It's been so long and I have so much to say... I usually organize better, but I just need to get this out before I forget stuff or it gets even more overwhelming.
I VISITED USAXE CLUB IN LISBON, PORTUGAL!
For various reasons it worked out for me to go visit USAxe Club in Lisbon sooner rather than later. It was a whirlwind rush to get my passport and all the COVID stuff done and timed correctly, but we did it and it was SO COOL!
The best part was seeing all my tech, interior/exterior design, and branding with my own eyes, in-person. It was a fulfilling feeling to walk into a venue halfway around the world and see/feel "my style" eeking out of every pore in the place.
The business is POPPIN' and gaining steadily in popularity. All the systems groundwork I put in place is finally being fully-utilized with online axe throwing and food reservations, our MMO/Martial-arts style league and achievements system, and a bunch of internal backend tracking stuff (not to mention all the web-socket axe throwing games being played all the time - in large part thanks to RUFFLE for the easy-to-develop Flash-based rendering system).
We're on our way to paying off all the startup debt we accrued by the end of the year, and then starting to bring in some decent profits. I'm really proud of what the team has done, there were some dark times getting through COVID, but the future is BRIGHT! We're seriously looking into expanding to a second store.
Me and one of my partners - he's a rockstar that handles (and handled) all the practical, boots-on-the-ground, considerations of building and running the business. Check out the bit of the "lightbulb sign" you can see to the right!
You have to pay for water in Europe, so we serve it in these custom-branded "flasks"
Me playing one of my axe-throwing games (you can see the projected target and the tablet mounted on the lane-wall):
Our MMO/Martial-Arts style "league" members beginning their journey with cool custom shirts with color corresponding to their "level" in the club (did I mention Budweiser, known as only "Bud" in Europe is one of our sponsors?):
League members get to throw a wide variety of stuff at our targets (one of the "club" member perks):
I made a TON of icons for our gamified axe throwing "achievements" which help league members "level up":
A heap of people enjoying the experience!
The video/advertisement we filmed to encourage people to book "events" while I was visiting:
NEW AXE THROWING GAME: "AXE FOUR"
This was a simple and easy "win" for a new axe throwing game. It's basically "connect four" but with axes. It's a nice one for axe throwing beginners because you only have to be accurate on the x-axis to be competitive. This was the first "net new" game I've made since switching over to Ruffle as the rendering engine. This would have taken me, probably, a week to make using my previous methods, and the animations wouldn't have been anywhere near as slick. With this new approach I made this in about 8 hours (!):
HELLA MEGA TOUR: WEEZER, FALLOUT BOY, GREEN DAY
My daughter is a major 90's music fan and has loved Weezer for quite a while. I bought tickets to the Hella Mega Tour in 2019 for 2020, but we know how that whole year got flushed down the tubes due to COVID. They rescheduled for this year and we finally got to go! 50k + people yearning to get back to "normal" life and activities like concerts... it was kinda raw and touching.
My work got a private "booth" for a recent San Francisco Giants game. The booth experience was SO posh compared with the seats I'm used to sitting in. It was Harry Potter night, so I took my son who is obsessed with HP and has been eating up the books recently:
HOME AXE TARGET:
My old axe target split in strange/unexpected ways under stress/long-term use, so I've come up with a new approach and repaired/rebuilt all the pieces. Hopefully this one lasts a lot longer. This project may be suffering from my perfectionism and lack of confidence in the practical construction arena... (it's taking a long time):
FACEBOOK PAGE CHOOSE RANDOM "LIKER"
I was looking back over some old YouTube videos and saw that my video about randomly selecting someone who has "liked" your Facebook business page had a ton of views.
OTHER GAME DEV NEWS:
With the latest Ruffle video-support updates, I dug up Trick Or Treat Adventure Quest which uses video in its ending:
Trick-or-Treat Adventure!by Mockery"Trick-or-Treat Adventure Quest" is a HUGE Halloween-themed point-n-click advent
Unfortunately, I found some game-completion-blocking bugs with Ruffle so didn't make it to the ending.
Fortunately, revisiting it reminded me how cool, and BIG, the game is. I was discussing with @mike and he suggested that it would be fairly easy to package it up as an executable with Ruffle as a Steam release. I downloaded Rust (the language Ruffle uses) and built Ruffle from its source code... So, I'm one step closer to actually being a contributor to that project instead of a beggar whining about my games not working.
I talked to @mockery and @poxpower and they're down for the Steam release! (probably next year around Halloween season ofc) I'm going to update it a bit to fix some of the most-frustrating aspects of the game (and blunt the edge of any Copyrights like "Elvira" --> "Hellvira" and then work with Mike on, perhaps, integrating Steamworks as an API into Ruffle! It might even end up looking like AS2 code methods that interact with Steamworks directly, but were NEVER PART of the original AS2 codebase... ha ha, that is kinda mind-blowing to consider!
The biggest complaint about the game is the "pathfinding" - because there basically is NONE which makes navigating around the rooms pretty annoying. I have a fix for this though! Waaaay back in the day I talked to @NegativeOne about pathfinding in his game Johnny Rocket Fingers 2 (https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/310635). His method made a lot of sense to me, so I built a prototype. Here's a video of it working. I'll probably make an instructional video explaining the approach so others can use it too. I've thought of a few improvements, but I'm excited to put this into TTAQ (along with some other upgrades to UI/UX):
Here's a list of my latest art:
Mycelial Skullby BoMToons
Cave Impby BoMToons
Tea Flickby BoMToons
Crute Crabby BoMToons
@Luis and I are brainstorming some ideas for something big down the road. Now that he's had his creative break, we're back on things and planning some stuff out. Hopefully you'll GET HYPED for it when we start putting the pieces together.
YOU MADE IT THIS FAR?
Dang, you deserve some kind of reward. Leave me a comment about what you want that reward to be!