Monthly Archives: June 2008

Diablo III Announced

Blizzard Entertainment recently announced Diablo III.  I will be looking forward to playing it, though maybe not as much as other games I’ve looked forward to.  I did enjoy the first two games of the Diablo series, and knowing Blizzard, I’m sure there will be some surprises and other new … Continue reading

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iGalcon – pretty backgrounds and lots of tweaking

I managed to assemble a few backgrounds by grabbing some great photos from here.  I also did about 50 million little tweaks to the game, making it “almost done”.  (Meaning, there is probably quite a bit of even finer detail work yet, but not as much as their used to be.)

This version of Galcon introduces [...] Continue reading

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Ooh, Goodies!

Today, I was working on a major system of the game: Goodies. I had to come up with a name to differentiate them from items like trees and trash cans – Goodies are items that you pick up and carry. There are a few main types of Goodies:

- Junk items. They may have a use in making other things, or they may not. They’re just stuff you carry around.

- Jellybeans. They can be slotted into your weapons to boost those weapons. Weapons begin with 1 Jellybean slot, and get up to 5 as they level up.

- Equipment. Like in any good ol’ RPG, there’s gear you can wear. As an oddity, in this game, you don’t care what kind of gear it is. You could wear 3 hats at once, if you want. You just get 3 gear slots, and equip any 3 equippable items you like.

- Food. You make this at restaurants that you buy, from various items you find. It sits in your inventory, where you can click it to eat it. When eaten, food gives you a long-lasting boost of some kind, but you can only be digesting 2 foods at once. No eating more until one of them is fully digested! Or maybe it replaces the older of the two you already have, which makes more sense (in a gaming way, less sense in a reality way).

There won’t be randomly generated items, just handcrafted bits of wonderment. But there will be an awful lot of those, with more added every so often, because the online system makes it easy to do so! Then hopefully people will want to auction these off and get the right gear to suit your particular skills and style. I often think of all this stuff in terms of how Kingdom Of Loathing works. Imagine this game as that game, except that instead of just clicking “Fight”, you run around shooting like crazy in fantastical action craziness. Of course, it’s also equally inspired by 12 other games, so don’t imagine too hard.

And no, it won’t show what you are wearing on your character. Many reasons against that! I know it would be cool, and I’d like it myself, but there are a lot of reasons why it’s entirely unfeasible.

One of the things I like in WoW are the items that have random chance effects (“Procs”). Like I just got a trinket that has a 3% chance when I get hurt to give me 500 armor for 15 seconds. So that’s something I’m focusing on here. It’s a lot more fun to decide between an item that can give a damage boost when you get hurt and an item that can speed you up each time you beat an enemy,* than it is to decide between one that gives you +2 damage and one that gives +2 armor. It’s also much less precise, and nobody can really say exactly what the one best path is. Just like the food buffs, you might have several of those effects on you at any time, if your Jellybeans or Equipment caused them. You can have 5 buffs total on you at any time, and the 2 foods are included in those 5. That only applies to time-limited buffs. You can have any number of permanent effects on you at once (like the armor your hat provides, the accuracy you gain from some eyeglasses, or whatever).

*I know that sentence shouldn’t have a comma there, but it was just much too long and messy. I’m sure there’s a better way to write it overall. Perhaps you can have a grammar contest in the comments! Continue reading

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iGalcon – iForget what this post was going to be about

Hmn .. I know I spent some time on Galcon today .. Here’s a screenshot to prove it:

Ah yes .. that was it.  I’ve got menu transitions working very nicely now.  This menu appears when you come back to Galcon after using another application.  You’ll also notice that I’ve got the menu “gravity sensitive” along [...] Continue reading

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Free Bees

Something I have been considering is an interesting change in business model (just for the new game, not changing my actual business!). I know it’s something that has worked for others, and probably failed for other others. The idea is to make Happyponygate free. Instead of having a demo where you can play the first little bit of the game for free, you’d get to play the whole thing free. Then, of course, you can still buy the game and get more than “the whole thing”. I haven’t really worked out details, but things like making your own levels, and playing others’ levels, would be in the “Premium Pack”. But without buying, you could still play the story from beginning to end, and get all the normal weapons, and that kind of thing. There would definitely be limitations and things only a paying customer could do, but what you would have would indeed be a legitimately complete game.

The benefits I see here, speaking in business terms, lie in the fact that the game requires a Dumb Account to play. Free games spread like wildfire (quite unlike non-free games!), and so I would presumably gain tons of new members to the site as a result. Some percentage of those people would go on to buy other games, participate in the forum and chat, and generally make the place better. I think overall, I’d probably get as many or more sales this way (especially if you count other games that those new people buy). It’s also easier to implement, given the whole online thing, than a standard demo vs. full. And it’s less pirateable, though I think the online thing alone almost kills that possibility entirely.

So I like the idea. I don’t have any real objections to this plan or thoughts on how it could be less effective than the traditional demo/full model. I think we’d end up with three (or maybe more at some point…) levels of ownership:

- Free: a complete game

- Paid: adds a lot of the user interaction stuff like level-making and playing, shops for buying and selling items. Stuff that’s well worth paying for.

- Deluxe: the “collector’s edition” equivalent, with some kind of bonus stuff.

And yes, one thing ruled out is paying monthly. Won’t be doing that. Maybe someday with some game, but not this one for sure. Continue reading

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iGalcon – main menu + confusion over save / restore state

The good news: I’ve got the basic layout of my main menu decided on.  It isn’t really functional yet, but here it is:

I’ve also got the game transitioning between several states and prompts now.  I haven’t coded in the difficulty levels or the various missions quite yet, will be doing that soon.  I’ve also got [...] Continue reading

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Broken Record (i.e. Ludum Dare 12)

Avert your eyes. Nothing to see here. Move along.
I’m going to stop pretending I know when I’m ready to show. I’ve done several prototypes lately, but I’d rather talk about them with some context of what they lead up to.
So… maybe July. *sigh*
Oh, and Ludum Dare 12 will be [...] Continue reading

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Sneak Peek: Happyponygate

[jamul] You can guess what this is a screenshot of!

[jamul] it really pretty much explains itself… The green line is an in-game notification of something happening. In this case, gaining a level of the H.R. Puffencrush (I’ll have a less incomprehensible message someday for that).

/me points out that there’s still one thing missing – no buttons to scroll back and see older messages.

[jamul] There is a backlog, you just can’t get to it yet.

[SERVER] Messages from this person (which are always red), have been typed directly into the server. This will also be handy for the server to say “Shutting down in 5 minutes for urgent maintenance!” or “Alert! Angry Teddy Bears are overrunning Westbrook Hills!”

/me notices that he still hasn’t moved the text in the typing box down a couple pixels like he kept meaning to… Continue reading

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Profile Of A Madman

Okay! Now I’ve sort of gotten somewhere in a way. This was some of the more seriously crunchy code I’ve had to do yet. It now saves and loads your game. That entails taking your profile data, making it into a packet to send over the internet, then at the other end, making it back into a data block, then finding a way to stuff that into the database. Good thing that only makes for a whole lot of places for mistakes to be made (in two separate programs, as well)! It’s tricky to deal with binary data in a database. I got around that by not doing it. I’m storing the numbers as strings, which is ever so slightly less efficient (100% more space used, to be exact).

But anyway, now you log into the game, it loads all your profiles from the server, you choose one to play or create a new one (you can have 12 of them), and then the game begins! So it’s all pretty good. Now I need to spend the rest of the day figuring out exactly what the next step is, because I’m really not sure.

That, and lighting Midsummer fires in WoW, because the clock’s a-ticking on that! Continue reading

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That’s what I’ve been doing this week. We had a guest for several days, loads of fun to be had (several hundred rounds of Mortal Kombat 2 in there), and now I’m still not doing anything. Things will be done soon. But not today. Today is for chillin’. A lot like yesterday. Things will happen again soon. Especially on Tuesday and Wednesday when the wife is off to her tutoring. So… nothin’. Continue reading

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iGalcon – real men use Multi-Touch! Rah!

The ever slightly changing screenshot – demonstrating multi-touch (I’m selecting the two green planets, and I’m about to send a fleet to the red planet):

I also optimized the OpenGL code quite a bit, so it’s all fast .. except for the fonts, which I can still do a bit of work on yet.  But it [...] Continue reading

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10 Hour Project #1: Hours 1-4

After the jump is a text dump of the notes I took while working on the first 4 hours of this game. It’s just whatever I was thinking at the time and there’s minimal formatting, but if anyone wants to dredge through it feel free.

Hour 1:
Starting with a blank slate, going to try and get [...] Continue reading

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Detour: World Design

Been awhile since I posted. Here is a juicy screenshot, it’s the courtyard in the real world:

I have made a probable mistake, or rather meta-mistake in the design process! It turns out that I need an alternate world, these are little areas of the castle that you visit to obtain certain items. I decided to create this world “realistically”, that is, in parallel with the real world. I carefully positioned the doors to this alternate dimension close together, so this area would not be too large, but alas it’s really a large large amount of level design.

Anyhow that’s what I’ve been doing for the last six weeks, really. A bit of a detour, to be sure, but it will work out alright in the end. And I have to admit, it’s pretty fun crafting levels/items/objects using this game engine and my now-solid skills with it. Continue reading

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Guitar Hero 3 Mobile passes a million sales

GH3 Mobile has sold over a million copies and topped the Verizon sales charts. It also won Best Game and the People’s Choice Award at the BREW 2008 Developers Awards.
I was the programmer of the BREW version of the game, including its custom sound mixer (used on high end phones), song converter tools, and its [...] Continue reading

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iGalcon – makin’ it perty!

Today I worked on making it all shiny.  As per usual, I had trouble figuring out OpenGL.  I suppose I’ll get it one of these days …

Anyway, some notable differences between normal OpenGL and OpenGL ES are: OpenGL uses arrays for everything, instead of letting you do the whole glBegin() glEnd() bit.  It also only [...] Continue reading

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iGalcon – touch input, orientation handling, and fun!

I had some pretty good progress today :)   I got touch input implemented and tweaked pretty well for playing the game.  I also got in some crude orientation handling so that the numbers on the planets are readable from any normal orientation of the device.  I also added in a simple AI player, adjusted planet [...] Continue reading

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10 Hour Project #1: Intro

After skipping the most recent mini Ludum Dare contest because I didn’t like the theme I’ve been itching to write a game. However most of my games up to this point have been smaller projects, mostly because I knew I could finish them, and I’ve been wanting to try something larger for quite a while. [...] Continue reading

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iGalcon – and we’re live! Sort of!

Well, getting it “running” on the phone after that was pretty easy. Although not everything went quite as planned … Here’s a really awful picture of my progress:

Stuff to deal with later this week:

I’ve still got a long way to go in comprehending ObjectiveC .. So far, it’s all black magic to me, so [...] Continue reading

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iGalcon – OpenGL ES for all!

Since I’m too lazy to switch my monitor cables back and forth to my mac, I VNC onto my mac mini for dev.  Which, since that’s kind of a pain, and the whole app compiling process is sort of slow .. well .. I figured I’d port my code to OpenGL in the safety and [...] Continue reading

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iGalcon – port of Galcon to the iphone – part 1

I’m going to blog a bit about my experience porting Galcon to the iphone.  It’s not overly python related, so I won’t send all these posts to the python planets.  Maybe just a couple.  Anyway, if you’re interested, keep an eye on my blog.
There is a chance I’ll use tinypy in iGalcon, but I haven’t [...] Continue reading

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