How to load an old level…

In the old game you could create levels simply by making little 64×64 pixel .png images. The game would load them as it found them, and convert them to levels on the fly.
This was handy, but it didn’t let you control all the possibilities of spawning, weapon types, and things like that..
This new one does!

But what if you really liked your old levels?

It’s an extremely complicated procedure, so I’ve put together this step by step guide to help folk import their old levels into the new game.

There’s always something…

Now I remember why the original Alien Deathmatch did this, too!
If I check a directory for files (level directory!) to compile my list of levels, and then add a level in there (Downloaded) and then recheck the directory to make a new list of levels, Blitz has managed to keep a cache of the directory, and so refuses to show up any new ones.
The only option is to close the game, and reload.

*sigh*

I’ll have to create my own list of files, and update it as I go..

Still, the upload and download is now working!
I can make a level in the editor, play it in the editor, save it, then the next time I update my highscores, up it goes!!
Everything looks nice and secure, too so I think I’m ready for a release come Tuesday.
Meanwhile, though, I’ve plenty of bugs to tweak, and I have some sounds that I forgot to add (The enemy spawn for one!!) Silly me..
A few more days to go, and you can all be playing a proper version!
Luvly stuff!!

Progress!


That there’s the first official online highscore!
\o/ YEAY! \o/

But, boo that I had to manually copy and paste bits of text to get the level into the database in the first place!!
I’m now working on getting the whole upload/download thing working again. Shouldn’t take too long, but I think I’ll have to discard the whole “Bag” idea.
As much fun as it is to have a constant supply of new levels, it means you won’t be able to design a level, give a copy to your mate, and then both play that level to beat each other’s highscores.. (because, the level being in the bag would mean it’s not keeping a highscore table.)
The other option, then, is to upload all the levels into the big-ass table, and then randomly pick levels each day. Have a record of the last 5 random levels, and download those downloaded and pointed out to the player, in order that there’s a nice list of highlighted levels on display.
Not too sure how well that’ll work out, though.
I might need to keep further track of picked levels, so that it doesn’t repeat until it absolutely needs to…

*sigh*
Plenty more work to be done!!!

Another day without a Deathmatch!

I’m not ignoring it!!!

I woke up late, today, and time seemed to slip away fairly rapidly.. I spent about an hour browsing online shops, buying a cheap copy of Sonic Unleashed for only £20 (Gamestation) and an el’cheapo Digital Photoframe (£30 Aria.co.uk), and then surprisingly it was time to settle down, eat, and then go to work.

Where my time went, I don’t know!!

Still, I did post the demo yesterday, so that’s ok.

Meanwhile I think I’ve figured out what my NEXT larger project will be.
I sat for about 10 mins today, and drew up a nice sprite for a remake of the Amstrad/Commodore/Spectrum classic “Turbo the Tortoise”


(New on the left, original on the right, ? to symbolise “I should probably redo this!!”)

I’m not 100% sure if that’ll be the game that I do next, but if it is, Turbo would probably be a wee bit chunkier to fit his older sprite better. …
Well, it’s an idea, anyway.
Either that or I do JNKPlat 09, but it feels a bit too soon to be doing that.
?

A Really Rubbish Darts Game!

I didn’t get time to fix this up properly last night, or this morning, either.. Blame Alien Deathmatch!

So, this week’s game is exactly as it was yesterday, when posted over at Socoder.
Wednesday Workshop #180 asked us to create a Darts game, so here’s a quickly made one.

A target is written on the scoreboard, and with your three darts, you have to try to get as close to that target as you can.

Nice and simple.

But not very good!

Aw well..

You can download it here if you can be bothered!
..
Otherwise, you can download this demo of Alien Deathmatch 2 instead..

AGameAWeek.com and DSBrew

Folk who previously visited my DSBrew site will now find themselves plonked into this site.
This is AGameAWeek, and here I write a game a week! Just as it says!

I opened up my own little DSBrew site a while back, and started cataloguing DS games, but soon realised that keeping a DS Homebrew catalogue + writing a game a week didn’t really work that well together, so DSBrew got left behind.

Up until today I’ve left it be, rotting away in an unused corner of the internet..
But.. There have been 4 new members join the site in the past couple of days!
It’s a bit weird, considering no-one’s joined there in the past 3 or 4 months.. The total is now 14!

Very bizarre..
And, really, I’m not sure if they’re spambots or not.

I’m not taking the chance of spambots infecting my otherwise clean server, so.. Off it goes.
DSBrew’s now an officially dead website. What was is no more..

For the regulars, normal Alien Deathmatch blog stuff is inside..

Read More

The other half…

Today I started on the online highscore stuff.
Having sat playing AD2 for a while, again, last night, I figured I’d better get a move on and finish the basics off.

So, into the database we go, and I’ve set up the tables. I implimented the basic checksums to ensure each level is unique enough to qualify, and I additionally added a secondary “Bag” table, that can hold new levels until they’re ready to be downloadable. Always something new, ready and raring to be sent!

Next up, work on the script that handles it all. Should be fun!!

I might also add some kind of web-based system, too, so you can check out the online highscores from your browser. Although I’m not too sure how that’d work, what with there being an unlimited number of levels, and all!!

For reference, this is the previous game’s Online Highscore thing. It’s not all that fancy, but it’s good for checking out the latest scores!
Might be fun to turn that into an RSS feed this time..
Hmmm….

The little things…

Today I did a few fiddly little menu based things..

Things like…
1. The menu->Level switch now plays the “Beeeoooo-weeeee!” sound as the level starts.
2. There’s a progress bar whenever a level is being rendered. (‘cos it takes a teensy bit longer than it should! 160×160 tiles over a 5120×5120 pixel area!!)
3. When you die, you now go splatter, as opposed to the game just stopping, and unceremoniously dumping you back at the menu again.
4. The screen fades to red, then black when you die, and then waits for your name if you’ve got a local highscore..

All those things should be expected, but weren’t in the game until this morning.
But now they are, so the game’s a little closer.

I’ve also been tweaking some other ingame things..

Things like..
1. I was still not sure about the AI, but a bit more tweaking this morning left me a little less alive, more often!
2. The Green and Red splodge weapon was never that great, so instead of being a slow moving blob of blobs, it’s now a slow moving blob of Kabloowee… It leaves the same blast wave as the little red bombas do, making it a much more powerful weapon.
3. Upping the power of the Blue Swirly Laser thing because once you got up to the really tough alien, it was hardly doing anything.. And what’s the point of a “Super” weapon if it’s not doing anything?
4. FINALLY getting rid of that silly mousepointer, ingame, and replacing it with the crosshair.

Meanwhile, I’ve still not added any online components, whatsoever, but I am at least considering some nice new elements for the game itself, which should be easily doable. 😀

A level, selectable..

It’s getting there! Slowly but surely.
I got the levels to doodle themselves, and everything swooshes around quite nicely (if a little blocky!)
I’ve had to implement a menu buffer image to keep the speed up (even if it is still a teensy bit slow) but everything’s looking good for the menu.
At this point, I’ll probably have a “Hold mouse over X object” thing to reveal the scoreboards, or something, because I’m not entirely sure that it’ll all fit in the space available.
Still, it’s nice to have a menu system, and with that, a working editor, and some nice saving and loading, this game’s starting to look more and more like a complete game every day.

Shouldn’t be too long, now!!

.. Now to add the 17,000 possible control schemes that were in the last one..

Uhoh!! I see rewrites ahead!!

A Menu progressing….

The main menu of AD2 is still pretty much a blank screen! Albeit a red blank screen, with a couple of white rectangles sliding into place..

So is the addiction of the game at this point, that it’s quite easy to click the mouse, and accidentally play for 20-minutes.. whoops!

I have managed to tweak a few ingame things, though. And the Menu -> Game -> Menu transitions are more or less working, except for one small thing.
I’m not sure how to fade in a level, at this point.
The last game started off with the small image of the map, it scrolled to the center of the screen, and then zoomed in to become the real map.
This time, that can’t happen.
Unfortunately, the switch from 3D background to 2D background has killed that nice little effect, so I’m going to have to come up with something nice, and fluffy, in a vein attempt to beat it..
I’m not sure what that is, though!

Last time in the main menu, you had lots of little maps to flick through. This helped you choose which map to play at a glance. Unfortunately, this time, that probably isn’t going to work, since each map can be 160×160 pixels.. Unless of course, I only show a couple of maps onscreen at once.. Which I’d rather not end up doing..
I’m currently considering an on-the-fly map doodler.
The player clicks a level name on the left, the previous map slides out, and the new map slides in..

This way, not only do I limit how much is onscreen at once, but I can also redraw over the same map image, over and over again.. That’s SO much easier to do, since we’re not holding every single map in memory, all the time!!! (yikes!)

Also, I’m thinking that I might leave the map in memory.. I haven’t added any real changes to the level at this point.. So, a level layout is always the same, even if you splatter it with blood!
What this means is, if you start the same level again, I can quickly get it going without then having to sit and re-render the whole map each and every time.
Obviously, picking a different map will require the re-render, but I’ll probably be able to do that during the map doodler thing, and keep everything up to speed..
Maybe!
Either way, it’ll mean you can restart the same level quicker this time, which is always handy.

Now, less of the typing.. time to get back to that menu.. again!

(Oh, and the editor now loads and saves without any issues.. I’ve been playing 3 or 4 different levels 😀 )