Last year I started a podcast with a friend of mine. It’s a silly hobby thing where I’m forced to watch all of Love Island and report it back each week. I know that doesn’t make any sense and we don’t know who it’s for but check it out if you like. I thought it’d […]
This year has been a rough one for a number of reasons. Here’s how a few incredible games have helped me through one of the hardest parts of my life so far.
My self-confidence has never been great. Most of it came from not wanting to bother or annoy anyone. Consequently, I’ve always had trouble asking for help with things; not wanting to put anyone out or waste people’s time. As a young child I barely spoke. I have a distinct memory of my junior school head teacher giving me the nickname “The Ventriloquist” due to my tendency to mumble when put on the spot. In a roundabout way, game development has somehow ended up helping me a huge amount with this stupid problem.
Before I’d even considered a job in games (beyond an idle daydream), I’d been a huge games fan. Since early childhood I’d spent most of my spare time playing games. It was how I relaxed, learned stuff, hung out with friends. My parents had to hide cables to stop me playing when I’d not seen the sun for too long. When I wasn’t playing games I was hanging around talking about them with other like-minded people who also didn’t like sports.
Almost a year ago I started work on a horror game. I suck at horror games. I can play for about half an hour of the first Dead Space game in one go before I need a dread break. I’ve had Alien Isolation since Christmas and I’ve got about 2 hours in because every time the alien kills me I rage-quit and have to go and calm down a bit. I played 1.5 hours of Amnesia over the course of an entire year. So you get the picture. Because I suck at them I don’t tend to play them very often, but weirdly I love the idea of playing them and am fascinated by them.
In this post I want to talk about the script I use to interface with this weird vertex wobbling system I’ve made. Before I wrote this script, the shader on it’s own was unruly and impossible to get usable results out of unless you got very lucky with the parameters used. The brilliant thing about shaders is that they can do a lot of maths very quickly using your GPU. The not so brilliant thing is that it can be tricky passing information between shader programs and regular CPU scripts or programs. I have no idea if the way I do it is the best way to do it, but I’ve got some pretty good results with it so far.
Don’t you just play all day?
This is the most common thing people ask me when I tell them what I do. My response to this is mixed. Firstly, as a typical self-deprecating British person who feels the need to instinctively defend “How hard I’ve got it” compared to everyone else, it’s actively difficult to admit that I actually enjoy my job and it isn’t that much of a grind. Eventually I’ll typically end up agreeing with whoever’s said this as it’s easier than explaining what I actually do every day…
Because the truth is actually yes, I do play all day…