Archive for the 'buster drake' Category

year++;

Ever since I started rapid prototyping, as I called it back at the end of October, I’ve let quite a few projects build up on me. One of my new years resolutions is not to start anything else until I start finishing a few first! With any luck, this should be a pretty productive month for me as a result!

(In any case, I can’t really afford to continue experimenting like this. My loan’s running out, so it looks like this venture of mine is almost out of time…)

In rough order of priority, here’s what I’m working on at the moment:


Space/Void [Collab with Cactus]

Of all the unfinished projects I’ve got around me right now, this one’s not only been around the longest, but it’s also the closest to completion. I made the levels for cactus’ game way back in last april or so, and it’s been sitting idle since then because we’ve both been too busy to add the finishing touches. I think it would be a pretty motivating start to the month if I could get this out in the next few days. First thing I’m going to try doing is explore the possibility of a flash port (which could work quite well for this) – if that doesn’t seem reasonable we’ll just finish off the game maker version…


Detonate

I’m itching to get back to this, because I’ve got it to the stage where all the yucky vegetable coding work is finished and it’s just a matter of the chocolatey level creation and polish! Can’t wait 🙂


Pathways

I’d been chipping away at this over christmas – as much as I love the concept behind the game, right now it’s not really what I want to work on. I was trying to get it finished as soon as I could because of the whole ludum dare thing, but it’s so overdue now that I don’t really care – I think I’d rather take my time with it.

I’m also hoping to totally redo the graphics – it’s nice in places but I don’t like the sprites and it’s way too much work to draw the entire game like this and have it look good. Anyway, I think I can do better with a bit of work on a new style.


Judith [Collab with Increpare]

Another project where all the heavy lifting coding-work is out of the way, Increpare and I are currently in the process of designing the levels of this. We should be able to finish it this month if we can find a day or two where we’re both free to work on it.


Electric Panic

That screenshot isn’t exactly representative, heh. Electric Panic is a new game that I’ve got in mind that’s loosely based on the mechanic I was exploring in my december KOTM entry PANIC. I’ll have more details once I get a little further along with it! 🙂


Flying Cities

Started this just the other day, but I like it enough that I really want to get back to it and see it finished… With its technical focus it’s very different to everything else I’m working on right now.


Tower Platformer [Collab with Dock]

Dock works in the industry and is apparently in crunch mode at the moment, so this has had to take a back seat. Probably won’t be finished for a little while, at least…

In addition to that, there’s also:


Self Destruct Update

I think Self Destruct was the best game I released last year. It also got by far the most positive response, even extending into friends and family who don’t normally play games at all. Which is why it annoys the hell out of me that there are so many little things to fix in it *still* – in particular that you need to be online to play it. Sometime over January I want to make time to finally update the game, even if I don’t bother with things like the replay uploads and other crazy things like that that I was planning.

And finally, just to mention:


Buster Drake

Buster Drake is basically scrapped, at least in it’s current incarnation. The biggest thing I wanted to try for Buster Drake was the aiming mechanism and I’ve used it for Never Opened, so as a result I’m not that pushed about approaching this project from that perspective anymore. There are a few other things I still like about the project though. I’ve got an idea for a radically different form that I hope to explore later in the year, time permitting. It involves sitting down and learning a few new tricks, though…

Phew. Better get to work, then.

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Peace is hell

‘case you missed it in the post below, Xoldiers was updated with a level editor and an online database of levels accessible from the game! You will fight for us! Download the new version! That’s an order!

Since the jam I’ve been meaning to catch up on all the little things I’ve been working on lately, but I never seem to have the time to do it properly – so I’m just going to quickly summarise everything:

Buster Drake:
A little while ago I updated the flash prototype with the new version of Buster Drake that I worked on at the jam. Gameplay wise there isn’t any difference; but on a technical level it’s a huge improvement. The original prototype was written in AS2 using a trial version of the Flash IDE – this version is written in AS3 using the free FLEX compiler and the FlashDevelop IDE. Aside from the fact that I’m now using free tools, I’m also approaching flash in a totally different way – I don’t have to think of things in terms of MovieClips and whatever any more – and now that I’ve gotten my head around it, I think I’m more or less at a level where I can do anything in flash that I might want to do in C++, speed concerns aside! Well, hopefully, anyway.

As for the project itself, Buster Drake is maybe bigger than I’d expected. Even the smaller, scaled back version that I’m working on now is probably going to take maybe a week or two to put together – so I’m putting it on hold for a little while to focus on other things. Specifically:

New Strategy Game:
So without giving too much away, there’s this little game that I’ve had in mind for ages and ages and ages – since the qb minigames days, actually! It’s basically a turn based territory control game that I like because it has a really interesting “capture” mechanic, but I’ve never really tried to make it seriously because that’s really all there is to it, and I’ve always felt like there was something missing. Just recently I had a jolt of inspiration that makes the game work, so I’m going to give it a shot and see how it works out 🙂 And I’m going to use flash! More details soon…

Commonplace Book Competition:
Aside from the B-Games contest last year, I’ve entered every game-making contest on TIGSource so far, and I like this theme a lot so I’d love to make a game for it. I was originally going to collaborate with another guy on something small, but unfortunately our “schedules” clashed and that doesn’t look like it’s going to go ahead anymore. I have something else in mind though. Something a little… different. A little darker than the stuff I normally make.

The deadline’s next Thursday though, so I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be entering or not just yet.

Untitled Tower Game:
This is the main project I worked on at TIGJam – here’s the mockup that Dock put together!


Dock and Corpus were working on a simple platformer on rails about falling, and I had this tower platformer engine [EDIT: Inspired by Nebulus, obv] from the previous night’s 3 hour “pick a game idea out of a hat” jam (I got “Trees”), so we decided to combine the two! We don’t really have anything playable just yet, but this is going to be my main focus for the next couple of days, so I hope it won’t be long before we do! The basic engine is all in place now bar one little silly thing, so we’re at the stage of adding gameplay elements.

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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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Buster Drake and the Doryen Library

I’m making progress with Buster Drake, but I’m still hitting up against flash issues. I’m getting there, though!

Yesterday I made a little editor for designing the maps. I’m not strictly sticking to the ASCII limits (technically I’m emulating Mode-X for the sake of having extra vertical screen space), but I do want to keep things feeling as lofi as possible – I could probably get away with using a 256 colour pallete, but I think it might be more fun to stick to the original 16! Here’s a shot of the editor:

I’ve decided to cheat a little for the sake of making progress quickly: instead of tiling the backgrounds I’m just going to create them in this tool and save them as static images – it saves me from having to work out a good way to make tiled backgrounds in flash (for now, at least), and hopefully it’ll be a lot faster too – it may even be smaller than trying to store the bloody things in XML files, since PNG compression is pretty good and there’s only 16 colours in the images. I’ll still have to load in a little external metadata for collisions and backcolours (in order to get the ASCII effect right), though…

Honestly, I want to spend as little time as I can programming this thing. All I really want to do is getting going with the actual game design as soon as possible.

A little about Buster Drake – I actually tried to make almost this exact game way back at the start of the year. I’d been working on that super secret puzzle game for a while and felt like a break. I hadn’t gotten very far with it, but I liked where it was going – but when Ciellus came along I shelved it (along with everything else). I was originally making it with SDL and the Doryen roguelike helper library – here’s how far I got:

You can download it here, if you’re curious! It shows off more or less the same aiming system that I’ve got the in flash version (though with a wider field of view) and also a few other extra things, but I didn’t get as far as even collision between the bullets and enemies, so I never bothered coming back to it…

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Buster Drake: Early Movement Prototype

I did say I was going to be a bit more open about my projects from now on, right? 🙂 The picture under “current focus” on the right hand side of the page now takes you to my new public Flash Prototype page! I’m hoping to update it every few days or so to show how things are progressing.

To help me get started, I’ve decided to make a simple shooter. It’s based on Buster Drake, an old project I abandoned earlier this year, though I’ve simplified what I’ve got in mind quite a bit…

I’m still learning the ropes of flash, but I’m starting to make some progress! Check out the latest prototype to see an early movement/shooting demo of my first flash project! There isn’t much to see yet, but now that I’ve got the basics down I hope it won’t be long before I have something worth playing implemented!

The basic idea is that you aim in the opposite direction to which you’re moving (it’s the same basic approach as arena shooters like warning forever) – when you’re actually shooting though, you continue to aim in the same direction!

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Some side projects, featuring the return of Buster Drake

I’ve set up a redirect from the frontpage to this blog until I actually have something worth putting up there! Somebody told me that it sucked, and they were right. Also, I got sick of updating it. This makes much more sense anyway – splash pages are, like, so ’90s.

Believe it or not, my April Fool’s post was dead serious. I really am working on a puzzle game. Though the word “puzzle” could be a bit misleading – it’s a word that’s come to encompass a load of games that I wouldn’t really consider to be puzzle games – you know, gem matching, falling blocks, all that nonsense. The game I’m working on isn’t anything like that. It’s more like this.

That game (which I still haven’t thought of a title for) is pretty much my main project right now, but it’s not the only thing I’m working on. I’ve been meaning to write a catch up post for ages now, but it’s been held up by the fact that it’s too soon for me to talk about my main, super serious project. So instead, here’s everything else I’m working on at the moment:

We Love Mind Control Rocket

Because of my other projects I haven’t touched this in about two weeks, but I’m going to make a big push this weekend to finish the update. One one hand, polishing a game that’s basically complete is really tedious, and I’d really prefer to just move on at this point, but on the other, I know there’s potential for a good game here – and if I don’t do it now, it’ll likely get pushed aside and eventually shelved, and I don’t want that to happen.

The update is a massive departure from the gameplay of the contest version – which wasn’t anything like how I originally wanted the game to play – it sort of just emerged from incomplete features that I had implemented.

Untitled Futility/Dream Logic Game

This started as a sort of parallel game for the VGNG contest at TIGSource under the title “Boring Magic Power”, but it’s since become something very different, so I don’t know what I’m calling it at the moment.

There’s an interesting theory about dreams that I’ve always liked: it says that dreams are a way for us to practice handling difficult real life situations that may come up. They give us a chance to improvise, and just see how things play out. Not everybody can relate to this, I guess, but it’s always been the case for me – my dreams are like scenes from soap operas.

This game is a bit autobiographical (to a point, anyway) – I’m trying to make a point about fear of change, about taking chances, and so on. In the game, the main character works in a repetitive office job, and it plays out by offering you meaningless choices that either don’t really matter or lead to ruin. The point of the game is that nothing ever works out: any attempts to break out of the monotony of day to day living leads to failure, and eventually, to a repetitive and bleak lifestyle. Even rather innocuous choices lead to worse case scenarios – in the example in the screenshot above, if you run through the traffic lights you might knock over a cyclist, or get hit by a truck, and so on.

I’m using the Mind Control Rocket engine, so there isn’t really a lot of coding work involved – it really just involves putting together a script and getting some appropriate photographs. So I don’t know when (or if) it’ll be finished – really there’s just a few days work involved, but I’m waiting for inspiration to strike, to develop a clearer idea of what I want the game to say.

Benzido over at TIGSource has a somewhat similar idea in mind, so I put together this mockup for him with the engine 🙂

Buster Drake: The one with the descent into hell

Buster Drake is a character I came up with for the Text the Halls Interactive Fiction contest at TIGSource last Christmas. I was too busy to finish it, but the gist of the game was that you played this really over the top secret agent on an infiltration mission, and you had a load of high tech gadgets at your disposal that you had to use to solve typical little text adventure puzzles.

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to reuse the character for this – RPGDX were holding an ASCII RPG contest, and I had my mind made up that I’d really like to try making a shooter (since I’d never tried to make one before). It tied in enough with the old text adventure idea that I thought it would be a good chance to use some of the ideas.

I really liked where this was going, but then out of nowhere TIGSource announced their VGNG content and I decided to go with it instead, putting this on hold. I haven’t really gotten back to it, but most of the hard work is done – the engine’s finished, so it’s down to creating the content, which I figure would take about two weeks. I know it’ll work – I’m using the aiming system from Warning Forever, which worked out far better than I expected it would – it’s already fun to move about and shoot things, and there are some really nifty ideas with enemies that I’m dying to try out… Unfortunately, I think I pretty much have to put it on hold. I mean, I love the idea and I really want to work on it, but I’ve already taken over a month out with all these side projects.

What I’m probably going to do is spend about a month working on the puzzle game, and then revisit this. It’s either that or scrap it altogether 🙁

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, I came up with the title while watching episodes of Friends 😀 )

Space/Void

About a month ago, Cactus posted on his forums looking for level designers for a couple of games that he had in the pipeline. One of them was Space/Void – and I volunteered to help.

That’s the only screenshot he’s put up of it yet, but the game’s actually more or less finished. I made some levels for it and sent them his way, all he’s got left to do is to add a few game elements and some final touches (menus, save function, and so on). Given his prodigious release rate, I don’t expect we’ll have too long to wait before it’s ready – which is great, because it’s excellent, heh. It’s a total departure from the sorta games Cactus usually makes.

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