RELEASE!

War Mages is out on the Play Store!

Get It HERE

SummonIcon256

It’s been one hell of a month. Since starting over in the 18th it’s been non-stop go go go to get this thing up and running.

Overall I’m really pleased with how well it turned out. I have a lot of little secondary features I want to add to it, but I think I need a week to recover.

It will be an interesting thing to see if the game finds any kind of an audience, I’m not aware of there being a whole lot of multi-player games on a single tablet yet.  However I think that it will be one of those kinds of genres where people can pop down for 5 – 10 min with a friend while waiting for the bus and play a game.

Time will tell.

Bits N Bobbins

Short post on progress things.  Things have just been lots of grunt work and non pretty things.

Will have things to show real soon.

Honest.

  • basic player object ..er.. exists and rotates properly.. mostly.  need to knock out some better test sprites and stuff to be able to make things actually ‘work’ together, but the fundamental concept of 8 direction independently moving head, torso, arms, lowerbody seems to work and will look pretty cool.
  • monster entities can be spawned and basically kept track of.. no AI or whatnot but still it’s a start.
  • Implemented basic box2d physics for player and monsters. this will have all sorts of fun payoff later I hope. Force waves, shapnel etc 🙂
  • Got the macro tiles wired for a* pathfinding.
  • Got the World generating a Maze and then replacing it with matching macrotiles that randomly match the exits of the cell.
  • started on map rendering
  • camera instance screen objects so I can have a smooth moving controllable camera that chases the player.
See.. lots of neat stuff… however nothing that you can actually look at other than a bunch of  diagnostic log output.
Performance wise it seems to be running at ~240 fps on the low end test machine and ~somewhere over 3,000 fps on the new machine.
So I might need to add in a ‘laptop’ mode which disables the whiz bang pretty stuff I hope to get put in.
and damnit .. http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque-3d the introductory price will be ending soon.
So I’ve got to grab that soon.

Building Better Tools

So, basic progress is in swing.  There’s a bunch of stuff I can port over from the GarageGames Torque Game Builder version that I was working on, however, there are a bunch of things that I didn’t need then or just do not have access to in Java or just don’t integrate with Slick very well.  So with that in mind.. I’ve been digging  into Pre-Pre-Production.

To that end I’ve stated building a toolbox. Figuratively, of course.  Here’s a few of the silly things  that are a pain to write but very useful to have.

  • AssetLoader – based on the slick tutorial this little thing lets me have a loading bar on a title screen while the game loads every asset it needs.
  • OptionsController – manage loading and saving user settings and profiles for resolution, sound, and player name.
  • InternetFile / InternetString – for pulling a string (current version) or file (updated assets)  This makes keeping the user informed of latest news/ updated versions a snap.  Since Minecraft came out with an auto updater, it’s been glaringly obvious that at minimum having a latest version check is a MUST Have feature.
  • Movement Library – a pile of functions to take two points, and interpolate between them,given a method speed and time elapsed and whatever else that comes up.  I expect this to grow for some time.
  • ImageCounter widget – display a number with a series of images. Like hearts in zelda. Supports horizontal and vertical orientation, whole and partial increments etc.
  • Basic Image Button – yup it’s a simple little button made out of a bunch of images, it’s self contained and easy to use and change.
  • State Based Button – also called a modal button.  Essentially displays several options on a button bar and you can select one.
  • Text Block – an angelfont based text block widget , hand it a block of text, an AngelFont, and give it a max size.  It auto animates the display, pagination etc.
  • Text Entry – an angelfont text entry widget.  easy and simple..
and as I find things that would be handy in future projects I’m adding them to it.
So it turns out that making little widgets is actually really kind of fun.  Much like building the IrisEdit level builder tool that I’m using to build the levels.
And with those tools in hand, I’ve created the game Launcher / Version Checker,  Here’s what it looks like without the Launch Game button (it goes in the middle)

 

Screenshot Saturday

Managed to get the web editor exporting tileframe data nicely, and with a few modifications was able to get TGB to import the new map data and render the maps in the existing tilemaps.  🙂 yaay.

New tilemaps in Game Engine.

Now if I can only find out what makes it crash when you touch the mouse……

*scratch head*.. well at least it’s progress..

Oh and we have new and very awesome epic in-game music now from www.indiegraphics.net

So it’s  been a good week overall.

[Edit::]  Found the Crash.  it was to do with the checks for various player positions on the tilemap for shooting.  Which is totally obsolete, due to the new tilemap, so it was crashing.

Impractical Exercise

Unplanned Diversions

So as I’ve mentioned before I’ve been playing / testing the Elemental Beta, which has since been launched er.. well… poorly… Apparently There was a bit of developer tunnel vision and it turns out the release version was kinda… well.. unfinished..  However Stardock has a history of supporting their releases magnificently.. and if the newly released 1.08 patch is any indication Elemental is quickly on its way to being worth it’s weight in gold.

So Funnily enough, this plus a couple other factors all gelled together and I’ve unexpectedly / inadvertently managed to start a new project.

First the elemental launch  got me thinking a lot about about the old classic Master of Magic(now available at GoG) and Age of Wonders (also at GoG and Impulse) and how hard it would be to make a classic fantasy TBS with modern tools.

Second, I’ve been coming to grips with building real web apps with CakePhp and getting used to working with the whole MCV concept.

And, perhaps, most significantly, I’ve messed with fun tool-set jQuery overlays and dungeon creation tools via web browsers in the past and while updating all my domains I found that I had registered fantasywarsonline.com a long time ago and simply never gotten around to messing with it.  So I spent some time re-discovering things I’d made a long time ago.

So one evening later, in the breaks between putting teething baby to sleep,  I’ve managed to get a good start on a random map creator, and some basic database modeling laid out.

I’ve got a few freelance projects to work on this weekend and a painting to finish, but hopefully I’ll be able to define some Fun Milestones to knock out so hopefully this can be a fun multiplayer web based TBS.

Analog diversion update

The Sketches for all 4 element paintings are done.

The finalized sketches

And the Fire Element Painting is getting closer to being done.  I hope to wrap it up in the next few days (baby willing)

Step 3 the Hair
Step 3 the Hair

That’s it for now.  I know I haven’t gotten to the Amnesia or Reccetear games post, I just haven’t played anything in the last couple days to get screenshots from them, however they’re Both Excellent and you should buy them.

Amnesia is probably the scariesy 8-10hrs you’ll play this year, and Reccetear is an addictive, cute and surprisingly huge rpg where you play the town’s item shop owner!

[edit] clearly this was written late late at night and makes little sense in parts… updated for coherence.

Wandering the Wasteland

Non-Gaming Goodness

So the summer deluge of freelance projects has slowed somewhat and a bunch of projects have gotten finished and I’ve got a nice body of work to start off in the professional portfolio side of things.  There’s just a couple websites to launch and tweak and then whatever new projects come this way… (with potentially a super super exciting project mixed in with it)

So that Gives me a few, precious, moments where I’m not playing with the cutest baby ever, to step away from the computer and rest my eyes on something that I’ve just realized that I miss.

Painting… so I still need to finish the oils, but I want to just crank out some pieces and make fast, bright vivid things and not have to worry about the whole setup and whatnot that the oils (even the water based ones) take.

So here’s a quick peek and the first of 4 24×24 canvases that I’ve got scattered across the kitchen/studio.

The colors are so vivid it totally blows out my camera’s color range.  I love it!

Gaming Goodness

So in few spare moments I’ve had where I can sit down and play something have been consumed by a couple games, Stalker : Call of Pripyat, Amnesia, Elemental and Reccetear.

I’m just going to ramble a few words and pictures about Stalker and Do a post later about the other 2.

So I’ve had it for a while but it somehow just got pushed back into the background since it came out along with the whole bunch of goodness that came out last year around the same time (Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age etc )

So when the chaps over at Rock Paper Shotgun mentioned some of the incredible user mods that have come about since its release.

And the results are pretty dang Spectacular.

Like this morning shot when the morning mists burn off and the rising sun lets you see into the distance.

Very pretty. And dynamic. And Massive.

And Full of Terrifying Wildlife.

But that’s ok.. you get guns.  That each have their own upgrade tree, so as the game progresses you get to tweak out your favorite guns with extra perks.

And when the sun sets, or you have to enter an old dark abandoned pumping station it delivers some of the most tense and jump worthy gameplay that’s been my pleasure to partake of in quite some time.

Reboot

My how time flies when you’re busy!

In fact it’s so easy to forget to keep updating the blog when you’ve got real projects that need to get done. Luckily I’ve got a good pace of things going and seem to have settled into a nice routine which keeps GFW from going insane and keeps the freelance work getting done in a timely fashion.  However it hasn’t exactly left a lot of time to spare for pet projects.

I need to get back to doing what I need to do.  I need to make stuff.  It has been too long since I’ve made something. (and I’ve got to finish those dang oil paintings!)

What Have I Been Doing?

So for posterity’s sake let’s do a quick re-cap shall we?

  • Consulting work = good.  Got a nice workload of it that’s just about ready to wrap up.
  • Swiftthought Games is now a real entity (ooohh!)
  • Banking stuff is set up.
  • Mutant Sheep Eat the Earth! is down to 40 illustrations to go. Then a get a new proof set to do a couple rounds of playtesting.
  • Baby is cute and a handful.
  • I wish I had time to paint!
  • Wenderflonia’s store is almost ready to go.

Time to get rolling!  First priority, finish the MSETE! website and illustrations.

I’ve got an Idea percolating for a smaller board game that I need to make a quick playtest mock of.

Oh and if you’re interested in game design in general you need to see this http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1012259/Train) (you might have to register but it’s free)

What I’ve been Playing

  • Starcraft II – so apparently has everyone else on earth.  It’s very good if a bit old school.
  • Elemental – been playing the betas, it’s come a long way in a very short time and the release version promises a nice Master of Magic type fix.
  • Minecraft – highly addictive and still early in development.  Mining and building and monsters. There’s a couple free old versions available to play, but the latest alpha builds are only available if you buy it (around $13 but going up soon)
  • Bejeweled Blitz – 60 seconds of crack in a pretty match 3 shell.

But first

Quakecon! this coming weekend.  Me and Parker are heading downtown for 2 days of massive lan party goodness and whatever else there is to see.

Old Wars and Putting the Sheep in Gear

Well summertime is here and that means it is time to kick things off and do stuff.

No Really..

I’ve been pretty stuck in idle for a while but a couple little things have started getting some traction.  Granted the freelance design work has been pleasantly steady which helps alleviate the guilt. 🙂   But really there’s been two projects that have gotten me going again. (ok, that and the baby finally deciding on a sleep schedule so there’s actually a couple hours that are useful on a regular basis doesn’t hurt either)

First http://www.beautifulbasics.com is up and running. It is still in its infancy but between me and GFW (whose site recently good a lovely makeover) we’re hoping that it will grow into a thriving community about family,tradition, and living a simple healthy lifestyle.

Second, I finally cracked open my tubes of winsor newton water soluble oil paints, they dry like oils but you can thin em with water instead of turp. It is a nice change from the usual acrylics and I absolutely love the drying time. The only downside so far is the color change while the water evaporates is going to take some getting used to. So the paint seems to dry in two stages, first the water evaporates leaving the darker pure oil color behind, which then takes the usual few days to dry.  Oh, and the cleanup with soap n water is a snap and the fumes are nowhere near as bad as old fashioned oils.

Distractions and Games? I’ve got plenty, but primarily playing Red Dead Revolver on the 360 and the indie strategy game ‘Hegemony, Phillip of Macedon‘ are tying up most of my mental breaks.  That and I’ve got to get a full day to get some people together and play a full game of Arkham Horror.  I will say that the Hegemony game is a wonderful new addiction.  It’s an absolutely massive undertaking for a small indie game company to make.  While it’s got some clunky features, it more than makes up for it in innovative new features that are sure to be copied by everyone else (Total War guys I’m looking at you) .  Unlike a lot of other Real-time Strategy games there is an emphasis on maintaining supply to you cities and units on the march that makes for a good time.

So, how does this lead me to getting my backside in gear and get cracking on the damn sheep you ask?

As luck would have it, GFW is taking the kids and heading west for a week come this Friday.  That’s going to leave me with a lot of downtime and I’ve got plans to make the best of it.

In theory, a bud will be coming by for some programmy consultanty help and if that happens that’s cool and that will probably take a couple hours every day but hey money talks 😉

Other than that I’m attending Akon (as a guest this year) Saturday; building an initial pass at a joomla website for a client; and designing a 1 page sheet, hopefully all this weekend.
So in theory, that leaves many hours are available every night next week for some serious sheepage! Oh, and I plan on blogging more (daily?) updates.

Let’s see how things work out, but hopefully there will be a ton of progress to report very very very soon.

Sheep benchmark

Time for a little progress update, eh?

Ok so some more sheep have been done but it’s time to assess the situation and get a firm grasp of where exactly I stand.   But first a picture of the prototype tuckbox that the game will be shipping with (some assembly  required)

tuckbnox

Why Include something as silly as a tuckbox, when it will surely impact the bottom line One might ask.  Well the answer is simple,  with the last couple playtests it’s become obvious that the system of green tokens to track the value of the current place is massively cumbersome.  So I decided to put in a little track sheet that you can just put a couple counters on to track the value of the current place as it is eaten.  And the price difference between a 4×4 board and a board big enough to have a tuckbox to be cut out is negligible. So the tuck box is almost free.

But anyway… back to the current state of the game development process.    So it turns out that 85% of the time it’s taking is art.  That’s right.  It’s taking much much longer to draw silly sheep than it is to creating the game and the cards and exporting them and uploading them and writing / editing the rules etc. etc.

Crazy eh?

As of RIGHT NOW, I have Drawn and Painted 60 of 125 sheep.  Of those 50 have been placed into their final art location in the inDesign files that are the decks.

I have 65 sheep left to Draw, ink, and paint.   A happy estimate would be that if I totally buckle down I can probably do a sheep every 2 hours, maybe a bit more.  So let’s call it 90 min.  So that’s just a hair short of 100hrs of ART work left to do.  Not too terribly bad.

Other than that I probably have 6 hours of editing and tweaking on the cards’ text to make sure they’re clear and are easier to understand.

Then toss in the other little things like re-writing the rules and finalizing the web and packaging art, realistically it’s probably closer to 120 hrs of work.

That’s some really long weekends in my immediate future if I’m to hit my goal of having it launched by my birthday.

Time to buckle up, it’s gonna be one helluva ride to see if I can do this.

Mutatant Sheep and other exciting things.

Whoa, I’ve been a bad blogger.  It’s been over two months since I updated this thing.  Time to get back in the swing of things then.

So after finishing the monster of all paintings, creativly, I was a bit drained.  So I spent about a month not really doing anything.. just recharging the old batteries.  Then via Raph Koster’sblog I heard of something super exciting!

A couple guys had gotten together and done a Print On Demand website.. where you can print Games!

Consequently my brain went into hyperdrive and threatened to explode.  I glanced at  one of my little doodles at work ( a gigantic 3 eyed sheep stomping around a landscape) and my next pet project was born.

So here I am, a little over a month later, over 50% of the way there with the final art (drawing and painting in photoshop 125 sheep is a lot of work, it turns out.)  And the cards are 90% of the way defined.  The immediate goal is to have all the cards put in their final state by next Monday, and then order a playtest set, for tweaking the numbers and mechanics while I wrap up the art.

Heres some of the cards
Here's some of the cards

Current statistics:

  • Total Cards: 125
  • Cards Drawn: 64
  • Cards Painted: 44
  • Cards Text Written:  75

Summertime!

Ah, it’s been a blissful vacation.

However now it’s full steam ahead! GFW is moving in next week and tons to do around the house before then.

Playing a bit of the Sims 3 and it’s very good and a radioactive black vortex that you can easily dump seemingly endless amounts of time into.

Then as soon as live gets settled and the summer excercise routine gets picked up again (ate too much on vacation and now I have a bad case of Bahamian Guilt)  then I’m itching to spend some time wrapping up the monster painting that’s been hanging unfinished in the kitchen for 5 months now.

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.

A good weekend’s worth of progress.

ss0Made a pretty hefty chunk of progress over the weekend and last two nights.

Some behind the scenes work with putting everything in the level controlled by a manager object that keeps track of what’s going on and what to spawn next.

 

 

 

 

 

ss1

Off the top of my head:

  • WSAD controls work.
  • Money powerup (yellow dots)
  • Magic powerup (blue Sigils)
  • monsters drop money and score interfaces.
  • New guis
  • Basic fundamentals of waves are in place. 
  • Object thresholds are in place so (in theory) it shouldnt crash due to too many simultanious spawns.

 

As always this is an alpha build, play with it at yer own risk.

 Graphics are primarily placeholders.. No there isn’t any sound yet. 

You can download it here www.swiftthought.com/BSDDoD/BSDD0D-alpha002.zip (3.94mb)

Feedback always appreciated.

Short sharp turn in freetime utilization

Talking a couple days away from the biggo painting..  Kinda mentally stuck on what to do with the blues..

So I’m diving head first into another side project.  Which I spent the all of yesterday working on and plan on spending the evening on (after working out) to hopefully have a workable single level.

It’s all so much fun, it’s hard to pick just one project to focus on… Which, I guess, is why nothing ever gets ‘done’.