Xerra's Blog

Drunken coder ramblings

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 enoughΒ  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.

 


Evahi’s development timeline —

Over the last ten weeks I worked on Envahi to submit for a game coding competition on www.syntaxbomb.co.uk

Most of the guys who submitted entries made a seperate post about their games in a showroom forum so as not to clutter the voting thread. I did one too and posted the following message which I’m reposting here as there’s a huge amount of insight into what happened during and after nailing down the final bugs and releasing it. No need to repeat myself and type it all again.


Envahi is now released and available via ItchIO as my entry for competition 4.

You can download and look at it from this link: https://xerra.itch.io/envahi

Voting is in the competition thread but I’m interested in any and all feedback regarding the game. I kept a sporadic development diary of the process when I was creating Envahi at http://blog.xerra.co.uk/ for anyone who’s interested. It’s most of the topic of the last ten weeks as I shelved an almost complete remake of Boulderdash that I was developing at the time to enter the competition as I felt doing something to a deadline would give me some much needed focus. It worked very well it turns out.

I intend to talk a bit about the development process and about the game in this thread and, like the other guys who’ve entered, thought it would be best to keep that out of the actual voting or competition entry threads.

While working on Envahi I kept a reasonably accurate log of working hours in various areas which I will explore a bit later. I started working on the game on the 30th January, 2018 – which was the competition start date. I already had the idea in my head for remaking this game, but I hadn’t planned on starting it any time soon. However, because the theme of the competition was Movies/TV I decided to bring it to the front and use this as my project basing it on the theme of Airwolf and Dambusters. In retrospect they’re pretty loose links as I’ve basically just gone and made the remake I wanted to make and just made sure that I could get a decent copy of the Airwolf music in. I think I’ve paid the price for this – more on that later.

I developed the game using GameMaker Studio 2 – which I initially had concerns that judging wouldn’t be allowed for a dev system like this when other people were doing all their code in text editors. There was one objection but the rules of the competition were made clear that making a game is about making a game, not how you actually do it, and what tools you use. I dread to think how many lines of code I still had to use in Envahi as it’s difficult to track without breaking it all out of the objects system – but there is a lot. The GML language – part of GameMaker is used for most of the work regardless of it being a complete development system. The advantages are not having to do stuff like set up graphic screens and backgrounds with code a lot of the time, as you can drag and drop them into rooms. It doesn’t make it that much easier, I assure you.

I finished the game on the 8th of April, 2018 – which was 2 days before the end date of the competition. I was very chuffed that I still had a little time to spare. It wasn’t the end of the process, however, because I had to get some kind of instructions written up, get the project onto my crappy Windows laptop because I had to have a PC version or I’d lose out on the biggest user base, and do some screenshots etc. All that stuff took me most of the evening of the 9th before I finally got my game entry posted here in the competition thread.

One further point I would make clear – not for any defensive reason – is that Envahi is my first completed game using this system. I’ve written many games before using BlitzMax, Amos, Swift and all sorts of other languages since the early 80’s but it was a great learning curve for future projects from working on this. So, whatever the result of the competition, I’ve still gained a huge amount, so I’m very happy I entered. I do, however, suspect that I was wrong to choose remaking a retro game for a competition which is theme specific. In retrospect I would probably come up with something original to make and left the remakes for my own gratification to work on seperately.

This competition, while being a little short on entries, has had some very clever, original titles, so judging has been pretty tough for everyone so far. My game isn’t original or very clever at all so, while it would appeal to the guys who like having a quick blast, a lot of people are going to vote for the better, more creative games. I have learnt a lesson from this πŸ™‚

So, as I touched upon earlier, I did keep a working hours log that I’ve put into Excel to get an idea of how many hours I put into the game. The results shocked me as I was convinced I’d been more productive. I had six categories that I labelled for working time as follows:

Code – self explanatory. This is the grunt work. All the scripting, bug testing, events set up and the core of the game.

Refactoring. This is moving code around, borrowing snippets and routines from other stuff I’d half written. I could use some code from my unfinished Boulderdash remake and from a couple of other projects I’d half started putting together.

Research. This was mostly hunting around looking for stuff. I did a lot of playing of the original game again, watched some videos to track the bits that I didn’t see because I was concentrating on the game etc. I even bought the original Vic 20 game on Ebay so I could look at the instructions inlay. I also count the time I spent investigating the use of tilemaps for the game and locating stuff like the music.

Graphics. Again, this seems obvious, but I purchased some assets for this game and even ended up employing two freelancers to work on the sprites and the big helicopter you can see with the other screeenshots. The time here is for me putting images into sprite sheets, editing photo’s to remove backdrops so they worked with the sky colours etc. I put in and ripped out a lot of images that were originally planned for the game. Longer sprite animations and originally drew my own sprites – which were terrible. Coming into this game I was very poor at working with graphics at all. I’m now a lot better at it but I still can’t draw for toffee. I would use freelancers again even if it does mean I’m out of pocket because you take a bit more pride if your graphics look ok. I’m very much in the minority it does appear on the graphics for Envahi, however. I like them but there’s quite a few voters who didn’t. I will definitely take a lot more input on this next time.

Sound. All the sound effects in the game were created by me using BFXer. I’d never used it for so many effects before but, again, it looks like I could have done better with this.

Writing. Mostly blog posts about what I’ve been doing – and pretty irregular they ended up. Not a bad thing, in some ways, as I needed to get on with the actual game but I think I could have made more time, judging by the totals below.

Code – 71.05 hours.
Refactoring – 1.5 hours.
Research – 4.75 hours.
Graphics – 16.5 hours.
Sound – 2.0 hours.
Writing 3.75 hours.

Total development time was 99.55 hours. I was absolutely convinced I’d put in a lot more than this until I did the count.

Another shocking statistic was looking at my date entries so I could work out what kind of slacking gaps I had. The first two weeks I put in hours for almost every single day. After 17th February I didn’t do any work on the game again until 3rd March – that’s around 3 weeks off. Whatever was I thinking there?

And then I had 3 days work which was 4th, 10th, 16th of March. Almost a week off between each day. I don’t even remember this but I know I was pretty accurate with the logging.

I worked on the 21st March and then didn’t come back until the 30th although, in my defence, I put in the serious slog then and was coding every day until completion on the 8th of April.

In total, despite having 10 weeks to finish the game, I could have put my head down and got it done in 5. Or, as I should really be looking at it, I could have worked steady for the entire 10 weeks on the game and made it much, much better. I’ve never tracked stuff like this when working on a game before but you can bet I certainly will be doing so from now on. Another valuable lesson learned.

About the game itself:

Envahi came out in 1983 and was written for the Vic 20 +8K expansion. It was written by a chap called Jeremy Walker and, like the Virgin games of the day used to have, had a little bio about himself in the cassette inlay. In those days authors of games were more well known than now. I don’t recall ever seeing his name on another game, however.

The game itself puts you in charge of a futuristic helicopter that is tasked with protecting a city and a dam that’s been built right next to it from an unending alien invasion.

There are Nibblers who move across the screen from right to left , trying to bite chunks out of the dam wall.

Also present is an indestructible UFO that moves Right to left and back again at the top of the screen. He’s there to launch Droppers.

These Droppers move randomly left and right while falling, and have the sole aim of reaching the city so they can “Invade” it.

The Zoomer intermittently comes into play and will “Zoom” right and left between the edge of the screen and the dam wall, dropping down a little each time. If this guy reaches the city then it’s “Invasion” yet again.

You also have clouds appear randomly that drop bursts of acid rain. These clouds can be shot if you can shoot a path through the acid.

Finally there’s the Grabber. His sole purpose is to launch down the screen and grab you so he can take you off screen. Once he does then the game goes into warp mode where you can do nothing but wait while the aliens do there thing.

If you let the Nibblers eat through the dam then you’re going to need an umbrella. Your city, however, is going to have a much worse time of it.

Players helicopter can only shoot up, and there’s no scrolling, so you’re moving around lots of shifting aliens which makes a pretty challenging game. Every minute the difficulty increases too – which probably doesn’t help.

The final thing to take note of is that both your helicopter and the city have their own shields. Too much acid rain hitting the city and it’s going to get destroyed. And the same fate befalls you if your shield depletes too. Sometimes it’s a more than viable tactic to use your helicopter to absorb large bursts of the rain to save the city, if your shield is greater. Especially if the offending cloud is behind a UFO as that enemy being indestructible will protect the cloud while it’s in range.

That’s pretty much it apart from the usual three lives are given and you get an extra every 5000 points. Harder skill levels (there are four) will give you greater points so playing suicide is much more rewarding for the high score – as long as you can hack the pace. Additionally the game will save your high score, level selection and sound settings for the next time you play.

Two more things I will talk about which I have been doing since the launch of the game. Getting visibility was pretty important to me so I’ll explain some of the things I did for that but first here’s some analytics data I’ve got about the project from ItchIO where the game is hosted. I’m sure this stuff is boring to most people so I’m just going to highlight five bits of info that I found interesting after the game has been online for four days.

Downloads 20. Most of these will be from people trying the game for the competition.

Views 100. So i’ve got a download rate of 20% from people looking at the game. Again, misleading, because a lot of people went there specifically to download the game anyway.

Impressions 517. I’m not sure what this actually relates to but it’s a high number so I like it πŸ™‚

Ratings 2. It’s a well known fact that nobody bothers rating stuff they download much. I wouldn’t expect many people to rate the game. One of these ratings came from my friend, for example. Both ratings have been 5, though, which is nice.

Purchases 0. Not unexpected as it’s a free game. People can donate if they want to but I wouldn’t have expected that for this game.

To finish off here’s some things I did to try and get my game some visibility. I’m no marketing guy but I’ve made games before and talked to a lot of people who do it for a living, so I was curious to see how much I could do with no budget and no financial motive.

Tweeted about the game to my followers. I think i have around 100, or so. Probably most of them are women from abroad looking for potential husbands so I wouldn’t expect much joy there. I do have some game dev friends, however, but they are, totally understandably, all about pushing their own games, and I wouldn’t ask them to retweet for a free game. Retweets obviously amounted to zero.

Posted on Facebook about me finishing the game on my own status at first. I then also pushed out a post in the a dedicated page for GameMaker Studio users. That got me around 20 likes and a few comments. You can’t tell how many downloads came from Facebook but the analytics screen of ItchIO does tell you how many of your page visitors came from Facebook itself. It is currently holding around 30% of the visits so far – the most by far.

I already had a you tube video up of a gameplay from the middle of development on my own youtube channel which I posted here on Syntaxbomb in the competition discussion thread. I put a post on there to say the game is now complete. I then also searched for every video of the vic 20 original that’s up there (3 as I recall) and put in a comment to say I’d made my own remake.

After this I searched out the wiki page for game remakes and created an account so I could put my remake in. There was only one other Vic 20 game in there, Gridrunner, I think.

I sent a message to the freelancer who did my graphics and also the author of the theme music saying I had now finished my game and they can look at the result if they wished. Both did and liked it. I made it clear that I’m very happy for both of them to use the game as an advert for their work in any way they wish, should they want to. No idea if they will, and I wouldn’t push it, but it could help.

I have a blog site and my website so both sites now host the game. I ensure I link to the ItchIO download rather than host it myself because: analytics, baby.

Any relevant forum signatures now have a link to the game and I put a note in my normal email signature to state that the game is available to download too. You never know who you might email next.

I checked for a showcase forum for my development system and put Envahi up there too.

As mentioned earlier, I’m primarily a Mac user but I have a Windows laptop specifically for building games for PC because I know that there’s more PC’s than Mac’s out there and I don’t want to get no votes just because someone couldn’t play the game.

A couple of quick points about ItchIO. When you list your games up there then fill in as much info as you can. And by this I do mean get the right size images that are optional uploads so that there’s a chance your game goes into the browsing window. I found the search function on the site didn’t even find my game, only the direct link worked, until I did that part. You also have an option to use tags for your game when you submit it. Use these. I tagged mine Helicopter, Overrun, Remake, Vic 20, Retro game, Competition etc. I know i’ve had hits from those as I got a follow from someone who specifically hunts out retro games and sent me a nice tweet as well.

Hope this has given you all some insight into doing something like this. And I hope even more that the next competition will encourage even more of you to submit your own entries as well. Because , believe me, if I can make a game and do all this on the back of it, then anyone can. Good luck to all the guys who submitted entries πŸ™‚


Envahi is finished —

After a marathon coding session over Saturday and Sunday I finally got the game finished. It’s not perfect but it’s still a great pick-up game considering I sacrificed a few things at the end to make the deadline.

Most of the time on Sunday was spent tracking down some real pain-in-the-butt bugs from new stuff I put in on the Saturday to replace the text box notifications that I’d been using until now for events. Due to the way the game state was written and my extremely stupid management of the project with the number of objects, it really was a job adding in new stuff and getting it working with stuff already there. By the time I closed off on the code and fixed the last bug, it was something like 02:30 am and I had to be up in four hours for work. I wasn’t very useful yesterday, that’s for sure.

Learning from this, future games I write will be a lot more thought out because I had the same problem with Boulderdash which, while mostly finished, I made a tentative start a few weeks back on reworking most of the code at the same time as switching to an objects system due to the AI problems.

Monday I spent some time getting a PC build together on my crappy laptop which involved all sorts of visual studio fiddling but eventually the project was uploaded on ItchIO – as you can see from the link above. The widget will take you to the page if you want to play the final game.

We’ll see how it does in the competition in a week or so…


2 more days —

Not going to write too much here as I am literally at the final crunch now with Envahi. It’s early Sunday morning and the game needs to be completed, hosted somewhere and will need final builds for both Mac and PC.

Spent a lot of time over the last week strictly whittling down the list of stuff to do as well as pushing through the stuff that I decided absolutely had to go into the game. Stuff that has been sacrificed includes a day/night mode, high score table, a few presentation aspects and the use of the other music track. I was worried it might come back and haunt me as I had nobody to get approval for using the track.

What has gone in though is as follows. I’ve long-since stopped adding anything new to the list of stuff that goes into the game.

Dam breaking and flooding city has been done.

All the graphic work has been done. The last part of this was putting in the game over and new life animations which were time consuming but I needed to have the transitions in the game to break it up a bit.

Music system has been put in for in-game and a set of retro loops (8 seconds each one) have been purchased and implemented randomly. Gameplay uses 8 of them or so and certain ones kick in at different events such as being grabbed, game over, new life and so on.

Sound effects have been put in. These don’t make your ears bleed – unlike the original Boulderdash effects according to Aaron πŸ™‚

All the city backgrounds are in and working. I don’t have them as a level increase system yet but that’s still on the list to push through.

All sorts of other stuff to replace the temporary code like all the text messages that were there for key game events. I’ve still got some tidying up to do with all this but I’m mostly done now.

Strobing effects for key information sentences work finally. Harder than it sounds to get that right.

So, what’s still to get done?

I won’t bore you with a bugs list so it’s mainly just the balancing now and a couple of minor bugs to fix. I also have a bug with the splash screen that’s driving me nuts but I’ll code round that if I have to just to get the game done.

2 days to go. Crosses fingers.