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Blog
  23rd November, 2008
Yesterday I said I'd be working on something else..
I didn't! Alien Deathmatch keeps dragging me back in

Today I played with the weapons a bit more, to try and get a nicer feel to all the different main weapons. I also messed about with Particles because unbelievably I'd forgotton to put the things in! Silly me!
After that, a teensy bit more Alien AI work, and some more background tweaks managed to keep me busy through most of today.
They're little things, really, but it's those small niggling things that keep you busy for ages, as you load the game up, and "Test" it for 20 or so minutes at a time..
And by "Test" I mean sit and play it for ages, and forget you're meant to be working on it!!

More to come.. If I can drag myself away!

Todo
*Scoreboards
*Achievements
*Levels
*Editor
*Frontend
*Additional super-weapons
*... quite a bit!
Views 19, Upvotes 3
Daily Blog
Blog
  22nd November, 2008
Since we're already up to Saturday, and there's still an amazing amount of work to be done, I think I'm going to bump the deadline for Alien Deathmatch 2.. (OMG!! Missed Deadline!! WTF?!!?)

So, with that in mind, and since we missed AGameAWeek last week, I'm quickly heading back to Wednesday Workshop for a nice quicky idea.. This week's challenge is to create a game that works just as well played with a pen and some paper, as it does ingame..

For my entry, I'm not 100% sure, but I think I'll probably do the good old Dots/Lines/Squares thing.. Where you start with a grid of dots, and each draw lines in turn to create squares.. You know the one.. You probably sat at the back of the classroom playing it, just like I used to.

I'll get that done nice and quick, so you can look forward to "enjoying" that on Tuesday, and then I get back to coding Alien Deathmatch some more.
The editor's been started, today, but only in so much as I realised I'd probably need a better zoom, cos otherwise the 160x160 grid looks kinda tiny..

Zooming's not easy in Blitz!
Views 11, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  21st November, 2008
I won't post a screenshot.. you wouldn't be able to tell the difference!!
But there is a difference..

Today I spent most of my day working a little more on the "Building up" stuff. That is, setting things up so that you start off easy, and things gradually get tougher.
I've put into place a huge number of little variables, all over the place, that should help decide how things progress in a level. Again, these will (somehow?!) be accessible within the editor.. once I bother to start it!

But currently I can have chaos from the start, or a really nice paced slow build of doom.
So that's nice to have.

I also nipped back into the graphics and did a few nips and tucks here and there, as well as getting the Red Breeds to explode nastily, the Pink Breeds to do their "Release a Swarm" thing, the Blue Breeds to run a little faster, and the Yellow Breeds to drop Multipliers..
..
Then I removed the Yellow Breed's Multipliers! I'll probably get them to drop guns, or something, 'cos it got WAY too easy to keep your Multiplier thriving when they actually came towards you!!

I should probably point out that the Guns and Multipliers will pretty much work the same way they did before, except that when the Multiplier hits the bottom, rather than hitting 1x straight away, it'll start beeping, and then plummet from your current multiplier, back to 1x.. This oughta give you a second or so to find a Multiplier pickup, and save at least a small bit of it!
Seems a bit fairer.. It was no fun when you'd racked up a high multiplier, and then suddenly lost it..


Um.. More to come!!
Views 17, Upvotes 2
Daily Blog
Blog
  20th November, 2008
With random spawning added, and basic weapon upgrades up and running, the game's getting much more like a game, now.


Basic Bog-Standard Arena


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Views 19, Upvotes 2
Daily Blog
Blog
  19th November, 2008
Haven't done a thing, today!
Actually, that's not entirely true. I spent most of this morning playing about with the Enemy Spawning layout code, and tweaking it to be a little fairer.. One of my annoyances when playing Geometry Wars is when you're running in one direction, and a bad guy spawns RIGHT in front of you, giving you a fraction of a second in which to go "Oh, FFS!" and then die horribly!
Maybe I'm just rubbish at it (so says my gamerscore), but that always pisses me off.
So, I've tried to ensure that won't happen in Alien Deathmatch 2.
The game checks that enemy won't spawn at any point within a 0.5 second radius.. (3 pixels per frame x 30 frames worth = 90 pixel radius.. although I actually set it to 100, just to be on the safe side.)
I'll probably reduce the spawn time, though, 'cos they took way too long in the last game.

What I have been doing, today, is waiting for NXE to appear, and then pissing about with all the lovely new stuff.
..
Which, since I'm in the UK, and we don't have NetFlix is approximately bog-all.
The avatar's nice, and all, but.. it's severely limited.

I did make a very very rubbishy not-too-much-like Pikachu-ish gamer icon, though! So, can't complain!


Meanwhile I took some time out to play both Geometry Wars (woot) and it's headache inducing elder brother.. I lasted about 5 minutes on GW2, and currently have a headache.. GW1 was more fun, and I think I've picked up a few new AI traits that'll be plonked into the game.

I also considered creating some kind of proper Achievement system into the game, this time around, and.. since I'm so mindnumbingly rubbish at GW1 (I have a whole 3/12 achievements!!) I might even incorporate a type of Suckage Unachievement list... or something.. Although I'm not sure how easy that would be to do, since it would be pretty easy to trigger the unachievements by purposely sucking at it..
...
Might be tricky!

So, all in all, a nice day of *cough* Market Research *cough* that oughta keep me active for a while.
Tonight, I'll get back into the code, and hopefully get quite a bit more done.

Woot!
Views 14, Upvotes 0
Daily Blog
Blog
  18th November, 2008
Background progress is coming along nicely.

I've currently got the level renderer to come up with a nice selection of coloured floors from 3 prerendered ones.. It can do plain, and chequered, thus giving us 6 possibilities of floors. Every room that's separated gets a random floor. Nice and simple.
(They have to be prerendered colours because Blitz is a bit slow at basic 2D stuff!! bah, humbug..)

It shouldn't be creating rooms with alike colours right next to each other, so I'm currently working on fixing that.. But even if I can't it's not exactly a biggy, right!?!
Good!

Meanwhile it's helping to make things look a bit more interesting and somewhat different from the previous version.
You'll probably also noticed that I finally got around to making the doors look a little better, too!.. Although I have just noticed that the vertical doors are highlighted the wrong way around.. d'oh! (*fixed*)

Most of the sounds are back in place, but gameplay elements aren't quite up and running yet.
The weapons don't upgrade without you manually hitting cursor keys to do it, the baddies won't appear without you hitting 1-6 to trigger a wave of aliens, and worst of all, there's not even a score yet, let alone multipliers!!!
That'll come later.

For now, I need to have a play with the editor!
Views 27, Upvotes 5
Daily Blog
Blog
  18th November, 2008
I spent most of last night tweaking the graphics.
For starters, I've jigged about the whole Background tileset.
If you've bothered to poke around inside the old game, you'll have noticed that bg.png contains a great big pile of unused "Inside a Wall" stuff. It was originally going to serve a purpose, and fill out the black, but eventually I decided that having plain black nothingness would be good enough, and the black stayed as black.
So, they're now removed from the tileset, the odd yellow wall stuff's gone, too, and a whole big blank area has been created, ready for all new tiles to go in.
First off, though, I had to make myself some new walls!

Read More
Views 33, Upvotes 3
Daily Blog
Blog
  16th November, 2008
The other day I considered redoing the whole wall structure. I considered making nice wonderful multidirectional walls, and levels with all kinds of diagonals, straight, and maybe even curves.
It seemed like a good idea.

Then I started to work on it, and... well.. it wasn't exactly super fast!
In fact, things were painfully slow.
As the game struggled to draw a single wall, with nice detail like the old one, I realised that drawing an entire arena in that way would only lead to drastic slowness on Blitz Basic's part.
It's a shame, but I think I'm going to have to cancel the whole plan.

..
So, today I opened up the old Alien Deathmatch, grabbed the nice "Level Renderer" code, stuffed it into the new game, tweaked it up to fit the new game's size, and bob's your uncle..



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Views 23, Upvotes 3
Daily Blog
Blog
  16th November, 2008
Splatterhouse!!

So far the 6 different aliens act as follows.
(But this might be tweaked once the walls start to get in the way!)

Note : If adblock's not letting you see the images above (due to it blocking "ad2_" images!) you may want to "Whitelist this whole site".. It's safe.. I despise adverts too, so there ain't any here!
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Views 25, Upvotes 2
Daily Blog
Blog
  15th November, 2008
Nothing Alien Deathmatch related today (since Saturday's the day I work the most, and get the least actual coding done.. and sit and watch Stargate a lot.. )
However, today, a Spanish fellow named Adael made me a level editor for JNKPlat DS 08!
It's online, it's Javascript based, and it's right here. (Update : It's been nearly a decade since I posted this... It's not there, any more!!)


You can use it to build up levels, and then post the formatted data into your JNKPlat/mylevs.lev file for playing in the game.
And I'm sure Adael would be happy to tweak it with all manner of updates in the future, too.

Great stuff! Keep it up!

And if you make any levels, you know where to send 'em!
Views 20, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  14th November, 2008
No need for a screenshot tonight, as there's not really anything worth looking at!
Everything I did today was invisible background coding stuff! So nothing fancy to look at, but still some nice new things.
I started off by squeezing the whole pixel by pixel arena out into a great big map array. I'm hoping (!) that it'll make things that bit more precise once I start adding in some walls (probably tomorrow)
Basically, rather than having the player walk past/into/occasionally through blocks of wall, I'll have approximate pixel based collision.. Obviously, I can't do PERFECT pixel collisions, because I'd rather not get into "Can't turn around.. there's a wall in my way!!" type issues, (gameplay's always bigger than accuracy!) but it should give the player a bit more freedom when he gets near a wall... Every pixel of running area counts, and this should hopefully make a difference.

Still, as much as it's in there, it's as yet untested! Mostly due to the fact that I've not added any walls yet.
As I went to place the regular blocky walls in, I wondered if it would instead be possible to build up a Polygonal area, instead. You'd be able to have lots of nice angled corridors, and cubbyholes and things, and it'd add a lot more interesting variety, so far as the levels are concerned..

But I'm not sure if it's entirely do-able.
Mostly because, the walls have to be nice and thick, to reproduce the previous games style. And, as good as Blitz is, I'm not sure if it's up to speed as far as rendering a bunch of walls in a variety of angles is...
We'll have to wait and see.
Tomorrow I'm going to be sitting and playing about with some walls, and I'll see what I can come up with.
But don't be too disappointed if we revert to standard grid based walls instead!!



Oh, and I started playing with a bit of Alien AI stuff, but I can't really test that out properly without the walls, so.. Didn't get too far with that, either!

Still... Progress is Progress, right?!
Views 30, Upvotes 4
Daily Blog
Blog
  13th November, 2008
All games must start somewhere, and Alien Deathmatch 2 starts right here!


This isn't the most entertaining shot I've ever posted, but it does show that work has now actually begun on the sequel.
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Views 27, Upvotes 4
Daily Blog
Blog
  11th November, 2008
Another quicky, today.. In fact, it's a little later than usual, but that's only because I'd only just thought of it, this morning!! Panic coding at it's best..

Wheel of No Prizes sees you spin the wheel, guess the place name, Hangman style, and carry on as much as you can until you've run out of lives.

Neat!


Nice and simple stuff, but with obscure image sizes, and really meant to stress test what I can and can't do with my 2D-in-3D engine..
If this all works, I'll be quite happy!!

You can Download Wheel of No Prizes here, and try to guess some of the places!
(They're all Cities and Towns from USA, England and Wales, and are all gleamed from Wikipedia, so if there's something really really obscure in there, you can blame the wiki!!)
Views 29, Upvotes 2
Release
Blog
  4th November, 2008
..I got an X360, and I've really been playing the heck out of it, lately.
It's fun! I'm worried it'll RROD at any minute, but while it's still going, it's still fun.
And last week I bought Geometry Wars 2, for 800 points, as well as Geometry Wars 1 for 400 points.
Lovely stuff.
Except, there's something annoyingly wrong with GW2.
It's all nice and glowy, but the "lovely glow" is also really really annoyingly blurry...

I bought a VGA adaptor for the console, and have it hooked up so that everything's nice, and crisp, and clear. When playing GW2, it looks like someone's splodged a ton of Vaseline all over the screen.
It's really annoying!

More than anything, I keep reaching for my glasses and trying to clean them. It's a basic reaction that I use whenever things look a little too blury.. Only it's not my glasses. It's the damn game! And the more I play it, the more irritated by it I get. It's a shame, because it's pretty much ruined the game for me. I can't play it for more than ten minutes without getting another eye-strain related headache, as my eyes struggle to unblur the image.

On the plus side, I can now head back to GW1 and get much better highscores, because I can ACTUALLY SEE IT!!

Bah, humbug.

400 points > 800...

Whenever I fail to enjoy a game to it's fullest, though, I usually find myself wanting to "Do the game myself, only without that annoying feature", so it's with this in mind that I'm planning on creating Alien Deathmatch 2.
I'll fix the issues with the last one, add some new features, work out a bit more of a structure to the game, and try my best not to rub vaseline over everything.

Nice, crisp, clean graphics!
That's the way to do it!!
Views 34, Upvotes 1
Daily Blog
Blog
  4th November, 2008
If you're slightly above the age of people who are still meant to be pissing about playing silly games, like I am, you probably remember Gearworks, from the Amiga/C64 era.

I don't know why, but the game suddenly popped into my head, this week.
So I made a quicky clone.
It's not perfect, there's loads missing, and there's no editor in sight, but as a testbed for my still growing 2D-in-3D engine, it does the job.


Basic rules.
There's a red and a green cog onscreen, and you're given a random selection of cogs to place onto the grid.
The cogs won't all fit together perfectly, so you need to dot them around so that they will..
The red cog spins, the green one sits. Get the green to spin, and you beat the level.

Nice and easy!

If I can be bothered, I'll add more later. For the meantime, there's 9 levels to play through.

You can Download The Gear That Works here.
Views 28, Upvotes 2
Release
Blog
  28th October, 2008
Having headed back to Blitz3D (from BlitzMax, with it's annoying incompatibilities) I decided to make something quick and easy to test it out.
Snake!
With a 1 minute timer on it.
Get all the points you can, as fast as you can.


The online scoreboards are in, and .. um.. that's about it.

You can Download Snake Here
Views 26, Upvotes 2
Release
Blog
  26th October, 2008
In what can only be described as a complete disappointment, I've given up with BlitzMax.
Technically, the engine's great, the language runs fast, and things are good.
But.. It doesn't run on some systems..
And some of the features I'd really like to use run really stupidly slow on certain other systems.
It's a big downer.
And it's certainly most notable with Horizontal Shooter, and it's need to have a background that can be (shock horror) turned off!

It'd be less annoying if the Slow systems were the ones turning off the background.. Less processing power = less features.
Annoyingly, though, in most cases it's actually the BETTER systems that end up having to turn it off.
Very curious issues, and not the type of thing that I like to have to deal with.
I've always coded games fairly quickly, and like to imagine that when I'm done, they're going to work!

With BlitzMax, that's not always the case.

And it's a shame.

So, this week I've headed back to basics, and am currently playing about with my 2D-in-3D engine. For those keeping track, I created Centipong and Alien Deathmatch using this technique.. It's certainly capable, and I've not had any complaints about it not working.

Good stuff.

Unfortunately, since I've spent pretty much all week trying to get a nice Tile Engine up and running (with no working end results, might I add) I've not really got any games going.

Which is a shame.

But I'll carry on playing about, and hopefully by next Tuesday we should have a nice new game up and running.
I'm tempted to recreate an older game.. And, honestly, I feel like I might re-re-redo Horizontal Shooter, just to make a nice happy fully working version.
But we'll see what happens.
I might come up with something a little crazier by then!
Views 33, Upvotes 4
Daily Blog
Blog
  21st October, 2008
This week's Wednesday Workshop #173 was a redoing of an old one. Wednesday Workshop 1 asked us to make games using only 5 objects onscreen.
Rather than doing that, I opted to take my original 5 object game, and remake it, turning it into a slightly more interesting game.

It's still not anything amazing, but at least it's something!


Hit Z/X to bounce the ball, and use the cursors to move it left and right.
Then keep heading upwards.
You get bonus points if you keep hitting the same coloured blocks, but as you get higher there'll be more colours to get in your way.

Nice and easy.

You can download Ball Up here
Views 32, Upvotes 2
Release
Blog
  14th October, 2008
This week I decided to remake Centipong, this time for the DS.
It's pretty much the same as it's always been, except now it's portable, stylus playable, and has the pickups unlike the Mobile edition.
It's not all 100% yet, though.. More to come, and plenty of tweaking to be made.


In the meantime, you can Download Centipong DS here, and get kicking some Centipede Pod!
Views 34, Upvotes 3
Release
Blog
  7th October, 2008
I spent most of this week rebuilding a few of my older games with the new Highscore stuff, so there's a couple of nice new-ish games to play.


First off, we've the 3rd version of Horizontal Shooter.. Get it here. It's pretty much the same as ever, but with Mr Scouter from the original, thrown back in for good luck.
The new highscore method should help ward off nasty hackers from the scoreboard system.. Or at least for a little while, anyway.

There's 3 more inside!

Read More
Views 50, Upvotes 2
Release
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