3

“Shadow of the Rose-Croix”

ShadowsShot4

This has been a long time in the works, but finally I can tick “make a fully 3-D game” off my bucket list. 🙂 I began this project back in 2015, lost heart repeatedly, and finally cracked on with it this year to completion. It was programmed in Visual Basic – certainly not the ideal code for work of this nature, but the only one I know on PC. Thankfully, the tutorials of programmer Jack Hoxley (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) gave me most of what I needed to get my head around the essentials, and trial and error did the rest.

This is a Gothic-style puzzles-and-platforms adventure game, much like the object-collecting and puzzle-solving games popular on 8-bit computers in the 1980s and 1990s except the various rooms it covers are in 3-D, dynamically lit (and, hopefully, artistically), and both player character and viewing camera can be controlled. Also, it features a bit of plot-justified gender-bending. Couldn’t really resist including that …

This game features an original music score composed and performed by Cardiff Punk / Goth band “Clusterfuck” who very kindly donated it for nothing other than the tiny bit of promotion I can give them, and with that in mind …

clusterfuck-banner

For complete story, instructions, and download links …

SHADOW OF THE ROSE-CROIX (DOWNLOAD)

Do please let me know if you have any problems downloading or playing this game. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

 

10

Official Entity

Well it’s only a small victory, but I had to resist the urge not to go SQUEEEEEE!!! quite loudly when something dropped through the post today. Especially as I examined all of the small print…

2015-08-18 23.53.38

No doubt some will be horrified at the apparent ease with which one can earn that little “F” in this country, but they may be somewhat consoled by the fact that it certainly gets no easier from this point. The next step, now that my IPL course has finished, with somewhat disappointing results (very little hair loss on my lip and chin), is to return to the joys of electrolysis: totally effective, of course, but excruciatingly slow, expensive, and so nauseatingly painful I would dare to hope even Germaine Greer feels I am getting my just desserts… and still no word on when I can expect to have an appointment at the GIC, of course. Until then I continue to self medicate, albeit conservatively, and probably doing more harm to my bank balance than to my health, but I am certainly finding it hard to empathise with the cliché that the trans activist agenda has created a society in which anyone can transition quickly, on a whim.

Still, quickly or not, there is no turning back for me. In a few short months I seem to have graduated from being a vague ghost of a person into an alive and finally an official entity, and I have no intention of crawling back into the containment unit.

In other news, the adventure game I am programming on Visual Basic is coming along slowly but surely, and I have chosen to be inspired by the first survival horror game I ever played: namely “Ghost Town” on the Commodore 16. While I grant that these graphics did not particularly impress me even in the day, several umpteen repetitions of this music certainly took its toll on player morale, and the fact of only having one life, no energy, and the starkest death sequence ever (the screen just cuts to electric blue, with a curt text description of your ugly fate) made for a bloody tense experience…

3

Geek Girl

Things have been moving forward lately, there is no denying. Cal and I are both out at work, both of our families have accepted or in the few worst cases resigned themselves to the situation, HM Revenue and Customs and Cardiff Council have both changed my details, so all my tax reminders will at least have the right name on them (woohoo), and God willing I will hopefully have a new passport as well before long. I have, at last, been sent consent forms by the GIC, so I am officially a patient of theirs.

Still, it is still a long and grinding process, and each bit of progress seems painfully tiny, moving up the GIC waiting list being as lethargic a business as waiting for my hormones and my laser treatment to have some visible and lasting effects. Dwelling on it would be a mistake unless I want to drive myself mad from impatience and anxiety, so what is my coping strategy to be?

Well, as ever, it will be based on my time-honoured method of losing myself in time-consuming hobbies that demand all of my mental energy and thus save me from having to worry about transition (or building a career, taking care of the flat, having a social life… though I’m sure I’ll get round to those one of these years).

Here are some test screenshots from a possible adventure game I started programming last year and picked up again recently. Since my equipment is mediocre (an old ASUS laptop), my software is ancient (Visual Basic 5), and moreover I am not the whole of BioWare studios, I am keeping it all fairly small and simple, with early PS1 / Sega Saturn style low-poly graphics. Since these meshes are all just raw vectors typed directly into the program (which my mentor, Jack Hoxley, says is a very bad idea, only I was feeling rebellious… and too cheap to invest in a proper mesh-making package), I am still not displeased with them, even if it is all a bit Minecraft-y.

screenshot1

(1940s style Citroen van driving on some crude but functional randomised terrain, inspired by the planet rover stages in the original “Mass Effect”)

screenshot3

(Cessna doing some aerobatics in front of a rather blurry backcloth of Burgundy)

screenshot4

(The game’s female character taking a stroll by a cottage)

screenshot2

(The game’s male character in a church with a massive spider, because)

Currently, one “transitions” between the two characters with a press of the “G” (for gender) key, but I intend to find some way to make this gender-switching a gameplay feature. The theme will be supernatural / magical, and the two characters will have differing abilities that will become key in solving the various puzzles. When I design games, I nearly always end up making them as arcade object-puzzlers in the style of the old Dizzy games, partly because I find that genre more interesting than combat-heavy games, and also because they are far easier to program (good fighting games usually requiring a ton of animation and physics to both look decent and be playable).

Heaven alone knows how often I shall update on this topic, though. I was well into this hobby last year when a friend persuaded me to get back into writing instead, then after a few months stuck to my manuscript, I realised (through my main character) that my gender dysphoria had resurfaced, and the rest is self-explanatory…

Which is, of course, the problem with creativity: it always seems like a nice, innocent distraction from the cares and concerns of life, but you never quite know into what dark and weird places it will eventually lead you.