Nov 18

Good Week for GearHead2 Development


I’ve managed to get a lot of stuff done with GearHead-2 this week. The resizeable interface seems to be working all over. The expanded gender and romance options from GearHead1 have been incorporated. Several bugs have been fixed. Work on a new title screen has begun. No promises, but maybe there will be a new release next week.

Nov 16

Jupiter Hell on Kickstarter

Korlel Kisielewicz has just started a kickstarter for his new game, Jupiter Hell. It’s an old-school roguelike with a modern interface and graphics. If you enjoyed DoomRL, then you should definitely check this one out.

Nov 08

Procedural Texture Generation

Last week I mentioned that I’ve been playing around with procedural texture generation. The method I’ve been using takes an image sample, analyzes it, and then tries to reproduce its texture in several ways. For example, take this picture of grass from the public domain West’s Textures set.


The source image shouldn’t have too many colors in it, so before feeding it to the texture generator I edited it in Gimp and posterized it down to around 10 colors.

The first texture generation method is shuffle, which just takes all the pixels from the source image and spits them back out in random order. This is good for generating a noisy texture which has the same color composition as the original, but the output lacks structure.


Next, I tried a markov chain, which records left-to-right pixel patterns from the original and tries to replicate these in the output. This one has a bit more structure to it, but the generated texture often appears streaky.


Next I tried another markov chain type algorithm, but instead of checking the state of the previous three pixels it examines the pixel above, behind, and to the upper left of the pixel to be drawn.


Finally, I tried an extended version of the above algorithm, which looks at more nearby tiles and falls back to a previous algorithm if an unknown seed case is encountered. Sometimes this seems to improve the results and sometimes it doesn’t.


You can see the Python script I used below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 03

GearHead2 New Shopping Interface


I’ve ported the new GH1 SDL shopping interface to GH2. A few things still need to be modified- the item images don’t show up yet because the GH1 code I copied and pasted doesn’t use them, and the descriptions for some item types don’t seem to be working right. Next stop: the character creation and training interfaces.

Also, I’ve been trying to procedurally generate new ground sprites using colors taken from old Sunrise mecha cartoons. This is grass. I’m not sure how it’s working yet; I want to see it in action before I judge.


Nov 02

Everything is Rocking Out of Control

japan_01The weekend before last I was in Japan for the Kaigai Manga Festa. This was my first time in Tokyo, and my first time at a Japanese convention. I met a lot of cool people, picked up a lot of new comics, and ate a lot of delicious food.

The best part was meeting a number of GearHead fans. One of them brought me a gift- this collector’s box of Dougram models. Have I ever mentioned that I’ve been trying to find a complete set of Dougram mecha for literally decades? This was an amazing gift and I’m glad I didn’t open it on the spot because I might have cried. Thank you so much.


I did well enough at the show that I may be able to justify going back again next year… though I spent enough money in Japan that I may not be able to.

Oct 18

I’m Going to Japan


This weekend I’ll be in Tokyo for the Kaigai Manga Festival, Sunday October 23rd. I’ll be at table L-1, so if you’re in the area drop by and say hi.
On a related subject, next year is the fifteenth anniversary of GearHead. Would anybody be interested in buying a GearHead anthology comic? Are there any artists reading this who would be interested in contributing to one? I’d love to do one through Polar Bear Comix, but have no idea how much demand there’d be.

Sep 10

GearHead2: Resizing But Ugly


I’ve been working to make the GearHead2 screen resizeable. Currently, the program compiles okay but many of the screen zones are in the wrong place. The work of fixing things should be simple yet monotonous. I’m going to bring in as many of the GearHead1 info display improvements as I can.

On that note, the UI borders and background should be a little bit different between GH1 and GH2.

Aug 24

Return to Normalcy


I have returned from San Francisco and am now a certified master of fine arts. Yeah!

I’ve started on the process of making GearHead2’s SDL interface resizable, just like GH1. So far the screen size can be changed but few screen elements reposition themselves. Also, I’ve fixed a long-standing bug where “Ask About Rumors” will sometimes abruptly end the conversation. My next step is to get the rest of the screen elements working with resizing, then to replace the shoddy world map interface with a chunky map as in GH2.1.

Space is endless, but the interface still thinks it's 800x600.

Space is endless, but the interface still thinks it’s 800×600.

By the way, the other guy in the photo at the top is Pete Glanting; you should check out his webcomic Tomorrow Jerks.

Jul 26

I’m doing a comics reading in San Francisco


This Friday, July 29th, I’m going to be taking part in the CCA Graduate Comic Reading at 350 Kansas Street in San Francisco. The time will be from 6PM to 9PM. This event is free and open to the public; there will be food and drinks. If you keep your eyes open you may even notice a little bit of GearHead in the middle of my presentation.

Jul 04

San Francisco Comics Tour


On Saturday, one day after landing in San Francisco, I led some of the first year Comics MFA students on a tour of some of the best local comic shops. Our first stop was Isotope the Comic Book Lounge, followed by Comix Experience, Whatever (helpfully suggested by James at Isotope), and Mission Comics and Art. According to Google Maps that’s 7km of comics goodness.

On Sunday, I did the comics tour again with some different folks.

This annual trip to the states is my one chance to visit English-language comic shops. It is equal parts thrilling and heartbreaking- thrilling to see all of these books, heartbreaking that I can’t buy them all and bring them back to Korea with me. There’s a lot of great stuff happening in North American comics these days.

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