A nail-biting ride…

The Kickstarter for The Gallery: Six Elements ended successfully a couple days ago. We went over our $65,000 target, blew past two stretch goals, and hit a final total of $82,397, with 1568 backers. It was a dramatic, nail-biting, and tense 30 day period that capped off a pretty grueling 5-month grind. Someday people will read about it in a coffee table book. 😆

I have the next few days off. I spent yesterday kicking back with some books that have nothing to do with work, and it was great. (I’m re-reading the Monster Hunters International series by Larry Correia.)

The success of the Kickstarter means I’ve got steady work for the next several months, which is really nice because I was getting a little tired of the unpredictable, constantly fluctuating returns of freelance web development and graphic design. It’ll be really nice not to have to worry so much about that for a change.

Surfacing for air

The indie game studio I work with (Cloudhead Games) has hit a point where we’ve got enough to put together a video for the Kickstarter, so I had some time today to post here.

Indie video game development is…exciting, stressful, exhausting, and always interesting. I don’t think I want to make a career out of it, but working on an indie video game has always been one of the items on my bucket list.

It’s one of the environments where being a jack of all trades comes in useful. I started out as an environmental modeler and scripter, but in practice, I’ve been doing a little bit of everything else as well. I’m even picking up some new skills along the way, as well as dusting off a few lapsed skills that I hadn’t touched since the 1990s, like character animation.

I can’t wait to revisit some of my personal projects with that additional experience under my belt!

Cat’s out of the bag.

It’s official. The studio I’ve been doing environmental modeling and Unity development work for (Cloudhead Games) started their media push for their first game, The Gallery, earlier this week. It’s an urban exploration game with some interesting twists and mystical touches, and we’re optimizing it to work with the Oculus Rift VR headset.





More details at The Gallery’s Facebook page and eventually the game’s website.

Scribus is pretty cool!

I’ve got a cold, but felt okay enough today to come into the office for a couple of hours.

I’ve been playing around with Scribus (an open source DTP/layout program) a little bit over the past few days. It had a problem that forced all PDF layers to print regardless of whether or not they were visible, so you couldn’t use it to create the kind of neat layered PDFs that Fat Dragon, Dave Graffam, and some other companies were doing for their paper models, so it never really entered my workflow.

I was doing a routine Google search on the subject of layered PDFs when I came across a Scribus bug report filed by one of the Cardboard Warriors forum regulars, and the Scribus devs were sort of dismissive and blew it off for a few years. One of the comments in that bug report got my attention, so I put together a quick test PDF and opened it up in Notepad++.

Sure enough, simply deleting the optional /Usage instruction lines fixes the problem and makes layered PDFs work correctly. So, if you want to do layered paper models in Scribus, just do this:

  1. Create your layered PDF in Scribus as you normally would.
  2. Export as PDF. Make sure you choose PDF 1.5 or higher, and tick the box for keeping layers.
  3. Open your newly generated PDF file in Notepad++ or another similar text editor that can handle large documents.
  4. CTRL-F, find all occurrences of “/Usage” (without quotes).
  5. Delete all of these lines.
  6. Save the PDF. Done!

Scribus has another pretty neat feature: you can extend it with scripts written in the Python programming language. I’ve whipped up some quickie helper scripts that speed things up by automating as much of the boring parts of building a layered PDF as possible. I’ll be testing those a little bit tonight.