Luna Base, a loss in the team, Humble Reminds Me...
This is a good and bad update. I've been off the project for a little bit (you'll see why shortly), and am back on things now. So, let's start off with the bad part.
A Loss in the Team
Schedule always slows me down on Jumpman Forever - I'm having to keep contract gigs coming in to keep going.
Then, well, I left the project nearly entirely for a bit. Some of it was schedule stuff still, but a big part since the end of December was that I was avoiding the game (and Crucible) entirely.
When I went after doing the Kickstarter, part of the goal was to use it as a training tool, to teach someone new skills. Even the engine I picked was centered around an idea: Jeff Wilson made a great story teller, an OK artist, and an amazing GM. Basically, he had the makings of a game developer.
Jeff had gotten laid off many years ago, and started facing health problems (that I won't go into, but a number of long hospital stays were involved.)
Jeff passed in mid-December from health complications that arose surrounding a surgery (simplifying it there), and after that point, I simply quit loading up the game to work on it. Jeff was a close friend - we referred to each other as brothers (a big thing to me - I have no biological brothers, and it's not a word you'll hear me use very often.)
Jeff had a wife and four kids (my god-children) that are left in the wake of this tragedy.
This may sound callous, but: Jeff never quite made it far enough to be an integral part of the team. The loss here is emotional on my part (and the part of quite a few friends and family), and not a show stopper. Just, for a while, every time I'd look at opening the game to work on it, I'd end up going and doing something else.
Jeff, my friend, my brother, you will be missed.
Luna Base stuff
So, to go along with this, I thought I'd post some good news, and some update information.
Luna Storage Base is one of the two new environments for Jumpman 1.2. And you can't have storage without crates :-)
Nope, this isn't standard "break a crate, find something in it" type FPS stuff. This is old school. In fact, yet again, I was having to override the standard engine physics to do things the way I wanted them:
Jumpman can push the crates around, etc., just like you'd expect. But, I keep the old school style of doing things - as long as there's some contact on the bottom of the crate above, it stays. Now, I'm not revealing Luna Storage Base's environment in this picture - it's just a copy of Level 1 of Jupiter Station used as a testing spot - but showing off the physics of it. And I'll leave the major enemy theme that occurs for Luna for another day. ;-)
(If you're wondering what the color bars above Jumpman's head is: it's just used for testing for states and collisions.)
Now, knowing that dropping a box on Jumpman kills him, and the way the physics work, you can get a rough idea of some of the puzzles involved in one of the levels already. But, how it all interacts with the environment? That's gonna drive you nuts on some levels. Perfect. :-)
Oh, and Luna Base is one of the first not to use Alienator bullets extensively. This has a completely new enemy, and a re-used old one, along with the puzzle aspect to keep the player moving.
Of course, there's a host of new stuff in the upcoming update, and some fixes in there. Bats have been tweaked again. New intro (much nicer than the starfield, and keeps the old retro C64 feel). New menus. Minor tweaks to Jumpman and Red's behaviors. Tightened up code here and there. The new set of beginners levels. Adjustments to Jumpman's run animation (which I said I wasn't going to touch again till 2.0. Guess I'm wrong.)
In fact, it would be danged hard at this point for me to give you a complete change list. There's been so much that been overhauled on this.
Humble Reminds Me...
So, going along, minding my own business, when I get an email from Humble Bundle, Inc. I use their widget on JumpmanForever.com to sell copies (but, Jumpman Forever doesn't appear in the Humble Store, nor has it ever been featured in a bundle. After 1.2, let's see if we can fix that... ;-)
It's a case of fire and forget: I put it up, and forgot to check stats on it for quite a while.
Well, the email was "Hey, you'll be getting your ACH transfer from this soon..."
Uh, what? Oh, yeah - I made money on it. Typically, most of my sales come from MidnightRyder.com (which is slowly getting an overhaul. Very. Slowly.), so I hadn't even thought about it. And, it came at a good time.
And, while the money is nice (it's not much - I'm not setting in Tahiti right, but instead, freezing in Kansas), it served as a reminded to get back to work. I needed to blow off the funk I've been in over it, no matter what. The show must go on. Not have people purchased Jumpman Forever, or bought into the Kickstarter, but people are still actively picking up the game.
Time to make the updates, and start making this really rock.
One more thing...
Just a reminder for all Kickstarter backers, in case you've forgotten: