Currently on art: Post-FFM 2021, the upcoming studying year, two released games

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since the previous Currently on art update, so it’s time to write and post another one!

I was actually supposed to write this update (and do a bunch of other things) earlier this week, but I ended up getting sick, which threw a major wrench in all of my plans. Fortunately, it’s not COVID, but my productivity did take a major hit since I didn’t feel up for working on most of the things. Plus, I’m staying indoors basically in quarantine until I’ve gotten better to avoid infecting anyone else and causing unnecessary COVID tests, so I haven’t been able to run the errands I was supposed to.

In other news, FFM 2021 came and went. It was a blast even though there was a challenge or two that brought me a good bunch of headache. The FFM Discord channel also brought its own fun into the mix, as at some point during the month an AI that generates images based on prompts was shared there and mostly cursed mayhem ensued.

This year, the story I want to highlight is my favorite, A Fake News Cake from day 15. I did debate between highlighting it and day 17’s story, A Dark Heart, but since the FFM version of the latter is a majorly cut one, I decided to give the spotlight to A Fake News Cake. The full version of A Dark Heart will be in the upcoming FFM 2021 collection, which will come sometime during the autumn. When exactly, I’m not sure; I’m planning to start working on it in early September, but since my studies are starting around the same time, I may have to postpone that if the initial workload turns out too big.

Speaking of my studies, I have news: a few days into FFM, I managed to finish my last bachelor’s degree course and my degree was approved earlier this month. I’ll be beginning my Master’s degree studies now. Woo! I’ll most likely spend most of my studying time of this semester at home since my city’s COVID situation has once again taken a turn for worse and I suspect that most, if not all, of my courses will be remote ones. Hopefully by the time the spring semester begins, the situation has become so good that we can finally get back to normal, what with more people getting fully vaccinated. At least I want to hold onto the hope that we’ll be able to celebrate May Day like we used to before the pandemic next year and that by the time I get my Master’s degree, things will be fully normal again.

Well, we’ll see how things are closer to the end of the year. I hope the situation will be far better by then. While I wait for that, I’ll try to have a healthier work/life balance and actually allocate time for self-care and personal projects. Maybe this time at least a part of it will stick and I’ll start to lead a more organized life instead of the semi-organized chaos that life has been especially ever since the pandemic hit my country.

In the meantime, instead of working on the web programming project I was supposed to start, I found myself bitten by a Transformers Prime inspiration bug and went on a long-needed revising spree with The Fate’s Way and, at the same time, migrated it to Archive of Our Own from FanFiction.Net since I got frustrated with the appearance of pop-up ads on FFN and decided that TFW, much like Lyokostar 1, can find a better and more organized home on AO3. As a sidenote, before anyone mentions Adblock, I know it’s an option, but I’m of the opinion that if a site gets obnoxious enough with its ads that I’d need it to use Adblock, I’m better off with a competitor (if one exists, which unfortunately isn’t the case with YouTube). Anyways, my TFW revising spree was going on surprisingly well until I got sick, which ground the whole thing to a halt. I’ll be resuming it once I’ve well enough to be certain that my less-than-optimal state won’t affect the quality of the revisions negatively. I’ll probably begin the web programming project once I’ve gotten better AND gotten a functioning Linux installed on my laptop, whether it’s Kubuntu (or some other Ubuntu derivative) or some other distribution.

Oh, and I also made two game jam games during FFM with a friend of mine: Well, Well, Well, a Twine game where you end up into a well and have to get out through underground tunnels, and Campfire Tales, a 1000-word visual novel made with Ren’Py where you can hear a story about ghosts, garlic bread or dragons. I handled writing, audio and a notable part of the coding, while my friend nofuu did suberb art for both games. Please do check them out; they’re both free to play!

Now that what’s happened since the previous post has been discussed, here’s the FFM 2021 statistics!

FFM 2021 statistics

Now, let’s see how things are going with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 9 of Aces is in progress. All writing is at 1881 days. Jedova’s reference has seen quite little progress, although I did get to move to back view’s lineart. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing, although it hasn’t been progressing at all for a good while since I haven’t had much inspiration with EJ. Revising is still in a standtill.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 48 is in editing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. I’ve revised chapters 1-18 and the halloween special and posted the revised versions on Archive of Our Own as the definitive edition, while the FFN version has been abandoned and now directs any prospecting readers to AO3. I’ve got the revised versions of chapters 19 and 20 waiting for alphareading, but that’ll have to wait until I’ve healed and can put out the best versions of the chapter I currently can.
  • Off-DA projects: Nothing has happened here.
  • Greenfield: I haven’t edited this much since FFM and TFW‘s revising have taken higher priority (and interest). I’m currently working on editing chapter 3. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 has been put on a hiatus because I can’t deal with the shitty writing that’s the current original version right now. It’ll definitely be a while before I tackle Altestar 2‘s translation. I’ve got some parts and Megastar 6 still unreleased because I haven’t gotten around to doing it; they’ll appear online at some point. The monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish are on a hiatus because nobody cares. References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: I haven’t worked on this at all for a long while since I haven’t found the time and enough interest for it.
  • Gaming: Habitica, Duolingo, Pokemon GO and Pokémon Masters EX keep on going. I’ve also returned to playing Transformers: War for Cybertron, but more than that I’ve been playing Ghost of Thushima.
  • Other stuff: I’ve got a new FFM reading backlog to go through during the following months. I’m taking a break from making collections. Reading is mostly still in a standstill on the book side, although I did read a bit of Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to The Force. I made two games during FFM with a friend (Well, Well, Well and Campfire Tales). I should get back to video editing.
  • Personal life: COVID is still going on, as usual. I’ve gotten my Bachelor’s degree and my first COVID vaccine dose, plus I’ve gotten through FFM and two game jams. The new studying year and my Master’s degree’s studies are starting soon.

I’d say that’s all for this update. Thanks for reading, take care, keep wearing masks and get vaccinated!

Currently on art: Bad Feather Day out!

Hi everyone!

It’s been 1.5 months since the last update again, so it’s time for a new one. This time, I have some exciting news!

In the previous post, I mentioned that I was on a game project course. Well, at the time of writing, I still am, although now we’re wrapping things up. We’ve now released the game we’ve worked on throughout this year: Bad Feather Day, a small low-poly 3D adventure game in which you control Tengu, a wizard who has been turned into a bird with human arms. By punching and throwing bananas, you need to defeat your enemies in order to obtain the means of turning back into a human. You can download the game for free on itch.io here: https://windysilver.itch.io/bad-feather-day

This project course has been quite a ride. I’ve learned a ton of things both about developing game in a team and about doing code for Unity games. Out of the three programmers in the team, I was the least experienced and I’d be lying if I said that impostor syndrome didn’t haunt me in the beginning. Now, however, I can fortunately say that the impostor syndrome is only a distant memory as copious amounts of Google Fu and a bucketload of successes have built both my skillset and confidence. There’s so much I have learned that making a list of it would take a lot of time and space, so I will not go into that.

Honestly, this course is definitely among my favourite courses so far. Although we’ve had crunch days when we’ve worked on the game for hours at a time and even times when something vital has broken – for example, the first time we were supposed to have a testable prototype out, we were crunching on the same day as the testing event, and our main scene broke twice not long before the event was supposed to start – we’ve also had fun together. We actually got to meet up one day to record audio for the game (and also play some games afterwards) and it was a ton of fun! On a side note, I actually ended up giving my voice to the monkey and parrot enemies during that meeting!

Such a great team that we formed was a true blessing, since it made the weekly meetings and, actually, everything about the course far less of a chore. If I were to change something about how things were done, I’d change something like how we operated in the beginning – such as better communication on who’s working on the scenes – but not the team itself. Despite of the challenges, we succeeded at finishing the game on time and I, for one, am proud of it (the code could be better, but for a product of a learning process, it does its job well enough). The end result is quite different from the ambitious idea we started from; in the original concept, Tengu was meant to gain his human parts back one by one, with the game’s emphasis more on exploration rather than action and the prototype having at least the level after he had regained his arms – but it is one I am proud to say to have been a part of making. I may have noted to someone aloud that it’s a game I am proud to showcase with my own face (as opposed to just hiding behind the picture of a windy silver banana as I tend to do).

Now that this project is done, now what? Well, this is the penultimate course for me this period, so once I’m done with the other course, I’ll focus on two online courses that I need to finish in order to get my Bachelor’s degree (given that two courses I’m still waiting to hear about and the last course of this period yield me passing grades). As for my paper for the degree, I got the results yesterday: it’s passing with the grade 3 (on a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the best). If everything goes well with the releasing process, it should become available online in a few days. It’s written in Finnish, though, so I may opt not to share it since I reckon most people who are reading this don’t know the language.

Aside from the courses, I’ll put more focus on my art projects; I’ll resume working on things that have received little to no attention for the last weeks and finish my next FFM collection (which is, by the way, pretty close to being finished, so I might very well be able to finish it within May). On the hobbyist IT side, I’m planning to do some web programming things to get a firmer grasp on full stack development and have something to show next time I apply for jobs since I was unable to get a summer job this year. Hopefully when I have my bachelor’s degree and some more experience and projects under my belt, I’ll have better luck finding a job. I’ll probably find myself in the grasp of impostor syndrome once again when I venture to the job market, but my experiences with the game project course have taught me that I am capable of learning enough while working on something to leave that pesky thing to bite the dust. Once I get my foot between the door and get some work experience, thing will start coming along from there for sure.

The experiences I’ve gotten from this project course are valuable, but the hope and confidence that have come with those experiences are invaluable especially in these trying times. Although things are starting to look up at least here where I live, the pandemic is still ongoing and will most likely be for some time. It’s easy to lose hope when the end isn’t clearly in sight, but it’s there. We just need to hang on for some time more before things get back to normal. They will definitely get back to normal someday, and I’m definitely looking forward to being able to return to the campus and see my friends.

Onwards to new experiences and successes!

Now, let’s have a look at how things are going with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 4 of Aces is in progress. All writing is at 1788 days. Jedova’s reference has been at a standstill most of the time because more often than not I haven’t found the time to work on it. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing. It hasn’t been progressing at all recently, though. Revising is still in a standtill.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 44 is in writing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. Revising needs to be done.
  • Off-DA projects: As detailed above, the game project course’s game, Bad Feather Day, has been finished and released! Woohoo!
  • Greenfield: Due to studies taking too much energy, I haven’t edited this much. I’m currently working on editing chapter 3. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 progresses: Part 10 of story 6 is in betareading. The monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish are on a hiatus because nobody cares. References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: I worked on this a little because Pokémon Masters EX‘s Father or Foe event spurred me to do something, but I didn’t get around to posting anything. I might have gotten more done by the end of the quarter.
  • Gaming: Habitica, Duolingo, Pokemon GO and Pokémon Masters EX keep on going. I played a little of Subnautica Below Zero, but I decided to say the rest of playing after the out-of-Early-Access launch (which was earlire this month). I’ll probably play it more during the summer. I also dabbled a little with Tabletop Simulator with hopes that I could use it for hosting some Star Wars Force and Destiny RPG sessions online, but otherwise not much has happened.
  • Other stuff: I’m still pretty badly behind with literature deviations because I can’t read them on DA without getting a headache from the eye strain, but I have gotten some FFM stories read. I’m working on my fourth FFM collection. Reading is still in a standstill on the book side since I’ve spent my reading time online, but I hope I’ll be able to pick up the remaining Death Note volumes and read them in the summer. I’ve been doing stuff on Unity because of Bad Feather Day and I’ve learned a ton of stuff, and I also did one animation on Blender for Bad Feather Day. I should get back to video editing.
  • Personal life: As usual, I’ve been drowning in studies as I’m trying to finish my bachelor’s degree during 2021, so there isn’t much to tell. COVID is still going on and I’ll continue waiting for the vaccine; it’s very likely that I’ll get my degree before I have a proper reason to go to the campus again since I have hopes that I’ll be able to get the degree during the summer period.

Thanks for reading this post! Take care!

Project Moonshot – prototype out now!

As promised, I got something playable out of my Game Off 2020 project, Project Moonshot, before the end of the month! Yay!

On the other hand, because life happened, the results of my ambitious project are far from what I’d hoped from the prototype I was planning to get out. What you got is barely serviceable, but it works (mostly) and doesn’t crash, so it’s fine.

I’m going to continue working on this game after Game Off, though, so if you see potential in what’s currently a mess, you’ll eventually see something better. When? I have no idea since the inventory system requires a lot of work before it’s good enough, but someday for sure.

In other news, I also made a tiny game with Bitsy this week for one of my courses: No Escape. If you feel like it, do check it out too!

You can play the games here:

https://windysilver.itch.io/project-moonshot

https://windysilver.itch.io/no-escape

Currently on art: Modern Problem out now and other releases

It’s time for a Currently on art update! This time, I have yet another announcement to make!

As you know if you have followed my posts, I have released two games on itch.io recently, MathQuiz and Against Procrastination. I don’t have much to say about them now that they’ve been out for a while, but they are noteworthy enough to be mentioned here. The bigger thing, however, is my first book release, made under the pen name N. WS. Jokela!

My collection compiled of publishable FFM 2015, Flash Prompt and Flash Fiction Day 2016, 2018 and 2019 stories, Modern Problem, is out now as a free ebook on Smashwords! While the stories are the lowest quality I have to offer out of my FFM stories, I hope you take a look!

In other news, I’m working on a new game as a part of a month-long game jam, Game Off 2020. My game, Project Moonshot, is a story-heavy walking simulator where you have to gather text files and figure out what happened in the abandoned research facility you woke up in. I’ve got the minimum of the text files I want to include in the prototype version I’ll submit for the jam and the map is coming along well, so expect to get something playable by the end of the month! I will work on the project more and flesh it out further especially in terms of the number of text files after the game jam during the course of this studying year as well!

Aside from those, not much has been going on recently. I’m constantly swamped up with coursework, stuck inside all day long since I don’t have many reasons to go outside especially now that it’s getting cold. The only reasons I have gotten out recently (aside from going shopping yesterday to see if I could find Christmas presents for my family) have been grocery shopping, taking the trash out and playing Pokémon GO. My university decided to extend their COVID restrictions to mid-March 2021 (can’t believe it’ll be a year since this mess started here by then), so I’m starting to suspect that I might get my bachelor’s degree out before I’ll have a studying-related reason to go to campus. I’m trying to get some humor out of it, but between combatting cabin fever and plain frustration that I should avoid doing normal (but unnecessary-for-survival) stuff like shopping at flea markets it’s starting to get more tiresome than anything else. Sure, if I put a mask on, I could go pretty much anywhere I wanted to but I don’t want to use them unless necessary; those things were a bit expensive when I bought them, not to mention that it’s better for the environment to use as few of them as possible.

In any case, I must admit that getting out to see other environments than grocery stores and the apartment building’s walls did do me good yesterday, although I also had to note that I’ve gone even more out of shape than before recently – oops. I should probably get hold of myself and start working out with Wii Fit again. Making some amazing finds that I’m still stoked about at a flea market and getting some good pizza (I finally got some recommendations about good pizzerias in my area after two years of procrastination on asking my fellow students) was a huge bonus too!

Oh, and speaking of environmental things, earlier this month I took part in a training session on zero waste which was aimed at students. It was super interesting and informative, so I’ve looked into what my boyfriend and I could do better to decrease the amount of waste we produce. Turns out we’re already doing pretty well since I’m a keen recycler! A very important and inspirational bit that I learned from the training was that you don’t have to be perfect and every little bit helps as long as you’re doing something to decrease the amount of waste you produce.

I can’t think of anything else to say, really. Like I said, it’s been pretty uneventful aside from releasing games and an FFM collection.

Therefore, it’s time to see what’s up with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapters 5 and 6 of The Strength of Mind are in editing. I couldn’t stop writing when I started working on chapter 5, so I wrote the first draft of both it and chapter 6 in one day. All writing is at 1603 days. Remaking Arya’s reference is nearing its end, so I will soon be able to start working on remaking Jedova’s one. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing. It’s been progressing slowly recently, but it’s looking okay. Revising has gone back to standstill due to studies taking up too much time and energy.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 41 is still in writing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. Revising needs to be done.
  • Off-DA projects: Releasing MathQuiz, making and releasing Against Procrastination, finishing and releasing Modern Problem. Now it’s time to work on the next FFM collection! I’m also working on a game jam project, Project Moonshot, which I will have a playable prototype of released by the end of November.
  • Greenfield: Due to studies taking too much energy, I haven’t edited this much, although I have finished editing the first chapter and I also got it to its wordcount target, which is cool. The story went onto pretty different rails while editing, but definitely on far better rails! Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: The translation of Lyokostar 1 progresses: Part 7 of story 6 is in rebuilding and translation. I’m writing monthly Lyokostar 3 oneshots in Finnish (except that I haven’t done that for a couple of months because I don’t have the energy and I’m pretty sure that no one cares anyway). References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: Little progress has been made on the posting side, although I have gotten some decent progress on my end. I just haven’t gotten around to posting anything since I’m pretty sure no one cares.
  • Gaming: Habitica, Duolingo and Pokemon GO keep on going but otherwise I haven’t played much due to lack of time.
  • Other stuff: I’ve fallen behind with literature deviations because I can’t read them on DA without getting a headache from the eye strain. Due to being busy and tired, I haven’t even been reading FFM or Tribble Month stories for some time, so things don’t look good in my watch. I’m not sure what I even want to do about it, so for now I’m letting the stories sit there until I figure out what’s the best course of action. Since I got my fist FFM collection out, I’ll start working on the second one now. Reading has halted to a standstill on the book side as well and for now, it’s probably going to continue like that. I got back to Unity after learning to do lots of stuff on Twine before the game jam I’m taking part in as I decided to use that. I should get back to video editing since I have so much footage to be edited.
  • Personal life: Studying, studying and studying. My timetable management experiment, which has taken the form of simulating a normal university day, has given out mixed results because I haven’t fully stuck with it most of the time. However, my most urgent online course is progressing well now since I had to count how many exercises I need to do in one day to get everything done in time, and so far I’ve been well ahead of he schedule. I hope it’ll stay that way as well. Oh, and I’ve also watched The Mandalorian and am now following it as new episodes come out. It’s even better than I expected!

I suppose that’s all for this post. Stay safe and well and take care, as usual!

Against Procrastination – Now released!

It is time for yet another announcement! My Twine project, named Against Procrastination, is finally ready, tested by two testers whom I recruited locally and now available on itch.io!

In Against Procrastination, you need to clear your to-do list while avoiding tempting procrastination activities. It features numerous randomized activities, descriptions and variables that make small changes to the description – for example, in the reading activity, the genre variable has 21 different choices while the book type variable has 11! With randomized values for the length of the to-do list and the time you begin your game as well, no session is the same! Or if you do somehow find two identical sessions, you should go catch Shiny Pokémon before your god-level luck runs out.

Do check the game out here: https://windysilver.itch.io/against-procrastination

A released game: MathQuiz

I don’t know if new portfolio posts trigger any notifications, but I figured that an announcement would be good in any case.

Anyway, a sequence of events involving forgetting to copy my current Twine project into cloud before rebooting my laptop from Ubuntu to Windows for an extended period of time ended up leading me to finally looking into the game my boyfriend and I made two years ago for our programming course, MathQuiz. After a night and a morning’s work with things, I got it released on itch.io!

In the MathQuiz, you need to solve (more or less) tough equations with or without a timer, depending on the mode you choose and get as many points as you can.

You can download the game here: https://windysilver.itch.io/mathquiz

It’s currently only available for Windows, as the Android version we made lacks in functionality due to the limitations of Jypeli, which we used in addition to C# to make this game. A Mac version will not be made because we lack the means to make and test it. When it comes to the Linux version, the answer is “perhaps someday”. Tools for making it exist, but we are unfamiliar with them, so for now it’s not on the to-do list.

Unless of course there is demand for it. Then it will, naturally, be added to the to-do list. ;)

Please check out the launch trailer as well!

Like I mentioned above, I’m working on a Twine project at the moment. There will be more info about it when I’ve gotten it finished and released, so stay tuned!