Author Archives: Lachlan

Update

Since I finished my honours degree a fortnight ago, it seems like it should be time to get back into game dev or something. I tallied up the projects I had put on hold. It’s a bit awful. List with frameworks/languages:

Twine: 4
Unity: 3
LibGDX: 2
HTML5: 1
Misc: 5

The two LibGDX projects I’m tempted to bring across to Unity. The miscellaneous ones are really just ideas and scraps of paper.

Yeah. Would really like to get some of these done with.

000010

Crap1_2014-01-05_00-11-39_fixed

I should probably update this

Had a very hectic last six months. Very little in the way of game dev and music creation.
Recently though, I’ve put a couple of games up on GameJolt ()
I’ve also been mucking around with Unity for the last couple of weeks. The usefulness of it finally clicked so that’s good.

As such, I am currently making another adventure game. Won’t say much about it yet but it should take only an hour or so to play-through.

Before I head off to Tokyo, I should have this released as well as D1C2.

Final #7dRTS :(((

Welp, I’m conceding defeat.
A huge draw bug has occurred.

Simply, units you can control live in an array. You have a dragbox to select them.
Once the dragbox falls over them, their respective select() method is called. This turns flips a boolean to true and changes their colour.
Simple.

For all units (except the final one) doing the select procedure calls the method select() but the colour does not change. You can actually issue individual commands to them still.
If you select the final unit in the array, all units are coloured but only the final one has the select() method called.
Bizarre…

I tested by creating a different way to select them (using the exact same methods) and it works. Reducing the population to 1 also works (the only unit is the end of the array.)
It seems like the dragbox doesn’t it EXCEPT that the select() methods on the units that should be selected is called at the correct times.

Painfully aggravating.

I’ve run about 10 different tests and I end up with the same issue so I’m thinking it’s a draw issue. Still, it could be something glaringly obvious.

So, that’s that.
Final screenshots
RPG Mode:(Ignore that minimap issue…)

RTS Mode:

As this will be my last game for quite sometime, this is most disheartening. But hey, in my 3rd attempt to make an RTS, this is by far the furthest I’ve gotten. A shame to be cut down by such a silly bug.

After the cut is me rambling on about the concept. (Which I actually rather enjoy.)
Read More →

#7dRTS log: Day 4

25/07:
Redesigned unit system. I was starting to go down a boolean filled hole, switched to states. All problems averted. We now even have ranged combat.
More back end things that have no visual change but make a huge difference.

..later..

Umm, I got some bad news so that slowed some more stuff down.
But I still managed to get resources working in a very basic capacity.
The mouse and sidebar now work together with command issuing.
Basic layout stuff for stats and whatnot.
If I added more friendly and enemy units, you could actually have a playable game here!

Have a screenshot:

Tomorrow is the day I don’t get much time at all to work on this so…things may slow down.
Sunday may be a bit crunchy…

//Challenges
I started designing this while keeping in mind that I want to stick with an MVC model.
It sort of is one, I break it a couple of times for laziness reasons but it’s still pretty on track.
That being said, I made some terrible flaws early on.

Song of the day: Black Holy by 小松未可子

#7dRTS log: Day 3

24/07:
Fixed that minimap issue.
Added enemies. Enough visual stuff. Onto combat and unit types.
RPG section can sit as it is for now.

…later…

Tired of doing visual stuff. Onto more enjoyable things like combat design.
Very basic combat at first. (Fight to the death) No real AI stuff yet.
Lot stuff I want to add if I get time or after the challenge.

We have combat! Combat is functioning. No one can die yet, but it’s there.
Have a bit of redesign to do in the morning.
Tomorrow evening, there should be a great deal of stuff done.
Looking good & on schedule at this rate. Started writing some music and narrative (which is a rather large component.)
A few tweaks today have also removed some things I wasn’t sure about before so that results in less work!

Progress GIF: Doesn’t look too different from yesterday but proof of combat “working”?

//My working
So, these updates may seem a bit odd.
This is due to me getting a couple of hours free to code in the morning and a few at night. Most of the day is gone.
I really get about 4 – 5 hours of time to code my entry a day.

Song of the day:Riding Cats Like a Boss by Jeff Ball

#7dRTS log: Day 2

23/07:
Putting off map design by messing around with cameras.
Alrighty, that stuff is being put off until later.

(IU*ASHDOIUAHSD Fed up with my original concept. Need to come up with something new. At least what I’ve made so far is really just an RTS base.

…later…

HAVE A NEW CONCEPT!
This new idea is completely different to my original one. But luckily, most of what I have so far can be used.
It is now divided into two distinct areas: RTS & RPG. (I do use the term RPG VERY loosely though.)
I will explain more later once both sections are a bit better.
RPG mode now has nice cameras and keyboard/pad control.
RTS mode is, well, the same as before so far.

The split has occurred in code. Will work on both much more tomorrow.

Progress (not in gif form.):

Very little has happened apart from the town layout.(and the comically bad mini-map) I usually am terrible when it comes to level/map design but this is alright.
I will elaborate on things tomorrow evening I hope. I have a lot to do before I comfortable talking about it.

No whiteboard photo today as it’s near identical to yesterdays… :(

//Discuss technical stuff
Alrighty, I should have talked about this in the first post.
Language: AS3
Libraries: Flixel
For coding I switch between FlashDevelop and SublimeText.
Making music I use main Logic Pro. Occasionally Reason.

Yep.
At this rate, it’s very possible that there’ll be no “art” by time Monday rolls around. But there should be a game and a good deal of music!

Song of the day: Spiel mit dem Feuer (Piano version) by Saltatio Mortis (Sorry, no link for this one.)

I’m open to taking questions about this design as it might help me solve some inevitable problems.

#7dRTS log: Days [-1,0,1]

Welp, officially taking part in 7-day real-time-strategy challenge, a.k.a 7dRTS. (More info)
This is the first dev-log from the first three days. I’ve hard to start early for reasons stated below.
This is really the last chance I’ll get to make “full” game until December thanks to my silly decision to do Honours research.

20/07:
Laying some ground work in advance since I lose a whole day during the challenge.
Working on a dragbox because you can’t have much of an RTS without one. Have two different control methods as well, one more suited for certain ports (provided this gets done.)
Still working on some design decisions such as resources and their allocation, flow, maximum etc.
Still have no title.
Dragbox is now working perfectly. Marvellous.
Everything is a unit, unless it’s a building.
Tomorrow, the town will be born. Possibly some more back-story and narrative stuff.

Song of the day: Strands Of Golden Light by Seirom

21/07
Most of the day was spent out.
Added ability to issue commands in a basic fashion.
Working on basic pathfinding for units.
Basic pathfinding done. Units can now move around neatly.
Haven’t had all that much time to work on it so far.
Progress in gif form: http://i.imgur.com/DnZHqou.gif
Whiteboard:
Whiteboard: Day 1

Song of the day: Solarfall by Immortal

22/07: The official start of 7dRTS. [Day 1]
Fixed a weird movement bug for the hero character.
Started some of the unit nitty-gritty.

Screen is now divided. Having resizing issues though.
Resizing issues fixed. Still working on town. (Plan)
Progress in gif form: http://i.imgur.com/YEUCKVN.gif
Whiteboard:
Whiteboard: Day 1

Song of the day: Arise In Gondolin by Emyn Muil

—-

So, how is it going so far really?
Well, despite a whole lot of doing nothing to writing a lot then scrapping most of it and writing it again, some progress has been made at least. Not as much as I would like but hey.
I think tomorrow night I might disclose my design and goals for this challenge. I would right now, but alas, I’m still finalising some stuff.
The majority of the stuff done so far has been setting-up and design decisions. By Wednesday evening, most of that should be done. (HARHAR).
By Friday evening or Saturday midday, I plan on having the bulk of this done so I can spend the weekend working on music, story and (HAJSKHKJASH) art.
Will be posting a more detailed post tomorrow (hopefully.)

(I hope you enjoy the song of choice for each day along with progress GIFs and whiteboard crap and other images. Tomorrows post will hopefully be filled with much more…)

Gamedev as catharsis, freedom

Here’s an interesting idea I thought of recently, although I’ve ascribed to everything I’ve done with gamedev so far.
Game development, for me and many others, is a 100% creative activity just like painting or writing. It has few bounds (granted those bounds are almost infinitely more numerous than writing or painting) and as such it’s potential for expression is near limitless. It could be argued that it is the greatest medium for expression (I think Phil Fish said something like that in IG:TM.)

So why not actually use it that way?

Many people do. There are some great expressive and personal games out there. Hundreds in fact. Many of which will not receive more than a handful of players.
This, is of course, perfectly fine. I never expect anyone to play my games, I make them thinking that no one will. This is very similar to my music creation for the past decade. It’s only recently that I’ve decided that I should start posting music I’ve written.

But how do you plan to make money from these personal games?

I don’t. I don’t really believe that anyone should pay for my games unless I’ve poured hundreds of hours of my time into them.
I’ve had people say to me that I should just come up with an idea for a game, focus on it and release it for cheap on all the different stores for ~$1.
Sure, why not? It’s a huge risk that could have an even bigger payoff.
But I won’t feel good about doing it, unless I completely enjoy the concept. (Which is highly unlikely.)
The same people have said it’s stupid to release freeware.

But, no, shutup. You’re an idiot!

Using game-development as catharsis is extremely useful. Obviously, you can combine various forms of your creative activities into a game allowing for you to express yourself in many ways. This gives you a type of expressive freedom.
Heck, anyone can get into game-development now with Gamemaker, Twine, Scratch, Construct and others.
People experienced with coding can use established libraries such as libGDX (Java), Flixel (Flash AS3), SFML(C++) and so on. Don’t feel bad for not creating something from the ground up.

But if it’s so personal, why does it matter how you make it?
It it’s something you are passionate about, why does it matter how you make it?

BUT to do any of this, you must first redefine your definition of what a game is. This is a very hard thing to do if you’ve played only AAA games (and many popular indie games) your entire life.
I don’t plan on defining it here. But here’s a tip: use game as if you are using metal to describe the infinitely vast spectrum of metal. Under the umbrella of metal you have metalcore, ambient black metal, funeral doom metal, atmospheric sludge metal and millions of others. A lot of the time these are combined to form descriptions that would make sentences blush from sheer length.
If you try to pigeon hole each game like you would metal genres, you end up with a very tight restriction of what a game is.

Understanding this is where the freedom is.

tl;dr

  • If you feel like creating a game based on anything, try and do it. If you fail, it DOESN’T MATTER!
  • Don’t give a crap what other people think. Make games/things you want to make.
  • Put your emotions/inner-most thoughts into a game. It doesn’t need to have the best/many gameplay mechanic.
  • Change your understanding of what a game is.
  • Don’t feel bad for using a tool to make things easier for yourself.
  • Don’t feel pressured to release it ever.

[This reads a little bit like a manifesto-lite.]

I’m sure that people don’t enjoy this view of game-dev, but fuck them.

Edutainment GO!

So, for this months #1GAM, I’ve decided to follow with the theme (again) and make an educational game.
My first thought was about computer science. I came up with a pretty good idea.
But man, making an educational game about computer science topics? There’s enough of them around (well, that’s what I’ve been told by separate people.)

So, I discussed this with my partner and she came up with the idea of an educational game about art history.
Brilliant!

So, I present (in incredibly alpha form with lots of placeholder art): Art Dealer Tycoon!

ArtDealerTycoon_pre-alpha

Yep, you can make money as an art dealer, learn about art movements, artists and iconography amongst other things. It’ll even include real art (provided it is public domain or similar.) It’ll also allow players to add their own notes about paintings, access a dictionary of terms (that they earn)
By this time next week (the 29th of June), there’ll hopefully be a playable version out, possibly with non-placeholder graphics.
Later, I’ll hopefully be able to release this on both Android and iOS.

I’m using libGDX for the first time for this, so I’m still learning how best to do certain things (I’ve rebuilt the UI three times), so don’t be surprised if I don’t get this out by next saturday.

On top of this, I’m still working on -~stream~) and another project which will take a while.