In this Mockup Monday, I discuss how to fix the Quadrapus Sumo control, which is currently broken for two players. I added jetpacks which help immensely for single player mode, but when two players face off against each other, they fight to interact in the same space often occluding one another’s hands. My plan is to have the orientation of the hand indicate what direction the user wants to go and give the quadrapus a consistent “push” in that direction. Not so much of a push that it causes the quadrapus to drift against friction, but enough that when the legs are pitter-patter on the ground, the push will help the quadrapus move in the direction the user intends. Fixing the location of the hand on the display would also help to inform the user that waving your hand around doesn’t matter.

The world of streaming has become interesting for game developers. Twitch recently added a Game Development channel. I’ve streamed a couple times now. It’s a great way to panopticon yourself into working. You’re always being watched. You can’t subconsciously open up that Facebook tab and zone out. You’re expected to be working. It’s funny because if a boss were to ever expect me to share my desktop with him so he could see whether I was working anytime he wanted, I’d never tolerate such a thing. However, now that I’m my own boss, I’ve come to find that I’m the worst boss ever. If you’re interested in seeing me stream, you can follow me on twitch. A word of caution for would-be streamers: Tidy up your virtual desktop AND your real desktop lest you leave something embarrassing around.

When I did stream, I got a number of questions from people asking about their own games. It seems like there is a real desire for people to learn how to express themselves in the game medium and programming often tends to be one of the biggest initial hurdles. So I did an “Ask a #gamedev” stream dedicated to answering people’s questions. (You can see the broadcast here.) I got questions like:

  • What book do you recommend for learning Unity?
  • How do you transition from robotics research to game development?
  • Any advice on designing simple 2D physics systems?
  • Are you participating in ludum dare in December?
  • Do I need to learn heavy geometry in order to program in 3D?
  • How much long of experience do I need from transitioning over 2D to 3D?
  • Do you have any projects you can show and demonstrate for us?

It felt good to be able to provide a service for people interested in creating their own games. But I also learned about some things that being immersed in evolutionary robotics research that I would have already known like this TV show.

One person in the stream brought up a fascinating UK show that featured an augmented-reality virtual robot building and battling TV show called Bamzooki, which I had never heard of before. It aired from 2004 to 2010, and I can’t believe this existed. See it yourself and here. The robots, construction, and physics look sophisticated. The have software available for download that anyone with Windows can play with and create new robot morphologies or shapes. I’m still really intrigued to try and discover where exactly the smoke-and-mirrors are hidden, and who or what technical team of people was behind its production.

Streaming is a pretty exciting for game developers. It’s an exciting time to be a gamedev.

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