Devlog 2: Level Design

Greetings everyone! Nick here. I’m excited to be back in the groove of working on Operative.Online and I have updates to share!

First of all, since May of last year I shifted focus (and took a break) to fulfill a handful of my dreams by creating and publishing my first PWA – https://hyperjot.io

HyperJot.io logo
I took a break from Operative.Online to fulfill a handful of my dreams, and HyperJot.io is the product of that break; a convenient, innovative, fast, web-based note taking app that the world always needed, and now you can use it for free!

An Important Detour

HyperJot.io is a browser-based app for storing information in a super quick and convenient way.

  • Every note you create is a folder for more notes
  • Data is stored on your device and NOT in the cloud – super secure if you have a password lock on your phone!
  • It doesn’t require installation
  • It doesn’t require account signups
  • It’s made by someone just like you — I want my notes app to be simple, fast, flexible, secure, and made by someone I can trust. Giant faceless companies are not someone I can trust.
  • It’s totally free! How neat is that? Go try it out right now!

HyperJot.io fulfills several of my dreams:

  • To create something useful, beautiful, interactive, and fun that anyone can benefit from
  • To create a web-based application / Progressive Web App (PWA)
  • To create something with React
  • To innovate on something that may have been considered too well established to disrupt, specifically note taking apps

Motivation

My desire to create HyperJot.io also stemmed from my frustration with how terrible Notes is on iPhone and iPad (and iMac) for storing data and code. It tries to format things and doesn’t have monospace fonts, so as a developer that’s really annoying.

When I made the switch to an Android device and a Windows computer (because even though I used to be a huge fan, Apple only makes garbage now and I am loyal only to quality) I was again frustrated by the lack of note taking apps out-of-the-box on Android, and if anyone thinks they are going to store everything in Sticky Notes on Windows, well, they’re insane.

Enter HyperJot.io — a cross-platform app for storing your notes, data, code, or even links to images, links to YouTube videos, links to anything really, hex code colors, dice (yes, dice), checklists, and more!

I took a break from Operative.Online to create HyperJot.io, and I’m pleased to say that HyperJot.io is in a pretty good spot. It has many of the features I dreamed of adding (but I still have literally 20 or 30 more I want to add!) It has issues on older iPhone and iPad devices; they may have trouble with some features or even run into bugs. I honestly haven’t tested it as much as I want to, but it’s a free product so I only feel slightly bad offering a subpar experience to some users, and I promise I’ll continue to work on HyperJot.io and stabilize it for everyone, while also adding new features and preparing for a very easy-going monetization add-on down the road that will offer much more convenience than cost-burden (and never force anyone to buy anything; HyperJot.io will always have a free version!)

Finish The Job

So now that HyperJot.io is out there making people’s lives better, I’m shifting my focus to Operative.Online. I’m disappointed that I missed my self-imposed deadline of releasing a beta by Winter 2018, but with my renewed focus and resolve, I am ‘officially’ planning for a Winter 2019 beta while actively striving for a Summer 2019 beta. This is how it goes with hobbies I guess. This isn’t my day job, but it is a very, very important passion of mine.

Finishing things is something that I’ve never been good at in my life until a couple years ago. When I finally realized that nobody in my life believed in me, I decided to do something about it. For over 2 years I’ve been finishing everything that I started. Some highlights:

  • I ran a video game tournament company with a friend for 3 years. We ended this endeavor when it became clear that we couldn’t earn enough money to make it worth our while, but we sure had fun doing it.
  • I started a clothing company with another friend, and we’ve been at it for 1 year now, and I must say it’s going much better than the video game tournament company, profit-wise. Check us out: threadcolabs.com
  • I started and released multiple versions of HyperJot.io with multiple waves of features and enhancements.
  • Oh yeah, I got married to my lovely wife. Still married 😜
  • I’ve been working at my day job for over 10 years now as Director of Web Development at Agency MABU. That’s pretty solid commitment there, right?

So, as far as Operative.Online goes, I’m a bit “behind schedule” but have no fear. If you know me, you’ll be pleased to know that this masterpiece is going to be finished and in your hands, and that’s a promise from the new Nick-Who-Gets-Things-Done.

Creator of Worlds

So let’s talk about progress on Operative.Online. Guess what I just finished? My level editor!

Operative.Online Level Editor screenshot

One thing I never anticipated was how tedious it was to program a level by hand. Holy moly bro. It was torture. TBH it was one of the reasons I needed a break from working on Operative.Online. I knew that I needed to make a level editor for myself a long time ago, but I tried to skip it. Well, that was a terrible idea, but now I’ve created a level editor and it works great!

I’ve created 2 levels on paper, so now I need to bring those levels into a digital format via my level editor. Once I’ve got even 1 of the levels programmed, I can overlay the mechanics I’ve already programmed and start actually testing the game play. I think I mentioned it in a previous blog post, but a huge portion of the code for this game is written and I’ve already created an alpha version as a proof of concept that was ridiculously fun to play despite how ugly it was. I mean, your character was literally a letter “H” which was short for “Hero0”. It was UUGLY.

Oh, it was also ridiculously challenging. I can’t wait to see the despair on your face 😈, but more importantly, I can’t wait to see your rapturous victory when you earn your way through a level! The feeling is like nothing else when you win in Operative.Online. It’s amazing!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I’m creating all of the art for this game as well as doing all of the programming. It’s a huge job. I’m an artist at heart and nearly went to art college, but ended up doing programming to make the big bucks. Honestly, I think I’m a better programmer than an artist, but I really enjoy creating things from scratch so I’m gonna go for it. Unless my beta turns out super ugly too. Then I might ask for some help, haha.

Music and sound effects will probably be sourced from the internet’s vast and astounding pool of free, high-quality resources.

So, that’s where I’m at!

I just realized that you still don’t know much about what Operative.Online is about. OK. I suppose I can spill a few beans.

Operative.Online

Operative.Online is a roguelike, top-down 2D turn-based shooter.

Taking on the role of Director, you have been charged with protecting the world with an elite team of Operatives under your command. You’ll deploy them into deadly combat, espionage, and sabotage missions and control their every movement, every action, and every trigger pull. You’ll feel every bullet. You’ll discover that a turn-based shooter is even more sweat-inducing and twitch-evoking than you thought possible.

Operatives don’t come back after they get killed in combat. But the rewards for survival are immense. And the longer you survive, the farther up the skill tree you’ll climb.

Working for The Agency is the most dangerous job in the world, but Operatives do survive and attain an unbelievable, even superhuman level of skill and ability. And they share their success with their fellow Operatives in ways that benefit their Division, the Agency, and the whole world.

Outfit your Operatives with a starting roster of 40+ unique unlockable weapons and a slew of 20+ optional attachments.

Customize your Operative by spending your experience on unlocking 5 ranks and 70+ skills.

You’ll need to prepare for the unexpected with procedurally generated mission objectives and situations.

There. That’s all I’m going to say for now. More to come 🙂

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