SpiderTrap Development blog

My first and unfinished Game Maker game is now my first and finally finished Slick game!

As you may have read in the blog this game was ported to Slick. Finally back to Java!

Next version in the making - but slow

Monday, July 30, 2007, 11:08 PM

If you read the blog you know that I spent most of my time with real life. So SpiderTrap 1.2 must wait a bit longer.
I started extending the game options screen and added another muffin class to load and save the game options.

Now I need to activate the game option settings on startup.

And I also want to add saving and resuming a game, so that will become another muffin class.

You don't know muffins? It's like cookies of a webpage - just for webstart applications. Usually Java webstart applications are not allowed to access your hard disk except to read from the downloaded jars. The only thing allowed is to write muffins. Those files stay in the webstart directory tree and can do no harm to your computer. They are similar to ini files and can be used to save high scores, settings and such. And of course Slick does support them.

Okay, nuff said, bedtime for Tommy.


Done again!

Sunday, July 15, 2007, 9:22 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").

Done! Finally done!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 10:05 PM

Woohoo! Nearly ten months in the making and my baby is done (I even finished it without the help of a woman!).
That was a long time and now I definitely need a break from this game. It was fun to make but fixing bug after bug, listening to the sounds and music over and over, playing the levels again and again to do play testing - that can surely reduce one's motivation :LOL:

I hope you all enjoy the game a little bit!

Have fun with it until my next game is done!

Party time


Sound and Music volume issues

Friday, July 06, 2007, 10:38 PM

I added an Options screen to control SFX and music volume. Unfortunately it doesn't yet work properly in Slick. I'm currently trying to fix the Slick code.
So it'll take a bit longer. Sorry.
Maybe I will use the time to add some more levels ;-)

But I add another screenshot to please you a little bit - look right...

Still some bugs and improvements left...

Friday, June 29, 2007, 9:50 PM

Still not done fixing Cinfa's bug and improvement list - too many parties the last few days

But you can already wet your appetite with the new ingame screenshot showing the final graphics!

Just a little bit of time!


Bug crunching...

Saturday, June 23, 2007, 8:40 PM

Cinfa played the new version with the enhanced graphics tonight and sent me a nice long list with bugs/forgotten things/improvements.
As they all make sense I'm going to fix/add/improve them.
So you will have to wait a few more days...but it will be worth it!

Improvements ahead!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007, 9:15 PM

Okay, I was pretty quiet the last two weeks. There was a good reason for that: I was constantly chatting with some nice italian guy nicknamed Cinfa who volunteered to create new graphics for SpiderTrap.

Now I have a complete set of amazing new graphics and I guess I owe Cinfa more than one beer 8-0

To the right you can see a WIP screenshot with only some new graphics - the final release will blow you away :LOL:

I'll keep you posted but now I need to get back to modify the game code to use the new graphics!

Beta is out!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007, 11:01 PM

Nobody did believe it, right?
Come on, stand up and admit it!

But here it is: a webstartable version of SpiderTrap!

Just click on this link: SpiderTrap webstart

Mini instructions:
Use keys '1' to '8' to create robots at the start portal or switch active robot.
Use cursor keys to guide active robot.
'P' pauses the game, 'F2' toggles window/fullscreen mode, 'Esc' returns you to the main menu and/or exits the game.

Trap the spider(s) so they can't move anymore and get stunned.
Trap all spiders to win the level.
After two minutes the computer shields go down. If a spider touches a computer all computers will explode and the game is over. If the shields are down for two minutes the level is lost.
Take care of all the other enemies/obstacles.
Use time and energy boni to help you on your task.

If anyone wants to improve the graphics PLEASE contact me asap!


I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 10:46 PM

The bonus objects are in and working. They appear for 5 seconds at some random position and disappear again if you don't manage to get them. If you catch the bonus object you can either get a few seconds time bonus or a energy bonus. In the later phases of the game you will surely need them.

I also added a smooth camera movement when you switch between active robots. Looks fine.

And finally for this update the levels got a title which is displayed at level start.

So what's left you ask?

Credits and Instructions are missing (under construction right now, Eclipse is open and the GameState classes are already created) and then a bit of level creation and fine tuning is left.

Finally I need to get the packaging and webstart stuff done. Exciting!

I hope you can download the game real soon!


Lot of stuff done!

Sunday, May 13, 2007, 11:11 PM

Okay, I got the egg splash particles in - looks fine.
Then I added some sounds but I'm not completely finished yet.

I also added the energy suckers (see them below this topic). They are drawn with some transparency and they rotate really nicely.
The energy sucking already works as expected. Of course you will loose the game if energy gets below zero

And finally I already created the 3D objects for the time bonus (a clock) and the energy bonus (a battery).

Two more levels were added to test the energy suckers so I have 7 levels now.

That was a pretty productive weekend!


Effects are getting there!

Monday, May 07, 2007, 9:39 PM

Okay, I added a sparkle effect when a bullet hits a guardian or a wall.
I also added a small explosion effect and some teleport effect when a robot enters a level.

Some screenshot to the right!

What's left? Some splatter when an egg is destroyed would be nice. I have not yet decided if I add bonus objects (energy and time bonus) before I finish it up.

Oh and some sound effects are still missing (I already have them, they are just not loaded and played yet).

Right now I have five levels and an endless game play - you restart at level one if you managed the last one. Except it's getting harder (one more spider and less time to finish the level)!

Guards guard...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007, 12:10 AM

So the guardians are in now. Again the sprites were created using CB Model Pro (look here for links and big piccies) and SpriteForge.
The guardians are also rotating nicely and there are two types of them: those that always turn right and those that always turn left.
Of course guardians kill robots and they also do kill spiders. They even kill bullets.
Just to be even more annoying they completely ignore spider eggs. Nobody said this game would be easy

Game wise I think I will add some more particle effects (explosions and some glow effects) and then add some more levels and create a webstartable and finish this baby. It looks like this game needs to be finished soon - feels like I need to start something new.

Any ideas on what to try next?


Monday, April 23, 2007, 11:41 PM

The bullets are in now and working perfectly, even collision stuff is working as expected.
Next are guardians. They are robots wandering around the maze killing spiders and your robots on contact. Ouch.
A screenshot will be shown as soon as they are coded completely. Shouldn't take much longer now...


Thursday, March 22, 2007, 11:30 PM

Bullets are in! Done with Slick's particle stuff.
I am working on their collisions with walls, spiders and balls right now. Should be done soon.

Upside down? Revert the reverse?

Monday, February 26, 2007, 8:23 PM

Yeah, I was fed up with my reverse order of this game blog so I rearranged all the entries.
Took me 2 minutes with TOWeb...

So from now on the news are at the top where they belong - celebrate it

Kaboom! Finally!

Sunday, February 25, 2007, 11:08 PM

Doesn't that look impressive?

I finally dived into the depths of Slick's Particle editor Pedigree and ParticleSystems and ConfigurableEmitters.
And wasn't it worth it? Look to the right now! Open your mouth! Say: Aaaah!


During digging through the code I also found a missing feature in Slick which I will add soon to become part of the next Slick build. How did that sound?

I am allowed to work on Slick now, not only with Slick (if my changes make it through the code review of the other Slick developers ). Wowzers!

Now for the next stuff! Turrets I think.

Close to KABOOM!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 10:02 PM

I finally added the energy shields to the computers. The energy shields disappear after the time is over. Then the player has another time frame left to trap the remaining spiders.
Any object touching the computers while the shields are down will raise a chain reaction destroying all computers and leading to a "Game Over" screen.

Seems I have no reason anymore to not dig into Slick's particle stuff...

It's over!

Sunday, February 11, 2007, 11:14 PM

No no, I meant the "Game over" screen is done

So everything is working now as expected. A new high score is detected, you can enter your name and afterwards a list of all high scores is shown.

After pressing Space you'll get back to the title screen.

How do you like the new font? Done with Hiero, Slick's font creation tool.
Kev, you're great! I can't wait until your internet connection at home is working

So now most of the framework stuff is done and I will continue adding more game elements and particle effects!

Stay tuned!!!

More progress

Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 10:11 PM

As you can see: even more graphic tiles. I also changed the map class to allow blocking objects on the ground layer and the object layer. Improves the level design.
The first level is also completely redone (it was too difficult for a first level - you need to be able to trap/stun the spiders easily).
And I added a second level.
Scoring is working and so is the "in between levels" screen which gives you a chance to relax, watch your current score and then continue.
A HighscoreList class is also coded and tested which is based on Slick's SavedState class and works for stand alone applications and Webstart applications.

Next thing will be entering your name if you reached a high score on the game over screen.

And then it's finally back to new game objects like walkers, energy suckers, swinging electricity cables, shooting turrets and powerups.



Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 10:11 PM

As you can see I redid the title screen. I also added quite some new graphic tiles. And more stuff on the next paragraph.

Minor news

Sunday, January 28, 2007, 10:07 PM

Okay, finally got the main menu animation in the title screen working. Just wrong order in some calculation...
Now the active menu item is growing and shrinking - looks pretty nice.
I will surely redo the "title maze" that is used to keep the spiders going. Maybe I can write "Spider Trap" as the walls...

After some discussion in the forum I chose a simple way to pass information from game elements (like balls, eggs and spiders) to the surrounding game state. So now I can tell the game state "egg destroyed" or "spider stunned" in some smart generic way and react on those events inside the game state without coding game state related stuff in the game elements.

So the last few days were mainly work on the base and infrastructure classes.
I still need to code the NextLevelState which transfers the player from one level to the next one and shows score and level information and also gives the player a chance to rest a bit

Unfortunately progess is slow - real life simply is more important than game coding...kids rule our world in more than one way

Scrambled eggs? Not yet...

Sunday, January 21, 2007, 10:56 PM

Okay, got some more things done.
Spiders can hatch eggs now after a while.
And you'll get more spiders after 5 seconds. Nasty.
Unless one of your balls manages to squish the egg. Bye bye, egg...
For the egg splash I will try to reuse Virium's blood splatter code. I don't like my pregenerated images this much.

The collision handling stuff is improved too. But the collision manager could need some optimization later. If I add a collision tupel balls-spiders and balls-eggs the collision manager could traverse the balls once and check against spiders and eggs at the same time. Later.

Plonk! Hey, you plonked me!

Friday, January 19, 2007, 10:58 PM

Not so much to show you tonight but something to tell:

  • Ingame HUD is done,
  • added some generic collision code, mainly a CollisionGroup class and a CollisionManager. This stuff is already working and used for spider-spider collisions to wake up stunned spiders,
  • title screen is added, but the main menu is not yet properly displayed.

Hopefully I have a new screenshot to show next time...

The spiders are back!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007, 10:55 PM

Found a few hours tonight and put the spiders back to life.
They are walking, changing directions and don't dash their heads to the walls and balls. Fine!

I need to fine tune the animation speed a bit and add laying eggs again but that's for the next night.

Ingame piccy to the right.

If you look closely you'll see that I started coding a HUD (by showing the text "HUD" at the top left - big deal ).

And did I tell you that debugging Java code is sooo easy? Sometimes I really wonder why I so often waste my time and look at other tools with stupid debuggers (or code fragments that claim to be a debugger...). Sigh.

I found my balls!

Sunday, December 31, 2006, 10:42 PM

They were always with me
Some progress although I only found a few hours to work on the game during christmas days...

So I got the balls in, collision is working with walls and computers and other balls and movement is working as expected.

Next thing are the spiders and turrets and and and.

But all this will happen next year when I feel better than I do now. I am breathing like a train and my head still hurts

Where are my balls?

Sunday, December 17, 2006, 9:20 PM

Right now I'm still struggling with getting my balls on screen (haha, bad joke).
The first one already appears if I press '1' but unfortunately all the other 7 images of the other balls appear too...

So I must be doing something wrong with the SpriteSheet class. I'll figure this one out first.

And then it's for the movement. And then the collision with walls and so on.
But as I'm borrowing a few bits and pieces of Kevin's Virium code I should get it to work (maybe during Christmas holidays?) sooner or later.

But going the Slick way was a good decision: debugging has become sooo easy - thanks to Java and the great Eclipse IDE!

First Slick ingame screenshot

Saturday, December 02, 2006, 10:18 PM

Ok, ok, it's just a first screenshot with just a region of the map, but hey!
It's really in game, so the map is already loaded, the center of the area to be displayed is calculated and it's already working so far!

Now let me add some spiders and balls again.


A first picture?

Saturday, November 25, 2006, 10:01 PM

As I told you I "improved" the tileset.
Here is a picture of the first test level - exported by the level editor.
Each level contains three layers:

  • a ground and wall layer,
  • a objects layer and
  • a ceiling layer.

All pretty simple after I had a little look at the levels of Kevin's demo games you can download at the Slick website.

And as Slick is progressing nicely I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to finish this game some day

Back to the future?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 10:44 PM

So I decided to recode the game in Java using Slick.

Okay, first let me point you to the current tool chain:

  • Tiles will be created with TileStudio,
  • Maps/Levels will be created with Tiled, a free Java Tilemap editor,
  • Fonts will be created with BMFont, one of the best free bitmap font creation tools available,
  • Java coding will happen with Eclipse.

Right now I created the Java project and added the first classes.
The tiles are updated (I added a few) so that I can start to create a first test level.
Then the real coding starts. Sounds like fun!

It's coming along!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006, 11:14 PM

What did I add/change?

  • switched to a new font (SF Comic Script),
  • redid all the texts (instructions, credits),
  • finished laser stuff (destruction of balls and spiders should work fine now),
  • added energy bar and game over if energy goes below 0. I still need to add some behavior to "restore" the energy to the proper value if you enter the next level so that you regain your energy for the balls in play,
  • added a new enemy: energy suckers. If you collide with them, they drain your energy. Too bad for you

Bang! Bang!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006, 11:56 PM

Haha! Got lasers in and shooting!
The bullets are even alpha blended. Looks cool when animated.
And I started to add new particle code but that's not finished yet. Although particles are relatively easy in Game Maker it's new to me so I need to fiddle around with particle types, particle systems and particle emitters...


Sunday, October 29, 2006, 7:50 PM

Okay, several things got completed:

  • I got the movement and collision stuff for balls and spiders working (until I detect the next bug ),
  • I added a text controller object that will be used for displaying the instruction pages, the credits and so on. It smoothly scrolls down from the top of the screen, stays until the player presses a key and scrolls down to leave the screen. The next text controller object is activated automatically or a fallback to the title screen happens,
  • I started to model the laser turret in 3D. See the screenshot,
  • I also started to model a new 3D spider. The thing missing is animation which means movement of the legs.

Promised screenshot

Thursday, October 19, 2006, 11:41 PM

Okay, the screenshot shows the exploding computers. I don't like it (yellow explosions, yikes!). But at least the functionality is in. Improvements will come later.

I am still fiddling around with ball and spider control and it's still not working as expected. That sucks big time!

I am now working on some object to show the texts for the instruction screens. Afterwards I will tackle balls and spiders again and start adding new functionality like energy you use up when creating balls, lasers that can destroy your balls and so on.

I'll keep you posted as usual


Friday, October 06, 2006, 12:00 AM

What did I do?

  • Improved the main menu,
  • added background music (thanks to Windapple's Bass dll wrapper!),
  • added some sounds,
  • improved spider and ball movements and collisions,
  • worked out some code to deal with levels and difficulties and such,
  • added timer code,
  • added scoring,
  • added computer and computer shield (but not yet very impressive looking),
  • wrote down some more ideas for the game.

I think that's not that bad.

I'll keep you posted and next time you'll get another screenshot. Promised.

And more?

Friday, September 22, 2006, 9:41 PM

The game itself is also started. The player can activate one to eight balls and guide the active one through the maze.
Spiders crawl quickly around and need to get trapped by the walls and balls (thus the name of the game, okay?).
If they are completely trapped (n, s, e, w) they get stunned and you can use your balls to capture more spiders. But beware! If an active spider touches a stunned spider it awakes and becomes active again.

To annoy you even more spiders drop eggs. And after 15 seconds a new spider hatches.
Luckily you can destroy eggs with your balls (sounds strange, doesn't it?).

All of this is already working!

Did I tell you that you have a time limit? And a computer to protect? And that I plan to add more hazards and bonuses?

No, I didn't. So you'll have to come back once in a while to get more details.

And a beta version. Later. Hang on. I'll keep you posted. Here.

By the way: If any of you is a graphics genius and can't resist to provide me with better graphics please contact me!

So here we are...

Friday, September 22, 2006, 9:36 PM

The game is currently in some before alpha state.

I got the title screen with main menu working but I already have plans how to improve it.
The spiders on the title screen are of course moving and the selected menu item is growing and shrinking nicely.

An idea was born!

I decided to implement a game I started two years ago with Blitz Basic 2D which I never finished.

This game is SpiderTrap, a remake of an old horrible Speccy game named "Pfui Spinne". Have a look at it here if you have a Spectrum Emulator available.
It's so bad that World of Spectrum don't even offer a screen shot

But I liked the idea.

My Blitz remake was frozen cause Blitz 2D didn't offer the effects I wanted to do (scaling sprites was one issue, some alpha blended particles the other one).

Game Maker offers all of that so I decided to give it a try.

And the sign came...

in the form of a book!
It was not the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy but it was The Game Maker's Apprentice.

I ordered the book after summer vacation and read all of it. In a few days. And again.

Then I coded most of the games in the book.

And then was...

the void. I am still waiting for Oddbob to release the next issue of his Rewind Magazine where he promised to explain some of the marvellous graphics effects of Vector Infector.
Oddbob, do you read this? I AM STILL WAITING!!!

So I went back to PlayBasic waiting for a sign.

How it all began...

As you might already know from my blog, I am cruising around Game Maker for quite a while now.

First I browsed the web site. Then I read in the forums. Then I had a look at Oddbob's game Vector Infector which is done with Game Maker. Playing the demo version convinced me: Game Maker certainly was a tool I wanted to get my hands on!

A few days later I registered Game Maker for 15 Euro to get all the features and bells and whistles.