A brand new game
for Windows, Linux, Mac, HTML5, 3DS Homebrew and more
17th November, 2015
I spent most of yesterday working on a fairly decent game. I stripped the graphics from an old game I'd made, and reconstructed them all within Beta Collexion. Coding the game was also fairly easy to do, and within a couple of hours I had the game recreated within the new engine.
Sure, it's a repeat, but it's been a long long long time (2010) since I last played with this game, so that's ok!!
I'm now down to just 5 game left to do in the Beta Collexion.. A, U, X, Y and Z
Once those are done, I need to fix up Game-E because ... I don't know what's up with that! And then run through all the games and ensure they're obvious enough to be played well. (And work on OUYA!!)
Hopefully they're all good to go!
Not long to go, now. We're in the final week of coding this, and it should be uploaded and ready to play well before Dec 1st.
If you have any random game ideas that you might like to see in the Collection, pop them into my Mailbox and I'll see what I can do over the next few days!
16th November, 2015
Since the XP era, I've been using the Microsoft SyncToy tool to do all my backups, and for the most part it's been doing a damn good job of keeping everything duplicated, over the many different harddrives/NAS's that I've gradually destroyed through the years.
A few days ago, however, it started behaving very oddly, and I'm not really sure why.
I have a feeling that it's due to Monkey's use of Build folders, and the fact that each game I've written over the past 3 years has included about 5 or 6 copies of itself, due to all the different targets available.
And since these folders also include things like C++ and Android folder duplication stuff, there's a fuckton of duplications, and hundreds and thousands of teensy tiny teeny weeny files, all over the hard drive.
SyncToy was getting slower and slower, and slower, until a few days ago when it stopped doing it's job altogether.
I've since "hidden" all the .build folders, which means SyncToy now ignores those, and after a lot (a LOT) of shuffling files about, I finally got things back up and running the way they're supposed to.
Except, there were a few casualties along the way.
Unexpectedly, SyncToy decided that the OLDER versions of some files were better than the NEWER versions, and undid a number of things I'd done.
Which would usually not be an issue, except that I'm currently working away at BetaCollexion, and days worth of file-undoing amounts to literally numbers of games..
The code was still there, thankfully, but all the artwork for about 3 games was inexplicably gone. And I couldn't find it anywhere..
As a result, I spent about 3 hours yesterday, having to redraw a ton of sprites. Ugh..
I'm pretty sure I've reconstructed all the important stuff, but I'm going to have to have a proper playthrough to be sure.
I've said it before and I'll say it again.. Always backup.. And importantly, backup your backups, because.. shit happens..
After all that backup trouble, I decided to tackle something else, instead, and this was the result.
15th November, 2015
I tried 3 completely different games for "Q", over the course of yesterday, but nothing seemed to be any good.
Instead, I left Q for another day, and moved on to C, at which point a nice ball-rolling game appeared and seemed to work fairly nicely.
This is the second ball-rolling game in the bundle, but hopefully it's different enough to warrant it.
What's becoming a rather worrying trend, however, is that there seem to be a lot of "Move X object through Y random dungeon to find ... The exact same blue floppy disk!"
Floppy Disks appear to have become synonymous with "End of the level" within the Beta Collexion, and I'm not really sure why that's happened.
Oh well, never mind.
There are now only 7 games left to do (as well as that stupid E fixup), so hopefully I should have the complete Collexion ready by next week.
Meanwhile, yet another new Choon.. I seem to be in a musical zone, this week..
14th November, 2015
Another Advent game ticked off, and a whole bunch more to go.
I might try to spice yesterday's game up a bit more, before release, as it's a little bland the way it is.
Anyhoo, that got done, and then I spent a while playing with audio bugs on the PlayJam devices.
If you have an Android device and would like to play "I wonder what happens on MY Android device?" then you can grab the .apk here.
Download The Audio Test APK!
For some bizarre and curious reason, the PlayJam devices seem to freak out when the length of the audio file is too short.
Cases when the audio file might be too short. Menu Beep, Gunshot, Platdude's tappidytap running sound, Looping sound for music, and other various times.
Those occasions when all you need is a 700 byte "blip" and it's more than enough to fill the gap.
Bizarrely it seems that some Android devices get confused if the audio file has already finished playing before it's had a chance to register that it's started to play it.
Some Android devices will go "Oh, how strange" and carry on, whilst others will have a complete and total panic attack, and crash back to the system menu.
It's a very curious thing, and I'm starting to lengthen some of my generic sound effects as a result. "sfx/099.wav" is a particular bugbear as it's in ALL my 2013+ games, is only 766 bytes long, and goes "blip" when the games are first loaded, meaning that 99% of the time, my games insta-crash on the newer PlayJam device.
Anyway, if you want to test it on your device, grab the apk and select "Normal" mode.
You'll see up to 20 numbered blips, each blip getting progressively smaller, until either it finishes successfully, or it crashes.
If it DOES crash, let me know what your device is, and what number it reached before breaking.
Meanwhile, some choonage..
13th November, 2015
Over at Socoder.net, Rychan suggested that I should make a "Bumper Cars" sort of game, whereby you need to whack opponents off a grid.
Taking that as a starting point, I figured it was probably a good idea to finally tackle "Thwacking Balls" physics.
About an hour or so later, I had a fairly rudimentary ball-physics thing going on, and a nice simple little bumper-ish game going on.
"Rolly Balls" won't be unlocked until the 17th December, in the Beta Collexion, so look forward to playing with that.
It's not "perfect" ball physics, and it's far from the best game in the pack, but it's a nice start, and hopefully I can continue on that trend, and finally make that kick-ass pool/snooker game that I've been meaning to make for ages!!
Meanwhile, I also finished off that game I started on Wednesday, so I actually got 2 games finished off, yesterday. So that's nice.
I now have about 10 games left to do. 9 from scratch, and one fixup, because I'm not quite sure how it's broken, but one of the games doesn't seem to be behaving itself!!
Still, it's coming along nicely, and hopefully I should have it all done in time to get it submitted to PlayJam and available on the GameStick before Dec 1st. .. Or at least, that's the plan, anyway..
OUYA should be fine, and fast, but lately they've been too busy to get reviews done..
I'm aiming for approximately a week in advance, to give them both enough time.
12th November, 2015
Oh dear.. I only managed about half-a-game yesterday. It started off well, but as I needed more and more art assets, I kinda got lazy, drifted off, and then started playing Words With Friends instead of drawing sprites.
That's not helping the limited schedule, much.
Hopefully I can get the game finished, today, and maybe even move on to the next one.
Meanwhile, I also started to write a small program to scan through all my games, hunting for "Too Small" sound effects.
The FlarePlay (PlayJam's next system) seems to stumble and fail when you try to play a .wav file that's "too small".. It seems to be starting the sound effect, then going "Hey, why isn't it playing?", then crashing the game.
I'll need to write a test game to find the minimum filesize of a sound, which will manage to play successfully on the new PlayJam FlarePlay, and then trawl through my games replacing any sounds that are below the threshold with longer padded out versions of the sounds.
Shouldn't take too long, but I'm unsure how fast I can get such a large directory scanner working, and it's probably going to show up a LOT of files, since I tend to stick to small sounds and blips and beeps and things.
Guess I'll find out soon enough!!
11th November, 2015
After another hour or so of tweaking, I finally got Sheep Goes Right uploaded to both OUYA and PlayJam. Hopefully the game passes through without any issues, but I'm slightly worried that there might be memory based complications.
When I tested JNKBombers on my Razer Forge, I didn't spot any errors, but upon review, they send me a "Out of Memory" log, which suggested the Forge might not be all it's cracked up to be.
I suspect this to be a case of the system multitasking.
On OUYA, if you quit a game, it closes it, and DOES NOT Multitask.. This means, whatever amount of memory it has, gets used exclusively on the game at hand.
Android doesn't normally have such a feature enabled, meaning each and every task running gradually sucks up all the memory, until the whole thing starts to fail in places unintended.
My first few uploads to PlayJam were littered with such "issues", until I asked them "Do your devkits have Multitasking enabled", and they went "Oh yeah...."
So, whether Sheep gets a pass or not will probably be entirely down to multitasking. The game is rather large, what with all those lovely hi-res artsy assets all over the place.
The .apk is a whopping 14Mb, and pretty much all of that is loaded into memory during play, so it is trying to cram a lot in. (Although, to be fair, 14Mb isn't exactly an amazing amount of data!)
Meanwhile, I took some time out from all the coding, to make a new choon.
10th November, 2015
Making up for Lazy Sunday, Jay used "PowerCoder" ... It was Super Effective.
Two more games have been added to the Advent Calendar, and I even spent some time fiddling with this lovely little game.
Awww, ain't he cute!
I fixed up the framework to modern AGAW standards, fixing controller issues, tweaking audio files, and even adding a Quit button to the menu.
I took fresh screenshots and powered them through the icon generator to get loads of snazzy looking assets.
I also spent a good hour or so making 10 new levels.
I should probably add more than that, but I was getting sleepy after a very full day of coding.
Now, I'm off to upload the game to OUYA and PlayJam.
Wish me luck!
9th November, 2015
Folk who enjoyed Alpha Collexion after it's December "Advent" mode, might've noticed that the menu system randomly picks a different game each day.
I've been using this to pluck a random slot, to try to design a game.
Yesterday, it picked out "L", and I got the word Lemming stuck in my head.
I tried to come up with a way to make a randomly generated Lemming'ish level, but quite frankly, that's not something you can do in a day.
That game never happened, and yet curiously I couldn't shift the word Lemming from my head.
I got stuck on that, and didn't manage to escape.
In the end, getting nowhere, I opted to spend the day being lazy, and watching telly.
And then all night doing the same.
Stupid Lemming.. Broke my flow!!
Hopefully I can manage to code a game, today, or I'm going to be behind schedule.
8th November, 2015
Yesterday was spent much like the day before.
In the morning I fixed up and uploaded an OUYA game, and in the evening I created another Advent Calendar game.
The Advent Calendar's now up to 12 games, and hopefully I'll continue to do at least one game a day over the next few days, meaning I'm vaguely on schedule to get the whole thing done on time.
.. But these things never quite go to plan, do they!?
Oh well, fingers crossed!