Category Archives: Personal Life

Summary of 2022

Hey guys, as is my yearly tradition, here’s a summary of my year, in no particular order.

• Valve sent me a free Steam Deck! I felt like sempai had noticed me. Many of the indie games I wanted to try out didn’t fully work on it, but I eventually had a good time playing The End is Nigh and Everhood on it. It’s comfortable to play for hours at a time, so I give it a big thumbs up, as long as you’re happy with a bit of tinkering. Oh, and most of my games work on it too, to various degrees.

• I finished off and published the Epic Battle Fantasy Collection this year, which involved polishing off my old web games (not fun) and adding a little bit of new content to them (fun). The collection performed reasonably well on Steam, considering the games involved are ancient, and were originally available for free online. Valve gave the EBF series a nice featured spot on launch day, and as expected, EBF5 sold even better than EBFC did!

• I helped my brother build a fence and a pergola, and a lot of planters of various sizes. I also collected a bunch of rocks and logs for his new pond. In return, I got coffee whenever I visited, and some radishes and pumpkins from his garden. It’s gonna look good in a couple of years when his trees grow up!

I built a dog house for Ethel! It was made from recycled materials and is totally over-engineered. It’s incredibly sturdy and nicely embellished. I basically built a very small shed – and next year I’ll build a full-sized shed!

• Me and Ronja started shopping at a big Asian supermarket to try out some good instant noodles, weird mushrooms, sichuan pepper, and other new flavours. They went out of business later this year, but my instant noodles skills have massively improved.

• Me and Ronja went to Finland for an awesome and chaotic wedding, which included a cool barn venue, shenanigans with the bands, and an after party on a boat. We got a cold shortly afterwards (thought it was covid) and spent most of the holiday recovering. I was hit especially hard, and took 3 or 4 weeks to fully recover – half my hearing was gone!

• I bought a bunch of devices for my mobile development work, including a 2015 MacBook, an iPhone 11, and a Samsung S4 Tablet. The MacBook was a pretty good purchase – It runs well for such an old computer, still has USB ports, it’s perfect for my iOS development needs, and it’s also my first ever laptop. I’ve been using the iPhone as my main phone for a few months, and I still haven’t got used to it – I’ll probably go back to Samsung for the next one. And finally, the tablet… was fun to play around with for a few days. Games look good on the larger screen, but it’s too big to hold comfortably in many cases!

• I tried out a lot of mobile games this year. Most were awful and were uninstalled in 5 minutes, but some great ones include the Dadish series, Meow Tower, and Total Party Kill.

• Me and Ronja and Ethel stayed in a cute log cabin on a farm for a couple of nights. It was refreshing to not have electricity, running water, or internet, and to live more deliberately. They did have a gas barbecue though.

• I started going to therapy for depression and anxiety. I thought I had some sort of neurological disease, as my concentration and coordination was somewhat impaired, but it turns out I was probably just stressed out by work, relationship issues, growing old, and the state of the world. I’m a little better now.

• Continued going on small trips around England and Scotland with my dad, to deliver my mum’s paintings to art galleries. Found some interesting beaches in Edinburgh, visited Bamburgh Castle but it was closed due to a storm, and sneaked into a small private castle where a wedding was being planned.

• Me and Ronja started going out for brunch at least once a week, to see new places, try new food, and just get up earlier in the morning. Brought my parents and other close family members along to a couple of my favourite places later on. Previously me and my family have been too cheap to eat out. My favourite discoveries were egg and salmon toast, and pomegranate salad.

• We also had dinner in a few fancy restaurants, but the higher the price the less I enjoyed it, due to the pretentiousness, and the food looking less like food. But I’m willing to try it again on special occasions.

• Visited the Scottish Borders with my friends for a couple of nights – this was a yearly tradition until covid hit. This time it was more tame than previous trips, with earlier nights and more moderate drinking.

• I learned to drive a modern, automatic minivan, which I borrowed from my dad. It was really easy! Big improvement over my 20-year-old, manual Honda Civic. Me and Ronja are now considering buying an automatic car. (and Ronja learned to drive this year!)

• Me, Ronja, Ethel, my brother and his partner stayed in a hobbit hole for four nights in Speyside near Inverness. Very cosy building with a strong nature theme, fireplace, skylight, telescope, bunk beds, traditional construction, wood smell, and good vibes. Luckily we had minimal rain on our visit, and did some easy forest and seashore walks. Also tried a bunch of edibles – I’m into them now.

• I finished off my Android port of Epic Battle Fantasy 5 – it was in Early Access for a long time while I slowly and painfully sorted out some crashes and other issues. I did my best to optimize the performance, but this created a lot of bugs, and in the end, many of these optimizations were not worth the trouble. Lessons learned for next time. But the game’s done fairly well on the Google Play Store so far!

• Once the Android port was finished, porting EBF5 to iOS was fairly quick. It was mostly a case of getting familiar with the iOS ecosystem, and fulfilling a ton of annoying requirements for the App Store. It took less than a month, which ain’t bad, and the game seems to be off to a decent start on the store. With some luck, EBF5 will keep selling reasonably well on both mobile platforms for many years to come, so I have no pressure to work on anything new.

Flash is alive and well. Ruffle can now run some ActionScript 3 games, and AIR is getting regular updates with new features.

• While procrastinating from my mobile ports, I started work on a new hidden object game called Hidden Cats. I wanted to try a different (but still very much Flash) art style, and game mechanics that were focused more on art rather than coding.

• Me and Ronja hosted two Epic Battle Fantasy fan art competitions with cash prizes, and it’s been fun, with a lot of entries being submitted. We’re planning to do more competitions with bigger prizes in the future.

• I continued playing a lot of Age of Empires 2 this year with friends, and also added some Valheim sessions. Both games eat a lot of time!

• Other games I enjoyed this year were Astalon: Tears of the Earth, RUN: The world in-between, It Takes Two, and Hidden Through Time. I’m mostly still playing 2D indie games on my super powerful gaming PC.

• I donated a chunk of money to charities helping in Ukraine, and bought a limited edition war-themed Nintendo 64 Everdrive cartridge. I can save N64 roms on it and play them on a real console, so I played a few games that I never had as a kid, including F-Zero X and Yoshi’s Story. I also played a modded version of Ocarina of Time with quality of life improvements, and Smash Bros Remix, a fantastic mod of Smash Bros 64, which is made so well it feels like an official sequel.

• I started to enjoy shopping for clothes, where as previously I would buy the bare minimum needed to survive, and rely on gifts from family members.

• I finally decorated my bedroom. It’s a tiny room with little natural light, so I figured some fake plants and lighter furniture would help somewhat. Even added a Tiffany-style bedside lamp.

• Visited a lot of antique shops and markets this year, getting decorating ideas for the future. My first time at Glasgow’s infamous Barras market too.

• Me and Ronja have been thinking about features we’d like in our next house, like a double garage, wine cellar/basement, bigger rooms, etc. and we went to view a few houses for fun. We’re not actually planning on moving any time soon though, and thinking about it is more fun than the reality of extra costs and responsibilities.

• I was quite excited that Epic Battle Fantasy 5 was invited to be part of the Yogscast Jingle Jam event – this was the biggest content creator to cover the game. But in the end, it didn’t make any difference to the game’s engagement stats on Steam – much like any other type of game bundle. Helped raise some money for charity I guess.

• Hired a cleaner! No more scrubbing dirty bathrooms for me.

• Ronja’s mum visited us from Finland for New Years! Her and Ethel get along very well.

Here’s a collection of some of our favourite photos from 2022 – click to get a bigger version! And Happy New Year!

Steam JRPG Sale

Hi Folks!

You can currently grab EBF5 for 35% off and EBF4 for 50% off in the Steam JRPG Sale until March 21 10AM Pacific.

In other news we’ve both been ill this week with covid, and are hopefully starting to get better soon. The weather is giving its best this weekend so we’re very happy to have the garden to spend some time outside as well and not just be locked up in the house. We’re keeping our fingers crossed we both make a full recovery, and are thankful for modern medicine and vaccines for keeping us from being at high risk. Stay safe out there!

Here’s some lovely fanart of the EBF5 gang from Mythia.

Summary of 2021

As is my yearly tradition, here is a summary of important or interesting events in my life this year, including a bunch of news about my games that you might have missed.

• I refurbished my two NES consoles, which included deep cleaning and replacing the silicone springs in the controllers. I bought a couple more homebrew games that were released recently, and tried messing around in NES Maker. Here’s some mockup art and stages I made, that run in an emulator. I also bought an Everdrive, which allows me to put the entire NES library (and cool mods and homebrews too) on one cartridge – and it has save states too! Micro Mages and D-Pad Hero 2 are fantastic modern NES games to check out, to name just two.

• Early this year Flashplayer was finally killed off in browsers, with every website trying something different to keep Flash games running. Ruffle is a Flashplayer emulator that can run many Flash games in browsers without the need for any plugins, and I’ve started hosting a collection of Flash games on my website which show how well it works. It’s still a work-in-progress though, and mostly runs older ActionScript 2 games.

• hosted the Flash Forward Game Jam to encourage developers to make new Flash games for Ruffle. I made Bullet Heaven 3 [Prototype] to try out some new art and mechanics, but the reception was a bit mediocre as some features were missing and the controls were not as intuitive as those in the previous Bullet Heaven games.

• Until Ruffle is finished, the best way to play Flash games at the moment is BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint. I’ve been supporting the project with donations and by doing an interview with Blue. I will eventually publish my older games on Steam – that should have happened this year, but it didn’t.

• I’ve started buying high quality furniture that I expect to keep for a very long time, starting with a solid oak bed and sets of drawers. Previously I’ve been buying the cheapest furniture that gets the job done and looks passable. Luckily, our dog is small and isn’t capable of destroying furniture, and we also don’t have kids.

• I bought a few homebrew Game Boy games, and customized my Game Boy SP with a new SNES-style shell. Next year I plan to design and print my own Game Boy shell, and maybe try making a Game Boy game!

• I pushed out an important update to Epic Battle Fantasy 4, which fixed some serious issues such as memory leaks and poor balancing, and added some new quality-of-life features, and a new cheats and challenges menu. If you haven’t played EBF4 in a while, this is a very good reason to play it again. See the link for the full list of changes – there’s a lot! (You have to opt-into this version in the Steam betas tab)

• I’ve been learning a lot of DIY stuff, such as re-doing the silicone sealant in the bathrooms, installing shelves, and building simple garden furniture such as planters and a firewood rack. I’ve collected a lot of power tools, including some that scared me until recently (circular saws), and plan to put them to good use as soon as the sun comes back – I don’t have a garage, so I gotta work outside for now!

• My brother bought a house, so I’ve been helping him renovate it a bit. I helped install new laminate floors and Ronja helped with painting. Next year we’re also going to extend the garden fence – but timber prices are super high in the UK at the moment!

• I went kayaking for the first time! Good thing Beat Saber kept my arms in decent shape this year.

• Speaking of which, I still can’t beat Spin Eternally and Ghost on Expert+, but I’m slowly getting closer…

• A lot of effort this year went into training our new dog, Ethel. She knows a lot of tricks, and is very well behaved around guests. What she fails at is behaving around other dogs, and being walked in new areas – she gets nervous and starts making a scene. We tried to introduce her to my parent’s dog, and she seemed to be making progress until she flipped out and took a nice big bite out of the other dog. We got some personal training lessons for her, and while her temperament somewhat improved, she’s still not allowed near dogs.

• Ethel also had some mysterious health problems for a few months – sudden exercise or excitement would cause her to start breathing strangely and faint for a few seconds. One time she did this and had seizure symptoms, including paddling her feet. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her, and the symptoms gradually got milder, and now she seems totally fine.

• I finally started playing Smash Ultimate! I sat on this one for a long time because the lockdowns made it difficult to invite friends around. I’ve got a lot of complaints about the Switch hardware and Smash Ultimate user experience… but in the end it’s still darn fun to play. Another party game I’ve played a lot with friends is Overcooked 2.

• My dad’s car was totalled in an accident! Luckily no one was hurt, but him and his passengers (including my mum) were a bit shaken up. My dad went on to buy the exact same car again, a Seat Alhambra, his 4th one.

• I finished decorating my office, which involved getting an ergonomic office chair, framing some new posters, and building a 220cm desk out of a kitchen worktop. This does little for productivity, but it looks cool.

• I got an ultrawide monitor… and well, it’s great for first-person games, but for everything else it feels like a gimmick, and most people would probably be better off with two monitors instead, which are more versatile and easier to transport. The worst part for me is that it is not curved enough to see the edges comfortably. I might actually replace it sooner rather than later… but it does look beautiful on my new desk!

• I’ve been playing a lot of retro style first-person-shooters this year, including DUSK, HROT, Amid Evil, Dread Templar, and Ion Fury. I got into them thanks to the new Doom games.

• Age of Empires 2 is still taking up a lot of my gaming time. I’ve finished all of the campaigns on hard!

• Got all of my covid vaccines this year, and the booster. So far, only the second dose has had serious side effects, and I was totally out of action for a whole 24 hours, with bad headaches, nausea, and chills. I think we’re all gonna get some variant of covid sooner or later, so getting vaccinated is the best we can hope for when it comes to mitigating the damage.

• Our garden is more or less finished – we finished decorating with some outdoor art and more patio furniture. We bought a gazebo to sit under, and a large firepit, so even if the weather isn’t great, it’s still comfortable to sit out there. I’m still learning how to chop firewood correctly though.

• I spent a lot of this year working on the EBF5 mobile port, but got kind of burned out working on it, so it’s still not completely finished. The game runs quite smoothly now and in-app purchases finally work. I’ve learned a lot about mobile development with Flash/AIR, but Google’s developer console is a nightmare to use, and I hear Apple’s isn’t much better. It’s a shame that the mobile ecosystem is so terrible, because getting games running on mobile devices is very satisfying otherwise.

• I’ve been working with a Chinese mobile games publisher, which is one reason I’ve been focusing on mobile games. They offered me very good terms, and the deal doesn’t affect anything outside of China, so all you guys get out of this is that I’m porting my games to mobile. Working with a publisher has been a new experience for me – I’ve been doing a lot more documentation work than usual!

• I quickly ported and published Mecha Dress Up Game, Brawl Royale, Cat Cafe v2, and Epic Battle Fantasy 1 on Android! They work well but are very simple games compared to my new stuff, so didn’t make much of a splash when they landed. You can’t currently buy them because of some ID verification problems with my Google account – I’ll need to get that sorted ASAP!

• I’ve been going on short road trips with my dad. This year we’ve visited Dundee, Newcastle and Dunbarr. We’ve got to start planning things better so that all of the attractions aren’t closed by the time we arrive. Covid isn’t making it easy either. The most exciting destination so far was the Holy Island Lindisfarne, which is accessed by a causeway road. We went during a storm, and had an incredibly wet and windy time at the castle.

• My brother soon planned a slightly longer road trip – we stayed at The Park Ecovillage near the town of Findhorn, and visited some nearby attractions, including Bow Fiddle Rock (a large natural arch in the sea), the Captain’s Table (seaside bar and restaurant), and Findlater Castle (a cool ruin on a steep cliffside). We stopped for fish and chips in the town of Cullen, which also had some very quirky antique shops. The Ecovillage itself was some sort of spiritual/druid community, where driving was discouraged, waste was recycled, and many of the buildings were hobbit-style.

• Me and Ronja put a ton of effort into Halloween this year. I put up a terrifying scarecrow on the driveway, and bought a ridiculously creepy mask. We’re getting a reputation as having the scariest house in the area, and 100 kids showed up despite covid. Some kids even showed up in Friday Night Funkin’ costumes!

• I started transitioning into being a vegetarian. I started off by avoiding very unhealthy meat like bacon and sausages, eventually realizing that I can probably manage without meat in my diet, and it’s been fun trying new food at restaurants. I think I’ll keep eating fish and other meat on special occasions, but I’ll try to stick to the higher quality stuff.

• Me and Ronja went on a road trip to Glen Lyon, stopping by in Aberfeldy and Pitlochry along the way. We stayed two nights in a small wooden cabin on a farm, which had a very comfy log burner, and three dogs and a bunch of chickens roaming around outside. We did a little bit of hiking, stopped at a garden centre, saw some monuments, and drove on some very narrow and bendy roads. I also played Scrabble for the first time. I can now understand the appeal.

• Christmas decorating got interesting this year, as I tried making wreaths for the first time. My brother joined me. It’s actually not hard and you don’t need a lot of supplies – as long as you have access to a garden. I will definitely make a yearly activity out of this. Christmas Eve dinner with the family was pretty normal – eating fish while dogs made noise in the background. A covid scare stopped us from having more dinners over the next few days.

• This year’s Christmas Steam Key Giveaway was the most popular one ever! I will definitely keep doing these…. even though I skipped it last year. I’ll try to think of other seasonal events too, such as fanart competitions, etc.

And that’s all. Here’s some highlights in picture form… click on the image for a larger version!

Happy New Year, everybody!