Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's that feeling all over again... launching new product - Introloop!!

I still remembered blogging about the day I launched Duel Otters a year ago.

This week, it's the same feeling again! That's right! I am launching a new product!

It is not a game however, it is a Unity plugin. Duel Otters and some projects of my previous employment at a game company is powered by it. I grew up and make living together with this. I take care of it like my own baby. (ok that's over exaggerated but I really like it)

I am a gamer and music gamer. I am crazy for game soundtrack. Grinding levels in MMO is never complete without soundtrack replacement from games I have beaten. (I feel sorry for the MMO composer but leveling in the same map was so tedious!)

I still remembered listening to opening music from MMZ2 while slicing Evil Druids, listening to Cannonball from MMZ3 while doing White Knight job quest in Maple Story. Listening to Valkyrie Profile battle music while traveling the vast Morroc desert. It's been fun. But something is missing!

Music in the game itself has some charms... why when I listen to it now it loses certain power? Yes.. that must be it.. it's because... it ends!

In the original game the music never ends. And it loops perfectly to certain point that is not the beginning. The intro sets mood, then keep going with the rest of the song without abusing that intro again.

My endeavor does not stop there as I meticulously cut and paste the music into 1 hour version so it loops to where I want.. ahaha those days...

Fast forward to today, I still appreciate the power of intro in programmed game music. But it seemed that not many people appreciate this. When I came to know Unity, I know I have to do this. As expect Unity cannot do looping to certain point. And no one seemed to complain on Google. What's happening here!

That left me no choice, my first Unity plugin is Introloop, easily play looping music with one time intro section!!

I started developing this 2 years ago at the workplace I was employed. I have battled with ridiculous timing issue and memory issue. (At first I think it would be easy... ha!) Nevertheless I have deploy it on Panthera Frontier, a commercial game of a company I worked for.

When I quit the company to pursue master degree at Japan, I take the plugin with me and continue to fix it. Actually, rewrite it from scratch with previous mistakes in mind. Duel Otters is heavily powered by that plugin but it seemed so transparent that no one noticed it. (But I am sure that the player can feel it, the power of intro!)

Finally when Unity 5 was released, the nightmare is over. Memory issue is no more. Duel Otters was ported to Unity 5 with the shiniest version of Introloop yet, and it seemed to withstand 200k+ downloads that comes from App Store featuring nicely.

So I think, it's time to prepare it for the world now. It will be on Asset Store!

So in the last 7 days I have been preparing website that teach you how to use, along with section to brainwash the importance of intro onto everyone. It's time that the world should realize why commercial games shines.

I also preparing a demo, with music from Duel Otters and doujinshi music I composed. I dare everyone to test it even on mobile devices. I am sure it will work, because these last 2 years I have been fixing it always.

This feeling, is just like that week I am animating videos, preparing website, register company for Duel Otters. So nostalgic! This time I am alone though. (But that time also I am kind of have to do everything... that's life!)

Now in a few days, it should be my first non-game thing that I made for the world!

(This girl is Sargono, somehow she became my mascot so I decided to draw her to be a presenter of this plugin lol. Looking at the Asset Store full of technical icons makes me sick, so Sargono herself will try to brighten things up! Yay!)

(As for the closed eyes actually I cheated. Because if I draw open eyes it's so easy to screw up, I left it to viewer's imagination! ... another reason is someone might be put off by anime-ish character so with closed eyes maybe it will became less anime.. I think.)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Look, it's 1 year already!

The notification about Apple Developer Membership renewal showing up, it means, I have been fighting for 1 year already.

This sure reminds me of those eventful days before I came to Japan. I ran around doing "quests" to register Exceed7 Experiments so I can register Apple Developer Membership with that name. The documents, the stamps, the cumbersome process.. ah those days..

Monday, July 20, 2015

I took a break and learned many things

After many month streaks of non-stop Duel Otters development, there comes a time when I have JLPT (Japanese language test), lab works, homework and many other things altogether at the same time. I was forced to take a break.

First I mailed to a person from Apple that had been nicely supporting me since we have met that I must postpone the update. She promptly understand which I am so glad.

Now that everything above is over (actually a final test is coming.. damn) In the period that I stopped I decided to not doing anything. It is been a while since I stopped struggling, but I learned that... nothing really happened.

I stopped checking my friend and refresh them the task they have to finish or whether they can do it over particular weekend or not. As I expected, nothing happened! But what's more important is, previously I treated Duel Otters as a task. If I am not continuing it, many people will be waiting, it is punishing to be lazy and I should do it!

The truth is I may be forcing this onto myself too much, I mean, the players is not that high and this is not even a regular-playing game. I can actually take a break! And I can control my life! (Not my own game controlling me)

The bad feeling of I am doing 90% of the works but own 25% of the company is still there (which tech startups should not, by the way) but I think it is less prominence in me now. I feel like yeah let's relax a bit. See, no one really gave a damn..

Along the break I partake in some event for fun, it is the BMS event which you make original music, note chart and video, making a "BMS" file that other people can enjoy and comment. This is the decision that I will never regret in my life. Via Japanese Twitter I have newly signed up, I met a lot of these nice Japanese people who really have "doujinshi" spirit. They create, for real. No incentive. No job quitted. This is different from "indie" where the point is hoping for a living or fame.

They made truly awesome music. They remix each other music rapidly just for friend, fun and coolness. I am very happy that I can be a part of them really. One of them even direct message me in English (thank you) and wanted to meet me in person. I am so looking forward to this!

I will continue attending these events. In Japan there are a lot of doujinshi events where you just submit works and enjoy it together. Like free internet label that looking for "challengers" to submit songs and then they will master and release the album for free. Next one is called BMS of Fighters (Ultimate) which is a big thing in BMS scene.

In my break, I learned to do something truly for myself. Feeling like this partly is because Duel Otters is a joint project with my friends and I often feel like I am doing much more work than I should, but composing music is for me only, there can never be "too much work" if 100% of it is for me. The only thing is the more the better! (I got hyped and compose to 6AM for many days)

I got better at programming synth, and the resulting music is mine.. This feeling I haven't been for so long, is so good. I began to think if I am more suited to working alone? Of course someone will say "You can never be success by yourself!" which is overrated pre-made sentence already, but I did that in Duel Otters and compared to this BMS thing.. I think I like some aspect of not teaming up. (But still enjoying it with "others" in a rivalry way, the community)

For startups that are reading this, I think learning to NOT taking responsibility is sometimes a good thing. Let's fuck your own startup, and take a break. Because actually your life is more than that and your startup cannot control your life completely. "Responsibility" is a word/tool used to force oneself, what if it isn't always a good thing to take responsibility?

(I sounded like a villain saying this by the way, but then that's because we human defined "villain" as something something "bad")

Monday, June 22, 2015

A note to my friends

[Will be updating from time to time]

This one is a weird blog post. The issue is I wanted to give advice to my teammates, but I cannot do so for the following reason :

The first programmer : He already quitted the project and doing his own things now. I am still talking to him every now and then, and I kind of can observe that his problem while he is working with me still persist. It is just a guess though, I am not totally sure. BUT I haven't notify him. Why?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An analysis of "Why can I keep going on?"

It's been quite a long time since the last post isn't it?

Quite many people asked why the hell can I keep on doing many things by myself? (In making games I program, draw, animate characters, make music and do PR like making website, promotional videos and maintaining FB pages, Twitter account etc.)

I definitely don't want to say I am a genius. Most of the things I do I used Google anyway and so everyone can do that if they have 1. computer 2. internet 3. English 4. the want.

But recently I have been seriously thinking that I am probably much different from the past me. (by past I mean 5 years ago or something) Previously I was a kind of hopeful, positive, carefree guy. Now I think I still am a carefree guy (lol) but different kind of that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I'm getting a laptop computer.. the Macbook Pro!

The title may sounds weird to most people, but as a person who always wanted to make games and playing with things by means of programming like me, I always wanted a tools to express myself.

In university days I got my Dell Studio 13" laptop in my late first year. I named him Mangosteen because I choose purple cover color. He's very good. I love him and we always doing cool things together.

Sadly the battery died down after 3 years or so. The capacity has been reduced to a mere 3 minutes. I think even Ultra Man last longer than that. But I still using him, connected to power socket.

Then the plug and power brick became worn out. Initially I tried to solder it back. This approach lasts for about 3 months before I have to do it again but eventually, after 2 more years, the gap was so wide it is not possible to solder anymore unless I make a bridge of lead to connect it. Also from accumulated mistake other wires that I not intend to touch (there are 3 wires in the power cord) are melted, exposing the silvery inside. And once that come into contact with the soldering iron, it sparks! I tried to tape it, heavily hot glue it to separate them.

Eventually he's at limit when I was one year after graduation. To replace both now 1 minute battery and power supply would be very costly. And my time to go to Japan looming closer, I say goodbye to him. Bringing only the Mac Mini that I used to compile and complete Duel Otters in my free time after graduation, to Japan. (Nicknamed "Jasmine")

Fast forward to now, is the semester break. I come back to Thailand to meet my friends. (though lab people in Japan always keep bugging me to work whether I was in my house, on a bus, speedboat, with family, with friends etc.) I have been waiting for Apple to refresh their laptop line up for so long, finally I decided to get the Macbook Pro. My god, how long has it been since I used a computer without being tied to power source? 6 years?

Most people assume that I have a laptop but actually I don't. They often surprised that I'm a programmer but don't have my own laptop. Yes I pack my Mac Mini, keyboard, and mouse in my backpack and travel with them. It's pain in the ass but I don't have the luxury to buy a laptop. Until now..

That's why it is so exciting for me! But sounds stupid to most people! Just thinking I can make games anywhere, make music anywhere or maybe debug my program on the train already excite me that I cannot sleep soundly!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Only money can solve certain problem

Today one of my team member told me that he will not have any more free time to work on the game. He just quitted his old employee job because he's tired of that. Now he found a new job he wanted to try and he's going to go full-force with his new life. This came with the cost of one hobby disappeared.

Life, dreams, hobby and money

Originally he planned to finish all leftover work on Duel Otters before moving on, but looking at the progress, its safe to assume that it is not possible anymore. If I haven't asked him he would not tell me and stay silent! (My entire team are like this lol)

This is the case that making games without salary but only with believe cannot help.