Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Which Enemies should be first ?

I just cannot decide. I have several designs covering all the 5 different enemies written down in note form. Some even have sketches. Now i am at the point where i should write them and i cannot decide which to do first...

Aliens will be cool as they shoot plasma bolts at you while teleporting around the level. should be cool gameplay.

Zombies are dumb as mud, but will show off my particles particularly well.

Robots are gonna shoot at you and generate drones while also explosing in a glorious mechanical fashion.

Pirates are will have the most devastating firepower in some repsects. Exploding cannonballs will be fun to do, along with the boomerang parrots.

Ninjas quick movements will be exciting to wtch and hard to shoot at. Should be fun in a really frenetic way. Glad they will be fragile (well compared to Zombies anyway)


I guess i will have to choose before i next sit in front of my computer.


Levels, Scenes or just layouts?

I have been calling these things all of those things and more, like maps for example. Though all they are in reality is a level layout made up of walls. See the problem, haha.

Below is several of what i am talking about.

The Red blob is the starting spot for the level.
The Yellow blobs are the 10 spots where Civilians might be (depending on how many are required for your current stage)

The first one also has some images of the battle taking place along with some lines that depict where some of the enemy movement will be.

So now i have all 10 of the SCENES or MAPS created. I have also done the data tables for the teleport spot and where all the civilians might be. So next up is to actually start designing real enemies for the individual levels. As it so happens there will be two scenes to an enemy type, and luckily for me i have chosen 5 distinctly different enemy types. Check them out below....
  1. Ninjas (fast and throw fast shurikens at ya)
  2. Aliens (classic egg shaped head, technologically advanced)
  3. Pirates (slow moving but fire exploding cannonballs at ya, and maybe boomerang parrots no less, YAR!)
  4. Zombies (yup a players favorite. These guys are dumb as they come, they throw limbs at ya)
  5. Robots (one of my personal favourites)
As you might have noticed from my list. I have covered a Whos who of enemy/bad guy types that are popular in games currently. I am fortunate that i can make all these types quite different to each other, to enhance the overall gameplay experience. Whilst also being able to promote this game as having all of them in it.

So, my next job is in fact to decide which of my scenes best fit the gameplay styles of the enemies. I have to choose two scenes per enemy type. should be easy right ?

Time will tell.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Motorbiking at El Mirage was great

So my family got to go on saturday to the place 100 miles away from where i live called El Mirage, a dry lakebed just outside Victorville.

We met up with a few friends there that went in their Motorhome and we went and towed our trailer. Along with a full complement of Motorcycles on the back of the truck. It was in fact in doubt wether r not we would get there, as my daughter was not well over thanksgiving and my wife was taking ill. So we ended up leaving a day late, but going anyway on saturday. My wife is a real trooper and so wanted to go and see our friends (and ride of course).

We got there and found them near the top of the dry lakebed. the whole of el mirage was quite busy, and although i say busy, for a place that big, it is not a problem at all. So we circled the camp firepit and said hello to our friends, one of whom is pregnant with her second boy, woohoo!

I won't bore with too many details apart from the fact i got to do a nice ride with my family, but also a couple of major rides with the guys (4 of us). We did 22 miles on one of the rides on saturday and that was pretty epic. All sorts of terrain like sand and rocks and cliffs(they looked like cliffs). Only 1 spill happened when one of our friends tried to ride over a ditch (made of soft sand) and the bike sunk like a stone and he went clean over the bars. He wasn't hurt and that was cool. After the ride i think we were all hurting, it was quite tiring.

during the afternoon and then into the night the wind kept picking up it's pace, it was also very cold. Even though we had a huge bonfire it was still rather cold outside. Which was unfortunate as it tends to stifle free flowing conversation. Once the finished with the smors and glowing bangle things it was time for bed (about 10:30pm ish). That would have been ok, except it started to rain quite hard, and the wind was whipping it like mad. It was very noisy inside the trailer and things were clunking and banging, thoug i could not see what was doing it. I attempted to go outsdie at one point, but the wind and cold and sleet put me off.

Nevetheless at about 2am the rain had stopped so i ventured outside into the biting wind to see what damage had been wrought. I found the thing that had been knocking and tied it up using a motorcycle tie-down. That put paid to it's noise. Walking around outside really got my shoes all muddy, which was a pain. I left them on a bunch of kitchen roll till morning.

Still the new day dawned bright and dry and the wind was drying the lakebed out nicely. If it had continued to rain, getting of the lakebed would have been very difficult.

So the boys got together to go for a ride and i ended up leading. Now noone told me they were just out for a short ride. In fact everyone in camp knew about the ride being short except me, and i was leading, lol. So lead the 4 of us all over El Mirage and in the end did about 8 miles. It took us some time because the wind was so cold we kept stopping to get feeling back into our lips and thumbs. It was on this ride that one of my friends attempted a troublesome hill a couple of times and didn't fall off, at least according to him ;)

It was a wonderful time with wonderful people.

Tomorrow it is back to coding and game design. Maybe myxbox will be on it's way back as well... I sure hope so.


Friday, November 26, 2010

RenderTarget code is in

I expected this engine change to be an easy task, and i am so glad to announce that it really was easy. In fact i had no issues at all (ok, except for spelling errors). It was a little off as i did a quick search of the web and it popped up this nice web site that has incredibly helpful tuition code and samples for Xna types.


So i just linked above the page i used, and as i am already familiar with the concepts of Target texture rendering i really only stole the lines of code they put in the article. Of course this led me to actually reading it and quite enjoying the easy style it is written in.

So, anyone thinking of adding a rendertarget for mirrors, or mirrored gameplay visuals  or maybe pixelization for scaling. OR in my case i will be using to scale the screen in the options menu, so people with really bad overscan on their TVs can adjust it to suit them. As my game won't care to much about it's aspect ratio, i will just let the screen be scaled. This will of course make it so any fonts at minimum size will then be a little too small, something i wil have to take care of when i get there.

Good luck.


Thanksgiving was great

Now i am sitting here at my home computer stuffed to the gills. It was a very pleasant day at my Friends house. I met a lot of people i know already and a bunch that were new. Everyone was wonderful to talk with and i am sure i did plenty of talking hehe.

The only downer on the day is the fact that my Daughter is not feeling well, so couldn't go, along with my Wife. I sure hope she feels better soon as we have planned a camping trip out to the desert at El Mirage so we can freee our behooties off, lol. Ok, so it is so we can camp and do some off roading.

Time will tell if we get out there tomorrow.

As for Berzerkatron, i have started work on the infamous Berzerkinator. So far he is spawning and looking meekly at my player avatar. Soon he will realize his true potential for killing and mayhem.

g'night and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Teleporters are cool

I got my level start and end teleporters in yesterday. Which is good, cos now i can see the proper timing when starting and ending a level. Which is an important factor to the fow of the game. Especially if you are like me and counting how long a level lasts, to see if it is tweaked right, and also that it meets the criteria of sweet, fast levels to bring people into the game. Also of course because Trials are only so long.

So i borrowed some graphics that the artist did for Pellmell for now (it looked nice and had enough frames to use). It works quite well. So now the flow is in, i teleport into the game, the enemies start shooting 2 seconds after, and once i have collected all the civilians (though soon, some may die!) the teleporter dutifully appears and waits for you to enter, when it will then fade out over 1 second. Taking you with it, and the level also fades.

I also got in 5 of the level (scene) wall setup/designs. These are wheer all the enemies have to be written and placed. That of course is where there is going to be real fun. I also made a spawn list of places to spawn the civillians at. Makes it much tider than them all appearing in one corner, or worse in walls or in no go areas.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Berzerkatron Gameplay Video #2

This is my current work in progress for my next Xblig game. I will explain after the video a lot more details about what is actually going on in the video, that might give you some idea of how far along i am in the creation process.

Well that was fairly hectic eh!

  1. The walls change color depending on what has hit them, you=red, enemy bullets=yellow and your bullets=blue. This is just to get some nice wall reaction code in and working. What i end up doing with it, only time will tell. currently i think i will just have to make the splash of color cross fade happen much faster. I like the effect, just needs to be more frenetic.
  2. The red splats on the floor and the drops of stuf that fly off you and enemies. This is about perfect for my vision. Of course when you are fighting robots that color will be yellowish most likely, along with say green blood for the aliens. the over the top splat on the screen might have to be toned down a bit. I am not sure at the moment.
  3. The odd green boxes around stuff is my test detection areas. I should have turned them off for this video, but i quite liked seeing them on, you can see what i am testing for wall collisions then (rect-rect). Bullets and enemies hitting my bullets and me are all radius checks though.
  4. The dancing dude is my son who kindly donated 3 photos to be in the game. He is a civilain and it is your job to save as many as you can on a level. In fact the teleporter to get you off a level won't appear until you collect all the civilians that are alive on a level. I look forward to doing some excellent audio cues for the civilians (think comical and ott)
  5. The spinning stars are currently my money. they should be coins, but i had this animation and no coin one. You collect money to be able to afford powerups and enhancements at the end of each level. There is the possibility that i will make the shop available at all times, just pause to spend.
  6. Currently the game only has some very basic enemies, and as you can see they use existing sprites from  A Shooter, not the best looking this for this game of Robots and Ninjas and Aliens etc.
  7. There will be firepower powerups and more, but i have not coded them yet. Although i do have them designed.
  8. I have all my fading into and out of the levels fully working. Though i could do with attaching it to the green boxes, lol
Next up is adding the teleporter control and features. Then some Real gameplay (bullet, movement enemy and enemy bullet speeds balanced). Then it will be to design 30 levels or so... hehe

I hope you enjoyed this little show and tell, if ya have any comments or suggestions, please feel free.

More work done today

So many bits and pieces were connected up today. Mainly just tables for multiple level handling. Still i feel good i have done them all. Now i have to fill them in however, bah!

I also worked on start points and i actually only have the first 3 levels with real walls. so i only did 3 real start points. Still, it shows it works and is sort of fun to play. I am getting close now to having to actually work on the gameplay and level design properly. Something oddly enouhg i am not totally in the mood for (really odd that). I know it means that i will move to the next phase of this game. And... usually it takes me longer to do gameplay and play balancing than all of the coding. Still i have not written a single menu, or even started the menu code.

I may work on the Top level menu soon though, cos not being able to pause my game sucks a bit tbh.

I shall have to make another video of work so far. I did create a spawning enemy on the second level. He is one nasty piece of work. Should work well for Robots though, no doubt.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

No work just Wow

Yup, it was one of those days that i did not get any programming done. Not a bad day though, as i managed to fit the TRailer (Caravan) with a new LCD tv. This is a good thing as we are going away for thanksgiving again this year. Out camping in the Desert and doing some off roading while spending time with friends. Lovely.

So today i did get to spend some quality time PVPing with some friends of mine. Even though we are a thousand miles away from each other (well except for 1 of the gys who lives close to me). It was fun to play together.

As well as the Caravan tv install, i also got to visit Home Depot and buy some stuff like glue (needed for the tv install).

All in all it was a very productive day, even if that mean't killed  300 people in PV and leveled 10 bubs on my level 79 rogue.

Oh, i also outlined a design for a new puzzle game to my friend Terry. Hope he likes it :)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Dreamland passes WM7 cert!

"Congratulations robert toone of SorceryGames LLC! Dreamland Chronicles has successfully passed certification for Windows Phone Marketplace! You may now publish your application to the Marketplace."

This is the joyous email i just looked at. It has taken a while for me to get through cert, but i am now there. In fact i have to say that the testing department have done an outstanding job. They really did try hard to help me out and were amazing with their blinding speed of failure. Very cool.
Now i have learn't a lot and hope that the next one can go a lot more smoothly. As you might have read in my previous post, i have now started designing some modifications for my Xblig games, just in case i want to move them over later. The biggest single feature to add is the use of the back button always going somewhere. Should  be easy enough i reckon.
Expect to see The Dreamland Chronicles Game on your WM7 now.

It appears i cannot instal Zune software to see my own game in the WM7 marketplace. So i hope it is there. (i have 64 bit Xp)

WM7 development onGoing

Well we have been stuggling to get our WM7 game going. It is of course our Dreamland Chronicles Game. This appeared to be the easiest to port over from Xblig, and i love easy. Only it has taken a bit longer than anticipated.

Mostly the delays have been caused by two things. Not having a WM7 phone to actually test load times on (boy they must be slow!). Aaaand the Back button rquirements. my prgrammer did not take seriously enough the requirement and so did not account for all the places that the back button could be pressed. He did most of them however and now we are over what appear to be the load time issues. Maybe we are finally on our way to test the waters of WM7.

Some people have been telling me what a mess Microsoft has made of the WM7 phone launch. Things like they have only sold 40K phones in their first week, while Droid phones sold 400K in their first weekend. I have no idea how much of this is true. Though i do have to say my friend is a reliable source of information. I just hope the sites he visits are all the naysayers and thats it.

Testing the waters is important for me and my programmer freind who is converting this code to WM7. If it looks worthwhile, then we can afford to upgrade machines to do this development (my main PC is not good enough for WM7 emulation). If this market is not happening, then i can just save myself a bundle of money. Though i would love it to do well.

One side effect of the WM7 development is the alteration or influence to my Xblig designs. I will from now on take into account an alternative control scheme for any game i make. along with that, i will also plan on the back button working universally even on the Xbox.

Good luck for everyone else that is deciding on venturing into this new and unkown territory.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Presence in Xblig Games

I have always loved the idea of presence, and in some Xbla titles i have had the pleasure of working on, I did indeed use presence. Xblig and it's Xna studio has some built in functionality for doing this same thing, though with a few restrictions. I used the presence in A Shooter and i have to say tat seeing it first hand like that, watching in a way your friends progress from boss to level etc is really a great feeling.

Making adding it into the code well worth while.

// first i started by enumerating my Own presence values, for the ones i wanted to use.
MENU = 0,

// then i simply call this routine with the state i want to be known, it basically converts my own enum, to the Xna studi type and sets it
public void SetPresenceForAllPlayers(int _state)
  foreach (SignedInGamer sig in Gamer.SignedInGamers)
   switch (_state) {
    case ((int)PRESCENCE.MENU):
     sig.Presence.PresenceMode = GamerPresenceMode.AtMenu;
    case ((int)PRESCENCE.STAGE):
     sig.Presence.PresenceMode = GamerPresenceMode.Stage;
     sig.Presence.PresenceValue = cLevel.iLevel+1;
    case ((int)PRESCENCE.COOPSTAGE):
     sig.Presence.PresenceMode = GamerPresenceMode.CoOpStage;
     sig.Presence.PresenceValue = cLevel.iLevel+1;
    case ((int)PRESCENCE.BOSS):
     sig.Presence.PresenceMode = GamerPresenceMode.BattlingBoss;

Good luck implementing your own Presence. I have posted this here, just so people can see how easy it is to really implement


Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Slim is Slim

It is also quiet. It also got me really annoyed when i first connected it up.

Cos it told me to insert a Disk, a Disk that did not come with the new 4gb Xbox Slim. How can this be? So i went to the net to search for answers. After 10 minutes i was none the wiser. So decided to pull all th cables and re-attach them, This time i would not connect the Kinect connector (what a mouthful!).

That was it, it now booted up correctly and elt me set it up and recover my gamertag as well. Woohoo! But why oh why did it have such a none descriptive message on the bos. Are you telling me that i am the only person that would autometically connect up all the cables i have ? I just don't believe it. I think Ms missed that one.

So anyone out there that initially sets up their Xbox slim and it asks for a Disk, just go disconnect your Kinect and reboot.

Good luck

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Xbox has Died

It is a sad day today. I feel really bad, little things going awry and the last straw was my Elite going 3 Red rings on me.  Maybe i have been so busy carting it around from my bedroom workplace to the living room of late. Maybe i am asking too much for you to power my Kinect as well, i just don't know.

I do know that it will cost me a whopping 99 bucks to get it looked at by MS. Boo!

But the thing is, it can be amazing how unlucky a single decision can make stuff. Let me explain....

Today i went out to Walmart and Gamestop. I wanted to by Lips for my Xbox so we can have some loud Karaoke to go along with the raucous Kinect fun. Walmart did not have it so, off we go to Gamestop. Yes, they have it, woohoo! Now while i was out i had also sort of decided that i really should be a more dedicated Xbox for the living room area. So i wouldn't have to keep moving my Xbox around etc. I decided not to buy it at gamestop cos i wanted to check prices online, were there any good deals etc..

Well as it happend as soon as i got home i grabbed my Xbox, which had been left on in the bedroom running A Shooter as a server for my high score sharing. So i turned it off and unplugged it, as i walked out of the bedroom with it there was a clank as the power cord hit the side of the Xbox. Ouch i thought, but it'll be ok. It seems i was wrong and that clang was a fatal touch of Red Ringiness.

So i have since got a little annoyed cos i could have bought the Xbox Slim while i was out. Then i would not have even unplugged mine from the bedroom, and as you can tell. Everything would have worked out great, haha!

So now i really need the new Xbox to play Lips and Kinect on.

I have found this whole scenario very depressing, and i feel like an old friend has decided to unfriend me from facebook or something. My life is now not as complete as it was.


At least i can buy a new friend tomorrow, and the new one is gonna be slimmer ;)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Dilemna for my Avatar game

One of the rules i set myself a while ago for use of such trappings as Avatars, is that they should fit into the game. Seems simple enough for sure. However my latest venture has met with a big Dilemna.

Simply put i have made 4 games (ok, one is a quiz). So 3 games that i believe play very well. My conversion number also seem to attest to not being too shabby. Now all this sounds great apart from the single fact that.. I get no downloads. Or virtually none. Or not enough (whatever that is).

So with my next title I really wanted to address the lack of downloads issue and hope that i could keep the same conversion rates of about 20%+. There are a couple of factors i was using to get these download numbers.
1. Avatar games appear to download the most. Even if they are crap, they get greater than 10K downloads. A Number i would love to have.
2. Zombie games also download a lot (ie, best selling game on Xblig). However some failed Zombie games do not download much at al (3K). So Zombies are not such a safe bet, but to be honest are generally more fun than an Avatar game.
3. Fact 3, yeah i said only two, haha! Wel Massagers get downloaded too, What a stinking pile of crap can do is amazing. I WILL NOT GO THERE!!

So the trick was to write a good Avatar game with a Zombie or two in it. Heck after discussing it with my kids they would love me to have Ninjas, Pirates, Robots and Vampires as well. Great, np then. All enemeies accounted for :)

So i have been working when i have time on making splatter for when ya hit/shoot enemies. I went and spent way too long egtting Avatars into my game. I have the main controlled character running around now shooting at the enemy (a shooter ships currently). Who also shoot back. This basic gameplay test worked really well. I have been designing a lot more enemies and levels to play on. Even powerups and character enhancements to buy. Only......

Since @Stegergames mentioned the gore and Avatars cannot be together, and then my following research. It seems Microsoft have made it impossible or very very dificult for me to have zombies and gore and Avatars exist together. Avatars you see cannot be mained or dismembered, that was ok with me. I was not gonna hurt the Avatars in any way at all. I thought this would allow me to still write the game i wanted to, in the style i wanted to write it. But Avatars must not also witness this violence or cause it. This last sentence is a real downer.

I wanted zombies, i wanted to splat them all over the place and have arms and heads falling off. this would sem to fit the demographic of a lot of Xblig buyers. My game would be solid whatever, but visceral feedback would be awesome. But now i cannot use my Avatar to main and kill them (are they alive?).

So i am at a crossroads....
Do i keep Avatars in my game and dumb down the action (make it comical for example).
Do I keep the gore and Visceral mayhem and remove the Avatars from the game.

Of course i could have cheated and just put one on the title page like some Avatar games, only.. I cannot do that, as i explained right at the start of this article.

I am at a loss of what is the right choice.... BAH!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Avatar Berzerkatron Initial Gameplay Video

I told ya i would post it, and here it is.

Woohoo! It's a mess. But messy is what it is about. Think about the name of the game and you will realise that it is a mixture of classic games. But in a whole new way (i hate that last sentence, i hate seeing it on other game descriptions too!). It is really a melding of two classic games that i love. Brought into a more modern and waaay messier look.

Hope ya like what ya see, and as this is a  PC video, well the avatar is a set of bones only. the next gameplay video will feature a temp sprite in his place i think.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prototype is going well

Here i am still tidying up my code. Still playing with my prototype. Only last night and a bit this morning, it took on more of a feel of a real game. Ya see i added some basic enemy movements inot what might be my first level.

Although they are basic movements and they all fire at me, i also got to run around the level trying to dodge their bullets and them, while firing at them. In all honesty it sucked at first. Yet you can probably tell i am a bit excited about what happened next. I made my fire faster. Yup, that's right. I made my slow fire (testing speed captain!) go about 3 times faster in velocity and Whammo, all of a sudden i could track the enemies with my twin stick shooting controls. This suddenly brought the game to life.

I will post a video of my progress that i took tomorrow (i need to sleep now!). I think it is pretty good and shows so much of what i have been busy doing. Only it does not show the amount of tidying up i have done in the code. I now have a lot more objectivity in the different areas of the game managers, i also removed so many redundant variables etc.

So roll on my new Avatar Berzerkatron game (that could be it's name, but it is certainly it's working title).


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another post about the unkown Xblig

So i didn't post yesterday, and for good reason. I was out in the desert with my son doing some Boy Scout camping trip. Now this trip had a fair number of boys aging from 10-16. A wonderful demographic of Xbox owners maybe?

Yes, they were mostly Xbox owners, and they also had Live accounts. Woohoo! i have hit a jackpot here. Let me find out what they know about Xblig as i pimp my wares. And whaddya know... They didn't know anything about Xblig. I also had to describe where the tab is now in the New dash, so that made it harder. The main point here is they didn't know about it. Not one of them. Made me a bit sad to be honest. how am i supposed to sell to people that don't even know the channel exists, never mind my game.

At this point i think the  whole marketing thing is overhyped. I have spent more time and money on marketting my game in a channel that noone knows exists. Done.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Stopping when having fun Programming

How do ya do it eh?

Here i am so busy working on Bleed effects of all things as i shoot some enemy ship. They splat on teh ground under him. Yeah i drew the splat (32x32 texture). It looks so good. so then i spend way too much time twiddling with it. Even though it will get replaced by a better sprite definition at some point by a real artist.

I have to say it has taken me way too long tonight to stop coding this effect. It has been fun having ti splat away like it is peeing as it goes. But..

It is time to stop tonight.I have to be up early tomorrow for a Boy Scout Trip to El Mirage and me and my Boy are going to set of rockets, woohoo! (oh and off road ride of course, but away from the BSA group!)

so i sincerely hope anyone reading this that happens to write games gets as excited about new graphics and effects as i do. It is wonderful.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Shooter Completion Competition winner

It is true, someone has completed the A Shooter game. that is all 13 levels, and jusdging from his core he did it all from the start to the end.

Final Mirage you have my utmost respect in completing this game. You are the first outside of myself and my artist to fully through the game. I wonder if anyone else will have the desire and determination to complete the game. Final Mirage told me via twitter that he did it by playing 3 days for 1-1.5 hours a day.

It is also nice to have my levels justified in some repsect. I was getting worried that noone had the old school gameplay down, or maybe it was that they did not see they were getting better every time they played. Maybe in fact it was the Bosses which can be a bit of a tough deal when ya first meet them. Look at the global high scores to see how many people are actually stuck on Level 5 for example. the first boss that really makes ya come up with a new play method.

I know now that i should have had the normal mode be the Hard mode, and this would mean the easy mode should have become the Normal. I think that i overestimated the abilities of newer players, who are really not used to dodging bullets in this classic arcade style. It could be that i underestimated my own prowess and that just plain sounds better :) I do know that in future i shall make sure i plan the over-arching difficulty better.
 for example:-
 I plan my next game to have the options available throughout the gameplay experience. I will allow the player to change the difficulty as they go along. So they would be able to play a level through on easy mode, but then change it for the boss for instance.

sounds like a good plan to me


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Making a milestone is great

On monday we made our milestone at work. We not only delivered what we are contracted too, but we also delivered quite a bit more. It doesn't really matter in some respects what is on that contract for your milestone. It is whether or not you will meet your real contracted end date. If you are skilled or lucky enough to write the milestones corrctly, then you should have a smooth transition through each milestone and onto the glorious end of the dev process.

I do not believe that this is the normal though. I have a lot of experience in creating and working with big games. It amazes me just how many are very badly mielstoned, or not mielstoned at all when they are internal for some big studios. If you really want to make money making games, it is best to have a plan, a plan that can cost out the money and time it will take to make the game. Once you have the time layed out, you can setup several partitions and name them and fill in what should be working by then.

I personally love milestones, they prove to me each month that i am on track, that makes me feel good. They can also remind you about stuff that ya might have forgotten as well.

Onto my next  milestone I go, over delivery is our goal!


Dreamland Chronicles for the WM7 platform

I got an email several days ago saying that the open submissions would start on November 3rd. well it is noevmber 3rd now. I have stayed awake to be ready for the off and Whammo get my Dreamland game out onto this platform.

I am lucky enough to have a friend who has done this port for me of my Xblig title. If it looks ok on the machine we will port some other of my games. However I am still unable to post at the moment.

I know they may have mean't 'sometime' during the day, but heck i am Pacific time, it should be now!! it is a new day.

I have been so excited about this all day as well. Guess i'll need to try and sleep :S


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Clean up that code sonny!

Although i haven't had much time for my own stuff. I have been twiddling with the code a bit here and there. One of the jobs i am doing that does not usually require a lot of hours at any time is to tidy up my code.

Tidying up the A Shooter code is quite interesting, as i do not really remember the bits of glue code i had to write to make some stuff just work right. However as i look through the code i see parts where  some gameplay elements coordinate systems are being translated into the main coordinate system (the 2d one the sprites use). This is sort of fun tidying up this annoying things.

However one must have a plan to tidy things up. Simply changing this badness for other badness is not a recommended solution to anything. Let me give you an example of one of the main things i found annoying about A Shooter code.

In A Shooter all the sprites are 2D. They have an X/Y postion and width and a height. simple enough and it shouldbe always simple. There is a question about where to do some of the Width/2 coding though. for such things as detection. Or target to fire at coordinates. so a lot of my code would look at the player and add onto the X/Y coords the half width and half height offsets to shoot at the center of the player. Again that is simple enough in and of itself. However you also need to fire from the center of the Alien itslef. Aho! another X/Y pos plus half width and half height. We have now done it twice. Well then it gets worse. You then have to detect the hit boxes against each other also doing the very same calculations. So now we are up to 4 at least. There are other systems as well that interface with all these coordinate offsets. I knew there was a simpler way, but by the time i realised it was a problem i was too far down dev road to turn back.

The simpler way is to just draw the sprite with an origin set to it's center. Though this is great for A Shooter as it used mostly Radius checks for collision, it is not so good for box detections. If you are doing box detections, then you could of course keep your origin in the top left corner and just use the width and height for you box extremies.

What does this all mean ? Well it really means you should know which way is best for your style of game. Then work out how many different times you will be doing such calculations. You could even make a nice simple function to wrap the hideous offset adds in, and that might make ya feel better.

Myself, i am going to move the origins into the middle of the enemy and player graphics, and then use offsets for what i need from there. Simply because i KNOW for sure where the thing is, i donot have to do a math quiz to figure out how close i am etc.