Back To Torque

It has been a few months of crazy development environment ping-pong around here, but things are beginning to settle down.

Back in November the guys over at GarageGames.com announced they were shuttering the InstantAction team and that generally the outlook for all of Torque seemed really bleak.

So with the future of my development tools up in the air I did some research and started switching over to DarkBasicPro and then in tandem, the day job necessitated a crash course in Java.. which lead me to Slick2d for Java, which I’ve also done some poking around in now.

The problem is that they both (Slick and DarkBasic) seem to magnify the deficiencies of the other.

DarkBasicPro is EASY, and Fast to get prototypes up and running in. It’s also Basic, that means no objects, no event handlers, and scoping variables is fast and loose, ex arrays are always Globals.  And no garbage collection, premade main loop or GUI tools, so you’ve got to write that yourself.  However the community is FULL of snippets and other pieces of code so you can cobble together a nice utility library in a couple of days.  Oh and it supports 3d and shaders etc.. for that reason I may come back some day.

Slick2d, on the other hand, is 100% object driven, with all sorts of good things that come with that.  Tightly scoped variables and inheritance etc etc also make it really powerful and clean to code in.  It is, however, not easy or fast to throw together a prototype.  Especially since there isn’t much of documentation other than the auto-generated API docs.  Throw in some of Java’s memory limits and stuff and it gets pretty cumbersome fast. It’s got a nice state-based game core and main loop that works really well… once you find it.

I wasted too much time on both of those only to realize that I miss Torque Game Builder.  It’s not perfect, but it is very much a nice place between the two.

So, I’m really happy for the guys at GarageGames.com when they announced they’re Back! And T2D is still alive and kicking.

Now it is time to install the latest version, get tweaking on the Blood Soaked Deadly Dungeons of Doom! and get this whole thing back on track!

I’m still doing the whole Java Android development stuff, and that’s been making good progress as well.  Hope to have more details and maybe a screenshot or two by the end of the month. *cross fingers*

Oh and Wenderflonia is going to be getting a minor facelift and its own Online Shop by Mid Feb and a couple more freelance projects should be wrapping up and I hope to be able to refocus my energies a bit more on development.

And to wrap it up I’m going to try and end every post from here on out with….

What I’m Playing:

  • Minecraft – indie game, sandbox phenomenon.  If you ever wanted to play with legos, build anything, explore a world this is the game for it.  We’re documenting our latest travels here http://blocklandtravels.tumblr.com/
  • SpaceChem – puzzle game of the year  all time.  It’s fiendish and guides you into an extensive set and before you  know it you’re inventing solutions like this (my you tube video of a solution) The stats comparison lets you know how you stack up to everyone else and is absolutely addictive to optimize your solutions.

New [Year, Goals, Work]

Wow, did that holiday season just fly by or what?

Well 2011 is here and has hit the ground running!

Already have the first several consulting projects up an in progress and have been doing some fun development stuff.

As the little green android above may have hinted at,  there’s a new platform of goodies in development.   I’m currently coming up to speed with Java and Android development… The first tiny title is coming along…. albeit it’s a lot of trial and error and research into getting things working properly.  Additionally, I’ve discovered Slick for Java and it’s seeming to be a nice and easy framework for LWJGL applications (ie .. games) …

Other than that.. it’s been a bonanza of games and fun.  Most notably  Minecraft.

We’ve got a mini server running on the laptop nearby and a couple of us have been building and exploring.  Hands down 2010’s game of the year for me.

A shot of the spawn area on our minecraft Server.

Anyway.. no new years post would be complete without some resolutions…

1 – Paint more.. I will finish my 2 oils, finish the 2 images in the elementelves series and at least two more pictures this year.. that’s one per every 2 months.

2- Finish the art on the Mutant Sheep Eat the Earth! game and get  a handful of decks out to testers.

3 – Launch an Android title on the marketplace

4 – Loose 25 lbs

5 – Enjoy the baby and cherish the family.

Not dead, just busy.

Too many things and many small projects being done.  I’m looking to get an end of year update up.  Until then, its nose to the grindstone and wrap up the last two freelance projects of the year up.  Oh and learn android/java in conjunction with the day job.
Which is actually turning out to be fun, but was getting confusing learning on top of darkbasic pro so I had to put that on hold for a bit.

Which sucks. A lot.

All in all the projects and the baby have completely decimated all my personal projects for now… but I’ve got a list and totally plan on kicking butt in the new year.  Maaybe I can squeeze out a painting before the end of the year.

Slow progress

So progress in sheepsville has been..well.. slow..
I’ve got another dozen or so sheep painted and ready to go into their cards, but overall, progress has been a fraction of what it needs to be.

The upside, however, is that I’ve gotten a bunch of freelance work (that’s right, I’ll work for money) and that’s pretty much all wrapped up for now.

I’ve started the process of reworking the site theme. Currently I’ve got the new headers and superfish menus in place, and gotten a jquery lightbox up and running, the menu’s need a bit more work though. Also, we now have a gallery.

All that remains is the re-styling of the content and sidebar and drawing a new site background image.

But first up, www.Wenderflonia.com is gearing up for a massive overhaul and that’s #1 in the priority list. Keep an eye out for it, we’ll have art commissions, prints and more goodies coming soon.

And more sheep. I must make more picture of sheep, and get an accurate count of exactly how many I still have left to finish.

That’s it for now. Further updates shortly.

A week of dubious progress

Well ok so I’ve got a valid excuse for not getting a whole lot done over the last week.

However, I did manage to get the whole loading, saving, entry and displaying of high scores implemented.

 So.. that’s a plus.  Still a couple bugs to work out but 90% there.  Next up … hmm.. not exactly sure.. maybe I should iron out some details so I can see what I need to do before calling it Finished.

Short update

Its been a bit of a slog to make much progress.  Tons of little ‘try this.. er.. hmm well how about that.. ooh that broke it… humm well then how about ….’

BUT the upside. 

The player now triggers doors when he/she walks across em. (yes the collision polygons need some tweaking but basically it works). This causes a recusive floodfill to determine all the tiles that are available inside the room.  There was an issue where it caused the game to stutter while the fill ran but with the use of some scheduling calls I actually wound up with a smooth and more even area determination.  

So.. why does that make me happy?  

Well, glad I asked.

So now I have a nice and easy way to get all the available tiles in a room, with just some minor tweaks the monster spawner (in the inital Alpha) will be able to find an open spot and start spawning critters.

Esentially  I’m just a few minor tweaks from having a playable core base to work off of.   

Then I can start going crazy with different monsters, powerups etc etc.

Further Mapmaking Tools and Integration

Got some good progress done.  The online Map editor is coming along nicely with some new additions such as, saving to a database, generating exportable content files for integration into Torque.  Still I need to do a couple things to it, mainly bulletproofing the submitted maps to make sure I don’t forget to add doors, things are sealed properly etc etc. 

Continue reading Further Mapmaking Tools and Integration

Easy as cake

Hmm so I’m grandually getting comfortable wiht the whole MCV arhictecture of dev elopment.  I’ve decided to more or less just give a pass to Ruby on Rails for now and see about getting cakephp up and implemented to my workflow. 

Having a hard time with the initial mental gymnastics to fully embrace it but it’s gradually starting to make sense.

For now, though, It may be time to just take a break and take a look at some bigger picture items and play around with my paints while things gel.

Turkey Time approaches.

Well the year sure went fast. 

Been playing with some basic python and pygame stuff.  Seems like a pretty easy to learn language and api, just havent gotten myself convinced for the need to learn yet another language… oh well Im sure I’ll think of something to use for an excuse.

But it probably wont be until Xmas.  Letting the brain relax and just enjoying some neglected games and movies and such.  blah blah blah blah..

Joomla seems like a good thing to know

Bought a book about Joomla a lil bit ago and just reading over it makes it seem like a wonderful platform for doing a whole bunch of really really neat things.  It kinda makes me want to redo the custom CMS i’ve been making at work for the last 3 months for fuddruckers.  Well ok there’s some pretty significant things that aren’t in there for that particular job.  Nonetheless it looks like a very robust foundation to know and be able to expand upon.  So I’m goind to get started on the Drakkheim.com lan planning / management site just to get more comfortable with the ins and outs of the system.  

Hopefully once I knock it out I’ll have the knowledge to use Joomla as a base platform for many many other things that I’ve got planned both at home and at work.

In completely unrelated news Robert Asprin and Lody Lynn Nye have released another book in the wonderful MYTH series called Myth-Chief..   Jeez come to think of it I’ve been following those for close to 15 years now..  Well here’s to another 15.