Saturday, December 31, 2022

Dark December

Hello everyone. 

I didn't post on November since I had nothing big to mention. I edited however, October's post with minor updates. I was really down, waiting on Titan and other programmers, while also waiting for the recover of my Hard Drive. I was taking everything as they came and it felt like a very unsettling month.

During December things went better, but for every good thing, something bad happened.
1) Titan worked for a couple of days. He still hasn't finished with the things I gave him since September.
2) I got my recovered MoGi folder. I don't think that I can open more than 5% of my work. That's sounds bad, but I still have options. The good thing is that the MoGi project is in the cloud and my MoGi notes are also safe (over 150 pages in Word). Some things however weren't in the game, such as Ucogi's underwear sprites. With Ucogi's files not working, I would have to improvise on how to proceed from here. There are options, like Data Recovery, other technicians or even merging the nude with the clothed sprites.
3) I spent $220 to buy Stellar Data Recovery, in order to scan my old HDs, trying to salvage any deleted work of mine. Slim chance, and I have to go through dozens of folders and sort them out.
4) I got new contact lenses because my eyes suck, but they cost $500. They are new models, that I hope that I would get used to. There is a global shortage, so I had to wait for months to get them.
5) I bought Windows 11 but the interface sucks, so I also got StartAllBack to cope with the madness.
6) I bought Office 2020 and it was crap, so I went back to my lovely Word 2007. All these newer programs are so cluttered and convoluted. Same goes with Photoshop. They keep adding "useless" stuff, turning them into monsters. I guess they need to sell new copies, so they add new shit.
7) I also bought a new UPS to protect my PC. The old one died.
8) Freemake Video Converter used to be $200 and now it's about $60. It's a program that helps me with fast video conversion and size. But yeah, lot's of expenses lately.
9) I gave away many things (clothes, shoes, cups etc.) to various charities. Nothing negative about that. I decluttered my house, earned some space, sorted my things and it all feels good!
10) I got my creative mood back, but I can't work on MoGi until Titan finishes.
11) I found 2 other programmers, but I'm worried that they may not be reliable.
12) I'm thinking of starting a new project while I wait for Titan, but the fans might disapprove because I won't be focusing on MoGi. I do need to keep my self busy while my muse talks to me. Or I will end up crazy from waiting. Yes, my muse is Ucogi. Maybe I'm already crazy.

I was also trying to figure out what happened to my backup files. I was certain that I had a backup HD. It turns out that I had 5 backup HDs during the last decade.
2012 - that HD died when it fell down 1 inch, while running. I lost about 2 weeks of work, specifically the Flash file "Ucogi in snow" (the winter version of the picture above).
2013a - I checked that HD and although it runs, it doesn't open on my PC.
2013b - This HD works. But has my work until, you guessed it, 2013.
2020-2022 - I erased this HD because I wanted space for my photos, and I forgot to replace it.
2022 - The HD that I try to recover for the past 4 months. I'm not satisfied with the results, so I will take it to another technician soon. Hopefully, with Ucogi's help, things will look brighter.

Happy 2023 everyone! And may Ucogi smile upon you!



Monday, October 31, 2022

Waiting for things to happen

I spend most of September in USA. I needed a long vacation for a while now and I had the time of my life. The only thing that was bothering me was my broken hard drive. I also talked to Titan, the MoGi Origins programmer. We didn't meet but he said he will finish every task I gave him, by the time I get back home.

I returned home at the beginning of October and I got Covid. The next 2 weeks I was feverish, in my bed. In all this time the hard drive is being copied by a technician, but veeery slowly. Also, Titan said that he will have something by the end of October. 

And now it's the end of October. The technician tries to save my HD with his machine running non-stop for about 2 months so far, and my programmer hasn't said a word. So, I have no updates and because of all that, my mood is on the floor. 

I was thinking of starting the development of a new Ucogi game while I wait, but at this point I feel tired. I have no energy. And I feel bad about it. I thought that some vacation time was all I needed but... I don't know, I guess I was wrong.

I hope this will change soon.
Thanks for listening.

 

---------------
EDIT (3/11):
I just got some of my HD files. Specifically my work from 2021 and 2022. Most of my work is there but I have seen a couple of empty folders. I assume their contents weren't saved. These folders don't contain any MoGi work, as that was in a different folder. But the next things I'm trying to retrieve are some MoGi maps that I want to work on. Folders 2021-22 are 100GB and took a month to be retrieved. I'm glad that in folder 2022 I have a lot of important code that I was planning to use on my future games.

---------------
EDIT (9/11):
Lately I feel unprecedentedly bad. I have no will to even have creative thoughts. I guess after all the years of waiting and begging for a few lines of code... I finally collapsed. Emotionally and mentally. It's hard for me to admit it, as by doing so, it makes it real. And I'm worrying all of you. My mood may change for the better, as it usually does. But right now I feel unable to be creative and I barely function in my real life. Titan hasn't spoke to me in weeks and that's a huge part of why I feel like crap.




Hopefully this will change soon. 

---------------
EDIT (15/11):
Titan is still nowhere to be found. These where my latest messages, and the realization that this is going on for years... It is taking a huge toll on me. I even called him and it goes straight to voicemail. So I have to move on.

On the bright side, Ivel contacted me and we tried to find out how to work together. We havent found a middle ground yet, but his initiation alone, was just enough to wake me up from my depressing slumber. Currently I'm looking for a decent programmer. I contacted shaunspalding.co.uk but he didn't reply. And now I try to find a GameMaker programmer on fiverr.com

My HD is still in recovery. it will probably take months before I have all my flies back. Until then, I plan to buy a couple of new HDs (100 euros each) and a recovery program (200 euros) during Black Friday. I need the HDs for future backups and the a recovery program to try and salvage anything I can from the HDs that I already have. Something good needs to come out of all this madness.

---------------
EDIT (24/11):
Titan contacted me a few days ago and he calmed my soul. He worked a bit the past 2 months and he managed to do some more work yesterday. Seemingly small stuff, but I'm glad. 

Because of that and other small things that have happened, I'm back in my normal mood. The slightly bad news is that I'm on a strict diet and I have to exercise because of some medical exams that I got. Also, some of my HD data has been recovered, even though it is still a work in progress. I can verify that some of my data is back in my hands, but a few images and files have been lost, probably forever.

Regarding MoGi, I got the "new" Scene Maps, that I made back in 2021. These are flat images of certain areas in the game that I have to re-design. 3 out of 23 images got corrupted, but thankfully I got some older versions of these files. Other than that, I discovered a couple of non-MoGi folders that were completely empty, which means, that their data is lost. The procedure might take months (it's been 3 months so far and there's a lot of data to recover). Some of my work will be lost, but Most of it seems like it's going to get back to me, in time.


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Possible Disaster


Something bad happened. Worst case scenario. At first I didn't want to say anything about this. Not because I wanted to hide it, but because don't want you to worry, until I know more. Because what happened, happened and it is now outside of my control. Also, because talking about it, it makes it even more real. But since I had to announce it on my Patreon, I couldn't hide it here.

The hard drive where I keep my work started malfunctioning, until it stopped responding. I gave it to a specialist to try and recover anything he can. Because of that, I'm not able to post new rewards this month and that's why I had to mention it in Patreon.

The good news is that MoGi Origins is mostly safe. The game is in a server where both me and Titan have access and work on. But there is a lot of important data in my HD, such as plans, dialogues and art that are not in the game yet, due to the various delays. Any bit of data that I lose would be a piece of me that I would never get back.


This is so bad that my brain can't accept the loss just yet. So I try to focus on the positives. Usually I keep backups, but most probably that backup has been overwritten by other data. If that's the case, part of it can be recovered. I have many HDs and I was sure I backup everything, I just can't find it right now. And even if I do find my backup, it must be about a year old, so every new thing I did in 2022, won't be there. I had time to only scan 2 older HDs with Recuva (data recovery software) without any luck.

The damaged HD needs 15 days of slow and deep scan. This should recover many of my files. If that fails, I can try another specialist. Also, I tend to keep many files while I work. So even if I lose Ucogi115.fla, due to disc corruption, there is a good chance that I can still access Ucogi114.fla. So yeah, there's hope. The surface scan currently can save only about 6% of the HD, but the deep scan may as well save over 80% of the content. That's what the tech guy told me.

This procedure would take place during my vacations. So even though it ruins my mood, at least I know I wouldn't be able to work if I was at home. I would just sit around wasting time, doing nothing but waiting in mental agony. Other than that, I hate myself because of how sure and cocky I was with my backups.

I'm sorry that you have to hear all this. I was hoping to tell you after everything is resolved, so that you won't be at the edge of your seats for the next month, like me. I will try to forget about it, because there's nothing to do but wait. I will write more when I have any updates. Hopefully I will get good news. And to think that I wanted to go on vacations and get back full of energy to start working... Now I have this sinister cloud in my mind to deal with, because this is not only my fault but a stupid rookie mistake as well. I really need to escape my own head even more that before. I have devoted my life to these files. Which may sound stupid. But I think I won't be the same person after this. One way or another.

Regarding Patreon, the only thing I could to in order to compensate for the lack of new Rewards, was to share two games that I was working on my free time. EnigmAttic and High School Crush (demo) are semi-educational couch multiplayer games. I programmed them myself in an attempt to start making games without having to lean on other programmers. I was very happy with my progress and the result, even though they never got very popular. This might be the last version of the games, as their data and fate are currently in limbo.

        


Other than that, I proposed to Titan to visit me in my vacations, even for 5 days, so that we can work and can finish up some things, without any distractions. I haven't got a definitive answer since I asked him, 2 weeks ago. Which probably means "no". But I will leave him a document with things to do in my absence. Let's see how that goes.

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Melting heat

It is hard to explain it, but I didn't work a lot during August. I could blame the fierce heatwave, or that I was waiting on other things to happen for the game, or my mood, or that friends visited me as everyone had vacation time and wanted to see me or that I had a lot of real life paperwork to attend to. Or it's just burnout. Which is described as "a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment". I found my self sleeping a lot and feel constantly tired. Even now as I type this.

That said, some progress was made. I bought new music and sound effects. Also Titan made some fixes in Golem's level and the Golem bossfight. I checked them, and they need even more corrections, as usual. Titan said he would figure out a way to work more during August but his plan didn't work out. So, all I got was only a bit of progress after a lot of waiting. Hopefully his plan can work in the months to come. Also, I proposed to him to meet again, even for 5 days, and work together once more. But I'm waiting his response.


In this video you can see the latest problems with Golem. During playtest, she glitched and Voms escaped. Titan explained to me the reason: "What's happening is that you're getting knocked down, not being grabbed immediately, pressing the button, and in the middle of getting up get caught. But you already "escaped" so the escape goes through."

Each MoGI and Boss may break some of the basic programming of the game, and sometimes special exceptions need to be created. Golem is the most recent example of that, and due to her exceptions in the code, new additions need to be made. It's hard to anticipate everything, but that's why we playtest and fix.

I know you all want to play the game, even a new playable demo. Please be patient for a little more. During September I would be absent, as I do need some vacation time and some change of scenery. Hopefully, when I return, Titan would have finish any tasks I have for him, and then it would be up to me to do my part. I still need to add new art and change a lot of the levels myself. I can't wait to return to the game with refreshed mind, spirit and motivation.

I would have more news, most probably on October.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

History and Progress

Here's some of the progress that's been done lately. In this video you can see a few updates, such as the crates, the cheat menu, Alraune's attacks, and Golem's level. 

The crates didn't had precise collision when Voms was stepping on them, and they wouldn't break with Ground Pound. Now they do.

Alra has more constant attacks and shoots 5 projectiles. Originally she had only 2 projectiles and she wasn't very challenging as an enemy.

Golem's level had an experimental double camera (just like Slime Girl Red), but that was slowing the game's framerate. We went back to just 1 camera and the overall fight and the presentation is much better. 

Also, I get hyped listening to the new music!


Of course none of this came easily, as there were many delays on many fronts. My new plan regarding my programmer also failed. I suggested that I pay for an Airbnb for him to stay for 10 days and focus on the game, but that wouldn't work for him. He had a counter-proposal where he could find a few extra days to work... let's hope it would work. Otherwise I would have to start looking for other GM programmers.

Sadly, the delays have no end and I have mentioned this in the past few entries. The progress is there but it's very slow. It is by no means a cause for celebration, but July was this blog's 9th birthday. I'm embarrassed of how long this project is taking to be completed. But I don't know what else I could have done differently. 

Besides the programing delays, if I can try to justify my part, it's because there are 6 playable characters. This is like making 6 different games that overlap in one big complex setting. And every character has story, cutscenes, puzzles to solve and additional details (nudity, sex scenes, Rudy has 3 transformations, etc). The game design was challenging from it's inception. 

Thanks to player feedback we improved the game by adding a map, cheat codes, guides on the map, teleport rooms and more. And even more were added by pledges, such as sex scenes, map scenes, custom Npcs, Survival mode, Time Attack mode, Galleries, Safe mode etc. None of these things were in the original plans, but we had to add them. So, looking back, these extra additions make the game a more complete experience and I'm glad they exist. 

At this point, I need to mention that Titan is a great programmer. He might be slow regarding deadlines, but he was able to do pretty much everything I asked of him. And many of these things were almost impossible to pull. For example, he figured out that the sex scenes can only be shown through a video plug-in, made specifically for Hyper Light Drifter. That solved the white screens a few years ago. As a result, Titan always says "thank you Hyper Light Drifter" when he deals with new sex scenes. Pretty random and funny.

 

- A short history -

Titan, the game's main programmer, contacted me by DeviantArt back in 2013. Soon after we started working on a demo of MoGi Origins, based on characters from my card game MoGi CardFight. Voms was a character we both designed just for this game. Then we started this blog.

By August we had our first demo and by Spring we had a very successful Offbeatr. We wanted to make a small game at first, and in our excitement we promised things that we thought it would be easy to do. But soon reality settled and we realized that we ended up with a mountain of things to deal with.

The original deal was that I would do all the graphics and Titan will be working on everything regarding GameMaker. At first I was designing levels and Titan was tiling them in the game by code! I don't know how that it's possible. Very tedious work. Later, the game showed problems with white memory screens and video playback, but that was thankfully solved. Overall the game was mostly working fine, but it needed a lot work.

2 years later Titan started having personal problems. And from 2015-16 until today the game's progress is very slow. I tried to work around this, so after talking with Titan, I spent a lot of time looking for GM programmers to help us with our project. The process was painful. Everyone I contacted had to pass Titan's test first, to see if they got what it takes. Many were lazy or fakes. And Titan wasn't often available. We had programmer's steal money from us, or doing terrible work (while being expensive), or just wasting our time over and over. Details of all that can be found in this blog.

In 2016 we decided to add an extra attack for Voms, because his gameplay felt flat. That attack was the Ground Pound. In 2016-17 we added 7 sub-weapons and the Swing move that repels enemy projectiles.

In 2017-18 we paid to have level artists do the tiling and programmers to deal with various aspects of the game. This was GM work, so Titan was overseeing this. I wasn't satisfied with the end result. Most of the people working on this were doing the bare minimum and making changes was costly. At least we finished the level naming which was a burden for years.

In 2019 and 2020 I invited Titan to fly and stay with me, in order to finish the game. I insisted that he won't pay for anything during his time here, as he was my guest. A huge chunk of the game's code was finished during Titan's visits, so it was worth it. In any case, some of these solutions worked well, some didn't. This is what they call "development hell". And I live in this hell for far too long.

With all that behind the scenes, it was hard to remain focused and creative. But by 2020 all MoGi (sprites, programing, sex scenes and map scenes) were finished (except Golem and Stheno). Also all playable characters are designed and playable (except Ninjuco). Details for all the above can be found throughout this blog.


During the game's development, little by little, I had to compromise and take on more responsibilities. The graphics were always my department. I gladly took on music and voice acting, even though it needed a lot of research and attention. This blog was Titan's idea but after a while it became my thing as well. Patreon too. Videoposts too. The level tiling in GameMaker is now also my job. So yeah, everything ended up being on me. Furthermore, Titan for personal reasons, forfeited his rights to this game. But he promised to help whenever possible. I'm sure I am missing a few other things that we had to sacrifice for the game's development... oh yes, one other thing is that I had to remove Vor as a playable character. And the seagulls! I made an animated seagull to give some life to the static backgrounds but... I have to let go and focus on the necessary additions until the release.

All that may sound negative but there is a bright side. The game is still going. This may not seem like much, but I can see here in the blog's sidebar that other gamedevs haven't posted anything in months or even years. Furthermore, I had to learn GM and do the levels on my own. Thanks to that I'm not limited by other people's skills, and I also added simultaneous vertical and horizontal parallax to some levels. So, I don't have to burden others for any nitpicking details! And I might have removed Vor, but naked Alice is added as a secret character!

I want you to know that I do the best I can with what I got. For now I have to balance quality with quantity and finish the game with as few compromises as possible, while making the game feel complete and fun.

There's one more thing, if any of you have any info. Does anyone knows how can I get an ITIN or a Ben-8? They are forms I need to fill in order to get MoGi Origins to Steam. I better prepare for this now, than having to wait in yet another thing in the future. 

Thank you all for being around.
-Veins

 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Busy June

A lot of things happened this month. And my hard work starts to show. Although not in directions some of you may like, but let me elaborate. I was working on many personal projects that manage to see the light of day. I know you want to hear about MoGi, but perhaps it's all relevant in a way.

I'm happy to announce that Orphanarium got ranked 1st, in 6 categories, in 2 game jams! And one of the jam's hosts decided to play it and comment on the story. I love his reaction on certain moments, how well he received the game and his on point analysis!

It is a game where I made pretty much everything on my own (except for composing the music and programing the game engine). The story and the graphics can be a glimpse of what I try to do with MoGi, and of what is yet to come.

 



Other than that, some more of my card games were finished, and a few more are near completion. These are games that I slowly work on for years, because their art, rules and shop pages need special attention. This month I managed to release Super Magical Gems with Rudy. Apparently Ucogi's version had offensively sized boobs (according to a few random internet people), so I made an alternative cover, featuring Rudy.

15 Ghosts and Super Magical Gems got their own promo videos and the 3rd game, Rainbow Kings, is something I'm still testing. Rainbow Kings also has an alternative version with Fish instead of Ucogi. Why people are scared of boobs? Why do they judge a book by its cover? Don't they know proverbs?

In any case, I was working on a few digital games as well. Which gave birth to even more ideas. But I'm talking too much and actually I'm supposed to be finding new sfx for Mogi Origins. About Mogi...


My programmer worked for only like 2 days during June. Which sucks, and that's why I keep my self busy. Otherwise I would've driven my self crazy. March's 10-day working deal, lasted for over 100 days. It's always one delay after another and unfortunately the MoGi project has a snails pace. Perhaps you can see why it is so important that I finish and release all these other games. Because relying on others can go on forever. And I like finishing things. My completed games are proof of that.

In any case, my programmer is online now and I should be working with him because this is his "10th day" of working on MoGi. And we have lot's to do: Cyclops sfx, breaking statues, harder Alraune, cheat menus... But I also had to post here. Crazy month!

Oh yes, I also managed to fall off a ladder and hurt my dominant hand. Did that stop me from doing all the above? Not by much! I feel better now. Stupid ladder...



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Slow Progress

I wish I had better news, but the past 2 months the progress was slow. Alice's Ai was a challenge, Titan was very busy, and the voice actress hasn't made Ucogi's voice yet. We are using SourceTree to update the game, and here's the dates and progress we made during April-May.


I know you are all waiting for a beta, or an update. This is painful because I am waiting for things to get done as well. My programmer sometimes promises deadlines that he can't meet for various reasons and that delays the development of the game. This month was very nerve-wracking, as I was waiting and waiting for some progress. The following Skype messages are between me and Titan, the programmer. It shows how days fly by, and sadly that is just a glimpse of the whole story.

All that said, I'm not pointing fingers. I'm explaining the situation. I do have to do many things on my own and this waiting and pressure is killing my creative mood. But I try to keep my chin up and be professional. Some of the challenges I'm facing has to do with the sound. I got some good voice samples but they do need to be edited and placed in the game, and tested and if they are not good enough, I have to repeat the process.

I made a rough video regarding Alice's progress and I tried to show off some of the new sfx. The sound in the video is quite out of synch but it was a hassle to fix, so I left it as it was. Still, you can see the improvements since last month. One of the biggest changes is that the soldiers used to be black and now they are white (in the story, the black soldiers appear later). When progress is made, feels really good. The background looks bad, it's one of the designs that I have to re-do.


This waiting made me think and reconsider. I know now that I need to give the least amount of work to anyone else involved in this project. And to do the best I can with what I got. I have to find a balance what is important and what can be shown in other ways. For example, I wanted to have a mini-boss in the farms, as a story beat, world building and change of pace. I can compromise and have an NPC dialogue, without the fight. Which means that the programmer won't struggle for another 5 days to deal with this, and he can work towards completing more important things.

These are my thoughts for now. What remains to be done? Programming-wise we have to finish Alice, Stheno, Succubus 2 and the ending presentation. The title video needs some sound work as it is out of synch. I need to re-check Succubus, Red and Golem Bosses. We need to add 3-4 dialogue cut-scenes, and a new cheat menu. These are the most important things for now. We are almost at the finish line. 

Of course bugs and corrections are unavoidable, and I do have to fix the design aspects of levels and dialogues. But Voms' timeline is really close to an end. Once the programming is completed, everything else should be a breeze.