Monthly Archives: June 2006

Bellissima

As I’ve mentioned before, SL’s level editor is not a specialized tool; it’s [OmniGraffle](http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnigraffle). Rather than implement every feature ourselves, we’re taking advantage of software that’s had years to develop those features. We just build the level as a graffle file, then a special Python script translates that into our level format.

Bellissima

I think truly great software doesn’t just *do something cool*. It does something cool *that the creators never even imagined*. It doesn’t just do something, it offers to do *anything*. This isn’t achieved by adding more and more specialized features for various popular tasks. It’s achieved by:

– Having a scope that’s narrow enough to give you direction, but wide enough to include the unexpected. (OmniGraffle deals with graphics in a structured way; its focus is neither narrower nor broader than that.)

– Including only the features which make sense for most situations *within your scope*, so that you can do *your* thing well. (OmniGraffle has lots and lots of generic structured-graphics features, but nothing that’s useful *only* for some specific case or another.)

– Being accessible to other software *outside of your scope*, so you can benefit from that software doing *its* thing well. (OmniGraffle’s file format is a NeXTSTEP Property List, which can be read into a Python data structure in one line of code. From there I can do anything I want with it; I’m pretty much unstoppable.)

It took less than 100 lines of code to get a level editor with drag-and-drop placement of objects, multiple layers, alignment guides, and hundreds of other handy features. That’s the value of great software.

Rolling

Indeed. For a while I was stuck between a Universal Binary installation of Python and a PPC installation of Pygame. Since the Universal versions of Pygame and PyOpenGL don’t seem forthcoming any time soon, I blew away my Python installation and started over with an old PPC binary. On the MacBook, it actually runs perfectly fine in Rosetta. Faster than running natively on my old 12″ PowerBook, even.

Technobabble aside, I’m ready ready to work on this game again. 60 hours of my life, over the last 3.5 months, have been put into Ar Tonelico. I just can’t contain my appreciation for GUST and Banpresto, the folks who put it together. I keep trying to write about this game and failing to encapsulate my impressions into something that can be read within one minute. What’s important here, though, is that I’m undeniably inspired to get back into developing our own game.

Back in motion.

A quick entry to let you know that we’re both (mainly) free of the “real-life” that has been bogging us down over the last few whiles. Expect progress and soon.

On a lighter note, I have started a journal /weblog of my own (for various reasons), called Grappa Pixel Tea, it’s going to be really cool, I promise! One main reason is that I have for a long time kind of wanted a soapbox from which to bleat my opinions of video games, both indie and commercial, as well as talk about stuff like art and music.

Well, more later.. bye for now~