The Artists Guide to Technical Direction in Houdini

houdini hscript tutorial stephen tucker

echo Hello World!

Was that an Houdini HScript command you just saw as a greeting?! Yes it was! Maybe that little “echo” bit threw you off, but it was actually pretty simple. And you know what? Scripting in Houdini is pretty simple too once someone shows you the ropes. You know what’d be totally awesome? If you let me be the one to show you the ropes. Ok, ok… you’ve charmed me into it. I’ll totally help you out.

All you have to do is visit this link, right here!

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The Games I Played in 2017

Those who know me, know that I play an awful lot of video games. I’ve been playing whatever I could get my hands on since I first laid eyes on Super Mario Bros. in the 80’s. Today, I own more games than I know what to do with. Wait… wasn’t my New Years Resolution to stop buying games? Yeah… well… about that… I managed to play though hundreds of hours of games this year… playing 30 different titles from start to finish… but I also added 113 games into my collection. As you can see, I have some bad habits. But games make me happy. So which ones did I play this year? I’m glad you asked! Read More >

TIL: Learn to Code in C++ by Developing Your First Game (Section 4, Lectures 125-129)

Disappointing. I had ambitious plans for ripping through these tutorials this weekend. Had a babysitter hired to come in and take care of Allegro Junior for a good portion of the weekend seeing as it was glorious Canada Day. (Un)fortunately she reported in sick and so it was a weekend that mostly consisted of hanging out with the kiddo. Disappointing not to have had the 12 hours of study time I was expecting… but hey, the kid seemed to have a great weekend so all is good in the grand scheme of things. Read More >

TIL: Learn to Code in C++ by Developing Your First Game (Section 4, Lectures 120-124)

It’s been a busy week for me! I finished a play-through of Final Fantasy Tactics War of The Lions last week. It’s my first time through that particular version of the game (though I have to admit logging hundreds of hours into the PS1 version back in the 90’s). Play it, if you can. It’s one of the best games of all time IMO. I also have finished up my first ever play-through of Endless Legend. T’was an alright game… but I didn’t enjoy as much as the Civ series.

With the Steam Summer sale in gear, I’ve been using Steam Idle Master to start farming my backlog for Steam trading cards. I figure I may as well build up my Steam Wallet and see if I can’t get a game or two added to my backlog. That sad… sad… ever growing backlog. So far I’ve got $8 into my account and have only managed to buy a single game (Material Girl [Don’t judge me. Don’t you dare judge me.]). I have not gotten around to playing it yet. Not sure what year it will be before I do.

Anyways, I’ve been slowly working through my gaming backlog this year, and I’ve currently got 8 more titles left on my to-do list for the year! I’m not 100% sure what I’ll tackle next… but it might be Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. For now though, I’m going to stick with the tutorials this particular blog post is supposed to be about, getting back into a regular bouldering regime, reading through The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design, developing an upcoming Houdini curriculum I intend on unleashing to you this year and (of course) practicing both French and Japanese. Busy, busy, busy.

And now for my notes… Read More >

TIL: Learn to Code in C++ by Developing Your First Game (Section 4, Lectures 115-119)

Wowzers! I haven’t touched Unreal Engine since the end of 2016! That’s… that’s actually a little sad. I enjoy UE4 quite a bit! So let’s get back into this.

Now… just to avoid any confusion here. The last one of these Today I Learned posts I made was for Section 4, Lectures 105-109. Logic dictates that the next one (ie: this one) should start at lecture 110… but the course has seemingly added 5 additional videos at some point during the past 5(!!) months. So that said, let’s jump in at 115. Read More >

The Vagabond Gamecast is on Hiatus!

Well, well, well! It looks like a certain member of the Gamecast just couldn’t help but create more life! And as we all know, in order to create one life, another must come to an end.

We hope to resume in the future, but Matt’s gonna be a busy little beaver for an undetermined amount of time… so to all our faithful listeners… thanks for all the fish!

Oh, and congrats, Matt!

TVG: 1.23 – The Best Games (Sorted By Console) Pt. 2

Surprise! It’s part 2 of our little tour through our favorite games on gaming consoles of times past. We’ll (roughly) follow the chronological ordering for these systems right up into the present through this series.

After a bit of chatting about recently gaming (including Rockman X 1 and 2 for Matt, and Final Fantasy Tactics and A King’s Tale for Stephen) these brothers hop into some game listin’ and discussing…

This week we run through the 32-bit / CD age and end with a brief touch on the Gameboy Color. Obviously, it’s mega important that you check the details inside! Read More >

The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 1.23 – The Best Games (Sorted By Console) Pt. 2

TVG: 1.22 – The Best Games (Sorted By Console) Pt. 1

Alrighty-roo true believers, welcome to the multi-part “Best Games” series of Vagabond Gamecasts! Matt and Steve are going to be sitting down for the next little while and catching up on just what their favourite games were on each console.

Let’s be honest here… our two heroes are in their early 30’s which means that they practically missed out on the first two console generations. For this reason, we’re going to be skipping ahead straight to the Third Generation and even then we’re going to be skipping a lot of the consoles as we go.

So in this week, we’ll look at the Third and Fourth Generation of consoles. Our top quintesential titles? Click the Read More button to quickly skim or, obviously, listen to the podcast! Read More >

The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 1.22 – The Best Games (Sorted By Console) Pt. 1

TVG: 1.21 – Death

Ever stop and consider a game’s treatment of death? We’re talking death as a game mechanic, death as a story element, or maybe death as a game theme. Death abounds!

This week, we look at death in games and how it’s incorporated into a variety of genres. We also explore how the treatment of death in games has evolved over time, and how our preferences for its inclusion as a game mechanic have changed as we’ve become stuffy adults with full schedules. Various salient examples of death handled trivially or in a frustrating manner are discussed and contrasted with what we think are some better approaches.

We also go over some other fine video game traditions such as permadeath, limited vs infinite continues, forced backtracking as punishment for player death, uninformed choices that lead to instadeath, and inconsistencies with narrative death and game mechanic death (we’re wincing at you, Final Fantasy VII).

Also, how many times can you say “death” in one podcast description?

The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 1.21 – Death

TVG: 1.20 – Tomas Guinan and Eskimo Bob

Eskimo Bob is an upcoming game by Tomas Guinan for the NES

After having a couple of podcasts where we discussed the indie homebrew scene and ROM hacking, we decided to hone in on one magical source of nerd power known as Tomas Guinan who has delved into both of these worlds.

In this week’s special episode of The Vagabond Gamecast we conduct our very first interview! Can you smell that Nova Scotian musk yet? That’s right folks, today, we’ve got not one, not two, but THREE of Truro’s finest current/former citizens in your ears today. Tomas joins us for over an hour of chatting about his ongoing Kickstarter for the Eskimo Bob NES game.

Eskimo Bob for the NES is an arcade-style puzzle-platformer with 64 levels, 15 enemy types, two playable characters, two support characters, and a fully functional password system allowing you to save your progress the good old-fashioned way.

Come along as we discuss things such as:

  • ・Who is Tomas Guinan?
  • ・What is Eskimo Bob?
  • ・What experience did he have before this project with game development?
  • ・What was Tomas’ inspiration for starting this project?
  • ・How long has it taken?
  • ・How does one develop for the Nintendo Entertainment System?
  • ・How does one go about making physical carts for the NES?
  • ・ROM Hacking / Translating
  • ・What’s it like to have a Kickstarter?

Let’s go!

The Vagabond Gamecast
TVG: 1.20 – Tomas Guinan and Eskimo Bob