.
Extra Credits is a really neat show about game design. Sometimes they go way off the mark (do yourself a favor and skip their episodes on religion), but in general it is well worth a watch. It is pretty short too.
Anyway, while I was watching the previous 6 or 7 shows that I missed, I noticed two scenes that disturbed me a little. The scenes were not from the show themselves, but rather small clips of games that were being talked about.
1- The Big Ass — I have no idea what this game is. They were talking about dialogue in games, and showing short images of dialogue choices. In this one, there is giant ass in the first plane, while the charater being talked about and the text were really small, really in the back.
Nothing against fan service, but this seemed a bit… excessive. Reminded me of those “What if male superheroes were drawn as female are” comics.
2- Kill the Drunk! — In this episode they were talking about how a game can increase interest by making differences in kind instead of quantity. They were following the “call of duty” game. In CoD, the player is supposed to play the role of an elite military unit. They were invading a what looked to be a criminal ship. All is fine, until they go around a corridor, find an unarmed, drunken sailor… and shoot him to pieces…
Uhhh, yeah, very military and heroic action you got there sir. (just to make clear, this is not about the video show, but about the games themselves)
March 11th, 2013
There was a super weird sandstorm in Japan this weekend. At first I thought it was just the sand from the factories near my stating that were being moved around by the strong spring winds, but it seems that the storm affected all of kantou (the central region of Japan, around Tokyo).
Here is an article with more info, and a video.
This was really a pity. The weather was great sunday morning, and I was hoping for a nice afternoon, so I could keep the windows open in my apartment to enjoy the wind while doing some cleaning/laundry. Unfortunately the sand put a stop to that. Hope next weekend is better.
March 8th, 2013
Recently, I’ve got myself a new mascot for work:
Kittens in my desktop!
It is a live feed of a litter of kittens. I don’t remember where I found this address originally – I think it might have been reddit. I have the pop-up video in this tiny window, locked above everything else in my desktop . It is great to see them play while working. The internet is wonderful!
The kittens are Laika, the mother, and Valentina, Yuri, Boris and Pavel, born just three weeks ago. The mother was abandoned while pregnant, a lady found it and send her to this guy that fosters abandoned kittens. You may learn all the details in the videofeed’s webpage and FAQ, listed below.
I really miss having my own cats… If I manage to guarantee a long-term working situation in Japan, I might look into raising a litter again.
Link to the Kitten Cam
December 20th, 2012
This week, south Korea has elected a new president. I won’t pretend to know anything about korean politics and make some sort of comentary, because I really know nothing. One thing that I noticed, though, is that there is a huge thread in reddit about it. In that thread, a lot of (self identified) koreans piped up to comment with their experiences and opinions.
On the other hand, Japan has also chosen a new prime minister this week. The LDP was put back in power in the last elections, and they have chosen Shinzo Abe as their new prime minister. I won’t pretend to be an expert on Japanese politics (even if I know a bit more about it than I know about Korean politics), but I find it interesting that, compared with the Korean reaction above, I’ve heard so little about it from Japanese (be it on reddit, facebook, twitter, etc).
I’m not really surprised, it has been my impression for a long time that a lot of Japanese people are either apathetic towards politics, or simply not willing to engage with other on conversations about it. But it does saddens me a bit.
Or unrelated news, while looking for a link on Shinzo Abe to put on this blog post, I realized that google news no longer has an “International” setting – you must pick up an specific country when searching for news. If you choose Japan, this means all news will be in Japanese. If you choose anywhere else, you’ll see almost no news about Japanese politics