Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Kickstarter Project Woes

I am currently looking at my kickstarter project (Kickstart Project) and i am disappointed. I really hoped that i would have generated a lot more interest by now. I wonder why it is not doing very well. Itis certainly not doing as well as i had hoped. I felt my rewards are very worth it, especially after researching other games that did get funded. Maybe it is because i ma on Xbox and Not PC (though i am on PC of course for the reward versions). I wonder what else i could do to advertise the project. I have posted about it on Twitter on several Indie facebook pages. I have released a press release that i saw all over the place. Howwever i still do not have much interest.

I do have a few people who have contacted me complaining about not being able to find it. If you choose discover on Kickstarter and then go to Gaming. You get a filtered version of the projects that is filtered by Recommended. This is odd as i have no idea how one gets on the recommended listing. So if you are not on that list, you have to change your search settings to new releases and mine is on the second page of that list. I have emailed Kickstarter a few times, but i still do not have a clue what is going on. Why the default list is the recommended one and not new releases is interesting, though of course their decision. My final thought on the odd recommended list is that there are several funded and finished projects in the list. Odd that when some were finished weeks ago.

So it isn't doing well, it does not look like i will get to spend that money on improving my game and getting it on multi formats. Maybe i will have more success with the next one. I can only hope.
Still on the bright side... If it does not get funded the game will be out much sooner on Xblig (or at least in Peer reveiw).


Texture Swapping FTW

Working in Home on the PS3 has been quite interesting because of it's restrictions as much as anything else.

Ya see, to get the best from a next gen machine you really have to push some major buttons. You have to work quite hard to make the machine actually sweat. Managed languages put an amazing strain on the systems that they exist on. Even the most efficient ones do.

Then we have working within this managed language, it is like you have a machine but it has had restrictions placed on it, making it less of what it was. This means it is easier to work with, but also easier to reach it's limits. It works out like this on both the PS3 through Home and the Xbox through Xna. Whenever there is an update to the SDKs i get excited. What kind of new goodies have they brought me? Avatar support for Xna?  Rendering control for Home?

So today i tried one of the new features expanded in the last Home HDK, the power to Texture swap. This is an amazing thing and opens up so many possibilities. It also makes art pipelines much more streamlined for replacement of stuff, such as the digits on a digital clock. Now with texture swapping it is real easy. Less work for the programmer and artist both.

It may seem like small step for some, but to me it is very exciting. What amazing things am i goign to do with an artist and this new found power... Only time will tell,


ps. My family is now back with me, Woohoo! I am soo excited.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Work Reviews

These always seem to come with such bad connertations, though i do not know why. In my experience they have been nothing but productive. Or more importantly they have made a nice re-focus and so everything after those reveiw meetings have gone much smoother.

I do not mean code reviews, or anything like that. I mean setting aside time in the schedule to really try to look over everything that is being done. then deciding if it is being done the correct way, or if there needs to be a re-alignment. These meetings themselves can get quite awkward and argumentitive at times, but in the end it is better to do it sooner rather than later, especially if later is too late.

So when i do my own games i set aside time here and there (depends on my flexible schedule), and then i try to use my critical and objective eye to see what i am doing. Sometimes it is gratifying to know i am doing it all right, woohoo! It is also really good when i see i need to make some changes to make the game better, or just fiish on time. also in my experience this kind of thing should be done more often the bigger the team, or the newer the team.

Just food for thought, don't leave it till too late.

Here is something that cheers me up when i feel a bit unfocused or down. Sent to me by @Ninjaharlot via twitter


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All in the Voice

I think i would like to have my next game have some or a lot of voice acting. You can blame several factors and i'll list the more relevant ones here.

1. I always fancied doing a bit meself.
2. Clover on Xblig has voice acting and i have been playing that.
3. Just finished Deathspank and it had some wonderful larger than life voice acting. My personal favourite was Von Prong.
4. I believe it can add so much to a game.
5. I have never done enough voice acting in my games. Mainly because i wrote most of my games when it was not possible to store much audio, never mind whole sentences :O

Those are enough reasons for now. The fact is i am not sure what my next game will be. I have an idea i am playing around with. Once i get some pictures drawn i shall try to get them onto the PC (yeah, i sketch with a pencil still :O). That way i can show everyone the way i design some aspects of my game. I won't put it all online, as that would be a real pain in the preverbial.

Now if i am voice acting.. Who should i do, the Epic hero, or the Epic Villain. I can cackle quite well :)

So i will end with a question... Who do you think you could voice?



Tonight i was gonna post about soemthing i really want to do for my next game. But instead it has been a day where i have received a few mentions. the first comes from someone who does a blog that i read. I like his opinions and thoughtful approach to writing. So when he posts such a nice paragraph on me, it makes me blush but also feel very proud. If nothing else i try very hard at what i do and it is good whe someone else notices.
Here is the link Digital Quarters

Secondly it was Starcraft 2 launch day today. Just in case you haven't noticed or ben under a rock. Well back in the day my team at Mass Media were given the arduous task of converting starcraft 1, PLUS Brood Wars to the N64. Noone thought it was possible except us i believe. the whole team was madly in love with Starcraft, and we had a good team on Cases ladder back then. So when we got to pitch for the job it was with love, and then we got the job. OMGoodness we were happy. Then the labor of love started. We got it done on time, and with a meagre budget. The thing we were most proud of though was the controls. Everyone said it would suck and not be playable, but we believed we could make it work great. In fact all the reveiws at the time agreed with us. We had shortcuts up the wazoo on that little controller. Modifier keys was the order of the day. We also somehow managed to squeeze the whole of Starcraft and Brood wars into a single cart, though that was a special cart at 64MB. So why i am talking about this? well it is because someone noticed. Nintendo never made enough of these cartridges, and they sold out nearly immediately, however they did not for some reason want to make anotehr run of them. So a year after release it was worth over 130 bucks.
Here is the link Kotaku - Starcraft -N64

So today i feel proud that i have worked so hard on games, it is a passion and it is my job.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Press Release for the Kickstarter Project

Here is what i have been working on the last several days. Yeah, several, ouch! Anyway i am happy with the way it has turned out. Laters!

A Shooter Kickstarter Project Launched Press Release


Los Angeles, CA. -- July 27th, 2010. In the search for alternative funding Sorcery Games ( has started a Kickstarter project. For those in the know, is a place where creative projects can look for funding. Whether you are after making your first CD or trying to start a web channel dedicated to kids, Kickstarter has it all.

The recently launched Sorcery Games Kickstarter project called 'A Quality Shooter' is for it's new game 'A Shooter'. A game currently in development for the Xbox 360. This new kickstarter project is designed to help Sorcery Games extend the development cycle and increase the quality and scope of the game. A Shooter is a side scrolling shoot-em-up that brings arcade style gameplay, along with cooperative multiplayer support. It is a beautifully crafted experience that holds lofty goals for it's balanced gameplay. With not only single player, but also 2, 3 and 4 player balancing worked on for several months. Funding will allow the game to get bigger and better. The most exciting feature addition will be the support of online multiplayer.

The Project offers rewards in return for small portions of funding. This means you get stuff for your money. Go check out the project and see the amazing rewards offered by Sorcery Games. From simply having your own copy on the PC with your name in the credits, to having a PC version of the game complete with all your own graphics. Some of the rewards would make a great gift for any gameplaying kid you know. If you really want to impress your son or boyfriend you have an option of sending in a photo to be used as a collectible in the game.

Go check out the 'A Shooter' Kickstarter project at 'A Quality Shooter on ('

About Sorcery Games:

Sorcery Games has been making Xbox Live Indie Games since 2008. Their catalogue includes a variety of creative endeavors, including arcade style games and children’s books. Quality and originality are key components in the Sorcery Games portfolio.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Missing my Family

Here i am supposedly working on me stuff. I have lots to do, but no inclination. This morning i went out for a good hike in some mountains north of Fillmore and that took me till lunch with some of my friends at Chuys in Moorpark. It all went very well and was a great morning, though my calf muscles may argue that point :O

After that though i did a bit of work when i passed where i work (just needed to get a few things finalized for Playstation Home). Then it was off to real home and shower. That was refreshing and then i sat down to some motorcycle racing and then a bit of tennis on TV. I felt this would set me up for getting on with the big workload i am accumulatinig for Xblig atm. However it did not. While i was at work i got to chat with my wife over Msn Messenger. That was awesome, but it made me a bit sorry for myself.

You see my family (wife and 2 kids) are still in England till this friday. They are having a great time and usually when we do this i can work like a maniac while they are away. This time i don't know why, i just cannot get started. Maybe i need some starter juice, haha. Or a beer, yeah right. That'll help loads. Still sounds like a tempting idea right now!

So i have done nothing today for my Xblig stuff. I did play Limbo and went through the Demo real fast and easy. Only i cannot say i really enjoyed it, it is just too dark for me and i hate turning up my brightness for games. Maybe i can get a start tomorrow. If anyone can suggest some go juice, let me know.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

ARGH! or is that AARGH?

So i have been moaning today. What i have been moaning about today might be a trifling thing to a lot of people, but to me it feels quite important. I haven't put any pictures lately into my blog posts, as i have been away etc. Well today you get to see someone elses artwork (i could call it that).

I like Xblig, i like some of the community, and i certainly some of the games that are there. It is an amazing place for so much good stuff. However it has a bad reputation, and one i gues it might truly deserve. It really is hard to find the good stuff from the crap, at times. Sometimes it is real easy.

So i finally got some peer reveiwing done today. I had a rather good time and it only took me 3 hours for 3 games, and one of them was very simple. So after i had finished my third game i went looking for a fourth,and it was while i was looking that i noticed somethings horrible.

These pictures were in the list of games to be Peer reveiwed... ARGH!

I know they are on a white background, but i am sure you can understand my surprise to see such utter crap in Peer reveiw. I had to go check to se if i had selected Playtest instead.

I was disgusted, but more was to come. They are games created by a dev named Aab. Yes that is right. some crapola name to get them further up alpha sorted lists. It may not make any difference, but it does to me. They are trying to game the system, even if they are not doing a good job of it. so then i had to click into them to see what other horrors they could hold. I also wanted to see that they were suffering from noone reveiwing and passing them.

I was wrong... They were both at 50%, though not a single person in the individual games forums had posted that they had passed it. How odd that seems. Maybe they only have 5 friends or accounts (enough for 50% maybe?). I was also shocked to se the amazing and none verbose descriptions of these games.
TriangleReversi   AvatarViewer
Yea, that's right. This crap is gonna get onto Xblig, my beloved Xblig. further bringing down it's rep. Why is this dev doing this? Maybe they think they will make some dosh. I however sure hope they don't and then they go away asap.

That's enough of me moaning about aabs. I was gonna write about the games i tested, but BAH Humbug instead!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Experimentation time

So i have decided that while i am working on gettting my project funded i shall also do some research. The first research i am gonna work on is Avatars. I just need to check how they function etc. This should keep me amused for a while. I do have several designs for games that include them, and also game designs that are suitable for th WM7 platform (not that i have looked at that yet).

My main focus i decided this morning is to do some more Xblig playtesting and reveiwing. YAY! It has a been a while and now i have some time, and i also have some more inclination. My inclination tends to wander when i do reports to te devs and they ignore all i have to say. I know they don't have to listen to me, but ignoring me just makes me not wanna do it. If they said they did not want to put in one of my suggestions, then fine. If they want to discuss why they aren't or don't think they should do a certain thing in the game, then fine, i love that kinda thing. Just me spending an hour on their game to have them just pop it over to peer reveiw anyway bums me out.

I also have to ask why so many devs (nearly all it seems!) put out their first games, and then tell you what parts they never got around to doing. this baffles me as at appears they knew these items were missing or not added. But had to release it there and then, when it wasn't ready. It is an odd admission to make in my opinion.

Well tomorrow i check out the latest from Xblig and Xna land.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

what to do?

Here i am sitting calmly wondering which of my many jobs to start. They all sit there staring at me, giving me no clue as to which is more important than the other. Unblinking they stare me down.

Being away on vacation and really disrupt a train of thought. I did however write down the bunch of jobs i knew i needed to work on once i got back. But now the list just sits there.. i never thought to comment the jobs with a priority. I know priorites can change while one is away. Still.. i expected this to be easier than it is. Maybe it is the jetlag befuddling my brain. Yeah, that must be it.

Also i am in a dilemna about my Xblig games. A Shooter is awaiting the results from the Kickstarter project. If the project doesn't get funded, then it will be going into peer review very quickly. If however it does get funded, then i know what i will be doing for the next several months or more. So the dilemna is what to do while i await the project ending. I could start another game, that idea appeals to me greatly. However i do not like working on mutliple projects at the same time. You always end up with a favorite, and the not so favorite one suffers from it.

I guess it's time to get on with my day job and code some more.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tea or Dr P?

That was the question i was facing as i approaced home tonight as i was being driven by the nice Roadrunner driver. The issue with having a Dr P is that it has caffeiene in it, and i need to sleep. However it is only 9:30 at night soo i have time and i am pretty wasted. Having Tea sounds like a great alternative then, but i am not always good at making me Tea. Somehow i manage to put on the kettle a number of times and sometimes Never ever end up with a cuppa. BAH!

So i am not sure how my blogging has been the last few days. With time zone changes etc i am a bit confused about it all, posting wise. With the travelling back to CA i am doubly confused. I believe tomorrw is wednesday though, so hopefully that is correct. Right now i am in some sort of post travel and jetlag haze. After all my body now thinks it is 6:07am... Hmmm I wonder what me brain thinks, lol.

So this morning started in a hurry as i got up bright and early at 7:30am. I had been awake a bit during the night in anticipation of the journey back to the USA. So i got breakfast and then walked down to my elder sisters house. I had warned here i was gonna turn up early just so we could chat for a bit and i could say bye. I have no idea how long it will be till me next vacation to England. It was a good conco, but also a sad one, as it ends inevitably with me running out and walking back to my parents house to get me stuff together and then get driven by me dad to the East Midlands Airport to catch a national Express bus down to Heathrow.

The bus journey was without any real incidents, i think they make the coach seats with even less leg room than the airplane, which sucks mightily with me being 6-2 :S So we get to Heathrow on time at 1pm.. Yeah i have alreayd been going for a long time it seems. Anyway, a short walk later and i am at terminal 3. Here i get me bag checked in adn then go buy a rather expensive sandwich from upstaors. Then i head through security. and am in the general departure area. I have gone fast through that whole bit as nothing interesting happened. Unless you count people watching.. And i love it myself. Very entertaining, anyway back to the story. I had to wait about an hour to get the gate posted up, but once it wa si was off and trotting to the gate, number 20. Straight inside and then wait for other passengers to arrive and boarding to start.

Now i don't understand airlines. Or more to the point i don't understand their 'rules'. I know i quoted those rules, ya have to imagine me saying their rules with finger quotes to mean, hey, what's up with those rules.. are they or aren't they? I mean life would be a lot easier in some ways if they got rid of them, or some of them etc. Let me explain a bit more, cos i guess i have ya confused now.
1st rule... The stewardess tells people in certain rows to go through. Why bother, as about 10-20% of people just go as soon as they see anyone moving to the gate. Inevitably there are people waiting for passengers that got on way too early, when boarding from the back to the front. Get rid, or police it a bit.
2nd rule... Hand luggage, my o my, some people were wandering onto the plane (wandering is thw wrong word as they were struggling!) with 3 bags. I am not sure how 1 hand luggage can account for three bags, but somehow several people had that. also i saw some people struggle with overly large hand luggage, and i thought that had already been outlawed. Seems inconsistant to me at this point.. and that brings me too...
3rd rule.. Ok not a rule really, but one that should be. If ya canna lift the hand luggage you have so carefully packed and dragged through customs up into the overhead compartments. Then it is too blinking heavy or big!
4th rule... Loose items should be placed right under the seat in front of ya. This is weird, one minute they police this, then next they don't seem to care two hoots.  Stupid. Make the rule and stick with it, or let it go, geez.! It annoys me when i see this inconsistency.
5th rule... Cell phone and electronic devices while taxiing and take off/landing. Is this truly an issue? I sure hope not as plenty of people seem to 'forget' (oh no air quotes again!) about turning them off, and then there are the ones that turn them on so early on. I think there would be more crashes if this rule was based on fact and not fear. Let it go already!
6th rule... Anyone who snores should be woken up! I know, i know, it's not a rule, but it should be. Geez, they don't even give ear plugs any more. It took me a few hours on the flight to realise that my lovely wifey would have packed me some for the journey, and yeah, she did! YAY! Still no sleep though :(
7th rule... Wear seat belts while sleeping or in ya seat. On the way out to England my Daughter got woken up by a stewardess doing her job, Yet on the way back they never woke anyone up and their seat belts were definitely on being workn, as they were hanging down the sides :S

Ok, i am tired now and it's time for bed, as it is 10:30pm here. Take care and enjoy your flights, wherever they take ya.


Ps. I went with a Dr P after i heated up the water once!

Monday, July 19, 2010

travelling back tomorrow

My time is coming to an end here in Britain. I feels like it has been a whirlwind tour of family and friends. That has been really wonderful of course. I know i missed yesterdays blog post, and i feel i will probably miss tomorrows as well while travelling. It is what it is. However i will be back on track very soon. That will also allow me to post some pictures up i hope of stuff.

So no real dev blog today. As it is my last day here i am going to go shopping with my wife. Derby town center has a new shopping mall called the Westfield (sounds familiar to americans eh!). That and other older town shops is where we are headed with our pounds scrunched in our grubby hands (ok, so not grubby really, but it sounds good!). After that i have some loose ends to tidy up and then it is the very sad part... as i go quickly say goodbye to as many people as i can before the night ends.

Cya al in CA tomorrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Simulation != Gameplay (bullets)

This time lets talk about something else in games that can make a game not just difficult to make work nicely, but also could get really frustrating for a player.

With bullets traveling in excess of 896 m/s for example, it is something that is riduclously fast. And with pixel resolutions in games not being very good (yes, even todays HD). There is no way to effectively show something far enough away to allow someone to dodge bullets. Once they are fired they are going where they are going. In a side scrolling platform game for example if an enemy fired directly at you, you would not expect it to go past you like it missed. I have seen this used very rarely in games, and am not sure why it hasn't been used more, unless the random element to misses just makes it awkward and unweildy. So another choice of course is to make bullet wounds just do a small amount of damage each time they hit. This however does not really make gameplay er se.
So designers have gone a different route with bullets, making them move incredibly slowly around the screen. In some games you are able to dodge under bullets or around or over incoming fire. This is of course ridiculous from a physics point of view, but is awesome from a reaction point of view. Having control is always something that people enjoy. This is the usual way of dealing with bullet physics, just ake them gameplay eements and forget hyscs most entirely, though some do add gravity to bullets, though this is mostly to make them look more interesting.
There is of course another way.
In newer games there is a lot more memory. This allows a lot more enemy animations to be used in a game. With these extra animations it is possible to make the gameplay part of a shooting sequence more timing based on what the enemy is doing. So instead of timing your duck with the bullet coming at you, instead you time your duck based upon what the enemy is doing. So if he starts going into his shooting stance, you know to duck. Also if you goes into his kneeling firing stance you would know to jump. This is very similar to actually dodging the old slow moving bullets gameplay wise. The biggest difference is the visuals, and we could argue over which visual looks better today, the new impressively fast bullet that hist you as soon as it is fired, or the slower moving bullet spiraling towards you.

Bullet speeds are incredible in the real world, just check out these numbers.
Some Bullet Speeds

With al that talk about physics in games i can now mention where i was headin the whole time. Anyone who has already seen my gameplay footage of A Shooter on Youtube will have noticed how slow the enemy bullets move, yet conversely how fast you bulets move. The enemy bullets were one of the first elements in the game to be worked on, and then i sent many weeks balancing the player ship movement speed against them. They have been constantly tweaked over the months of develoment and of course i beleive this to be a great thing. So enemy bullets move slowly so you can feel how good it is to dodge by them, multiple ones of them. However i could not really make the animation system work as far as dodging their bullets simply because they come from all over the scren, and super fast bullets would render the game not only different, but also probably a lot harder. I did not want to go that route at all.

With that, i am done waffling on about physics in games. At least for the time being.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mcdonalds is inconsistent

I ended up at McDs last night at the Meteor center in Derby. It wasn't really our first choice, bt by this time we were hungry and had not anticipated that Morrisons wold be closing just as we got there, after all it was only 9pm. The nearest place to east was Mcds, so a short drive later and we were there.

Staring at the meagre listig of stuff they sell. Wowza that was odd, such a small list of items to buy. Oh well we don't need that many items. I mistakenly asked what flavors of soda they sold, lol. Liza looked at me with a smile when the employee had no clue as to what i was talking about. Anyway, i ended up with coke and that was that. As for the food, i had the chicken strips along with my son. These were boring as they are in the states, but the worst thing is that i could not get honey mustard for them, BOO i say! In fact i believe ya have to pay for any sauce or dip separately. We also had the fries, and boy these sucked. They were like soggy cardboard. Not that the american fries are great, but way ahead of these.
My daughter and wife had burgers, you know the one of the two choices you can actually choose from. Anyway they got eaten fairly quickly but seemed very limp and lifeless, and not really hot enough.
This allowede me to declare that American McDs gets a One and this British one gets a paltry Minus 3. So American McDs wins by a landslide. I will not be going back, so i do not know at this time if this was a one of set of crapness.

Eat well my friends, and remember there are far less fast food joints in England than in California. Though if the fod is like this, i am not surprised.#


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simulation = gameplay?

I would disagree with that statement above. Most programmers want to really simulate parts of their games like they are real world things. Mostly i find this to be a great starting point, but not usualy an end point. There are various reasons for that of course and i am sure i won't cover them all here, at least not in this post. Let me start by talking about one of the most obvious forms of simulation tried in a game, and then i will talk about it's effect on a player etc.

Jumping. Yup something as simple as jumping used to be the number one simulated physics type item. A programmer would start out with the usual gravity ad then input a vertical velocity for making them jump. The issues with this tended to be that in 60fps land that your initial jump would be quite a lot of pixels if you wanted to to jump anything useful. Now lets talk about useful. In games the layout of a level is a very important aspect, and making a real world jump severely restricts what kind of layouts you will see. Just imagine if you will how a platform game level would look if you had to get to the top of the screen, but could only jump about 3 feet at a time. There would have to be a very large number of platforms to jump upon to get to the top of the screen. It could could also be called boring as well as you have to make so many jumps. Oh dang, i forget what point i was working on making as my mind is filling up will all the other issues that this simulation represents. argh!

Also using gravity as a fall mechanic tends to make the falling speed rdiculous and then there are real bad collision isues. So we cap max velocity and know that will fix the issues of collision. It does not then lok like a simulation, as max faling velocity is usually way way less than real world terminal velocity. 60fps was a real handicap, snapshotting movement is always going to be an issue for fast moving objects. Now of course we can say that 30fps is much worse. In a way it is, but in another it is not. Fast moving objects do not realy need a cap of max velocity. The reason is that was can multi-sample the movement and therefore know that collision will still work. This is simply done by making the logical frame happen more often than the physical drawing frame. So by doing a double logical frame then you will get a movement distance of half what it was. The down side to this technique is that it
uses more processing power. One technique added to this in the past was to see how far you had travelled and then know how many movement control/detection logicals to chop it into to make it work accuratley. This again is great, epsecially when you have enough processor power to handle it.
But back to my original isue which is gameplay and desgn. If you restrict the designer to only have a mediocre jump at al times, then you are restricting what the designer can give you as far as challenges. For example if you can only jump a distance of say 5 feet across. Then to make that jump easy should be about a 4 foot gap. To make it hard it should be the maximum. But wth only 5 feet to work with it is hard to make a nice variety. Usually though the design issues become more apparent from the curve/arc of the jump than from the actual distances. The curve of a real jumper is very straight forward and really does not vary much (unless maybe you are an international class athlete). So it is again harder to get variety in gameplay.
Ok, i am done for now saying it is bad to simulate. In fact it is an excellent way to start, but know when you start what kind of layout you realy want. Don't let the simulation control your game. Control the simulation y your gameplay parameters. If you already have a level you want to make a character jump around, then go for it. Then once you have something you are happy with as fare as control and feel. Then go ahead and tweak the level to match what should be a great platform control.
Parting shot.. I do not think i have ever used real gravity for my platform games player control. I have sed it for lots of effects and enemy creatures however. The shaprness of the movement suits them much better.

I hope you fond this interesting, and as usual i invite comments to dicuss this.


Please check out my Kickstrarter project.Those rewards are coolio.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Programming with defines and Toast

Everyone should program and use defines. I know i don't usually make statements that are so cut and dried. However in the case of using defines over actual values in the game i am very Very set. I am actually writing this because of what happened recently to one of my projects. We have a set of values (game ids) and for some reason the values were never setup as defines. Though in lua defines are not pre-processor efficient, which is a real pity. However we still strive to use them because of readability and consistency.

So there we have people typing in the game id all over the place. I just never really noticed it and so never addressed it.I would have either fixed all the files up myself or got one of the other programmers to fix up all the games. I love consistency and this kind of thing can only lead to no good. Usually noone notices this kind of thing too often, it never quite tends to bite ya in the butt, in my case and long history of coding and doing games though i have seen this kind of thing turn bad several times.

This one caught us out in The Midway, and has cost us some money, we believe that it has cost us possibly thousands of dollars. We cannot of course estimate how much, but we know it wouldn't be a small number. It took me a few hours to trace the issue and eventually the bug we had was simply an inconsistant game id typed in. I suspect that this particular game id was changed at some point from 5 to 7, but then the code was broken. However if a define had been used a complete reorganization of the game ids cold happen and there wold be no side effect, although they can still be misused and break code (by using greater or less then compares etc). I have of course fixed this bug by simply using the correct value of 7. It did get me to call a programmer meeting to discuss this issue and remind all of us programmers of the importance of defines. It was a good meeting, even if it is one that i wished i had not had to call.

Toast is great, one of those foods that is just great... Burn some bread to a certain amount and for some reason it takes on some different qualities than just bread. For the last few days i have had some for breakfast with butter and jam on it. Yum yum it is tastey. I do not know why though, but the toast just seems to taste better in Britain than it does in California. I do not understand this, but would love to, so i can fix me Californian toast.

It is now raining and so i am going to walk to the shops and enjoy getting wet along the way. Then it is off to visit more family. YAY!

Have a great day everyone

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friends, Family and Parrots

Hi Ho everyone from Sunny England. Yep, ya heard that correct, it is sunny here. In fact it is really hot and a bit humid. Today Sunday is supposed to be 21 degrees today, which is awesome. After arriving yesterday afternoon at Heathrow it was really great to see me dad in the terminal waiting for us. Man was that place heaving :O

It was a nice drive without any traffic incidents and after a couple of hours we were at my parents house in Derby in a residential area called Chaddesden. My mom is away on vacation with me big sis and family for this week, but most everyone else should be around for a visit or twenty. I am blessed with a fairly large family with have 2 brothers and 3 sisters of my own, and my wife having 3 brothers. Awesome!

Well we were jet lagged last night of course so were taking it easy and then my youngest sister and family (well most of it) turned up for a flying visit, as they go away on vacation to Majorca for 6 days starting tomorrow. I cannot explain how awesome it was to have some family round. We all sat in the back garden waffling away for a lot of hours, so much for that flying visit lol. What is amazing about family and god friends is the way you all just quickly fall back into chatting patterns and no pretense is around etc. You are waht you are and it's all good. It was amazing to see them.

Today, sunday i am going round to at least one of me Bro's houses. It is in walking distance and i am going to be watching some world superbike motorcycle racing with him. Watching racing with me Bros is so much better than by myself. So it will be a full day but also an exciting one.

As for the parrot? Well he is my moms pet and lives at their house that i am staying at. He is usually so noisy and squarky, but since we have arrived he is demure and quiet. He also keeps puffing himself up at me, which is hilarious.

One last thought, it has been 5 years since i was last here. OMGoodness was i surprised just how many trees there are, and the sky looked like it was painted by a great watercolor painter.


The Midway (release report pt4)

Ok, so this is less of a report than it is an update. But i really liked the way the title showed, some form of consistency from me, not that it happens too often :)

The Midway appears to be a huge success. It is very popular in the Home circles and we have heard an awful lot of praise. Which is truly appreciated. Most things have not gone wrong, altough a few things have. So i will list a few god/bad things:-

The Bad,
1. SDTV issue is a biggie. when 10% or so of your clientel cannot play your games. It is bad. The fix should be live already.
2. Darlas Darts Prize 6, male version only. In home this special TShirt appears to be white. There is a shader issue with the object and somehow we missed it. It will be fixed on the 15th.
3. Meet Darla time is silly. We did not do a special version of The Midway for europe. so they got the same time offset from GMT that America did. This is bad when Darla appears at 5 in the morning in England. Paris fared little better with her appearing at 6am. I have read of people setting their alarm clocks to go online and meet her. BAH! This will also be addressed on the 15th of July. The new time will be 6 hours earlier.
Ok more bad things later when i recall them.

The Good,
1. The Midway spaces always look busy when we go there. It is a joy to behold so many people running around in there and making it look busy. It was part of our dream to see a space in home that did not look dead, or populated by zombies. From what we saw people really like the fact the place is happening. The spectator mode was a lot of trouble to make work, and i feel players or even just visitors are appreciating this.
2. People are really prepared to spend money on these simple little games. Yeah, we wondered at first. Knowing it is a casual market is one thing, appealing to it is another. We think we got it mostly right.
3. We felt before launch that a number of our games could be considered too hard. We are pleasantly surprised by peoples willpower and dedication to winning all the prizes. It is amazing to us that so many people already own a Golden Jacket.
More positives in a later post as well.

I was informed that there were 50 instances of The Midway running on Thursday morning when it launched. Is this a lot? I don't know. Probably about 2500 people. I sure hope there are more people in home than that, but still a great start...

The Golden Crown has been seen in Home now. I believe a number of people have figure out where it comes from, etc.. but i can reveal the truth. We check your inventory when you enter The Midway, and if you own a Golden Toilet, then we GIVE you a free Golden Crown. We also hope to do this kind of special bonus rewards system for future releases, in relation to our older releases of spaces and items etc. I sure hope that it is a recurring theme for Mass Media.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Working on Scheduled posts

I have been searching for how to do scheduled posts now for a coulpe of weeks. I knew then that i was going to visit England and i wanted to write some extra posts that i could make appear as if by magic during the days i am not around.

As usual i failed at this task and so thought that Blogger didnt have this functionality. Well i was so wrong. It is there hidden in a way. Although if you know it is there i am sure it isn't a problem. Now however i have a new problem. Just how do i test it effectively. I have no days left to be able to test this thing.. bah!

So if you are reading this post. then you have seen it work. Yup.. ahuh! This is my test post for scheduled posting. i will however be on a plane on my way to England when it posts, if indeed it has. Hmm, if you are reading it then it worked. I seem to be feeling a conundrum and no idea why, lol.

Tomorrows post should be more normal. I wonder which day i will get to talk about PB Winterbottom and Xblig comparison.. We shall see. Also more news from The Midway on PS3 tomorrow, if i can get to a pc.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

I suck at The Midway Comps

So far i have run 2 competitions for Codes for The Midway. Both have managed to suck in some way or other. Let me tell you about them.

1. My first try was to do a ReTweet competition. I see these all the time and i think they are fast, dynamic and easy. Well i thought they seemed easy till i actually did one. First off ya gotta have enough followers that are interested in what you are giving away. Most of my followers are industry peeps and mostly on the Xbox. This seems like the wrong demographic to be giving out codes to. You are correct of course it was. Though that was not my real issue.
I started off by saying the comp would end at midnight and someone would be chosen that was following me and retweeted #themidway tag. Seemed simple enough and i was just following on from what i have seen others do. However i ran into an issue right away.
Which midnight? Yep, thats right i needed to clarify that i mean't Pacific standard time, as i am a west coaster. DOH! time for some retweets of my midified 140 chars.
At 10 minutes to midnight i decided to start looking at who might be eligible for winning. I was really interested in how many people were in the running. As it turns out a quick search showed me 3. I had hoped for 6 at least, ahh well. Then i went thru my emails telling me that people had started following me. Lo and behold there was a person in there that had started following me and had also retweeted my message, BUT was not appearing the search list. How, How can that be? I still do not have the answer, but i added him to the list and at 12 midnight i got a random number and it hit one on the list. I DM'd him the code and that was that.
2. My second competition was simple as well. This time i put in a barkey code into a post i have on this blog. I then colored it black to match the background. To see it you just have to select the page and Whammo, there it is. I only tweeted about the fact that it existed and before long someone had found it. But it did not work for him. I was sorely disappointed, but at the time had no idea why it did not work.
It has to do with zones. I did not know that my codes were only for the American servers. So the people that kept finding the code in my Blog post were from Europe, bah! This disappoints me greatly.
In the end someone tried the code from America on my blog only to discover it has already gone. Though i do not know who has claimed it, as they have not told me. But i am glad someone is using the barkey now 8D

Next competition will be another twitter one, but i am running out of time before i travel to England tomorrow. so maybe i will get one more in tonight, and then i will do more of them when i get back from Blighty. Also i will ask for some european codes as well. I hate to miss people out, isn't that some sort of prejudice ? haha


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Midway and Kickstarter Project

I keep checking my kickstarter project like a grown up checking their baby to see if anything has happened yet, even though they are sleeping. It is early days yet and i am hopeful that the Project will get funded, if not i suppose A Shooter will just have to go live as it is. Which will be a disppointment for me, but a nescessary time to move onward with my game development. So if you know anyone interested, please let them know.

The Midway was my full time project today, well apart from the bit i worked on The Midway2... Yup, we are already working on this and have been for some time. This was started because we felt like The Midway would be a success, and therefore be worthwhile to do. If we can make each project financially viable, then we can move onto bigger and better things.I was told that the SDTV fix i did should go live tomorrow, YAY! Today i talked to several people with this issue, i will be glad not to have to talk about it again.
Another change i coded today, that will go into next weeks releases (or possibly the week after) is a time change for Meet Darla. The europeans were unfairly treated on this one and the redo of time will make it a lot easier for them to be awake to see Darla.

I go away on vacation on Friday to England, the land of my birth. It is going to be an amazing journey as it always is. Seeing family and friends and more family :) However during that time i will probably be posting quite eractically. I will do my best though.


The Midway for PS3 Home (release report pt 3)

It’s a blur… (12:30pm ?)

This is where my memory gets a bit fuzzy. What quite came first.. where did all the hours go etc. I know I spent a few more hours in The Midway itself. Talking to people and playing the games. We didn’t believe the phantom ticket was our fault. Therefore it was very unlikely we could fix this. So we were left to look at what else was happening. I started looking at some aspects of The Midway that may need fixing up or improving for the next version or upgrade for this one. Mostly the afternoon went very fast. As I said, playing the games and wandering around chatting to people. I cannot honestly remember much else about Thursday afternoon, it’s all a blur…

july 2nd -Friday (9am)

Friday morning started bright and early and I was looking forward to seeing how The Midway survived the night. So I eagerly headed off for work a bit early and got there at about 8:30am. The place was fairly quiet. Then the boss comes in and starts to tell me about the PS3 forums and what has been going on in them. This was the time we were informed that the forums had mentioned a possible fix for The Midway not working correctly for some people. Someone had figured out that it was due to having the Video settings set to SDTV mode and not widescreen. Whhaaat? How can this be? They also mentioned this fixed Andy’s room and the jumping on the bed minigame in there (Andy’s room for Disney is also one of our recent jobs). Woah, I had to run to my code immediately. A quick search for code specific to the aspect ratio of the game soon turned up an answer. This took me approximately 20 seconds to figure out what was wrong. Needless to say I was not quite as disappointed as I expected, in fact I was rather happy I had the solution to people not being able to play or get rewards.

So armed with this very startling information I headed off to the computer. I happen to know we have very little code pertaining to the SDTV functionality, so I knew I would be looking at a very small selection of code. (handy knowing what we test for). First thing I did was a sanity check and I downloaded The Midway to a PS3 I have set in that mode. I saw the crash of the Scene script immediately. I saw there was no HUD, and I also saw there was no Darlas Den given at the start. Finally I saw that none of the games could be played. This is the exact problem as described by people in The Midway having issues. So it was time to look at the code. I popped up my Codewright and searched through all the Lua code for Widescreen. BAM… I will say that again. BAAAM!! There it is. Yeah it was that easy. Staring me in the face was the widescreen test, and inside the If-then statement were a couple of lines that we should not have there. It was the dreaded test code. In fact you might all be interested to know that the test code was to show the current Prize score while in The Midway itself. So what had happened was the definitions and code for these variables had been commented out. However these two had been left and not noticed.

This was a real downer for a moment, till we all realized that we had at least got the answer and it wasn’t so in depth a code change that we could not get this online asap. So I altered the code and packaged it up. Then I tested it of course. It worked as expected, so now we need to get it uploaded to the Sonys CDS.

ARGH! (9:30am)

Here we are with a quick fix. A simple fix and one that I had the fullest confidence in. Which is unusual for me as I tend to always expect things to break if they can. And here it is, the break is simply that after an hour of trying to upload the scenes package file it crashes. Yeah.. so I am trying all sorts, going out to the internet through a second jack and therefore the T1 line. It did not matter, the CDS was having issues and I could not force them to be better. So after some time I settled on looking at the Bouncing on the bed code from Andy’s room.

Bouncing bed of fun (11:30am)

I went right in on this code and looked up the widescreen variable as before. Lo and behold it quickly sent me to an If-then-else statement. In that statement were two possible routes for the code to travel. In the first half there were a couple of variables for counting the number of stars collected. It had the declaration inside the If statement. In the else part though there was no declaration of the variables, but they were still used, exclusively in widescreen mode. This was the culprit, a nil varable. So after commenting out 4 lines of code the Bouncing on the bed worked fine in SDTV mode. YAY! Two fixes in one day. I passed the fixes over to the guy who was looking after Toystory and he was going to upload the fixed minigame. However CDS was still having issues. So it must have been lunch time. So off we went to lunch, and I cannot even remember where.

In the afternoon we managed to get the version up into the CDS, but could not quite push them through to Sony test. It did seem like Sonys servers etc were being inundated and we hoped it was a successful launch of The Midway that did this. So we filled in all the paperwork and emailed Sony the relevant information. Then I went back to The Midway to spend the Bosses tickets :D such fun haha. I was also helping pass the word about the widescreen mode fixing the SDTV mode issues. This was a good way to work on a Friday afternoon.

I did hope that Sony would get back to me before the day was out, but that did not happen. So I was left to wonder over the July 4th weekend. Or was I ?


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Midway Prize Point System Explained

I realised there is no reference to how the Meta Prize points are doled out per level won. so here is the information for anyone who is interested.


You earn points for winning levels in the 10 carnival games in The Midway. The number of points you win equals the level number times 4. Level 10 gets you an additional 30 point bonus. You use these points to win Meta Prizes that are shown on a board in Darla's Den.

Win Level 1 = 4 points
Level 2 = 8 points
Level 3 = 12 points
Level 4 = 16 points
Level 5 = 20 points
Level 6 = 24 points
Level 7 = 28 points
Level 8 = 32 points
Level 9 = 36 points
Level 10 = 70 points (40+30)
TOTAL POINTS = 250 per game, 2,500 for all 10 games

(NOTE: Points are not awarded for Trigger Happy In-A-Box or Big Bang that are found in Darla's Den)

You win the first meta prize for 250 points, second meta-prize for 350 points, third for 500 points and so on. That way, you can get the points by playing a few games well instead of having to master them all.

Meta Prize win levels:
1. 250 (Clown Shoes)
2. 350 (Clock in Darla's Den)
3. 500 (Clown Gloves)
4. 650 (Access to the Hot Tub in Darla's Den)
5. 800 (Clown Pants)
6. 1000 (Access to the Disco Darla area in Darla's Den)
7. 1250 (Clown Shirt)
8. 1500 (Unlock Big Bang, play for free, win 5 levels for 5 prizes)
9. 2000 (Clown Wig and Nose)
10. 2500 (You win a Gold Leather Jacket and Darla comes to dance in the Disco Darla area. This is the maximum number of points you can win in The Midway. )

Yes that DOES in fact leave those 5000 and 7500 points prizes as unattainable. That is because they are for the planned future expansion of the Midway (hopefull in a couple of months depending).

You need to buy the Bar Key to open up the area that contains Trigger Happy In-A-Box and Bell Ringer. Both can then be played for free by any visitor in the space, including the owner. You can win 5 prizes with TH In-A-Box, or win all 10 prizes in Bell Ringer.

Hope ya found that info useful.

My Kickstarter project is GO!

Here is the link, go check it out and then come back.
A Quality Shooter

Woah eh!
Well there it is, i have spent way too much of my time over the last 2 months getting that setup (yeah 2 months to write that and do the video). ok, so i have been busy with The Midway and actual coding and other work. What matters is that it is now there. I sure hope some of you people that read my blog will want a piece of the action. Then you really will be part of my family.

I know you all expected more about The Midway (report pt 3), but i have to admit to it not quite being ready for public viewing. You see i have had a headache all and day and i do not write very well, in fact i can hardly face my PC when i feel like that. It is half written, and so i expect it to come out tomorrow along with prossibly part 4, the final part of the report. we shall see how busy a day i have i suspect.

So back to the Kickstarter project. This is very exciting to me and i sure hope to see a lot of interest. I have tried hard to provide what are original and exciting rewards. Of course a lot of those rewards are going to cost me a lot of time in development. That i am ok with of course. It is just hard for me to want to spend all my money on a project while i am also spending all my time. I am hopeful this will see the light of day and i can know the kinds of improvements that i can get done. Being a one man army can have it's down sides. But knowing other talented people is definitely a plus!

Please tell anyone you can about my project. The more it spreads the more chance i will have of succeeding and making a better shooter than i expected to make.

If you have CC membership, go check out the comments that were made on the game when it was in Playtest many moons ago. There you will it as it was, and it has already come a lot further along than that.

Ok, i will write more when my head can stand it.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Midway for PS3 Home (release report pt2)

Second Hmm… (11:30am)

We had 50 tickets that we had bought, and while we were playing the mingames ourselves spending the tickets a BAD thing happened. But before I mention this I want to talk about playing our own minigames. We had a lot of performance issues while developing The Midway. This is in part due to the strain a managed language (in this case Lua) puts onto a cpu. Also we had a lot of active content in this particular space. Certainly the most of any scene so far released in Home. We had come up with some very clever ways of maintaining frame rate while playing the games and I was hopeful that it would hold up when the scene is full of real people, not just test clones. And.. OMGoodness did it hold up. Woohoo is all I can proclaim at this point. Now back to the first REAL bad news of the day.

We had been spending our tickets and eventually spent the last one. Then at some point shortly after I was playing some Free game (freeplay frenzy I think and not Miz Fortune) and one of my workmates who had come in noticed I still had a ticket. That’s odd we thought, but we musta not noticed that we hadn’t spent the last one. So I go play another game and see my tickets go to Zero. When I come out of the minigame however we are all shocked to see that I get my ticket back. Then we quickly tried to spend it several more times to no avail. We could use it as currency to play the games, but the ticket never disappeared or got consumed. This is real bad.. Mass Media have an awful lot riding on this product. We self financed this with the hope to make at least our money back and if we make more, then we can move more effort into creating great places in Home to go to. If this flops it will cost our small company a lot of money. I cannot really stress how much is riding on this product for us, but suffice to say that it could and probably will spell a turning point in the companies history, one way or the other.

I talked to my Boss and we are not happy. How much money is this costing us? How many people is this affecting. We all went into theory and testing mode. I personally went off to look at the code. At this moment I thought it was my personal fault. I thought I had screwed up badly and left some test code in the game and somehow it hadn’t been detected before release. You see my test code allowed us to permanently have a single ticket, so this looked exactly like my code. I had a major sinking feeling in my stomach and I was a little stressed. Thankfully my workmates, boss and myself are all professional and name calling and blame can come later ;) right now we need to find and fix this issue. This could be costing us thousands of dollars a minute. The boss went off to talk to Sony, we had to cover the fact we may need to close The Midway down till we fix this. Paul one of my workmates went back to his own PS3 and started spending his tickets like a madman to see if he would have the same issue. I was of course scouring my code. Firstly I checked over my single ticket test code. This seems very unviable though and upon looking at it more I knew that it should not be possible for it to be active. Several minutes later I realized it was not my code. If it had been players would only ever see a single ticket count and not the 50 we start with when buying them. Phew…

Then me and the Boss went back to our broken ticket version. Time for more testing we thought. So we left the scene and went to the plaza and back in. This was also a good time for me to see the porta potties in the main plaza that will teleport people to The Midway. They of course look broken to me as they are not rotated quite correctly, though not terribly so. Still I hate the fact something I wrote is even slightly wrong in this way. I apologize to anyone who noticed this. Well back to our immediate issue, the fact we could be giving away infinite tickets, ARGH! We hoped that leaving the scene and coming back in would reset our ticket value. The ticket value is obtained by querying how many you have of the Sony servers, so we figured this should fix the permanent ticket issue. However it did not and this threw a wrench into our thinking that it was just our scripts that were wrong. At about this time Dan another workmate arrived and also confirmed he was able to spend all his tickets and have no phantom ticket at the end. This made us feel slightly better, as the odds of this happening seemed to be going down. What to do about it was the question, along with just how prevalent might this be?

What should we try next and what is still wrong with so many people not being able to play the minigames or receive the Darlas Den free personal space?

More of What happened next in my next post...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Midway for PS3 Home (release report pt1)

Thursday July 1st.

Breakfast time…. (7:45am)

I woke up all excited, it was my 15th Wedding Anniversary and a day I would normally have had as vacation from work. However this was also launch day for The Midway. A public space in the PS3 Home online community. This was gonna be an exciting day as I had been nervous the several previous days. Anticipation was the major feeling I had before breakfast. I had of course woken early with the intention of getting to work earlier than normal. My boss gets in especially early and I wanted to be there for the initial excitement surrounding our area going live.

Going to Work… (8:30am)

On my to work my excitement and trepidation grew. It is thankfully a short journey to work (about 10 minutes). In that journey though I managed to go over all the things that could go wrong. This is a live space on the PS3 network and In all honesty it is just not possible at the moment for the whole experience to be tested in anywhere near the way or to the degree of a boxed game. There are simply to many variables. Also half the solution or problem set id Sonys. We are a set of games built into a black box that Sony produces in London England. We just take advantage of this environment called home. This means there are a lot of things we have no control over. Add onto that the possible server issues and you might understand how come I ma nervous. The excitement is easy to explain. We were going to be the first place that people in Home would actually be able to see and therefore co-experience with their friends. All of our games in The Midway are spectator friendly. We have made them show what a person playing is doing. Of course this caused us many challenges, but oh boy was I excited to hopefully see some full spaces and all that activity. In our own testing at Mass Media we only had about 12-16 people in a space at one time, and this isn’t quite what it is designed for, it is a bit empty with that number.

At Work…. (8:45am)

The boss David was there along with the co-designer of The Midway. There sitting excitedly in the conference room watching what was going on inside one of the (I am told 50 instances) instance of The Midway, which was full of people milling around with some playing the games. David was talking to the occasional person helping them out. My first impressions of the space on the Big screen tv we have was one of joy. There it was, live with a full complement of people running around in it. This is a way I had only dreamed of. Also nothing at this time appeared broken, which was an amazing relief.

First Hmm… (10:30am)

Reports are coming in that a lot of people cannot play any of the games :(. This is not good, also we are talking to people in our instance about this same issue. They go back out and reboot and they still cannot play the games. This is now getting bad as the number appears to be about 10% of the people in the space. The forums are abuzz with people having the same issue. We have no idea what is going on, then we find out that people coming into The Midway are not receiving the free item of a personal space. I know personally this can only happen if the Scene script has crashed. PS3 Home is made up of minigame scripts and a single scene script. They interact and make it all work. At this point we were hopeful that the issue was a server issue and therefore one that Sony would need to solve. Then while we were busy playing the games ourselves.

Then second Hmm came about, though this one was more panic inducing….

More to come tomorrow...

The Midway Report

Ok, so i am not actually gonna do a real report here and now.

The reason is fairly simple. I have had a really busy day and night, and am too tired to write all i need to. I want to do a sort of report telling how my The Midway Live day went, fromt before i left for work until the end of the second day. This will be a set of large posts, as i am not the best writer and i also get cramps from all that typing. Suffice to say it is on the way. Go go The Midway for PS3 Home.

I saw the Physio again today and he was very painfully stretching my shoulder, what is interesting is as he tells me how well i am doing he seems to cause me more pain. Now i do agree with him though, after justa bit more than 1 week of physio on my dislocated shoulder it can now move all over the place. It is also getting stronger through the range as well, which feels awesome. Though right now it is just very very tired..

So it is sleep time for me once i have sent off a Pellmell code to some nice people in france.


Friday, July 2, 2010

15th Wedding Anniversary

I know a lot of married people get to their 15th wedding anniversaries. Mine and my wifes was today July the 1st. It made me feel very wonderful in so many ways, yet it is just a number, and not even a really nice number at that. Why is 16 not a better number to be married, it is a power of 2 :)

I have had 15 amazing years with my wife and of course i now have 2 kids as we well. It is amazing to me the time can fly by this fast, but it does. I wish everyone all the best in their emotional connections for now and the far flung future.

I love Eliza, my beautiful and wonderful wifey.