Archive for November, 2008

MAVERICK BUS: Stay the Course

Things finished on a high note too 🙂

TIGJam:UK was awesome – I’ll post some of the more serious stuff I worked on tomorrow!

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Unattended Luggage

Things are off to a good start! 😀

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Squish Version 1.3

Tomorrow I’m heading off to London to TIGJam:UK! I can’t wait! I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to work on out there yet – possibly Buster Drake, possibly something totally new – there’s talk of a 3 hour poppenkast style thing on the first night, so there’s a very good chance that I’ll have a new game out (or at least a new prototype) by the start of next week!

As for old stuff, I finally got around to updating Squish today. I created virtually all of the original levels on the last day of the demakes contest and I’ve never been totally happy with some of them – so I decided to recut the arrangement. I’ve created a couple of small, easy levels which bridge together some concepts in the game a bit better, I’ve taken a few levels from the extra “Gates” stage in v1.2 and mixed them in with the original levels, and I’ve totally rearranged the stages. The six levels that I cut from the game have been moved to a custom stage simply called “Rejected Levels”.

I don’t like difficulty “curves” in games; particularly in puzzle games. For some reason it seems to be a widely held opinion that games should start easy and get harder in a fairly linear fashion. I don’t think that works because (a) unless things ramp up quickly at the start, it often means that the early levels are dull, (b) if the game gets quite hard, then near the end most players will simply hit a wall and not progress any further and (c) it’s not as satisfying to solve a difficult or clever level when it’s sandwiched between several equally hard levels. I prefer difficulty “waves” – i.e. where the difficulty of a game oscillates between satisfying difficult levels and rewarding easy levels all the while increasing gradually. That’s what I was aiming for with the original level arrangement, but I don’t think I really got it right. Hopefully I’ve made a better job of it this time!

[Download Squish V1.3 here, 2.9Mb]

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Buster Drake in the one with the conversion to Actionscript 3

Flash is doing my head in right now. >_< Everytime I think I'm making progress I come up against something else which stops me in my tracks. It's like I'm learning everything I know from scratch again. In general, though, I am getting somewhere - hopefully I'll have something to show once I've gotten over this hurdle. The problem is I decided to listen to what everyone's been telling me and learn Actionscript 3 instead of Actionscript 2 - the tipping point was discovering that AS3 supports a BitmapData class, which is basically just a mechanism for low level blitting - *if* I can get it working I won't have to worry about messing with MovieClips and what not and can just go ahead implementing things the way I'm used to. Apparently it's also faster than the usual "flash" way of doing things, so it's win-win. But I'm trying to make an array of tiles and it's crashing when I try to access it and I don't know why, so I'm calling it quits for tonight. Will try again tomorrow. I've also switched from the trial version of Flash CS3 to FlashDevelop and Flex, a free alternative. That was actually totally painless! Good to know that I can develop flash apps without having to shell out $700 USD for the official tools! As for the game, I've decided to redo things a little - I wasn't totally happy with the Mode-X way I was displaying the game, so I've switched to a text mode font, which feels a lot more "Authentic". I'm still cheating with vertical space, but I doubt anyone will care - technically textmode is a 640x300 pixel screen stretched out, which looks kinda weird on normal screen resolutions, so I'm just using 640x480 with the same "tile" size (the 8x12 pixel font). This gives me a screensize increase from 40x30 in the AS2 version in the prototype, to 80x40 in this version! It looks pretty different, as you can imagine, but I think it'll actually suit the game a lot better. On a side note, the IGF deadline's just passed. So that's kinda depressing too. 😥

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