Xerra's Blog

Drunken coder ramblings

Bah, Humbug! is released. —

Title Screen

I finally completed and released Bah, Humbug! on Itch.io around 11pm on 23rd of December. I should have put a post up a bit earlier but, like Rockman, I only just made the deadline for Syntax Bomb’s 7 week competition so I had a few other things to do. Oh, yeah. And this Xmas thing also affected that.

Yet again I didn’t blog during development because I wanted to keep focus and the topic was an Adventure game. I was pretty sure it was going to be a tight enough squeeze to do a game like that – especially with the game design I had. I just decided to post at the end when I could talk about the whole process rather than just sporadic posts here and there where I probably repeated myself endlessly as I rarely edit blog postings.

So, because the game was a Xmas themed adventure, I decided that I wanted to go the old-school type of adventure where you type in commands and the parser is limited to two words only. Kind of like Scott Adams did back in the day – and possibly still does for all I know.

However, as we’re updating the format for the modern day, I decided that I wanted graphics, some kind of scoring system, multiple objectives and also something that affected the game in real time. I designed Bah, Humbug! with a friend at work – not during working time, honest – and the actual game, including items, rooms, plot and other elements ended up almost exactly the same as the day two design documents that we drew up.

I was pretty proud of that as it meant I’d actually finally created a game that I’d thought through properly.

So, to keep the plot brief, and certainly without spoilers, the idea of the game is that you’ve woken up in your bedroom the morning after hosting a party for your school friends at your house. It’s morning, your parents are away for a couple of days, and you have decided that it would be a great idea to search for your Xmas presents.

You know your dad has hidden them in his safe so you just need to find the five digits of the safe code and you should be in business. However, things are never as easy as they sound. As well as the ghost of Ebeneezer Scrooge wandering the house sapping your score and generally being annoying, as well as giving the odd clue, you also have some sub-quests you can take on.

Your friends hid all your mothers Xmas cards so you need to find them or she’s not going to be happy.

Your school project needs to be finished but you just can’t find the disk that you stored it on.

Scrooge doesn’t seem to like being trapped in the house. Maybe there’s something you can do about that?

The adventure uses the usual syntax of verb, noun including words like get, drop, move, examine and use, along with a few more you may learn along the way. Once you’ve solved the quest then you can also speed run for maximum score and minimum moves just for bragging rights as well.

The game can be found with my other releases this year at Itch.io/ – feedback is always welcome.

So, for development, I decided that I would stick to GameMaker Studio 2, even if there are dedicated adventure game systems out there that might be better for creating a game like this. I wanted the ghost wandering the house as well as room backgrounds so I figured it would be a good learning curve to do it all with something I was already familiar with. Adventure systems don’t usually have options for live elements and just rely on updates every time a command is entered.

I spent a three figure sum to hire an artist to do the backgrounds and the ghost of Ebeneezer and had some assistance from another Syntax Bomb user with the UI elements of the game near the end.

There’s also a lot of xmas themed music in the game so I had to spend a bit of time during development making sure that I could use that as well as constant art revisions for the backgrounds. While they’re not truly relevant to what’s happening in the game there are a few cross-over elements but, on reflection, I do wish that I had asked the artist to make the backgrounds element based so I could make items hidden in the pictures as they are picked up. I did this with the magnifying glass in the game only because I had two copies of that background because my artist had forgotten to include it in his first draft.

Fortunately I didn’t need to do too much with the graphics myself this time around. Some bodging of the UI elements to create inventory and help panel borders was about as tough as it got. I’ve hired the same artist for my last four games because I’m not good with that side of it at all.

As I was writing an adventure game great care had to be taken to ensure it was not too hard. Most people who play games these days are too young to even have been born in the day when this type of game was popular. They’d be learning to play a completely different type of game if they played Bah, Humbug! and it’s likely to be frustrating until they get how to play it initially. Stupidly hard puzzles would just make them rage quit. One of my beta testers actually did, a day before deadline, which made me rework the entire examine object system interaction just to give a few more clues and better descriptions.

I meant to just develop the basic text system to completion right from the start and have it all working and tested before any of the graphics stuff was done but, like Rockman with the rocks, I ended up having to practically strip it all out and rewrite right at the eleventh hour.

Commands like get, drop, inventory all had their own processing system as they could be used in multiple rooms and I had a seperate script for each room so that specific actions that would only work in that room could be coded in there. I wanted to keep them out of the main processing but stupidly realised right at the end that all the commands should have had their own script directly because they needed to allow for mistakes, such as someone trying something in the wrong place. A classic example was dealing with the ghost in the game. This is why I only got the game in an hour before deadline instead of two days early so I could have it done before I went away for the deadline weekend.

I’ve not been updated with any news of problems with the game yet but, then again, I’ve only just really announced that it’s done and out there, so I’m bound to get some. I will hopefully be patching it before voting actually starts on the 30th if this does happen. I’m already aware of my own mistakes making the game, however, so it’s been a learning experience just like the other games I’ve released this year.

I’m still hoping to have five completed since January 1st, 2018 but it’s a tough call to finish two games that are around 90% done because that’s when most of the work is actually needed.

Try out Bah, Humbug! before it gets out of date like your old turkey and the Xmas cake. Probably in around 10 days but then I can always throw it out again next year. It works for all those Xmas songs we hear every year, after all 🙂


Rockman development posting —

I’ve posted the following write up about the development of Rockman on both Syntax Bomb and the ItchIO page for the game so I thought I’d also put it up here as well.


Rockman is my entry in the aMAZEing code a game competion

As a kid I loved playing the original Vic 20 game so this is my re-imagining of the game for modern computers.

The game features 20 caves each containing 8 gems and lots of nasty rocks that are going to give you more than a bump on the head if you let one fall on you. Rather than the conventional idea of clearing a cave to then be shoved into the next one, like Boulderdash, Rockman was novel in that it had it’s own mini-maze of caves in a map where each cave had exits leading to specific other caves. You would have to backtrack through areas you had already cleared to get to the new caves which meant you had to have a good memory for the layout of the area or draw your own map.

The original game never supplied you with this, so you had to stumble around back and forth until you eventually managed to clear them all. Fortunately I’m not so cruel and you can get a map in this version just by pausing the game. It won’t show you which caves you’ve cleared and which ones are still left, but you do get a rough idea of the layout on each map so you can work out where you are.

A few hopefully interesting bits of trivia about the development of this game:

I started working on Rockman around 3 days after the competition theme had been announced as I wanted to give myself time to really make sure that I knew what I was going to aim for rather than run blindly into something too ambitious like I did with the previous competition. Nobody wants to fail again and I was nowhere near finishing the last competitions game – and that had two extra weeks.

Among the games I was looking at for some inspiration were the following:
Nonterraqueous, Boulderdash, Gauntlet, Pacman, Doodlebug, Rhino and Radar Rat Race.

I’ve already written Boulderdash once with GMS2 – just never released it as it’s not quite finished, so that one was ruled out.

Rhino was a very early Basic game I played again on the Vic 20, which involved trying to reach an exit in a maze while avoiding the Rhino’s that were hunting you. The only snag was the Rhino’s were not visible to you until they had you in a line of sight. A very clever game for the time but I wasn’t sure it would make for a good game now.

Doodlebug was a Pacman clone I enjoyed as a kid but didn’t feel it would bring anything interesting to the maze theme.

I felt Nonterraqueous wouldn’t really work because, even though it was a good game at the time, complete with hundreds of screens, they were all very similar and shooting stuff while moving around them isn’t that engaging these days. Besides, who wants to type Nonterraqueous all the time afterwards when you’re writing about it?

Radar Rat Race almost got decided as a safer idea to match the maze theme and I would have gone with that if Rockman wasn’t considered suitable for entry when I asked at the start of the competition if there would be an issue doing it. Maybe one day I’ll have a crack at that one as well.

As I’d written a Boulderdash remake before, which is very close to the original, gameplay-wise, I thought at first that this would give me a good leg-up in doing Rockman because the idea of collecting diamonds in caves while avoiding rocks is the core dynamic for both. Rockman also doesn’t scroll the screen and relies on exits opening when the level is clear. In the end it actually worked out to be quite a bit more challenging as I had to work out how to do the map layout and the rocks worked differently as well.

I wanted to use the original map designs from the Vic 20 game in mine so the first challenge was working out a good all-round window size and then setting it up so the layouts would be the same with much more detailed graphics. In the end I went with 64*64 pixel for all the gameplay elements apart from the exit doors which are double height or width, depending on which part of the screen they are on. My idea of re-imagining a game does mean that I don’t want to clone it exactly but keep the elements that work really well, and the map layouts actually do because you have to be very careful and think about what you are going to do to move certain rocks, or you end up being forced to restart the level. That will cost you one of your lives for that.

One of the things I realised very early on when I had a basic character moving around clearing earth on the screen was that I wanted to try and improve on the original game and pixel move the character rather than just move in each direction as a character block jump. The Vic 20 never had sprites so, unless you were very clever with with rotational assembly instructions to roll the bits in a byte thus shifting pixels in a character to simulate pixel point movement, you just moved the character one space forward in the screen memory map – which was 8 pixels a block. As the Vic 20 had a very low screen resolution this was glaringly obvious that you did that but 99% of the other games did as well, so it was acceptable. With my Boulderdash remake I did the same thing to emulate the original game but I did it the hard way with this game and it actually changed how you played the game in a big way. Not to mention making it a nightmare to get the rocks movement right at the end of development. More on this later.

Now the original game was hard. Too hard, a lot of people, myself included, thought at the time. The reward on that, however, is it’s brilliant if you can actually nail it. I managed to complete the original game once, probably a couple of years after owning it, and the elation I got from actually doing that was amazing. And that, to me, was because it was so bloody hard. I wanted Rockman to be a tough game for people who wanted it that way but also have a way of playing for people who don’t like things so tough because modern games go that way now. So I gave this a serious amount of thought in development and, after tossing ideas like turning some features on and off, and going for a three skill levels system, I think I achieved that.

Rockman on level one does not have any static skulls on the screen, nor the moving butterflies (who are nasty as hell, even though I slowed them down to a crawl and dumbed down the AI). So what you end up with is basically a puzzle game where you shunt rocks around without distraction (unless you still kept the timer on) to get to all the gems and finish the game. That mode is how I mostly play it and will probably be the most popular. Level 2 has one Skull and one Butterfly to deal with and level 3 is two of each – for the really hardcore players. Another change almost forced upon me by going with the pixel movement was that you could no longer move through earth and support a rock directly above you because it breaks all the rules of common sense now. If I deleted the earth as I moved through it in pixels then it’s going to drop on me now whereas in the original game I’d deleted the earth and was already holding the rock in place with one movement. One of my two testers complained very negatively about me making that change but I resisted the urge to revert it back because it was both too late in the day and because I liked it. Especially when playing without the other gameplay elements as it’s still now a challenge.

Playing Rockman on level One is now a good experience, I think. Even if it does mean all the work I did on the other elements isn’t appreciated. One of the bad things about it, however, is that with no Skulls on screen then you don’t get no cake when the cave is actually cleared. Sacrifices, and all that.

Another thing I didn’t consider much back in the Vic 20 days about the original game was that there was no allowance for unfair map layouts. You could spawn in and literally have a bad guy right next to you on the map so you lost a life unfairly. Also you sometimes had levels where a skull could be positioned in such a crap position that it was impossible to actually finish that level, causing you to throw yet another life. That’s not fair and no game should ever be allowed to get away with that. I realised early on that I couldn’t get away with letting that happen as well but that coding around these situations would be nigh on impossible for me. So I remember another Rockman type game from around ten years ago had a feature where you were given a bit of time on entering a new level to quickly look at the map and decide if you wanted to play it that way or not. If you didn’t like it then you could press the restart key before the countdown finished and it would be redrawn. That seemed an acceptable solution to me so I did the same. Remember that this only changes the position of the Skulls and Butterflies, though, and you still have to contend with the rocks placement where they are.

I didn’t keep any logs of the hours I spent working on this game or blog about it, unlike my previous competition game, Envahi, where I kept detailed records. I was working with a six weeks deadline this time rather than the generous ten weeks I got to work on that one, so I kept focus. I probably worked around 80 hours or so doing this one. I probably worked a couple of hours every couple of nights and had three or four sessions where I spent a morning or afternoon on the weekends. My process was keeping a list of stuff that needed to be done, current bugs and stuff that I could implement if I had time. When it got near to the end of the competition deadline I had only one feature that I ended up not doing which was the cave editor. I was hoping to maybe have a seperate set of maps that the player could play with from a template build so they could put their own exits, gems and rocks down and lay them out in a map format like the built in ones. It’s a shame I couldn’t have kept that because it wouldn’t have been that hard to do.

Towards the end of the work on this game I kept a clear bug list and just considered every item that was on the stuff that needed to be done as a milestone and just whittled them down one by one. When I got to two days to deadline I was down to three milestones left and thought I was on easy street and could finish with a day to spare like Envahi. Then I would have time to set up a decent game page on ItchIO, update my website, blog some stuff, create a PC and Mac build, and still have plenty of time to post my entry on Syntax Bomb for the last day. As always this was not what ended up happening.

Anyone who’s ever written a game will tell you that the last 10% of any game may as well be the last 90% because that’s how much more you actually really have to put in. Something always breaks, other stuff needs to changed to work with the things you’re adding, bugs seem to come up that you’ve never seen before but should have logically been seen and fixed early on, and you always get too ambitious with that “oh, wait. Let me just add this…”

3:30pm on Sunday afternoon I’ve got the last of the graphics for my game and finally have both the playable characters in and working correctly. One of my testers reminds me that the rocks in my game still look like Oreo’s and they are still moving into each others spots and seem to be merging when there’s a few moving around. No problem, I think, because I’ve now just put in the new graphics for these rocks and I’m now down to the last bit of the game to fix, which was sorting out the object code for the rocks to stop this happening. I made a massive mistake in putting this part of the game off until the end because the original code was practically the first bit of work I did for the game and I knew it didn’t work right back then. I knew it was going to be tricky to get it working properly with the pixel movement of objects so I went off and did the rest of the game, meaning to come back to it when I was in a better frame of mind to get it done.

This almost cost me the deadline because I ended up having to recode the entire character movement for the player object and also the Butterflies so that collisions between them all would work better. It doesn’t sound much of a problem at first unless you know a bit about how gamemaker works because I wasn’t using the built in collision system but actual object searches because the whole playfield is built out of objects rather than tiles. So after frantic coding all evening trying to sort out the mess, I actually had the final Mac build not ready until about 11:20 pm. Then I had to copy all the code onto the slowest USB stick ever and fire up the old PC to create a Windows build – as per the competition rules. Of course GameMaker needed to update itself – which on Windows requires a reinstall, and not being able to find my login details because it hadn’t been used for ages.

Rockman finally got uploaded onto Itch and the forum competition post at 11:54pm – Six minutes before the deadline. I honestly thought I was going to miss it when things started going pear-shaped. I hope I never write another game that goes that close to a deadline again.

So, in retrospect, I think this is now the best game I’ve ever written. It’s probably not saying a lot but I am my worst critic so I’m secretly hoping people like it a lot more than what the realist in me is saying. However, I am hugely proud of it, because it was hard work. And I realised fairly early on that it was worth engaging a graphic artist to make it look worth it as well. It’s a competition and, as much as I’d like to win it, I’m not going to but that’s not a bad thing. The competition deadline is what I needed to actually get the game finished and at a level where I thought it was worth entering.

So now I’m looking forward to playing some of the other entries and maybe not coding anything for the next few days 🙂

I hope you all enjoy playing my game as much as I enjoyed creating it. Apart from those last two days. Oh, god, no. Apart from those…


Rockman is released —

I’ve been very quiet last three months because I’ve had my head down working on my GMS2 project files and the latest Syntax Bomb competition. We had six weeks to complete a maze themed game this time and I managed to upload and post Rockman with 6 minutes to spare. Very uncomfortable the final few hours of working on that. Luckily it all came together in the end.

You can download the version I have on ItchIO with the link below. I’m not able to change or fix anything to do with the game until after the competition deadline but, if any problems crop up, then I’ll sort it after that.

https://xerra.itch.io/rockman

Rockman is a re-imagining of the Vic 20 game from 1984. I kept the original maps and the gameplay is very similar but I’ve done many improvements in other areas. I’ve used the same graphics artist who worked on Envahi and Ram for me again.

Let me know what you think.

 


RAM update and moving forward —

Sorry for lack of updates the last few weeks. I was much busier than anticipated both trying to get the game finished, and the additional weekends that I’ve spent away doing stuff like weddings and stag do’s. I’m also just back from a weeks holiday in Spain so I’ve been a while away from the computer recently.

Unfortunately I never got RAM finished in time for the competition this time so I had to pull it out of the event. It was a shame as I’d invested some money into some artwork for it as well as a considerable amount of time in programming hours. I can’t use the project for a future competition as the rules are very clear in that any game I create has to fit the competition theme and something completely written from scratch, so the game is to one-side to finish outside of time dedicated to the next competition if I enter. Which I can’t see me turning down as it’s a good experience writing my own entry and voting on others.

There’s likely to be a couple of weeks or so now before the next one is announced and starts up so I’ll maybe have time to get it done there or use the time to move over some of the new stuff I’ve done in RAM into my framework to maybe save me some time working on the next game. I kept a lot of notes on stuff that I worked on for the game in the project and coded to make it easy to lift the functions more or less intact so it wasn’t a waste of effort, even if I don’t get to showcase it like I did for Envahi.

I didn’t do much on the framework while I was doing the game so it will be handy to get back to fixing some problem areas in that I noticed when I imported the current build to start on RAM. I’ve kept track of the version of the framework each time I’ve used it for a retro project on version 2, RAM used 4 and I used it last night to put together the background project for a remake of my game Infection that I’ll pick up at some point and that’s number 5. All the time I’m working on small games and modifying the framework is improving my coding no end so it’s good to be productive, even if I haven’t quite got the latest game over the line.

So where have I ended up with RAM to date?

Currently the game is at revision 16. The game cards all work fine and are shuffled and dealt correctly. There is some kind of small bug which is moving cards incorrectly to the computer hand at present along with no visual display of the cards in the stash if players draw on the stats and have to play again to win the whole pile. These 2 bugs and problems with the game round counter were left as I went on to finish the front end menus and complete the story before running out of time.

The menu’s and most of the front end stuff is now finished and I had almost finished laying out the story pages into graphics to layout in the game as well as a credits screen to put in similar to how Envahi’s worked. The code is all there to have it working fortunately.

Most of the work that needed to be done was having the play section work based on whatever game mode we were playing and to have the round sequence bug fixed so we could finally actually finish a game.

Looking at my to-do list in the project I still need a coin system for purchasing computer parts – possibly another menu system for this, or just have some buy buttons under the image of each part on a new screen. I need to still replace a few of the computer images that I did a piss-poor editing job with.

Also there needs to be some kind of basic help screen to explain each game mode and the profile save/load stuff code was in but untested until I could finalise what info I needed to actually save in it.

After that it’s mostly presentation stuff such as game completion screen for winning story mode and maybe a different AI system for the baddy of the game, Morpheus.

When it’s written down it’s quite a bit more than I actually think so, in some ways, maybe it’s better that I hadn’t tried to cram it all into 8 weeks of work after all. Realistically the 8 chapter background story to the story mode of the game that you unlock a chapter from each round could have taken all that time on its own – if I’d let it.

When I get back to it I’ll be finishing the core game stuff rather than digressing onto the front end bits as I’m not on a deadline now so can at least give it the time it needs to be done properly.

So I’ve learnt a lesson here about being realistic about what I can actually do when I’m working to a deadline. I’ve kept an hourly log of my work on RAM for all that I’ve done so far and it already far exceeds what I took for Envahi. And this game had only 8 weeks to be completed whereas that game had 10. Next time I intend to put a week into just the game idea and design before I start anything so I’m a lot better prepared and pretty certain I have the time to complete whatever I come up with.

On the plus side of this competition business, Aaron, my partner in coding games, entered this time and did get his game over the line. And, to make it even better, his game, Triss, came in second place. A very worthy achievement. You can download the game from the links on this page or just go to:

Triss by Morpheus

 


Some W.I.P screenshots of RAM – very early so subject to big changes —

Here I’ve got a basic mock up of how the in-game gallery of computers will work – the actual title screen at present due to no menu yet.

Also a couple here where i’m experimenting with gradients on cards – player can select whichever one they like best and I’ll save it to their profile or something.

The font doesn’t work well with the cards so that will change. Additionally there will be options to change the text colour as I can’t account for all the background colours and automatically switch to a suitable text colour for that one. Easier, and much more friendly, to let the player decide. That part will eventually work – at the moment it’s crashing due to some fault in my datatable for the colour macro’s.

 


At the halfway point on RAM. —

First of all, now we’re at the halfway point of the competition, my game has a name. I’ve opted for RAM – something short and to the points. Easy to remember, and you could play around with words based on the acronym. As computer people will know, RAM is an acronym for Random Access Memory – or Rabid Ageing Marshmallows – if you feel like it. I won’t judge you.

So, what started out as 36 cards actually ended up being 48 to-date. I don’t think I’ll put in any more now as I’ve already had some feedback and the images for backgrounds and cards on each one has taken a big chunk of the development time already. As it is I’m also now considering using a scaling system on just the larger images to use on the cards instead of the smaller images because I’m still not happy with them.

As detailed previously, the data setup and loading code is complete – in so much as not adding any more cards. I may have to edit some of the stats once the cards are playing against each other for balancing, but I am currently working on how the cards will look at present, so that’s once the shell game works. The cards and backgrounds looked terrible on first attempt and I’ve changed it so there are gradient effects as the background of the fronts now where the player can choose their own preference as a starting point to improve on this. The game is all about these cards so they have to look ok, even if it does take a bit more time than I would like to get it right. If I have to draw a line to get on with the game then I will need to go back to these before anything else when it’s time to polish up the game a bit.

Of the game menu options I’ve only got the gallery running at present, mainly because the large computers is the only part that’s properly done. The game doesn’t even have a menu at present so just uses the gallery on the title screen for now.

I’ve commissioned an artist to draw the super computer that will be built up in freeplay mode so hopefully will have those graphics by the 14th of June, so I have time to build it into the game. Not sure how this part of the game will work but it will be something like the total points stat turned into currency over 30 rounds of a game.

I’ll try and keep this blog updated weekly for the last four weeks of this games development.

 


New competition, new game —

Syntax Bombs next game coding competition started on May 4th so I’ve had this bank holiday weekend to have a think about what I’d like to do this time. There are three category mixes to go for and the idea is you have to pick one of them and follow both the types of game:

Option 1 : Retro / Strategy
Option 2 : Puzzle / Endless
Option 3 : Arcade / Open World

I had to think about this for a while as I did a retro/arcade game last time which, while not applicable this time, it would be all too easy to just do the same kind of thing again and pick an old game to remake. However, I’ve already been on and on about how I maybe shouldn’t have actually done this last time and gone for something a little more original. Certainly everyone else did and I felt that maybe Envahi might have been looked upon better if it was something truly different.

So I’ve no intention of going with some kind of arcade shooting game, or anything remotely like that, in all honesty. So out of the three options we’ve been given, I pretty much ruled out option 2 almost immediately. A puzzle game isn’t really a puzzle if you can’t complete it, or it goes on endlessly just extending it (is that even viable?). The categories were chosen randomly and that one is a no-brain skip. I’m glad that wasn’t the only option.

Arcade / Open World does not work for me based on my earlier decision and I’m not sure a game to be written in 8 weeks can even be made open world, as you’d have to have a clear end-goal very early on and code to the limitations of the deadline.

So, Retro / Strategy it is. Coming up with a game idea was much easier once I had that set in mind.

I did have an idea of a kind of puzzle game I wanted to recreate as a coincidence before the competition was put in place but I don’t think it would actually impress anyone so I skipped the idea as something to create myself another day, outside of a deadline and any kind of judging.

With a game idea in mind I’ve definitely set my sights high in what I can realistically get done by the submission date. I wanted to use the old home computers from the 80’s as a theme and I always thought doing it with some kind of card game might be the best way. Top Trumps was a core idea to build on, I always thought, so I’m now swinging towards that but with ideas to expand on it to have a game that has several ways to play – including a chapter-based story mode, if I can pull that off.

I don’t think I’m completely there with the whole design as yet so I’ll elaborate on some of the game modes I’m planning in a later update. For now the core mechanism is going to be the four categories of each card and picking what you think is the best stat to capture the opponents card. I’m adding a couple of extra stats onto each card which will be used for other game modes that will mean the strategy to win the game will be different. For example a seperate value stat that obviously bigger is better so you would want to hold that card and perhaps try to lose the cards that have a lower point value deliberately, even if the other stats are good. That part will still need more thinking, however, as a card with any points value is better than losing one altogether, so maybe cards are swapped instead.

Another option will be a good/evil stat on each card. Every one has a number of one type and, if you’re looking to win the game for good, then you really do want to dump the evil cards as soon as you can, and certainly before the number of rounds expires.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been tinkering with the start of a project framework that’s now got the the useful stage, in that it saves a fair bit of time getting a new game up and running. I’m now using this as the start point for the new game – name to be decided although I think I’m set on it now.

The first three days have been accumulating data, such as free wiki images of retro computers, and getting all the data for the four main stats that the cards are going to have. To add to this, there’s a trivia line on each one, and possibly some other information that will be used in the final csv export of this data. I’m obviously using a csv file instead of coding the data within the game as it makes it a lot easier to make adjustments once the actual card code is written and gameplay can be tested.

Yes, it’s really taken 3 days of work before I even started on the game code, there’s so much design work to do for this game. I’ve got an idea of implementing a freeplay mode additionally, which is where the player just plays matches to earn coins and has to save enough  to purchase each part of their own super computer. I might need some graphics work commissioned to be able to get that done, however.

I have until June 30th to get this done and submitted so early days yet…

 


And the winner was … —

Not Envahi, as it turns out, but that was to be expected as the games submitted were excellent.

Third place was a nice little bonus, however, even if it was only because the holder of the competition always discounts the votes on his own game – and his was the winner by far.

I even earned a bit of prize money for the competition result although I won’t be quitting the day job just yet. Full details of the competition can be found here.

 

I’m now waiting on the next competition which runs for 8 weeks starting on May 4th. No Star Wars remakes before anyone comments on the date. The theme is yet to be decided so no idea of what I’ll be doing as yet. I’m spending my coding time working on improving my GameMaker studio 2 framework and tinkering with a retro game idea until then.


Remaking another old game for the hell of it —

I was going to go straight back to the reworked Boulderdash project that I paused to code Envahi but decided to do something else first. The competition which I entered Envahi in has its voting finishing today so it will probably not be too long before the guys at Syntax Bomb start up another one and I’m pretty keen to have another try. As it stands it looks like Envahi has made third place when you discount the site owners own game as it’s only in there for voting and doesn’t count among the prize places. It sounds like a good achievement for a first time entering a competition like this but there were only six entries – and one was actually incomplete so wasn’t voted on by most people.

Anyway, I wanted to do a bit of coding in the meantime until the next competition was announced so I’m tinkering with a retro remake of something that I’ll talk more about if it works out just to test myself on something a little different. I’ve only had a couple of small sessions with it at present and it will be put to one-side if it’s not finished by the time the next competition starts, but it’s something to keep me occupied as I wanted a break from the boulders for a while anyway. I will come back and finally finish Boulderdash soon, though. It’s too far in to leave it shelved forever now.