4 Hugues Ross Writes a Devlog: 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014
Hugues Ross

1/23/14

AMAZE demo 2 released!

Click here for a list of updates and changes.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my last post, I will temporarily pause Windows support for at least a month. Still, if you have Linux you can check out the newest demo on the Games Page as always. Currently you need Allegro 5 installed to run it, but I plan on seeing if I can simplify the process a bit. I'll probably hold off on that until I start fixing the Windows releases though.

With that done, it's time to work on the next level set! My current aim is to have 50 levels done in time for the Green Mountain Games Fest, where I'll be presenting AMAZE. I don't think I'll hit that target, but I can probably pull off 30-40 without too much trouble. We'll see.

Finally, this weekend is the Global Game Jam again! As much as I want to do it again, I think I'll do another progress jam like last time, since I've still got this deadline looming.

1/22/14

Update: Assorted Bad News

I've never really been great about keeping to posting schedules. The most recent one has been active for quite a while, and has probably met with the most success out of all of them, but recently I've been finding myself regularly posting late, or missing posts altogether. The biggest source of posting frustration, I think, is Games I Play. I like the concept, and it feels good when I'm done, but these posts take a lot of time and effort on my part to make. Oftentimes I'll play a game, then never make a post because I'm busy or just don't feel like it.
It is for this reason that I am demoting Games I Play to Optional status, like my ever-elusive art posts. To be honest, it makes me a bit sad. I never seem to make optional posts nowadays, and this almost feels like a death sentence for the series. However, It's just been too much, and this is better than leaving it up and not doing it anyway.

That isn't all of the bad news I have in store, though. I've decided to temporarily stop producing AMAZE demos for Windows. During more inclusive tests of AMAZE for demo 2, I've found that the computers that won't run AMAZE seem to be much more common than I originally thought. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the majority of Windows machines don't run it correctly. Of course, I care very much about fixing this issue. However, I will be presenting the game in just about a month, and I need to get as much done as I can. Following that, I will be taking a break from hardcore AMAZE development in order to relax and work on a few smaller personal projects a bit.
During that time, I'll also spend some time taking the engine apart and trying to figure out what's breaking it on Windows. If I can fix this, then I'll resume the Windows builds then and get back to work. If not..... I'm not sure where I'll go from there. I may have to put off Windows builds until the next game, and I'd hate to do something like that. Only time will tell on this one.

Let's end with some good news, now. I plan to release the next(Linux) demo of AMAZE either tomorrow or Friday! This will mostly depend on workload, since my Thursdays can be a bit hectic.

1/19/14

AMAZE - 15 - Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

First off, let me apologize for the seriously late post. I wanted to finish the second demo before posting, and that took longer than I'd hoped. It's done, though. I've still got to compile and test this release for Windows, but then I can release it.

Now, it's a bit early but here's what you can expect out of this new demo:

  1. Zone 1 now joins the tutorial, bringing the level count up to 15.
  2. 2 new game additions! The drill can break through large rocks, and some new spikes pop in and out of the floor.
  3. A number of bug fixes, and a whole slew of new bugs to go with them!
  4. Automatic saving and loading, letting you exit whenever you want.
  5. Respawn points make running out of lives slightly less of a chore. If you run out of lives outside of the tutorial, you just get taken back to the hub. You'll lose your progress in the zone, however.
  6. Sound support, with sound effects for dropping blocks and spike traps.
  7. An improved font for the score.


That looks like a pretty good list. I may go back and change levels from time to time, as I add new stuff. For now, though, they're fine as they are. Remember when this comes out, though: this demo represents the game in an extremely early and unfinished state. There will be plenty of bugs and annoyances, and the game will still be rather short.

I'm quite busy with schoolwork, but I'll hopefully get the demo out in a few days time.

1/13/14

Sorry about this!

There will be no post today, and there may be no Friday post either. I've become sick again, and frankly, I feel like s&#%. I've been in no mood for playing games, and I've been making very little progress on AMAZE. I will post the next development post when Zone 1 is complete, and link the new demo then. It might have to be next week if I don't start feeling better soon. If I do, I only have to make 8 more levels, and a few assets.
We'll see how it goes.....

1/11/14

AMAZE - 14 - Speedy

Sorry about the late post. Yesterday I had a meeting for my Game Production team, followed by a very long Dungeons and Dragons session, ultimately keeping me up until ~1:00 AM. Thankfully, I bring good news.
I've been coding up a storm this week, and I've not only met all of my week 2 targets but I nabbed some of the week 3 ones as well!

The biggest update is the save system. It's quite simple: The game quietly autosaves every time you beat a level, so you can just quit whenever you want without worrying about losing progress. Note that I've seen to it that you can't cheat by just reloading when you die a couple times. Anyway, once a couple simple bugs are worked out I'll be done with it. After that, I'd say the revamp of the engine's scripting would be next biggest. While most users won't notice a difference, this makes developing levels a bit less of a headache. While I was at it, I made a new font for the score too.

What's left for this week is mostly level building. I also need to make a new tileset for the first real zone of the game, which will probably be released in the next demo within a week or two. I'm also not perfectly happy with how certain things work right now, but changing them would be a massive timesink.



Lastly, here's an important announcement:
So far, AMAZE has only been shown off to my friends and colleagues, not counting this blog. However, as the marathon approaches completion, I have signed up to show off AMAZE to the wider public on February 22nd as part of an event run by one of my college's game development groups. I'm quite excited, but also worried. I don't think I'll be done by then, so I need to get as many zones completed as possible in the coming weeks. Assuming I make good time, I can probably get 4-6 zones done in time for this. After that, I hope to finish up by the end of the semester. However, I may spend another month or two after finishing up. Either way, I already know what game I'll be making next, though I won't tell anyone until the time is right..... Let's just say there will be explosions.

1/8/14

Semester 4, Day 2

Today I only had a single class, so I decided to reinstall my OS in hopes of making things a tad more stable. So far, so good. The only real downside is that I've lost a couple days worth of development time, which is a real shame.

Anyways, I had 1 new class today:

Democracies

As if it wasn't obvious enough, this class is about democracies! The course seems to be a general at the inner working of democracies, the pros and cons of the system, and so on. We haven't done much at this point, so I can't really say if it'll be good or bad. The teacher seems pretty cool, and I enjoyed the first class, so I think it'll be pretty fun.


P.s: I'm a bit behind schedule on AMAZE work. I've added a bit more, and I'm now aware of some of the issues with the current demo. With any luck, though, I'll manage to finish things up before Friday.

1/6/14

Semester 4, Day 1

In the stead of my usual Monday post, I'm going to write a few posts about life. As of yesterday, I'm back at Champlain with a brand new set of classes, so I think it'll be nice just to write about them instead of the usual stuff. In addition, I'm planning on making a fresh install of my current OS, just to make things a bit cleaner. This makes it a bit of a pain to write a normal game post when I'm busy making backups and figuring out exactly what to reinstall once the dust settles.

Back to the topic at hand, today was the first day of classes. I had the pleasure of acquainting myself with 3 new classes:


Game Architecture

I'd really been looking forward to this one. The general point of the class is to build your own game engine, and it focuses on using C++ and Allegro. Sound familiar? In other words, this class is right up my alley. So far, it seems to be living up to expectations. The only thing I'm not too excited about is needing to include a Visual Studio project file for assignments. However, we're allowed to just create this at the end, as long as the code still works. Sounds like a decent answer.


Heroines and Heroes

This seems like an interesting class. The class centers on various works of fiction, particularly those involving heroic characters, and how they are shaped by the context of the society that creates them and human nature. One of the required books is by Neil Gaiman, an author that I like quite a bit, so that's another nice bonus.


Game Production I

This class is pretty similar to 1st year's Game History and Development. Basically, the point is to work with your peers to develop games as a team, rather than as individuals. I was initially put off by the fact that we're more or less required to use Flash for our games, but it doesn't seem like it'll be too bad. Overall, the class seems to give quite a bit of freedom and the experience is important, so it may not be as bad as expected. In addition, my teammates should be fairly experienced by now so I won't be stuck making everything like last time. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, although I can't say for sure if I'll enjoy it yet.

1/3/14

AMAZE - 13 - Demo 1!

Wow. It's finally happened. After months of toil, the very first demo of AMAZE is complete and available. When I first started this project, I never could have imagined the kind of time and effort it would take to get even this far. But still, I digress; the demo is finished. Now, before you go download this demo and find it rather lacking, I should remind you of what exactly it contains.

What the demo has:

  1. The tutorial, with 5 short levels to introduce basic mechanics.
  2. A locked-down hub, where future areas will be accessed.
  3. Windows AND Linux support (Finally!)
  4. A number of very basic puzzle mechanics, like pushing blocks around and unlocking doors.


What the demo does not have:

  1. A finished game.
  2. A game anywhere near completion
  3. More than 6 screens
  4. A decent title screen(you'll understand if you play the demo)
  5. Decent fonts(It's still my cringeworthy slapdash 'I need a font right now' font)
  6. Any sound or music, although the next one will probably have some



As you can see, there is yet work to be done. Normally, I would dream of releasing something in this state. However, I promised to release a demo upon completing any area, and the basic tutorial area is done. If you want a demo with even a little bit of polish, or perhaps more than a couple minutes of gameplay, you should probably skip the first few demos. I you want to see exactly what's been done since the start of the project, give it a look. Just be aware that much of this project's work has been the behind the scenes action, so the playable result looks like something I could whip up in a single day. Anyways, I've put it up on the games page as usual, so feel free to grab it if you'd like!