Archive for the 'Daily Life' Category

July 2018: Mental Health Month

It’s been a busy month with lots of assorted busy work, so I’ll try to break all my updates down by category:

On Social Media
I’m on a month-long sabbatical from Twitter, eager to see what I can accomplish when I’m not worrying about how to word every random 250-character thought that crosses my mind. It’s scary how brainwashed social media made me, because I still instinctively try to open and scroll through the feed without thinking. Had to install a blocker just to catch myself when I zone out.

Outside of social media, I’ve been trying to reconnect with old forums and blogs, but I shouldn’t be surprised that almost nobody frequents these anymore. It’s like seeing somebody’s life end online when I check in on an old friend and they haven’t updated their blog since 2012. And it’s difficult to piece together their life from the nonstop Twitter excerpts they keep dropping. Not unlike myself, really. Browsing through my own feed, I sound like a crazy person who goes quiet for days and then randomly shouts “HERE’S A NEW ANTMAN TRAILER!” …I’m a tool.

On Family
I’m starting to realize that parenting a toddler is a lot like being an NPC companion in a video game. The toddler is the player who sets the pace, goes off-story to explore random nooks, and picks up everything in his path. Meanwhile, all I can do is help and observe, chiming in only to offer some background exposition or address any of his renegade choices. So, yeah, every day is a little bit like Skyrim or Fallout, but without fast-travel.

Actually, Channing’s doing awesome. The little tyke is very verbal, sings “Frere Jacques” and “Humpty Dumpty” frequently”, and has a firm grasp on social hierarchies (I believing his pecking order for who to spend time with is: Mommy, Grandma, Peppa Pig, then Daddy). We harvested his pea garden early this month and got a new one going, so he’ll have something to water all summer. And he got into DAY CARE! YES! So that’ll start in August and hopefully he’ll start making some new friends and habits.

My brother and sister-in-law also came into Vancouver with their little one for a visit. Channing got to meet his little cousin, and the two immediately got to hugging and fighting. We took them out to the aquarium, the Granville market, and assorted other baby-friendly places because we’re not at the monster truck rally stage yet. Or even Disney movie stage. Thing about kids is that you pretty much have to sacrifice all cultural awareness for a few years as everything becomes about baby songs and toy stores.

On Entertainment
Outside of baby stuff, I still get to see the occasional movie and play the occasional game.

Since the Steam sale, I’ve been getting acquainted with “New Vegas” after listening to a “Watch out for Fireballs” episode about it. I much prefer it over Fallout 3, and it has warmed me back up to the Fallout series. Still not a fan of the combat, and some levels really grate on me, but since I can “enable god mode” at any time, it’s been a welcome mental scrub.

Also reading “Ready Player One”. I still prefer the movie so far, but only in the same way I prefer “Jurassic Park” over the book as well. Both films take the core idea and trim it down into a fun, functional film, but the stories in both mediums follow very different paths. If my books were ever adapted, I would definitely want Spielberg on it, because he could probably make sense of what I was trying to write better than I could.

On GameDev
My game is still slowly on its way. I’m a little worried, because I’m grinding at what amounts to be an experimental adventure game, while at the same time, I have many non-experimental games that I want to get started on. There’s a chance I may delay this game just to work on some of those shorter ones in the interim. I don’t want people to get the idea that I’m putting all my eggs into one basket with this one project. My big dream project is still to make something more on the scale of “Curse of Monkey Island”.

After quitting Twitter, I feel less inclined to force myself to complete things just to have it ready for #screenshotsaturday. This is good, because I rushed too much work just to meet that ridiculous weekly deadline, and now I have to go back and fix things. I’d rather just release material as it looks good. I can’t handle marketing and development at the same time. It really interferes with productivity. I may be quieter than normal, but I won’t rush my work anymore.

I’m also taking a break from a different short game, just because it sounds like the rest of the team is off enjoying the summer. It’s not dead; just in stasis until everyone’s ready to pick it back up.

And that’s all I have to report on for now. Bigger announcements to come later this year.

Thanks for stopping by!

July 22 2018 | Daily Life, Stuff I Made | No Comments »

March 2018: I made a rocket turtle.

It’s my first update since the overhaul. I’ve been spending a lot of nights this month working on a couple new character models while binge-watching “Bob’s Burgers”. When I was working on SQInc, I only had to build about 6 characters that I wound up reusing throughout the game with different skins and accessories. This game, I’ll probably have closer to 10-12, just to mix it up a little. I rendered a couple new characters and reuploaded some older ones.

On my other side-projects: the baby’s coming along. He knows how to control the TV remote, so we’ve been getting acquainted with the horrors of “Bob the Train”. I’ve been also slowly grinding my way down my Steam list, determined to finish every game on there before the next summer sale. I only have a few Wadjet Eye and Nancy Drew games left to go, so I might make it this year, fingers crossed.

Anyway, here’s some character art. Enjoy!

March 14 2018 | Art, Daily Life, Stuff I Made | No Comments »

Website Updated; News and Features

After a few years of inactivity, I decided to spruce up the old site and give version 6.0 a “soft relaunch”. This new version of the site will be less of a personal blog, and more of a developer’s diary as I work on my next game. I want to treat it as quiet space on the internet where I can be myself and get my work done, instead of grapple with social media burnout.

A few changes: obviously the new banner above, which reflects the style of my current game project. There’s also a new “In Development” page, so you always know what I’m working on, and where I’m at with it. I’ve shuffled my books and cartoons over to the “Extras” page, but the games haven’t been touched. I’ve also included a Portfolio link to the left if you want to see my professional website and demoreel. And for the first time, BOM has an “About” page where I try to talk about myself and explain what my site is (the hardest thing I’ve ever written).

I’ve also re-opened the Forum if you want to say hi or leave a comment, although I don’t check it daily.

And just for fun, under Links, there’s an option to “Activate Geocities Mode”. This’ll send you to an old school 90’s version of the site, complete with sound, gifs, poorly formatted text, and sparkles. Because nostalgia.

And yeah, that’s all the updates so far. The new game’s coming along. The story’s all programmed; just needs graphics and sound. I’m in the early writing stages for another game. And the baby’s doing great too – he can walk, climb, recite vowels, and even press my Scrooge and Vegeta figures together while making kissy noises. I’m really proud of the little guy.

That’s that for now. Time to get back to work.

February 10 2018 | Awesomeness, Daily Life | No Comments »

And now Ancients’ Royale III: Also on Kindle!

AR3_Cover_v2

The trilogy is complete!

The tale of two immortal brothers working in a Canadian tavern has reached its conclusion. From their battles in the streets of Halifax against the Chaos demons, to their globe-trotting escapades against the Titans, “Destroyers of the Universe” takes Jesse and Nigel several steps further into the Great Beyond, on one last trek to get everything back to normal. The Rapture, the Angel of Death, the forces of Hell – even dinosaurs – will hinder their quest across the nine afterlives to find God and reunite their family.

You can purchase “Destroyers of the Universe” on Kindle, along with the other books in the series:

  • Ancients’ Royale
  • Wrath of Ages
  • On a special note, I want to thank everyone who’s been supporting my writing. It’s been an arduous journey finishing my own trilogy, with a lot more rewrites and grammar-checks than I’m accustomed to. In fact, there’s probably enough deleted chapters to fill a whole other novel (i.e. an early version of the second book had half the story center around Queen Cleopatra running an underground fight club). This book marks the final chapter in the series.

    I’m moving onto a much bigger project in the near-future and will post about it as soon as it starts. Until then, a lot of my time has been spent doing overtime at work for Disney’s “Elena of Avalor” (I think they’re deliberately keeping me away from Ducktales for very good reasons). I also have a new adventure game project in the works which my schedule permits me to spend 10 minutes a day on. While I’ve mentioned it on and off on Twitter, there’s no official announcement here, but… why not?

    Coming in the next twenty years from Box of Mystery…

    Rooftops
    HelloFriendTia_3Point

    More on that later when it starts being playable.

    September 04 2016 | Books, Daily Life, Stuff I Made | No Comments »

    I’m Still Alive: Status Report

    Is an update in order after months of silence?

    I haven’t been able to apply much energy towards social media these past couple years in part to many things. Even preparing the wedding last May was a relatively simple task compared to all the anxiety following my job, the flooded home, our battles with the insurance companies and the ongoing renovations that forced my wife and I to change apartments seven times last year. It took so much out of me, I’ve long since abandoned karaoke, geek debates and blogging just to take time for myself whenever I can get it.

    The good news is that this year, we found ourselves a nice new home. We got married, took time out for Paris, have frequent board game nights, and in a week’s time, I’m leaving Nerdcorps and starting at my new animation job at Icon Creative. While I knock on wood as I write this, I feel like my brain’s been spending 2015 slowly recovering from the trainwreck that was 2014. I feel like Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill” finally wiggling her big toe.

    It’s not to say I have given up my ambitions, but I approach a lot of my projects at a much slower pace now for sanity’s sake, even at the cost of going dark for extended periods of time.

    weeddingcakeMarriage in May
    Marriage-wise, Ning and I didn’t do anything too fancy, just a combination wedding/reception in an Italian restaurant with 40 friends and family members in attendance back in May. My aunts were kind enough to make a cake (pictured right) and set up treats and we even got a bilingual commissioner to translate for my Chinese in-laws.

    Honeymoon in Paris
    Honeymoon in Paris went well enough. We ticked off all the essential must-sees, visited the countryside, and had lots of croissants. I also learned that, despite being bilingual, my French still sucks enough that no one in France wants to hear it.

    Novels in Progress
    My sequels to “Ancients’ Royale” were meant to come out over the course of last year, but I found the problem with releasing books is waiting for the editors who don’t have time to read them. So for a year and a half, I’ve had two nearly-finished books sitting in Google Docs waiting for proofreads. I’m tempted to release both as-is and suck up any criticism over my grammar.

    New Game in the Works
    Life might be a little easier if I stuck to AGS for all my game design needs (Wadjet Eye Games gets along with it great, so why not?), but part of me just REALLY wants to learn Unity so that I can get all those extra perks that come with 3D animation (camera angles, higher frame rate, choice of hats, etc.) I’ve been prototyping a small game since the summer to learn Unity for demo purposes. With luck, my three room game “Chester Cornfield: Old Timey Detective” could be out later this year (or halfway next year at this rate), and if public interest allows, could be expanded into a full-sized commercial game. Which then begs the question…
    cornfieldcast

    Do I need a new company name?
    Something that’s been bugging this past while is the future of “Box of Mystery”. To me, I feel my personal brand hit its stride with the “Ducktalez 7” finale and SQInc’s “secret” ending. To work on commercial games like Cornfield requires either a new brand name or a complete overhaul of the site, which I’m not too keen on. Does “Mystery Sandwich” or “Socks of Mystery” grab anyone as a good game company name? Ning insists the name include “Ramen” or “Monkey”. “Ramen Monkey Games?” Sorry – don’t mind my textual rambling. Just brain-farting here.

    Anything else important?
    Yes. We made pumpkins.
    pumpkins

    November 06 2015 | Daily Life | 4 Comments »

    2014: Another Year, Another Update

    Sorry for the extended silence, everyone. Thanks to work, life, and my new-found appreciation for napping, it’s been hard to keep up with my blog and I really wanted to provide some updates on future projects.

    For starters… I’m getting married! I know this seems out-of-left-field since I rarely blog about my personal life these days, but for anyone following my Facebook, you were probably well aware that the last year of my life featured a lot of pictures of myself and a special someone being that disgustingly cute couple so many people love to hate. Sorry, folks, I’m a hopeless romantic. She’s a wonderful woman, sings like an angel, cooks like a pro, and was patient enough to let me stay up until three in the morning every night working on “Ducktalez 7”. And when that was done, she kept encouraging me to make another, so I’m 99 + 1% sure she’s a keeper.

    “Ducktalez 7” opened well, got a lot of positive reviews, and then the buzz died down. A lot of people have been asking if this is going to be my final episode and quite honestly… I want to say yes. It’s been a ride, and I really wanted to make thirteen of these in total, but this might have to be where I cut the line and set it free. My voice has been giving out and constantly rerecording the voices for this episode was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. It would be nice to revisit this series every decade with a couple new episodes, but if that ever happens, expect shorter stories. For now, I’m almost inclined to retire the “Box of Mystery” brand on this episode so I can move on to original work.

    Speaking of original work, a lot of this year will be devoted to writing. Since I already spend eight hours a day animating at work, I’ve been burning out a lot more frequently at home. Writing is more relaxing, so I’m going to continue my “Ancients’ Royale” series with two more installments. I also want to get some design documents together for a few games ideas I have and see if any are worthy of a Kickstarter. I really want to get a team together for my next project, so when the time comes, I want to make sure I know what we’re all getting ourselves into. I don’t know what that project will be yet, but something in the vein of “Final Fantasy” wouldn’t be too far off.

    Otherwise, the rest of this year will be renovations, wedding planning, and a few trips (including Vegas and China). I’ll keep you all posted on developments as they come. Thanks for sticking with me all these years! More to come.

    (And I’ll post my Top Movies after I finished going over a few more of them. Too many good ones come out in December!)

    Quick additional update: Sometime last year, I got to storyboard and animate my own solo “slug-isode” for Slugterra. The company just put it up on their channel, so watch and enjoy!

    January 19 2014 | Daily Life | 1 Comment »