4 Hugues Ross Writes a Devlog: 2013
Hugues Ross

12/31/13

Games I Play #12: Maldita Castilla

Once again, Locomalito has ported one of his games over to Linux. This calls for the usual post, although i'm a bit late this time around. Personally, I consider Maldita Castilla to be one of his best games, so I'm happy to see it find its' way on to Linux after all of the time I spent playing it on Windows.

-Overview-

Like Locomalito's other games, Maldita Castilla is a game designed with old-school aesthetics and values in mind. In this case, much inspiration seems to have come from platformers like Ghosts 'n Goblins. You play as Don Ramiro, a knight on a quest to stop the evil plaguing the land of Tolomera.


-The Good-

This game is really well polished. The music not only uses proper soundchip emulation in order to sound as authentic as possible, but it sounds great as well. The gameplay feels like it came straight out of an arcade, with the stiff-but-predictable control that you'd expect from a number of games of that era. The graphics are vibrant and seem to adhere to palette restrictions, for a complete old school look. The game itself is a blast to play, and mastering a level feels great. At this point, I can blitz through the first two levels like some kind of medieval ninja! The game loosens some of its' restrictions when it comes to death. You get 4 continues after running out of lives, and you can sell your soul for infinite continues if you wish. You won't get a very good ending then, but at least you can keep going even if you get stuck. The game also has a ton of cool hidden things that you can easily miss the first time around, adding to the replay value. The end even provides you with a handy checklist of what you did/didn't miss.

-The Bad-

In keeping with the tradition, Maldita Castilla is blisteringly difficult. I enjoy the challenge, but there are a few areas that feel incredibly unfair until you've passed them a few times. Losing any powerups you had when you die can make this problem even worse. While you can still certainly prevail with the basic starting weapon, it still can make an already frustrating bit even worse. Additionally, there is no options screen that I know of, just a handful of keys hidden in a readme. The game would also benefit from some kind of extra mode, be it local multiplayer, or a boss rush, or something of that sort. It's not much of a complaint, but it'd be nice to see.

-Final Thoughts-

In the end, the both the best and worst thing about Maldita Castilla is that it provides a very authentic feeling arcade experience. It's a wonderful throwback to old times, but its' difficulty is brutal and merciless. It's wonderful fun though, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys platformers, especially those harkening back to a simpler, tougher time. The only people that I'd specifically discourage from playing this would be easily frustrated gamers. If you rage easily, then this game is probably not for you. As for everyone else: give it a shot! After all, it's free.


You can download the game for free here.

12/27/13

AMAZE - 12 - Filling the Gaps

Once again, I return with the week's work. Due to a combination of celebrations and laziness, I haven't gotten too much done this week. Still, that's not to say that I haven't made progress.

Last week, I wanted to finish off the scripting updates. I haven't done this, I'm afraid, but I've laid out my goals for the next month or so. Keep in mind that:

  1. This schedule is just there to keep me more or less on track. It doesn't mean that I'll stick to it, but it gives me an idea of what I should be doing.
  2. The schedule is not complete. There are other things that I want to get done, but haven't decided on when to do.
With that out of the way, here's the schedule:
Week 1(next week): I'm finishing the GUI. It's been in a half-completed state for far too long, and It would be nice to have it finished before I release any demos. I also plan on finishing up the tutorial, after which I'll probably release a tiny, unimpressive demo. In order for this to work, I'd also like to get Windows builds up and running.

Week 2: This week will mostly comprise of backend stuff. I'll finish up scripting, add some basic menus, and maybe add in a bit of sound and music to the game. This won't require me to make a new file type, as that's a target for a later engine version. Then, I'll get to work on the first zone's mechanic.

Week 3:
This week will all be game expansion. If I manage to finish everything that I want to, I'll be done with the first zone and I can make a new demo. Along with that, I'd like to implement a basic way to save your game, since there'll probably be ~15  levels at that point.

Week 4:
Once week 3's over, the backend of the game will be close enough to complete for me to start working on content regularly. I want to both start AND finish all of zone 2 within a week. This'll act as a good benchmark for how quickly I can complete the project as a whole. Some of the game's later mechanics will be quite difficult to implement, so it won't be perfect, but it'll show me whether or not I'm on track.


There we go. If all goes to plan, The engine will be close to done in a month's time. See, told you guys I was getting somewhere! On the code side of things this week, I finished the last mechanic that the tutorial introduces, so that means that I won't have much code left before it's done. I have a WIP screenshot, but I'll save it for next week when I hope to reveal the first demo. From now on, I'll post about the code/mechanics of most features once they're out in a demo. That way, I can let you guys find out for yourselves how stuff works.

12/20/13

AMAZE - 11 - While I Was Gone.....

With the semester over, and Space Douchebag done, work on AMAZE continues. I've made some progress since the last post, so I'll go over that today:

  1. I finished revamping the sprite/animation system. It not only allows me to create animations from whatever collections of images I want, it also lets me control a number of other aspects, like frame offsets, animation speeds, and even delaying animations on certain frames.
  2. I've expanded the scripting system somewhat, although that project's still in progress. Scripts can now run special scripts that run over time. These scripts are loaded externally in .sca files, and can pause and repeat. I also plan on expanding the capabilities of all scripts with some cool new stuff, but I'll post about that when it's done.
  3. Finally, I've laid out the initial design of how I want the entire game laid out. I'm going to keep it secret for a while, though. Every time I complete a set of levels, I'll release a public build and write about its' contents.
That's it for the progress I've made. Next week, I'll try to be more or less done with scripting. Following that, I'm going to finish up the tutorial levels, and maybe complete the UI while I'm at it.

12/17/13

Games I Play #11: Starbound

Really, it had to be this one. I've been anticipating Starbound for so long, and it came out so recently that I could think of no better game to return with than it. Technically, the game's still in a highly incomplete state. Despite that, the game has tons of content already so I feel pretty safe giving my impressions of it so far.

-Overview-

Starbound is a game in the exploration/mining/construction genre that Minecraft seems to have spawned. Like Terraria before, it plays in a 2d plane  and is much more combat-heavy than Minecraft. What separates Starbound from just being an effective clone of Terraria is mostly gained from its' setting. Terraria throws around a bit of everything: sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, and just plain weird. To compare, Starbound is distinctly science fiction. In fact, Starbound(as the name might imply) is all about space! You can travel to alien planets, find resources and settlements, and slowly work your way up from low-tech stuff like pickaxes and swords to high-tech things like blasters, space suits and 3d printers. The game is also separated into technological 'tiers' which are unlocked by beating bosses.

-The Good-

The game has tons of variety. You can fly to a nigh-infinite number of planets, each with their own randomly-generated alien inhabitants. You'll find all kinds of settlements and structures built by the game's sentient races, and even planets with similar biomes and characteristics can look extremely different. For instance, when I landed on a grassy planet, I did not exactly expect a village of robots in the middle of a field of giant tentacles. Along with this, you can find all kinds of randomly-generated weapons off of enemies or in abandoned chests. Breaking and placing blocks feels quite a bit nicer than most games of this sort, because you can work with more than just 1 at a time. You can also place any block in the background, which makes things much simpler than having both foreground and background blocks.

-The Bad-

Later on, almost all craftable items cost pixels, the game's currency. It feels like you never have enough to make the items that you want, even when you have plenty of materials available. The easiest way to get pixels is to fight monsters, but it can take quite a long while later on to get what you need. Another problem is that because there are so many different types of stone and dirt, not to mention the many varied decorative objects, your inventory fills up at an alarming rate. Another small annoyance is that you can die very easily. When you die, you only lose a small percentage of your pixels, but it just makes collecting them a bigger pain. Finally, you always warp onto a planet's surface in the same location. This means that building your house on a planet ANYWHERE ELSE is a massive pain in the butt(Also, building a giant hole in the ground where you spawned will cause you to warp into a death pit whenever you return to the planet).

-Final Thoughts-

Overall, the game's really fun, even in its' unfinished state. It cost me 15 dollars, and since the game was released two weeks ago I've put 28 hours into it. Even then, I'm still not done with the available content. For the 15 dollars I spent on it, this game has been worth every penny and then some. Personally, I highly recommend Starbound, especially to people who played and enjoyed Terraria.


You can buy the game here.

12/13/13

Space Douchebag! - 9 - DONE!

Guess what?


That's right, Space Douchebag is complete! As you might've guessed, I've done quite a bit in the past two weeks. For starters, I added an entire level and boss to the game. There are enough changes to warrant a list, though, so here's the rundown on what's new:

  • I've added 4 new enemies to the game. These only show up in Stage 2, and they're much more dangerous than Stage 1's enemies. 
  • I made stage 2, and its' boss(naturally). They feel a bit lacklustre since I was running out of time when I made them, but they're not too bad.
  • I changed the particle system to use multithreading, although I don't think I made any decent speed gains in the process.
  • SWAG! The game's got plenty of it now, and you unlock it through a variety of means. The SWAG is as follows: Beer Hat, Slotted Shades, Bling, Red Spoiler, Unfortunate Tattoo. To see how to unlock them, refer to the video above or just experiment a bit!
  • The game now ranks you at the end based on deaths, SWAG, and score. You know you've got the best rank from one of these if it's highlighted in yellow on the win screen.
  • I added the game's story in. If you sit at the title screen for about a minute, you'll see what I mean... In addition, beating the game will wrap things up.
  • Temporary powerups were never part of the design, but I added them in later for balance purposes. One makes you invincible, one powers up your weapon for a short while, and the last will fully restore your ego if it's low.
  • I accidentally forgot to re-enable the graphics adjustments, so they're effectively gone. In addition, you'll need to relaunch the game if you run out of lives, or things will glitch up slightly.
Right, I think that's it. I've been working really hard on this game, so please enjoy it. It should be up on the Games page today, under In Progress.

...Wait. Why in progress, you might ask? Well, I think I can do better. Space Douchebag hasn't reached the lofty goal that I held for it, and I'm going to remake it. For the moment, I'll leave things at that, but expect some more info during this coming week.

12/5/13

No Post

This week, there will be no posts other than this one.

This is because all of my final projects will be due shortly, and I don't have time to write anything. Next week will feature the final Space Douchebag post, probably on Thursday or Friday, and there will be a video.

Following next week, I will return to my usual schedule and also to posting progress updates for AMAZE. Quite a bit has happened since my last post...

11/27/13

Space Douchebag - 8 - Level One, Complete!

Well, I've gotten quite a bit done this week! I started out by adding graphics settings, so that people on less powerful machines could get a good framerate. In addition, if the game detects that it's running slowly, it automatically lowers the settings a bit. The main reason for for adding all this, though, is that I'm home on break thanks to Thanksgiving. Obviously, I can't just drop an entire week of potential work time, so I need to make the game run smoothly on the old family computer. Alternatively, I could use my(significantly better) laptop, but that would require installing my dreaded enemy, Microsoft Visual Studio, on it. If you know me, you know that I'm the type of dev who writes his own makefiles and programs on in a terminal window. I'm not letting Visual Studio anywhere near my laptop.

Obviously, I've added more than that. I finished implementing a new enemy, which tries to avoid being in front of the player. I also added some nice area transitions. At the start of each area, the player flies in from the side as the screen fades in from black. At the end, he zooms out the other end as the screen returns to black. It's a nice little effect, and I think it makes the game feel more polished. I added additional details to some of the backgrounds, and gave the first boss their own area. While I was at it, I added many new sound effects that had been previously missing, and fixed a bug that had been causing an issue similar to z-fighting amongst a number of sprites.

All of that's tiny, though, compared to the major additions that I made this week:
Focus, Scripting, and Shaders!

Focus

Focus is the final ability in Space Douchebag's arsenal. When activated, everything slows down to a fraction of its' normal speed. You continue to fire at a normal rate, however. This ability doesn't last long and charges slowly, but it makes aiming and dodging much easier.

Scripting

The first level is just about finished, and the enemy spawns aren't as random anymore. I'm using the term 'scripting' here pretty loosely, to be honest. Still, I can now define how the levels play, something that I've wanted to do from the start. It isn't a very elegant system, but it does the job rather well. The important thing is that I can now write up a text file that defines when specific enemies spawn, how the camera moves, and where the level begins and ends.

Shaders

In order to get those level transitions working, I had to write a shader system. The transition fades themselves are governed by a pixel(fragment) shader, and I can now define specific shaders by to be applied on an area-by-area basis.(by the way, for those of you who don't know what shaders are, just think of them as filters from a graphics program. It's the same general idea.)


So, that's a nice bunch of work!
I don't have many interesting things to screenshot, I'm afraid, so I'll leave them for next week. I'm also considering continuing this project after the end of the semester, although I don't have any kind of timeframe on when I'll do it.

11/20/13

Space Douchebag - 7 - Boss Time

Well, I didn't get enough work done on Space Douchebag this week. I did, however, still get more than enough done to warrant a post. I started the week off by making a couple more enemies. First, there are flying turrets that aim directly at the player and move in erratic patterns. I also added bulkhead doors that must be destroyed before they crash into you. Finally, I made asteroids that randomly split when destroyed. Gotta have 'em in your shmup!

After that, I finally implemented the first boss. It's not quite complete, but it's close. It has several different attacks. First, it can charge at the player. It scoots back a little right beforehand, which is the cue to get out of there. It can also summon a number of enemies from the stage, and at half health it can fire a large beam. Finally, it has a continual attack thanks to its' many limbs. each limb moves independently and can occasionally fire an aimed shot at the player. At half health, these limbs fire 3 shots, and at 25% hp or lower they fire 5 and a homing missile.

Speaking of missiles, I decided that the player didn't really have enough incentive to actually kill the jumping worm enemies, and made them fire missiles from their tail. I've found that this works rather well, and makes the game a little more hectic.

Finally, I have a bit of good news: while all of this was happening, I finally finished AMAZE's animation system! I've been working on it bit-by-bit since, although I don't really have enough new content to make a post yet.

Edit: Here's a screenshot of the first boss!
Click to see it at full size


11/13/13

Space Douchebag - 6 - Nice and Late

I can't believe how late I am, after such a nice few months of relative promptness too! Anyways, I'm temporarily going to shift my programming posts to Wednesdays because that's when my class meets, and it's also when my development targets are due.

So, what have I gotten done lately? Quite a bit!

For starters, the old stuff is all finished. Along with the original two enemies, I've added segmented mechanical 'Serpent' that will leap out of the sands of the first stage, and I also started on a floating gun turret.

Peter has made decent progress on the game's music, completing 2 tracks and starting a 3rd.

I've finished the first of 2(3 if I have time) weapons that can be chosen at the start: The spread blaster. As the name implies, this weapon fires in a cone rather than straight, with higher level versions also adding bullets to protect your sides.

I've implemented the two required powerups, both of which are fairly standard. One pumps up your speed, and another increases your weapon's level. If I have time, I'll be adding missile and shield powerups too.

Finally, I've added the hero's 3 fabled Douchebag Powers, of which you can choose one. They can be toggled at will, and drain energy which is replenished by killing enemies. To be more specific, they are:

  1. Super Ego: Health Regen
  2. Aggression: Temporary weapon level increase. This can power a weapon up beyond the game's normal limits.
  3. 'Can't Touch This!': The player cloaks, and no longer collides with enemies/bullets/other hazards.
As you can see, I haven't just been sitting around. I'll leave you with a screenshot of Stage 1, and the Serpent enemy. Note that this screenshot is a bit old, and there's a nice little UI in the newest version.

11/4/13

Status Update, and Announcement

As I've said multiple times already, the semester is nearing its' end. This means that my workload has slowly begun to increase, and I've had less time to write blog posts. Here's the general state of various things:

  1. The schedule seems to have been successful. I'm quite surprised, and slightly impressed that I actually managed to keep up with it. I may eventually add more posts if I can continue to keep this up. In the mean time, I still have yet to put up a schedule page. Be patient. It'll happen within the next week or two, hopefully.
  2. Thanks to the schedule, I've made a good few Games I Play posts so far. I'm still not certain that I'll stick with the current formula, but I'm more comfortable with it than the previous ones. That said, I'm going to take a break for it until the end of the semester. This'll let me concentrate less on playing games, and more on making them. It may also let me set up a small buffer(no promises) that would ensure more punctual posts.
  3. Until the end of the semester, My regular programming posts will be about Space Douchebag. Obviously, it'll be finished once the class ends but I might consider making a Monogame version that would run on Mac/Linux along with Windows, and maybe add some of the stretch goals that don't make it. Either way, I'm taking a break from it once classes are over.
  4. I'm really sorry about AMAZE. From the looks of it, it won't be finished until well after the semester ends. I am making some slow progress on it during occasional down time, but it will still be a long time before I finish.
  5. Last but not least, Singularity. You thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you? Nope, still working on it! I've started some basic work on version 2.0, although it's the absolute lowest priority right now. I still want to finish AMAZE before moving back to that, so I can't say when I'll be working much on it again.
Another thing to mention: I've been skipping out on a ton of Game Jams as of late. I feel really bad about it, and once I've finished a project or two with my engine it'll start to get better. For now, though, I'm afraid that's just how it is. I had an idea for the 0-hour game jam, but I became preoccupied with some personal stuff around the same time and missed it.  The next jam that I do will probably end up either being Ludum Dare or the Global Game Jam. We'll see, it'll depend on how quickly I can finish AMAZE.

11/3/13

Space Douchebag - 5 - Final Preparations

Sorry for the late post. I've been a bit preoccupied for the past couple of days, and I didn't get a chance to write my programming post on Friday.

Now that the semester has worn on for quite some time, the final project for graphics programming has begun. Of course, I'm going to try and finish Space Douchebag for this.
This first week is mostly just a matter of rewriting the engine. I've been just haphazardly slapping on new things each week, and the current engine has become rather difficult to expand easily. I've already remade most of it, and I ought to have it done by Wednesday. The new structure allows me to expand the the game's content much easier. I've also added a full menu system to the game, as the last version's menus were pretty terrible. I've also seriously improved the game's input handling, which will make input stuff easier to write and more reliable as well.
I am missing some stuff, though. Enemies haven't been added yet, and neither particles nor shaders have been implemented at this point. In addition, while the menus all work most of their entries do nothing right now.

I don't have much else to write at the moment, but this feels a bit short. I may write another post later this week, once more of the old stuff has been rewritten.

10/28/13

Games I Play #10: Anodyne

I have very mixed feelings about Anodyne. It's been quite fun to play, but it's been equally frustrating in many parts. It plays a little like the original Legend of Zelda, from back in the days of the NES. Most of the gameplay is fun, but it's also littered with annoying segments, particularly in the form of jumping puzzles.

-The Good-

The environments are quite pretty, and diverse as well. I didn't think to take more screenshots while playing, unfortunately. Anyways, each area has a very nice and distinct feeling to it, and it often felt to me like they each had a story of their own to tell. The music adds well to the feel of the game. It tends to be fairly mellow, and never really takes over anything in particular. One big thing that I have to mention is that the game has a mostly-open world. Having played up to the final boss, I can definitely say that for most of the game you can choose the order in which you complete things. The game also has quite a bit of exploration, and there are plenty of screens that exist solely to show you something pretty. 

-The Bad-

Oh boy, where to begin... Starting off, it's one of the buggier indie games I've played. I've run into a number of little oddities. Once, I got teleported through a wall into a boss room(which saved me some time, but still...). Another time, my body appeared to be perpetually stuck in the air while my hitbox(and weapon) remained firmly planted on the ground. These bugs, and a number of other things make me wonder if perhaps the programmer was a bit inexperienced when they made this. For instance, the final upgrade that you receive allows you to swap tiles, but only seems to work in one screen in the entire game to swap a few blocks around. This, coupled with a few areas blocked off by pushable-looking objects makes me wonder if perhaps there was a pushing mechanic that was scrapped, either because of time constraints or programming issues. Another letdown was the jumping. When you get the ability to jump, it feels like many possibilities have opened. However, you can only jump over things, not on top of them. All of the tiny little ledges in the game are still completely insurmountable. You also can't attack while jumping(another missed opportunity), but you stop in place like you did! The hit detection when it comes to jumping feels pretty terrible. Oftentimes I'd fall into a pit when it felt like I'd made the jump. The eventual addition if speed boosting tiles just makes this problem worse, especially once they expect you to hit them at weird angles. When you get hit, instead of being knocked away from the source you seem to be knocked in the opposite direction that you're facing. This can make even simple obstacles a huge pain to deal with. Finally, most bosses can be defeated rather easily by just sticking to them and mashing the attack button. It feels like such a cheap tactic should've been noticed and removed, because it completely takes the skill out of the fight. It's not a big deal, but it's still a bit sad to see all of those interesting attack patterns go to waste thanks to a simple cheese tactic.

-Final Thoughts-

The game's not really as bad as I might've made it out to be. It was a big pain in the rear at times, but it also gave me hours of fun. I didn't quite manage to beat the final boss in time, but the fact that I played almost all the way through while making this certainly stands in its' favor. Lastly I feel like I should point out that the game is pretty much a giant fetch quest. To be fair, so were Ultima 1 and Bastion to some extent, and it's also a part of the general genre. Still, collection does end up being the main focus of the game, so just be aware of that. If you really enjoy these sorts of old-school, top-down, hack-and.....beat with a broom games, then you should probably check this out. Otherwise, you may want to wait for a sale or bundle to grab it.

You can buy the game here.

10/25/13

AMAZE - 10 - Some Gameplay Improvements

Well, I've made some good progress. After all of those engine updates, I spent a while making some more game-related updates.
Here, you can also see the graphical bits that I redid
First, I started implementing a basic equipment system, beginning with doors and keys. This change also allowed me to make solid objects in general, so I can now do some fun things like invisible walls. The box in the gui now shows whatever piece of equipment is being held, and the bar next to it represents either how much charge is left or how many of it you've got(depends on the item). Above it, I added a lives counter. To test it, I also added the ability for objects to kill you. If you die, the level will reset with one life missing, and you'll also keep the points you've gained during that level(I might change this). If you run out, the game resets. Next on the list, I'm going to work on proper animation support, and try to upgrade the player's graphics a bit. Following that, I'll make a couple of nicer-looking fonts and finish the top bar.

Also, the final project for my graphics programming class has been announced. I'll probably be finishing Space Douchebag for it, so you might not see too much AMAZE progress for a while.

10/21/13

Games I Play #9: Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness

I've played a number of games, both old and new, but this may be the oldest. Originally released in 1981, Ultima I was the first in what would be a 9-part series of computer RPGs. I own the first seven, and have been planning to play through them in order. Since I recently got Ultima I running via dosbox on Elementary, I decided to make it this week's game.

-The Good-
Astoundingly, there's quite a bit of
sci-fi in this game.
It's quite fun! I wasn't sure what to expect when playing a game from 1981, but the gameplay's not bad at all, if a bit simplistic. The general flow of the game is like this:
1. Find a castle, and get a quest from a king.
2. Go to a nearby town to stock up.
3. Either go find the landmark specified, or kill some specified monster deep in one of the game's many dungeons.
4. Return, pay the king for healing, get your reward, and depart.

Doing this, you get the items needed to use the time machine to return to the past and defeat the evil wizard Mondain. There's more to it than that, but that's the general idea. But what was that about a time machine? In reality, this game is an interesting blend of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. While most of the game is fantasy, with wizards and orcs and such, there are also aliens and spaceships. Heck, there's even a flying car you can buy! Back to gameplay, the game actually features a fairly large open world to explore, packed with castles, towns, dungeons, and mysterious landmarks. The dungeons themselves are not too large, but there are many and their layouts are unique.

-The Bad-
Speaking of the dungeons, you will get lost in them without making detailed notes of their layout. They feature many twists and blind corridors. When an enemy attacks you in one, you also have no idea which direction it's attacking from. You may get hit several extra times just trying to find them. Stat-wise, health is the only noticeable part of character growth. In fact, oftentimes I level up without even noticing at all!
There's something very silly
about that skeleton.
Unfortunately, Ultima I's graphics have not aged well, especially in dungeons. I realize that the limitations of the time required these more archaic graphics, but some of them look really awful. This shouldn't influence whether you play the game or not, but just be aware of this.






-Final Thoughts-
You should be aware that in its' age Ultima I is a very different RPG experience than what you're probably used to. With that in mind, this game can be a ton of fun with a pencil and a stack of graph paper. I recommend that you find a site with some general controls and explanations of how the game works before playing for the most enjoyable experience.
You can buy the first three Ultima games together here.

10/20/13

Blog Update: Theming?

You've probably noticed that the blog looks quite different right now. I've been running into a number of little technical issues with Blogger's nice dynamic themes, so I've reverted to the old style. It isn't ideal, but it'll have to do for now.

Sprites: AMAZE rework, part 1

As I mentioned a while back, I'll occasionally post new sprites I've been making in Sundays. I've got a few today from AMAZE.

After the recent jam ended, I decided to try and update some of AMAZE's graphics. So far, the game's graphics have been almost entirely composed of placeholders, and they look really terrible. Along with that, I've been meaning to try and improve my pixel art skills recently.

Here's what I've done so far:
First, I tried to make the generic looking 'diamonds' into some kind of cool blue crystal. It looks pretty, but I probably won't keep this. It doesn't really feel like what I was trying to go for.

The next sprite I went for was the awful giant coin. I tried to turn it into a few modest stacks of gold coins, and I think I succeeded very well here. This sprite is probably a keeper, although I may alter it a bit in the future.

Lastly, I started work on the tileset. Ignore the right half-it's just old stuff. So far, I've only redone the floor texture. It looks much better than before, but I'm still not too happy with it for some reason. For now, I'm gonna stick with it, though.






That's all I've got so far. I think I've made some decent progress in terms of art, but I still have quite a ways to go. Hopefully I'll iron out those pixel art skills with the next few projects. In the meantime, AMAZE is still progressing nicely and I should have plenty to write about on Friday.

10/18/13

Space Douchebag! - 4 - It Gets Shinier

Suddenly, the stars look slightly nicer
Well, the shaders are in. I've got some (not too great) bloom, as well as some new particle effects. Most notable of these are some nice trails that I've added to enemies. The screenshot to the left shows them off rather nicely, I think. Also pictured are the second enemies I've added, which I've dubbed 'mosquitos.' these light ships are slow and weak, but usually come in large groups. I also made the explosions look nicer along the way.
Currently, my goal is to add in the first planet within a week or two. The way I see the levels going is an initial space section, followed by the main level. Most of the levels will be actual planets, with various themes. The first will be a desert planet, which I've already begun work on. The fire effect shown in the screenshot will probably feature on some volcanic planet further down the line. The last thing that I want to get done this week is some kind of stacking powerup. Currently, surviving is rather hard but with ship upgrades I think it will be much less difficult, and the space section of level 1 will be in working order.

Games I Play #8: Beat Hazard

Well, I seem to have completely forgotten about this post somewhere along the way. Sorry about that!

Beat Hazard is a trippy arena shooter with mechanics based on your music library. As a song that you've selected progresses, the game's speed and your ship's power scale to the intensity of the music. Waves of enemies and bosses fly in from all angles, and bright, colored flashes dot the arena. It's certainly something to behold. As a quick note: In case you hadn't guessed, do not play this if you're prone to seizures! Still here? Great.

-The Good-

The song here is actually the Doomsday Darren Goes
Fishing boss theme. Short, but gave good visuals.
There's a lot to praise in this game. To start, the visuals are totally crazy. Some people may find the bright flashes of light and color annoying, but I love them. 
The perks that you can buy (mostly)reduce the difficulty significantly, so I feel like there's plenty of challenge for players if they want it. On top of this, the ability to turn just about any music file into a level is neat and will leave most players with more than enough content to work through. 


-The Bad-

Due to all of the action onscreen, sometimes the enemies will sneak up on you. Unfortunately, since colliding with an enemy kills you, sometimes you'll suddenly die with no warning. If you play cautiously, it shouldn't be too much of an issue but it can still be a real pain.
Boss fights are usually ok, but sometimes if they last too long enemies will start spawning before you're done. One final gripe is that navigating the song menu to find songs feels a bit annoying. Thankfully, it gives you the option to use your OS's default file dialog to find them.

-Final Thoughts-

Overall, this is a pretty good game. The crazy graphics and fast-paced gameplay make for great experience. Unfortunately, the small annoyances really detract from an otherwise great game for me. Still, if you like twin stick shooters you should definitely give this a try.

You can buy the game here.

10/14/13

Game Engine Jam, Days 7-10 Recap

As I write this, the jam's about to end. The past few days were a bit slow, but I've gotten a thing or two done. I've added a basic GUI(All it shows so far is the score), and text rendering works fine.

Speaking of text, I was originally going to use Allegro's built-in text drawing stuff, but it wouldn't work no matter how much I tried. In the end, I just added a new asset type for fonts, and a simple function to draw them. In the process, though, I broke a good bit of asset loading code, and had to do a bit of restructuring. It all works now, thankfully. Anyways, I promised screenshots last time so I'll post a few. The last picture I put up was from quite a while ago, so it's probably a good idea to show some stuff off now:
As you can see, the levels scroll pretty nicely. There's still a bit of work to do
on that, but it's coming well.
The gems on the left side of the level are a trap. Instead of
adding points, they take some away...
A bonus room. You reach it by nabbing the robot in the last screenshot,
rather than just going to the level exit. Also, he gives you 100,000 points
because he's just a good guy like that.
Most of the graphics are just quickly thrown together bits of placeholder art, but I think you can see a pretty big improvement in terms of content compared to the last screenshot I posted.

This jam went really well for me. I got way more done than I believed I could in such a short time. I think I might spend a while updating the graphics next, since right now this stuff looks really bad. After that, it's back to gameplay features.

Finally, I may or may not finish my Games I Play post in time for tonight. If not, expect it tomorrow.

10/10/13

Game Engine Jam, Day 6 Recap

Well, adding a view was a tad bit easier than I thought. It's not too well done, but it works for my purposes. At this point, I'm going to try not to refactor anything until the project is near completion so as not to spend forever constantly tweaking everything. If you're wondering where the screenshots are, I promise to start putting some up with the next update. I've also started working on the GUI graphics, but I'll leave that subject for later.

Anyway, since I've added quite a bit I'll make a quick list of what's been done during the jam:

  1. General tileset import/export improvements
  2. Fixed 'vertical line bug'
  3. Collision Detection
  4. Pickups (Various bonuses to be grabbed for points)
  5. Level exits and ingame map switching (I can now just build levels and easily link them up)
  6. Scrolling Viewport (Levels can now be any size, within reason)
That's a pretty nice list! I've got around one change per day so far, so I'd call this jam a massive success already. With these new changes, I feel like I'll soon be able to spend more time just building levels and adding polish. In reality, I still have a fair bit to program but the project still feels a bit more finite now.

10/9/13

Game Engine Jam, Days 2-5 Recap

The jam's about halfway done, and I've been away for a while. Where's Games I Play? What's up with AMAZE? Hopefully I can answer those questions.

First off, I missed the last Games I Play post(and a day's worth of jam work) in order to dye my hair. The dye came out well, in my opinion. Under some light
I probably should've shaved for the photo,
but I was short on time.
conditions, it almost looks like it glows. Back to the topic at hand, this is also why I didn't get a chance to make a Games I Play post. I'll still write an update on Friday, though. I got quite a few interesting things done on Space Douchebag, so I should still have plenty to write about. 

Finally, progress. It took longer than I'd hoped, but you can now grab pickups for points, and the level exit will take you to the next level like it should. It took hours of struggling, and these features feel quite hackish unfortunately. Still, they'll do for a simple project like AMAZE.

My next goal is to add a scrolling view that follows the player around, and then maybe a GUI. Then, I might try and add different resolutions and fullscreen. I might also add a title screen and main menu. We'll see, but I think these changes will easily carry me to the end of the jam.

10/5/13

Game(Engine) Jam, Day 1 Recap

I spent the first hour or two today working on trying to implement my game idea into my partially-completed engine(The AMAZE one). That pretty much failed. The engine isn't ready for a game jam, and it definitely shows. I briefly considered just tossing something together from the ground up, as usual, but then I stopped myself. Wasn't the entire point of this engine avoiding just that??? So, here we are. I'm going to scrap that game idea, and switch focus for this jam. Instead of a game jam, I'm going to make this a game engine jam.

While working on AMAZE, I've had an ever-growing list of things to add to my engine that I've either deemed low priority, or have just been slacking off on. I've decided to see how many features and fixes I can give this engine in the span of ten days. If I'm lucky, it'll end up in a state where I can just about finish AMAZE with it and move on.
Now that I've explained that, here's what I got done today:
-I started off nice and easy. I'd been meaning to make my asset packager use tsx(tiled tileset files) to get tileset information, like tile size. That works now, and I even took a while to make the tileset packaging code more readable. If I ever need to go back to it later, it should be easier to work with.
-Later, I decided to fix a really annoying bug. If you read this post, you probably noticed the vertical lines in the tiles. I said they were nothing, but on closer inspection they actually were the result of a bug. Staring at those lines was making my eyes hurt, so I found the issue and fixed it. Turns out, when I was loading the color data I was skipping the first two bytes. This also explains why the color order seemed to be jumbled. Tomorrow, I want to finish collision detection(finally), and possibly work on view scrolling. Here's a screenshot showing the correctly working tiles:
Remember that most of this is just placeholder art
While I'm at it, here's something that I never got to post about: The player can no longer walk through walls. I got that working a while ago, but the retrospective(and the jam) got in the way of part 10.

10/4/13

Jam Begins - Change of Plans

The theme is "Music Video ... Game." The idea is to make a game based on a song. I now really want to make a game out of this.

EDIT: All right, it's been a while and I've begun work.

So far, It looks like I'm taking a wonderful old piece of american music and translating it into a sci-fi shmup where you battle the armies of Neo-Canada. Even I'm not entirely sure where this is going, but it will be interesting.

So far, the working player sprite looks like this:

Hmm. Maybe I overdid it with the patriotism. I was going for that kind of thing, but the stars just feel too over-the-top.

A Short Diversion

AMAZE is getting put on hold for another week, but there's a great reason: Tonight, a 10-day game jam is starting. I'm doing things a bit differently this time, though. Specifically, I'm not making a game. 

Let's start at the beginning. On Wednesday, after class, my graphics/engine development professor gave me a challenge for Space Douchebag! Since this week's assignment is to implement a particle system, he asked me to make a certain improvement to my particle system. Specifically, he asked me to make a particle effect designer, and setup my system so that the effects were externally loaded and could be changed on the fly. This sounds like a lot of fun.

The EDC, a game dev group at Champlain College, just recently announced an informal game jam, and pretty much said that you could make whatever, as long as whatever you were making wasn't a school project. To me, this seems like the perfect opportunity to develop a neat tool. 

I haven't decided what to do with my schedule during game jams yet. I'm thinking that It'll depend on the jam. I'm going to put off the second programming post this week, but I think I'll still make the usual posts during the jam's duration. When the tool is finished, It'll support both Windows and Linux. I haven't decided whether I'll be making a Mac version yet, but it seems unlikely.

10/2/13

Space Douchebag! - 3 - Shiny Things

Well, week 4 ended and week 5's just about done too. Let's talk updates.
Space Douchebag! is coming along rather well, overall. Last week, I added in enemies and got things set up so that they could spawn in the background. You still couldn't interact with them at all, but it was a step in the right direction. This week, I made Space Douchebag! into an actual game by letting you shoot them. Score has been added as well, and enemies begin spawning at greater speeds as time progresses. They can kill you too, though the collision detection on your ship is a bit spotty.

That's great, but there's one other piece of news that makes me very happy with myself: As a surprise for my professor, I wrote an entire particle engine from scratch ahead of time! Take a look:
I realize that this isn't the best picture, but taking
screenshots of explosions is hard.
The explosions look quite nice in motion, and have a nice cartoon vibe to them. I think I just managed to hit a sweet spot with the settings. In case you don't quite understand what a particle system is, allow me to explain. Particles are tiny, simple objects that don't generally interact with anything else, and die soon after being spawned. They usually are created in large groups, with some randomness, to make various effects. This could be fire, explosions, rain, halos around bright objects, sparkles, smoke, and many other things. Particle emitters are simply objects that generate these particles, usually from a set location. The way my explosions work is that they fire off a ton of particles for a split second, going out in random directions. the particles, initially orange, slow down and turn gray before finally disappearing. This makes a nice smoke ring, as shown above.

For this week, we were not only required to make a blog post about our work(which is why I'm posting now of all times), but we also needed to implement a design pattern. I'm not sure where exactly to start with these things. They're quite cool, but difficult to explain. I suppose you could equate them specific plays in chess. Someone smarter than you came up with some elegant strategy, and now it's accepted by most as a very good move. I couldn't really think of a good way to implement any of the design patterns that I knew, so instead I designed my particle system in a manner similar to(though not exactly the same as) the decorator pattern. Essentially, I made my particle emitters particles. They act like particles for most purposes, in fact. The only difference is that they can make particles themselves. This means that in order to make more complex spawning patterns, emitters can make more of themselves, and tell them to move in certain ways. Then, the new emitters can make particles however they want. Here's a simple illustration of how it works:

Normally, this would be a huge pain to get working properly. However, here it's as simple as any other particle system. So while I agree that this setup isn't exactly the same as the decorator pattern, I feel that it demonstrates the same general concept(making additional functionality for an object using related objects).

Finally, I was going to add shaders this week as well, but I ran out of time thanks to a few other school projects. Maybe I'll do that next week. As promised, there will be a dev update for AMAZE on Friday. 

9/30/13

4k Retrospective: Part 8

This is the 8th and final part of a series where I reread my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.

As I stated last time, this is the final part. It'll take me to the end of the summer, which I think is a pretty good stopping point.


Sound won't be getting its own file format for quite a while. Doomsday Darren Goes Fishing was my first time dealing with sound on a lower level, and it's a bit of a pain. Instead, I'll be making improvements to the existing formats during the next project or two. Of course, there are still one or two things that I'll be adding before AMAZE is over.

Even if I hadn't been playing for a review, I still would've taken that screenshot. I was so happy about that.

Having just watched Pacific Rim may have affected my opinions of this game a bit. The game's great, though. If you missed this post/still haven't played this, do it! It's fun and free.

At this point, I underestimated how long it would take to rewrite the entity system. It's functional at this point, but I'm still not quite done with re-adding collisions. 

Once in a while, I go on a giant coding binge. Usually, this will take me out of commision for a bit. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing. Still, I do get quite a bit done during those times.

The schedule has worked remarkably well so far. I'm planning to put it up on sometime this week. Eventually, I may try and expand it, but I'd rather have my schedule be stable rather than full.

I should try to design stuff like this more often. Feature creep is definitely one of my bigger shortcomings.

I've been having some trouble figuring out what to write about the 'Games I Play' posts. Thankfully, this is the last one.

Recently, I've been skipping on quite a few game jams. It's a shame really. At some point, though, having this engine is going to start seriously improving the quality of my games. I probably shouldn't complain.

Ooh, a technical post! I've been meaning to write more of these. Anyways, the new formats have made reading in files quite a bit easier. they've also made files quite a bit smaller. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the results.


After these posts, I went back to Champlain College and that's where I am now. It seems that my newer posts have been reaching lengths that I want, so I'm pretty happy where I am now. The only real improvement that I can think of right now would be to post more content about my actual code, which I'm planning to try in the future.

Also, I'm going to post 2 programming updates this week. There will be a post about Space Douchebag! on Wednesday, and the usual Friday slot will be taken up by AMAZE.

9/29/13

4k Retrospective: Part 7

This is part 7 of a series where I reread all of my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.

Now, we're approaching the actual summer posts. There will be one more post after this, and then I'm going back to my old schedule.


So, it was certainly nice seeing a milestone like that. Not only had I managed to keep a blog running for a year, I even managed to beat my goal. Maybe next year I can make a post called '159' or something.

I realize that this footage that I promised is still not up. The main difficulty is getting a decent recording. I have a video of A Wheely Good Time on my hard drive, but it has a couple of nasty skips in it. Unfortunately, that may be as good quality as I'll get on my laptop. Depending on how a Diamond Rush! recording goes, I may just have to upload them like that.

Aargh, GLUT is terrible. I'm not sure what made me think to use it for the jam. Anyway, now that I've been using Vim+Make for a while I no longer have any issues without an IDE. I still need to make AMAZE cross-compile to Windows though.

Aaaaaand there goes the projects page. I might consider making a new one at some point, but I'm not sure when. Singularity's been working pretty well(except for one heart-stopping few days where importing broke), and v2.0 can only bring improvements design-wise. 

Arthritis sucks, but I've learned to deal with it. This was just an unusually bad bout of it. As for ECS, actually finding decent information was pretty hard. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on what ECS actually is, so there are many conflicting answers. I got it straight eventually, though.

This summer had awful weather. It was always 80s-90s with massive humidity levels. Without any form of AC, I could hardly even run my laptop. I can also think of another reason not to use SFML. Being a C++ library, it has some easier bits of syntax, but it's also incompatible with C. That's a downer.

I recently found a Gimp plugin that makes sprite sheets automatically in the same way that I'd been doing by hand. I feel a bit dumb now. Still, having my own asset types is pretty neat.

Idea #2 would be so much fun, in my opinion. However, if my computer can't record my games right, then it certainly can't record the kind of stuff you'll find on the market right now. Idea #1, later dubbed 'Games I Play' has turned out pretty well. Sometimes I feel forced to play something and post about it, but it's usually not too bad.

Incidentally, collision detection is what I'm working on reimplementing into AMAZE right now. I'm hoping to get it done in time for the next development update. I've gotten a ton of work done since my last post, so hopefully I can make you guys a nice long dev post next Friday.

This was, as the title suggests, my first 'Games I Play' post. I wasn't sure how to approach the post so I just went for a general breakdown of the elements. I don't like that style too much, but I just sorta stuck with it for the next few posts. Eventually I changed things up, though. I'm happier with what I have now.

The final post will be tomorrow, and following that I'll be returning to the schedule. That means that there'll be a programming post on Friday, and the next 'Games I Play' post will be on the following week. EDIT: The final post is up. Read it here.

9/28/13

4k Retrospective: Part 6

This is part 6 of a series where I reread all of my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.

We're finally approaching the newer projects. Have another 10:


  • Nothing to See Here [DELETED]
I really don't have anything to say about this.

That's a bit better. This is the very beginning of Singularity, right after Google announced that they'd be getting rid of Google Reader. At the time, I couldn't find any decent alternatives that didn't rely on Google Reader. I'm pretty sure that there are some better services out there now, but I'm still sticking with Singularity.

Hmm. I don't really mind Atom too much anymore, though rss is still much simpler to deal with. Many of the things listed in this post are still true, though. This is more or less how Singularity works now. The only major difference is that the next version will have a separate background process for updating subscribed feeds that continues to run even if you close the application. That way, you won't have to wait a few minutes every time you want to check your feeds. I won't start work for a while, though. I want to finish AMAZE at the very least.

  • A Long-Delayed Update [DELETED]
This was just a notice about summer break. With that over, this post is pretty much useless.

I've made many changes to Singularity, trying to improve load time. Apart from the first time, these have all been pretty minor speed gains. With any luck, the next version will remove this issue completely. Also, somewhere along the line 0.1 and 0.2 became 1.0 and 1.5. I'm not too sure why, but I don't mind too much.

This is definitely one of my best posts. I recommend that you read this one, because it's great. Unfortunately, it doesn't really leave me with much to write about. 

  • Summer Plans [DELETED]
Alright, this one was a bit unrealistic. I managed to get the new Singularity version done before the deadline, though. I mainly just underestimated how long it would take to make the complete engine for AMAZE. Even at this point, the engine's not quite complete enough to finish AMAZE.

Here's another reason why I didn't get much done this summer. The fishing jam went alright, but as you may know trying to port it took quite a while.

The development of this game was interesting. It started out ridiculously slowly, and it slowly sped up. If I had to take a guess, I'd wager that 90% of the game was made during the final 48 hours. If I'd spent as much time during the first few days as I'd done then, It would've been one heck of a game. It was still pretty decent, though.

The game's fun, but it really is a pain to get it working correctly. I recently ironed out some of those other issues with AMAZE, thankfully. I'm aiming to make AMAZE the first game I make that doesn't require much fiddling to get working.

Well, that's today's post! There seem to be around 3 more days worth of posts, so I'm almost done. Next post here.

9/27/13

4k Retrospective: Part 5

This is part 5 of a series where I reread all of my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.

Alright, here's another part. This suggests that I might be capable of posting more frequently, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to try that yet.


I like this idea. I don't think sounds should drown each other out like they do in this post, but it's still a neat idea. This is also the last design post for Chainsaw Deathrace. I think I stopped once the second semester started to heat up, but I never continued where I left off afterwards.

I was really happy when I finally managed to get the walls working nicely. I didn't get a chance to do anything beyond that, but it's a cool concept piece.

MAN, do I hate actionscript. It's a real pain to work with, and Flash is inefficient(not to mention the arbitrary FPS cap). I'm still a bit split on the whole SDL vs. Allegro deal. SDL 2.0 came out fairly recently, and I'm not certain if either library is definitively better. Hard to say.

  • The Global Game Jam - Now Starting! [DELETED]
Here's another short game jam post. I'm starting to think that the reason I forgot about this is that I haven't done a 48-hour game jam in a long time. In fact, apart from last summer's fishing jam, this was the last game jam I participated in.

  • Done! [DELETED]
Same deal as the last, just about.

Hmm. I'm not too sure which 'next project' I was referring to there. Weird. Normally I'd delete a post like this, but I really like the image.

I think this is the first mention of AMAZE by name. In the end, I actually decided to scrap the map editor project in favor of converting Tiled's .tmx format. So far it's been working beautifully. 

The editor I was working with for the RPG was pretty slick. I really liked it. The new one(which I eventually named LevlEd) went pretty well, but it never got all of the features that I wanted. Of course, that's a bit of a moot point a Tiled easily blows them both out of the water. I knew of it at the time, but I didn't know if I could get it working with everything else too well.

  • Apologies [DELETED]
At this point, I was starting to get better at writing these posts, even when I didn't have much to report. Last Spring was a pretty boring time, as I recall.

"I'm hoping that this sudden burst of energy lasts me until vacation."
Guess I'd already forgotten about the first semester's finals. In case you were wondering, the friend is Peter. He's an ...interesting guy. Perhaps a bit mad, but quite competent.

Man, that's a lot of exclamation marks. I think this series is going to keep on into next week, so I'll be missing a few more posts still. Read the next part here.

9/26/13

4k Retrospective: Part 4

This is part 4 of a series where I reread all of my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.
I meant to post part 3 yesterday, so here's another part!


Oh, there's another update post. I knew they'd be back. The Linux version of Chainsaw Deathrace obviously never got released. I think I have a working Linux build somewhere, but at this point it's so much worse than everything else that I'm just going to wait until I eventually release v2.0.

I only used SFML for two projects before moving on. It's not too bad, but it feels like there's much better stuff out there. As for the multiplayer, I managed to get everything in order without the networking. That was quite a relief!

Wow, did I really (sort of)reveal #7's name? I'm still not planning on saying any more, except that it's in the same state as the old RPG. I also mentioned putting up a demo of AMAZE, and I really should've done that. At this point, the new version doesn't yet have enough content for that, but I might reconsider later on.

  • Back to Business [DELETED]
This is a pretty boring little update post. One thing that I can talk about a little is my friend Peter Orzell. As I've mentioned before, we're roommates and he composes all of the music in my games. Someday, I might become competent to make my own music, but for now it's up to him. If you want to hear more stuff that he's made, head over to his Soundcloud page.

  • Finished! [DELETED]
How odd. Another jam with almost nothing written down, even at the end. I always feel like I've written a ton, but that may not be the case. Again, this is a tiny post with little more than a link to the game, so I'm deleting it. A Wheelie Good Time may be the best jam game I've made so far. It feels the most complete, in my opinion.

In order to ensure that I got design work done on Chainsaw Deathrace, I decided to post about the design as I came up with it. It was a short-lived series, but I still like it. From a design perspective, I still really like Chainsaw Deathrace because it gives me an opportunity to come up with weird balances of good and bad. The characters are the most extreme part of this. Once in a while, I find myself thinking up of all kinds of crazy new ideas for it. For instance, I considered adding the ability to find new limbs which wouldn't correspond with what you'd lost. This could bring a whole new set of weird advantages/disadvantages.

I'm not entirely sure if I like this idea still. it's pretty cool, but I might rethink how I go about it later. It's tough to say.

Y'know, it's a shame that I couldn't keep up with the 2 sprites per month idea. normally, I make far more than that but just don't think to post any. Space Douchebag has 15 art assets alone, and I haven't even finished the first level! Also, a quick bit of head math tells me that I'm getting more views on average per month now than back when I wrote this, so that's pretty sweet!

What an overly dramatic title! Granted, I was not having a very good Christmas break on account of my lack of both work and drive. Anyways, nowadays I could fix a horrible OS-breaking issue like that in a couple of hours. It's amazing what running an unstable OS on your primary computer will teach you. I also mention trying out running Windows in a VM. What a splendid idea!

OK, maybe it wasn't a splendid idea. It seemed good at the time, I'd just forgotten about the whole 'Needing maximum resources for my Windows installs' sole purpose' thing. So yeah, don't run your gaming OS in a VM. That's just silly. Oh, and spoilers: I've reinstalled my OS countless times since that post. I'm just good enough at it now that it hardly loses me any time at all.

I've gotten pretty far now, but there's plenty more to go. I really like how these posts go perfectly to the end of the year. The next part is here.

4k Retrospective: Part 3

This is part 3 of a series where I reread all of my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.


As I mentioned in the last part, the posts I'm reviewing here are going to be about Chainsaw Deathrace. The only exception is the last one, which is a quick postmortem on my 0 Hour Game Jam entry. I figured it fit into the game jam theme, so I decided to add it in.



  • And so it Begins.../Chainsaw Deathrace Development Album/Complete [DELETED: Not enough content]
There is surprisingly very little to say about these specifically. They're all very short and any info that they have is available on the Games Page. It felt very weird deleting these, because game jams feel like a very important portion of the content on this blog. In reality, though, I really didn't write much for this one. Just because these are game jam posts doesn't exclude them from the rules.

Moving to another topic, Chainsaw Deathrace feels like one of my bigger successes. I got OpenGL working with AMAZE first, but it wasn't until Chainsaw Deathrace that I started to really feel comfortable about using it.

The 0 Hour Game Jam's hectic, but it's also quite fun! Provided I'm feeling up to it, I might give it another shot this year. I think that once my engine goes through a couple of iterations, I'll be able to throw together good games very quickly. Right now, though, it's way slower than what I was doing back them.

I figured I'd have more to say, but I guess not. The next part is over here.

9/25/13

4k Retrospective: Part 2

This is part 2 of a series where I reread all of my old posts and write about them. View part 1 here.

Let's continue where we left off:


This is a simple little design post explaining how I was planning to handle the RPG project's dynamic map loading system. When I revisit the project eventually, I'll be redesigning this a it. It should work fine in general, but there are a number of tweaks that I would make for this. This was the first post to have 'design illustrations,' and it won't be the last. They're not too frequent, but they help. I don't like these ones too much, though.

  • This Has Nothing to do With Blender [REMOVED - Way too light on content]
This is a really weird post. I guess it's a programming update, but beside the weird bit at the end it's only 2 lines long.

"Null pointers can be a real @#*&%&$^*#$(* to take care of sometimes" is probably the truest thing that old me ever said. Man, do memory errors suck. Thankfully, I now have debugging tools to make my life a bit easier in that regard. I think this is where I stopped working on the game in favour of improving the editor. I may have eventually gotten the whole 'infinite map' thing working, but it's hard to remember and I'm not really in the mood to search through my old code.

I don't remember the non-autotile floodfill being too painful, honestly. Floodfill isn't too bad as long as you've done it before. Anyway, this is the final numbered update for the RPG project. I'm still surprised that I started posting about the project so late in development.

  • The Schedule [DELETED: No longer relevant]
Well, here it is: The beginning of the end. Realizing that I never follow my schedule, but afraid to destroy it, I just make a note that I don't follow it. I also mention the ill-fated projects in progress page that I tried a while back.

This is a weird look into older me. I make a post about updates to Textyventure, and name it after the fact that I'm sick. Old me isn't kidding about the projects, though. Even now, I still have trouble keeping up with them sometimes. I also mention the possibility of making a blog for NSFW content. I haven't had to do it yet, but I've considered it. I have a certain line of what I consider to be ok for this blog, and Space Douchebag/Chainsaw Deathrace are both relatively close to it.
The "Not yet" bit is pretty cryptic sounding. I'm not too sure what old me meant by that, exactly. I have a couple of theories, but nothing definitive.

I think this is the final post about the RPG project. Interestingly, if I had to make that choice again, I'd choose the same languages but for different reasons. The biggest reason would be because I like low-level, non-managed languages and C++ fits the bill perfectly.

I finally delete that schedule. Man, that took a while! I also briefly mention Planets of the Plant, which you can read about in slightly more detail here. Essentially, it was my first school related game project. I think I'm on game 12 now with Space Douchebag.

Oh my, it seems that I actually did talk about the RPG once more. I thought I'd never said anything about the design doc until yesterday, but I guess I was wrong.
More importantly, this is the very first post about AMAZE! This is where it began: a Game Maker tutorial painstakingly(and poorly) recreated in C++. I love how optimistic I am about the schedule here. Now, I think I might finish it before the one year marker, but it's gonna be close. Still, I'm astonished again about how long I waited to post about this. It looks like I've got quite a bit of content, but this is the first mention of the project at all.

Read the next part here.