Garv's Workshop

Over my career, I've managed to do a lot of things from writing to game development. It has always been my dream to express myself in creative ways. Creativity in expression is, and always has been, an important part of my character. Telling a story either through traditional books or role playing games is a passion that I hope I can continue for the rest of my life.

What see on this page is culmintion of years of hard work. And while I know I'm not the most popular writer or game developer in existence, I believe it is difficult to deny the hard work and dedication. Everything I have worked on has been crafted with passion and an eye for detail. So take a journey with me as we delve into the worlds I've created.

HieroGraphix Game Journal

(First published in the 1990s)

The first thing I ever worked on. In those days, publishing anything was a huge affair. Finding a competent distributor was a lesson in frustration. Eventually, I did and while it was short-lived, I had a lot of fun. I managed a group of five people over years of content. We ran a promient website in the 90s and early 2000s. Over time, we transitioned into a podcast and finally a YouTube channel that does its best to keep the overall spirit of the magazine alive even after most of the crew has retired or moved on.

My hat's off to everyone who helped make the magazine and website informative and fun to work on. Loved going to all of those E3s and CESs over the years. Great times.

Helpful Links:

HieroGraphix Game Journal YouTube page

Blood City Chronicles Series

(First published in 2010)

The first set of stories I published on my own. "The Black Petal" was originally published on Smashwords and then released on Apple Books and Amazon as a free story. The second story, "To Live in Fear" was released later on those platforms as well.

I had a lot of fun crafting these stories and will continue to expand the series in the future. I'm already planning for the third part in the series to be released in a couple of years. Currently, there are too many projects for me to work on, but I'm still dedicated to finishing it.

Helpful Links:

Amazon Series Page Smashwords Series Page Blood City Chronicles: The Black Petal on Ao3

Skullforge: The Destined One Series

(First published in 2014)

I had begun working on my first game and to expand the story, I began working on the Skullforge series. It is an origin story for the main character of the game, delving into how she made it on the boat that is taking her to island where the game takes place. Writing a story about Desi had been a dream of mine from when I was in high school and seeing it become reality was exciting.

The series is currently unfinished. Chapter 4 in the series is almost completed, but it's in a state I'm not happy with. My goal is to finish it this year and I hope I can get there. Maybe one day... Still, you can find the chapters on all major electronic bookstores.

Helpful Links:

Amazon Series Page Smashwords Series Page

Skullforge: The Hunt

(Development Start: 2014)

My goal has always been to be a game developer. It's why I started HieroGraphix and when given the chance to start my own game, I jumped at the chance. To be truthful, my first attempt at game development had been in the early 2000s using the Ogre 3D game engine. It was named Blood City Online and I had wanted to make an MMO. I had servers setup and used PostGresQL as my database. It was a fun project, but I knew little about game development at that time and had no way to get art. I started using Blender to make .fbx files to import into my world and even got so far as to allow for multiple people to log in remotely (as long as they had the client) and chat with each other. It was a huge leap for me. Unfortunately, the cost of making an MMO was high and without graphics and capital, I wasn't going to get far.

Once I discovered the Unity 3D engine, I thought it was finally time to tackle game development seriously. I had to learn C# since I was a classical C/C++ programmer and that took some time. Though, I did start with Javascript in Unity until I found C# to suit me better. I started with Unity 4 and quickly switched to Unity 5 once it was available. The transition from Ogre 3D to Unity was like night and day. I could finally do real game development without a full team. I setup the project on a Perforce server using AWS and was off to the races.

I knew the project would be huge from the beginning and attempted to get funding through Kickstarter. Unfortunately, that didn't go over so well and while I probably could have tried again, I figured it'd be better to simply work as much as I could and go from there.

Skullforge: The Hunt is my passion project. I've been working on it for ten years now. So many changes since have occured since Unity constantly changes versions and the game has gone from the base Unity renderer to URP. I told myself I wouldn't change versions again, but I think before the game is released, I'll change at least one more time. Unfortunately, I'm only working on it minimally since there's another project I'm currently working on and that means this game is on the back burner. I'll finish it at some point. I've promised that to myself.

Helpful Links:


Penny RPG: Blood City Chronicles: Shadows of the Lost

(Development Start: 2021)

During development of Skullforge, I realized that the dev time was going to be longer than expected. With the number of people working on it, there was little chance I would have been finished in any reasonable amount of time. Couple that with some issues with a few third-party SDKs I was using a whole section of the game was going to have to be rebuilt from scratch. I felt a bit dishearted and since COVID was going on, I took it as an opportunity to work on a smaller project. Thus, Shadows of the Lost was born.

A few of the systems in Shadows were lifted from Skullforge, however a lot of them had to be rewritten for the needs of the game. Instead of an action game, I went turn-based. What's more, the original look of the game was top down like Hotline Miami. The problem I had was that it was difficult to "read". Players would constantly be trying to figure out what was going on and creating the 2D sprites was a lot mre challenging that I had expected. What I decided was to revamp the game in 3D and once I found a way to create and use pre-made 3D characters, I felt I could really do something interesting with the game.

The change in Unity 3D version helped me get acquainted with new Unity features like URP (Universal Render Pipeline). Because Skullforge used the standard renderer, getting good framerates was difficult. Especially on Macs (my primary dev computer). URP allowed me to run the game decently on moderate to low-end computers. This meant I could get an easy 60 fps on high end hardware. I'm happy with how it all has turned out so far, even if I think there needs to be a "make it pretty" pass over the game. Since it's in Early Access on Steam, there's still a lot of opportunity to do that. Currently, I'm focusing on getting the game to completion. That's taking a bit more work than I had anticipated.

Lastly, I think it should be noted that this game was created almost 100% by me. I did pick up a couple of middleware additions to make some things a little easier to deal with. No point in reinventing the wheel. There's still some work that needs to be done, but again, I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish.

One other thing I want to point out is that the look of the game is 100% on purpose. I had this idea that I wanted a Noir style Cyberpunk adventure that was in black & white. There are some things that need to be worked out and tweeked, such as maybe a bit of ambient occlusion to give items more depth. Regardless, I'm still happy with the result. The splashes of color are striking to me. I admit that not everyone is going to like the aesthetic, but don't let that get in the way of appreciating the technical aspects of the game.

Helpful Links:

Steam Page (Early Access)