JAMES KERSEY



How's That Future Going Out There?

Bringing back Sunday adventure comics… tune in next week for the next episode!

Photo

Behold! This was the first full-color “The Amok Bros.” comic that I made in 2014(?). I made 41 strips in this format then abandoned it for a while, and came back with more of a daily strip format. Something about this layout, though… even though the art isn’t on par with what I’m making now, I think it has more of the spirit of what I was going for with this project.

Thanks for reading Jim’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

And also: Welcome to my new newsletter! My plan is to start with a comic strip then digress into how I make these and then also info on the video game(s) I’m writing. And maybe work on adding content all week then publishing whatever I have on Sunday.

Currently reading:

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship Robert C Martin

Art

Re-tuning the studio

Photo

I got a camera rig set up for filming time-lapse drawing sessions, but except for a couple of test runs I haven’t had the brainpower to sit and draw. So now, we wait.

Programming

Why you should write your own game engine

Sure, there are plenty of platforms out there you can build your game on, but are you building your empire on rented space?

Some of these platforms try to lure you in with “no programming required” claims, but if you want to do anything cool, you’re going to need to get your hands dirty (programmatically speaking). And if you’re going to learn their coding language, I kinda feel like it’s better to just learn something that doesn’t lock you in to an ecosystem.

Another thing is what I was getting at in the first sentence, you’re giving up ownership of the foundation of your game. What if the next version of the platform starts charging crazy licensing rates? What if it breaks compatibility with your game?

Somewhat less of a lock-in scenario are game libraries. These will let you code in a non-proprietary language and give you hooks in to graphics and sound features so you won’t have to write the low-level multi-system compatibility code yourself.

This lessens your risk, but there are still potential licensing and versioning issues.

Currently I’m using SDL, which has been around for decades, and even serves as the foundation for other libraries like PyGame. It works on many platforms and has a pretty reasonable license.

One more thing: You can write games in Javascript without using external libraries at all! (An article for a later time)

Current projects

The Amok Bros. - Follow along as Frank and Ted ruin the universe.

Adventur - My Isometric RPG love letter to the original Fallout games.

Canary - A simpler project than Adventur, more of a ‘like’ letter to the original Fallout games. Rogue-like, 32px sprites, lots of loot & monsters.

Subscribe to get the latest comic in your inbox every Sunday!

1: There was a special “Ice Bucket Challenge” strip that wasn’t really part of the timeline, but was really fun to make because I got to drag my pal Pat McCuen’s characters into the strip.