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…


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!


A small announcement

I’m not quite sure how to bring this up, but I figure I should probably say something sooner rather than later. Annabelle and I were aiming to submit a demo of Ciellus to the IGF; we’re no longer doing that. We’ve done a serious amount of work on it over the last two months; particularly over the last couple of weeks, but Ciellus is quite a big project – making this deadline was always something of a long shot. The game’s just too big, too complex for us to have enough ready by this Saturday.

In addition, we’re putting it on hold for a little while. I’ve been working full time, incessantly on this for the last couple of weeks and I’m kinda burnt out, so I’m actually kinda looking forward to the change. Working on a big project is hard 🙁 I’d really rather be working on lots of little concept driven games… In fact, I’ve decided to spend this time away from it on rapid prototyping.

My first goal is to sit down and finally learn how to use flash, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time. I started on Sunday evening and things are going quite well; I probably already know enough to make a little shooter or something like that. Right now I’m trying to work out how to translate concepts like map tiles from the way I’m used to doing things into the way things work in flash…

I should also be a lot more open about my projects from now on, so expect this blog to be a bit busier!



After the dust settles on this IGF thing, I’m taking a few days and heading to London for TIGJam:UK to work on something new, have fun and meet a few indie devs from the London scene! Ideally I’m hoping for the same outcome as Haowan:

I want to make some crappy game that makes us all laugh while we make it and then makes us laugh again when we play it. And makes us laugh while we think it up.

Any indie devs from england out there reading this? Any interest in coming along? I believe there’s still time to get a ticket! 🙂


Demakes Results

The results of the Bootleg Demakes contest are out: Squish managed a very respectable 7th place (out of 68 games), which is far higher than it probably deserves given its glitchy last minute nature and the high standards of the other games in the contest 🙂 Thanks very much to all 48 of you out there who voted for it – I really appreciate the support!

I’m delighted to see Soundless Mountain II take first place (I embedded a video above if you haven’t seen it yet) – I was worried that it mightn’t do as well as it deserved to, considering how faithful to the original it was and given that Silent Hill 2 was such a marmitey (?) type of game. Thankfully, it looks like Silent Hill 2 was more popular than I realised, at least among TIGSourcers! 🙂 Congrats Superflat!