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Archive for April, 2008

Beginning games programming with Blitz Basic

April 28, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve decided that as well as writing abut what games I’m working on, it’d be good to produce a few tutorial videos for absolute beginners to learn from. These should help you to start off in programming if you’re thinking it’s a massive scary thing that just looks too complicated. Hopefully my videos will show you that it’s pretty simple to get going.

So anyway, I’ll be adding videos pretty regularly, so let me know what you think, and subscribe. I will be putting some youtube videos up of games I’ve written in the past as well as games in development now.

Here’s the first part to start you off:

Late night coding…..not good…..

April 24, 2008 1 comment

I have to get up in six hours,  and I’m still sat here writing game code!!! Gah!!!

This is one of the problems with bedroom coding. You start coding around eight in the evening, then before you know it, it’s four hours later and you have to sleep.

I’m actually really looking forward to the weekend now, cause I’ve managed the following tasks with my casual game “Fruit Drop” this evening:

Added:  First sound effects, particles, company logo screen, animated title screen, undo function.

Oh, and my girlfriend made a suggestion for the game, so I added it. Basically she said to make the particles produced when you click a fruit to be the same colour as the fruit you click. It looks nice, it’s a nice little touch that adds some polish to the game.

I tried doing some 3D rendering tonight as well, just a wooden crate that the fruits fall into when you click them, but I couldn’t get the textures looking good, so I’ll give that another try some other time, probably this weekend.

I can’t wait for the weekend now, there’s just so many features I want to implement in the game, such as more sound effects, some music, difference game modes, game over screen, high score tables, options screen, maybe full screen mode too.

 

Anyway, night folks. They’ll be an updated screen shot this weekend. I don’t want to release a demo before it’s done so I’ll just release the entire game when it’s finished. Hopefully that will be in about a week.

What’s going on with Fruit Drop

April 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Since my focus has been off development lately and more focused onmy day job. I thought I’d write a quick update as I’ve actually spent the last hour working on my Fruit Drop game. It’s now got a nice blue gradiented background instead of plain white. I’ve also had to sit in paint for ages trying to get rid of all the nearly white pixels, that look invisible to the eye, but the mask color is pure white, so when you play the game, there’s al these white dots around the fruits. It was so annoying, and I nearly went blind from it.

 

Aside from that. I’ve optimised the code a bit, basically it now loops through all the fruits five times instead of eight times, which bascially means I’l be able to apply my particle engine which I’ve been meaning to do for ages and there shouldn’t be any slowdown. I’m developing this on a shitty 1.4 centrino laptop, so if it runs fine on here then I’m happy.

I might try adding a main menu and high score tonight if I have time.  My last game had a highscore that saved the highest score to a file, this time I want the top ten highscores to be saved, and have the players names on the table too, so it’s a bit more challenging than before.

 

Oh, I fixed some bugs with the game too, like now you can’t click between the fruits, cause that was annoying.

 P.S.  MY invaders game is now up to 63 downloads. I’m actually proud of that. I didn’t advertise much, only mentioned it on the blitzbasic forums and indiegamer forum. With fruitdrop I’m wanting a lot more downloads, I might actually get round to developing a proper site with a games list, as the number of games I’m releasing is getting larger.

Fruit drop progress

April 14, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve been working on a new game aimed at the casual gamer. It’s actually based on something on my phone, but I thought it would go well on PC, and with a face lift.

The original game is called bubble breaker by a company called Oopdreams software.  http://www.oopdreams.com/

 What I’m doing though is taking the very simple game idea, expanding on it and adding some real graphics to it, rather than simple coloured circles. They don’t seem to have done much in recent years, so I can’t see them causing problems. And I’m sure there must be a few other clones out there somewhere.

Anyway, this is how my version looks right now:

Very early work in progress shot of Fruitdrop

It looks much better when you’re sat playing it. I’ll post a working version of it in a few days. Just need to get some animation and some kind of user interface put together for it first.

Stopping feature creep in your game designs

I’m been in a complete slump in writing games for the last few years. Here’s why.

I designed a game based on the classic cannon fodder game rthat originally came out on the Amiga computer years ago. My game didn’t have all the same features, and to be honest, wasn’t any way near as good, but hey, it was only me writing it. I put loads of features into it all the same, and spent a couple of months working on it.

I then got approached by a small games publisher looking to put my game out in shops as part of their new budget range of games. I was really excited and signed up straight away, it wasn’t for much money, considering how long I’d spent working on the game, but all the same I saw it as my break into the industry.

The publisher wanted some things tidying up and then a few features added, I tried where I could to accomodate them, but they kept on bout one particular feature that I just had no clue how to do. I was also under pressure from colege work too, so in the end I ended up quitting development on the game. The publisher gave up contacting me and we parted ways, eventually they stopped publishing games, so it wouldn’t have been my leap into fame and stardom anyway.

After that I felt really negative torwards games, that any ambitious I wrote was doomed to failure. So I avoided any games that started to look complex to write.

The point of all this is if you have a game design, stick to it. Don’t go adding loads of extra features for the sake of it, finish it with what you’ve done and let some people play it. If they say it’s too shallow and needs more, then add some things, just don’t get carried away. Adding too many features during the development period of your game will only lead to spageti code and frustrations as you keep finding more and more bugs cropping up that get impossible to fix due to the amount of extras you’ve jammed in. Stick to the KISS formula, “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

Look at the best selling casual games out there, they all work on very simple game designs, nothing too fancy, leave that to teh games written by huge development studios with 200 coders per game. You might be able to get a load of features working, but you won’t be able to make them all look polished and good in the end.

This is what I’m doing, sticking to writing simple games until I’m more experienced and have a team together, even if the team just design levels and draw some graphics, it’ll still make the whole task much easier on me as a developer.

Anyway, must get back to my casual game “Colour Pop”, look out for it soon on this blog. I’ll even include the source code, aren’t you lucky.

On a completely seperate subject: I finally upgraded my standard 28″ TV to a 37″ widescreen HD LCD set, and it’s fecking great! the 360 looks amazing on it. If you’re still running your 360 on a normal telly, go buy HD now! You won’t regret it. Now if only I could stop the girlfriend hogging it playing Call of Duty 4

Great book on the history of ID Software

April 3, 2008 1 comment

Book Review:

Masters of Doom

This is a book I’ve just read for the second time. I’m talking about it here because I mentioned it on a programming forum recently to find other people felt in a similar way to it to me. And that is that it’s a great book to get you in the mood to work on your game projects.

It’s basically the story of ID software (makers of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and more recently Doom 3). It focuses on what the author calls “The two Johns”, and that is John Carmack and John Romero. Both very technically brilliant, from similar programming backgrounds programming games on their own for the Apple-2 computer before moving over to PC’s after they started working together. However they have very difference personalities as shown in this book.

Romero is the Rockstar geek and Carmack is the Uber nerd with some cool hobbies, such as upgrading Ferraris to three times their factory built horsepower and launching home made rockets full of hard to find explosives. Their business goals are different too, Romero labels himself as “Ace Programmer and future Rich Guy”, wanting a vast games studio churning out loads of top class games unlike the world’s ever seen before. While Carmack only ever wishes to earn enough money to keep working on his graphics engines and have a roof over his head.

The best sections of this book are probably the first two thirds of it before things start going wrong ending up with Romero splitting from ID to start his own studio “Ion Storm” and working on the ill fated “Daikatana”.

Once you get into reading this you’ll feel so much more energy and effort insde you for working on your own game projects. After I finished re-reading it last night, I sat down and spent three hours non-stop typing code (I did compile and test it a few times in that time 😛  ) And now I’ve got the core of a fun little casual game I’m putting the finishing touches to and hope to have online shortly.

Get masters of Doom at amazon:
US: http://www.amazon.com/Masters-Doom-Created-Transformed-Culture/dp/0812972155/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207248004&sr=8-1
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Masters-Doom-Created-Transformed-Culture/dp/0749924896/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207248037&sr=8-1
or check Ebay

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