Michael joined

I'm an avid designer, programmer, and attention whore. My professional work includes: Spore (Maxis), Nike Golf (Motion Theory), Fidg't Visualizer (Protohaus), Design Innovation Team (Yahoo!). On my free time I produce music, play the guitar, and try to stay away from the computer as much as possible.

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Modding time

mflux Blog

Even though project Berimbau is such an incredible time sink I really enjoy working on it. So much so I wish I can quit my job, become a hermit, and just work on this all day. Unfortunately I don't have this luxury.

Progress is going well. Got some help from steampowered forums (the new VERC) for sword collision detection and that whole thing is finally out of the way and pretty much in-the-bag. There are ofcourse many new bugs that I discovered with my code, notably the client-side sword tracers begin falling down and into the ground when there is net_fakelag turned on. Fuck :|

I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of work required to make this mod. There are art assets to be made (even just placeholder ones), code to be debugged, further design documents to write, concept art revisions, texture libraries to compile, and repositories to manage. Thankfully we have a very small team (two people!) so far and management overhead is not a burden whatsoever.

Shooting for a playable alpha, we've sort of locked down the features for Berimbau. There's going to be one stance, seven different sword attacks (directional), blocking, a combo system, one character model, possibly two maps, and one gametype. I'm quite hesitant to release Berimbau to the public in this early stage so we might just do a private alpha test. Hopefully by July we can get a full playable release to private testers.

Finally, we also need to design the website for Berimbau, set up a forum, and all that jazz. Again, the workload is quite overwhelming and relentless, but we're desperate (and crazy) enough to see this project through to the end.

Playtesting, Raining

mflux Blog

Hello, Moddb. This is my first blog entry here.

It's raining in Shanghai. Quite a big change from sunny Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA.

Developing Berimbau right now with Kupo. It's a bit tough to develop internationally since he's awake when I'm asleep and vice versa. The only time we have an intersection is when he's just gotten to work and when I'm about to go to sleep; and the reverse is true, too. Playtests happen usually only when he's home, as my hours are more flexible as a creative director.

Apologies in advance, this blog will get a bit technical. I also lack a sense of humor when writing these things, that's just what happens when my left brain kicks in. The bastard.

Ran into a new problem yesterday with our latest playtest though. Apparently some part of my new code addition was crashing the game server a few minutes into the game, consistently. This is a major show-stopped and I was prepared to unroll all my changes and test them one by one to identify the source of the crash.

Before I attempted this I went ahead tried to do a debug on HL2.exe, linked VS2005 to debug the project, and fired her up. Not surprisingly the debug didn't work and didn't even launch half-life. I delve deeper and tried pointing the debugger to various hl2.exe hidden within my Steamapps/User folder, as there were several possible candidates. Finally I chose the one that made the most sense "source sdk 2007"'s bin had a hl2.exe as well. Abra-cadabra, the game launches in debug mode and no longer crashes!

This confused me quite a bit and I have to go back to verify this some more, both on my machine and on Kupo's machine. The fact that the mod ran find with a straight compile but dies with my additions is very odd. The only thing I can think of is that when we hacked the gamelist.txt file apart and added in Berimbau by copying TF2's entry, we must have also copied over Steamapps\user\halflife2 deathmatch\hl2.exe into the hl2.exe entry. This might have been completely wrong and we wouldn't have been the wiser because the game just worked anyway!

Again, I must go back and verify that this is indeed a fix, that we were just using the wrong hl2.exe file the whole time.

Like I said, this blog gets quite technical :) And a bit erratic since I'm still putting all my thoughts together, and this thing has been bothering me day and night. Writing it down here certainly helps me mentally clarify the problems.

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