Category Archives: Personal Life

Play Expo Glasgow

I’m almost two weeks late making this blog, but I went to the Play Expo in Glasgow over the weekend and it was cool. It was my first time going to a gaming convention of any sort, so I didn’t know what to expect. They had lots of arcade machines, pinball tables, retro consoles, cosplay and other stuff. While the place was super crowded at first, it emptied out a lot later on in the day, giving me the chance to actually try out quite a few things.

Highlights for me were:

  • Briefly playing old Doom on the Oculus. It worked well, and the parts with moving platforms hit me really hard. I continue to look forward to seeing what comes out of VR in the coming years. It’s a shame there was only one Vive setup there, and almost no one got a chance to try it out.
  • Playing the Vectrex, an ancient console with a vector based screen instead of pixels. The games on it were super simple but actually a lot of fun – most of them just involved shooting at spaceships, which is my sort of thing.
  • Playing some arcade machines! I’ve got a thing for Defender, so I played that a lot. Some of the games had very weird controls - Marble Madness just has a trackball instead of any buttons, which was fun but awkward.
  • Playing some pinball! I don’t think I’ve ever played any real pinball before. Most of my experience comes from playing Pokemon Pinball on the Gameboy Color, so that was a fun experience.
  • Talking to some other indie devs briefly! There wasn’t any well known devs there, but it was nice to see what others were working on, and I’ve got a few more people to follow on Twitter now.
  • Seeing cosplays of some characters from Ed, Edd and Eddie. Didn’t expect that at all.

So it was a lot of fun, and I think I’ll be looking around for similar events in future. It was pleasant seeing so many nerds together, people from my own tribe. I felt right at home being socially awkward and almost not talking to anyone.

In other news, the UK is gonna leave the EU, and everyone is panicking. I’m just gonna walk it off and see what happens.

vec

On Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hey guys, I’ve not been working much lately because Ronja’s come down with Rheumatoid Arthritis a few weeks ago, and it’s gotten severe quite quickly. I’ve been looking after her because she’s got the joint mobility of a 90-year-old, and that’s no joke.

Basically Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that swells up and stiffens your joints, eventually leading to massive permanent damage. It’s mostly middle aged women who get it, but it’s not rare in younger people either. It’s incurable, but treatable, so regular medication will usually keep it under control, with only a few side effects if you’re lucky, and most patients will have mostly normal lives. If left untreated, you’ll end up with misshapen hands like the ones I posted yesterday.

Ronja’s starting her medication now, so she should be well enough to look after herself soon. The last few days have been incredibly painful for her, but her joints should loosen up in a day or two and our lives will hopefully be back to normal soon, except for the regular visits to the doctor.

So that’s about it. We’re interested to hear from you if you know anyone with RA.

New Battlestation

I’ve settled in my new apartment and thought I’d show off my new battlestation since I upgraded quite a lot of stuff recently. Got a new desk, monitors, tablet, webcam, and mugs!

My computer is still pretty good despite being 4 years old, so I’ll wait another year or two before replacing that. I honestly didn’t expect it to last this long, but I guess I did spend quite a lot on it.

Other goodies in my office include a small fridge for drinks, barbells, and lots of Amiibos.
battle station

2015 in Review

Hey guys, here’s a blog summary of my year! A huge part of the year was taken up by Bullet Heaven 2 development, and relationship stuff with Ronja.

• Went to the Indie Games Conference in London with Ronja, and met up with some other developers. Reminisced about the dead Flash game scene. Tried a VR headset for the first time. It was fun.

• I got super sick with glandular fever! My throat was totally wrecked and I got a crazy rash. The whole thing lasted 3 weeks, and for the worst week I could barely eat and couldn’t sleep at all. Saw the doctor 5 times, and none of the different antibiotics helped. Only codeine tablets could cheer me up. Luckily I’m now immune forever!

• I went to Finland with Ronja! I met her friends, visited some popular tourist attractions like the island fortress, went to an awesome theme park, celebrated her birthday, tried some proper clothes shopping, ate at a viking restaurant, and stayed at a cabin in the woods. It was a lot of fun.

• The whole family got together to paint the fence! That was a new experience.

• Went to a Ceilidh (A Scottish dance thing) and won best dancer by getting drunk and being an idiot.

• My favourite games that I played this year were: Shovel Knight, Splatoon, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Yoshi’s Wooly World, Super Mario Maker, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Downwell, 1001 Spikes, Broforce, Kero Blaster, Journey, Monument Valley and Brothers. Spent longer playing co-op games than ever before.

• Went hillwalking like once. We really need to do more of that. Did some indoor climbing again, in a new place. That was fun too, but it didn’t last long.

• Started collecting Amiibos. I’ve got 30 of them now, and even bought 2 display cases for them. But I’m losing interest now that I own all the ones I really wanted.

• Started seriously learning how to personal finance. Read some books, saw a financial planner, learned to do taxes better, and set up a pension and some other investments. Hopefully that stuff will get easier over time.

• Became a fan of Steven Pinker’s books on human nature. Read The Stuff of Thought and the Blank Slate, and have some others on my reading list. They’re tough reads but very interesting.

• Ronja finally started posting her drawings online! She’s not good at sharing things with the public. I’m giving her pro tips on dealing with the internet.

• Added some more equipment to my gym, and achieved novice level in a few lifts. I’m satisfied with my current fitness level and will try to maintain it. Not trying to become a pro, just want to be reasonably healthy.

• Valve sent me an early Steam Controller! I was surprised that they found me worthy. The controller itself was interesting, but I didn’t find it to be very useful except for a few specific types of games.

• Published Bullet Heaven 2 on the web. The response was underwhelming. Casuals didn’t like it for the lack of permanent upgrades. People with old hardware couldn’t run it very well. Browser limitations made the controls and performance even worse.

• Published Bullet Heaven 2 on Steam. The game was well received by people who are into the genre, but not many people are. It didn’t sell great, but it’s on a lot of wishlists, so I’m hoping that after a few discounts it will cover development costs eventually.

• Epic Battle Fantasy 4 continues to sell well and funds the development of games like Bullet Heaven 2 which no one wants. Jk! I’m over that now. I’m working on Epic Battle Fantasy 5 now! I did a lot of concept art for it, and started doing some animations.

• Started searching for an apartment with Ronja! About time I moved out of my parent’s house, but I am going to miss some of the luxuries.

• I did a Christmas Steam key giveaway on my website and got 600 flattering comments! Took me hours to get through those, but it was fun. Christmas was fun this year, everyone behaved, and I got Lego!

I think that’s about it really. For next year I hope that working on Epic Battle Fantasy 5 is a lot more rewarding than working on Bullet Heaven 2 was, that our apartment search goes well, and that nothing catastrophic happens in general.

Happy new year, everyone!

new year pics

Christmas Stuff

Hey guys, hope ya’ll had a good Christmas. Mine was better than usual – everyone behaved, and I got Lego! Scottish weather is terrible though, it’s just been raining heavily the whole time.

I’ve contacted the winners of the Christmas key giveaway – I ended up giving away 40 copies of my games.

Steam had a major security malfunction last night and leaked a few personal details about some users, but it doesn’t look like it ended up being too serious.  I may have overreacted when I destroyed my credit card, but I wasn’t the only one. Steam seems to be back to normal now.

Finally, Ronja drew a hot Christmas picture of Rosalina, if you’re into that.

12435171_10153851540964172_961449208_o

-_-

Today I’ve been feeling very nostalgic about the old Flash game scene, where one could make a silly game in a month, slap an ad on it, throw it out there for free, and still somehow make a profit doing that.

I’ve spent the last few weeks making icons, implementing APIs, creating achievements, emailing people, setting up store pages, and it’s soooo mind numbingly boring. And even once that’s done I’ve still gotta deal with unhappy customers indefinitely.

The ratio of time spent making games to time spent shipping and maintaining games is getting very uncomfortable.

Oh well. Back to work.

Becoming a pro

Hay guys, it’s been a while since I wrote a blog!

Last few weeks I’ve been slowly publishing Bullet Heaven 2 – getting it up on sites and fixing any problems that pop up. Kongregate and Newgrounds are sorted, next is Armor Games I guess, and after that I can work on the Steam features which hopefully won’t take too long. I’d like to have everything Bullet Heaven 2 related finished by Christmas, and there’s some chance of that happening. The main complaint people have about the game is that it’s not really designed for casuals –  there’s no permanent upgrades, the game won’t really run on old hardware, and the controls are sometimes messed up by browsers. Hopefully these issues will mostly disappear on Steam, but we shall see. But either way, I’ll be happy to finish the game and start putting more time into other things. I think that might even be a bigger reward for me than the game actually being a success, but of course I would like that too.

Besides that, I’ve been drawing sketches for EBF5, reading The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker, looking for co-op games to play with Ronja (Broforce was pretty good!), collecting Amiibos and other figures, going out a bit more than usual (probably more than I want to), and slowly getting ready to move out of my parent’s house! That last thing I keep putting off because it’s just such a low priority for me, compared to everything else I could be working on. I’m really comfortable here and have got lots of efficient processes set up!

I’ve been seeing a financial planner to get advice on pensions and investments. Since I’m self employed I have to think about that unfortunately. But I think for the most part it’s sorted now, I’m somewhat clued up on personal finance, especially compared to a year ago. If you’re a young adult and will need to start managing money soon, I recommend the books Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, and I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Reddit recommended them and they’re a good introduction to responsible money habits, like saving, not being in debt, and general financial efficiency.

I’ve been training Ronja to become a pro artist, pressuring her to make accounts on DeviantArt and Newgrounds etc, and to draw more. And she’s making progress, which is cool. She’s studying animation, so her degree isn’t going to be very useful unless she has an awesome portfolio and fanbase.

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Here’s some figures I got recently. See ya later.
rob

My Mario Maker Levels!

Hay guys! I’ve made my first 10 levels in Mario Maker!

Most of them are pretty hard (less than 10% success rate), so let’s start with an easy one:
Pipe Dream: CAC7-0000-0015-AEA2

A kirby themed level about airships, lots of cannons:
Invasion of Dreamland: 1489-0000-0043-A575

This one is tough, all about dodging fireballs:
Through the Fire and Flames: 6ED3-0000-0039-FEFF

Those are probably my favourite three, you can find my others from there.
Gib stars plz!

2015-09-20 20.29.16