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It’s been fairly hectic at work the past few weeks. One of my employees gave me their two week notice right before my Christmas vacation so I started the New Year out down an engineer. I’ve been picking up the slack until we get someone else hired in. I’ve got a temp employee still though helping me out so at least it’s not an entire second position I have to cover for. As a result my side project time has been cut into a bit but I’m still working on the project I posted about in November and December of last year.

Dec 3

Thanksgiving week wasn’t very productive but I’m hoping to have a playable alpha build of the game I’m working on done by Christmas. I’ve got more 3D models to plug in and the random level design needs a bit of balancing but it’s coming together. Even though it’s not a FPS I’m also implementing support for the Oculus Rift, mainly just to get some experience using it in the Unity3D environment.

I got an invitation to get in on the Google Glass Explorer’s program but with the holidays coming up I don’t think I can spare the $1,500 cost right now. Maybe sometime next summer I’ll try to get my hands on one for development…

I’ve began working on a 3D game with a couple friends, more info to be released soon…

By the time I decided to preorder a PS4 the local Gamestop and Best Buy were no longer accepting them due to limited units. Amazon was out of stock as well, so I went ahead and preordered at Walmart. The Walmart near my house was slow to open up preorders so I was ready the first day they were available. I found out later I was actually the first person to preorder a console at that store. It was September 2nd, two and a half months prior to the release date, and I had one fully paid off just waiting for me to come pick it up.

Fast forward to the day of release, November 14th.

I called the store in the early afternoon to ask them details about the release event. They informed me there was already a line forming for the dozen extra consoles they received but because I had preordered I could just show up at midnight and pick mine up with no wait.

I arrived at the store around 11:30pm and walked back to the entertainment section where I found a small group of people standing around waiting. When I asked I found out these were the people waiting for the extras and there should be a separate line up at customer service for those who had preordered the console. When I reached the front of the store I found myself 2nd in line for the preorders. From then until midnight only half a dozen other people came up behind me despite there being a pile set aside with at least three times as many consoles.

Midnight arrives. The first person walks up, presents their receipt, is handed their console, and leaves. The entire process took less than a minute. I’m next. I walk up, present my receipt, they scan it, and the computer beeps at them. There’s some message that pops up on the smaller screen facing me that says the order isn’t found…

Apparently the way the preorders were done is that a layaway is created and they leave a penny on it to keep the item active in the system until the console is picked up. Whoever originally rang me up didn’t leave a penny off of it and as a result my order was closed. Because it was closed they didn’t set aside a console for me and instead added my console to the pile that was going to the people who had been waiting in line.

One of the Walmart employees explained this to me and I asked her to call back to make sure the electronics counter didn’t resell my console to someone else. Her reply? “I can’t do that, those people have been waiting.” So had I, I’ve been waiting over two months, but apparently they had a priority. So the gaming console that Walmart had already sold to me was then sold to a second customer. I was not happy.

They scanned my receipt a couple more times and stood there not knowing what to do so I suggested they help the rest of the people in line so they didn’t need to wait behind me. It only took about 5 minutes before everyone else was out of the store with their consoles. There were still easily a dozen left behind the counter so I was sure everything would get sorted out and it would just be a couple minutes longer. I was incorrect with that assumption.
“These consoles are for people that preordered already, we can’t give them away.” I preordered a console, they gave mine away, and now decided they couldn’t do that anymore. I was told that they SHOULD get a few more consoles in sometime before Christmas and that I would get a $20 gift card for my troubles. I was told that one of those consoles belonged to someone who worked at the store and that MAYBE they could be talked into waiting and I might be able to get one tomorrow. I hate Walmart.

*The next day I did receive a call and was able to get a console, but I still think the way they handled it and the fact that they sold my console to someone else is complete bullshit. 

Nov 7

The highlight of my trip to GDC Next has definitely been getting to briefly speak to Tom Hall. I grew up playing the Commander Keen games and I’m pretty sure the “Dopefish” enemy from that series is the reason I hate/fear underwater levels.

I also got to meet Tim Schafer, so that was pretty cool too.

Nov 4

Starting building my new computer this weekend. I got it all hooked up and realized I was short a SATA data cable so I wasn’t able to connect the 1TB HDD. I still have a SSD connected to it but it’s only 64GB so there’s not a lot of room for anything but my OS and a few other applications. My original plan was to get it setup and then have it download my Steam library this week while I was off at GDC Next but that’ll have to wait.

After getting it hooked up and running I installed Windows 8. I hadn’t experienced it yet and I’m not much of a fan. I like that there’s still the Desktop mode though. I downloaded some development tools to look into the process of making the Window’s Apps but didn’t have much time last night to mess around with them.

I’m heading to the airport after work today and flying out to California for GDC Next. I’ve been to GDC before but never when I actually had a decent position in a company. Looking forward to checking out a lot of different sessions and do some networking.

I’m really surprised with how easy it is to get the Oculus Rift running in the Unity 3D engine. I was able to load in a level model a friend had made in 3D Studio Max and within minutes could explore it using the Rift headset. I’m starting to work on a couple proof of concept projects before diving into something on a larger scale.

I also wrote a small Windows application yesterday for randomly generating recipe ideas. I got the idea from a Kickstarter project I saw for dice you could roll for recipe ideas but I expanded on it a bit. I might make a few more changes to it and then post it up here. It ended up giving me a good idea for an Italian dish I cooked last night. It was delicious, so I’d say it works good so far…

Oct 9

My Oculus Rift ended up coming a day early so I spend all evening yesterday checking out some tech demos. I’m excited to start working with it on a small project of my own soon.

Unrelated, I love the random test user names Facebook generates for applications. This afternoon I’ve been making sure “Sharon Dingleberg” has all the new features running smooth for next week’s update.

Oct 8

Oculus Rift!

My Oculus Rift developer kit is scheduled to arrive tomorrow afternoon! I’ve got a couple ideas for a few test projects after recently finishing the book “Ready Player One” so it looks like I’ll need to stop devoting most of my free time to GTA Online…

Haven’t gotten a lot of indie development done recently. I participated in the last Ludum Dare event but didn’t finish. Ended up writing a pretty strong engine for a 2D turn-based strategy game but didn’t have any time for content and polish after spending the entire time building a robust action and inventory system. I still plan on completing it but for now it’s been added to my growing list of unfinished projects. The Ludum Dare October Challenge is to release a finished game and make at least a dollar profit on it so I’m hoping to finally get one of these two dozen works-in-progress wrapped up and on the Google Play Store…

Hoping to wrap up an unfinished game project this weekend. It’s a hunting game I originally made for my youngest brother but it’s gotten some positive feedback with play testing so I’m guessing it can actually make me a few bucks on the Google Play Store.