Blog Archive 2007

[Real life] Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007, 11:34 PM

Just wanted to wish a merry christmas and a happy new year to all of you! I hope you got lots of presents, endless amounts of tasty food and have fun with your families and friends ;-)

I got some nice presents including the second addon of "Heroes of Might and Magic 5" which is still my favorite computer game!
The most enjoyable part is to play a nice hot seat team game with my daughter. We started with HOMM 1 when she was five or six years old and now still play HOMM 5 while she got eighteen this month!

Have a fine christmas time, talk to you next year :LOL:

Love and peace,

[Game Dev] Everything on hold for a while...

Friday, December 14, 2007, 10:39 PM

Currently life kicks really bad...
With sick kids, birthdays, christmas ahead and private issues here and there I don't find the energy to code after work.
Hard to admit and even harder to live but that's life.

So there will be no progress on They Come for a while. I'll keep you posted here as soon as I find some time to get back to it...


[Game Dev] CB and XML

Sunday, November 11, 2007, 8:17 PM

The last few days I spent my little rare time to model some game elements for They Come. You can have a look at the Cosmic Blobs - 3D stuff page.

Additionally I modified my RessourceManager class to use XML configuration files to simplify ressource changes or allow mods of my games later on. For They Come I started to create XML loader code for the Scenario (a single game of 80 mouse clicks) and the Campaign (5 to 10 scenarios, haven't decided the absolute number yet) classes. All pretty straightforward. Kev's source code of Slick is very helpful here.

But overall progress is not as fast as hoped - as usual :-/
Seems to be the general problem of a spare time game coder: Real life doesn't match a dreamer's expectations...

[Real life] I'm sick.

Sunday, November 11, 2007, 8:14 PM

Got me a small cold. Snort. Cough.
Felt bad yesterday and last night but getting better today. I'm thinking about some medical whiskey tonight ;-)
No, just kidding, tea should do fine.

[Game Dev] I'll give up...

Thursday, October 25, 2007, 7:42 PM

developing games with Game Maker...
I fiddled around with it for the last two weeks and got - nowhere!

As much appealing and tempting and promising Game Maker appears to me I can't get things done :-(
It's not the general design of Game Maker (sprites, objects, rooms, a bit of drag and drop) but it's the way I start with game coding.

I come up with ideas and want to sculpt them in classes and objects. Of course I also design some classes which are purely data containers or stateful objects (like scenarios and campaigns in my current game). And you simply can't design pure non-visual elements with Game Maker. At least not if they are to persist across several "rooms". You have to use simple lists and arrays or queues of numbers and strings. And code scripts are global, not class related...

So to keep a long story short: I'm back to Java and Slick :LOL:

And you won't believe it: I'm progressing nicely and feel happy and comfortable in that environment ;-)

Lesson learned: It doesn't help to like/adore/admire a gamedev environment if it doesn't fit you. I should have known from experience - I failed with SpiderTrap and Game Maker and now I failed again with "They Come".

So expect some webstartable demo of They Come in the future. And I'm also considering downloadable zip files for those Webstart haters/ignorers.

That's it for now,

[Game Dev] They come!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007, 9:23 PM

Right. I started coding again - slowly but surely the next game starts to evolve.
The last weeks were pretty busy with my job for "the man" and real life meaning sick kids, appointments and stuff.
So I couldn't get my ass from the couch and get started with the next game titled "They come!".
What I did was reading all of the internet (twice) in general and looking for some graphic style and tools to choose for "They come!".
For now (and you know it might change any minute!) I decided to use a simple cute style similar to the SpaceCute stuff from DanC over at LostGarden.
Those graphics can be drawn with a vector graphics program like Inkscape(which is cool and free).

But to get started I'll use simple dummy graphics like circles and rectangles - so no fancy screenshots for a while :-(

As mentioned before I will give GameMaker another chance/try.

What I don't like about GameMaker are the millions of kiddies that try to create the next MMORPG with it - they have to learn so much :LOL:

What I do like about GameMaker are the thousands of "source code" examples to learn from - that's the advantage of having a huge community! I just read on the yoyogames glog (a Games blog...) that they have 3000 (in words: three thousand) downloads of GameMaker each day!
Oh, what I also like about GameMaker are the (rare) good game creators who do great stuff with this tool.

If you are in the mood for gaming give some of them a try:

  • PugFugly's games are great: Return to Sector 9 and Pyramid are impressive!
  • Cactus' games are somewhat bizarre but interesting: I really like Fractal Fighter!
  • Iteration games are the games of JPH Wacheski - just cool! My favorite still is "Forward Always Forward".

There are tons of other cool GameMaker games - you could just check some of them out at the Yoyo Games homepage. Recently they even added a browser plugin to get instant play in the browser - no download hassle with zips or installers. It's just a simple "click" and you're in the game!

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted how I'm doing with my new game ;-)

[Game Dev] SpiderTrap 1.2 is out!

Monday, September 24, 2007, 10:29 PM

Phew! It's done! SpiderTrap version 1.2 is finished! Click the link to the right to get your latest dose of spider nightmare 8-)

It took me a few attempts to get it online...

  • first my new Eclipse 3.3 installation forgot about ftp, so I reinstalled the ftp targets for Ant,
  • then the Options screen didn't keep the setting for skipping tutorials for the current game (but it saved it properly...),
  • finally the "game save" code threw an exception because I simplified the code too much. Creating the same muffin over and over again only works locally in the file system but not for a webstart application...

But now it's done and you should be able to enjoy SpiderTrap as much as I do.

Some final words: You might need to clear the webstart cache to get the latest version work properly (the desktop icon for example under Windows points to a specific version of SpiderTrap in the webstart cache - this is of course outdated after webstart updates to the newest version...).

Anyway, have fun with it!

On to the next game,

[Game Dev] Not yet...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 11:22 PM

Currently I can't motivate myself to finish SpiderTrap - let's see how the weekend goes. Code needs just a final test...

The last few days I've been tinkering again with Game Maker. I guess I'll give it another try with my next game, "They Come". It doesn't help, doesn't it? If my brain can't stop circling around this game creation tool why should I try to resist?

In the end the only reason I try to create some games is to have fun, personal satisfaction and more fun and that's pretty much it! I make games to mainly please me and that won't change unless I'm trying to make some money out of them.

So Game Maker is it for the next game. And Mac users, don't worry! Yoyogames just recently announced a Mac version of Game Maker, see here!

Time for a sleep now.


[Game Dev] New release of SpiderTrap is near!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007, 10:07 PM

I didn't have much time to work on SpiderTrap 1.2 but it was enough. Saving and restoring a game is in and so is saving and loading the game options.

Now I just want to add a few levels to give you more reasons to download the newest release. So stay tuned!

Website reworks

Tuesday, September 04, 2007, 9:58 PM

As you can see, I used the new feature of TOWeb - submenus. Just move your mouse over to the "Games" menu entry to the left.
Now you can jump directly to the game page you want to see. I like that :-)

[Game Dev] Mojo is back!

Thursday, August 30, 2007, 9:56 PM

Finally back to coding. I installed the current JDK and Eclipse 3.3 and fired up my SpiderTrap project. I made some progress on the "save game" issue so that you can later leave the game at any time and resume it at the beginning of the level you just left. Of course you'll keep your score, energy, level and difficulty setting.

[Game Dev] What next?

Saturday, August 25, 2007, 9:34 PM

I still want to finish SpiderTrap. Planned and already started tasks are adding the save/resume game feature and maybe add a few levels. Just need to find some spare minutes and a bit of energy for coding...

And then up to the next game.

I'm already in the preparation stage - I used the vacation to write down some notes about the next game named "They Come". It will be a strategy game similar to Oasis. But it will use a completely different theme (SciFi), it will have different mechanics and so on. It's just similar.

This time I will try to create all graphics by myself - space ships, asteroids, space stations, planets and so on. If I fail I will contact Cinfa again ;-)

Just like in SpiderTrap the graphics will be 3D objects rendered to 2D sprites.

[Real life] Vacation is over...

Saturday, August 25, 2007, 9:06 PM

...and so I'm back to work. Project at work is now in crunch mode - which means most of the coding is done and we are in the middle of the testing phase including performance tests and security checks. Pretty exhausting.

This is of course a good reason to take game coding a bit easier - I just can't force myself to coding after working for 9 or 10 hours for "the man"...

I plan to restructure this site a tiny bit. I want people to get faster to the finished games so the "Games" page will change.

And I'm thinking about adding the current game dev blog to this blog - so I thought about just tagging the paragraph titles. Should work painlessly.


Hardcore refactoring

Monday, July 30, 2007, 10:52 PM

What is that you might ask?

Well, I refactored parts of our house the last weekend. Luckily my brother is a master carpenter and he did most of the work and I was nothing but the best educated apprentice he ever had 8-)

We started on friday morning (I took a day off) and replaced the large kitchen window (160x130 cm) and the large window in my son's room (same size) with newer windows. The old ones were half broken and their heat loss was just too bad as they were so old.

Of course they were difficult to remove (our house is 65 years old...) but we managed both windows and additional outside blinds for both windows until 4:00 pm (we started at 8:30 am).

Afterwards we fixed some broken or loose tiles in our two bathrooms and finished around 9:00 pm.

Time for a few whiskeys before bed time :-)

On saturday we started at 9:00 am and replaced some wood panels on our outbuilding with some weather resistant formica like plates. And fixed some parts of the outbuilding roof. And replaced a window handle with a lockable one. And remounted the toilet in the one bathroom were we fixed the tiles. And sealed the bath tub, the windows and some corners with silicone.

At 3:30 pm we shouted "finished!" and enjoyed a good cup of coffee.

Afterwards I counted so many hurting muscles, bones and joins - I'm sure no human body has this many - I'm a wimp :-/

No energy left for game coding...

The Dalai Lama was in Hamburg

Monday, July 30, 2007, 10:40 PM

...and I saw him there. Me and my wife spent the weekend of 21./22. of July in Hamburg in the tennis arena at the Rothenbaumchaussee and joined 20,000 other people who came to meet the Dalai Lama.

What an impressive person! Wise, calm and funny - all in one person ;-)

I am no buddhist but I like the idea of compassion for other beings. The theme for the weekend was "peace and to live peace". Very interesting.

But of course no game coding happened. But I don't regret and because of compassion you shouldn't be angry with me but be happy that I enjoyed a wonderful and sunny weekend with thousands of happy people :LOL:

SpiderTrap is done - again!

Sunday, July 15, 2007, 9:15 PM

Due to the feedback I received I created a version 1.1 of SpiderTrap ;-)

What has changed?

  • I added 4 tutorial levels with explaining messages what to do,
  • now it is configurable for each laboratory if spiders can drop eggs and if active spiders can wake up stunned spiders,
  • the time until a spider drops an egg is increased (random between 30-40 seconds),
  • some levels were simplified,
  • a special Webstart file for certain MacOS configurations was added,
  • adding the icon on your desktop was fixed.

You might need to refresh your webstart cache to get the newest version ("javaws -uninstall SpiderTrap" or "javaws -uninstall").


SpiderTrap is done!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 10:00 PM

It's over! I declare SpiderTrap done. Jump over to the Games section to read the minimal instructions and use any Webstart link on the site to get the final version of the game!

Thanks again to Cinfa, who did a great job providing me with graphics for the game!

I will only apply bug fixes to the game if people find any :LOL:

So now it's time to relax for a while and then target the next if I could stop...


What game next?

Friday, July 06, 2007, 10:42 PM

While I'm fixing the Slick music volume issue I already started thinking about my next game...

Currently I have some ideas:

  • a remake of the old Star Trek games (WinTrek for example) but more dynamic like a space shooter plus some added features like trading, mining on planets, collecting ressources from asteroids and so on,
  • a remake of Scuba Dive, this time with Slick of course, but that would require a good graphics artist (I need to bribe Cinfa for this :LOL:),
  • a remake of Oasis, some cool coffee break strategy game, but with a complete different theme and some different game play mechanics,
  • a roguelike game like Ularn, Nethack or ADOM.

But I'm open for suggestions ;-)

Work, work, hard work

Friday, July 06, 2007, 10:11 PM

Yup, that's mainly it: Work & family business. Only exciting thing was visiting a restaurant on monday evening with a friend who is a high tech gadget freak. After the meal and while sipping Guinness beer we played with his current gizmo (a Palm Treo mobile phone PDA thingy). Impressive! One day when I'm rich I'll buy me such a gadget to get a PDA and a mobile phone in one. Maybe with TV connection, 250 GB hard disk, WLAN and all this ;-)

I added some minor things to SpiderTrap but currently a "bug" in Slick is stopping the next public beta release of SpiderTrap. Sigh. So you'll have to wait.

Birthdays and celebrations and RSS feeds

Friday, June 29, 2007, 9:42 PM

So my birthday is over - and it was great! A nice surprise midnight party with some friends and some bottles of red wine and a nice birthday with the family (walking at the river Elbe, having dinner in some restaurant, ice cream in the evening - just fine).

And yesterday we celebrated my wife's birthday which was also fun.

What else? Oh yes, more than 1000 visitors on my website! What are you doing here?

Wondering ;-)

Oh and before I forget: not much news on SpiderTrap... only little progress...

But now you can get some RSS feeds from my site - currently from the Blog / Home and from the SpiderTrap dev blog. Use the little RSS icon on the page footers of the two pages to subscribe. Enjoy!

Another birthday ahead!

Saturday, June 23, 2007, 8:36 PM

So tomorrow I'm officially 43. Seems I don't mind. ;-)
Depending on the situation I feel like being 12, 17, or 25. Or without any specific age. I can live with that.

SpiderTrap is currently in "fixing" mode. More about that on the SpiderTrap dev blog.

TOWeb and SpiderTrap changes...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007, 8:54 PM

I found a graphics artist for SpiderTrap. So expect a graphical experience in the next few days (really!). More on the SpiderTrap page.

And then TOWeb V.2.0 was released. Pretty cool new features like RSS feeds, full influence on themes (not just the random theme generator), Smilies support, user support, forms support and much more.

I couldn't resist and upgraded (30% discount for existing users!). Although I hoped that some of the new features/improvements would make it into a 1.x version or that a new 2.0 version would be free for existing users - it didn't happen :-(

But I believe in Indie developers (I still dream to become one when I resigned :-)) so I think my upgrade money is well spent. And this TOWeb developer(s) over at Lauyan are very responsive and helpful - they are more than worth the money!

Busy busy busy

Tuesday, June 05, 2007, 10:57 PM

Work is pretty occupying the last few weeks. Fortunately I took three days off this weekend with my wife
No work, no kids, just a huge apartment in some hotel (for the price of a double bed room), the baltic sea 10 meters away and a lot of money spent just to feel well

Hop over to my SpiderTrap page to find a link to play the beta version of the game!

See if you can see me...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 10:37 PM

The TV show was fun

We got free drinks (without alcohol!), friendly people who organized everything, the usual comedians to warm up the audience and a moderator in a very good mood.
The seats were terrible and the moderator's microphone died several times during the show.

They recorded two shows in one go and faked a day in between in 5 minutes
The two candidates (remember, it was a quiz show) had to redress in those 5 minutes to look different and the audience (we) had to change seats. For some strange reason the moderator did not change suit/shirt/hair style/whatever

Anyway, you can see those two recorded shows in german TV on ARD, 14th and 15th of June at 19:20.
I'll try to record them and see if I can detect myself (I doubt it, they nearly never show the audience...).

Ooh, before I forget, SpiderTrap progressed well last week.

I'll be on TV (or not)

Sunday, May 13, 2007, 11:05 PM

Tomorrow I will join the recording of a german TV quiz show (luckily I'm only part of the audience). It's my first time I can have a look at how those TV shows are done. Should be pretty disenchanting

I made a lot of progress on SpiderTrap, you will like it!

Less than a week this time!

Monday, May 07, 2007, 9:37 PM

Nothing important to tell you, except some progress with SpiderTrap. I think you should look

Only a week and a day!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007, 12:02 AM

Improving my statistics again
Lot of traveling (two confirmations of niece and nephew on the last two weekends) and work to do - but I still found some time for game coding and web browsing.
Tom Meeks made a nice tutorial for CB Model Pro and created a Star Wars like looking space helmet in 10 minutes. Have a look here!
I worked on SpiderTrap and finished the guardians. Go see!
And finally I managed to finish the first campaign in Heroes Of Might And Magic V! Now on with the next campaign - I will start playing in a few minutes after I finished updating my website.
I guess it will be a long night tonight

It's been a long time...

Monday, April 23, 2007, 11:25 PM

A month without update. Oops. Didn't realize it was *this* long!
So what's up?
I coded a bit on SpiderTrap, I modeled a bit with Cosmic Blobs and I spent long hours on the internet and wasted my time

Still beeeep

Thursday, March 22, 2007, 11:26 PM

The tinnitus is still there. So I will start to look around what can be done against it...

Some progress on SpiderTrap and I started a new topic about 3D modeling, Cosmic Blobs - 3D stuff.

Bad beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep...

Thursday, March 15, 2007, 8:25 PM

Damned! I had an acute hearing loss (german Hörsturz) and now have an annoying tinnitus!
So I am sick at home, getting daily infusions at the doctor's and I'm really upset.

My two sons also have ear infections and take their daily dose of medicine.

And my wife is leaving tomorrow noon for a weekend course until Sunday night.

Sounds perfect, doesn't it?

No fun

Some news

Sunday, March 04, 2007, 6:01 PM

I managed to create a blog archive with TOWeb - although a bit manual work was required it was painless and fast.
You can read here how I did it.

I also added a ticker preview of Game Giveaway of the Day.
On their web site you can download the full version of a new shareware game each day!
You have 24 hours to download, install and activate the game. You don't get updates or support - but hey, it's for free. And they offer some nice games. I got "Master of Defense" for free, which was rated strategy game of the year 2006 over at

Nearly no work on SpiderTrap, but I improved some things in Slick which help me to fine tune the levels in SpiderTrap.

Slick and me

Kevin Glass of Slick fame asked for developers to help him improve Slick. Guess what? I asked and was chosen. So now I am a official spare time living room coder for Slick. Yippieh!

My little middle son is sick - amygdalitis. Of course he needs to take antibiotics for the next 10 days . Sick kids are no fun at all...
To the german visitors: Isn't it fun to look for those medical terms on

Oh, and have a look at the SpiderTrap blog - I got the explosions working! They look great!

So much going on...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 9:44 PM

I don't even find the time to post to this blog...

Oops, did you realize? The blog is the start page now! I think that makes more sense.

I also added a nice little shortcut panel to the right to quickly guide you to some areas that I think are worth a look.

Last week I had a 5 day workshop learning the magic of Spring, Hibernate and JSF - frameworks we will use in our next project at work - that was so cool! Now how could I use Spring in games? Naaah, just kidding

Whisky tasting

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 11:20 PM

On Friday evening I enjoyed a wonderful whisky tasting including 9 great whiskies and a six-course-meal! That was just wonderful!

My friend and team mate Thomas organized the tasting including a photo slide show with a beamer and some lectures on whisky production, storage and history. You could have a look at Thomas' home page to learn more about his whisky obsession

Thomas, thank you for this great Friday night!

No news are good news?

Monday, February 05, 2007, 10:09 PM

Pretty much true for the last few days / weeks. Nothing dramatic happened. Life is stable, no sick kids. So it's just the normal crazyness of a big family (is 5 persons already a big family?).

I even found some moments to work on SpiderTrap. Wanna read?

My wife is currently on a Hugh Jackman trip so I saw many Jackman movies in the last weeks (Kate and Leopold, Van Helsing, Password Swordfish) except the X-Men series...
Luckily in Van Helsing is lovely Kate Beckinsale and in Password Swordfish you can see Halle Berry topless - that's worth the movies. The hacker thing in PS is just crap - exactly the way a movie director imagines a hacker: computer geek words out of context, 9 monitors on a megasize desk and 3D animated user interface and some UNIX shell window in between! Hahahaha, ROTFLMAO!

I was always here...

Friday, January 19, 2007, 10:46 PM

...but there wasn't much to tell.
The birthday of my little middle son is over (he's 10 now!). It was a great stone age birthday party where we created a bullroarer (german: Schwirrholz) which was used in the past to communicate with the gods. We also learned how stone age people made fire (by using a flint and fool's gold to get longer lasting sparks which were then able to fire the tinder which we kept in a shell. With the tinder we managed to light some grass/wool/sticks).
We also created tools (knife, drill) from flints to work on our bullroarer. Cool stuff!
If you want to have such a birthday party and you live around Elmshorn or Hamburg go here: Living stone age

The rest of last weekend we spent with my sick little boy who had a otitis media - very painful and very tiring for all the family
Gladly that's over as he's now getting antibiotics...

To read about my minor SpiderTrap progress go to the SpiderTrap page.

Feeling better - time to go back to work...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007, 11:06 PM

Today is my last day of vacation. Too bad. So it's early wake up time tomorrow morning again. Yawn. Another yawn. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

My cold is leaving me which is great. I'm still coughing once in a while and my nose is dripping at the worst moments you can imagine...

Tonight I worked a bit on SpiderTrap so hop over if you are interested...

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