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Posted on September 1st 2011 at 12:35pm by SKN3

Well we haven’t really been pushing the blog or website yet as we didn’t want to start promoting without any interesting content. It has been some months now since we set out on the venture and things predictably have gone in one direction. Head down, keyboard ready, begin programming!

In the months that have passed we have discovered that working for your own company is both the best experience in the daytime world and also one of the hardest. There are many thoughts that run through your head, there is a lot to think about; every decision you make or don’t make will have an effect on your business and essentially your ability to afford to survive. What is the best course of action?

In previous employment I was always encouraged to cut corners and to get things done the cheapest and quickest. There is of course a bottom line to keep happy but should one be so afraid of the bottom line? We have made a firm decision in our heads to do it once and do it right!

Many blogs and articles suggest that you should use the toolkits available, don’t reinvent the wheel and to take the quickest route to the finish line. Now this would make sense if you were in a 100m dash or if you were creating a product that needed to hit the market first, but with the majority of games, players will either love them or hate them regardless of timing! It is more to do with quality and less to do with quantity. There is a balance to walk carefully as you can’t rely on one game but you need to understand that even if you make three games that are completely different, the reputation you build in one game will reflect in the next.

The Delistack game project will be our flagship product and first game release but as you can imagine there is a lot of support work and development that goes on to create a game. One of the “do it once do it right” tasks has been the continued development of an in-house game framework to power all of our future games. The Swing engine is not just a collection of standard framework code but instead an entire game system which we can build up over time, a good example is the SwingCutscene module. The cutscene module contains a fully-fledged script interpreter that has functions, classes, methods and threads. The script is geared towards staging an animated scene and can quite easily be used to produce a very complex animation.

I will reiterate again the importance of doing things correctly and not cutting corners. It’s better to spend the time writing it once instead of having to rewrite the same thing over and over again. In this vein we have decided to further develop in-house tools for the Swing engine. We aim to sell these tools to generate some income as well as benefit other developers in the same situation. The first tool in development is called Objecty. In the coming weeks I will be posting some more information and a video to demonstrate what Objecty can do.

Objecty will allow you to manage objects in your game. You can create a character, add animations, add properties, add image reference data and essentially anything that could be exported to an XML or similar object notation. After researching other solutions available on the market we noticed that there are many spritesheet packer tools out there but none that suites the needs of Swing or provided enough flexibility. In the screenshot below you will see that a character has been created with an animation. When you import frames into an animation, Objecty will automatically manage the packing of the atlas using the MAXRECTS algorithm; other algorithms will be added over time. Multiple characters/animations/frames can be packed into one atlas and Objecty will manage everything for you.

objecty.png

So that is just a brief overview of where SKN3 is heading. In the coming weeks we will post some information about Objecty. I will finish the blog by just re-affirming that if you are setting out on the adventure of working for your own company, remember that you should always stay true to your original concept. Don’t let the fear of competitors, markets or lack of income alter your course. If you are committed you will find a way to survive and you will see the project through to the end. Take the other road and you may finish but will you be prepared for your next project?

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