Today was filled with a lot of odds and ends…like most of my days these days: support emails for ToG, business stuff, emails, a productive phone meeting, more emails, MORE emails. I’ve learned a lot about wearing a business-person’s hat in the last few months…just enough to know that I know very very little.

My first day without caffeine wasn’t too bad, though I was helped along with some advil to fight the withdrawal headache. My goal is to make it to one week without calorie rich caffeinated beverages.

Anyway, today’s clock ended up being 5 hours and 15 minutes.

I’m looking forward to the coming days where I can dive full time into development again.

Today! 4 and a half hours, all UE4 tinkering—messing with debugging blueprints!

Yesterday: 5 hours 43 minutes, business emails, UE4, and some ToG management stuff!

Tomorrow—the world! Actually, I’m going to try and stop drinking Starbucks tomorrow..I’ve been drinking gigantic iced caffeinated beverages everyday and it’s not so good for my waistline…so, during withdrawal I will probably feel like rubbish all day. We’ll see how many hours I last before I cave in.


Anonymous asked: i can't seem to use cheats (found a bunch on ToG wiki such as "dummy" and stuff) and they just don't work? what's up widdat?

you have to enable the console first in the options, and all the cheats must be prefaced with ToG_ImLame. So, like “Tog_ImLame dummy”, without the quotes. There are a lot of silly ones in there.

EDIT: OH! I forgot to mention, you have to be IN the game itself, not in the main menu, for the codes to work.


I spent today mostly catching up on a lot of outstanding emails…the kind that take you like…an hour to reply to. Also, I:

  • added magnet ++ to hotfoot mode
  • fixed gap in l6r4b2
  • got perforce up and running on my new machine.. I swear that setup gets more and more complicated every year
  • testing cooking and packing ToG build from new machine
  • relocated the steam deployment machine out of my den and into its new home, which involved a trip to the hardware store for power cable junk
  • tested deployment of a ToG build from the Steam build machine…quite a bit has changed about that machine’s setup that required new drivers, passcodes, steamguard, etc. Fun stuff.
  • Tinkered a bit with sculptris

Today, I clocked 6 hours 20 minutes.

My mom-in-law makes dern good brownies.

So looks like I’m just about 50/50 on remembering to log this week.

Yesterday I spent most of the day fussing withe some UE4 stuff, as I did today. I’m trying to get a handle on the cook/build/package UE4 process, which seems greatly streamlined over the UE3 process, however is so new that many people have yet to run into every-little-problem-and-leave-a-forum-trail-of-solutions, like the UE3 community had…so I had to do a bit of poking around to figure out a few basic things…example: dont make crude backups of a level and have a “dash” in the file name, cooked game logs are moved to a “saved” directory, etc.

Also, last night I went to an Epic UE4 indie meetup in Waltham. A lot of friends (both old and new) were there—some from 38, some from Ironlore, some from polycount, some from boston indies. It was a pretty good time.

Anyway, today I had a little 1 year old’s birthday party to go to and enjoy, so I only logged 2 hours.

This week’s total clock: 36 hours and 2 minutes.

I had this entry sitting in a tab for 14 hours. I forgot to hit “post” until just now.

Did about 7 hours and 14 minutes of tinkering in UE4 today (edit: yesterday). I’m building the world’s worst puzzle platformer as a learning exercise. It’s pretty goofy and looks really rudimentary, but having explicit problems to solve helps give context to new information. I’ll post some screenshots or something eventually. Also, Terrible Posture business stuff continues!

More UE4!

Today was filled with more art tests, more tinkering in UE4, more quixel, silo, and nDo. Also business stuff, reading through paperwork and important emails and legal junk. Fun stuff. Today’s clock: 7 hours and 5 minutes


Anonymous asked: What's your philosophy on balancing the game? There have been a few criticisms about the starting guns being imbalanced. Do you think they're balanced as is, or do you plan to balance them, or do you maybe think balance doesn't have to be a feature in ToG?

Well, the starting guns are only imbalanced if you think that they should all give equal chances for survival, which I don’t. Each unlockable gun is designed to either reward the player by making the game a easier when using that gun, or challenge the player by making their play strategy different. That makes getting an uberwin star with each gun a bit different.

In general though, balance is FAR less important in a single player game than in multi player (where you want a player’s skill itself to be the imbalancing factor), far less important in a randomized game than in a scripted game (where curation drives the experience), and far less important in a ‘silly-over-the-top-game’ than in a serious one (where imbalance ruins immersion).

I intentionally de-prioritized a lot of “tried and true” design balance fundamentals with Tower of Guns, while simultaneously graduating other design concepts, as a sort of experiment in game play.

Balancing was not ignored in the game, but, as an example, the “delight of surprise” was a FAR more important pillar. It was crucial to me that the player never quite know what to expect (at least for 8-10 hours or so of gameplay, which is what my duration goal was).

It was an interesting experiment…and while not *always* successful, it was a lot of fun and I learned a heck of a lot.


theoriginalfuzzslam asked: Hey Joe! Just a quick message to say that I'm loving Tower Of Guns. I've had pretty severe depression since I broke my knee two years ago, gave up all my hobbies and turned to gaming. Everyday I wake up in these moods that I find hard to get out of, I'm even starting to hate gaming, but every time I play ToG I forget about everything bad. When a HugBot comes for me, I feel that little bit warmer inside. So thank you for making ToG and cant wait to pick up some wool and start a HugBot crochet!

Thanks so much for the kind words, fuzzslam. I too know how gaming can be a respite from depression, and I’m glad Tower of Guns can bring some joy to you. This was one of the nicest messages I’ve ever received. Thank you.


So, I’ve fallen off the daily posting bandwagon once again. In between a lot of business stuff and bugfixing I’ve been tinkering a lot with technology I never had the time to devote to before…namely Substance Designer,   UE4, Quixel (dDo/nDo/3Do) and the whole physically based shading pipeline. There’s a lot to learn for a tech artist who’s been away from tech art for a few years now. Mostly this exploration is to kind of feel my way around the new tools to see if there’s anything I’m interested in leveraging for project 2.

Here’s a little test I made today that I’m not entirely happy with, using the Beta Quixel Suite. The suite is interesting, but not entirely ready for prime time yet, I think. The left is a render from 3Do, which is an impressive little previewer. The right side is the same base material set up in UE4 (on a simple BSP surface).

Obviously I’m missing something about the UE4 material setups, as the UE4 example falls super flat and the colors are not identical. PBS is still a bit of a wild west right now in game dev, but in theory matching a look between engines and tools is supposed to involve LESS guesswork with PBS, not more. I’ll have to explore the UE4 side of things a bit more to figure out what the proper implementation of the Quixel generated assets is.

Anyway, today’s clock 5 hours and 48 minutes.