No news is good news…

Posted by | Posted in Game Development, Life, Pioneer | Posted on 27-09-2012

This may be a little rambling as I don’t really have anything solid to discuss but it seems some people read this now more than LJ or G+ so here goes!


I had an interview at Crytek last week on Thursday, actually a week ago today – go me and my ability to remember what day it is! The interview seemed to go well, the programming test was apparently good too, we chatted and got on ok and although I vacillate about absolutely every single decision I ever make I would like to work on their tech in the tools department. It’s got lots of upsides compared to regular gameplay coding, the possibility of going home at a reasonable hour regularly being one of them, but more than that it’s because the CryEngine tools are fucking amazing with lots of shiny shiny cool things in them!

They were supposed to get back to me at the start of the week to let me know if I’ve made it through to the 2nd stage of interviews but erm… they haven’t. I guess this is just because they’re very busy, which they seemed to be on the day of the interview, but of course it does leave you hanging in limbo for a while.

This is becoming a bit of a theme actually and yes, I am getting bitter about it. Of the last, ooh, 9 jobs applied to Crytek were the only ones to actually reply at all. The others? I don’t even know if they received my application, my CV, anything.

So that’s the job front covered, 1 interview, 8 places ignoring me, ooh no sorry, 9 places ignoring I forgot about another one near Leamington Spar!


Hows the money situation going then? Well I, along with many other ex-Monumental Games Ltd staff, finally received the compensation claim from the liquidation of assets. At last some cash eh… I was owed ~£980 so I was really hoping this would come through and maybe help out with the mortgage a bit and when the cheque arrived I ripped open to envelope to discover I had been given … £13.78! Yes, amazing eh, what a waste of time that was. Dave was owed over £2100 so he got about £30, just… so pointless. Mortgage still screwed then.

Which is a double shame because I really bloody want the new Halo 4 which is due out on November 6th! Dammit need a job FAST!

Fun stuff:

Danni and I went to the National Space Centre down in Leicester last weekend. I’ve been wanting to go ever since I discovered it was there a couple of years ago and finally we got the chance so Danni treated me. It is totally aimed at kids from 5 to 13 it seems but that’s fine with me as my mental age is probably somewhere between those two figures (do be kind in your judgements). I got some photos and played on lots of the exhibits AAAAAAND there’s a cool planetarium which made me feel dizzy and queasy but was worth it anyway, there’s also a couple of rocket assemblies, boosters and things which sit above the food hall area. Skipped the last bits with a simulator ride and some other bits as I was getting a bit worn out (past my nap time obviously). I can recommend taking along a child or any adult like me :) I wish we’d been able to take Tom actually – for those who don’t know him, Tom is not a child, he’s my age but… similarly… brain-ed.

Other than that I’ve been hacking away on Pioneer and trying to get my brain around water/ocean rendering from space (SPAAAAACE) which is a fiendishly tricky thing to understand actually, which is why I’m still working on it. On the plus side I’ve gotten lots of other things into the upcoming version of Pioneer so that’s keeping me motivated and coding away. I should probably be making a log actually because there’s a bunch of Pull Requests that have made it in like these:

  1. Commodity Icon Size
  2. Add the Achernar star system from FFE
  3. Fix the VC2010 project files
  4. Another fix for the VC2010 project files, this time re-adding Lua!
  5. Vertex cache optimisation and GeoSphere render call reduction
  6. New Visual Studio 2012 Express Edition solution and projects.
  7. Add support for compressed textures.
  8. Updated the vc2012 3rd party libs/pdb files for ogg and vorbis

Then there’s the ongoing work which is only:

That ones taking a while because of a few reasons, the simplest one is that I want to make as small a change as possible that enables the minimum functionality and get it into the game. This is because I just don’t know where the idea/system is going to go design wise. No-one does which is why no-one has wanted to do the work in the first place. The trouble is that it means there’s not really a lot there to discuss other than the choices I’ve made which I’ve only made to give us a minimum working system to then build on. I fully accept that it’s probably not what we might eventually want, but it’s meant to be a starting point rather than an end because currently… there just isn’t anything.

There’s a load of branches that I’m playing around with too but they’re just work in progress stuff and me pratting around trying to figure things out.


Summary? Wtf is this a report or a blog? Oh right yes this is a bit reporty isn’t it, damn.

Well that’s my life at the moment anyway, awesome isn’t it, behold the life of a games programmer, please leave a donation in my upturned hat on your way out :)

Comments posted (5))

  1. how about implementing some simple game-theory into faction spread?

  2. how about implementing some simple game-theory into faction spread?

    Maybe, at the moment there’s some code that allows the sphere of influence to slowly expand, my plan after that was to calculate a system founding date based on when it would have entered the sphere. Then I could change the population of the system, whether worlds had been terraformed, or we in the process of being terraformed, and increase the number of orbital stations etc.

    The idea being that you could visit a system early in the game and it would be a frontier, newly colonised, come back after a few hours gameplay and years would have passed and there’d be a few space stations and early terraforming, return a decade later and it might be a major trade hub etc.

    All easily determined by a factions date of founding and it’s rate of expansion.

  3. talking about being trading hubs, that reminds me of some research that was done a while back, that showed that either fungus or bacteria recreated a fairly typical transport map of a country (I forget whether it was the US or UK) by placing resources at each point. If you assign resources to a system and then strengthen that based on it is a route to get resources from one place to another, that could be interesting (since there would be hop on and hop off points when jumping around systems)

  4. The question for me then is what does that add to the gameplay? It also means storing a lot more information about the current state of the galaxy in the save file.

    You’d need to start simulating that fungal spread across all of the inhabited volumes of space in the game, which could be millions of stars. Then you’d have to store that information along with each save file.

    A lot of people have ideas for story, or for RTS style dynamic galaxies and things but I’m not personally interested because I don’t see what they add to the gameplay.

  5. well i suppose it depends on what the gameplay actually is. I found games like X-beyond the frontier quite interesting as you could really strongly manipulate the markets in those games – though they had the advantage that they were relatively small in terms of numbers of quadrants. Conversely one of the downsides of elite-like-games are that yes, there are hundreds of billions of stars you can go to, but large numbers of essentially identical systems isn’t that interesting, and the vast majority of the time you just end up staying in a relatively small area.