Blog Archive 2009

[Game Dev] Game Maker 8 is out and Game Maker competition 5 announced

Thursday, December 31, 2009, 4:29 PM

Right before Christmas the guys at YoYo Games finished the newest release of Game Maker. It caused some discussions in the community regarding the DRM system - YoYo Games offered to release GM 8 with Softwrap as a DRM solution in the next few days or let all people wait for at least 3 months until they finished their own DRM system...

Anyway, GM 8 is released with Softwrap, I bought it for 25$, installed it and it worked just fine on my Windows 7. No problems with Softwrap at all.

The new GM 8 got some new features like runtime speed enhancements, an improved sprite editor, an improved code editor with code completion and syntax highlighting, some new functions, bug fixes and finally they now support transparency from image information (like from .png files) and don't rely on the color of the bottom left pixel any more...

Additionally they announced a new Game Maker competition running until end of march where people have to code a game that could run on a handheld!

Limititations are on screen resolution (PSP size), input (only cursor keys, one action key and ESC) and capabilities (no external DLLs, no registry usage, no unsupported sound formats, etc.).

On the home page they show the loading screen of Game Maker 8 on a PSP and Sandy, CEO of Yoyo Games, mentions in their blog that the winner programs might be shown on a handheld machine. And the Game Maker runtime was recoded in C++ recently, so maybe they got it ported to some handheld?

Sounds pretty good ;-)

And the competition itself sounds tempting...

...if only I had more spare time...

...I guess I'll skip this competition...

...and just try to finish They Come and fiddle around with GM once in a while. And I still have Unity that I wanted to play around with...

Things. Take. Time.

[Game Dev] They come is coming along...

Thursday, December 31, 2009, 4:24 PM

Against all my assumptions I was productive during my holidays and got some tricky problems solved and continued with my game. Nearly all game elements are in now and working as expected. I will add the remaining elements (two to be precise) in the next few days and then it's time for the eye catchers: ship and nebula generation, particle effects and so on, intelligent game cursor (showing what you can do), menus and things like that.

The last big hurdle will be the automated space fight between the humans and aliens. All those laser beams and flying and attacking space ships will be complicated, I'm afraid. We'll see.

First screenshots will be up as soon as the nebula and ship generators are working :-)

[Game Dev] No progress at all...but Windows 7 runs on my laptop

Monday, December 07, 2009, 10:02 PM

Sorry to tell you but the last two weeks were pretty intense. Work and appointments overwhelmed me so I had no energy left for game coding...
Let's see what the next two weeks before Christmas will bring regarding game coding time. I fear stagnation. But Christmas vacation is ahead :-)

On a side note: I managed to install Windows 7 on my laptop yesterday. It took around three hours to upgrade my "old" Vista to Windows 7. Because I bought my laptop in September I got the Windows 7 upgrade for around 20 Euro from Acer. That's pretty okay.

First impressions:

  • not faster,
  • not very different,
  • my additional task bar on the left (for my frequent tools and programs) is gone and as the web tells me it seems like I won't get it back :-( Does anyone have a good recommendation for a replacement?


[Game Dev] Asteroids and planets and routes and advisors...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 11:32 PM

The game logic of They Come is progressing more and more. Next hurdle is to detect if planets are connected with other planets via space routes. Should be some simple recursive method to find out 8-) But I'll leave that task for an evening where I have more energy.
Tonight I added unpassable asteroid fields.

There are still some logic elements missing (scientist laboratories and their effects on the player's attack and defence values and the population rate, space rogues and their hideout, the vortex where the aliens are passing through into mankind's part of the galaxy) but that should only take a handful of evenings.
Then it's time to think about the second part of the game - the (automated) end fight between humans and aliens.

If that is somewhat done it's generation time and I will finally start to code all the procedural generation of space backgrounds, planet textures, human and alien space ships, asteroids, satellites and so on.

Another huge part will be some balanced generation of campaigns, scenarios and space maps - right now it's just one "test map" with "everything possible in it".

Finally it's about time to start the GUI stuff like menus, option screens and so on. Eye candy using TimelineFX is another must have.

I don't know yet how to deal with sound and music. sfxr will most likely be the weapon of choice for all beeps, zaps, whoops and booms. I'm not sure about the music. Either I'm choosing one of the million available songs from the internet (of course asking the author for permission as usual) or I'll try what I can get out of my Magix Music Maker 2006. I just ordered the premium version for 20 Euros from Pearl.

Reading all this I'm afraid They Come will keep me occupied for a long part of 2010 :LOL:

The big advantage is:

  • it's fun
  • and I can create a game just the way I want it to be!


[Game Dev] PlayBasic competition time again - Casual Creations!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 11:49 PM

Although I'm currently not using PlayBasic to code games I'm still reading their forums once in a while.
I was happy to find out that Kevin Picone, mastermind of PlayBasic, started another competition- Casual Creations: this time it's all about mini games inside a bigger game :-)

I loved the idea and reading Kevin's suggestions a nice game idea popped into my mind! But I decided that I wouldn't join this competition. The time frame is too short (it ends 20th of December) and definitely the worst time of the year (too close to christmas). Usually these days are filled with appointments to the max - at least in my little family...

But anyway, I think the theme is great, PlayBasic is cool to code games with and previous winners / contestants get some penalties so "newbies" are welcome and have a very good chance to win a prize!

And as usual the prizes are pretty good (100$ cash for first prize isn't bad)!

So if you have the game idea, some spare time left and want to show what PlayBasic can do, jump over to the competition page and register (first time that registration is required before the compo ends!).

[Real life] Sniff, sniff, cough, cough

Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 11:28 PM

Last week I got a cold and was sick Thursday to Sunday. Of course over the weekend. And of course especially on Friday where our IT department had some special extra super duper outdoor event with huge trucks and quad bikes on some trial course. Damn it! And I was so looking forward to this :-(

Now I'm still coughing a bit but overall feeling much better compared to last week.

[Game Dev] There is some more functionality

Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 9:43 PM

They Come is growing bit by bit. I can discover the map with a moving rotating ship, followers are added to my fleet (although the fleet is not yet drawn) and space routes between planets can be built.

The whole underlying system is working pretty good and the design of the classes seems to fit my requirements for the game.

I already got the basics for advisors in. This means that you can find or hire advisors during the game play which will join you for a few levels and give you some boni. A working dummy or default advisor is already built in and working and different advisors can now be added easily.
Of course it's all done by code now but my aim is to load advisor configurations from XML or INI files 8-)

The last few days I also had another look at the RetroRemakes Framework which is a wonderful open source framework for BlitzMax to create 2D games easily.
It contains many helpful classes (something similar to GameStates, a ProjectionMatrix to support automatic scaling of your game in higher resolutions, of course some fixed rate game logic code with tweening, a messaging system for cool object interaction, virtual game pads for input and more!) and looks really promising. Yesterday I even got TimelineFX working inside the framework so I could use the best of both worlds!

Let's see if I'll use the combination of both for They Come...

[Game Dev] More free game development tools

Sunday, November 08, 2009, 9:14 PM

Crazy times ahead! The Unreal 3D toolkit is available for free for non-commercial stuff too. And also the Game Creators released a version of their DarkBasic which is free too (but seems to come with an adverts window in their IDE).

I don't provide links because I'm not interested in those tools but you will find it with Google's help :-)

Seems like it's currently not only a problem to finish a game at all (which is already difficult enough) but you are flooded with great tools to start your games with...

The biggest disadvantage of having so many free (or even cheap) tools to create games is that you don't invest enough time to learn one tool good enough to finish a game. But many times you are distracted by a new tool and start your game all over again (been there, done that) or dump your current game in development and start a new one...

Do you remember those days when you bought a home computer where you had exactly one high level language (some Basic dialect) and the only other option was the Assembler language of the builtin CPU :LOL:
No other choice! Take it or leave it! Code a game with what you have! What you have is what you code ;-)

Now back to my game (I'm progressing well with the game logic) or back to Torchlight - just a few more levels down :LOL:

[Games] Torchlight

Thursday, October 29, 2009, 9:11 PM

Need a new action RPG in the style of Fate or Diablo? Only have 20$ to spend? Go and buy Torchlight!

Made by the key players behind Fate, Diablo 1 and 2 and Mythos and Hellgate:London. Those guys created Runic Games and developed Torchlight in 18 months!

The game is available for Windows right now on Steam and their own website!

You can download a level editor shortly and it's designed to be customizable and moddable to the max. The multiplayer version will be based on this single player version and will be released in around two years - can you wait so long?

Have fun slashing and bashing monsters as a barbarian, a huntress or a magician! Go get it now :LOL:

[Game Dev] Unity for everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009, 9:06 PM

The creators of Unity have decided to make their indie version (formerly 200$) available for free!

That's pretty cool as Unity allows you to create 3D games that run in a web browser, on Windows and Mac. You'll need the Pro version (1500$) to create your games also for Wii and iPhone.

Have a look, I certainly will download that great looking piece of software and give it a try by walking through their 3D platformer tutorial!

Great times for game developers 8-)

[Game Dev] Move it, baby!

Thursday, October 29, 2009, 9:02 PM

My player ship is moving and rotating on the playing area nicely. I can discover planets and uncover the playing area tile by tile. Currently I'm progressing nicely and have fun creating the game mechanics. It's still too early for a screenshot - I can't show those colored circles with text info above them to anybody than me ;-)

[Game Dev] They will come. But not this fast...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 5:15 PM

Nearly four weeks without an update? I've been pretty busy lately. In my spare time I did some stuff at my house (fixed a lot of things, built some parts, rearranged rooms and so on). And at work we're preparing a huge migration...

But I still found some minutes to work on They Come. My own framework is coming along nicely. I added game states (like main title, game over screen, the real game screen and so on) and got them already working. I have a first working version of a random campaign/scenario/map generator and the first rendering is also working.
The class hierarchy is mostly done so now it's time to add the game logic itself.
This will be one of the more complicated parts. The second brain twister will be the procedural content generation. My idea is to generate the space background, the planets, all ships (tons of different ones), satellites and asteroids completely procedural. I will use some templates which will be randomly modified to create the different shapes for space ships, satellites and asteroids. Planets will get randomly generated textures colored with randomly generated color gradients. For the space background I will port my space nebulae implementation from PlayBasic to BlitzMax.

Can't wait to proceed with the game :-)

[Game Dev] Do they come?

Saturday, September 19, 2009, 5:50 PM

Last week I started to code a new version of They Come using BlitzMax and TimelineFX and the included tween based framework.
It' coming along pretty good. As usual I don't find this much time to really work on the game - just a bit here and a bit there.

But that's fine.

Right now I'm sitting in my garden, laptop on my knees and I enjoy the evening sun and one of the last warm september days :-)

Even cooler, using WLAN, I can upload my site in just a minute still sitting in the garden ! Life is great 8-)

[Website] Search engine finally working!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009, 10:41 PM

It took me a while but finally I got it! ToWeb requires either a hidden unique tag at the title of each paragraph to make the whole paragraph searchable or it needs a list of keywords for each paragraph that are searched :-/

Although my understanding of a built in search engine is that it searches my complete web site content without any further work from my side the developer(s) of ToWeb won't change current behavior.

So I sat down and tagged each single paragraph of my website (or nearly each one - let's say most of the paragraphs).

I hope it helps you to find some old content hidden in some blog archive or on some sub sub sub page! At least it's not too much work to continue the tagging of new paragraphs - from now on I only need to tag new paragraphs which only takes a moment...

Happy searching,

[Game Dev] Some nice readings regarding BlitzMax

Sunday, September 06, 2009, 10:17 PM

If you're not constantly following the BlitzMax scene you might have missed a new online magazine featuring BlitzMax: it's BlitzMAX coder!

The magazine features a lot of news, tutorials, interviews, post mortems and more. If you are just a little bit interested in BlitzMax and game development with it you should visit the site, read the first two editions and maybe give some feedback!

[Real life] Back home...

Sunday, September 06, 2009, 9:26 PM

Unfortunately summer vacation is over and I'm back home. We spent two nice weeks close to the Baltic Sea and had lots of fun!
Again we also went to Billund in Denmark and visited Legoland - expensive as always but also enjoyable as always :LOL:

Because my development PC slowly turns into our family computer I decided it would be time for a new development machine just for me, myself and I!
And because I wanted to be able to have my new PC always with me whenever I want to I decided to buy a laptop machine.

Laptops that can be used for a bit of gaming in between are terribly expensive and kill every family budget so I had to make a compromise: affordable but able to allow me to play UT2004 or Heroes of Might and Magic 5.

And just over the weekend I saw my laptop in a advertisement in our weekly paper spam pile. Guess what? I bought it on monday :LOL:

It's an Acer Aspire 7738G with a wide screen display (1600x900), 4 GB of RAM, 640 GB hard disk and a NVIDIA Geforce GT240M which is easily capable of playing UT2004 in full resolution with all details on maximum 8-) Happy fragging :-)

And of course I can do some game development too on this machine. I'm slowly getting back to speed.

[Website] Some cosmetic changes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 10:50 PM

I got bored of the vertical menu so you all have to live with the new horizontal menu on the top of each page for a while until I'm fed up again :LOL:
The color theme also changed a bit - I removed the blue colored backgrounds for the page and paragraph titles. I'm not sure if I'll keep it but let's get used to it for a while.

Feel free to tell me if you prefer a vertical menu bar on the left side or a horizontal menu bar. You could use the comment functionality for your feedback. Or not.

Changing the visual appearance of your website is pretty easy with ToWeb - but as usual the real challenge is to get a bearable visual appearance at least :-/

I doubt that I'm good at it...

[Game Dev] No progress at all but I don't care ;-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 1:04 AM

Of course I bought TimelineFX and had to work through the tutorial so I didn't proceed with the second part of my shooter tutorial :LOL: But I had quite some fun working through the tutorials of TimelineFX. It's a really great tool (although I miss some 'Random effect' button) and the "Making a game from start to finish" tutorial helps a lot to get used to all the features. Additionally the BlitzMax module that comes with it for free is a great start for a "fixed rate logic plus tweening" game loop as explained in my top down shooter tutorial. It contains all required classes and offers a lot of builtin functionality (like automatic movement based on angle and speed).

Give it a try if you're a BlitzMax owner and user.

The rest of the nights I spent playing Titan's Quest 8-) It's a great looking Diablo clone with a cool 3D engine and a nice greek mythology story line and tough enemies. Must kill that cyclopse!

So after playing all night long (again) time for bed is overdue! See you next time, g'night!


[Game Dev] Tutorial with bullets and enemies and stuff

Monday, July 13, 2009, 11:35 PM

Next step for the second part of my top down shooter tutorial. You can read the instructions and download the source code for a version of my TDS that allows you to shoot approaching enemies. Hoho!

As soon as time allows I will continue the tutorial with some sounds, some kind of level progressing, some more polishing and so on.

So stay tuned, give feedback and have fun!

[Game Dev] Tutorial progress and new tool

Sunday, July 12, 2009, 8:41 PM

The second part of the top down shooter tutorial is growing now! I added the first paragraphs and if I can focus some more I'll add the rest. The weekend was exhausting so I didn't find much time and writing a tutorial is always a very special thing:

  • there is the urge to continue or finish it
  • and then there's the constant lack of proper words to describe what's in your mind :-/

Additionally I am currently playing around with TimelineFX, a cool particle editor and engine. You can either save created effects and load them in your BlitzMax code and play them (of course using a fixed time step loop - remember what I told you in my tutorial) or you can generate animation sequence images which you can load with any game development tool and just play them with your animated sprite routines that are available everywhere!

Just go to the TimelineFX web site and look at the videos that show what gorgeous effects you can create or download the sample game Vaders which is a nice bullet hell Space Invaders clone. The background clouds and the lightning flashes are great and every bullet or powerup is an effect built with TimelineFX! You even get the BlitzMax source code to see how easy it is to use the particle engine/module!

Eye candy to the max (or better BlitzMax :LOL:) - great stuff!

[Game Dev] Enemies, collision and everything

Thursday, July 09, 2009, 11:56 PM

Updating the top down shooter tutorial is over due now! I added animated enemies and collision detection so we nearly have a shooter! The background color is currently very ugly but I needed a non black background to see the enemies' animation better...

Okay, I'll stop coding now and continue the tutorial. Hang on :LOL:

[Real life] Work overload...

Thursday, July 09, 2009, 11:49 PM

Last weekend my company had one of it's biggest internal software releases ever! Our main system (a billing system) and nearly every satellite system were replaced, updated, modified and enhanced. So the downtime started Wednesday evening and we worked 4 days including Saturday and weekend for the IT this time. I mainly worked on the backend system for our customer portal, created with Webservices deployed via annotations inside EJB 3 session beans, Spring, Hibernate and Sun's Glassfish application server below.
Key user test was Sunday morning and around 6 pm we decided to go live! It all went pretty smooth and right now on day 4 after release there are nearly no critical issues left. I think we can be pretty proud on ourselves! That was a great job we did!

But currently I'm really tired and in the need of a good weekend without any work stuff, just barbecue, some beer, happy kids and my wonderful wife ;-)

[Real life] Stars on 45...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 9:49 PM

Still not a star but at least I reached the 45. Hooray :-/
And the headline proofs that I'm really that old...if you do remember that old (and terrible!) song you're at least as old as me - or you're younger and your taste of music is just bad :LOL:

I think I will start to lie about my age in game developer forums from now on otherwise all the other guys/girls start calling me Pop or Grandpa and want to talk to my kids instead of me :LOL:

Anyway, I'm feeling good, I had a great birthday and I'm looking forward to the next 45 birthdays!

Have a nice day too!

[Game Dev] First bullets but no blood!

Monday, June 22, 2009, 11:26 PM

Bullets are flying across the screen! Most time consuming task was to create a gradient circle from white to transparent that I could use for the bullet images :-/
If I could just use one graphics program well enough...

Looks like I'll have to update my top down shooter tutorial again to explain the code and provide some new zip file for a download...

Enjoy the image to the right for the time being ;-)

[Website] TOWeb V3 is available!

Monday, June 22, 2009, 10:40 PM

Oh happy day, just two days before my birthday the ToWeb people released the new version 3!

And what nice features they have included 8-0

  • tons of graphical gizmos you can do with your website's style and layout,
  • search engine enhancements to get more hits on your site,
  • more effects for images,
  • comments for blogs (YES! Finally!),
  • captchas,
  • so called i-Services for blogs, forms and mailing lists using server side PHP (used for the blog comments for example) including a builtin backup solution,
  • support of Google free services like Google AdSense, Google Analytics, Google Diagnostics and more,
  • builtin search engine is improved
  • and much more :LOL:

Only disadvantage is the update fee - but hey, nothing as good and simple to handle like this tool is for free...

You'll see what I can use for this site in the next time 8-)

[Game Dev] Fiddling around

Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 9:55 PM

It's been a pretty busy week and it doesn't seem to get better this week. So I've been fiddling around with several things :LOL:

  • I read through the Flixel forums and thought about Flash game development and its pros and cons,
  • I (again) had a look at PulpCore which is a nice Java rendering and animation framework to code cool looking Java applets. It's pretty fast and due to it's own built in renderer it enables sexy blend modes, fast scaling and rotating and more. Indeed it's Java applets looking like Flash games - only simpler to code for me as I can code Java even while asleep 8-)
  • Bullets for my BlitzMax top down shooter tutorial. The TBullet class is nearly done, I mainly need to add code to the TPlayer class to allow shooting and then it only requires a bit of debugging I guess to get it working. Pretty straight forward and not too complicated.
  • TimelineFX: Particles for BlitzMax! It's a particle editor and a framework to play them back in your game code. Those little videos on the website look gorgeous - but 30 pounds is a bit too expensive for me right now...
  • website creation tools: seems to be my usual time of the year and I'm looking around if there are better tools to help me create and update my website.
  1. I had a look at Textpattern which is a nice CMS, PHP and MySQL driven (as usual). Looks simple with some templates and plugins. Not as huge as Wordpress or Serendipity and with a nice builtin online text editor where you can add text in a Wiki style, similar to my current tool TOWeb.
  2. Another tool I looked at was Incomedia's Website X5 which works similar to TOWeb. It's a Windows application that allows you to generate your website mainly offline. The one advantage (IMHO) is the blog of Website X5. That's an online blog comparable to Wordpress and others which allows online administration and online content addition. So you can feed your blog from any browser anywhere (but not the rest of the website of course). I'm not quite sure if your website's stylesheet is also valid for the blog and if your blog page can be the starting page of your website. Will investigate further. There's a pretty big community active in their forums which is good. But they also detect a lot of bugs which is daunting...

Overall I think I'll stay with TOWeb for another while and hope that the next release with Blog comments will come soon :-)


[Game Dev] Flash game development?

Sunday, June 07, 2009, 10:18 PM

Friday night I had a quick look at Flash for game development.
I downloaded the free Flex SDK from Adobe, followed by FlashDevelop which is a nice (Windows only) free IDE for Flash development and also some Adobe Flash player debug versions.

Finally I downloaded Flixel which is a nice little library to help you creating Flash games.

Only half an hour later I got everything installed and setup (just follow the tutorials on the FlashDevelop and Flixel sites) and I successfully compiled the demo game of Flixel!

Pretty cool I must admit.

Don't know if I will continue the Flash way some day - it was just a nice little experience seeing that it was pretty easy to get everything working.
But of course Flash's main problems are still valid:

  • it's slow compared to native compiled games (like BlitzMax or PlayBasic or C++) or JIT environments (like Java),
  • it does not support HW acceleration (at least I've never heard about it) and thus lacks all the eye candy.

Advantages are:

  • ActionScript 3 looks cool and is a real OO language,
  • FlashDevelop looks like a nice powerful IDE (which is free!),
  • coding platform independent games that run in an ubiquitous environment (a Flash player is installed in nearly any browser around the world).

I think it's pretty good for simple games but not for all ideas that jump around in my brain. So I'd better get back to improve my BlitzMax coding and finish my first BlitzMax game first 8-)


[Game Dev] First part of BlitzMax tutorial finished!

Sunday, June 07, 2009, 10:13 PM

I declare the first part of my top down shooter tutorial for BlitzMax finished. Feedback, suggestions and enhancements are highly appreciated!
The next part of the tutorial will cover bullets, enemies and sound effects. I will begin with it in the next few days I hope :LOL:

[Game Dev] Bits and pieces added to the tutorial

Monday, June 01, 2009, 10:13 PM

Some more paragraphs made it to the top down shooter tutorial. I added code for the TPlayer type and it's explanation and also added the modified main loop code. Finally you can download the first part of the tutorial at the bottom of the page.

Coding the game is so much faster than explaining it :LOL:

[Game Dev] First refactorings of the tutorial

Monday, May 25, 2009, 10:11 PM

After reading the tutorial for several times now (proof reading while adding new content) I detected what was nagging me all the time. I didn't like the implementation of the TFRLTimer class. The main class in it's main loop had constant access to some fields of the TFRLTimer and even modified them!
This breaks many OO rules of course. So I just had to refactor the class. And while I was at it I also added some FPS code to show the amount of logic update calls and render calls per second. I inserted a refactoring paragraph into the tutorial before starting to explain the new classes TCoordinate, TGameElement and TPlayer.

Have fun reading the enhanced top down shooter tutorial :-)

[Game Dev] I'm spinning!

Monday, May 18, 2009, 11:18 PM

The top down shooter tutorial is progressing nicely! I got the first new classes coded (TCoordinate, TGameElement and TPlayer) so that I now have a rotating turret that follows my mouse pointer 8-0

It's time to get the explanation and the source code of those classes into the tutorial! It might also be a good idea to prepare some zip archives to download the interim versions of the source in case the readers can't follow my explanations and mess up their own local source code...

By the way, the graphics I'm using are all my own programmer's art created with PhotoImpact :-(
If you are graphically talented feel free to throw some graphics for a top down shooter at me - you will of course be mentioned and credited wherever possible in the tutorial 8-)

[Website] More changes

Sunday, May 17, 2009, 10:20 PM

How do you like my game logos on the right?
Took me around an hour to create them with the help of PhotoImpact and The Logo Creator. They are far from perfect but I'm satisfied enough to keep them :LOL:

I also added the built in search engine of TOWeb to a panel frame on the right. Give it a try. I still need to feed more keywords to my pages and their paragraphs but it's a nice feature to use.

And just for fun (and because TOWeb includes several sets) I switched to some different smilies ;-)

[Website] A bit of a new look

Monday, May 11, 2009, 11:21 PM

I played around with my current theme. Hope you like it ;-)

One thing I also want to do is to create some graphics teasers to promote my own games a little bit with nice images on the panels on the right side.
I'm playing around with The Logo Creator which is a nice piece of software to create some cool looking logos. They also have another software The Web Graphics Creator to design 3D eBook covers. But that's a bit tricky to use - and I'm no artist at all :-/

But sooner than later I present my first results here - you have been warned!

[Game Dev] Some more work on the tutorial

Monday, May 11, 2009, 11:17 PM

I added some more paragraphs and also fixed and enhanced the first ones of my BlitzMax top down shooter tutorial. So if you want you can read them all over ;-)
Feedback is highly appreciated as usual!

[Game Dev] Started with the tutorial

Wednesday, May 06, 2009, 10:58 PM

I put the first paragraphs of the BlitzMax tutorial online. Have a read and maybe give me some feedback.

[Game Dev] Another tutorial is in the works!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 10:44 PM

Recently I've been kindly asked if I could do a BlitzMax tutorial (greetings to Leon ;-)). We quickly agreed on some simple game to be created in the tutorial.
It will be some kind of top down shooter where the player controls a rotating turret in the center of the screen and has to shoot different enemies that approach him from all sides.
The game gets more and more difficult by raising the speed of the enemies, introducing different enemies that take more hits and so on.
As it shouldn't be too hard to code that and pretty good to introduce some OO and other nice features of BlitzMax I decided to give it a go 8-)

You can follow the progress here.

[Game Dev] Just another screenshot

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 8:57 PM

Just added this paragraph to show you another generated cave to see that it's really randomly generated ;-)

The basic idea of the algorithm is the usage of a so called midpoint displacement. The sea bed requires one curve, each cave requires two randomly generated curves, one for the ceiling and one for the ground. Not too complicated...

[Game Dev] Scuba Dive progress

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 8:45 PM

So the first version of the cave algorithm is working. I think you can pretty easily see how it's generating the sea bed and the caves :LOL:
I'm not yet satisfied with the current results but it's a start.
Some fine tuning is definitely required to make all areas of the caves explorable. But I'll get there.

Next big task will be to fill the solid areas with different sized rocks. I have no idea yet how to get there. One aim is to assure that the algorithm uses many of the different sized rocks and leaves no visible gaps...but how do I tell the algo which rock sizes are available and which rock to choose or not. Especially if only a certain sized area is free and needs to be filled with a rock.

I think I need some thinking time when I'm awake - too complicated for late night codings 8-)

Feel free to contact me if you got a nice idea for the algorithm!

[Game Dev] More playing with BlitzMax

Tuesday, February 03, 2009, 9:40 PM

Whoa! More than four weeks without an update of this site! This is a good indicator how busy I'm currently.

But still I found a few minutes once in a while to have a more detailed look at BlitzMax. I started implementing my Scuba Dive map generation algorithm with BlitzMax which is a nice little exercise to get used to the new language and IDE.

I'm progressing as expected which means steady but slow ;-)

Maybe I can show some screenshot with the next post. Let's see...


[Game Dev] New toy to play with

Friday, January 02, 2009, 10:47 PM

One of my christmas presents was a license of BlitzMax. For several years I avoided it like a hot potato for some unknown reason. But recently I was in one of my moods again - you know: fed up with the current tools, looking for some new, shiny tool to play with ;-)
As usual my criteria for a satisfying game development environment were the same as they have been for several years now:

  • must have OO,
  • must not be C++ (I hate .h files and their declaration / definition bullshit, I hate operator overloading, I hate missing a reflection framework),
  • must be able to generate an executable with all required libraries and without additional runtime downloads (like Java JRE or .net),
  • preferably multi platform (Windows, Mac OS and Linux)

Slick is Java based so people require Java to play games created with it. I've got complaints that people won't download and play SpiderTrap just because it requires Java and is not available as a zip file containing some .exe to double click 8-0

And PlayBasic misses OO features (or to be more precise I miss OO features in PlayBasic) and it is not multi platform.

So what about BlitzMax now?

  • OO? Yes. It does have classes (named types), knows inheritance, static fields and methods (named globals and functions), instance fields and methods, there is some reflection functionality, there are abstract classes and methods and more stuff. Compared to Java and C# it still misses a lot of OO features but what is there is sufficient enough to comfortably code games in it without missing too much. Check.
  • Not C++? Check :LOL: It's some Basic dialect with a syntax looking like a mixture between Java/C# and Pascal and several other languages.
  • Generate executables? Yes, BlitzMax is a full compiler language which can create executables, dlls and modules (add on modules for BlitzMax itself). You can even include media files and other required resource files into the executable using the incbin command! Check!
  • Multi platform? Yup. Windows, Mac OS and Linux are all supported. Check.
  • Graphics: 2D only, but native OpenGL if you want and DirectX under Windows. The 3D module is going to be released as open source under some LGPL or BSD license! Additional Check!

So there must be some cons, right?

  • The price. 80 bucks are 80 bucks and as I have to pay taxes in Germany for a digital download it's pretty close to 80 Euros! Ouch!
  • The IDE. I paid additional 15 Euros to get a proper IDE that covers most of my needs (BLIde).

Anyway, I'm giving it a try and currently fiddle around with some game ideas and a nice little framework (Retroremakes framework).

Feel free to contact me if you want to know more - at least I am happy right now :LOL:


[Real life] A happy new year!

Friday, January 02, 2009, 10:44 PM

I know I'm one day late. But do you care?

All the best to all of you for 2009!


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