Status Update

Since I didn’t post anything for a while, here is a small status update. In the future I’ll try to make a post when upgrading the blog software.

I’m currently working on a few things, including plans for games, tools, some research and other fun stuff.

Since the big game engines are available at no cost, I tried the Unity Engine and the Unreal Engine. Unity was nice, but somehow didn’t convince me to be the right tool . I played with it a bit but then switched to the Unreal Engine 4 (UE4).¬† The Unreal Engine is great for quickly prototyping stuff. The blueprint system and sample content makes it very easy. With both engines, once you start to do serious work, it becomes complicated. At some point I noticed that coding my own simple engine tailored to my requirements would be faster than reading all the docs and tutorials and learning a toolset. However, this is only true for one of my game ideas (an old school FPS) which doesn’t need all the features and advanced technologies of existing engines. So I might use Unreal or Unity for other projects but for now I will code the game myself and see how that works out. If it doesn’t, at least I had some fun writing the code.

As single developer creating the assets (texture,models,sounds,levels…) is also a big problem. I could make everything myself but probably wouldn’t reach the quality I want. There are a lot of assets for sale on the internet which are good for prototyping but for the final product you usually want them to be unique using your own ideas and consistent in style. So there a basically two viable options:

  1. Pay somebody to do it for you or
  2. Create/buy tools which make it easier to create assets.

You can also team up with other people who are willing to work for free or a revenue share, but this is always risky and not suited if you are doing serious business. Since I’m a software developer, I also think about creating tools to make asset creation easier. I’m working on a concept for a completely procedural character generator, but I probably won’t start coding for a while.

Besides game software I’m also researching algorithmic artificial intelligence. The rough idea is to use the internet as a database, being able to extract facts, check if they are true and use them to solve problems. A few years ago it would have been called an expert system, but I actually try to connect it with the features of a neural network. I have no idea if this will ever work, but it is very interesting to research.

That’s it. I hope I will post my progress in one of the next posts.