Monday, October 31, 2011

[GMC Jam 4] Competition End!

Ghosting Laws:
Well I finished my entry for the GMC Jam 4.  Ghosting laws has 6 levels now and they are pretty tough!!! You'll need to use reset level a bunch because impossible levels sometimes spawn.  Level6 is really freakin tough as there are color changing blocks that change every few seconds.

The game was tons of fun to make and hopefully it does well in the competition.

If you are registered for the GMC forums, you can vote once voting opens at:

and then there will be a topic for voting (I think it's locked atm).

But vote for Ghosting Laws!  Try out all the games and see what kind of amazing talent the devs at GMC have.  I am looking forward to seeing all the games released.  Mine was a simple puzzle game, but there are some pretty advanced games that have amazing graphics.

I don't expect my game to get first, as there are some great teams out there with some awesome games, but I would like to place top 10, that'd be pretty cool.  I'd say there  are probably about 30 entries as well.  (THERE ARE actually 58 entries I think!)

Well,  Good luck to everyone participating in the GMC Jam #4 and let's have a great time voting!!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

[GMC Jam 4] Ghosting Laws

GMC Jam:
Oh my goodness I have wanted to take part in a GMC jam for a while, but I totally forgot to check on it!! So i was about 24 hours late to the 72 hour contest to make a game with the theme "Law"... but well the game really only took me about 5 hours of solid programming to get it done (at least a workable demo).

And thus the game Ghosting Laws was born!

The game idea is that you are a little ghost, and you have to get from one white square to the other.  There is one level that is randomly generated, and you must walk on tiled floors, or pass through blocks (when it lets you).

So there are 3 colors and 2 different types of obstructions.  You can walk on all tiled floors, but if they are red, you die and start over.  Blocks are different, you can only pass through them if they are active, and if they turn inactive while you are on one already, you die and start over.  So you have to get from one area to the far white square to finish the level.

It's a simple concept but it was fun to make the room generator, and work through the kinks in only 5 hours!  5 hours!  Crazy, and that is including all the sprites and graphics.


So you need to get to that little bottom right white square to beat the level.

For now the game is working, but it could use some additional levels and some other stuff later.

I don't have a lot of time this weekend so this will be what I have until I can post more Monday and work on it some.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

[SBX] Level 8 - In Progress

Well it looks like I will be working at Johnson Controls, as a facilities maintenance mechanic.  It'll be a good job where I can finally make some money and put some aside.  I had an interview on Tuesday and it went really well!  Exciting, exciting!  It will be nice to have a car again.  For 2 years I've ridden my bicycle everywhere I needed to go.  (Crazy! I know)  Just goes to show that you CAN get by in life without those things you think are necessary.  (Except teh interwebz, wut wud I do without teh interwebz?!?)

Anyway things have been going great so far, and I've been having fun developing SBX and SBX2.  I also plan to put together a team for a platformer game in January of 2012, but we'll see how that goes.  Right now work on SBX2 is a lot of fun and I would like to continue to work with that game and get it ready for alpha testing.  Right now it's just a tech demo engine test, but I think it's fun ;).

Book I'm Reading:
The Sword of Truth Series - Book3 - Blood of the Fold
Genre:  Fantasy
-Great book, very interesting so far.  I enjoy the adult writing style of Terry Goodkind.

Well the final level of SBX is about halfway done.  I re did a bunch of stories and used a script to clean things up instead of giant sprites.  I broke up some level sprites as well and got rid of all my errors.  I've been trying to clean up some of the code in SBX, but it's just such a giant tangle of crap.  Honestly.  At least with SBX2 I am aiming to make the code friendlier in case I employ the help of other people on the game.  I am looking forward to finishing up level 8 and hosting the game as complete in the YoYo Games area.  I can then focus my free time on SBX2 and developing the system and the graphics better.

Hmm, I should also put some skins back in for my favorite testers.  I'll at least toss them a thanks in the credits after you beat the game.

Ah!  There is a new enemy added to the game as well, watch out in level 8!  The hammerhead type enemy will attempt a kamikaze crash to kill you instantly!  Avoid Avoid!

One other note:  Viewing of this blog has gone up by over 100% this month!! Thank you all who have checked out my blog!  I appreciate it ;)

Well it's a short entry tonight,

Thanks for reading folks,


Saturday, October 22, 2011

[SBX2] Tech Demo Release

Wait... is that a... 2?  YES it is.  I have just finished the Tech Demo for SBX2 - Return of the Fuscians, the sequel to SBX.  This time around it is a space exploration game, not a scrolling shooter.

Link:  (also at the bottom)

The Tech Demo contains a few things:
  • The basic AI structure for enemies in the game.
  • The movement engine for the player.
  • Destructible Objects in the game! Yay you can break walls!
  • A temporary GUI  (Will Be Replaced with something cool lookin)
  • Sweet Temporary music  (Muse is just win)
  • Awesome Space Action
There is a lot that I am doing differently this time.  I have learned a bunch about coding since I began SBX, including things from other sources, such as my Unity course.  I have learned to streamline my code and actions to make things as efficient as possible.

Also a big difference with the sequel is I am not using any Drag and Drop programming.  (For those of you unfamiliar, Game Maker lets you drag and drop commands into a visual command line, to make things easy for beginners.)  Everything in the game will be done by pure code, with the exception of a few single line things that I can drop in for quickness, like destroy self, etc.  

The AI was tons of fun to program.  It's not quite finished, but is now working after quite a few hours developing and testing it.  Enemies have 4 states:  "Normal" , "Search" , "Attack" , and "Avoid".  
I'll briefly describe each of them:
Enemies start out in normal, which is a path based on coordinates given at implementation.  Coordinates are stored in a 2d array, with X being the 0 slot in the second array, and Y being the 1 slot.  Each enemy cycles through the coordinates in the array until they reach an entry of (0,0) in which they repeat the process.  When they reach within 10 pixels of their destination, they then choose the next one.

From normal or search mode, if the player comes within a certain distance, the enemy will close the distance and chase down the player, keeping within a safe firing distance.  **To Be Added:  Later on enemies will have a suicide option, in which they will try to ram the player to do massive damage at the cost of death**
In attack mode, the enemies also will fire weapons at the player.

Once the enemy is in battle, when it reaches a certain HP threshold, it will attempt to use evading techniques to encircle the player and avoid fire.  The enemy will continue to fire weapons at the player, but will move side to side instead of chasing the player down.

If the enemy is in Attack or Avoid mode and the player leaves the combat range of the enemy, it will engage Search Mode.  In Search Mode the enemy will do circular sweeps of an area until the player comes back into range, or until a long timer tells it to go back to it's regular path after not finding the player.

Here is a sample image of combat with the enemy:

The only weapon in the tech demo is the Gatling Gun:  A weapon that will most likely be the player's starting weapon in the actual game.

Thank you all folks for reading!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

[SBX] Updates and Changes

Well it was a nice weekend and earlier time this week, have a nice Wednesday off so I am able to get some work done on SBX.  I received 2 e-mails from some people earlier this week and was able to establish a contact with a recruiter even though I wasn't what he was looking for.  It's nice to hear feedback on people about what to do.  I posted on a group site in LinkedIN asking for advice and it was nice to hear from people in the industry what I am already doing:  Make a nice portfolio, get peoples attention.  So I figure I will start working on getting a website made to host my work, rather than a YYG profile, at least it would look a bit more professional.

So I have made some baseline changes before continuing on to finish out the game.  The things I wanted to get done this week were:
1.  New Text Boxes
2.  Re-Work the Auto Shop
3.  New Profile Selection Menu
4.  Harder Bosses
5.  Add Checkpoints
6.  Fix some bugs with Crazy Ball

I decided to scratch number 5, as I really want to keep the game arcade style and somewhat difficult, but I want to adjust the difficulty UP on a few bosses as feedback from players said that the bosses were way easier than the level itself.
The big one for number 4 was level 3.  You could sit in the back and avoid the spikes and just relax back there.  I added some ships that now spawn at the back ends and will charge along the back line at you to make you move... or die.   This makes the boss a little more dynamic and it makes you plan out:  Ok the spikes just set back, they probably won't kill me right now... i can avoid these guys.

There will be additional adjustments for boss difficulty in the future: Namely: Level 2 boss, Level 5 boss, Level 6 boss.   I might change some things about level 7, but for now the difficulty is alright.

For the new text boxes, I had been using the default gross grey boxes before, but with a simple activation code at the start of the game I adjusted the fonts, colors, and backgrounds of the boxes.

I also re-worked the auto shop.  Before it was gimmicky and you had to click an icon to select an item.  Now you can just select any item and it will equip it.  It will also show you which items on the left side is equipped with a dark background and lighter text.  Here are 2 photos of before and after:


The whole auto shop is streamlined and much easier and intuitive to use.

Also I re worked the profile menu.  I jumped into Paint.NET and designed a nice looking menu system to use.  The old looked like:
and the new looks much spiffier:
I have started using Papyrus for most of the menu fonts, as it looks nice and separates menu and message items from other fonts used to mark things in the game.

The Intro scene featuring my logo has been reworked as well.  Before I had a kind of stupid looking logo that was very rough, but I changed it to look a little more professional.

Before and After:

I used an actual picture of a wakeskate and edited it to work with the image.  The result is a crisp, beautiful logo instead of the crappy one I had drawn before.

Also I adjusted some things for the crazy ball and it works much smoother than before.

Reflecting over this game, I now see how I will have to re-work things in the future to better organize and streamline my work.  No one could really steal my game files, because so much random stuff is going on in all my objects.  This being my first full length game, I realize the limitations of the way I was doing things before and the way I will need to proceed in the future.  Unless I get some more stability issues when the game is finished, I probably won't go back through and streamline all the code as the game isn't big enough to warrant that, but I have learned a ton from reflecting over my code and use of Drag and Drop.  Future games will be created entirely in GML to increase the workflow and edit-ability of my games.

EDIT:  Also I just added a new movement system for SBX  - it looks much nicer now and the movement is way more fluid.

Thank you for reading and hope you like SBX so far!


Friday, October 14, 2011

[SBX] Level 7 Finito.

These past couple days off have been extremely productive--well today at least, yesterday I just read a whole bunch.  But, I have completed Level 7 of SBX!  One more to go before the core game is finished.  There is still a lot of things to do with it though.  Not much else besides a nice relaxing peudo-weekend.  Well time for the real weekend: A work weekend : /.

We'll jump right into talking about the game as this will be a shorter blog.  Today was rather frustrating.  Toward the end of finishing up Level 7, Game Maker decided to stop loading my game and began to give me a load up error each time.  However I was still able to make an .exe file and play it just fine, so to test the rest of the time, I had to create an .exe file each time to test it.  What. A. Pain.  Well I finished and posted the game up, so now it's time to go back and figure out why.  Is it a memory issue?  Is it a graphical bug, or some weird issue with Game Maker?  I'll come back to that one.

The game though, has been going well, just 1 more level and the game is finished at it's core.  There will still be an endless level, but I will add that puppy in later.  I'll finally be able to post my game as a finished game in the completed forums rather than the WIP forums.  NICE!

Level 7 isn't the shiniest of the levels so far, it has a lot of action, but nothing new.  Lots of enemies, and then a boss.  That's pretty much it.  It's hard, but no new mechanics or anything special.  I'm fine with this however as I am going to work hard and long to make Level 8, the final level, really cool and awesome.  The final level will be special, so Level 7 will just lead into that.

I'm excited to finish this game as I want to begin work on an unique platformer.  I won't go into the details, as I think it's a great idea, but it should be pretty interesting.  I'll need to learn about making a nice engine for it though.  I haven't worked too much with platformers so this should be fun.

Well I am looking forward to finishing up SBX as it has been LOTS of work, and lots of time.  But it's worth it, I really love making the game and it'll be nice once level 8 is finished to just go back and fine tune everything, redo menus, add luster to the game and make it all shiny and working perfect.

Thanks for reading folks,


Thursday, October 13, 2011

[SBX] New Graphics

Today was a great day!  I got a lot done on SBX and I have 2 days off for tomorrow and Friday so I can get some work on the core game done for Level 7.  Also I got a call from someone who might have a job for me at a plant nearby doing maintenance type work.  It's something that pays real well and something I am familiar with (having a construction background).  This would allow me to work and save up money to someday move out to California to make my dreams happen.  That's how you do it right?

Well anyway just a few notes and then to the main topic.

Indie Game of the Week:
This is the forum topic to a game called "Frank".  Now the name may seem silly, but the game is awesome.  It is a platformer / tetris mashup, that is excellently done.  You play a little guy named frank with your arrow keys and control the tetris blocks with WASD.  Space bar activates any special abilities as well for the little guy.  You start out by running around collecting coins and moving up higher and higher to get the coins.  It takes a lot of concentration to not get stuck, not crush Frank, not block yourself off... and on top of that, if you want to get silver or gold, you have to time some 4line Tetris clears right before you grab the red winning coin.  All in all it is a very fun, tough game that  you should check out even though it is still a WIP.

Now to why I am writing a blog at 2am on a Wed night.  Graphic Revamp.  Yes that is right I have completed my first graphics revamp of SBX.  So we'll look at a few changes that have been made.  Just a few of the many I did.

First, the main ship now banks when you turn.  Before it just stayed the same no matter how you accelerated but now the ship's graphic changes for left and right strafing.

Ship Graphics:

Originally the ship just had the middle graphics, but left and right banking graphics have been added.  They look real good in the game with the weapons equipped.

All the weapons had revamps done as they needed to change with the ship as well.

Other graphical upgrades were:  New explosion effects with debris added, Planets added in the background, A second star layer that is faster to give a deeper effect, New Weapon sprites for the basic weapons, and the big one:  New asteroid sprites.  These ones I took some textures offline of rocks and applied them to a plain colored asteroid then modified them with some shading.  The result was a more realistic looking asteroid that fits with the graphical scheme of the game.

Here is an example of the difference between the old and the new:

The new ones really have a better feel to em and I really like how they turned out.  Overall the graphical effects upgrade brings a little more luster to the game, giving it a more polished feel.

Later I plan to add additional graphics changes, but for now, this should attract previous people who have tried the game and maybe will give it a new feel.  

Also a new loading screen was added as well, since the old one was rather ugly.

Well thanks for reading folks, 
God Bless,


Monday, October 10, 2011

[SBX] Skins

Lately I've been getting a lot of work done with my online Unity course, but it's been tiring.  Saturday I spent 4 hours studying and watching tutorial videos, then worked for 6-7 hours, then spent another 2 hours programming on my own for the homework section.  It's a tough schedule, but it'll pay off and I really enjoy learning more about developing tools and streamlining programming work.

This is a short blog, but I wanted to post the six skins so far in SBX.  All of them are unlockable but for now, I've given three of my supporters and fans of the game, TheUltimate, smash ball  and Enter_Name_Here codes for custom skins for them to use.

Here so far are the skins in game for the ship:

There are currently 5 subclasses of the main ship.  I would have to say my favorite is by far the Raven, I really enjoyed making that and like the way it turned out.  The X P Q is a fun one, and is unlockable in a special way differently than the others.  It takes a bit of work and investigation while playing the game.  The Arc I had in the code for a while, but didn't make available until recently, and I just drew out the BoneShip tonight, since I wanted to get some work done, but didn't feel like doing major brainstorming for the next level.  I also drew the Trinity subclass, because I didn't want to sleep and was a little bored.

(By the way the red markings on the ships are the locations where items go - just ignore those X-D  )

Well I hope you enjoyed a look at some of the skins in the game, and look out for more to come!  Thanks for your time folks.

Peace out,


Thursday, October 6, 2011

[SBX] Level 6 complete - Yaya

Today was decent, with a moderate work day, even though I felt sluggish.  Tomorrow is my day off though, and I have some stuff planned, such as tennis... and relaxing...  Well, something planned at least.  I'll probably apply for a few jobs and work on some things for SBX a little.  Things are going well, and I applied for (what I consider to be) the perfect job at Riot Games.  They have an open position for Creative Designer and it basically fits me perfectly.  Whether or not I hear back from them... well, we'll see.  But they'd be missing out.

Well I sat down for 5 hours tonight and finished out level 6!  I developed some sprites for the new boss and some animations, and set them into motion.  Most of it went pretty well, but I had to play though the level 15 times to test the boss for various things.

Adjustments to timing and placement and pathing were necessary as the boss didn't want to do what I wanted him to do at first, but I figured it out, and he is pretty much how I want him to be.  I'll revisit him I'm sure and do  some upgrading.

So this post I thought I would show you some of my sketches and how I've planned out some of these levels.
First, here is a funny concept sketch I had for the boss of level 5, before I replaced it with the balloon looking guy:
I ended up disregarding the sketch as it wasn't menacing enough and looked pretty goofy overall.

Next is the concept sketch for the big ship that roams around behind you in Level 4:
It was a basic sketch, but I did end up using this design more or less.

And then here are 3 sketches of layouts for Level 6:  The first is a sketch of the electric room at the beginning:

 Then here is a sketch of the boss I did, and there are tons of notes on the page as well.  I also have a sketch on the bottom half of the stasis tank that the boss sits in before he comes out.

And the last sketch I have for you today is a layout of the ventilation duct.  I mapped out the locations of the ten electrical nodes and planned it all out.  This was the part that worked perfectly without any bug fixes at all.  That was pretty awesome as it saved me a lot of time.

Well that's about all I have for sketches and for today, I'll probably take some time off of any major work on SBX for a week or so to brainstorm level 7 and figure out exactly what I want to do.

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

[SBX] Level 6 inc.

Had a nice weekend off with the lady.  Finally back and able to get some coding done today though.  Things have been going well and the weather has been awesome so I've been able to get out a little and do some exercise.

Something Funny:
This made me laugh a bit earlier so I'll share it with you.  Check out:
Rage Stache!
If you're a bit nerdy like me, you'll get a good laugh out of it.

Game I'm Playing:
League of Legends has been my go to game for the past few weeks.  I like being competitive and it has given me quite a few hours of mob blasting fun!  Riot Games has done an outstanding job of putting together a F2P (Free to Play) Game that really delivers.  I have even bought a few skins and characters with their cash system to support them since the game is really fun.  If you are into DotA type games or are a competitive player, then you should really check it out.
If you've never played you should click this referral link:
And say you were referred by the incredible wakeskater_X woo woo. ;)

I was able to get a lot of work done on SBX today.  Level 6 is now nearly complete and the things I wanted implemented went very smoothly.

I coded the blue jumping electricity section and planned the entire floor out at once.  I mapped it out on paper, figured out what I wanted to do, and coded it in.

And then...

There were no bugs!  Everything worked perfectly the first time, EXACTLY how I wanted it to.  (Well sort of, I did some number balancing and timing adjustments, but mainly EXACTLY <-- almost).

It was nice to have things run super smooth and I was able to add graphics to most of the level and finish most of what I wanted to do with the early rooms.  Now all that is left is adjusting some things and finishing out the boss room.

I have some grand plans for the Level 6 boss, so it'll take some time to plan it all out and really make it cool.  I want the boss to be different from any other boss so far, and have much more danger to it.  I want the player to feel like they are going to die at any moment if they don't execute perfectly.  I think by level 6 it is acceptable to introduce something that makes the player check themselves, before they wreck themselves (or their beloved space ship).

Thanks for reading and for those of you who noticed something different after level 2...  well maybe you should put that somewhere... it might lead to something cool.

Peace out,