Planitia Update 34: Spit and Polish and Bailing Wire

All right, a new version of Planitia is now available. This version features:

* Images are now front-loaded, eliminating the pause when creating new units.

* Loading screen lets you know that the game has not locked up on startup!

* Icons are now the correct color, have the correct icons, and even have tooltips!

* Walkers now have a “farming” animation.

* The bug where units would occasionally walk backwards has been fixed.

* General and Golem units now have footstep sounds.

* Music! The music is “Overture” by Julia Ecklar, and I got it from Podsafe Audio.

Even if you don’t feel like playing it, if you could just download it and tell me what your initial impression of the game is – especially if you’ve not tried it before – I’d be very grateful.

The Job Hunt Begins

Okay, spent yesterday updating and tidying up my resume (you may click here to look at it if you want to give me feedback – or send it to your HR department!)

Now it’s time to start emailing it everywhere in the world.

It’s also time to start rememorizing all the answers to those tricky questions they ask you during programming interviews, like the four uses of const and what private inheritance actually means. Rereading Effective C++ will be helpful.

Planitia Demo version .85, Multiplayer Version!

All right, here it is! The first LAN multiplayer version of Planitia!

Of course, cleaning up the multiplayer wasn’t the only thing I did to it. You may be asking, “What took so long?”

Um…well, this.

That’s right – new units that actually animate! Many, many thanks to my friend Ryan Clark for doing the Photoshop work on these so I could focus on the programming angle and get them in quickly. Right now only movement animations work; I’ll get idle and attack animations in very soon.

Of course, you’re probably wondering where you can get this masterpiece! Well…

Click here to download the most recent version of Planitia! Please read the readme file if you have trouble starting a multiplayer game.

And please either comment on this post or send me email at anthony.salter@gmail.com if you have any suggestions or criticism!

Laid Off

I swear to God, this has been the worst year of my life.

Yesterday at four PM we were all called in for a company-wide meeting. Now, such a meeting typically does not bode well, and true to form we were told that the slow economy meant that that there would be a round of layoffs at Aspyr.

Then they sent us all home. Without telling us who would be laid off.

Today I arrived at my scheduled meeting to discover that yes, I was being let go.

I guess my plan is to get Planitia looking more professional and see if I can use the fact that I wrote a networked real-time strategy game in my spare time to land me another job.

Neglected Blog

I must apologize to my regular readers…you guys haven’t had much reason to tune in lately, and I’m sorry. It turns out that I had a couple other minor health issues that I had to deal with, but it appears that it has all worked out now.

So today is going to be kind of a grab bag of what I’ve been doing/thinking about.

First off, being in the hospital convinced me that I need a laptop, but full-featured laptops are quite expensive. I’ve been drawn to the idea of the netbook – that is, a small laptop with no CD or DVD drive but built-in wireless and wired internet so that it can do everything over the network. Since I already do almost everything over the network, the idea of a netbook really appeals to me. Especially since prices can be as low as $250.

Of course, the one I really want isn’t that cheap; I’ve got my sights set on the Asus EEE PC 1000HA. I’ve chosen that one because of its large hard drive, its zippy Intel Atom processor, and its larger keyboard and screen. About the only bad thing anybody has to say about it is that the right shift key is in kind of a weird place, and I’m pretty sure I can work around that. The MSI Wind was also a contender but it has the disadvantage of coming in lots of slightly different versions, most of which are cheaper either because they have smaller 3-cell batteries (which greatly reduce the life of the unit) and/or use solid-state drives instead of hard drives. I don’t like solid-state drives for a machine I’ll be doing development on because a) they’re too small and b) they are read fast/write slow, so compiling takes longer. It really feels like with the Asus 1000HA I’m going to be getting the most bang for my buck.

On a completely different topic, my favorite movie is now Kung-Fu Panda. I was amazed at how good it was; it was well written, well voice-acted and superbly animated. If you haven’t watched it because you don’t like Jack Black, you should probably reconsider. There’s a bit of his shtick at the beginning of the movie, but it’s actually funny and then he disappears into the sweet, lovable Po. And the movie has a great villain in Tai Lung; while I was listening to the commentary the writers noted that the key to creating a great villain was to remember that the villain always considers himself the hero of his own story and Tai Lung certainly fits that bill.

And finally, I have actually been working on Planitia! Can you believe it?! No, I can’t either. I seem to recall stating that I would stop work on Planitia at Midnight on December 31, 2008 and move on to something else…but that was before I lost two months in the hospital. However, I will have a LAN multiplayer demo available this Friday, December 19, 2008. Response to this version may influence how much effort I continue to put into Planitia; I’ve got several other projects I want to get started on. I know that Planitia is nowhere near done, but I’ve now spent two years worth of evenings on a project that isn’t going to make me a cent…and I’m starting to feel the whole “opportunity cost” thing. If Planitia turns out to be a quick, fun multiplayer-only game…well, I guess I can live with that.