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2nd August, 2015
I could've sworn I did SOMETHING, yesterday!
..but can I remember what?
I should probably jot these things down, as I go!
I know I had SpikeDislike3's source open for a bit, but then I also had BlastTrax's source open, too.
If I want to update BlastTrax, I first need to upgrade it's framework, and then add some music. hmmm.
Then I messed about with Arcade Slots. I do enjoy Arcade Slots, but other people still hate the "randomness" of it all. Weird..
So, yeah, I actually spent a lot of time peeking about through old projects, and not really managing to achieve much at all.
I think. .. Or maybe I did.
Lastly, a discussion on Twitter about JNKPlat, got me once again thinking about a new edition of that. It really is about time that Platdude took his rightful place, back in the world of JNKPlat, but I still can't quite fathom the touchscreen controls.
It's odd that, even after a good 5 years of trying to figure this out, I still haven't come up with anything decent.
Perhaps JNKPlat will live on in the world of PC and OUYAForge, but not in the land of Mobiles?
But that'd be a shame..
1st August, 2015
Last night, as I lay in bed, a silence suddenly enveloped the room.
It was unlike anything I'd heard in the past couple of weeks.
Total, complete and utter silence.
I sat up in bed, and looked around the room.
Was it a power cut? No..
Then why so little sound? What was missing!?
Seems that the new Western Digital NAS drive had finally (after about 2 weeks) finished cataloguing all the files I'd thrown onto it, and was happy with it's collection of thumbnails, enough to shut down the drive, cut off the fans, and actually have a rest.
It was eerie, suddenly being "clicky-clicky-clicky"less, after a good couple of weeks of hearing nothing but that stupid drive wizzing away.
Meanwhile, I started a new theme for SpikeDislike3.
This will be the retro-shooter theme.
I'm pretty sure there'll be some tweaks to come, the gameplay isn't even started, and the art style needs .. something else! But at least I know where it's heading, and it shouldn't be too hard to get there.
31st July, 2015
The next edition of SpikeDislike3 will come with 5 brand new themes, each with a unique playstyle.
In much the same way that SpikeDislike2 had it's Barry the Bee and Sheep Goes Right themes, this one will include a batch of themes that all mess about with the controls, and do things a little differently.
The first attempt is, of course, the classic "Chase the Train" mode, which you might remember from the Mastertronic 8-bit classic Kane. (Gameplay video from ChinnyVision)
Having spent most of a day trying to animate a horse, I cobbled together the rest of the stuff over the past couple of days, and now it's all looking a little more complete.
The new theme will be available in the next SpikeDislike3 Update, which should hopefully be ready to go by mid-August'ish.
30th July, 2015
Yesterday's blog was about an upgrade, and that's pretty much what today's is, too!
Everything is very very very very very very very very white.
Even window titlebars are white. It's like someone figured out that White Emulsion is cheapest in bulk, so bought enough to cover the planet.
It's THAT white!
In fact, there's too much white, and the amount of white with light-grey is really hurting my eyes.
I'm having to squint to see details in a screen that's only as far away as my lap!
That shouldn't ever be the case.
At one point I thought "I wonder if switching on High Contrast mode might help", which resulted in the desktop being white, the icons being mostly light, and the font for the icons being white... You can see where this is going..
How is THAT helping!?!?
Other than the whitewashing of my screen, Windows 10 doesn't appear to have too many flaws to speak of.
The chaos of Control Panel hasn't been dumbed down. With Win8/8.1 it became a bit of a mess, spreading various control settings between Desktop and Metro panels. In Win10, that's not changed, except the settings now appear in different Desktop windows, just to confuse you further.
The Start Menu is back, and as nice as that is, it's left me with keyboard-based habits that no longer work.. Previously to open PaintShop Pro, I'd hit Start, Down, Right, Enter. That would select the correct icon, and open it.
If I do that now, I instead highlight a little box at the top of the Start menu, which apparently I can rename. It doesn't appear to have ANY function, whatsoever.
The upgrade went smoothly. It automagically copied all my settings across, transferred all my software, and my entire dev-kit seems to have made the transition without any obvious issues, which is nice given that it relies on both Java and MinGW to compile for the various targets.
Of course, I was coming from Win8.1, so if you've been clinging on to Win7 this whole time, you might find that there are more quirks in the transition.
Overall the system seems to be coping admirably, although .. I'm not sure if it's as fast as it was with 8.1.. But it might be a case of the system settling into it's new groove. You know how windows can be!! I'll give it a few days before I decide if it's as fast or not.
Now, back to coding!
29th July, 2015
Annoyingly, not the upgrade I was looking for.
Yesterday, for some bizarre and unexplainable reason, PaintShop Pro 7 suddenly broke.
I'm not sure why it did, and I spent a good hour or so trying to figure it out, including a complete delete and reinstall, only to find the same issue.
It's weird, and I'd never seen it ask for a "User Directory" before, but no matter what directory I told it to try, it failed, failed and failed again.
I bought PSP7 in a Game store, way way way way back whilst still in College.
It's lasted over a decade, has been installed on multiple systems along the way, and has been my sole art tool throughout literally hundreds of games.
And now it no longer works, and I really have no idea why.
So, yesterday, I switched to GIMP..
I struggled with it for a while, and learned a few new keyboard shortcuts.
Then I hit Save
Then it said "What?! Are you CRAZY!? I can't save as a .png! You have to EXPORT if you want to do that!!!"
And then I shouted at GIMP.
And then I uninstalled GIMP.
Which left me with little/no choice.
I downloaded the demo for the newest PaintShopPro, which ironically is PSPX7, exactly 10 versions greater than the version I've been using for over a decade.
I installed it, and found that although it was mildly different, it was also pretty much exactly the bloody same.
The text dialogue box is missing, so that'll take some getting used to.
The colour scheme needed changing quick-fast, before the white-on-black tore my eyes out.
And I had to toggle a few switches to get it to act more like the 10-version-older edition.
But for the most part, PSPX7 isn't really all that different to PSP7, and if I'm honest, I can't tell what improvements, if any, have been added into the thing over the course of an entire decade.
.. If anything, it seems slower and sluggish. But, hey, that's bloatware for you :
I've paid my dues, and now own PSPX7, and it only took me about 15 years to upgrade.
I hope you're happy, Coral!!!
RIP : Jasc Software
28th July, 2015
Yesterday was a day of failed attempts.
I figured it'd be nice to have my Daily Platdude Pixelarts as some form of Pebble Watch, so I tried compressing over 200 pixelarts into something that the little watch could handle.
I'd rather not have it constantly trying to grab images from the server, so the best bet would be to somehow compress all those pictures down to something small enough to fit into the (I think) 100kb of space available.
I tried a number of attempts, but eventually opted to give up. Compilation wasn't even working, when I had so many graphical elements in there.
A day's coding, wasted.
I could potentially do it in groups of 100, but that defeats the point, IMO.
Aw well, never mind.
I did at least make a new AL Choon, yesterday, so that's something!
27th July, 2015
Drawing silly pixelart characters is one thing.
Having to animate a horse!? That's a whole other thing!!!
Over the past week, I've animated a cat, a dog, and now a horse, too.
I'll admit that, having animated the horse and got it into the engine, I then closed the laptop and opted to play games for most of the rest of the day, instead.
Animating really takes it out of you, even if it was only 6 entire frames of animation!! I just don't have the stamina for animating. It wears me out.
Not a bad horse, though, even if I do say so myself.
26th July, 2015
Longest Backup.. EVER!!
Finally, SyncToy has reached a point where it's no longer stumbling across oodles of random files that it somehow managed to miss on the previous 80-or-so passes.
My Backup is now 100% Complete, and I did indeed create a BlitzMax utility to similarly scan the two drives, to ensure they were "mostly" identical.
The filelist is duplicated, and file sizes are the same, so I'm going to assume that SyncToy managed to duplicate the files properly, and not just make blank files that happened to be the correct size!!!
The only files missing are desktop.ini and Thumbs.db
For some reason, even though SyncToy has been told to sync EVERYTHING, it's just plain bloody well ignoring those.
So with the backup finally complete, it's time to jump back into the Dev folder and start updating things.
First thing's first, the Android edition of SpikeDislike3.
I really should've released it about a week ago, but with all the crazy Backup stuff going on, I didn't want to confuse the system any more than it already was.
Suffice to say, if you have an Android system, you'll now find 200 levels in your version of SpikeDislike3 (or if not, you might want to poke it and prod it, until GooglePlay decides to update it for you!)
Meanwhile, last night I started to draw a horse.
I suck at drawing!!
.. Animating is a whole other issue!!!
25th July, 2015
Not a very productive day, yesterday, if I'm honest.
I continued to play about with that Lester&Ralph theme, but I'm hitting the same roadblock as the last time, with the Sheep Goes Right theme, in that the characters run at the same constant speed so the entire point of the Combo system is completely ruined.
I'm not sure what I can add to mix it up, and am desperately playing with all manner of elements to see if I can find that one little thing that suddenly makes sense.
The backup's continuing, STILL..
I keep restarting the backup each morning, and it's gradually getting quicker at doing it. I figure that, since each morning, I already have a routine of Pixelart and Blogging, that adding "And run SyncToy in the background" would make for a nice addition.
Unfortunately, on the fourth attempt, although most of the files and folders are now backed up in a moderately decent manner, it's still complaining about "3 files".. and it isn't telling me which 3 files those are.
I might have to do my usual trick of creating a small Blitz program to do the job.. That usually works better than most of the overly-complicated methods of doing things.
Still, onward and upward.. The backup's more-or-less finalised, so I should be able to get back to some kind of normality in my devkit.
I'll try my best to get the Android edition of SpikeDislike3 updated over the next day or so, with the 5 new themes and any other background tweaks that might've happened in the interim..
.. and hopefully all this SyncToy gubbins hasn't unexpectedly "backed up" an older version, or I'll be kicking and screaming for most of the day!
I'm in a bit of a rush, now, because I know that at any moment, Windows 10 is going to turn up, and it'll probably bugger up my entire sodding dev-kit again!
24th July, 2015
First, I'd like to apologise for one of the new themes.
It seems that in my rush to get the game out, I neglected to realise how much blank space was left in one of the sprites.
What appears to be unfair collision is in fact "empty space on the upper right of the sprite".
I redrew this little fella at the very last minute (He was a bit more .. shall we say.. Mouse-like before!)
In my haste, I neglected the upper right of his sprite, and left it a little bit "too" empty. As a result, the game looks like it's being really git-ish in it's collision detections.
I'll fix this for the next update, either by reducing his collision detection, or moving his arm up a bit!!
Rest assured, the game isn't being unfair, it's just that I can't draw!!!
I spent a bit of time playing with the new OUYA themes, yesterday, but so far only one is looking half-decent. I might, instead, head back to the iOS edition and make a start on the new themes there, instead.
For the next 5 themes on iOS, I'm aiming to do something entirely different. Much like the Sheep Goes Right and Barry The Bee themes in SpikeDislike2, I'll be rejigging the controls and gameplay to give a totally different experience.
Hopefully I can come up with a couple more ideas, or we'll end up going back to a bouncing ball again!
Oh, and if you're wondering why the Android edition hasn't been updated yet.. I'm still waiting for that damn Backup to finish!!
Once it's all done, I'll get the Android edition all tweaked and fixed and updated. Should be soon.
Meanwhile, last night I played some Pan Flutes, and it didn't turn out horribly awful!