Rocket League: My Latest Addiction

Rocket League

So today marks 150 hours of my life spent playing Rocket League. Only a couple of weeks after the game’s launch on the 7th of July, I was fortunate enough to try it at a friend’s place. After just half an hour of play, I was hooked. The moment I got home that night, I hopped online and paid the £15 asking price with absolutely no hesitation. No waiting for Steam sales or deep discounts, I knew I would get my money’s worth on this purchase (and boy did I). Since then I’ve played Rocket League almost every day, and I’m still loving every second of it. Not bad for a game that’s basically football with rocket-powered cars. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Question On Sound Design

Recently I had one someone ask me about the nature of my sound work on Starbound and by the time I was done writing my comment, I realized I’d provided such a detailed answer that I may as well share it here in case it was of interest to anybody else.

“So, what kind of sound design do you do for Starbound? Just any random sounds that need to be made? It would be awesome to see a Starbound development video of you doing some sound mixing or whatever it is you do.

Also, why aren’t you a music composer for Starbound too? :3″
– Sol Ritzow

Right now, sound design is one of those duties I tackle whenever there’s a pressing need or can afford to spare the time to do it. It tends to be deemed one of the less critical areas at this stage of the game’s development, and I almost always have my hands full with a tasks that are critical to getting the game to a finished state. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Design, Games, Starbound | 1 Comment »

The Challenges Of Game Development: An Amateur’s Perspective

Before I get started, I’d like it made clear that everything I write here is purely my own personal opinion, based off my own experiences. This is my blog after all, this is where I write to express myself when no other outlet feels appropriate at the time. Nothing I say in this space should be taken as being representative of Chucklefish or its staff. With that said, I hope you find this perspective interesting.

Like many things in life, I’ve found my work as a game developer to be a constant learning experience. Often it has involved learning practical things that are directly relevant to my work, like honing my understanding of JSON and Starbound’s systems in order to get the results I desire. Sometimes it has meant learning more difficult lessons, like knowing when and how to distance myself emotionally from negative feedback, and trying not to take it personally.

Honestly, this can be difficult at times. When negativity is directed at something you’re so passionate about, something you’ve spent years of your life working on, it can feel like someone is criticizing you directly as a human being. When faced with negative attitudes, I try instead to focus on the legitimate criticisms that often lie behind them, and then assess whether or not they are something I can reasonably address.

A good example would be simply looking at Starbound’s steam page. At time of writing, 92% of the reviews given to our game are marked as positive, which is great! It makes me happy to think so many people are enjoying our game! But you wouldn’t think that to be the case if you scrolled down and saw the large number of negative reviews dotting the front page. My first reaction naturally being to ask, why?

Upon deeper investigation, the criticism of these reviews largely seems to stem from the total decline in stable updates for the game. As we’ve continued to work on Starbound behind the scenes, the people who have supported our game are eager for more content as soon as possible. This criticism comes from a place of passion, and our players simply want what they were promised. This is a criticism I can understand, and even empathize with.

Those who have been following the game for some time would likely know that we tried doing updates on a weekly basis at first. It led to many expressing dissatisfaction with the amount of content they were receiving in this piecemeal fashion and honestly, it limited us as developers in many respects, especially having to make sure that anything we put out to the public was working without disrupting the cohesive and otherwise-functional whole. These weekly updates were ultimately scrapped in favor of our current system of writing regular daily updates and our nightly build that allowed people to peek behind the curtain, if they were so inclined.

I for one have quickly begun to see the benefits of the “when it’s done” philosophy that many higher caliber studios like Valve and Blizzard have been using for years. The upside of this approach is that when our next stable update does hit, it’s going to be packed with loads of new stuff for our players to check out. The downside is it that it can mean a lengthy wait, as it has done, which understandably can be frustrating to our players. I’m still waiting for that Half-Life 3 announcement myself!

I think the greatest lesson I have taken away from this whole experience, and the thing that I want to convey most, is that game development is hard.

But boy do I love it.

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Sven Plays is back!

Hello folks! Things are still going great over here in the land of tea and crumpets! As usual I’ve been kept busy with my work on Starbound. I’ve even been posting daily updates on a regular basis over on the game’s website. That said, Starbound isn’t the only thing I’ve been working on. I’ve finally returned to my YouTube channel with new Sven Plays episodes, starting with Outlast: Whistleblower!

The haitus ended up being a good deal longer than I anticipated but I decided it had been long enough and I should just get some stuff out there again. This has required some caveats on my part, which may or may not rear their heads as time goes on. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Games, Life, Sven Plays, Videos | No Comments »

Life, Work & Games In London

It’s been nearly four months now since I moved to the UK. I’ve settled pretty completely into my new London lifestyle, and honestly I’m a little surprised at how easily that change has come about. I guess I didn’t feel like I’d handle the transition as well as I did, being away from my family and friends in Australia is a big change after all. Luckily I already had a bunch of good friends waiting for me when I arrived.

My work in the Chucklefish office has been an absolute pleasure. I never go in feeling like I don’t want to be there, and often hang back late to finish up whatever I’m working on. My productivity on Starbound has improved markedly, especially since I’m now able to get support for any issues I run into very quickly because I can turn around and ask a programmer right then and there, rather than waiting for a fix to come several hours later. Everyone’s honestly just been really great to spend time with, in and out of the office.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Chucklefish, Games, Life, Starbound | 3 Comments »