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My Newfound Addiction to an alpha release…


So, Josh, what’s wrong?

So, remember that last article talking about how I hated alpha development games? Yeah, I still do, except now I am addicted to one and it’s a vicious cycle of destruction and rebuilding. This is the second game that I started playing that had hunting/gathering/building/fighting in it where every major update includes a complete server wipe. Although it is very irritating, I finally figured out why I am slowly becoming addicted. How do I know it’s an addiction? 50 hours in 2 weeks. That’s how.

Why am I addicted?

First off, I want to say straight up, I am addicted to Rust. Rust is only in its early development alpha stages with so many updates to fuel it’s ever-changing world. Basically, the game is about survival, friendships, alliances, enemies, fighting, hunting, raiding, and building. As a creative (a term used in the game industry as someone who loves to create using various mediums of art), I feel the need to build amazing bases within Rust. I LOVE to create gigantic creations, but every…single…time I create something amazing, someone always comes by and destroys my beauty. After spending 20 hours building up my first base, I wanted to quit. I gave up for nearly a week after the server never came back online. Therefore, I lost my trust in lasting servers.

It doesn’t stop there. I feel like if I build something in-game, it’s just going to be destroyed and all my time was a complete waste. In reality, yes, all my time spent on that game is a complete waste. I have nothing to show for my 50 hours of gameplay, and that’s pretty sad! Then, I realized, I don’t play Rust to show off my achievements and the beautiful structures I build from the ground up. I play Rust because I have created an amazing community of people who share the same interests. We vary from the builders to the gatherers to the raiders, and everyone is different within our clan. I LOVE IT! I love seeing everyone working together as a unit to make our community grow together.

Conclusion

Wake up, hit some trees, build a base, kill some people, die, rinse and repeat. That’s the development cycle of my addiction to Rust. Even though I know I’m addicted, I still love to play the game, hours at a time! I can thank League of Legends for that ability…but that’s a different story.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Share, like, love, and respond all you want 🙂

Cheers,

Joshua Long

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Alpha/Beta Opt-ins and Releases


Overview

I know I am not the ONLY one who is getting irritated with game developers releasing alpha/beta access to their unfinished pieces of what could be a cool video game idea. If I released every single one of my games in alpha, you guys would have well over 100 games to play developed solely by yours truly! That’s not the case though. Developers are releasing their video games in pre-alpha, alpha, private beta, beta, public beta, etc.

They are snaking you!

Does the public REALLY know what all of those stages of DEVELOPMENT mean though? Maybe not, maybe so. In short, it means that these games are still in development, and the developers are looking for extra development money that publishers normally offer.

My thoughts?

As an indie developer, I would love for people to enjoy my games. Who wouldn’t? I want my players to enjoy my games to their full potential, not pieces of full potential. When you release a video game to the public in a stage that isn’t even near beta, you opt yourself in, as a developer, to unwanted changes to the game. Basically, you get the feedback from the public and then tailor the game towards what THEY want, not what you originally wanted the game to depict. This, in my opinion, ruins the beautiful video game you wanted to share with the public. If you want the public to judge how your game ends up, by all means, please go work in the AAA industry.

An indie game is supposed to tell a personal story. An indie game needs to inform the players about what you truly desire and love. Indie games are an external reflection of our deepest passions as a developer. When you release a game into the public, every little comment (good and bad) goes straight to the heart. Why would you open that wound for people to pour salt into before your idea is even completed? Developers, come on. Think! Just develop your game a little longer before releasing it. Make sign-up pages where people can opt-in for beta testing. Make the release special! Stop giving into the public pressure of getting your game out as soon as your idea hits the paper! I know that over-hyping a game, and then releasing it’s unfinished inbred baby, makes for a really bad taste-in-the-mouth release. Slow down, love what you are making, and then show the public your beautiful new born when you originally intended to show it off.

Conclusion

If this is the direction of indie, then that’s shady: it means the indie developers are making the public (you) stand in as the publisher without all the overhead direction and management…meaning you don’t choose where your money goes towards the development of that game.

Quick Fix: Dragging Icons/files Stopped Working?


Problem

You can’t drag/drop files/folders in Windows 7.

Solution

This sounds too simple to work, but it worked for me:

  1. Find an affected icon.
  2. Click and HOLD the icon with the Left mouse button.
  3. Press Esc while holding the Left mouse button.

Conclusion

That’s it!  This was driving me crazy.  It had nothing to do with registry entries or anything else.  Simply a failed Drag & Drop operation that hadn’t exited.  Even restarting had only worked temporarily, so I suspect my Esc key may have been stuck down or at least the system thought it was!

My particular variant of this problem seems to stem from a failed filed transfer over to Filezilla. Now, this might happen on accident, so I felt it would be something to share.

Credits to: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/c2ddd224-bcc4-45a5-8ada-5c3d767a3881/dragging-iconsfiles-stops-working-on-desktop-and-in-explorer?forum=w7itproui

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Gaming: Improving your eyesight


Overview and Backstory

We all know that as a gamer in this age, our vision is constantly decreasing due to the length of time spent looking at objects very close to our face. Let me be the first to tell you that I have been looking at screens inches from my face since I was 3 years old! My vision has always been pretty bad..but I never knew that! I thought everyone saw the world the same way I did… That is, until the day I started wearing glasses when I was 16. I felt like my eyes have been lying to me my whole life as the world opened up in a new, clear view. Ever since that day, I assumed I had to wear glasses, so I did. I wore my glasses at the computer, in class, while driving, and even at night reading a book. What I didn’t know, is this was making my vision even worse, one activity at a time.

Solution

Ever since I started realizing how bad my vision was every time I took off my glasses, I looked (no pun intended) for ways to improve my vision. Finally, I came upon an amazing article (confirmed by other articles on the MD website) that helped me improve my vision. It’s simple, really:

20/20/20 Rule:

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

This might sound crazy, or a bit off to you, but it WORKS. In just the past 3 days, I have been applying this rule while sitting in front of a computer 16 hours a day, and I no longer require glasses to sit back in my chair and write code. I can play games, write code, and enjoy movies now on my screen without wearing my glasses 10 inches from the monitor. That of course depends on the monitor itself – there are quite some goods ones on GamingBuff.com.

Stretch:

Again, a very weird way to put this…you need to stretch your eyes.

Just like any other muscle, your eyes need to be stretched periodically. You can do this by looking side-to-side, up and down. Make sure you stretch them though, but not toooooo much! This will help improve their flexibility and expand their range outside of the small little box that you look at all day.

Keep Hydrated:

Your eyes need to be hydrated (or have some moisture) in order to function at their fullest.

You know when your head starts to hurt after being at the computer so long? Yeah, that’s because you need to stretch and hydrate those eyes! It WILL help. Keeping them hydrated will also allow for your vision to stay much more clear.

Conclusion

You may be skeptical about this information, and if you are, don’t follow it. I just wanted to share with you something that worked for me. In just the past 4 days, I have gone from needing glasses at my monitor 10 inches away from my face to lounging back and coding 2-3 feet from my screen.

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League of Legends and Skype Issues – FIXED


Overview

So. League of Legends and Skype have been fighting over something very near and dear to me lately. Everytime I open League of Legends during the time I have Skype open, League of Legends doesn’t want to continue with the login. Why is that might you ask? I had no idea until today!!

Skype has a hidden option that you may not know about. There are some ports on your computer that need to be open in order for applications to run nice and easy…well Skype was taking those ports for itself and not wanting to share with anyone else…how RUDE. So, I am providing a fix.

Problem:

  1. Can’t Login to League of Legends while Skype is running.
  2. League of Legends gets a lot of lag while in-game

 

Fix:

To turn off and disable Skype usage of and listening on port 80 and port 443, open the Skype window, then click on Tools menu and select Options. Click on Advanced tab, and go to Connection sub-tab. Untick or uncheck the check box for Use port 80 and 443 as an alternatives for incoming connections option. Click on Save button and then restart Skype to make the change effective.

I can’t believe you would do such a thing skype…

 

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Review: Make It Stop – By North Suns Entertainment


Make It Stop


Click your way through each level as you discover the true meaning of insanity. This game is packed with 20 levels of puzzles that will keep you busy for hours as you test your skills in patience and spatial recognition.

Feel free to download the demo and give the first few levels a shot!

Screenshots

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Gameplay Video

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North Suns getting some changes


A “new” beginning for old ends

Hello everyone, it’s about that time of year where everything shiny comes out and North Suns isn’t going to be skipping this one either! We have some new games in the air, a new change to development, and even a new website to show all of those changes coming your way! Why stop at making a new year resolution? Why not go all the way and start working on that resolution by giving the public what they deserve? I would like to introduce to you, THE NEW BLOG!

What about the old blog content?!

I already took the liberty in importing the old posts, so don’t you worry about losing some of those beautiful articles you once loved! Make sure to bookmark www.gamedesignstorm.com and keep up-to-date with the news for North Suns Entertainment!

I know, your next question is, “Why are you calling yourself ‘Game Design Storm?'” My answer to that is simple: I thought it sounded cool as a developer blog name.

What can you expect to find on this blog:

  • North Suns Entertainment updates
  • Game development progress on your new favorite games by Joshua Long
  • Great articles about the game industry that I found in my random searches
  • Tutorials on creating games
  • All around fun content

 

Please feel free to let me know what you think jlong@north-suns.com. If you want to write content for the blog, please shoot me an email and we can talk about getting you publisher status up in here!

Where is all this new content you are talking about?

Sooo….speaking of new content, have you seen the new design that we have coming out for the website?

www.north-suns.com

 

Cheers!

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Why I’m NOT getting CoD: Advanced Warfare


Why I’m NOT getting CoD: Advanced Warfare
This darn game was hyped so much from the new live action trailers to the great and amazing actors/voice actors Activision snagged. I decided to check this game out on a popular website Twitch.tv to see what all the noise was about. I was sad that, yet again, Advanced Warfare managed to be the EXACT same game…again. WAIT! I lied, there is an entirely new and amazing character customization system that makes such a huge impact on how online First-person gameplay should actually play!..not.

While watching someone live stream their gameplay online, I noticed that not a darn thing has changed in the mechanics of the game from the kill streaks, to the shitty aiming system and sway that makes absolutely no sense. There are some smooth camera movements when it comes to aiming down your sites, or transitioning from a scope to hip-fire. It’s so great that they gave the player more mobility to the player…what the hell is the point of making the player movement like Titanfall’s movement system?! Yet another pointless mechanic added to the gameplay that takes away from the focus of team-based gameplay and firefight.

In conclusion, this is the shortest review of a game I have not played. As a designer, I feel like I need to play it to give a better analysis, but I know my fanboy inside will love the game no matter what since it connects me to some great memories. Redbox might get a few dollars out of me if they offer this game, otherwise, I may not bother getting this game and go spend my money on a different type of game! I just had to rant, because I was expecting something different.

Cheers.

MS Word Post – Loving 2013!


So I finally gave in and subscribed to the new Office 365 to see what all the hype was about. To my surprise…I LOVE THE NEW PROGRAMS! Everything is new-feeling, and it’s making me what to upgrade to windows 8. We will see what is to come… I still don’t know if I trust all my development for software and video games will be compatible with windows 8, so I am holding off for now.

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Who Lives Nextdoor?


Who Lives Nextdoor?

We live in a world of darkness in society today. We have no idea who lives in the apartment next to us until one day we accidentally run into each other as we open our doors at the same time. Often times, those moments are followed by an awkward smile, a wave and a swift goodbye. In those times, we really find out who we have been annoying this whole time with obnoxious noise late at night, laughter early in the morning, and banging around when we are moving furniture. Well, on that very day I finally met my neighbors, they were moving out. I had only lived in my current apartment for 3 months, yet this was the first time I met them. Even in their last moments living there, the standard awkward smile, wave, and a swift goodbye followed my first and last interaction with them.
A few days ago, after the painters, the cleaners, and the managers all came by to make sure the apartment was ready to go, I noticed a new neighbor moving in. One early evening I came home to notice a lonesome, but beautiful creature scoping out the apartment, getting ready to take over their new home. I laughed as I passed by and told them not to get to comfortable. Only but a few more days pass and I notice that same creature standing outside the door as though they were planning some kind of break-in. Under my breath I said to myself, “I sure hope they don’t plan on staying.” Finally, as I came home from the gym, I noticed that my new neighbor finally moved in. There she was, gleaming in the dark as my headlights flashed up onto the porch. Hanging, in the middle of the air, a spider the size of my hand found serenity in this new location. I pulled out my phone to shine a flashlight on the spider only to be shocked by the massive size of her web. She stretched her home all the way from the front door to the edge of the porch, top to bottom, all the way to the middle section between her new home and my apartment. The light couldn’t capture the entire web in the night’s darkness, but I knew then that this beautiful and majestic spider was waiting for the old tenants to move out so she may claim her new home right before the winter.
Cheers,
Joshua Long

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