The Internet Ego of Rick Gardiner
2 Years Later...
July 13, 2015

Ok I cheated, this was actually written and posted yesterday, but dated for today. You might even be reading it "yesterday". The sentiment is totally still there though. I wish I could say the past 2 years have been eventful, but it's only been in the past couple months that things have been happening. I'll get to that right away, then I'll be boring.

Me and my buds decided to make a game together a few months ago! It's been pretty crazy so far. Not much money, but I've always seen money as secondary to doing what I really want to do. My parents definitely hate that mentality but I'm sure they get it. We went from having fun messing around in Unity, to having an actual game on Steam, with actual people buying it!

What could this be?
What could this be?

It's Polyball! I'll get the store page plug out of the way. Turns out all I needed to do was leech of other people's motivation to actually get something done.

The game is super simple. It's a ball action platformer, targeted towards people who like difficulty/speedrunning stuff. We decided to do early access since we wanted to pay off the musicians as soon as possible and let people help shape the game.

We had to make a company in order to partner with Steam, which was pretty crazy. I can say I own a business now. It sounds awesome as long as I leave out the details of how little revenue we're making at the moment. Four of us are working on the game. I'm doing the "backend" programming, dealing with the data and steam integration, as well as doing the multiplayer code, and a some UI work. Tyler is doing most of the gameplay programming and level design, and UI stuff too. Aaron is in charge of making everything pretty, and has done level design also. Joey is solely responsible for all the audio work. We've got a real dank team going.

We've been putting updates out pretty frequently. Steam is so great for that. I can't suck their weenis enough. Everything is so simple, and there was so much more we could do with their SDK than we thought. We dumped all of Unity's network stuff for a custom framework based of Steam's networking. Hopefully we'll be out of early access in a couple months. And hopefully that's what's driving people away from getting the game.

I haven't done much else gamedev stuff in the past couple years. Just prototypes in Unity mostly. I got super into networking and was building a cool RPG where you could build a town and get villagers to live there, where they could work on their skills. Actually, I'm gonna fire that up and get a screenshot.

No lawsuits yet thankfully
No lawsuits yet thankfully

Alright well that screenshot took over an hour to get. Had to fix a bunch of horrible code. At least I got some self-esteem out of seeing how much better my code style is now.

I forgot how fun it was to make this prototype. The random name generator, setting up interfaces to sync user data, learning about encryption and key exchanges. That got progressively more boring sounding but it really was fun. I also set up this ridiculous character creation screen.

Again, no lawsuits yet
Again, no lawsuits yet

Oh boy.

Other than gamedev stuff, my life has been boring, which will be reflected in the rest of this post. I had a job at walmart for a like 4 months, but that drained my soul. I'm finally on meds that actually work for me, which is nice. Been consistently taking from for a few months now and it feels great. Usually I start feeling like crap after a month or so, and get all philosophically messed up then end up cold turkeying. Not this time though yay!

I've tried shifting away from webdev pretty successfully. For a while I thought that's where my future was. It kept getting more and more annoying to me though. Gamedev, and even just general programming, are WAY more appealing to me. I'm probably gonna remake this site though. I like the general design, but it could use some touchups. I might redo the codebase in some nice framework too. We'll see.

Obviously I've been doing music this whole time too. I hadn't been playing guitar for a while, and only have a handful of new tracks for Zapper, but I've been getting into Jazz lately and that's been getting me back on the gitbox. I recorded a few noise rock demos last month that I thought sucked, but were actually pretty sweet after relistening. They'll definitely need new recording. Most of my music has been electronic though. I finally started using the Amen Break (here's a cool video on it) and I'm definitely in love with it now. Here's a song I made with it.

Dedicated to my pal Kush Javztar

So easy to make dope beats with it. It's almost cheating. Hopefully I get more musically inspired soon. Zapper still needs about a dozen tracks before it's done, then I'll start working on getting a good recording setup for some new stuff.

I picked up a new hobby. Electronics! My parents signed me up for these study tests when I was young, apparently just testing how I reacted to stuff. They called me a few months ago for a 20 year follow up, and said if I go through with it they'll send me an Amazon gift card. I was sold. It was just a phone interview and a few online things. Weird but cool. It took a few months (I'm saying few months a lot this post) for the gift card to get to me. I gave up hope of it ever showing up, so it was a nice surprise when it did arrive. It was $100 USD too, which is like almost $3000 CAD. Jk, only like $120, still nice though.

I'd been interested in getting into electronics for a while at this point, so I decided to buy a bunch of stuff with the card. I got an arduino ripoff kit, a new iron, a couple breadboards, some jumper cables, and a few op-amps since I heard they're needed for audio signal stuff, which is the avenue I'll be taking to learn how to make some fine butt circuits. I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of the basics, so I'm not expecting anything cool for a while. The arduino knock off is really cool though. Only took a few hours for me to understand it, and get sound coming out of an old internal computer speaker I had laying around. It's perfect for bridging the gap between programming and circuits.

Well that's about it. Thanks for reading and catching up with my mediocre life! I probably won't be making many blog posts, maybe like 3 or 4 a year, but I've been active on twitter again so check that out. I'll be working on Polyball exclusively for a couple more months probably, so we'll see what happens after that. Buhbye!!