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ThinkBoxly is the personal developer blog of Lucas Chasteen, author, programmer, artist, and always learning. Read more

Friday, February 09, 2018

Update 27 - Semantic Arguments


With all major features in place, VNgen is now on the straight and narrow path to version 1.0. As you'd expect, this means isolating and fixing bugs—many of which are difficult to produce in the first place—but more importantly, the past two weeks have been all about standardization. Sound boring? Well, read on, because as you'll discover, standardization doesn't mean nothing new was added. And even better, you can see for yourself right now!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Update 26 - I've Got a Feeling


Alright, I've avoided it long enough: after two posts and four weeks of dodging discussion over the state of VNgen, it's finally time to get back in the swing of things for the new year.

As previously mentioned, part of the reason for the delay was life matters in the month of December. But that's not to say things weren't being accomplished—far from it. Rather, the bigger reason is that VNgen was undergoing such major changes that there was never a good point to stop and share it all. Now, most of these changes are internal and won't affect the user experience at all—or at least, they shouldn't. But they were. Other changes were purely experimental, and although interesting, proved incompatible with the engine's design or design philosophy and had to be rolled back. Some days, I couldn't tell if I was making progress or regressing.

But now those days are over, and at last, VNgen is here with a new update. And I'm pretty sure you've never felt anything quite like it before.

Yep, that's right. Felt.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Update 25 - Untangling Quantum


It's been four weeks since the last regular update on VNgen. While normally that'd be enough time for some major changes and improvements, between the holidays and personal family matters holding back development, this weekend's focus will be slightly different than usual, with regular VNgen updates to resume next time.

Even with delays and reduced work hours, however, progress has certainly been made. Some of it has been largely experimental and required rolling back, but not without gaining valuable knowledge in the process. The rest has been the polar opposite: fundamental changes and enhancements to VNgen's core framework, Quantum.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Meaning of Work (So long, 2017!)


In every life, there's always that handful of stand-out years that mark events which go on to be catalysts for great change. As I look back on my own, it's not hard to recognize them. In 2011, I hit rock bottom and spontaneously traveled halfway across the world to rethink where my life was going. Seemingly unrelated at the time, I also started a blog which would eventually evolve into the website you're reading right now. In 2014, I pivoted from writing about the creative industry to becoming a creator myself. (And also contracted a chronic illness I'll have to live with for the rest of my life, but that's a story for another time.)

In 2017, I took everything I'd learned, reorganized from the ground up, and published my first new product in over a year: the world's most advanced consumer visual novel engine (yes, really!).

As 2017 draws to a close, I think it's safe to say that this year will be included in that list of pivotal moments in life. Not to imply I've arrived yet—far from it. But the seeds are planted, and I bring with me into 2018 a work ethic that I'm confident will produce a harvest if I keep at it long enough.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Update 24 - Less is More


It's almost hard to believe it's been two weeks again. Not because they flew by (they did), or because they dragged (they did). In fact, they were filled with as many ups and downs as usual. And yet, after spending so long stuck in documentation purgatory (which you can read about here), just getting things done was a startling change of pace.

VNgen's to-do list grows shorter every day, and since the last dev blog I've published not one, but two updates to the Early Access release. You can read the full changelog here, if you're interested. But what the changelog won't tell you is just what these updates mean for the future of VNgen—and how it's gaining features even as the codebase gets smaller and smaller.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Update 23 - Extra! Extra! Read all about it!


As a developer, sometimes you've gotta write code, and other times, you've gotta just write. For me, November was one of those months. With VNgen out in the wild, it is now my priority to support the Early Access release with information and updates that will lead it to version 1.0, and that means providing resources to help users learn how to use it. In the space of only a few weeks I wrote the amount of a small novel doing just that, and at last the effort has paid off.

But don't take my word for it: this weekend you can finally see the results for yourself.