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Blog
  27th December, 2008
*sigh*

I must apologise..

I assumed I was right.

Never assume you're right!


I tried and tested, over and over, and I couldn't find a fault.

And then, this morning, I received an email, and through a couple of back-and-forths discovered that, indeed, there was something really really really quite wrong.
Thanks, Nathan..

I made myself a new fresh install, and tried to find the bug.
The bug happened!
I saw it!
I thought "WTF!?!" and then tried again, with another fresh install.

..
And it didn't happen!

And so I tried again..
No bug
And again..
No bug..
And again and again..
No bugs at all..

ARGH!!!

I must admit, at this point I was truly baffled.

And then, hunting through the code, I noticed why it was happening, and also why I hadn't noticed it earlier.

To start a game, I've been hitting Spacebar. It's right under my thumb, it's quick to get to, and I don't need to find it with the mouse... It's handy to have..

The bug happens when you, instead, click the start button on the menu.

*sigh*

Techy bit
In order to traverse from "Clicked Start Button" to "Start Game", I reused a variable. I made editmode=2, because editmode=1 is how the Editor's button also works.. When it gets to the "Check the keys" bit of the code, it also checks editmode, to see if the buttons have been clicked.
Nice and simple, and a quick way to make clickable buttons work.
Or so I thought.
What actually happens is that the editmode variable doesn't get reset when the game gets going, and because the game think's you're in editmode, it won't save a score..
Damn and blast!
So, now it resets, and everything's the way it should be.

Note to self : FFS, check your buttons occasionally, and stop relying on keypresses!!

Same link, now working!

Now that the code's opened up again, and I'm in the mood for tweaking, I might as well carry on and play with a few things, so expect another update later on tonight. .. Maybe..
Views 7, Upvotes 0
Daily Blog
Blog
  23rd December, 2008
You might have noticed a distinct lack of AGameAWeek, this week..
Since I'm getting little or no work done, this week, and.. what with being Xmas and all, I've decided to be lazy, and take a week off.

Nothing wrong with that!

If you feel you really need something new to play with, nip to yesterday's post, and you can grab the WhoSave thing. That's quite nice.. And you can pretend I posted that today, in time for the Xmas episode in 2 days time. Very festive!!

If you'd like to see something extra special, head inside for super secret Alien Deathmatch playing tips!

Read More
Views 7, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  22nd December, 2008
Blimey!
What a year, eh!

I decided to round off the year with a nice big, old fashioned list, with everything in it.

Except this doesn't have everything in it, because I've forgotten to add the DS games.. I'll do that later!! (Took me about 3 hours to do this, so I'm not going to tweak it, now!!)

Anyway, here's a nice great big list of every game (again, apart from the DS ones) that I made in 2008. It's quite a big list, too..
31 Games.
OK, so maybe not a game for Every week of the year, but considering I only just changed the site to "AGameAWeek.com" in July, that's not bad going!

Next year, I'll try to keep up the pace, and get a whole 52 games out.
..
Maybe!

The entire game collection is all wrapped up in this nice big 32Mb file, right here..
And if you want to see it's contents, along with screenshots, descriptions, and seperate downloads for each game, the great big list is inside.

Read More
Views 4, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  21st December, 2008
Next up, Countdown..
Or, it's meant to be, but I can't seem to get it started properly..
I've grabbed a batch of Carol's letters and numbers, and I've got the vowel/consonant packs ready, the number solver's working as it should, but so far, those bits haven't come together to make a full game.. It's just bits here and there.
Needs work, but with Xmas literally days away, I'm not sure that it'll get any.

If it doesn't turn up on Tuesday, assume I'm taking the week off, from AGameAWeek!!

Meanwhile, I'm planning to end the year with a nice big calender, with everything I made this year, all wrapped up, in nice big downloadable packages.. Well, maybe not big packages, but a list, none-the-less...

Next year, (2 weeks away!!) I've already got 2 major projects planned.
First is, obviously, a new JNKPlat.. 09 edition will happen, I'm just not sure when, or how, or what it'll be like, or on what system(s) it'll run. But it is planned.
As well as that, there's a Turbo The Tortoise remake that I'd like to do. But again, I'm not sure what form it'll take.
Right now I'm actually considering a completely different form than the original (Hisoft/Codemasters, C64/CPC/Speccy).. Take what was there, and.. tweak it.. A lot!!
But then, it's not really a remake if I do that.. More of a reimagining.
*shrugs*
We'll have to wait and see.

Anyway, that's my current thoughts, and plans.
If you'd like to push me in any particular direction, or suggest any games, or whatever, stick 'em in the comments. I'd love to hear some or your thoughts.
Views 2, Upvotes 0
Daily Blog
Blog
  19th December, 2008
So, I spent a while, last night, playing with the graphics.
Now that the game's out there, and since so many people are complaining about it's lack of fancyness, I decided to make nice with the special weapons..


The game's now officially 75% More Whooshy, with the superweapons looking much more fancypants, and the dead baddies giving off a little red "poof!" as they go.

I've also switched the ingame text from Regular Font to Bitmap Font, at the request of someone who's NVidia card doesn't like regular text. The bitmap font is being rendered as 3D sprites.. Usually, this is ok, but occasionally, your system might not be able to keep up.
Sometimes Font is good, sometimes Bitmap's good.
You'll have to make your own mind up as to which is best for your system, so I left a switch on the main menu for it.

Um, I think that's all I've changed, but you might notice some other differences along the way!
Enjoy!

Alien Deathmatch 2 (Release 2)
Just plonk it over the top of your last one.. (And use Alien Deathmatch 2.exe .. I decided not to bother number/labelling each release, since it'd only annoy folk who've taken the time to add it to their start menu/make Bat files!!)

Note : This is the same link, and although it's newer+nicer, it's purely cosmetic changes, so no need to go telling everyone, since nothing major's happened gameplay-wise.
Views 21, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  16th December, 2008
A sigh of relief, as the game is finally in an upload worthy state.
I'm sure there's plenty of bugs, mounds of forgotten features, and odd little untweaked things that aren't quite right, but what's here is plenty enough to be counted as Release 1.


Download Alien Deathmatch 2
3Mb!!!

The game, in it's current Release 1 state has quite a few new features from those in AD1.


Of course, the Breeds are more pronounced. Faster breeds, exploding breeds, and even breeds that drop pickups are all strewn around the world, ready to be blasted away..


Teleporters are in, and fun to run through! Step on a Green tile to be flung to another Green tile, randomly on the level! (Assuming they're there, of course!)
Once used, all teleporters are disabled for a short while, so use them wisely.


Highlighted levels, (once you upload your highscores!) will display today's newest level, along with yesterday's, and the day before's.. My guess is, if anyone's going to playing a level, it'd be one of those!!

And, of course, the greatest new feature of them all..

Hmm....
?


And there's an Editor!!!
Go nuts
Draw the level, fiddle with the sliders, Hit B (or click the joystick icon) to test it out, make sure you give it a name, and then save..
Next time you upload your latest highscores, the game will magically upload any new levels you have, too.. (one at a time, of course, we don't want the server exploding!!)
Share the .lev file with a mate, and you can both play peacefully.. Or, give it time, and it'll pop up on the daily download list, for everyone else..
Sorted!


What else?
The new stuff might be fun, but I'm sure there's plenty more..
If you have ANY ideas, pop 'em into the comments, and I'll see what I can do.
This is only Release 1!
Views 260, Upvotes 20
Release
Game
  16th December, 2008
Run, kill, collect!!
Views 2125, Upvotes 42
Shoot-em-up , Maze , Swirly , Alien Deathmatch
Blog
  15th December, 2008
A more accurate title would be "Just like Windows Vista, here's a list of things I told you I'd be putting in, but haven't yet bothered to, so will be missing when I release the game.."
Except I'm one person, and have spent four weeks doing this.. Not 100 people working for 4 years...
...
*sigh* Vista sucks..

1. Achievements, Good, bad, Pwnage, Suckage, any and all.
I just haven't gotten around to adding these yet.
There's a gap on the titlescreen, that's where they go, but they aren't quite there yet!

2. Extra Weapons.
Like it or not, the old weapons are pretty much the current ones!
Although each weapon's had a few tweaks here or there, they're all pretty much as they were..

3. Pause.
FFS, I still haven't put a pause button in. This should really be #1 on the list!!

4. Delete Levels
If you don't like a level, you can remove it from your directory. Nice and simply, the level will vanish, and you won't be bugged by it again.
That is, unless the day's downloadable level IS that level, and then it'll pop right back up again, over and over, until it's filtered from the list...
Still, that's progress for ya!
What I haven't done yet, is allow certain levels to be disabled server side.. So, I can't really kill off levels entirely. Should be easy enough to do, but like the other things in this list, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.


There's also an "Updated Edition" thing that I really oughta add before I upload the first proper release.. Releasing without it would only complicate things later on, when folk have all kinds of different versions.

All of the above might yet miraculously appear, but we've got some guys fitting us some new windows tomorrow, so I probably won't get around to popping them in at the last minute.
..
Hopefully the new windows aren't Vista..


Additionally, I really hate Sorting things! I'm not sure why, but every time I code a sort routine, it never works first time around.. By this point I really should know how to do this, and am always amazed when it doesn't work again!! The Level Sorter is currently stuck in an infinite loop, apparently swapping two levels around, over and over again. Bloody thing.. That needs fixed, and I'm off to go do that now.

Release Tomorrow!
Literally Hours away!!
Super-Hyping-Mega-Happy-Gets!!!
Views 13, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  14th December, 2008

Sometimes Copy and Paste works..


Having finally put the nice simple swooshy spawning sound back into the game, and got a couple of nice test levels up and running, and inside the scoreboard, and then got the whole "Nth position on the online scoreboard" display going, I decided to move onto more pressing matters.

I already copy and pasted most of the control scheme stuff early on in the project, so to help give the game a little consistency, and so as not to have to recode the whole thing, today I copy and pasted the visable control scheme settings on the main menu. It worked fine before, so there was no need to "fix" it...

Sometimes Copy and Paste doesn't work at all..


And then I loaded in a test level, and wandered around, shooting the aliens with a Joypad.
..
Or, at least I would've, had the player been shooting!
Uhoh!!!

I quickly flicked through the available control schemes, only to discover that by some inexplicable bit of messing up, the player could no longer fire his weapon... ARGH!!!

I checked the code..
Tested again.
Looked at the code..
Wondered what was wrong.
Randomly tweaked some more.
Started to panic..

But usually Copy and Paste does actually work..


And then, about half an hour later, I realised that the level I was testing on was a "Pacifism" style level, and that I hadn't included any weapons on it..
..
FFS..

I need to shove a reminder on the screen somewhere for that!!

So, the control schemes are all nicely working as they should.
The menu now has highscores working properly, and even a couple of nice shiny buttons to set off the Highscore Updates, and switch over to Editor mode.
Everything's coming along great.

We're nearly there!!
Views 9, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  13th December, 2008
In the old game you could create levels simply by making little 64x64 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.
Views 8, Upvotes 0
Daily Blog
Blog
  12th December, 2008
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!!
Views 10, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  11th December, 2008

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!!!
Views 9, Upvotes 0
Daily Blog
Blog
  10th December, 2008
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.
?
Views 11, Upvotes 0
Daily Blog
Blog
  9th December, 2008
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..
Views 21, Upvotes 1
Release
Game
  9th December, 2008
Try to hit exactly the target shown on the board.
Views 1607, Upvotes 4
Incomplete , Sports
Blog
  8th December, 2008
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
Views 13, Upvotes 2
Daily Blog
Blog
  7th December, 2008
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....
Views 13, Upvotes 2
Daily Blog
Blog
  5th December, 2008
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! 160x160 tiles over a 5120x5120 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.
Views 20, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  4th December, 2008

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!!
Views 17, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  3rd December, 2008
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 160x160 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 )
Views 20, Upvotes 2
Daily Blog
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