Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Pit of Despair

Why don't people make their games with graphic elements more often?  Possibly because it's a giant pain?

I finally exported approximately 8 gazillion layers to individual .png files, then did it again, because if you have any layers non-visible, Photoshop exports an empty file without warning you, loaded those into a NEW experimental game, figured out how to get a text file with just the names of the .png files in the directory (note that it's eight times more complicated than the Mac command), filtered that list through regexer according to Erik's excellent instructions, pasted the ginormous list of doom into my new experimental game, and discovered that my naming conventions for layers, where I noted (front) vs. (back), is incompatible with Inform.  Even when the parenthesis are encapsulated entirely.

I probably should have guessed this, but honestly, I didn't even consider it at the time.  And if I had checked, the Inform documentation would have assured me that "Figure names can consist of any text provided that text starts with the word "Figure"."

The fix is fairly simple theoretically, but every single one of these barriers means more time spent learning new tools (RegExer is not the most straightforward thing to understand), and makes it harder to keep going.  Every time I feel like I'm almost there with the pretty, new issues come up.  It's starting to feel like Zeno's Paradox.

Nevertheless, I finally have moon/sun/stars that I don't hate.  Clouds remain an issue - it's hard to get a consistent look that doesn't look cloned.  None of this is in-game yet, because I hit the point yesterday where I just couldn't deal anymore.  After a while, you just hit a wall, and have to go do something else for awhile.  I have this *way* more with graphics stuff than with internal workings, because I never get into any flow, I never feel like I know how to fix anything straight off, and it just feels like everything gets in my way, which means I stomp around for hours afterwards, feeling sorry for myself.

I have these bottlenecks with code sometimes, too, and the solution is usually to go away and work on something else for awhile.  Here, I *really* just want to be done, though, so I'm going to try to muscle through.

Spring test thrown up in Photoshop; the "bushes" are repurposed tree tops.  Needs more background trees to get the full forest effect, but I like it.  It's kind of kids' art-y, but that's okay. 


  1. Sorry to hear that it's been so annoying. Hope it's some consolation that it continues to look way cool.

  2. Thanks! That is a consolation.

    Honestly, I shouldn't be too grumpy; it's just like every activity is a rock, and under every rock is a nest of centipedes, and under the nest of centipedes is yet another, bigger rock. After awhile it sort of wears you down.