Harrison Short

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Future Plans into 2018

So I've taken a week off (maybe a little longer...) from doing any work after Plunder Pups was released to just destress, chill out and try to plan out my next moves. I'm not sure what the rest of 2017 really has in store for me, as I'll be trying to work my casual job more in an effort to save for things like my trip to America, a couple of trips to Melbourne (GCAP!) and maybe a new iPhone! However, here's the general gist of what I want to spend my time doing:

 

Play some damn games...

When I'm working intensely on a project, or other necessary work back when I was in university, I get myself into this mindset in which I only work on that thing. Sure, I procrastinate by sitting around on my laptop not actually doing the work, watching YouTube videos or mindlessly increasing my useless knowledge on Wikipedia... But I still don't pull myself out of this workspace. This is probably something I need to work myself out of in future, but it's not as if I don't have any leisure time. Instead, I go out with friends to unwind.

As such, towards the end of Plunder Pups I didn't touch any games, and I want to start getting back into them, firstly by finishing Zelda: BOTW, and then going onto play games like Silver Grapple, Mass Effect Andromeda and Bayonetta. If I knocked these out quickly, I could move further into my backlog, but I think it's highly unlikely.

 

Get back into music production...

One thing I took away from Plunder Pups was that I neglected sound and music production for almost 6 months. The suite of sounds was lacking and the game didn't feature original music. I want to get back into music production in a big way, really taking the time to teach myself the ins and outs of Ableton that I haven't learned in the past. One of the first pieces I want to aim to make will be a replacement for the music in Plunder Pups. Then I want to work on finding a unique sound, something that may amalgamate my various inspirations, as well as adding my own personal emotive and cultural element to the music. 

 

Further my brand...

I added my branding, Red Chung, to Plunder Pups, but didn't really flesh it out, as it was an afterthought in the final weeks of development. Red Chung is intended to be the branding for my future creative pursuits, whether it's music production, solo game development or possibly art down the road. Red Chung comes from two of my three middle names, so it's something uniquely personal to me, and I've always looked up to those who have a really strong overarching brand that ties all their work together (Odd Future instantly springs to mind).

 

Game development...

Of course, why would I be here without this topic? There are still a few things I want to fix up in Plunder Pups, but in terms of game development, I'm actually more keen to get another project going rather than fix these issues. In the not-too-distance future, I want to take some time to bang out some ideas and then get some quick prototypes going to see what is the most fun and the most viable going forward. I already have a couple of ideas, and I've got a few parameters in mind:

  • must be for mobile - Android currently, iOS down the line
  • must be simple - I want to get the game mostly done in one or two months, with support continuing past this time frame
  • can't be art-heavy - I'm not an artist and I doubt I could coax anyone onto the project as I'm mostly unproven
  • I want it to be financially viable - it doesn't have to make money, but I want to actually properly publish the game to app stores. This might mean that the game needs to be of a standard that people would be willing to pay a dollar for, maybe the game needs to have leeway for microtransactions, or the game needs to have advertisements integrated. Regardless, this is a BIG point, as I can't continue to "gain experience developing" for free.

While I want to take care of some other other points above first, I'm almost inclined to really get this planning phase out of the way and have something tangible, as it would be good to show things to people at GCAP this year. Not completely necessary, but could work as a good ice breaker and networking opportunity.

So, that's about my plans for the next few months! Whether that really pans out is another question, but at least I've got some things to keep me occupied into early next year. Thanks for reading!

- Harrison Short

So, about the past month...

So, July turned out to be a far busier month than expected on various fronts, but also wholly unproductive in terms of Plunder Pups progress. Looking back at it, I'm not sure I've experienced a month in my life that has just vanished so quickly like that. I already knew that the first two or so weeks were going to be chock full of non-Plunder Pups-related work, but I wasn't expecting to be knocked on my ass with a sickness from Splendour (though really... how could I not have?). I'm still battling the remnants of a cold, but for the most part I've recovered and shouldn't have any problems getting back to work on my game.

So, here I am, a month from the release of ver. 0.2.0 and... Not much progress has been made toward the final release. In fact, I didn't touch the project for almost exactly a month. Which makes my situation a little dire! I would've preferred having a bit more time to polish the game, but as it stands, I still want to avoid falling into a situation where I'm working on Plunder Pups forever. Therefore, I'm imposing the final deadline on myself: Sunday 3rd of September, version 1.0.0. will be released, and besides tweaks later on, I'll be done with Plunder Pups. 

This gives me four full weeks to work on the game, and should be more than enough time to bang out all the priority issues that I've collated. This includes a number of things that I both want to do/fix and also think are worth doing/fixing in the grand scheme of things. As time whittles away, I'll likely have to scrutinize each member of the list to ensure I'm actually doing what's best for the final product. Currently, I've been working on sound, which I've neglected for the longest time now (which is very odd... considering I'm a sound designer...). That's been going less than successful due to my inexperience with FMOD and the complete lack of documentation, but I'll find a way.

 Pictured: The current bane of my existence.

Pictured: The current bane of my existence.

There's a lot more I want to write about, like moving forward after Plunder Pups and what I hope to achieve in the next half a year, but truthfully that can wait until later on. Right now it's time to work! (And actually pack some stuff because I'm going to Melbourne for a night... Oops...)

Until next time!

- Harrison Short

Unnamed project has a name, v.0.1.0 is out now, and more...

So, last night I quietly released the first "version" of my unnamed solo project. If you're on the GameJolt page for the game, then obviously you know how to find it! If you're reading this on my personal website however, you can check the project out here!

Finally naming the game

In the process of uploading the game to GameJolt, I decided I needed to finally attach a name to the project. An earlier poll asking what word people liked placed after "Puppy" found an overwhelming number vote for "Plunder." However, I thought "Puppy Plunder" was a strange name as the player isn't stealing puppies, they're a puppy who steals from other puppies. So, the game has now been named "Plunder Pups!"

Plunder Pups, ver. 0.1.0

This release features the following:

  • Basic menu with credits screen and basic quitting functionality
  • Standard Human vs AI vs AI vs AI game
  • Time limit of 2 minutes (will eventually be customizable)
  • Basic AI
  • Majority of game mechanics implemented

The current state of Plunder Pups is obviously quite basic. There have been a few things I've noticed that need to be changed, ranging from the UI being clearly placeholder, to AI still being somewhat glitchy. On top of this, I've noticed a few things from playing an actual build of the game, rather than the game in Unity. For example, the UI hasn't been scaled to the screen resolution correctly, which is something I've completely overlooked, but which isn't really an issue at the moment. Some smaller issues will be fixed in the near future, and it's likely I'll upload a patch for the game.

Progress on game jamming

Tomorrow is going to be my first session of 12 hour game jamming! I'm unsure of whether I'll be working on my own new project, someone else's brand new vision, or an on-going game, but I'm excited to finally be doing some collaborative work this year! Expect a devlog/blog post of some sort soon after!

Until next time...

- Harrison Short