Archive for the 'Working Conditions' Category


Developer Diary 9/18

Black Yard continues to move forward. Still slightly concerned about oversaturating one environment with things of importance and leaving another barren, though with more of the interconnecting tissue finished, I’m less concerned about it; every room serves a purpose, even if it’s not immediately apparent or directly relevant.

It’s based around a school, so there’s a certain sameness to some of the environments (there are 8 classrooms, which all follow a similar pattern), though I think I’ve done reasonably well at making them relatively identifiable and unique so far… though, to be fair, I’ve only gotten half of them “done.” We’ll see if K-3 can remain unique compared to 4-8 or not.

Still trying to sort out a few of the quirks of RPG Maker VX Ace, especially in how it compares to the old RPG Maker and RPG Maker 3 on the PlayStation consoles, which were my previous experiences with the tool. One thing that’s still messing me up is the inability to make an event on an actual item in the environment and have the player hit “action” on it to trigger. I have to pepper the spaces around the item with those triggers instead, which gets kind of messy (and means I can’t have interactable things that are less than 3 spaces apart.) If someone more familiar with it knows how to do this, it’d be great. (Mind you, I don’t have this problem with people or “treasure” type items… just doors, desks, things like that. Don’t know what I’m doing wrong.)

Anyway. Have some screenshots. Let me know what you think!

And, as always, if you like what I do and want to help keep me doing it, you can always stop by my Patreon or my surgery GoFundMe. Everything helps and is always appreciated, but certainly not required.

Until next time, folks.

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Writing Pitfalls: Doubt and Discouragement — A Writer’s Path

Some solid points and advice. (Comments disabled here; please visit the original post.)

by Andrea Lundgren This is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog-hop, designed to help encourage authors and foster discussions about writing topics across the internet and the world. This month’s question is “What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?”

via Writing Pitfalls: Doubt and Discouragement — A Writer’s Path


Development Diary – 9/15

Screenshot (1)

Black Yard lumbers along, though to what purpose I know not. Unlikely to be slouching to Bethlehem or anything else so portentous.

I think I’ve determined what the overall gameplay loop is supposed to be; that’s good, since when I started, I had no idea. I just wanted to tell the story of the unpleasant things that might be sleeping under a parochial school. I ended up tying it back to the fact that it’s a recurring nightmare of mine. The main character is hunting through the school, looking for memory fragments. With enough of them, he can confront the nightmare.

Then comes the part where I have to decide which fragments are in the game; I have plenty of source material, since to a degree the game is autobiographical. Which ones are important enough to be here? How far back should I go? How far forward?

Once I have that narrowed down, I have to start peppering the environment with them. This is where I am currently; I’ve done one of the two school buildings (specifically covering the 4th through 8th grade classrooms) and have dropped a handful of the artifacts into the environment. I don’t know if I’m doing it “right” or not, though.

In the fourth grade room, there are four memories to be found, one trigger that will lead to another memory elsewhere, and two general items that will lead to other memories. Seven important items in one room.

The fifth grade classroom, in contrast, has the entrance to a hidden area where a memory can be found (if you’ve done a few other things first), a potential game over (if you didn’t do some of those other things) and a clue to another memory. Three important things.

The sixth grade classroom has one memory, one item that is used to obtain a memory elsewhere, and foreshadowing of another memory that will be found later. Again, only three items.

The walkway between the classrooms has three NPCs in it; one who is mainly there for flavor text and can’t really be interacted with, one who sends you on a fetch quest that will ultimately lead to a memory, and one who, if you help him out, will provide you with something you need to get another memory elsewhere.

I suppose what I’m wondering is if there’s too much junk in one room and they need to be spread out more, or if I need to cram more crap into the other rooms that are “done,” or if I can leave it as is. I just don’t know.

But that’s where I stand. I would say this is roughly 12% complete. Yes, I’m mostly pulling that number out of my ass. That number also only indicates what I’m doing with the resources supplied with RPG Maker VX Ace, so if somehow I get the time and money to obtain non-generic tiles and the like, the number changes. But we’ll see.

What are your folks’ opinions? Too much, too little, who the hell cares? Let me know down below.

As always, if you like the stuff I do and want to help me keep doing it, you can always stop by my Patreon or drop a dime in the bucket for my surgery GoFundMe. Contributions are always appreciated but never required.

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Good Enough

A phrase that I feel gets a bad rap is “Good enough.” I’ve seen quite a few posts, Tweets, and comments that, when boiled down, essentially say “Good enough… isn’t.”


I get what they’re trying to say, I think; don’t half-ass something and call it “good enough.” But they’re discounting a large group of obsessive, perfectionistic types – myself included – who will read that statement and end up never actually finishing anything… because they can only see “good enough,” not “perfect.”

There needs to be a distinction between “good enough” of the type that says “Eh, I did okay, and nobody can complain about it” and “good enough” of the flavor that says “I did all that I was capable of.”

The former is a sin. The second is what keeps things from building up in the “I’m tinkering with that but it’s not done” pile, because such things will never be done… as they will always just be “good enough,” to a certain mindset.

Of course, I am insane – certifiably, mind; I don’t swallow a handful of bitter pills every morning just for funsies – and may just be justifying my own garbage. But I still think there’s something worthwhile in doing something that’s “good enough.” At least it’s done. Better to have something done than trapped in eternal limbo, or so I think.

I’m having plenty of those moments as I work on Black Yard. I’m doing it with RPG Maker VX Ace, because it’s the tool I have. I can’t afford a newer one at this time. Writing code from scratch is not really an option (back in the dark days of DOS, it was; I was fairly proficient with C++ at the time, and could usually make BASIC comply; since the dawn of Windows, those skills are no longer functional.) I lack the talent and skills to draw or paint well, and lack the resources to hire someone else to do it, so I have to make do with the default textures and sprites. While I was at one point capable of playing piano, bass, and guitar, I never had much of an ear for music or the creation thereof; I was a mildly talented audiocopier, essentially. I also lack tools for creating music and sound effects, even if I had an ear and a mind for such. So the stock ones have to do.

Will Black Yard be everything I want it to be, everything it could and should be in the best of all possible worlds? Probably not. But will it be “good enough?” Yes. It will be the best I can make it, it will tell the story I want it to tell, and when I hit the “compile” button and generate an .EXE that is “finished,” I will be happy.

Then I’ll nod my head and say “Good enough.”

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Thirteen Reasons Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers — Kristen Lamb

I can neither confirm nor deny that I may be on a watch list somewhere for some of these. (Comments disabled here, please visit the original post.)

Writers really are a strange breed and just so y’all know? The normal ship sailed without you a long time ago so relax. Your family or friends might not ‘get’ you but your fellow writers do. I love being a writer. It’s a world like no other and it’s interesting how non-writers are simultaneously fascinated…

via Thirteen Reasons Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers — Kristen Lamb


How to Title Your Book — A Writer’s Path

Some very useful advice, especially for those of us like myself who are title-impaired. (Comments disabled here, please visit the original post.)

by Samantha Fenton The right title for your book is incredibly important: It’s what you and everyone else will be calling it the rest of your life. The title is one of the first things people will ask for, and one of the first ways you’ll describe your book. But how do you title […]

via How to Title Your Book — A Writer’s Path


Cranky whining

One of those random musings, primarily because I’m having a day that is much higher on the “try not to leave the bed” scale than is normal.

“How much could I get done if I wasn’t broken?”

Genuine curiosity surrounds that. Like, legit, could I get something done if I wasn’t a gimp or wasn’t certifiably crazy?

I think the answer is probably “no.” I’m not one of those “you must suffer for your art” types, but at the same time, I do think it has an impact. If I didn’t spend a lot of time sheltered as a child, if I didn’t have a lot of time left alone with my thoughts, if I wasn’t unable to participate in other activities due to my physical limitations, I probably wouldn’t want to sit and write stories about deranged genies and crying dolls possessed by the spirits of murdered children. I wouldn’t want to be tinkering with game creation tools to make a haunted parochial school.

Would I still be attracted to the creative arts? Who knows? I’m not that version of Kaine. I’m this one, and that’s all I know.

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