Friday 12 February 2010


Have installed a compiler on my wife's computer. It's slow, but I will be able to make some progress. Have fixed one bug already. May need to install Blender as well.

Who knows, maybe working on an old and slow machine that can't run anything will encourage me to make some optimisations.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

2-year old receipt?

So I'm having to prove that my computer's still under warranty, it being more than two years after date of MANUFACTURE, but not date of SALE; the manufacturers don't have a record of the sale. So I'm expected to dig up a receipt from two years ago, having moved house three times since then.

I'm pretty sure I kept it (or at least intended to), but where would I have put it?

Monday 8 February 2010


I still don't have my computer back; in fact the repair status is still "received, waiting to start repair".

Someone told me recently that it's never too early to have a decent website with videos and screenshots, so I've done some work on that. Needs better screenshots and a nicer looking title at the top. I'll probably try to make a better video soon too. Still, it's a big improvement over "THIS IS A PLACEHOLDER".

This is all just displacement activity though.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Igromania Article

The January edition of Igromania (a Russian videogames magazine) did a feature on IGF entrants, where they picked from the list the ones they thought looked coolest. Vertex Dispenser was featured, but a misprint left it looking mysterious with just a name and a picture, and text from a different game. The text is now up on their website, at Goodness knows what it says. Here's Google's attempt at a translation:

The website IGF Vertex Dispenser accompanied, perhaps, the most ambiguous in the abstract world: "Inspired by the mathematics of real-time strategy. Rapid action and puzzle-solving. Excellent use of a simple geometric 3D-graphics. However, this is perhaps a comprehensive description for this game.

Let's start with "excellent use of simple geometric 3D-graphics. At Vertex Dispenser (literally translated as "dispenser tops") game space is really divided into equilateral triangles, and can move only at their tops. The main character (in his role as advocates device, remotely resembling a vacuum cleaner) is able to emit a special laser that turns the peaks in the desired color. Color all the vertices of a triangle in a certain color, you are capturing this space, and then controlled from the center of the field leaves expressive gun.

At first glance, it strongly resembles another variation on the theme Tower Defense, with only isosceles triangles. However, the key issue here - not how fast you can grab yourself an impressive space, and how much space you decide to take. Inappropriate vertex may lead to the fact that your whole area will be in the twinkling repainted in the colors of the enemy's flag. That is "rapid shooter" is also present. As for the "puzzle-solving", then levels are responsible for them. At regular triangles author manages to break everything: the scope, volume circle, a giant cube, and then indulges in all serious and displays the articulation of shapes to choose the right strategy to capture that is not possible. Along with Fig8 and Proun this game - our clear favorite of IGF 2010. C look forward to the release.

WHAT IS IT? Tower Defense, where the production of the right strategy you will need spatial imagination and a basic course of geometry.


Babelfish's translation is much worse, but gives the title as “the measuring hopper of apexes”, which is awesome.

Monday 1 February 2010


Why is Vertex Dispenser taking so long to get finished?
When someone asks how long I've been working on it, the simplest answer is "three years", since I first started some version of it in early 2007. But it's not like it's been three years of solid work (even solid hobby-project level work), because in that time (apart from writing a Masters thesis, moving to England, starting a PhD, spending periods of time failing to achieve anything much due to illness or depression, getting married, and having a life) I abandoned it for a while then took it up again, made a few other smaller games and started several others that I didn't finish, so it's more like two years, if that. Even so, that's much longer than I'd expected. The difficulty of completing a project seems to increase disproportionately with scale, and the saying about the last 10% being 90% of the work seems about right. Plus I just haven't planned on selling a game before - it was in a state I'd have been happy to release as freeware some time ago. I do think it's quite hard to finish full games when not working on them full-time.

But it really is quite close now. Here's my schedule of what I'll be working on once I get my computer back:

- The campaign levels are too hard, so right now they're more of a challenge than a tutorial. I have a plan for what I think needs to be done for the first part at least (need more playtest data for the second part still). When I've made these changes, I'll need to playtest again on some fresh victims, and probably will have to go through another iteration if it's still not working right. (I should have playtested on non-mathematician gamers sooner, but I just didn't realise there'd be such a difference.)

- Multiplayer has a couple of bugs still. Sometimes it detects as being out of sync when it isn't, and sometimes there's a crazy spike of lag for no apparent reason. (Also, it's a primitive system where you connect to the host by typing in their IP address, and the host has to forward a port on their router, etc. It'd be nice to improve on this but I don't know how and probably won't; current system is perfectly usable.)

- Sort out sales, distribution, etc. Figure out what to put in the demo. Then release it.

(There are some other aspects I could improve, like UI and audio, but I'm not going to because I'd rather get it finished and start on something new.)

So this isn't actually much work, when I have the time and hardware to do it. I'd like to give an estimated time it'll take, but the main bit is the playtesting iteration, which is partially out of my hands, and will take an unknown number of steps. Upper bound of two months, I'd say. Looking forward to it.