Skip to content


My schedule is absolutely screwed right now up until about August because of work, but the good news is that after I finished the Midtown map I had begun to assemble the Alpha version for the testers (or is it Beta? I should look up what these terms really mean!)

Until now they’ve been testing out various disjointed portions of the game to get a feel for the atmosphere, the game mechanics and so on, but now it is structured and will play out in the proper sequence that is intended for the final release.

I have gone back and combed through every step, from the intro to the configuration screen sound effects, music, rerecording the voices etc. I hope to have this ready to go in June and will keep everyone updated on how the test goes!

In the meantime…

Do You Have A Thing That You Just HATE Doing?

I work in a kitchen and one of the things I just really, really hate making is this Cous Cous dish we have. I really don’t know why since it’s soooo easy and only takes minutes to make, but I just always drag my knuckles and it ends up taking 10 times as long!

This final area of the map (the gas station) is my Out Of Hell Cous Cous. When I finished the layout phase of the map years ago (with only minor detail added) I couldn’t even finish this damn gas station! The model was incomplete and I left the whole thing untextured because for some reason, I didn’t want to do it. I just didn’t!

Fast forward until now and I saved this gas station for the absolute last and I just dragged my feet when detailing it out. It’s so stupid too because all I did was fight through that “not wanting to do it and putting it off” attitude and surprise surprise, I got it done and it was simple. One thing that helped (which I’ve said before in other posts) is making a list and crossing the stuff off as I go. For example:

Dreaded GAS STATION area:

  • Stupid Gas Pumps
  • Stupid Propane tank things
  • Propane cage?? So stupid
  • Posters
  • Garbage can (octagon plastic ones)
  • Window wiper things with the container things for the window wiper things
  • Papers
  • Big car Vacuum
  • Air pump
  • Signs on windows
  • Stupid Bait fridges (make two? Freezer style as well??)
  • Dumb hedges
  • Stupid Convenience Store with triangle roof
  • Gas sign logo
  • big Gas costage sign

Etcetera etcetera.

The thing that took me longest was actually coming up with ideas for the posters and signage and not even the creation of the gas station itself, which I dreaded for so long.


Worth The Time Spent!

Keeping things unique in a map this big is a damn difficult thing to do by hand and it was just so tempting to copy and paste entire city blocks in order to get through it faster…but I didn’t do it. 🙂 I figure there is about another 2 weeks until the map is complete (including the buildings that you can go in) It was a time-consuming process for sure, but there was a lot of stuff that needed to be fleshed out!

I went into every last nook and cranny that you could see and added details. I also had to keep that up for distanced areas that you couldn’t access but could still see if you zoomed in. That’s something that drives me absolutely crazy in some games; how everything is detailed only in the play area and no real work is put into extending the visuals into the distance! It breaks the illusion!

I posted a pretty long video showing a few more areas of the map and at the end it shows how potentially dangerous it will become once the sun goes down. It’s extremely dark and even with an upgraded flashlight (you get a wider, stronger light if you can find it in the game) it will still be difficult to deal with things that come at you!

The idea is that you do your exploring during the day, collect as much stuff as you can and then make your way to a safe area to spend the night. Of course, there will be pros and cons to both staying out the entire night or hunkering down in a building, but that’s something you’ll have to decide when you’re playing!

I always intended that after this map was completed I would begin working on the public demo and wrote up a checklist of things that needed to be done in order to make that happen. The thing is, I found the list to be pretty long which meant that I would have to stop work on the next handful of small maps in order to make the demo.

Timing is a huge factor in this and I think the best thing to do is to release a demo followed by a trailer when I’m about 6 months or so from the finish line. This way, it would give me some time to make any fixes and changes from public feedback and then people wouldn’t have to wait that long until they could play the final version.

If I stop now to make the demo, it will basically be like working on another small game which takes time away from the main project. If I were to just continue work on the project itself, that long checklist of things that need to be done for the demo would naturally be completed anyway. I can then release the teaser without too much work.

At the moment, I don’t know what I should do, but I am leaning heavily towards just continuing what I’m doing. If you want a demo really soon, I’ll definately need some convincing. Let me know what you think! 🙂

Keep Calm And Drink Coffee!

I gotta tell you, I’m so paranoid and anxiety-prone these days. I can see the finish line in the far distance now and it’s just a matter of closing the gap…but, what if something happens?! I try not to think about it so much, but my personality can’t help but make me stress…what if the hard drive crashes? What if this–or that happens? What if? WHAT IF?! Aaargh! The closer I am to the end, the crazier I’m going to get!

I think the silver lining of this is that the fear keeps me in a constant state of motivation to get it all done as fast as I can. Focus is not a problem, believe me. Why, I haven’t even logged into GTA Online to menace any squeakers for months! :D

Beautiful Day For A Stroll!

Here’s the progress on the Midtown area that some of you should recognize from the original! I drew inspiration from some of the key areas and just expanded and improved upon them (mainly, having everything make a little more sense from a real-world perspective) These days I just like updating when I hit a personal milestone because I find it harder and harder to contain my excitement as we get close to the end.

As you can see it’s a fairly big map that’s presented as one piece (in the original, it was broken into several maps) and it’s a ton of work to get the little details and nuances in there, but it’s completely worth it. Everything you see is placed by hand; no auto-generated bullshit for this!

The green lines mark the streets that still need to be done, but it shouldn’t take much longer. This is the last “big” outdoor map and the remaining handful are much smaller, indoor ones. Here’s a WIP video in the meantime!

“Why would you want to go back to that dirty little town?!”

A portion of one of my favorite lines from the 1990 “IT” TV movie that Eddie Kaspbrak’s mother says to him when she finds out he’s going back to Derry. I always thought that described Grinwood really well! Why would we all want to go back to Grinwood anyway? 🙂

The polishing phase is moving along at a great speed. I only have a few more maps or so that I have to fix up after this one and then…more testing! XD But at least you can expect a trailer around that time and a short demo shortly after (I’m thinking maybe the first 2 maps) As is always the case, I overestimated the amount of work it takes to polish a map but much of it is little things like the movie posters and signage, garbage, grime etc. All those little things don’t seem like much in my head because I think of them individually (Oh, I just have to make up graphics for a couple sandwich boards. No big deal!) but I always forget about how much of it there actually is as a whole.

The good news is I go to bed every night feeling happy and satisfied that I accomplished what I set out to do for the day and when I wake up in the morning and head to work, the thought of getting home so I can continue my art drives me and helps me tolerate the…people I’m paid to tolerate for 8 hours! :(|)

I’ve been asked by different people how I was able to stay so focused and stick with this for so long. Perhaps that’s the secret…you really need to hate your job, have a project that can potentially lead to things better than your current job and that’s all the motivation that you need to keep going! 😉

Urban Decay!

One of the things I really like doing is watching urban exploration videos where people visit abandoned areas (If you get the chance, look for videos about Centralia) My imagination usually takes over and I try piecing together things that may have occurred in these places before they were left behind and forgotten. Well, that’s one aspect of the atmosphere I tried to convey in the mod and which I’m spending an untold amount of time trying to accomplish here.

I want to make players feel as though they’ve stumbled onto an entire city that is forgotten and decaying. One of the things the testers really liked is the amount of environmental storytelling that’s present. Again, you can ignore all of it if you choose, but if you decide to pull on that thread there will be a lot of things that you can piece together to find out what happened before you came!