October 31st 2017

Weather

Salut.

We were hit by a pretty massive nor’easter the other day. So far we’ve been out of power for two days, we have no water, and there’s a massive, dead tree digging into the side of our apartment that came down Sunday night.

I’ve let pretty much everyone I know aware of this, but life’s been pretty hellish since this happened. It made a pretty hefty dent into our gutters so there’s a bit of water leakage through the ceiling in a few rooms, including mine. We rent so we’re reliant on our landlord to actually help us remove the tree and restore power but considering the nature of rental apartments it might be a while before we get power again.

Currently, I’m taking makeshift showers using water from gallons of water purchased at Dollar Tree. I’m just glad I’m not dead.

 

In other news, I have the ability to drive now. Happy Spooky day.

October 8th 2017

Game Maker: Using Training Wheels On An 18-Wheeler (And Making It Work)

Game Maker is (or, was?) a novice IDE with a novice programming language! I’m not going to deny that. It’s aimed at people looking to learn how to make basic games. And while that’s true there’s a lot of stuff people have done with it that really break the boundaries of what the engine was once capable of – look at Undertale, look at Hotline Miami – and because of projects like these, the developers at YoYo Games decided to reform Game Maker into what is now known as Game Maker Studio 2. Me, however? I’m still on Game Maker 8.0 Pro, released 2009, almost 8 years ago now.

“Why? Why use such an old piece of software with such limited capabilities?” You ask me.

I’ll answer as simply as I can: Innovation. Thinking outside the box.

When you’re given a limited set of tools to create something, sometimes you’ll run into road blocks. And when I run into road blocks, rather than say, “oh, shucks, looks like I need to upgrade to the newest software which lets me do this out of the box -” I work with what I’ve got to solve the problem at hand. Game Maker 8.0 is possible of doing literally everything Game Maker Studio 2 is capable of doing, sans being able to export your game to multiple platforms. Functions and the syntax changed but at its core it’s possible to do literally anything with Game Maker 8.0. A lot of this is thanks to two commands: file_bin and file_text.

Some food for thought: Game Maker 8.0 has the ability to open any binary file, understand how it works, and throw something back in the game. It also has the potential to modify these files. Because of this, it’s an extremely powerful command that allows for a lot of flexibility in game design, even stretching to program design. It’s not the fastest command in the world, so I’d use it sparingly – but potentially, someone with a lot of time on their hands could use the file_bin commands to load an archive from a 90’s PC game and create an entire open-source port of said game in Game Maker. There’s nothing stopping anyone from achieving this stuff and it’s one of the big reasons I still use this program.

Currently, I’m writing a parser for my own programming language, aimed at modifying another game, compiling models for the game, maps, textures, and all that fun stuff. It’s certainly possible with GM8.0. And I bet if I loaded the same project into GMS or GMS2, I’d be thrown a lot of errors that would prevent my project from working.

If anything, what I’m trying to say is when you’re given a more limited toolset, greater or more surprising things come out of what you’re given. Sometimes making things easier for one to create things makes for less interesting products.