triptych

Creative works, working to create

It's been a busy few months here in Andrew Land. I've been working on a serial novel called The Clockwork Apprentice as well as an interactive fiction writing tool called STIM .

I'm trying to figure out how all these tools fit together, and where I should be posting articles.

I've not forgotten Godot Engine as it's rapidly moving towards another release. I'm particularly excited about the new text effects.

About to spend some time off on vacation. Need a break from the relentless code demands.

Chapter 10 of The Clockwork Apprentice is out

Part 8

I'm working on a new serial novel:

I'm working steadily on STIM and having a great time coding it up. It's been a long time since I've had “fun” building something on the web. And it's been because I have stopped feeling guilty about knowing some framework or doing it the “best way”. I'm using a collection of open source projects to build it and not reinvent the wheel.

Other than that, I'm looking forward to playing a game called Dragon Quest Builders 2 which is this really fun RPG/sandbox game.

The theme for the rest of this year is “output” and I aim to follow that.

Look for more posts soon on my progress on STIM

I was thinking about minimalist app making – where you just put together the most basic version of an app, and it struck me how I often try to over complicate things ( for example the HTML version of IttyBittyRPG ) so I set a goal for myself to create just a super minimalist Interactive Fiction tool I'm calling STIM. I'm using Repl.it to code it, Cash and Torus for the JS, and Bulma for the CSS ( and Font Awesome – which is ... Awesome!)

If you want to follow along you can check out this project:

Part of my vacation time was spent working on a new game making tool called #ittybittyrpg. I'm building it in Godot and I made a lot of great progress. Here's a recent screenshot with Save and Load working, as well as a logo from Logomakr

I have a really interesting idea for IttyBittyRPG where instead of doing things like Twine or Bitsy, as I was originally wanting to do, the idea will be more like you have a fantasy world sticker book, and you create dialog, battles, and levels like you might put stickers in a sticker book. The UI for the editor will be “playful” and then the game itself will be emergent from that.

So, since this is supposed to be about coding, I had to port over the Save / Load code from an older version of GDScript to 3.1.

Code example is here

At Campus Movie Fest ... Making a game

I'm in Atlanta for 🎬 #campusmoviefest while my daughter and her friend get to check out cool sessions on movie making and present their short films. But, I get to work on my side projects. For some reason I'm gravitating toward 🎮GDevelop. It seems like such a good fit for me – as it's close to my javascript heart for games, while also being easy to code for. The UI is still kinda ... rough in some ways, but it's still very usable. What gets me is that the games that I've seen made for this engine are so fast. I don't see any framerate drops and the controls seem to be pretty responsive. I don't know about the UI, but there must be some real good things going on under the hood.

If you've not tried it out, I encourage you to check it out and kick the tires. It's both been around for a long time (2008?) but seems new with this latest version 5. It's free and open source, so support it!

Vacation Goals

After today, I'm off on vacation for almost a week. I get to go to #campusmoviefest with my daughter, who is showing a few short films she has created. I'm super excited for her, and hopeful she can make connections with great folks there.

As for me, I've just got a new laptop, I've primed it with things like Godot Engine, GDevelop, Android Studio, and Visual Studio Code ( as well as Steam and Gog ). I've got a few things I'd like to do for myself whilst accompanying my daughter including:

  • Finish reading the Rust Book ( also Rust and Webassembly as well as Rust Async — I just learned that those books were created using mdbook ... learned something new today already!
  • Finish reading Godot docs.
  • Work on #ittybittyrpg in Godot. Starting from scratch. Will iterate like crazy. I've learned a lot about Godot this past year, and it makes me want to use Godot to build my own tool. Get a splash screen and stub out the editor and view screens. Get it to output a simple HTML file.
  • Work on #DungeonAfternoon in GDevelop — get a simple guy walking around a map. Level 0.

That's a lot, right? Well I hope to stay super busy. And maybe play some of my immense backlog of PC games.

I just discovered GDevelop, though I think I have seen this engine in the past in earlier versions and thought “It's not fully baked, I'll check it out later” only to forget about it until I was reminded of it a few weeks ago. It's like Construct 2 and other “action sheet” kinda game makers where you don't exactly code , more like you set up listeners for certain events, then manipulate pre-built objects to make a game.

GDevelop is essentially a hybrid app that has been written in C++ but gradually ported over to ReactJS as well as Webassembly. Check out this very interesting slide show from the author that talks about the app's transformation.

For me, I've been trying to build a game making tool for over a year now, and I've been learning a lot about how to make an app. Godot Engine is an excellent tool for making games, both 2D and 3D and it even has enough functionality to create other kinds of apps.

I'm even working on a book about making apps in Godot, but more on that later. Today is all about GDevelop.

I decided to try out one of the tutorials to see how complex and workable creating a simple game in GDevelop would be, and I have to say it was pretty good.

If you want to skip to the playing part of this – check out my demo game over at itch.io.

Essentially I implemented this demo. It was pretty straightforward, with only a few glitches. I actually found a bug in the app, filed an issue, and got a response all in the space of 30 mins.

Apparently GDevelop is being maintained by a single person, in their spare time. It's looking pretty good for a side project, but to be honest I think they need to allow more folks to contribute.

It seems to be actively developed, with some exciting features just a few months ago added. I like where the app is going, and I plan on trying to create a real game in it this year.

My goals for my time at Terminus / Campus Movie Fest are to make progress on #ittybittyrpg and to get a basic walk around demo for Dungeon Afternoon working in GDevelop. I might even write some tutorials on my Andreww.xyz home page.

So, if you are a “non coder” or are looking for an app that has a nice framework to build a game within – that is open source and free – give GDevelop a try.

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