Monday, January 17, 2011

Obligatory 2011 Update and other such things.

This blog entry will be in THREE parts.

Part I:
The details are still being fleshed out on this "Project" as we figure out our limitations, but I will announce it anyway - after I
Part II:
Introduce myself to you and narrate on what this "Project" is. Which will lead to
Part III:
A quick review of the iPhone4's video capabilities, the Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS20, and the Flip UltraHD.

PART I: BrokenKings House!
Broken Kings, Inc. ambitiously started Broken Kings House or BKH for short, this year! It revolves around a relatively straight forward business plan. Make games with the household which consists of the following people:

Stephen as financier and lead programmer,
Lopi as lead designer and programmer,
Josiah as lead artist and audio engineer,
Jenna as artist and lead QA,
and then there's me.

I'm not really sure what my job is called, but I'm guessing it's queen of awesome.

Two weeks in so far and we've finished Skwerl, and just about done Smoothie Operator. Woohoo!

PART II-A: Yours Truly.
Hello, readers of this here blog. My name is Bernadette. I will be reporting on BrokenKings news and other related (or not so related) things here from now on, as well as force Stephen to post more useful iPhoneDev tutorials and relevant business tidbits for you readers. :)

PART II-B: What is BrokenKings House?
BKH is a pretty strange mix of quirkiness, passion, friendship, fun, and work. I say work because it is still a job for all of us, but very unlike any old job out there. It might be presumptuous to say but I think in essence, BKH is that idea which spawns the game industry dream. That awesome "HoMahgawd games are so awesome and fun and great! I wanna make games!" notion that working in the big corporate game industry for a marginal amount of time eats at, until it fizzles and dies. Where's the fun? Where's the creativity? Where's the resonant feeling of playing games with friends in the making of one?

BKH is coming together to find ideas, and working together to create something out of those ideas. That's it. We plan on making a game a weekend and so far, we've concocted some seemingly random ideas which came together into little creations. We videotape the process for posterity (and perhaps the lulz) and maybe we'll look back and laugh at how hard it's been for us and see just how much we've all grown later. We've never worked as a team before this, but it amazes me how far we could push together as a team! Later, I will post about each member of the team for your reading pleasure. ;)

PART III: Filming with iPhone4, Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS20, and the Flip UltraHD
We started filming on iPhone4s.
That worked well enough, but we've had problems with the accelerometer, or so I think. The quality is pretty amazing for a cellphone camera when it works like it should, but it's quite a pain when it imports in weird aspect ratios and randomly decides to record in portrait. I'm still learning how to put these videos together, so problems like these are extremely annoying and time consuming. Also according to the team, it's pretty unwieldy with it being too wide and too thin.

We moved on to the Flip UltraHD.
Despite the plasticky feel and painful rate with which it drained 2 AA batteries, it was awesome! The video quality was great, it's comfortably held vertically and records in landscape mode, it did what we needed it to do. Until it decided it didn't want to work for a little while. It would not turn off, would not show up as a device when connected to my MBP, and I had to remove the batteries to shut it down. There were 11 clips in it, but I could only see and play back the 57-second 11th video because it would freeze if I tried to access any other ones. Doing a mass delete without looking at any of the other clips fixed it, but what a waste of perfectly good footage! I figured it was a memory issue. It had no room to think about turning off when it was too full. We decided we needed something with 1. more memory, and 2. rechargeable batteries.

So we went back to the store gunning for a Flip minoHD.
They didn't have one in-stock, and the sales rep suggested Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS20 to us.
We got it because it had more memory and an internal rechargeable battery, shoots in perfectly good 720p/60fps, responds better to low light, felt solid to the touch... But I will make another trip to the store tomorrow to exchange it because despite all those good things, whoever designed it forgot that their target market consists of would-be vloggers, likely to post their videos on YouTube. I say this because the camera's tripod mount is at the bottom nearest the red record button. PORTRAIT MODE! Filming in portrait mode means your content only occupies one third of the video box, one narrow stip of footage sandwiched between two, black, rectangular masses. Yay for encouraging failure to utilize the 16:9 aspect ratio of most widescreen video hosting sites! The funny thing though, is it even has a self-timer, to use so that you can be in the pictures and movies, but why did they put the tripod mount for use in portrait mode???
/end rant.