Xerra's Blog

Drunken coder ramblings

Deadline day approaches —

Didn’t realise that it’s been over 3 weeks since the last update on the blog. Luckily the game hasn’t been neglected as well. As the title says, deadline day is fast approaching now for Envahi to be completed and submitted for the competition. Will it be complete by then? I think so. Will it have everything I want it to have in it? Absolutely not. I’ve already been hacking my notes and marking out the parts that must go in and deciding bits that I’m not going to try and put in now as it will take too long – especially as I’ll need to fix any bugs afterwards.

I’m not using any kind of engine or framework for this game apart from a few simple routines that I nicked from Boulderdash, so I’ve done a lot of experimenting to get things working. Most of it has gone well and I’m definitely more setup for whatever I go to work on next, after finishing Boulderdash. But I’m always going to think there could be more in this game – fortunately just polish and stuff like high score table. The game play elements from the original all made the cut and are already present, apart from the dam actually flooding the city. Still need to get that bit done.

Just after my last entry I ended up firing the girl I’d chosen to draw replacement sprites for the game as mine were dreadful. She seemed keen at first but ultimately spent a week doing nothing apart from ignoring my messages or complaining that exams were taking all her time. I sympathised to an extent but she should never have bid and accepted the job if she couldn’t come through – especially as it’s easy work compared to most stuff that gets listed. Luckily the guy I hired to replace her came through very well and he even got some extra work doing a big helicopter for the title screen as well. That work is all done and in the game now and it does make a big difference.

I’ve also had Aaron testing some more and finding some nice bugs that I’d missed completely. I was mostly game complete by the last blog entry but I didn’t count the fact that I had unfinished graphics and no sound as yet. Now the graphics are done I’m solely concentrating on getting all the balancing stuff done. I’ve got to implement progressive level increases, use the city backgrounds I’ve got in the game, especially as I’ve done 2 new ones to replace unsuitables now, and also get the four game levels correct. At present easy is too easy and the other three levels too hard. I actually enjoy playing on suicide level because it’s so quick to play a game which is what I’m aiming for on all the skill levels. I don’t want a game on any level going on too long as it will get boring.

I’ve been tinkering with particles as well because I really want some kind of impact effect on shooting objects that don’t die like the big UFO. I’m hoping to get proficient enough with the editor to get something reasonable in for this during the next week. That with sound effects is going to boost the game appeal by another fifty percent easy, I reckon.

As mentioned earlier, the dam flooding effect still needs to go in. I was playing with an extension I purchased to simulate wave water flooding an open area using a tile effect but I think it’s too slow to be used for this game so I’ll be sticking to my animated tile approach. I also feel it would take too much hacking of code to implement the former as well and I don’t have much of that left now.

On a side note I googled an old game I wrote back in 1994 out of curiosity during the week and actually got a hit on it via YouTube along with another demo project that I’d been looking to turn into a full game. Back then I was 24 years old and just getting started with Amiga Amos so it was fascinating to track down both the old archives from Aminet CD’s to get the games again – even if I lost all the source code disks many years ago. One of the games – Pacman returns – even had a 3 month diary I wrote back then which documented my development of the game. It’s a mess of a document with some lines chopped and full of spelling mistakes but I’ve been attempting to put it all together again and tidy up the text, while preserving the original writing, so I can throw it onto the blog at some point. I’ve got more chance of not losing it for another 25 years then. No luck with the source code, however, as I never gave that away on the disks with the games when I submitted them to a PD library but I wouldn’t be able to probably view it anyway as Amos was a strange language that used it’s own format that doesn’t show in a text editor anyway. Not to mention that the code was terrible for the day. We had no internet, object programming or any kind of manuals to actually do things correctly in those days. It was all trial and error so I was actually quite surprised to see the game running on this guys YouTube video and finding the game was a lot better than I remembered it when I finally finished the thing.

More on that another day as distractions probably aren’t too helpful right now. I’ve got the current game to finish…


Categorised as: Development | Envahi | Game Studio 2 | Syntax Bomb

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