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NaNoWriMo 2011: I won it.

27 days, 50,082 words. For the second time out of two attempts, I'm a successful NaNoWriMo novelist! F*** yeah!

The novel I wrote is still technically untitled, though I've run with the working title "Heart of Ice", as it was written to be the origin story for the characters present in the game. As for who is actually going to read it, Kirsty said she will, but I'd probably be too embarrassed about it's awful quality to show many others!

Here's the graph depicting my noveling progress:

The grey line is the target baseline, and the brown bars are my actual daily progress. As you can see, I got off to a decent start, but faulted around the 21st where I wrote literally nothing for two days. I'll be honest and say that while some of the writing was highly entertaining, other times I really struggled to get any motivation at all, and couldn't even force myself to open Q10. There were certain points where I just had no passion left for the story. And since I'd already written a NaNoWriMo novel, it also didn't help having nothing to prove. Regardless, I think the experience of being hyper productive over most of a month has been good for me, and hopefully it'll reinvigorate the productivity that has been sorely lacking for me (outside of my primary employment) this year.

So that ends another sometimes sureal journey into writing with the characters that inhabit my subconscious. I'll no doubt post my tips for NaNoWriMo success here over the next couple of days. Time to get back to actually getting things done.

NaNoWriMo again

This is the one and only time I'll post to the blog this month. At the very last minute I decided to enter NaNoWriMo for a second time. It's the first day, 1,735 words so far. See you in December.

Download stats 2011


  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Total
Derelict 508 421 421 472 451 61 273 248 168 3023
Blow Stuff Up 178 159 149 155 156 51 182 908 103 2041
The Kiwi's Tale 184 100 109 129 114 30 87 89 137 979
Firestart 34 28 47 25 18 5 28 30 29 244
WitchBlaster 0 1 98 51 41 4 6 3 0 204
Earok's Monkey Demos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 54 11 65
Noah More Heroes 0 8 1 4 7 0 16 6 1 43
Heart of Ice 0 3 1 2 2 1 3 4 1 17
Earok 2011 Collection 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 3 2 17
Crap Flight Simulator 2 4 4 3 0 0 0 4 1 0 16
Traffic Department 2192 1 1 3 0 0 0 2 1 0 8
GunCat 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 3 0 8
Total 910 726 833 838 789 152 615 1350 452 6665



I thought I might get into the habit of recording download stats for my games every month. Here are the stats for January and February 2011.


Instead of writing a new blog post every month, I thought it would be easier just to repost this one. The big jump in WitchBlaster "downloads" is because I'm counting both the HTML5 and Flash versions. The download stat includes seven copies of the Android build - though most of them were probably just me!


Overall downloads slightly up from February and March, despite the big dropoff in WitchBlaster downloads. The estimate for WitchBlaster in April was rounded down by nearly 70 as I realised that counting page visits wasn't an accurate way of counting players (As many of them may have been spiders, instead I counted the number of times that the MP3s were accessed. Though this may exclude Firefox players..)

Excluding the minor games, the two biggest increases were the Kiwi's Tale at 118% and Derelict at 112%. WitchBlaster and Firestart dropped the most at 52% and 53%, respectively.


Thoroughly average month. Pretty much every game is down, though not by huge amounts.


Really late with this update. Some interesting data! Where to begin.

First up, I'm getting the data from the "Downloads" page on Awstats, rather than the "Viewed" page, which I presume will give more accurate results (Helpfully it also separates 'partial downloads' from complete ones, so I can ignore the partials). I'm not actually sure why I never noticed the page before, it's possible that it wasn't there last time I checked. Also I'm not bothering to count the web versions of the games anymore, the figures are too unreliable.

Secondly, the big drop in downloads June are because I think the data is incomplete. There's certainly no data in the downloads section previous to that month (thinking about it further, perhaps the data is missing because the Downloas feature wasn't there yet? I don't know).

Thirdly, nice to see Earok's Monkey Demo's have been getting a few downloads. Going to update it tonight with the source for the six degrees of freedom demo.

Fourthly, why in the hell was Blow Stuff Up so popular last month? It alone has got more downloads in that month than most of my other months did (yet, thus far this month, the BSU downloads have dropped back below both Derelict and The Kiwi's Tale). Maybe it was featured on a freeware site somewhere, I'm going to have a poke around in the stats.


Nothing in particular about this month to report, though Derelict crosses 3k complete downloads and Blow Stuff Up crosses 2k. Might need to churn out some amazing new demo if I want to get interest in the Earok's Monkey Demos Collection going again.

Epic Rap Battles of History #12 - Dr Seuss VS Shakespeare

"You bore people to death, you make a classroom look like the end of MacBeth."

Epic Cupcake Time

More sugar. More sugar. MORE SUGAR.

WitchBlaster: Now with Spider copters

Another update to WitchBlaster, though just for the HTML5 and Flash versions, I'll worry about the native PC build and Earok Collection versions later.

Anthony has generously provided cool "Spider-copter" enemies and a boss loosely based on the Helicopter from my all time favourite film - Blue Thunder.

Also, apologies for neglecting the blog recently. I haven't even posted a youtube video in a couple of weeks!


Super Mario Bros speed run

Youtube user 0nyxheart presents the mother of all speed runs.


Playmaker's back

New Monkey Demo: 3D Heightmapped terrain

New HTML5 Monkey Demo - 3D Heightmapped terrain! Try it here, use cursor keys to move, A/Z to move up and down, Plus/Minus to change detail level, and L to set the terrain as infinitely looping. The source code has already been bundled into the Earok's Monkey Demos pack.

This was a fun one to do, certainly not as painful as I had thought it was going to be. The inspiration was the "Voxel" terrain engine from the Novalogic Comanche games, though frankly I find the term "Voxel" to be misleading as it's really a raycaster. The way it works is that rays are casted from each Vertical line across the screen, detecting where the map is hit and drawing to the height of the hit part of the map. The ray travels into the distance until it either hits the maximum distance, or what's already been drawn extends past the top of the screen.

The unfortunate weakness with doing a terrain render this way is that you're limited to four degrees of freedom - meaning you can move freely forward/back, left/right and up/down, but you can only rotate left/right (pitch and roll rotations can be faked to a degree though).

I'm pretty sure that this is a first for Monkey, it may even be a first for HTML5 in general. Unfortunately the framerate slows to a crawl on the higher detail levels (It's fine in the C++ export). I think the big slow down is simply drawing the pixels to the screen, if someone can think of a way to make the demo run much faster, I'd love to hear from you!

(Edit: For bonus points - where did I get the terrain for this demo from?)

Cobra Blade on the evolution of Powerslam

Cobra Blade has made a blog post on the lengthy evolution of Powerslam - the upcoming Mac exclusive wrestling game based on MDickie's Federation Wrestling, which I helped port to BlitzMax as my first paid gamedev gig.

In the post he explains with screenshots how the game has changed both aesthetically and thematically over the past two years (at one stage, the Wrestlers were furry anthropomorphised animals!). Definitely worth a look.