2016 wasn’t (probably now I can write this instead of “hasn’t been” =)) very productive for me in the fields related to my work. We have released “Cloud Pirates” but mostly it was just scheduled, not very creative process: you get a task – you try to complete it on time. You have a bug – you try to fix it and don’t add a dozen new ones. I was responsible for all things related to graphics and for a big part of gameplay code, plus, after the release date for the project had already been set and we began cleaning stuff up, I was also fixing bugs in the interface part (even got familiar with lua).
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time for the personal project, however:
I learned a bit about vulkan and I’d like to work with it more in 2017;
Implemented volumetric fog that was described in the beautiful Bart Wronski’s presentation;
Tried to implement a PBR;
Implemented a functioning LPV prototype;
Used a geometry shader for the first time =) and learned about other smaller but useful things (such as glEnable(GL_DEPTH_CLAMP) I mentioned earlier).
And a small list of my plans on 2017 (in additional to those): vulkan, learn a new programming language (rust, probably?), do a proper math course and algorithms course.
I did write about Asuka-senpai already, but yesterday we finished Hibike Euphonium! 2 and I once again got a reason to mention her. After the second season of “Euphonium” Asuka for me has started looking like a character who might be a role model. Yes, she isn’t ideal, the anime emphasizes that constantly. She is selfish; she can easily say something unpleasant to other people, directly though, without hiding behind the back of the club’s president or others; she is on her own and doesn’t allow anyone to get closer.
But Asuka is strong. Even when she has problems she acts in such way that her problems shouldn’t make any impact on others. Talking about problems: she doesn’t just go with the flow, instead Asuka looks for possible solutions and tries as hard as she can to get over all the difficulties. And she always smiles. No wonder that near the end of the show Kumiko totally changed her opinion about the senpai and even fell in some kind of weird Kumiko’s love with her (although Kumiko is one of few people who did have a chance to know Asuka better).
Proceeding with the results of 2016 the next step is: books and games.
My choice of the book of the year is Redshirts.
This science fiction novel written by John Scalzi tells us a story about several crew members of the spaceship Interpid. Their initial enthusiasm about getting positions on the most famous ship in the Universe is quickly replaced with perplexity and then – with suspicions. Too many people die during away missions. And what is even more suspicious – few officers always survive those missions including ones where the only possible outcome should’ve been their death. Adding up the strange methods of how officers usually report to their superiors, impossible devices that do impossible things and other unexplainable stuff – all this can have only one explanation. Everything around our heroes is a sci-fi show. And not the hi-quality one, to be honest. Unfortunately, they aren’t the main characters in this show and sooner or later they’ll have to die. Because this is how it works.
Don’t be too skeptical about “Redshirts”, I’m just a bad reviewer =) This book is written really well, it’s a fun read and it exploits a relatively fresh idea about people who find out that they were created or put somewhere just to entertain other people who want to relax watching TV or reading a book.
The best game this year for me is Divinity: Original Sin, although we haven’t explored even a half of its world. “Divinity” has proved that old-school RPGs are still alive and well. It looks beautifully, dialogs are really nice, turn-based combat mechanics offers everything we can dream of. But the most important thing is that we can play together and this immediately gives “Divinity” several bonus points.
Bugs, bugs, need to fix as soon as possible or (it’d be desirable) immediately. That’s not the problem itself, bugs are an inseparable part of our work after all. But I can’t get focused on them because every 30 minutes I need to be available for conversations or consultations. At such pace I’ll end up just roaring at anyone who happens to be nearby.
Just want to fix everything already and go on holidays to recharge the batteries.
I’m not going to count hours until the next volume of “Drifters” manga is released and probably that isn’t going to be the same as with “Hellsing” when we watched every new OVA episode as soon as it had been translated. But I still look forward to the second season – characters are great (and mad) and make us look up the details of their biographies on the Internet, the story is OK but what’s most important is that Hirano does have his unique style. Weird and bloody – but unique! It’s impossible to confuse his way of drawing and I really admire how he manages to put humorous scenes in the generally dark and brutal story.
Our heroes. They look smart and reliable, don’t they?
And one more thing about characters – it seems sometimes that Hirano doesn’t know anything about being correct from any point of view (social, historical and so on) and in the Drifters’ world it’s a very useful feature. Do you think you know who Jeanne D’Ark was? C’mon, she is just a totally crazy woman who burns everything of her way. Oda Nobunaga? He’s a pervert and a maniac who wants to gather as much power as he can. Count of St. Germain? Well, he is a nice guy (guy?) who can’t hide his passion to half-naked men. And all of them, ALL, are shown from a side you wouldn’t have expected.
Tried out a VR adventure in a mall for the first time. Interesting feeling – you do know that everything around you is unreal but your brain still believes in it. The only way for me to remember that I’m still in the game was to look at a neighbor – their models were so primitive that they could immediately pull you out. Anyway, it’d very interesting to check out the games like Resident Evil – they’re going to be really scary.