I didn’t exactly go on vacation this weekend. I was working pretty much non-stop, save for a family function:

I fixed problems with the texture atlas generator, which will allow the wall and bricks to use multiple textures with a minimal performance cost.

I created a new brick type: bouncy bricks. They function similarly to the repulsion gel from Portal 2. When you bump into one, it throws you into the air with a force proportional to your speed before you touched it. Unlike repulsion gel, you cannot safely walk on top of it before jumping, it will launch you into the air as soon as you touch it, and it has a strong minimum force. It’s a ton of fun to use, really. Also, since I arc the player slightly upwards, I’ll be able to set up puzzles where the player is bounced around the world like a pinball! Bounce physics also apply to any dynamic objects in the environment (that is, non-kinematic rigid bodies)

I also tweaked the physics for when players hold objects to run more efficiently. Still need to fix some of the jittering that happens when pressing an object such as the scarecrow into other objects.

Also, the shader for clouds has been tweaked so that they now interrupt the sun’s rays. I also experimented with giving shadows to clouds, and for darkening the sky when the sun is behind one. However, I did not like how such effects interrupted gameplay. It is harder to make out individual bricks when there are always random shadows moving over them.

Following a suggestion from 3phen, I’ve changed the player’s hit box so that he fits into 1×2 meter areas easily. In addition, the player model will no longer be caught on the edges of bricks when being pushed.

That’s it. Will keep everyone posted, as usual.

Farm and Mine Models

Here are a couple of shots from two sets of models that I whipped up yesterday. Note that they currently lack any textures.

Following my decision to go big and physically-incorrect, I’ve created new assets for a farm set and a mine set. The farms (first picture) have fields suspended in the air from giant metal rings, and are fed water from tanks. The player’s path will cross by a few of these fields, though most of them will be there for decoration to give the impression of an expansive farming community. Some other field models will be built for resources that grow on vertical surfaces. There will also be granaries, farm houses, and sky piers.

The second set is for a “mine” area.  Mines explain where metal and stone resources come from. Players will be able to step slightly into The Wall from these mines. The super-structure that extends from The Wall includes a storage platform that is connected to a short pier. Above the pier is a rail for a crane.

Will be working on some brick types for the rest of today. Will keep everyone posted!

Against the Wall - Farm

Against the Wall - Mine

Suspension of Disbelief

Over the weekend, I produced a (mostly finished) game called Abandon for the Ludum Dare competition. I’ve learned a lot from this experience, and will be incorporating scripts, artwork, and concepts from my project into Against the Wall. For instance, large-scale buildings based on real-world architecture.

During the competition I realized that I wasn’t experimenting enough with my designs. I was being too practical, thinking too logically when it came to the physical scale and structure of buildings. How would a dome or arch work structurally if it is sticking out of The Wall horizontally? Wouldn’t a tower be useless if there is always higher ground? Where would people get the material for all of these buildings?

These questions are a bit similar to the one that I keep getting about how the trees stick out horizontally rather than face the Sun. One answer: Every tree uses the same model at various rotations, in addition to the Sun moving in a circle around the sky. I would have to create a large number of tree model variations AND animate them in order for the trees to face the Sun constantly. Another answer is that they are not really trees.

The gist of what I’m saying is, If I bind myself to a conventional understanding of physics, I may have fewer people questioning the game world but I also limit what I can do there. Remember the size of the facility in Portal 2? That game was set on Earth, and the physics and logistics of the whole complex make no practical sense whatsoever! The game was so cool that people suspended their disbelief and just enjoyed the ride. It would be presumptive of me to suggest that Against the Wall is as cool as Portal 2. However, the underlying premise of my game is as absurd as quantum tunneling devices and sentient robots.

I’ll concentrate on making a strange, gigantic world that is fun for people to wander around, above all other considerations.

LD #22: I’m In

Against the Wall - ForestYesterday I migrated the site’s forum to the to a new system. I also gave premium memberships to everyone who backed the project on Kickstarter. Barring anything unforeseen, I should be done with web development for now. I’ll have to get back to the game starting tomorrow and continuing on Monday. So, let me know if there is anything missing in terms of the new forum and membership system. I’m only one person and cannot test everything.

For the weekend, I’ll be participating in the Ludum Dare #22. This is a competition to create a full game from scratch within 48 hours, solo. Against the Wall started out as a part of the Ludum Dare #20 back in May. For LD #21, I created another project called Under a Watchful Eye. I cannibalized some art assets and scripts for Against the Wall from this project. I did the same for another project from September. This weekend, I hope to create a game that includes features that can be easily ported over to my primary project. Hopefully I’ll have something good to show from the LD on Sunday night.

I’ve produced a game called Abandon. I’ve learned a lot from this experience, and will be incorporating a few concepts from my project into Against the Wall. Namely, large-scale architecture based on real-world buildings.

Modeling a New City

Warning, this may be a bit of a spoiler for people who want to be surprised by what is in the game. Just a heads-up.

Yesterday I took another pass at modeling a city that will be located at the 5th checkpoint of the game. I found my first pass at the city to be lackluster. It was rather flat, consisting of a vaulted area held up by three giant columns. The structure did not make much sense within the logic of the game world, but the real problem was this: it was ugly and not fun to wander around in. I finally decided to scrap it and produced the pictured models. I don’t usually show off work that is in-production, but I am particularly proud of what I made here. Note that there are no textures on the buildings yet.

Believe me, it’s bigger than it looks. This is just a superstructure, it will have other smaller buildings housed on its platforms with the village in the alpha release. The city consists of two piers that are each the size of the village. The city is held in place by chains and is bolted to the wall in certain spots. Three cages-like structures will hold the city’s districts, and a monorail system runs through the middle gap. That giant corkscrew-like thing on the left is a horizontal-axis wind turbine.

My next task is to give some color to the whole thing. I’m not fond of texturing. I find unwrapping and assigning materials to a model to be a pain, and its an area where I lack real experience. Since I plan on eventually hiring an artist, the most reasonable solution would be to add placeholder textures and move on to designing the level itself.

Forum Odyssey

Yesterday I worked for 18 hours straight on improvements to the website. My plan has been to integrate a forums into the main site, and give people who bought the game a special status on said forum. Also, I would also use the forum for beta testers to report on their game experiences and to distribute advanced copies to people who pre-order the game.

I already have a forum using the Simple Machines Forums platform. The software that works best with WordPress (the management system for this site) is called bbPress 2.1. There is unfortunately no direct way to export from SMF to bbPress. I had to take a winding route, going from SMF to phpBB3, to bbPress 1.0.2. then attempt to upgrade it to bbPress 2.1. Each step took hours, requiring old versions of the software and multiple attempts, and due to some changes in MySQL in past years, I had to redo sections of PHP and SQL. However, the final piece of software called bbConverter, failed to import any of the topics onto this site. I’m leaving that step for another day.

I’m a bit obsessive when really into a project. I’m comfortable building websites, It’s what I used to do before I dropped everything to make this game.

Over the summer I was nearly tempted by a soulless corporate job working on the website for a media company. They were clueless about the internet and threw gobs of cash at developers (not me) for cosmetic changes to their site. I was there to help a filmmaker friend who was roped into being the web manager despite not knowing how to script. I was in line to take over her job when I realized how much I freaking hated it. The worst part was I lost two months of development time on Against the Wall in its early stages. I woke up in July realizing what had happened and that my dream was going to pass me by. I quit, which inspired my friend to quit in turn.

Enough of that. Today I’m redoing one of the game’s city areas. I was unhappy with my first pass at this section of the game, and am giving it another go. Will be modeling and listening to music for the rest of the day. That’s it for now.

The New Store

A good number of people were asking how they could contribute now that the Kickstarter campaign has ended. In response, I’ve spent the day putting up a store for people to buy the game and become a premium member. This purchase would give you access to early and final versions of the game, including updates. I’ve looked at Minecraft’s business model as my main inspiration for this.

Today has been rather exhausting, between setting up the store and other random tasks. At the suggestion of one user, I’ve moved the webplayer to its own page. There are a number of other small changes that I’ve made to the site as well. After dinner, I’ll be doing a bunch of bug fixes and uploading alpha 0.35.3.

In terms of progress, I’m redoing one of the new cities, and will be programming the functionality for another elevator-contraption. That’s it for now!

Rock Paper Shotgun and the Near Future

It was a pleasant surprise to see the game featured on Rock Paper Shotgun today! It is an honor to have an article there. I’ve updated the game twice with some bug fixes, just to make sure the new visitors are able to play through it correctly.
It also resulted in a flood of spam comments by the way. I’ve suspended comments until I can find a solution!

Also, the Kickstarter campaign has ended at over $8,000! Thank you to everyone who contributed. I’ll be opening a PayPal option for anyone who wants to buy the game from now until the game’s launch.


Explore the world of Against the Wall, a video game that is set on the side of an infinite brick wall. It is currently being developed for PC, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Joystiq Interview
Rock Paper Shotgun Article
Kotaku Article

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