Iron59 Plays Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

With all my fascination in gaming, it’s quite ironic that I haven’t tried Dungeons & Dragons until a week ago. Thanks to my former colleagues in Anino, we had a really fun D&D session. For those of you who weren’t curious enough to search about D&D, it’s a  fantasy tabletop role-playing game. As players, you take the role of a character with a specific class as you typically see in a RPG like Barbarian, Wizard, Rogue, etc. Players will be gathered as a party to take on quests in a story and universe created by the dungeon master or DM for short. The DM should be knowledgeable enough with the game’s rules and mechanics as stated in the player and DM handbook. He/She will weave the story and all the possible outcomes depending on the result of the players’ dice rolls. I’ll go into further details as I write about my experience, from the preparation to the actual game proper. Here it goes…

Creating a Character

Prior to playing the game, you should make a character first. If you will read the player’s handbook, the character has lots of customization options from race to class. I was a bit overwhelmed at the start when I’m trying to create one since each class and race are rich with details that could really affect my character’s skill sets. Good thing our DM is ready to assist us with the creation process. Since I’m a big fan of Martial Arts, I decided to go with a Monk. Just like in other RPG’s, your character has stats, and each class focuses on specific parts of your stats. For Monks, the skills depend on Wisdom which is needed to read people and situation, and Dexterity for agile movement and quick reflexes. There are other attributes like armor class and initiative, but I won’t delve too much into these stuff since this post is not meant to be an in-depth guide :P. Instead, I recommend that you watch this video to know more about the character creation.

The video guide above is considerably long, but that’s because the character has much depth in D&D. It may seem a bit tedious if you do it by hand, but once you laid out the necessary info, it will be easier to follow through. For our group, we use the mobile app 5th Edition Character Sheet. All you need to do is plug in the values for your character profile, and it will lay down the info for you. The premium version of the app lets you level up your characters and update the attributes accordingly. It even has its class-specific options like for my Monk, it lets me choose the Monastic Tradition and the skills that I want to increase from this choice. It’s very handy, especially during the actual game session. By the way, I chose the Way of the Four Elements for my  monastic tradition so that he will resemble the Avatar. Just sayin’ XD.

5th Edition Character Sheet mobile app

5th Edition Character Sheet mobile app

Beyond the stats and skill sets, I also created a backstory for my character. With a few tweaks to blend with our DM’s created story and universe, I was able to complete my character’s profile. I can’t share the story here since it might spoil our DM’s plans for the next session :P. Besides, being role-players that we are, we behave based on what we know about the other characters. Actually, one of the players is suspicious of my sudden appearance (this is just in-game, no personal conflicts whatsoever, LOL).

Game Proper

Our D&D session plays every end of the month, so that there’s enough time for our DM to create the next part of the story and the quests that go with it. I attended the fifth session, so our DM had to update me of what happened during the first four episodes. With all the confirmed players present, we proceeded to Moonleaf + Bunnies Cafe for our D&D session. This is a boardgame cafe, so customers can try their tabletop games like Cards Against Humanity (*chuckles*). They offer different types of milk tea and pastries.

Our D&D Session in Moonleaf+Bunnies Cafe

Our D&D Session in Moonleaf+Bunnies Cafe

The game starts with the party discussing what items to bring for the mission. A story character has been kidnapped, and it’s up to the party to save her. I’m amazed with the amount of detail that has been put to each scenario. Even the part wherein another story character is being consoled by the players involves a chance roll, resulting to one of the players getting a ‘failed’ attempt. The character interactions are really fun to watch. Yes, I’m watching on the first part since I’m not in the scene yet.

The game reached a point wherein the party has to save some people from a burning tenement. The creative ways on how to rescue these people were such a feat, like how our wizard created a floating disc while he’s on the other side of the room to carry some of the people to safety. Enemies stormed the place. Some of them were caught in surprise when a hooded monk appeared in the place and knocked two of these goons out cold. That hooded figure… is me 8)

We proceeded with the combat sequence. Turns in combat are determined by the character’s initiative. Player roll a D20 for a dexterity check. Turns will be ordered from highest to the lowest result. When enemies attack you, you roll a D20 to determine if you can dodge an attack. We’re using another application called Initiative Tracker to speed things up.

Initiative Tracker mobile app

Initiative Tracker mobile app

When an enemy attacks you, the attack can be dodged by rolling a D20 and achieving a minimum value depending on the enemy’s stats. Failure to do so will have the DM roll a specific dice to determine the attack damage. If it’s your turn, you will roll a D20 to determine if the attack is successful. A result of 1 will lead to critical failure while a result of 20 will lead to critical hit which gives the you twice the amount of damage that you will inflict to the enemy. My first dice roll in our session resulted to a critical hit. What a good way to start my combat. Our DM asks us to describe our attacks, so I use moves based on fighting games and martial arts movies with some inclination to brutality (some Monk I am, haha).

My first dice roll for the session.  Critical Hit!

My first dice roll for the session. Critical Hit!

The quest was really enjoyable. We even have a minigame wherein we cross the sewers with multiple paths. We had several Perception checks to determine how much of the place can we exploit like hidden traps and switches. The actions that we take for each scenario that we’ve been through will affect our later encounters. For example, because our party saved this particular child from the burning tenement, we got a warning about the methane gas that is present in the sewers. If we’re not aware of that information, we could have ended up igniting the entire place and alert the guards of the final dungeon. We encountered different combat challenges like the continuous spawning of sewage monsters and a giant rat that bleeds a swarm of small rats. The quest ended well with a quick-time-event type of sequence where we have to perform the final attack to the last boss for this quest. Good thing we got high dice rolls, so we defeated the boss enemy as we aimed for. After the quest has ended, our DM discussed the loots that we got for the entirety of the quest. There was a revelation for one of our players related to his back story, but more questions still need to be answered.

We started the session around 3 PM and ended at 1 AM. Yeah, it was a pretty long session, but we really had a good time. Good thing the cafe accommodated us until we finished our session. I have yet to utilize the specialty of my class since it’s my first time to try it in an actual game, but it made me think of the possibilities for the next episode. Hopefully, I can join the next session if my schedule permits. For the meantime, I’ll take a look for more tips on how to effectively play as a Monk. ‘Til next time! (~^_^)~

 

Special thanks to Brian and Nikka for the pics and Ej for organizing the sessions every month. V(^_^)

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Iron59 Answers the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”(?)

I’m a sucker for Quora posts, especially the ones that are related to Life Hacks and Self-Improvement. This one post that caught my attention asks:

What are the best questions that will free your mind?

Among the several answers, my top pick was the one that points to 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. Upon searching further, I found the original source of the content which is written here. I’m setting aside the attribution problem for the Quora answer. That’s for Quora support to handle. I wrote this blog post to answer each of the 50 questions as briefly as possible. To be honest, I don’t see the effectiveness of some of these questions, but I’ll try it nonetheless. Here it goes:

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
    • 25. I think I reached a new milestone in maturity in this age.
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
    • NEVER TRYING. I hate “What If’s”.
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
    • Probably it’s part of what we do for the living. Life is short. Maybe we don’t want to make it shorter.
    • Perhaps to sacrifice something for the people we care for.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
    • Nah. I don’t want to consume my time arguing with people who are committed to misunderstand me.
    • ‘Step up and act now’ is what I usually do.
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
    • If there are no limitations? Create a more liberal education system where people can choose what they want to learn and the final examination would be to create a difference or an impact in this world with their acquired knowledge.
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
    • Anything related to game development. Sure it’s stressful at times, but that’s where my passion is.
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
    • Partially trying to do what I believe in. I’m aiming to do it totally, but circumstances has its constraints. Improving it one step at a time. 🙂
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
    • I’ll have more dates.
    • I’ll be more adventurous in financial investments.
    • I’ll give more time to education.
    • I’ll do less overtime
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
    • Enough to be independent of basic needs and navigate my career track.
    • Brave enough to decide which company to keep.
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
    • 50 / 50. Depending on the situation…. okay maybe 60 / 40 in favor of doing things right because I’m still experimenting a lot on different stuff.
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
    • Defend my close friend in the most diplomatic way possible.
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
    • Learn things as fast as possible. Don’t mind failure. It’s part of learning.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
    • It depends. If it’s my mom, yes.
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
    • A lot of times. Creative works are fun that way.
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
    • Maximum tolerance on undesirable situations and people.
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
    • People have different aspirations. We are created that way.
    • People have different contentment.
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
    • Venture into other investments. Still worried about the risks involved.
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
    • I think there are a bunch of things that I need to let go of. Maybe I’m hesitant because it’s outside of what I’m used to. Will probably figure something out.
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
    • Japan, probably in Tokyo. Stayed there for three months. Love the people and the place. Plus, I’m surrounded with stuff that are related to my hobbies.
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
    • Is this a question about patience? Anyway, no, I push the button only once. If I’m in a rush I’ll take the stairs instead, unless it’s several floors away.
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
    • Worried genius. Being genius doesn’t mean you’re perpetually sad.
  22. Why are you, you?
    • Upbringing + Experiences + Acquired Knowledge
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
    • My circles tell me that I’m a positive company, so yeah.
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
    • Losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you. Such instance may have been caused by an undesirable circumstance.
  25. What are you most grateful for?
    • People who care for me
    • Basic needs to live
    • Acquired knowledge and skill
    • The chance to live another day
    • Morals and values that shaped me into a better person
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
    • Hmm what a tough question. Doesn’t sound like it will free my mind :?. Anyway, never be able to make new ones. Good or bad, I learned a lot from my past experiences.
  27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
    • I don’t think so. Not challenging the truth at worst case can lead to impractical and/or unjust tradition as well as false teaching that defies morality.
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
    • No. The thing is, my fear periodically adjusts to something worse than what is likely to happen. Come to think of it, it doesn’t make sense. I need to work this out.
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
    • 5 years ago… hmmm… Oh yeah I remember something. I don’t care much about it now.
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
    • Can’t tell if this is my happiest moment, but maybe when I received this one specific toy. As far as I remember, I rarely receive such toys when I was a child, or to be more specific, not as frequent as my playmates do.
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
    • When I entered the game development industry.
  32. If not now, then when?
    • Uhmmm tomorrow? Whut? XD
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
    • My fear of risks
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
    • NO. Being with someone and not saying anything at all is totally depressing for me.
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
    • I wonder…
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
    • If you’re talking about universal good and evil, probably not, but I will stand on my own morality.
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
    • Maybe, but not in an instantaneous way. I’ll make sure that everything is ironed out like the turnover process. And I’ll use some of my funds to help the company grow for the better.
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
    • More work I actually enjoy doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for work-life balance. Just had to make a choice.
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
    • ‘Hundred times’ sounds too much. I have my Déjà vu moments.
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
    • I haven’t experienced that yet. Maybe because I plan beforehand. I’m not a fan of guesswork when it comes to life choices.
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
    • Everyone I care for.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
    • Tempting, but no. I prefer to work hard for fame. As for attractiveness, I’m not that bad hahaha.
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
    • Being alive is just being born here in this world. Truly living is seeking the reason why you were born.
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
    • When you need to overcome your fear.
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
    • Because some mistakes result to a lot of pain. That’s what we’re afraid of.
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
    • Openly support stuff which most people consider taboo.
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
    • When I meditated. Probably two or three weeks ago, which reminds me, I should get back to this habit.
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
    • Creative works. It’s where my career currently revolves.
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
    • Probably not. Gee, I don’t think anyone does.
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
    • I make my own decisions most of the time. There are instances though that they are affected by my present circumstance.

Whew. That took longer than I expected. Did these questions freed my mind? Partially. Some of the questions left me pondering further. Some gave me realizations that I have to act on as early as now. Other questions left me puzzled on its significance. What I’m sure is that somehow I learned more things about myself, especially on my way of thinking. As time consuming as it looks, I suggest you give it a try. ‘Til next time. (~^_^)~

Original source of questions: 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind by Marc and Angel Hack Life

Random Quote – George Eliot

RQ - Too Late

 

Time is always our enemy when committing to change. Usually, the older we get, the more we accept that we can’t change our current circumstance. This quote from a writer of the Victorian Era, George Eliot teaches us that we always have this opportunity to change ourselves and the situation that we’re in. Whether it’s pursuing a dream, correcting past mistakes, or simply getting rid of a bad habit. We can be who we might have been, and we can do it now.

Online Courses – An Alternative Learning Experience

It’s always good to learn something new, but given that you have your full-time job, family, social life, and other stuff that occupy your time, taking up a short course with a concrete schedule can be inconvenient if not unfeasible for your day-to-day routine. Luckily, there’s another option that can fit with your busy lifestyle. There are online courses both free and paid that are more flexible to handle. I’ve tried a few courses, and I like the learning experience so far.

Flexible Schedule

Online courses give you the freedom to have your own schedule. Take the lesson when you can. You can even go through more than one module if you feel you’re on-the-roll. You can repeat a module as many times as you like, so you don’t have to worry about having any time constraints if you’re having a hard time grasping a particular topic. A module can contain a video, audio, or reading material, with other external references if applicable. The content is also available through a tie-up mobile application, so you can access your lessons on-the-go. Take note though, don’t place long gaps in between your study sessions, or you’ll end up not retaining what you’ve learned. All skills take regular practice to master or at least to acquire progress.

Sample course page from Coursera

Sample course page from Coursera

Discussions and Consultations

Like a formal class, you can consult the instructor either by sending him/her a private message or posting a comment to a particular module. Each of them has different availability of schedule, but as far as my experience goes, they really respond to queries as much as possible. Some take a day or two, while others will reply after a week. Either way, this is a great option for further learning the course and find more applications based on your current circumstance. You can also post discussions that are open to fellow students. Their inputs are sometimes as valuable as the instructors’. You can also follow their questions so that you’ll get notified if it receives a response. Based on these student reactions, instructors tend to update the course for modifications and additional content, and you don’t have to pay for these changes. You’ll be notified for such instances if you’re enrolled in the course, even if you already finished it.

Stack Social offers bundles for online courses ala Humble Bundle

Stack Social offers bundles for online courses ala Humble Bundle

Certificate of Completion

I really love the fact that you’ll get an online certificate for the completion of the course. It’s available online so you can include it in your credentials if you want.  Courses are tracked based on the modules that you completed. Mostly, there’s an audio or video that you have to go through per module. Finishing the media will mark the module as complete, but that is not required. You have the option to skip the lesson (marking it complete) just in case you already know the topic. There’s no strict monitoring from the instructors. You’ll decide if you can proceed with the next module. Even if you cheated, it will be your loss. Here’s a sample of my certificate for a course that I completed in Udemy.

My certificate for completing the course “Become A Super Learner” from Udemy

Thanks to online courses, you don’t need to be frustrated to learn a new hobby or add skills for your career and lifestyle advancement. However, take note that even if they are flexible, they still require discipline. Again, you will need to follow through regularly to make sure you retain the stuff that you just learned. If you’re ready to take your first course, you can go ahead and try the sites like Coursera and Udemy. There’s also StackSocial, which gives bundles to a collection of Udemy courses for significantly discounted prices. You can also subscribe to the sites’ newsletters for the latest deals. Enjoy! (~^_^)~

Dev Diary: Fate Marks the Spot – My Global Game Jam 2015 Experience

Another global game jam has been concluded last January 25 with 518 jam sites, 78 countries, 28,000 jammers and 5,438 games. It’s my fourth time to join this annual game dev fest, and from what I observe, the event just keeps getting bigger every year. It’s nice to see that more and more people are getting interested in creating games, students, professional developers, and hobbyists alike. I was excited to see what types of games will be made for this year’s jam, but I was more excited on what our team will be able to make this time. I teamed up with my former teammates in the last year’s jam Aileen (Artist) and Dino (Designer) together with Ej (Designer) and Simon (Sound Designer, Ej’s brother).

Friday, January 23

I arrived in front of the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Rizal Library around 3 PM. My cab was in between two cars, which happen to be Synergy 88’s representatives for the game jam. Talk about full-force. They were carrying mattresses and bags, ready to spend the next two nights in the venue.

I must say, this is my favorite game jam site so far. It’s a lot more spacious than the past places that I attended. I hope we stick with this venue for the succeeding years, haha. By 4:30 PM, the program started. I was eager and anxious to see the theme for this year. And so, this video was presented…

What?…. WHAT DO WE DO NOW? That’s exactly the question that filled the minds of the participants. The theme is quite broad, but I like it that way because it gives more possibilities for game ideas. Like the past game jams, members are separated into tables to be grouped with other jammers to do some brainstorming, sharing ideas based on the given theme. Perhaps, to seed creativity and to encourage everyone to mingle with their fellow game developers. The ideas presented were interesting. My favorite would be the Angry Wife simulator where you need to perform actions to calm down your wife while she’s getting mad on reasons you don’t know.

After all ideas were presented, time for the real deal. We had a fairly hard time thinking of a game idea. I was actually interested in Aileen’s idea of a first-person game that has a pair of players controlling two characters with the objective of meeting at a certain spot. After all, I always want to implement something new for the game jam, and a network game is something that I rarely do. Squeezing more ideas, I suggested a tile-based puzzle game wherein creatures will spawn at certain spots, and the player must navigate the creatures by placing arrows in a tile to fulfill specific objectives (e.g. triggering a switch, escaping a room, etc.). Dino pondered on the idea and tweaked it so that the mechanics will involve a specific number of moving characters that are placed in the stage before the start of the round. Everyone agreed on the idea. The initial theme we had in mind was an office space, but we figured that a love story would be much more fun. It ended up combining the core mechanics with Aileen’s game idea during the brainstorming session. And so, Fate Marks the Spot was started.

Ej and Simon couldn’t make it for the first day, so they were online in Skype to discuss the idea with Dino. Aileen started looking for art pegs to use for the game while I code the preliminary parts of the level editor. It would be more efficient that way since our game’s fun factor heavily depends on the level design, so providing the tools to the designers will speed up the process. After adding the functionality to generate the stages, it was time for me to sleep. I need to reserve my energy for the next day, when the big bulk of the dev time is allotted.

 Saturday, January 24

It’s an early start. Ej and Dino are discussing the level designs. Simon is preparing the music and sound effects. Aileen starts with the preliminary assets and character designs. I continue to implement the core mechanics namely, character movement, path obstacles/blockages, and placing of arrows for redirecting the paths. I was about to finish my implementation when suddenly, my laptop died. I looked at the outlet, and it turned out that my laptop was unplugged. I was cautious enough to save often, but it gave me a momentary stress, so I rested for 10 minutes to relax and wait for my laptop to load again. The improper shut down caused the startup to run slower than usual.

By 2 P.M., I showed my teammates that the basic features of the tool are ready for use. Quite earlier than I expected. Now, for the level design. The plan is to have three stages, one tutorial and two main scenarios. However, the scope was bigger than I expected. Now there’s a trigger the thief to get rammed by a scooter. The rivals can be directed to a certain spot to start a fight, and the main character can be caught in the middle. Each level produced several unexpected possibilities that are difficult to implement within the given time. In the end, we had to trim it down. For instance, the scooter idea was scrapped in the tutorial level. Its conditions have some instances that will possibly divert the player from doing the ideal scenario and learning the basic gameplay. Dino laid out the basic level using the tool that I created in Unity.

Fate was made using Unity3D.

Fate was made using Unity3D.

For the tutorial, I just wrote a handler class where each step is separated by functions. The functions have corresponding Key Events that are thrown by different parts of the code for the tutorial scene. Lots of dirty hacks, here and there to speed up the coding process and move forward to the next stage. It took longer to implement than I expected. Tutorial system is my least part in coding a game, because it holds a lot of special cases that you have to insert in between the core features that you carefully constructed. Quite bothersome for me, but it enhances the gaming experience, so I get on with it.

After more than a couple of hours, the tutorial stage was tested. Bugs here and there. Fixes here and there. Rinse and repeat. After that, it was time to implement the next stage. Meanwhile, the art assets are still in-progress. The expansion of the scope affected the necessary objects to be placed in the scene as well as the characters. I’m not an artist, but I know that this won’t be “a walk in the park”. In any case, I’ve worked with Dino and Aileen in the past year’s game jam, so I know they will push through. It was past 12 A.M. The entire team is still awake. We’re now considering the possibility of excluding the third level if we run out of time. I wanted, to finish the game as planned, but reality bites. We have less than 24 hours to wrap up, and we still have some asset integrations to do. I slept around 2:30 A.M.

Sunday, January 25

It’s the last stretch. The animations are done for the tutorial level characters, so I integrated them accordingly. I needed to trim the colliders of the character sprites since there are cases wherein the character collisions were too sensitive that they are triggered even at a considerable amount of distance. Updating the tutorial was fast enough, especially that Dino got used to manipulating the tool and levels. Too bad, this wasn’t the case with the second level. The tutorial level only requires the referenced sprites to be replaced. Add the environment objects and it was good to go. However, the second level uses a different set of tile images, so the level had to be reconstructed. I should’ve prepared the level for such requirement, but I was tired to make the adjustment. I still regret that I haven’t done that, but time is running out, so just utilize what we have.

Tutorial Stage of Fate Marks the Spot

Tutorial Stage of Fate Marks the Spot

Ej and Simon were preparing the game page needed for our entry. With less than an hour left, the second level was constructed. Just when I thought I can proceed with the win and lose condition prompts, Dino observed a bug. The collisions were not working at all. Darn, what do we do now? I was cursing like crazy trying to figure out what’s wrong. Are the colliders set to Trigger? Yes. Does each object have a rigidbody (technically only one of the colliding objects are required to have such, but what the hell)? Yes. I’m running out of ideas. Out of desperation, I looked at the sprite collection of our characters, and there I found the culprit. Not all of the animation frames have a pre-defined collider. I immediately updated all the involved sprite collections. The losing conditions are now working, but the winning condition, still to no avail. Have to ignore that part since the important thing is that the level is still playable. I just have to tell the players that they’ve accomplished their goal.

Less than 15 minutes left, and I’m struggling to implement the win and lose prompts, as well as the necessary scene transitions. 3… 2… 1… I stopped coding and began to build our game. I finished the code, but I haven’t tested it at all. It was a make or break moment. If the prompt doesn’t appear or the scene transition is not triggered, the game won’t present all the levels, and worst case, we have to present it with a Unity editor. The build was created. I ran the game and the tutorial ran properly. Now, time to trigger the losing condition. After 1.5 second, the prompt appeared. Thank goodness. We proceeded with testing the winning condition. The prompt appeared. Wait for it… the second level faded in. I exhaled a big sigh of relief. That last piece of code wasn’t tested at all. I’m so thankful that it worked when we needed it most.

Post-Dev Proper

It’s time to showcase the games. They all look interesting, spanning various genres. Since time is limited for the playtests, I just played them at home. For the demo, I made a build for laptop and Android tablet (multi-platform made easy, thanks to Unity). It never fails to make us happy when we see other people enjoying our game. The second level was hilarious since the obstacles involve two rivals and an ex-girlfriend, and the players have unlocked different scenarios, some of which had totally surprised us. Shortly after presenting the games, the fun awards were given and then proceeded with some talks from the event sponsors.

I was more tense compared with my past game jams due to that photo-finish coding moment, but a midst the stress, pressure, and lack of sleep, I seriously had fun. I’m proud of our game and proud of our team’s effort. To Team Eat ‘N Run V. 2, good job guys! (~^_^)~

Our Game: Fate Marks the Spot Download the game here – http://globalgamejam.org/2015/games/fate-marks-spot

Team Eat ‘N Run V. 2

  • Ej Lim (Level Designer)
  • Simon Lim (Sound Designer)
  • Dino Diaz (Level Designer)
  • Aileen Martin (2D Artist)
  • Felix Palabrica (Programmer)

My Top 5 Locally Translated Japanese Opening Songs

If you’re a 90’s kid, you probably grew up with anime and tokusatsu series with Filipino version opening songs. It’s such a shame that local TV stations don’t do that anymore. I mean, I totally love JPOP and JROCK songs, but there’s a certain charm in translating the songs in our native language (if done right or at the very least, entertaining way). To be honest, I wanted to post more than my top five, but the sources are scarce. Not too surprising since back then, we record TV shows through VHS tapes, and it’s not that common. Furthermore, it will take some effort to convert that recorded video into digital format. Anyway, here’s my list!

Magic Knight Rayearth

Bt’X

Dragon Ball

Shaider

Maskman

Ugh, I wish I could find more videos like Thunder Jet and The Musketeers. I was supposed to add Julio at Julia, but after verifying, it’s not a Japanese anime. How about you guys? Which localized opening song is your favorite? (~^_^)~

Things I Want to Learn for 2015

My renaissance soul is always craving for something new to learn, and this year is no exception. Whether it’s something to increase my proficiency in my chosen field or something that I want to emulate from amazing people, I always make sure that the year won’t end without adding something new in my skill set. As Irish novelist Michael Scott once said, The Day We Stop Learning is the Day We Die, so I will continue to live and build a better me. Here are some of the stuff that I want to learn this year.

Speed Reading

Spreeder - an online tool for practicing speed reading. http://www.spreeder.com/app.php

Spreeder – an online tool for practicing speed reading.
http://www.spreeder.com/app.php

Regardless of the type of book, I’m not really fond of reading for several hours. I feel envious of my friends who can finish more than a hundred books in a year. Given that I give less time for such activity, might as well utilize what I have. I’m more into informative books (software development, self-help, etc.) so it takes more effort to process the information, making my pace slower. With this, I considered trying Speed Reading. The ability to read at the average of 600 words per minute will be a lot useful for my continuous consumption of new knowledge. It doesn’t promise a 100% comprehension of the material, which is quite a low for me given that I have a bunch of new concepts to tackle, but I’m taking my chances anyway. If it doesn’t work for me, then time to find another alternative or find some way to increase my time for reading.

Last December, I availed a speed reading course in Udemy for a big discount. It’s my ideal setup since it’s an online course, so I have full control of my training schedule. Just like any useful skill, it takes a significant amount of effort to master. The practice exercises need to be done everyday for several minutes a day. It’s barely two weeks since I started so I can’t claim that I’m already seeing some results, but I’m hopeful that I’ll see some progress soon.

Options for Passive Income

Cashflor Board Game - mobile version. Image from - http://play.google.com

Cashflor Board Game – mobile version.
Image from – http://play.google.com

One of the valuable things I learned from Cashflow board game is the importance of having a passive income. It’s not saving that will get you to financial freedom, but producing passive income that will exceed your expenses. I know a bit about stocks, mutual funds, and UITF, but not familiar enough that I can invest without too much worrying. As I grow older, I’m becoming more and more frustrated on getting rich, so might as well explore the options on how to upgrade my finances and lifestyle WITHOUT sacrificing the job that I want to do (i.e. game development).

I’m having a really hard time pursuing a financial venture that I’m not passionate about, no matter how lucrative it is, so as much as possible, I’m for something that can be gamified in some way. Heck, I even have a design for a game that will try to improve one’s personal finances. I’m aware that regardless of the option, there’s no fast and easy way to such path, but at the very least, I’ll take risks to a field that can really pique my interest.

Aerial Flips

Being a big fan of Martial Arts Movies, I always wanted to learn how to do those fascinating acrobatics, especially the back flip. Part of my bucket list is to direct an indie action movie someday, so I need all the skills I can get to be an action star, or at least to train some action star LOL. Other than it’s impressive to watch, it will push my physical capabilities to the limit, and that’s good since I want to age gracefully.

Last September, I enrolled to Ninja Academy for a training in Tricking. I’m learning more stuff than I expected, and I’m enjoying the session despite the demand for physical endurance. I’m on the preliminary training of back flip now, and I know it will take some time to actually do this specific trick, but I’m not in a rush. After all, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it right?

Advance Techniques in Guitar

Lesson Screen for Rocksmith 2014

Lesson Screen for Rocksmith 2014

I’ve been playing guitar for several years now but only in a casual manner. I described it as such since I never went through any formal training, and I still don’t know the advance techniques. I will need this more than before since I’m now part of the band. Good thing my bandmates are well-versed musicians so they know how to guide me accordingly.

When I started playing Rocksmith, I discovered the bad habits that I developed when playing the said instrument. Thank goodness, this game had all the features in a progressive and comprehensive manner that I know what to do next. It even has its wide library of songs for practice. This will provide more options for our band’s cover performances.

Advance Concepts of Mobile Game Analytics

After working on Dragon Snack, I learned the basics of implementing an analytics engine to observe the players’ behavior and other game parameters. It’s such a useful tool, but it introduces several terms and concepts that run deep beneath the surface. Having my own dream of making it big as an indie developer, it will be helpful to utilize the capabilities of the analytics engine to improve my games and hopefully pull more players in turn.

I have my eyes on the Udemy courses for analytics just in case it lands on sale again. I’m willing to wait since I still have a handful of courses at my disposal anyway, and I don’t want to suffer a burnout from studying a lot of stuff.

Whew! A lot of stuff to learn for the entire year. In the end, it all revolves in my aim to improve my quality of life and be a better person than I am now. How about you guys? What new things are you planning to explore for 2015? Whatever it is, I hope you’ll achieve your goals and move forward with the sense of accomplishment. Happy New Year and cheers for our future success! (~^_^)~