Let’s Derp: Gaming and Game Dev Edition EP. 1

My game dev pal Gwen was super nice to let me start co-hosting a show with her saturday mornings! Here is our first episode. We talk about a Blind game idea, why believing games don’t have to be fun is kind of stupid, and then a bit about blizzard, and why the hell WoW got so popular. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfr6hKpUiS4

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Finding The Point Between The Lines

game_iconSo hello everyone! as I mentioned in my last post, I was taking over the adventurer Manager program from another. Here’s how it’s been going so far:

I’ve basically been working this project for the better part of two weeks. The code was originally written by a member of VA who goes by MajicPanda — a pretty cool nice guy. He had to stop because of life and family and whatnot.  I do have some correspondence over gmail, which has help drastically in wading through the code base. After that, it was taken over by another for a short period of time who did some bug fixes, and added the first little bit to Endless Tower. He also had to drop from the project due to real life.DLC_Map_Icon_Open

That is where I am now. Today I released my first “real” dev patch with a randomly generated dungeon, and I just wanted to talk about how I got there. Majic had created this game with little knowledge of OOP, which initially caused a bit of a headache for me since stuff is kind of all over the place in this game. Also, the game was created before the rise of Unity 5.x, which means for a lot of the 2d image displays are handled by third party scripts and assets.

Basically I’ve spent the better part of these last two weeks wading into the code, figuring out how things work, when they are called, and how to work with the third party tools that were included (tk2d, a JSON data manipulation tool, Steamworks and NGUI). This was more trial and error than anything, and now I have a decent working knowledge of how it all interacts.

The biggest thing I have learn from all of this? ORGANIZATION MATTERS. Stuff is kind of all over the place as far as assets go and whatnot, and it’s just been a pain figuring out where a certain resource was located, because it’s not uniform. Being someone who is already pretty damn OCD about file storage, this just about killed me 😛

But hey! That’s all over with now, and I can get to creating new content and fixing all the bugs for Adventurer Manager. I know there are many out there who have been waiting a while for this to get released finally, and I’m happy to oblige them.

My thanks to the many wonderful patient customers who have been unbeliably understanding about the delay in the DLC. I’m hoping to have things out for you soon!

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Wish You Were Here

Hello friends!

It’s been a while, I know. If you look at my last post, it’s almost been a year in fact. I might have gotten a little sidetracked. First off, I joined a studio.  This happened last year around when I stopped posting. Great company with great people, VA Studios! They have a game out called Adventurer Manager, which is out on steam. has been for about a year or so. Neat little game, but more on that later.

The other big thing that’s been going on? Well, that whole #gamergate thing went down. It’s kinda funny, before that I had barely used twitter at all, now I’m sitting on close to 2k followers and I’ve made almost 20k tweets since this whole ordeal. I was pretty active in it, being a gamedev and whatnot. I’m passionate about my hobby, what can I say?

Anyways, Two big things happened recently — First off, I’ve decided to redouble my efforts on developing and writing about it. After a long talk with basically the greatest woman I know, I decided I’ve been spending too much damn time over arguing with a bunch of non-gamers over what games should be and what gamers are. Time I could be spending making content for gamers.  There are plenty on the front lines defending the integrity of the medium and I am grateful to have met all of them 🙂

Here’s the other big huge awesome thing: I’m now in charge of the whole Adventurer Manager project. We lost the devloper working on it, and there was some DLC in the works that needs to be finished. Everything just kind of happened so quick. I had begun a new project under the company, with some great and talented people — and now here I am scrambling through code and picking off where another left off.

Good times, and great to be back 🙂

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It’s always the network’s fault.

Hi friendos,

So I’ve been working hard, learning things and whatnot. VERY comfortable with Unity now, and once again, I’m outpacing my training material, and kinda going off on my own tangents and learning things. Very fun so far 🙂

I went ahead and shelled out for G2GD’s steam bundle, since it’s very very helpful in getting fully acclimated with Unity3D. The guy worked hard.

So far I’ve been diving into the network code, learning about RPCs, and how to call code specifically from the client or network. It’s been fun, and as of last night I can do the following things:

  • Run a dedicated server
  • Have players connect and disconnect from the server, communicating both ways as needed (Server passing average ping, server name, and the like, while being able to find out itself how many are connected, and on what teams
  • Being able to control your own character, without granting access to all players.
  • Shoot a projectile that has collision detection, and if it hits the floor (as opposed to a wall or player) — It will explode with a neat little particle effect
  • Spawning and respawning depending on what team you choose.

What’s next: I believe creating a communication system, displaying each character’s name above them and actually doing damage, like for realsies.

It’s been fun, and once I’m done with this tutorial, in order to test my knowledge I have a sweet ass little multiplayer game lined up. It will be a top-down frag fest, in the style of Mario Kart’s battle mode with ricocheting bullets and whatnot. Should be great 🙂

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Flip Floppin’ like a pancake

So, I’ve been a busy kid as of late. Was getting my brain wrapped around the whole 3D engine thing and whatnot. I made some pretty rad progress on the whole thing. Hell, two weekends ago, I made a simple item collection 2d side scroller (with automatic death pits) in about 8 hours. Unfortunately the compilation of programs in Unreal leaves a bit to be desired, and I didn’t want to put it up here since it seemed to be a pain getting to run consistently on non-Unreal Engine 4 machines — But that hardly matters now, cause as of this week we’re switching to Unity.

I was a bit bummed about this move honestly. I have tried working with Unity before and was just as lost as when i started playing with Unreal. Needless to say I had a little bit of apprehension of switching engines because of this.  But as I go back to Unity, I realize that much of what I learned playing with the UE4 GUI has translated over to Unity pretty seamlessly. I no longer feel lost, and was able to jump right in to some tutorials. Speaking of which, I’m currently going through the tutorials provided by http://www.gamertogamedeveloper.com — The lessons are a bit on the longer side from what I’ve seen so far, and he’s starting out by teaching less epxcerienced people, so it’s started a little slow, but I love it so far. Plus, I get to play in C# again! WOO! I really have come to appreciate the language.

Hopefully in a couple weeks here I’ll have a simple Top Down multiplayer fragfest to share with you all. I have a little plan of things I am testing 🙂

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Something Brand New.

Last week has been a couple few busy weeks. I started gaining some momentum working on break-out… When Wildstar came out. I’ve been waiting for this game for years. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been playing it way too much.

I ended up joining an online gaming community called Vigilant Addiction. They had a neat theme going on, had been gaming together for years, and being myself, I can’t resist the whole Devil and God Raging Inside me vibe. Heh.

So I joined, and got to know these guys. Pretty early on though, I heard them talking about game development. I spoke up and mentioned that I was a coder, and dabbling in game design. They introduced me to their studio, VA-Studios, and to their project out on steam, Adventurer Manager. Well, the ball started rolling behind my back, and Strikes, who runs the studio offered me some work as their programmer for a new upcoming project. I gave it some thought, being that I am still in the infant stages of learning, and after an experience at work (a positive one), I had a nice surge of badassery and decided it was good idea.

I just sent in the contract signed right before starting this blog entry.

Now I’ll just be doing general programming work within Unreal Engine 4 for them for now — putting in functions and whatnot that aren’t already available through the Blueprint system. So expect to see more from me in that regard soon.

I’m still learning. They know this, I know this. I’m just going in a brand new direction.

Gaming — It is the smell before rain. It is the blood in my veins.

Okay, done with the Brand New puns. Seriously.

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Skeletons

So I come back from vacation, and immediately get curb stomped by the flu. That was great.

But I’m back now! That means more work! This next chapter focuses more on refining some of the principals learned earlier and making a more sophisticated game. This time instead of Pong, It’s Break-Out. Good times. However, the code still kinda sucks. I peeked ahead to the next chapter and THAT’S where I finally get to build a more compartmentalized engine, instead of having everything in main.cpp. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why he doesn’t start with the basics the RIGHT way instead of using old, outdated methods, THEN having you re-write everything. To me, it would have made more sense to just start with the core, and add each piece one at a time.

So today, I skimmed over the chapter and got a good idea of what I was up against. Then I went ahead and made a new template to use for my new project. Cleaned up all the weird random functions and made the skeleton for Break-Out. I hate the code I’m using currently, so this is the best I can do to calm my tormented mind.

So very soon, hopefully by this weekend, I’ll have a new mini-project on! I think that once I’m done with this book, i want to go through and re-write ALL the games and compare the differences.

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Vacationing

Yo.

 

So I’m sorta on a pseudo vacation. Won’t see any programming related posts for about a week or so. Maybe. Probably. However, I can import some pearls of wisdom upon to you:

  • Never leave your damn ID with TSA by accident. You’d think I know better.. But it happened. Now my stomach gets to do soumersalts all week while I ponder how exciting it will be to try to get on my return flight. YAY!
  • Apparently reserving a hotel room doesn’t actually mean reserving a hotel room. I got a call last night an hour before my planned check-in from the hotel manager stating that they were “overbooked” and that my reservation never meant anything cause they never charged me up front in the first place. This is good to know for future use! Jesus.

So it’s been a hell of a trip so far. Grumble. Ah well, can’t have everything going smoothly all the time, can we? At least I get to see my niece though. She was rockin’ the Princess Zelda outfit I gave her yesterday, it was neato. Tiny little thing though.

 

Anyway, I’ll be back next week for super awesome programming action. I might get bored and write up an article about systems I admire in other games and the like.

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First Program Done!

Hi all!

Well, I’ve made my first official real game. Don’t get too excited though, it’s just a gussied up Pong clone. The basic version wasn’t much to shake a stick at — but I’ve made some modifications to at least make it a tiny bit more exciting.

  • I’ve added the option for a second player. You can press “enter” to toggle it off or on.
  • The ball when it would spawn OR bounce off of something was set to go at a random speed. No matter what. I didn’t like how this worked at all, so I’ve changed it. I’ve lowered the maximum velocity completely, and as the match progresses the ball will get faster and faster, until a point is made. Then it resets.
  • I’ve added a PAUSE screen with instructions, in case the user needs to review them.
  • Modified the buttons for game usage. ‘W’ and ‘S’ for up and down on player 1, and just the up and down arrow keys for up and down on player two.

If I go back to this game, I kinda want to add a powerup or two that would float around lazily, back and forth. Maybe slowing your enemy, increasing your speed and/or enlarging the paddle size.

Anyway, here you go! Enjoy my first ever game.

Pong Clone!

Edit: A wise reddit user suggested that I add my source for my downloads, because who wants to download a random dude’s exe from the net? Probably a good idea.

Source Code!

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Initial reactions of the Black Art of Multiplatform Game Programming

Hi all!

So, I just now finished chapter three of the book (you can see more on about me) — The author has a ton of good lessons so far. I’ve accomplished some pretty cool shit so far including:

  • Drawing individual pixels, lines and rectangles (outlined or filled)
  • Drawing actual graphics on the screen, and selecting a transparency color
  • Limiting the frame rate for drawing to the screen
  • Animating Sprites

The only thing so far that bugs me is the author’s non-standard naming conventions. I’ve done a little peeking ahead, and it seems that things change later on, but as it is right now without any OOP, and not camel casing variables and functions.. It makes me crazy. But that’s it for now.  I can’t wait to start making this more modular and start going off in my own direction.

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