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AGameAWeek 2008-2009 : Part Four
6th August, 2009
The AGameAWeek 2008-2009 RetrospectivePart One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five
10 weeks, 3 DS games, 8 PC games, 3 Cookie games, and some PHP!
Week Thirty Three - Blockman Forever - Link
Still in Retro Collection mode, by this point I was trying to come up with fresh ideas to go inside the DS collection. I'd just finished putting the original Blockman game onto the DS, and found myself playing with it's sprites.-=-=-
I decided that I might as well use the same sprites twice, since I was trying to make the overall filesize of the game as small as I could. What better way to reuse Pacman like sprites than to make an actual Pacman game.
Keeping in line with the Harder=Better way of doing things, lately, I gave the player only one life, but made them run around a gigantic maze. A simple way of doing things, but fun enough that you could play it over and over without it getting too repetitive too quickly.
I released the windows version, and simultaneously built up the DS one. The two worked great, and the windows one seemed strangely popular, considering it was just Pacman!
Week Thirty Four - Platfire 2 - Link
Another DS and Windows game. This time I grabbed the sprites from my old Platfire game, from about 3 years earlier, and used them to create a brand new shoot-em-up.
The enemy flew in thick and fast, lining up to fill quite a large amount of the screen. Earlier ships fired often, whilst later ones shot much more. A game of extreme difficulty, but with one serious flaw.
As realised by a couple of players, there's a sweet spot you can sit your player at, over on the left hand side of the screen, where no enemy ever fires. Using that, you can pretty much just sit your player down, hold the fire button down with a glass or something, and then wander off letting it rack up the points.
I fixed the flaw in the DS version, but never bothered with the Windows one. As with Sokoban, Blockman, and Blockman Forever though, the DS version of this game sat on my harddrive, safe and sound, where I since forgot about it. The project, from this point on, was doomed to failure. I spent much more time playing about with my phone, and the project was ignored as a result. Perhaps some day I'll come back to this, and add a little more... .. Maybe!
Week Thirty Five - WormBlast - Link
Over at Socoder.net, people were wondering how it was I threw out games at such an impressive speed, so I opened up a video capture program and sat down, ready to create a brand new game.
Within the space of about 3 hours, I managed to create a complete game, jumping from Paintshop Pro to Blitz and back, over and over. The captured video was timelapsed so as to fit into YouTube rules, and posted there for folk to watch. Meanwhile, I tightened up the game over the next day or so, and finally posted it for everyone to play.
The end result is something a little crazy, and it got a few complaints for having sped along a bit too quickly. If I wasn't worried about YouTube rules, I probably wouldn't have timelapsed it so heavily, but then I'd have ended up with 3 hours of text being written to a screen.. And, I honestly don't think anyone wants to watch that!
Week Thirty Six - PipeRats - Link
This week, I went back to phone ideas. With only tapping available I tried my best to come up with some kind of new puzzle game. I ended up with rats in a maze.
You would tap the pipes to spin them around, and then tap the mice to get them to run around. Unfortunately, once I tried to write the game, I found it was much more difficult to move the mice than I'd thought. As soon as a mouse hole had more than one exit, there seemed to be no obvious way to move them, other than to drag in the direction they should go.
Still, the phone was at least vaguely draggable, so I carried on regardless. After a couple of days work, I ended up with a nice little maze game that plays quite nicely.
It was then that I realised that a puzzle game needs proper levels, and since I'm rushing a little, I probably wouldn't ever have time to build a solid collection of levels. I'd liked to have done more, and I probably would've finished the phone one, but with the Windows edition lacking a decent collection of levels, the phone version sat and rotted away on the Hard Drive, completely unused. A shame..
Week Thirty Seven - No Game, Sadface
Jumping around between four different project, languages, and systems (php, too!) was taking it's toll on my game making. This week I spent a lot of time working on Socoder's framework, and it didn't leave a lot of other coding time.
Additionally, the new 3-part episode of Red Dwarf had been on over the weekend, and I'd spent most of the weekend watching my DVD's in some sort of crazy marathon. whoops!!
Still, you have to take some time off, somewhere, and this week was just one of those weeks. No game this week.
Week Thirty Eight - H~S~R : Horizontal Shooter Redux - Link
Without the annoying buffer issues of BlitzMax, I decided to retry things in Blitz3D. I took a few days to play around with various buffer techniques, trying to find the quickest and most exciting blurring effect for the background. In the end, I opted to give the player the choice between four different blurry styles.
Meanwhile, starting the game from scratch, again, meant I had time to fix up a few problems from the last version. This time, the enemy had much better AI, and were a lot better at targeting things. The player's ship had a better tail on it, without the crazy math-based issues of the last one, and the "Life ships".. well, they continued to just hover around for no real reason.
There's still a few things missing from this edition, though. The little scouter ships aren't in, even though I actually started to code them right at the start of the project. Also, I've still not really got around to making proper Boss levels for the game, which is slightly ironic given that the original game was coded for a "Horizontal Shooter with Boss" competition!
Maybe some day I'll try it all again, and finally add some bosses to it!
Week Thirty Nine - Emergency Quicky Game - Link
Back to the phone again! After the failure of Flinging Ships, I decided to try the basic idea again. This time there'd be a circle in the arena, and you would tap the screen/mouse to push the surrounding paper towards the hole. If you get all the paper inside the circle, you'd win the level.
To be fair, it's not much of a game. Once the Windows version was done, it was obvious that it needed an awful lot of tweaking to be any fun at all.
The phone edition stood by the sidelines, waiting for a better idea, whilst the Windows version was released for all to complain about!
Week Forty - First batch of Phone games - Link
I'd been working away at the Java stuff for a couple of weeks, now, and decided to release the first batch of games. First off was Hangman, which isn't really that complicated a game. However, I had managed to create a neat little reusable qwerty keyboard that sits at the bottom of the screen. It did it's job, and the game seemed to be fairly well received, especially since it let two players play on the same phone, against each other..
Slots is a simple slot machine, which just span around, and either won or didn't. It's nothing as fancy as my Arcade Slots for the DS, but it did allow me to test the sprite drawing functions of the phone. As it turned out, the sprite drawing functions of the phone are a bit rubbish. Dang!
And then there was Tension Sheet. Still in a Red Dwarf mood, from the other week, I named the simple Bubble Wrap game after the red stuff from Dwarf. Nothing much to see here, it's just Bubble Wrap!
Week Forty One - Splat 2000 - Link
This week, a remake of a classic from the Amstrad CPC! The 200th Wednesday Workshop asked us to create a game using no more than a 100x20 character grid. This was rather difficult, but I did manage to squeeze in a decent remake of Splat.
Since the game was still fun to play, I opted to build it up a bit, and release it as my AGameAWeek. Adding better sprites, and a slightly better control scheme, the game turned out.. well, about the same, but better looking!
Moral of the story : Sometimes 2000 characters is actually enough! You don't need to over think things. Keep it Simple.
Week Forty Two - Counters Strike - Link
A nice name for this week's game. A grid of playing pieces on a regular chequered board. The aim is to get a single playing piece to the opposite side of the board. Each piece can move horizontally or vertically, but must then remain in that position for a certain number of moves, dependant on the colour of the square it landed on.
I actually really liked this game. I can imagine that, with a little practice, a great amount of strategy can come out of it. But strategy is one thing, and trying to build an AI that can play it is quite another!
Without a decent AI player, this game was destined to suck, and suck it did. It also didn't help that when I later went on to create a Phone version of the game, the dragging inabilities of the phone really messed up the playability of the game.
In all, this is a really great game, but without a whole batch of extras, it just turned out to be a big horrible sucky mess.
The AGameAWeek 2008-2009 RetrospectivePart One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five