Blog Archive 2012

[Game Dev] GameMaker:Studio goes Steam!

Saturday, October 06, 2012, 4:10 PM

What a surprise and smart deal from YoYoGames!

Steam, the biggest online portal and community for downloadable games (there are approximately 4 million users online each day) opened their shop for applications just recently.

And those YoYo guys managed to get GameMaker:Studio added to the list of the first few apps that are prominently featured on the Steam website!
Even better they got it added to the Steam Workshop too. This means that GameMaker:Studio owners can upload their games to the Steam Workshop and get them seen and played by several million people! That's just amazing!

You can download the (feature limited) free version of GameMaker:Studio from the Steam store and play all games from the Workshop for free.
Of course you can upgrade your free copy of GameMaker:Studio to the Standard or Professional or Master edition if you want, just as you can do from the YoYoGames website.
But even games created with the free version of GameMaker:Studio can be uploaded to Steam's Workshop!

All customers who bought GameMaker:Studio from YoYoGames directly receive Steam keys to unlock their modules for the Steam version of GameMaker:Studio too. So no additional costs at all but just more features (upload to Workshop, play all Workshop games, sync your stuff with Steam's cloud)!

Pretty cool and hopefully a great marketing move for YoYoGames!

Oh, before I forget: there's a 10% discount on each GameMaker:Studio package on Steam currently, running til 9th of October. So if you want to join the fun of coding games with this great tool now would be a good time to start and jump the boat!

Let's make more games 8-)

Which reminds me that I have some stuff to code! Back to the past is still in porting progress...

[Game Dev] Proper integration of HTML5 games on my site!

Saturday, September 01, 2012, 10:13 PM

I love the GMC and the huge amount of information you can get there. And the smart chaps of YoYoGames too. Mike Dailly just posted an information about properly integrating GameMaker:Studio games into nearly any blog.
And guess what - it's also working for TOWeb!

Have a look over here at my special PenAndPaper game page or use the top menu entry of PenAndPaper in the Games menu.

How cool is that?

Now let me quickly take a few months of vacation and finish some games to place them on my site (or anywhere else and earn tons of money) 8-)

No just kidding, back to real life work on monday - and that's fun too!

[Game Dev] First HTML5 stuff to play around with

Wednesday, August 01, 2012, 9:12 PM

It took some time but finally my reported bug in GameMaker:Studio was fixed. So I uploaded a first version of my rogue like maze generator.

Use the cursor keys to walk around, press Space to generate a new maze.

You can have a play here.

Some feedback or questions are appreciated.


[Games] Steam summer sale - I could resist!

Sunday, July 22, 2012, 10:03 PM

The Steam summer sale is pretty much over and up to now I only bought 3 games:

  • Trine 2, which looks and plays marvelous and their physics engine and lighting stuff is just amazing,
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, because the graphics and music are so much Tim Burton style that I simply could not resist and finally
  • Legend of Grimrock, because I love those old school RPGs. Although I haven't played Dungeon Master from FTL for very long, I played through all old Might and Magic RPGs (up to version 5 or 6) which were pretty similar.

Most of the Indie titles I already owned so they weren't really interesting for me and finally I wasn't interested in all those AAA titles either.
I can't stand WW2 shooters, the only FPS I like is Unreal Tournament and that I play twice a year :-/
No reason to spend money on that kind of games.

I would love to see Magic the Gathering with a reduced price but it already is at 9 Euros so I could afford that anyway...

Thanks Steam and better luck next time (US Thanksgiving or Christmas maybe)...

[Game Dev] Progress with GameMaker:Studio

Sunday, July 22, 2012, 9:58 PM

I worked a bit on my GM:S remake of Back to the past and made some pretty satisfying progress. The basic jump'n'run part is working properly. Also the auto tiling of the platform blocks is working.

Next will be the timing of the animation, not sure if I use the builtin step mechanism (GM:S uses a fixed frame rate, so the update or step logic would be called 30 times a second by default). The other alternative is the newly added delta variable of GM:S which contains the delta value in milliseconds, similar to Slick or other game engines with a time based update loop.

Then I will add the other features (bots, shooting, acid, collectables, exit) one by one.

Overall it's working pretty easy and I will upload a HTML5 alpha version to play around with it very soon. Stay tuned :-)

As a little teaser and proof I added a little screenshot of Back to the past running in a web browser, made with GameMaker:Studio.

[Website] All machines full stop!

Sunday, July 22, 2012, 9:53 PM

A few days ago I sent an email to the TOWeb developer regarding some kind of "dynamic online publishing" similar to Wordpress or Joomla. Because that's the only missing feature of TOWeb that could massively speed up my posting behavior ;-)

To my surprise the developer told me he's already thinking about adding this and other more "dynamic online" features! How cool is that?
I guess I will just wait a little bit longer and continue using TOWeb because it's usage is dead simple and more than comfortable compared to Wordpress or Joomla. AAAND I don't have to convert all or most of the content of my existing site!

[Game Dev] Bugs and fiddling around

Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 3:29 PM

My plan was to publish a first HTML5 alpha version of "Pen and Paper" just to demonstrate the level generation, minimap and wandering around.
Unfortunately I found a GameMaker:Studio bug which breaks the HTML5 build (but works under Windows).
So I'll have to wait until this bug is fixed by YoYoGames. Should be fixed in one or two weeks if they keep their current bugfix release timeline.

To get more used to GameMaker:Studio I started porting of some other games of mine (Back to the past and 10 seconds).
First challenge was the tweening stuff I use for the splash screen of my games. Luckily several topics on the GMC cover tweening and I quickly had a running solution. It's a mixture of Marte's tweening code and some GameMaker approaches. Working fine!

The GUI is another issue, especially for 10 seconds where I used a cool BlitzMax framework that allowed nice movements of complex GUI dialogs and stuff like that. But I'll get that sorted with GameMaker:Studio, I'm pretty confident here.

[Website] Decisions are evolving...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 3:26 PM

My current idea is to make the content of this site available via my "old" domain and move over to Wordpress and redo the website from there.

So I could take my time, get used to Wordpress and rearrange the contents and still add new blog entries faster than before, add mobile support (browsing from your smartphone or tablet) and so on but still allow visitors to read and search my old site.

Right now I just need to organize some stuff beforehand and then get brave enough to do the switch ;-)

[Game Dev] Random level generation working!

Sunday, May 20, 2012, 8:00 PM

After twiddling with several level generation algorithms (and their source code in several different programming languages) I finally settled down with a simple verbose description and coded it all on my own (using GameMaker's builtin GML).

Here's the description:

Divide the map into a grid (Rogue uses 3x3, but any size will work).
Give each grid a flag indicating if it's "connected" or not, and an array of which grid numbers it's connected to.
Pick a random room to start with, and mark it "connected".
While there are unconnected neighbor rooms, connect to one of them, make that the current room, mark it "connected", and repeat.
While there are unconnected rooms, try to connect them to a random connected neighbor (if a room has no connected neighbors yet, just keep cycling, you'll fill out to it eventually).
All rooms are now connected at least once.
Make 0 or more random connections to taste; I find rnd(grid_width) random connections looks good.
Draw the rooms onto the map, and draw a corridor from the center of each room to the center of each connected room, changing wall blocks into corridors. If your rooms fill most or all of the space of the grid, your corridors will very short - just holes in the wall.

You can see an example in the screenshot to the right. Click on it for full size.

That's it for this sunday, have a nice week 8-)

[Website] Changes ahead?

Sunday, May 06, 2012, 9:35 PM

Oh, it's this time of the year again?

Yup, I'm thinking about redoing the website (again). And I'm thinking about switching to Wordpress (again).
We'll see how far I come this time. A local version of Wordpress using XAMPP will be installed on my laptop and I will use that to create and fill the initial Wordpress version of my site.

And as usual I'm afraid there are several reasons against Wordpress but currently I'm really annoyed about the long deployment cycle of TOWeb. For every single article you have to publish the whole site. It's optimized and only updating changed stuff but still... it lasts several minutes until it's done. And I have to start an additional application to write an article (with lots of comfort I must admit) and get it published. It would be so much easier to just use the web browser and write and publish anything just instantly...

I'll have a go with Wordpress on my local machine and depending on the (hopefully quick) progress or not I'll might decide to make the switch. One issue will be trying to keep the old content and (if possible) some of the old static URLs...

You and me will find out.

[Game Dev] Another competition, maybe another game?!

Sunday, May 06, 2012, 9:27 PM

Over at they are having a contest which started 1st of May and ends 2nd of August. It's about creating a RPG. See here for details. The contest is still open for joining (you need to join the forums and announce your intent in the above topic as a comment).

I decided to give it a try, mainly because I always wanted to code a little roguelike game and second because I needed a reason to play around with Game Maker and third because it's a family friendly time span of 3 months.

Although I planned to give libGDX a try I couldn't motivate myself. Instead I downloaded Ludum Dare 23 entries made with Game Maker, I read my two Game Maker books, I browsed the Game Maker forums and updated my Game Maker:Studio beta every time the YoYo Games guys released a new beta.

Sigh. Seems to me like a signal. So without further ado I decided to give in to myself and have fun with Game Maker instead of forcing me to do something I obviously try to avoid for unknown reasons :-/

For the game graphics I have something special in my mind which fits the RPG theme and the roots of RPG: pen and paper ;-)

More details hopefully later!

[Game Dev]Ludum Dare is looong over...

Sunday, May 06, 2012, 9:22 PM

...but there are 1402 games for you to play 8-0
Amazing, isn't it? More than 1400 games created in one weekend! What's even better is that most of the competition entries (not the jam entries which lasted one day longer) come with full source!
So should you ever think about coding games yourself (and honestly, why shouldn't you?) there's a lot of source code to learn from right here!!!

Have fun downloading and browsing the code, learn what you can and improve your knowledge!

Oh, and don't forget to play a game in between ;-) Many of them are really worth it!

I downloaded several Game Maker games to learn from as I intend to give Game Maker Studio a test run. See my post above.

[Game Dev] Ludum Dare weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:35 PM

The next weekend (20th to 23rd of April) is Ludum Dare again. Create a game in 48 hours (72 hours for the jam) with a given theme all on your own.

I'm afraid I won't have enough time to join the competition. So as usual I will spend a few minutes here and there and read the blogs on the Ludum Dare website or watch some time lapse videos or live webcams :-)
On the other hand I don't put myself under too much self made stress trying to create a game under bad conditions...

But maybe YOU want to jump in? It's just a few minutes for registration and off you go!

Have fun on the Ludum Dare competition or have a nice weekend anyway 8-)


[Game Dev] Spriter on Kickstarter and libGDX

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:17 PM

Spriter is a 2D animation tool. It's currently a beta version and looking for funding via Kickstarter. Because it is such a powerful tool, a great idea and a downloadable working beta as proof of concept is also available the funding of the project is already successful (at the time of writing they achieved over 40,000$ while asking for 25,000$)!

I became a backer a few days ago and thought about asking for a libGDX (or indeed any Java) binding. Because in general the magic behind Spriter is just XML files describing the transformation of the separate sprite graphics with some timing/frame information. Nothing every game coder could create in a few weeks except the UI tool of course. A good interface does take time (that's why they are asking for funding, doh!).
But it's not too difficult to create some code that reads and interprets the XML and draws the sprite graphics accordingly. But of course I didn't want to spend the time at all - I just want to use it ;-)

Luckily an implementation already popped up over at the libGDX forums (here).
I think we can assume that even enhancements and extensions of the Spriter XML format will follow in short time frames now that some base code for libGDX already exists.

Now all I need is more spare time and I can create games with my own graphics, animations and music 8-)

[Game Dev] Music creation on the fly...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 8:51 PM

Yesterday I bought gr├╝vtron for my Android. A simple tool to create music and to have tons of fun. I commute an hour every day so I used the time in the train and gave it a little test run. Headphones on and off we go 8-)

The great thing is you can record your life playing! Changing notes, chords, distortion with your fingertips and save it all as a wav file.
A few minutes ago I converted my "demo" track to mp3 format and here it is.

Enjoy a bit (it's not that good but as I said: it's been fun to create :LOL:)...

That sounds like a great option to create music tracks for example for Ludum Dare competition games when you're in a hurry and not talented at all, like me ;-)

One dollar well spent!


[Game Dev] libGDX - how did I miss that one?

Monday, April 09, 2012, 2:59 PM

Just a few days ago I talked with a friend about libGDX. My memories were "some Android lib for Java, also running on the desktop". But now I own an Android cell phone, I love coding games in Java and sharing the same code base for desktop and Android sounds cool (isn't that the reason why I looked at GameMaker:Studio? ;-)).

Additionally I started to follow Mario Zechner, the creator of libGDX, on Twitter. And just recently he announced that libGDX can now also create HTML5 output!

So libGDX offers all the features I want to have plus the coding power of Java! But libGDX contains even more:

  • a 2D scene graph,
  • UI elements for game related GUIs (plus support for TWL and Nifty),
  • particle stuff,
  • tweening functionality,
  • 3D stuff, should I ever want to code a 3D game,
  • physics engine (Box2D) support,
  • device abstraction for settings, files and input handling
  • and more things I simply forgot :LOL:

I'll have a look at libGDX over the next days or weeks and keep you posted! My trial project will be a port of 10 seconds to libGDX!

[Game Dev] GameMaker:Studio and testing on Android

Monday, March 12, 2012, 9:22 PM

It works! It simply works!

So it took me 2 minutes to configure GameMaker:Studio to use my installed Android SDK, my Java JDK and to generate a keystore file for my GameMaker games.

Afterwards I created a little test game (just some bouncing apples in a room enclosed with walls) and hit the "Run" button. GameMaker:Studio started compiling and deployed the game to my Android phone which was running with USB debugging enabled and connected via cable.

Just seconds later I could "play" this little test game. Even changing orientation of my phone worked.

Now that's what I call a great beta test 8-)

Hopefully the YoYo Games guys decide to offer some discount for early adopters - otherwise I'll have to wait a bit longer until I can spend the 200$ for the Android module...

But honestly, this is a pretty cool 2D cross platform development tool. Hats off, YoYo Games!

[Real life] Is this site dead or what???

Sunday, March 11, 2012, 8:04 PM

Nope, obviously it's not. But to be honest, real life kept me busy over the last few months and still does. And some things are simply more important than updating a website ;-)

But today I spent some time and wrote a few things up. Hopefully you won't have to wait this long until the next update!

Have fun,

[Game Dev] Unity for iOS and Android - free for a while

Sunday, March 11, 2012, 8:04 PM

If you want to develop games for Windows, Mac, Web, iOS and Android for free you couldn't do better than to jump over to and get the free version of Unity (including Windows, Mac and Web) and get the base modules for iOS and Android for free!!!
But hurry up, the offer ends at April, 8.

Here is the direct link to the Unity store: Just select the free Unity version plus the two modules and check out. A registration email containing the serial number will be sent to you.

Have fun,

[Game Dev] GameMaker stuff

Sunday, March 11, 2012, 8:03 PM

Last year I told you that I bought GameMaker:HTML to create HTML5 games. I still haven't used it properly but it's on my hard disk 8-)
Recently I got an email invitation to the beta test for GameMaker:Studio.
Basically GameMaker:Studio is the generic version of GameMaker:HTML and it allows you to generate Windows and Mac executables plus HTML5, iOS and Android games if you buy the proper modules.
GameMaker:Studio without modules will cost 99$ and each module will cost 200$ (which is a bit too expensive if you'd ask me).

Luckily all purchasers of the GameMaker:HTML version (currently available for 99$ too) will get GameMaker:Studio plus the HTML5 module for free.
So if you purchase GameMaker:HTML now you'll get the improved version for free plus Mac export (Windows and HTML is already included in GameMaker:HTML).

So currently I'm trying to test the Android code generation which is enabled for a limited period in the GameMaker:Studio beta (but apk generation is not so you have to use debug tools, a wire connected Android phone and so on).

Sounds like a simple (but not cheap) approach to get cross platform 2D game development with a really sophisticated game dev oriented IDE.

Let's see if they keep their pricing ideas :-/

[Game Dev] Slick development

Sunday, March 11, 2012, 7:43 PM

Kev Glass has moved the Slick source repository over to and passed the development responsibility over to several guys that want to help improve Slick.

After some organizing and hickups the team has now started working on fixing bugs and adding features into a develoment branch on bitbucket. The plan is to regularly update the master/default branch with the stable results from the development branch. Currently scheduled time frame is once a month. We'll see how that plan works out ;-)

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