I decided to try to learn how to create animated videos. So, I got a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud and Skillshare to learn via video tutorials. I also bought a condenser microphone for recording dialog. After watching a few classes, I started working on the first video.
The first video is called Bob’s Robot. I drew the backgrounds and characters in Photoshop, recorded and edited dialogue in Audition, and animated everything in Character Animator. Here is the result:
The second video is called Good Advice Unicorn. This time I drew backgrounds in Photoshop, characters in Illustrator, and animated using After Effects. Here it is:
The third (and latest as of writing this) video is called Nutopia 2: Attack of the Legumes. I used the same workflow as the previous video, except I used an inverse kinematics plugin to rig and animate the characters. I also recruited some guest voices, which was tricky but worth the effort. This one is significantly longer than the previous videos, and I think the quality is significantly better. Here it is:
The YouTube channel is called VideoStove. You can find a link to it on the amazing website I created for it.
Anyway, that is what I have been spending my time on lately. Enjoy!
Due to lack of public interest and to make room for other projects, I decided to stop active development on Flavordex and Word64. The apps will still receive bug fixes and my other project, Elementary, will still continue.
These products never took off. They don’t have the number of users to justify the time and effort required to continue development. I would like to use that time to work on some other project, as soon as I figure out what that is.
Over the past few years, my left hand has become pretty much useless for using the keyboard. This made playing most games impossible, or at least that’s what I thought. For a while I could only play games that only require a mouse.
I recently discovered that some people have been able to effectively play most games using face and head movements. The software uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor to recognize facial expressions and head orientations and translates them into keyboard and mouse inputs.
I ordered the Kinect and an adapter for the PC. I combined the KinesicMouse software with Voice Activated Command (software that triggers inputs based on voice phrases) for the less time sensitive inputs. With some practice I have been able to effectively play games like Minecraft, Battlefield, and Overwatch with just a mouse and my face.
I made a game and it is called Word64. It is a word game where the goal is to spell words by connecting letter tiles on a 8×8 grid. You have 3 minutes to make as many words as you can. Here is a picture:
Screenshot showing how to make a word
Check out word64.com if you are interested. Right now the game is only available on Android via Google Play, but that may change in the future. The app is free with an optional paid upgrade to remove ads.
The idea for the name actually came first and the game was designed around that. The letter scores and distribution are based on Scrabble, and the game is pretty similar to Boggle.
Possible future features:
Support for more platforms (possibly Web and/or Windows)
Since my mobile apps weren’t selling, I decided to make them free and release the source code under an open-source license. The code for Flavordex as well as several other projects are available on GitHub under the terms of the MIT License.
I’ve been pretty busy since the last post here. I finally released Flavordex 2 on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. I also made the first major update to the app today, adding data synchronization among a few other fixes and improvements.
UltraMega Software is no longer just the name of my website. I registered the name as a fictitious business name, so I guess it’s now more real or something. I also had to get a PO box since Google Play requires a physical address on all store listing pages and I don’t want my home address made so public.
I also reestablished the UltraMega Facebook and Google Plus pages which, along with Twitter, is where I will be posting about app updates and stuff.
A few months ago I wanted to check out Android Studio for developing Android apps. I’ve been using NetBeans with a third-party plugin to make my apps. The best way to learn a new development environment is to start a new project, so I decided to start work on a complete rewrite of Flavordex.
It’s getting close to being ready for release. It just needs some polishing.
Here’s a few of the biggest changes from the original Flavordex:
It’s a single app with categories instead of separate apps for each type of journal
Ability to customize categories as well as creating new categories
Many improvements to the interface, especially for tablets
Here’s a little preview of the app on a tablet.
Android Studio is definitely a huge improvement in the development process. Everything is integrated into the environment and it just works. I’ve also converted my existing projects.
Well, it has been over a year since I last posted so I think it’s time for a new one. Since the year is new, I figured a good topic is new movies coming out in 2015. I’ll just talk about four movies the interest me the most, in order of projected release date.
Avengers: Age of Ultron. Marvel movies seem to always be entertaining, especially when you combine the best characters in one movie. This one appears to have an evil robot voiced by James Spader, so that’s cool. There’s also some kind of super iron man suit thing for some reason, so that will be fun to watch.
Jurassic World. Dinosaurs! This time there’s actually a working theme park with lots of tourists, so that will be an interesting change. There’s also Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle next to a bunch of raptors, which looks pretty cool.
Terminator Genisys. This one has a weird name and seems to have a confusing plot, but it should be entertaining anyways. Nothing can top T2, but this one at least has terminators fighting each other and stuff. They also got the usual catchphrases in there.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. I only recently became interested in Star Wars after watching all the movies in release order. It should be interesting to see what happens after Darth Vader, and to find out who that guy from the teaser is.
So there’s some thoughts about some movies coming out this year. Thanks for reading!
On Thursday I went to see Pearl Jam at the Viejas Arena in San Diego. I went in with what I was sure were unreasonably high expectations, but I was not disappointed. What I got was the best live performance I’ve seen, removing any doubts that Pearl Jam is the epitome of rock bands.
The show lasted about three hours and had a good mix of new songs, old songs, and a few covers, and they seemed to save the best for last. The sound quality was excellent, especially for an indoor arena. Pearl Jam’s sound people seem to know what they are doing, instead of just turning everything to 11. Eddie did a lot of talking and drank from a bottle of wine between songs (he seemed a bit drunk near the end), even passing a bottle to his mom via audience.
They ended the show with The Who’s Baba O’Riley, Yellow Ledbetter with The Star Spangled Banner guitar outro, and then a great cover of Rockin’ in the Free World. Overall, it was a great set. The only thing missing that I would have liked to see was Jeremy, Daughter, and/or Corduroy.
After a long period of almost no sales, I decided to make the Flavordex Android app free. As expected, the number of installs has increased significantly. I do not yet have a plan for how the app will support itself financially. I’ll figure that out if the app becomes popular.
The backend is hosted on my own server, which I use for many purposes. The photos are hosted on Amazon Web Services, so that cost will scale with use. Right now it falls under the free tier limit, so its cost is 0 until that runs out.
I don’t want to put ads into the app, but I might put them on the website if there is enough traffic. Another possibility is to accept donations from the users.