4 Hugues Ross Writes a Devlog: 2012
Hugues Ross


More time lost

Have a funny-looking guy on a boat.

I realize it's not my best work, but I don't have the Gimp installed right now, and I only have a few hours 'til next month/year. If you're wondering what's taking so long, the answer is simple: For reasons that I don't care to disclose(due to my utmost stupidity) I had to reinstall everything again. This time ought to be the last. Everything's set up perfectly after a full 10 hour stretch of wrangling up drivers without(initially, at least) internet or usb support. Still, it sucks to have been unable to do anything for so long. I need to get something done, even a simple screenshot, by the end of the week. This is getting nuts!

Well, I wish you all a happy new year! I'm thinking of writing another design post or two this week, so keep your eyes peeled.



You know how I said movement would be next? Scratch that for now.

I may have accidentally broken my computer's window borders, menu bar, etc. a couple of days back. Fortunately, I backed up all of my files and wiped my computer. I can work again. Unfortunately, I've now lost several more days of productivity in an already unproductive vacation. Now, that said, I have gotten a bit of work on Chainsaw Deathrace done. I've been writing a new method of drawing autotiles that's better suited to my engine. This allows for walls, corners AND full sized tiles(to a degree). Also, it makes for smaller tilesets. I'll write up a proper post about that later. Another thing that has come from my little wipe is that I now keep Windows in a virtual machine, rather than dual-booting. This means that I may have trouble testing/releasing Windows builds, until I get the hang of it.
I still have a few things left to set up, but I have my code back. I'm reinstalling my libraries right now.



Google Analytics tells me that this blog has somehow reached 1000 pageviews. I'm under the impression that most of these are just web crawlers/bots, but a milestone's a milestone, right? Besides that, I mostly use this as an excuse to stay on track and see my projects to completion. Seriously though-if any of you invisible viewers ARE real, why not leave a comment once in a while? It livens things up.
Now that that's out of the way, have a celebratory .gif and announcement:

Chainsaw Deathrace Design #2: The Grid

This is my second post on the design of the new version of Chainsaw Deathrace that I'm working on. This one will be about the grid and the placement of various objects. The previous one was about the characters. Read it here.

If you've played my game at this point, you might ask "What's wrong with the grid now???" The answer is, of course, nothing. The grid isn't what I'm worried about. Walls, on the other hand, are a gigantic pain in the rear to deal with.(You may want to skip this next paragraph, which is a gigantic rant about walls)


Chainsaw Deathrace Design #1: The Characters

Now that I'm back to regular development, I'm planning on writing several posts about designing the next version of Chainsaw Deathrace. Obviously, since the original version was the quick and dirty product of a game jam, the whole thing needs to be remade. However, beyond the code, thought must be put to the design to make sure it's well balanced and fun. During the jam it was about quantity; now it's about quality. Now that that's been said, on to the first topic: the characters.

The original concept behind the characters in Chainsaw Deathrace came from the jam's theme: "Disadvantage." After all, what's a bigger disadvantage than missing limbs? Unfortunately, I didn;t spend much time on balancing. In the end we had:

  • Billy, who was slow. Anyone who ran into the Chainsaw Killer was dead anyway, so he had no real downside.
  • Sammy, who could only carry one item at a time. Occasionally this turned into an issue, but blood bags could be used immediately anyway, and there was no "health" cap, making his disadvantage nothing more than a minor annoyance.
  • Fred, who couldn't see, couldn't use blood bags, didn't know what any items were, and couldn't know when the Chainsaw Killer was near. Also, he had far less health than everyone else. This was an enormous disadvantage.
In this remake/next version, I'd like to rebalance this. In the end, I'd like to see each disadvantage bring some sort of unique unforeseen advantage as well. On harder difficulties, these would be more pronounced, leading to a more careful and strategic game. At the moment, here's what I'm looking at as a more balanced way of doing things:

  • Billy who can't run. I'm adding a running mechanic to allow you to escape traps/the Chainsaw Killer. However, Billy won't be able to do so. His advantage is his(lack of) height: As I plan to add combat mechanics of some sort, Billy will be harder to hit, and may have some other combat-related perks.
  • Sammy, who(again) can only carry one item. This is similar to the first version, but he'll also have trouble climbing, if he can at all. As an advantage, he'll be faster at running and capable of breaking down doors easier.
  • Fred, who can't hear, can't really see, and dies quickly. However, he will have a sort of "Instinct" from what little brain is left. This means he can sense things, even through walls. Also, his random lashings out may grant him some advantages in combat. Also, I have another idea for him. Suppose he couldn't use most items correctly, but they had some alternate purpose only he could find? For instance, blood bags could change from healing to bait, leading enemies to a certain place while he went elsewhere. I'm still toying with that.
Obviously, none of this is final. I'm going to spend a long time testing their traits to make sure that none of them are too hard or easy. This does give me a nice guideline to go with, though. That ought to be a big help moving forward.

Next post: Walls, Floors, and Ceilings!

Also, I should mention this quickly: The album for my last game, A Wheelie Good Time, can be found here
I plan on posting more images as I go into Chainsaw Deathrace's album here.


The End is Nigh!

The end of the semester, that is. With two weeks left until freedom, everything is getting nuts! This means that I might not have much to write about for a little while. The Sprint ends in less than a week, and I'm getting a little burnt out from all this programming. I'll try to get back in the mood in time to make something festive, though. I'd also like to get out that fabled Chainsaw Deathrace v2.0 before classes start again. Already, it seems that I have quite a lot of things on my plate.


Good News, Bad News

The more time passes, the longer it seems to be before my next release of any sort. The latest issue is that I've decided to ditch GLUT in favor SFML, which seems to be more geared towards games. This means that I'll have to do quite a bit to all of my projects in order to get them up to date. There is a silver lining however: I can finally do sound and music! Also, I'll be able to not only do different window sizes, but also add a fullscreen mode! I'm pretty happy now.

Also, despite previous promises, I probably won't get much done on Chainsaw Deathrace done, if anything. This is because I've been informed that  my current sprint game's grade may hinge on whether or not it has 4-way networked multiplayer. *GULP*

Also, I figure I'll start posting screenshots from my sprint as well. Here's where my current one is right now:

The beginnings of a game



Here we go again with a few updates:

  1. As of last Thursday, a new Sprint has begun. Expect less in the way of updates/work.
  2. That said, it looks like we'll be using my code for it. This means that I'll be capable of doing more in my other projects once it's finished. In fact, I've made three big changes:
    1. Windows compatibility is no longer hard coded. I can just use the code without making any changes. This should be a big help with porting.
    2. My texture library now supports tilesets and spritesheets, allowing for animations with PNG transparency(and of course, tiles).
    3. This came about during the 0 hour game jam, but my texture library no longer messes with an image when scaling. Just good, clean, pixels.
  3. Also, for a number of reasons, I've decided not to participate in F**k This Jam. Nothing serious, but I don't really have the time or the drive to do it.

Last, but far from least, I haven't forgotten about Chainsaw Deathrace for Linux. Here's the deal:
       I'm working on a prototype for randomly generated levels, as well as some changes for how levels are loaded. What this means is that I'll be releasing the Linux version alongside the next update. I have no idea when it'll be but I'm guessing it'll happen around Thanksgiving. Currently, I'm thinking of using Mediafire for hosting, as I've heard good things about it. We'll see.


Another week, another jam

This may not have been too obvious, but I mentioned wanting try the 0 Hour Game Jam some time ago. Well, the day was today(at 2 am). I would call it a success of sorts. (You can play it here, the name is Zombie Delinquent Shootout)
Here's how it went:
What went right:
  • The concept
    • I came up with something simple right before the jam began. This was very helpful, as I knew exactly what had to be done.
  • The engine
    • My engine worked quite well! I've really come a long way from when I was using love. 
  • The graphics
    • I drew them quickly, but they didn't turn out as poorly as I had expected. still not great, but whatever.
  • The new scaling algorithm
    • I rewrote the code for scaling images literally just minutes before the jam started. Sprites now scale from an origin point(default center) rather than the top-left hand corner. Having said that, it's not perfect. I'll need to play with it a bit more.
What went wrong:
  • The graphics
    • As nice(ish) as they were, I spent far too long on them. It made the coding more rushed than it had to be.
  • The RNG
    • It would either always show your cat, or never show your cat. There was no middle ground. I opted for never in the end.
  • Porting
    • There is no Windows version. I considered compiling the game not to be a part of the jam, so I did it afterwards. After 30 minutes of fighting the compiler, and only getting a white screen, I gave up. I may revisit this, but not right now.
  • I ran out of time
    • I still made a game, but 10 minutes more would've really helped.

Oh, yes! Here's a screenshot full of Zombie Delinquents! Yes, their arms are guns. No, they cannot fire them. I didn't code that in time. :(



This week, I managed to be fairly productive when it comes to game making. I felt that It'd be a bad idea to start on moving my RPG to C++ without any idea if it would work, so I downloaded one of the old Game Maker tutorials and tried to translate it to C++. It isn't done yet, but I've made solid progress. I expect it to be done by the end of next week. Images after the break:



It's been quite some time since my last post. This is mainly because I've had a ton of work for college. Until Thursday, I was working my butt off to get a basic demo finished for my team in Game History and Development.



    I haven't posted here for a while because I've been awfully busy working on little personal projects. Mostly, these have been tools to make my life a bit easier, and I didn't really feel like posting about them. However, I spent yesterday thinking about the RPG Project. I've finally come to the conclusion that, whilst Love is a great engine, it doesn't really fit my needs.
    Lua, the language it uses, doesn't seem particularly friendly when it comes to OO programming. So, I decided to look around for another language to use. The three that I chose to look at were Java, Python, and C++. There are plenty of other languages, but these all have the bonus that I already know them to some degree.

 I've been busy.


The Sickness

If you're wondering why I'm not posting much right now, it's because I've caught one of the myriad of autumnal illnesses. Also, I've been getting plenty of schoolwork in the form of programming projects and such. I have done a few things, though.


RPG Project - 04 - A visit from the magical recursion fairies

I had a very strange yet welcome experience today. I decided to write a recursive flood fill algorithm for the map editor, but I was having trouble with all sorts of buggy results, not to mention frequent stack overflows. Then, I got back to my code this afternoon and it worked seamlessly. My code didn't change, nor did the computer I was using. I'm a little perplexed, but happy with the result.
Now, I need to write a version for non autotiles.
This could be pretty painful.


RPG Project - 02 - Map Loading

Seriously, I don't know why I even bother trying to say when I'll upload things.

That said, here's a quick explanation of how maps in my as of yet unnamed RPG work.


Sketchpad 1 1/2

I colored the treehouse from the first sketchpad a little:
Click to Resize


RPG Project - 01 - Introduction

Today's Saturday, so here's a new post on programming/game stuff. This will basically outline a project I'm working on, my current progress on it, and what I consider to be the next steps.

This summer I discovered Love2d, a nifty little 2d game engine. It had a couple of advantages that I liked, like being cross-platform and easy to test(Just drag your project folder onto the program, and it'll run your game). It also uses Lua, a language that I hadn't really touched before then. Overall, I've found it quite enjoyable. Here's what I've done with it:



I've recently been posting to this blog almost every day, and I think now would be a good time to make a proper schedule for posting. Right now, my objective is to post daily when possible, although I might not have time to do that this weekend. I'm moving into my dorm at Champlain today, and I have to attend the various orientation activities on Saturday and Sunday. That said, you can find my plan for posting after the jump:


Sketchpad #1: Trees

This is mostly trees, with a plank and a cactus thrown in for variety. I meant to post this yesterday but was too tired to do so.


Let's Play a Drawing Game!

    Last weekend, I thought of a little game for two to try out some time. The game is based around drawing pictures, preferably with a tablet so that you can easily compile the images together on the computer. I've been tentatively calling the game 'Pics or it didn't happen.' Here are the rules:

  1. Player 1 tells Player 2 about something that happened to them, or something they found out. This thing must be only one sentence long, and it should be wild, fictitious, and rather absurd.
  2. Player 2 must now draw the picture, and then follow step 1. However, the sentence Player 2 chooses must be related to the last.
  3. Everyone wins. (Or no one, depending on the contents of the pictures. You decide.)
    This game can be adapted for 3 or more people, where each person must draw. The drawing that Player  1 decides is best gives its artist a point, as well as the opportunity to come up with the next sentence. The winner is the first to reach a set amount of points.

I encourage anyone who reads this to try it out, and tell me the results. I'm going to try it with some friends, so I might put up the result eventually.


An Unusual Breakfast

     So, I woke up this morning to find that the house was bereft of both cereal and bread. Fortunately, I was taken by one of my many odd whims and thought of something to whip up:

    I can't remember the last time I ate grits. It's pretty good, but I never seem to think of it. Either way, it certainly saved me from a sour morning.